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Bill’s Indie Basement (9/28): the week in classic indie, college rock, and more

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This week in the Basement: sleazo Swedish punks Viagra Boys; Brazil meets California via lovely duo Winter & Triptides; UK drums-and-voice duo Rattle (who will be touring with Protomartyr and Preoccupations; Slift, aka France’s answer to the Oh Sees; and a look back at underrated ’90s shoegazers Moose (who figure into Piroshka, the new group with members of Lush, Elastica and Modern English).

Other Basement-recommended records this week: Marissa Nadler’s For My Crimes; Fresh & Onlys frontman Tim Cohen’s great new solo album; Swedish indiepop band Hater’s debut, Siesta; Exploded View’s Obey; and that Joe Strummer box set. See ya in October.


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Viagra Boys – Street Worms

Dumb name but this Swedish band make excellent dystopian punk that doesn’t take itself too seriously

 

 

Swedish punks Viagra Boys have been around for a while and their members include a few seasoned musicians from the Stockholm scene. Their brand of dystopian punk fits in well with bands like IDLES and Iceage, brandishing a nihilistic sense of humor like a broken bottle in a bar fight. The band got some attention over the summer with single “Sports” that rattled off a litany of athletic activities in a mock Southern American accent that, if we’re going to keep with the theme, was like writing “IRONY SPORTS ARE STUPID” on a stadium Jumbotron. And yet “Sports” is hard to resist — fun and funny, with frontman Sebastian Murphy really committed to it. By next year you may not want to actively put this one one, but it plays well in the moment.

Thankfully there’s nothing else on the album as intentionally dumb as “Sports” on Street Worms, Viagra Boys’ debut album which nonetheless revels in its tales of unbridled, sleazeball, don’t-give-a-fuck machismo. There are, however: repressed family men with BDSM inclinations, plus huffers, all manner of other idiots, as well as frogs, worms, and lots of dogs. Murphy lays on that accent a little too thick at times, but he delivers his lines like an evangelist and sells them like one too. The band are also more than up to snuff, making no-nonsense danceable punk/postpunk, with a little X-Ray Spex style sax and excellent, vibrant and energetic production. If you need the album in one song, head straight to the excellent “Just Like You” which struts like prime John Travolta and barks fever dream bile.

 

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A look back at Moose

Shoegaze wouldn’t be called shoegaze without this underheard UK band

 

 

This segment got too damn long to be in Indie Basement so we pulled out my look back at ’90s band Moose (whose KJ McKillop is now in Piroshka with Miki of Lush, Justin from Elastica, and Mick from Modern English). Here’s a bit:

Not a lot of people remember Moose, who formed in 1990 and were part of that initial UK wave of bands that formed right after My Bloody Valentine and Ride blew up in ’88/’89. It’s also generally accepted that the term “shoegaze” was first used in a Sounds review of an early Moose gig — they said singer Russell Yates spent more time looking at the lyric sheet taped to the floor than the audience — so they earned their place in indie history right there. But they were also one of the best bands to come from that scene, even though they largely abandoned the loud guitar miasma sound after their first two (great) EPs. Starting with 1991’s Reprise EP, Moose let singer Russell Yates’ vocals come more to the fore (it turned out he had an appealing, low key melancholic voice) and distortion pedals gave way to jangly guitars and country influences.

Read the whole thing here and listen to Moose’s great 1992 debut album, …XYZ, below:


UPDATE: I just discovered that a Moose tribute record just went up on Bandcamp this week that was put together by Brazilian blog “The Blog That Celebrates Itself” (which is a shoegaze reference to “the scene that celebrates itself”):

 

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Winter & Triptides – Estrela Mágica

Gorgeous psych-pop from Brazilian/American duo

 

 

Samira Winter, of dreampop band Winter, and Glenn Brigman (who records as Triptides) didn’t set out to make a record together. They met in Los Angeles, bonded over Brazilian music — Samira is Brazilian — and began working on songs together. Two years later we have Estrela Mágica, which mixes tropicalia and ’60s West Coast influences into a truly lovely album of sun-soaked, psychedelic pop. The LP is a true blend of Brazilian and American sensibilities, but sonically it’s more in line with the tripped out music of Dungen and the new Melody’s Echo Chamber album (which Dungen played on). Some songs are sung in Portuguese, while some are in English, and among the Winter originals there are covers of Brazilian standards “Ele Dorme” and “Raio De Sol” that her mother used to sing to her as a child.

Winter & Triptides also got some help on the album from Jason Simon (Dead Meadow), Julian Porte (Levitation Room), Modeste Cobián (The Buttertones), Mason Rothschild (Fever The Ghost), and Tiago Lobão (Nevilton). There’s a pleasingly mid-fi haze over most of the record and Winter’s breathy voice is pretty magical and perfect for songs like these. It’s a quick listen — nine songs in 28 minutes — though you’ll likely let it repeat a couple times.

Samira Winter has European and UK tour dates starting this weekend.

 

Simon Parfrement
Simon Parfrement

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Rattle – “Sequence”

Drum-and-voice duo from UK will be opening for Protomartyr and Preoccupations this fall

 

 

Rattle are a UK duo comprised of Katharine Eira Brown and Theresa Wrigle whose sound is made entirely from their drums and voices. For something so seemingly minimal, Rattle produce complex engaging music that is both primal and hypnotic. The group’s second album is titled Sequence and made up of four lengthy tracks the duo made while playing facing each other, kit to kit. The record’s out November 2 via Upset the Rhythm and you can check out 12-minute, multi-movement “Signal” right now. As they sing, “Put your ear to the ground, it’s an incredible sound.”

You can tell by listening to their records that Rattle are probably best experienced live, and folks in North America will soon be able to do just that when they join Protomartyr and Preoccupations on tour this fall.

 

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Slift – La Planète Inexplorée

Take a motorik trip through space via these French psych-rockers

 

 

If you ever thought “what we need is a French Oh Sees,” or even if you haven’t, Toulouse trio Slift are here to say “par ici!” The band would fit right in on John Dwyer’s Castle Face label, making rocket launch garage psych. Their debut album, La Planète Inexplorée, blasts off to hyperspace from note one of “Howlin’ Road,” which explores the outer reaches of a single chord for seven minutes and never lets up, while the singer lets loose with a Lemmy-esque delivery. The foot rarely leaves the accelerator on this record, though the title track, and album-closer “Silent Giant,” allow for atmospheric sections. Slift are not concerned too much with traditional song structures or even hooks so much as a Neu!-like obsession with taking a groove or a riff and really stretching it out. (As for those grooves: I really dig “Ant Skull” with its conga-fueled midsection.) La Planète Inexplorée is not entirely without catchy moments, mind you: “Dopple Ganger” and “Fearless Eye” are both at least near the pop world, while still being heavy and wigged out. Again, this is very much in the Oh Sees or King Gizzard galaxy, but this trio are very good at what they do, and you can tell they probably rip live.

As for ripping live, Slift are touring all over France and Italy starting this weekend, so if you’re in that general area, go see ’em and report back.

 

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