Ex Hex – Cosmic Cave
American garage-pop trio Ex Hex have been in what feels like indefinite hibernation for the last few years. Their sharp and assured debut album Rips came out almost five years ago, unleashing the band’s female-fronted rock’n’roll onto a new audience of misfits.
Now, Mary Timony and co. are back and preparing for the release of their follow up album It’s Real, out on the 22ndMarch via Merge Records. In the buildup to the record, they have decided to share brand new single ‘Cosmic Cave’. The track is just as steeped in the classic punk-pop of Blondie and The Ramones as their previous work – containing a spectacularly catchy chorus. After a tireless touring schedule It seems like Ex Hex have become a much more refined instrumental unit, nailing every riff as if it were in their blood to do so.(NK)
FFO: Diet Cig, Sleater-Kinney, PINS
Ex Hex will be hitting the road in May:
May 24 – Brudenell Social Club, LEEDS
May 25 – Deaf Institute, MANCHESTER
May 27 – The Exchange, BRISTOL
May 28 – Village Underground, LONDON
Hot Flash Heat Wave – Sky So Blue
Painting with the same multi-coloured synth rock brush strokes as Kevin Parker, San Fransisco four-piece Hot Flash Heat Wave have an expansive sound. Originally forming in California as a noise collaboration between Adam Abildgaard and Nick Duffy back in 2010, the band have expanded into a full democratic unit, with each member contributing songs and sharing the role of lead singer.
Debut album Neapolitan caught the attention of many with lead track ‘Gutter Girl’ and its accompanying video eventually trending on Reddit. The band’s Latest single ‘Sky So Blue’ is on par with some of Tame Impala’s best work, awash with trippy synth arpeggios and soaring melodies. It’s a cloud-wandering, escapist pop epic, that isn’t afraid of sounding like the aural equivalent of sticking your head into a candy floss maker. (NK)
FFO: Tame Impala, Ariel Pink, Wild Nothing
HFHW’s third album is expected early 2019.
HEXDEBT – Covenant
Melbourne’s Poison City records (Camp Cope, Horror My Friend) has a growing roster of great bands coming through their ranks. Energetic Post-punk four-piece HEXDEBT are one of the label’s finest new exports, who have a penchant for loud, abrasive guitar music. Since supporting the likes of LIARS on their Australian comeback tour last year, the band have been going from strength to strength.
HEXDEBT’s sound could be compared to the likes of Savages – all driving rhythms, jarring guitars and shouted vocals. Latest single ‘Covenant’ is a particularly raucous affair, blasting off with sheer jet propulsion and evolving into a swirling cauldron of sweet, sweet noise. The urgency on show here is outstanding and makes you wonder what bleak, angst-ridden ditties they will conjure up next.
Hopefully, we can expect a debut album in the coming months because this is way too good. (NK)
FFO: Savages, Protomartyr, Iceage.
ViVii – And Tragic
Dream-pop trio ViVii released their new single ‘And Tragic’ on January 11th through Dumont Dumont. The track is taken from their eponymous debut album, which is set for release on March 15th.
The Gothenburg-originating couple Emil and Caroline Jonsson (now aided by Anders Eckeborn) only started writing and recording songs after they had children, which brought some structure to their lives and acted as a catalyst for making music.
Everything I’ve heard from them, including their debut EP Savant (May 2018) and previous single ‘Suckerpunch’, has been pleasing on the ear and ‘And Tragic’ is no different. There is something otherworldly about the track, which could be suitable for syncing into film scores – the production is so rich it is almost overwhelming at times. There’s a mesmerising central riff and Caroline Jonsson’s voice is angelic.
ViVii will play London’s Hoxton Bar and Kitchen on Feb 15th. There are no other UK dates; something I hope they will soon rectify. (DB).
FFO: Beach House, Lykke Li, Slowdive
Business of Dreams – Keep the Blues Away
Corey Cunningham’s Business of Dreams is all about emotional catharsis. When his father passed away a few years ago, Cunningham took leave from his long-running Bay Area/LA musical partnerships Magic Bullets and Terry Malts to return to his home state of Tennessee to grieve and confront his past.
Making music to cope with this loss resulted in Business of Dreams’ eponymous debut album, in 2017. Soon the live version of Business Of Dreams took shape as Cunningham opened for Rogue Wave on a national tour and played scores of local shows with Frankie Rose, Real Estate and many others.
With his new album Ripe For Anarchy, Cunningham has honed the songwriting with an eye towards regret, existence, and perseverance. He says “The album is about living in the moment, shedding neurosis, and the desire to discard the general societal malaise we’ve been roped into.”
The first single ‘Keep The Blues Away’ is a gorgeous shimmering window into his glistening homespun sound, it bounces dark clouds away with its exquisite melody that bubbles with a catharsis and longing. Let’s face it in January we could all do with a shield like this. (BC)
FFO: Alvvays, The Go-Betweens, The Field Mice, Casiotoneforthepainfullyalone
Malmö, Sweden, based singer-songwriter Linnea Hall started her solo project LOAVER with a desire to be able to showcase all sides of her experiences and inspirations. The music that will be released as Loaver’s debut EP – experimental, smooth and dark pop at its finest – was written and recorded in Italy during 2017, in close collaboration with artists such as Giovanni Ferrario (PJ Harvey, John Parish etc.), who produced the tracks, and Emanuele Maniscalco. Through the six tracks we’re drawn between the uttermost boundaries of emotions – love, hate, dreams, doubt, chaos and naivety.
Apart from LOAVER Linnea is also active in Malmö based band Kluster, a band that released their debut album, Civic, on Rama Lama Records in June 2018. Haunting and unique this is both intriguing and evocative of burgeoning artistry. (BC)
The LOAVER EP will be out on February 13th via Birds Records.
FFO: PJ Harvey, Cat Power
Joe James Boyle – Flawed Individual
London-born, now Berlin-based Joe James Boyle makes music inspired by the free spirit psych rock of Jimi Hendrix and Ty Segall but with a unique and loose vocal delivery that recalls Alan Vega. JJB’s songs have their own distinct and sometimes surreal literary world in which individuals and outsiders trying to make sense of what is happening around them, all amidst a wild rock ‘n roll soundtrack.
It isn’t a sound you hear too often these days and even the production standards have a 70’s feel to them, a pleasant nostalgia.
‘Flawed Individual’ is released on the Berlin label Snowhite, home to artists including Anna Kairos, recently tipped by GIITTV as one of the ‘Sounds of 2019’. (DB).
FFO: Nick Cave, Suicide