Melbourne band RVG recall much of the country’s strident melodic alt-rock of the ’80s — part Before Hollywood-era Go-Betweens, part The Triffids’ sweeping scope, with some of Crime & The City Solution’s gritty romanticism and Hunters & Collectors’ anthemic tendencies. Their debut album, A Quality Of Mercy, was one of my favorites of 2017:

The force behind RVG is singer/guitarist/songwriter Romy Vager whose confessional lyrics — with subjects including love, death, computer love, substance abuse, and the isolation of being trans — go hand in hand with her impassioned delivery. It might also be the make-or-break point for some; her style is very in-your-face and it took me a little while to come around to. Musically, though, I was hooked from the start, with the group’s jangly, but rarely straightforward guitar playing, embellished with lots of great flourishes and arrangements. (Shades of non-Aussie bands like The Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen are evident). Eventually (like a week ago) I came around fully to RVG’s debut album, A Quality of Mercy which is strikingly assured; eight songs clocking in at just under half an hour.

You can stream A Quality of Mercy below.

RVG will be in the U.S. this March for SXSW and will be stopping in NYC right after the fest to play Rough Trade on March 19. The show is with three other Melbourne bands: Totally Mild (who have a new album on the way), plus Jade Imagine and Jess Ribeiro. Tickets go on sale Friday, February 2 at noon. It's currently the only non-SXSW show RVG and Totally Mild have in the U.S. Flyer for the show is below.

As for the other two acts on the Rough Trade bill, Jess Ribero's 2015 album Kill it Yourself was produced by former Bad Seeds member (and Serge Gainsbourg aficionado) Mick Harvey and was mastered by Total Control's Mikey Young. Atmospheric and bluesy, comparisons could be made to PJ Harvey and you can stream the album below. Jade Imagine, meanwhile, used to play in Jess' band and released the What The Fuck Was I Thinking EP in 2017 which is melodic, off-kilter indie rock. You can stream that below as well.