July 4, 2015

Today's Hotness: Flying Saucer Attack, Happy Diving, Mourn

Flying Saucer Attack -- Instrumentals 2015 (crop)

>> A particularly cultish corner of the experimental rock music world was driven to hysteria month ago when it was finally announced that Flying Saucer Attack, one of the finest shoegaze/drone concerns of the 1990s, would release Instrumentals 2015 on Drag City Records this month. The new collection, due July 17, will be the band's first in 15 years! The apparently aptly titled, 15-song set features pieces recorded by fronter David Pearce (partner and vocalist Rachel Brook presumably sits this one out) to analog tape and CD-R at his home, a medium which served the band well on landmark static-und-drone releases Further and Distance. With hopes of appealing to both die-hard fans and those unfamiliar with the its catalog, Flying Saucer Attack's two preview tracks gently lull the listener while providing windows into Pearce's thoughtful and powerful sound world. "Instrumental 7" opens with smooth, mid-range guitar feedback that dramatically shuts off briefly at various intervals. As each drop-out occurs, swells of supporting notes join the feedback tone to establish additional new harmonies. Second single "Instrumental 4" takes a different approach, instead employing ear-splitting cascades of feedback and slowly plucked single-note guitar leads to slow time and space to a hypnotic background whir. With each track, the subtle mastery of the dynamics is first-class. Like another dreamy '90s shoegaze group, Auburn Lull, did last year with its magnificent Hiber cassette, the inimitable FSA have reappeared to show the seemingly burgeoning legions of bedroom drone instrumentalists how things are done. Pre-order Instrumentals 2015 on 12" vinyl, CD or cassette from Drag City Records right here. Both "Instrumental 7" and "Instrumental 4" can be streamed via our curiously but purposefully narrow YouTube embeds below. -- Edward Charlton

>> This publication was properly bowled over by Happy Diving's Father/Daughter-released debut long-player Big World last fall, and last month's news that the group are already set to return with a fresh 7" on the mighty (and getting mightier) Topshelf Records is certainly cause for celebration. Out July 17 on a variety of colored wax, the East Bay, Calif. band's preview single offers up two great, humid, chugging sludge-pop jams. A-side "So Bunted" recalls the Big World standout "Space Ooze" with its atypical structure, dense chordings and bummed-out vocals, while further pressing those signifiers as some of the band's greatest strengths. After a brief opening comprised of post-Blue Album guitar wailing, the group scales back to a single verse where guitarist/singer Matt Berry's plaintive, bruised vocal details a relationship gone as sour as the minor-to-major power chord changes that keep the song both murky and anthemic. Recorded in just four hours at The Atomic Garden with go-to California heavy-rock producer Jack Shirley (Deafhaven, Whirr, Joyce Manor), the two-minute piece is perfectly rendered in all of its live-sounding, signal-clipping glory. Happy Diving stay true to their monolithic approach to twenty-something, house show angst, and it promises even more fuzz-fest payouts on their next album, which at this rate of productivity just might be here by 2016. Pre-order "So Bunted" from Topshelf right here, and catch the band on its upcoming tour, the dates of which are listed out below. Stream "So Bunted" via the Soundcloud embed below. -- Edward Charlton

07/15 -- Oakland, CA -- One Fam
07/17 -- Portland, OR -- TBA
07/18 -- Olympia, WA -- Old School Pizzeria
07/19 -- Seattle, WA -- Office Space
07/20 -- Vancouver, BC -- Alf House
07/21 -- Victoria, BC -- The Mirancave
07/23 -- Santa Rosa, CA -- The Funk Den
07/24 -- San Francisco, CA -- Thee Parkside
07/25 -- Santa Cruz, CA -- Cafe Pergolesi
07/26 -- Los Angeles, CA -- The Echo
07/27 -- Corona, CA -- Sinbad's Hookah Lounge
07/28 -- San Diego, CA -- Che Cafe
07/29 -- Merced, CA -- Tigers & Daggers Records
09/04-09/06 -- Berkeley, CA -- Resurrect Cali Fest @ 924 Gilman

>> This reviewer admittedly missed Mourn's Captured Tracks-released self-titled debut album, which was issued in February, but the quartet's wickedly quick follow up Gertrudis 7" was enough to send us back to listen to it. The much-hyped Catalonian co-ed punk group apparently represent a rising wave of young Spanish punk which has greatly excited tastemakers including Captured Tracks' Mike Sniper, and A-side "Gertrudis, Get Through This!" certainly bears out that heightened interest. Opening with a kinetic, prickly guitar riff, the song highlights the cool vocals of Carla Perez Vas, which echo those of the band's idols including PJ Harvey and Sonic Youth. Building in tension as the instruments remain sturdy and straight, Ms. Vas breaks from a clear and upfront coo to a desperate chorus that brings to mind other European positive feminist punk outfits such as Welsh powerhouse Joanna Gruesome. While straightforward in its construction, the song shifts so dynamically into the "get through this!" chorus that the youthful angst of Mourn arrives in ear canals completely, precisely. Album number two will certainly not be slept on after a wake up call like this, and a release date has been tentatively scheduled for this very month. In the meantime, grab the single digitally via Steve Jobs MegaCo. right here. -- Edward Charlton

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