Greetings, faithful Lamb followers! This edition of New Borns may be a concise one, but it certainly is chock full of good tunes. Whilst our beloved editor is away sunning himself on the beaches of Waikiki, Hawaii, I have taken the rein on this week’s edition, giving you a pretty mixed bag of artists, for your listening pleasure of course. Everything from NYC’s constructors of electro-rock weirdness Battles, today’s biggest rock supergroup The Death Weather, before heading back home to feature local band Terrible Truths. Enjoy!
Label Warp Records Limited
Genre Math Rock, Prog Rock, Avant-Garde
Moments Of Deerhoof, Liars
Stand Out The Yabba, Dot Com
Battles return to the scene with their third full length release in three years titled La Di Da Di, and the result has left us without even a scant of complaint, because it was most certainly worth the wait. This release sees them this time in completely instrumental mode, post the departure of vocalist Tyondai Braxton after their debut Mirrored and the numerous guests whose vocals featured on Gloss Drop, album number two. It most definitely has lead them to focus deeply on the intricate patterns and complex electronic-versus-organic sounds that they are able to produce, resulting in an album rich and overflowing with a plethora of attention-capturing tracks.
It is pretty easy to understand why the time between Battles releases can be slightly elongated compared to many other contemporary artists. This is no one-two-three-four-lets-bang-it-out release. Battles, to the unfamiliar, are a product of the infinite variables in sound that one may achieve by utilising electronics (left up to guitarist and gadget whiz Ian Williams), guitar pedals (bassist/guitarist Dave Konopka) and live drums (John Stainer). The intricate instrumentation, rich layering and left field composition of Battles’ music leaves you thinking of what kind of bizarre world the masterminds that created this live in.
Straight off the bat with opening track and single The Yabba, Battles demonstrate to the listener that their sound has evolved over the past releases to reveal them as a complete entity, with their brand of instrumental music as all encompassing, rich and absorbing. Tracks from La Di Da Di are so brimming with captivating sounds that one would never even consider the absence of a vocal track. Everything from futuristic prog rock (Dot Com), a dance party on the moon (FF Bada), R&B beats (Flora>Fauna) to a trippy ride on a cloud (Cacio e Pepe), there is little time to get bored with this record.
Battles’ sound has definitely provided a refreshing outlet in the indie rock scene, with an prominent evolution in their sound over the last ten years, without losing an essential element of distinction within their back catalogue. You’ll know it’s a Battles record, but at the same time you won’t. That’s why it stands out as such an important release of the year. They’ll be in Australia for the run of Laneway festivals early next year, so don’t miss out!
Album Title Dodge And Burn
Label Third Man Records
Genre Blues Rock, Garage Rock
Moments Of The White Stripes (duh), Queens of the Stone Age (duh)
Stand Out I Feel Love (Every Million Miles), Lose The Right
The biggest supergroup of 2000’s indie rock return with album number three, Dodge and Burn, released of course on drummer Jack White’s label Third Man Records. This effort sees them honing their skills further on a tighter, bigger, less restrained group of songs that results from a bunch of friends just making music for the sake of it. The Dead Weather have made a statement that they will not be touring this album, which seems to have put less pressure on them to rush this release. Instead they have had more focus on putting together a solid album, which as their reputations have proven, is what they do best.
Three albums in, we have not heard a great deal of growth in sound from The Dead Weather. They know who they are and what they are capable of producing, and know that people all over the world are following their every release. And it’s a fair no-brainer; with a combination of Jack White on drums, Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs on bass, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age on guitar and Alison Mosshart of The Kills as front woman, you can be pretty certain that you will hear a quality album with every collaboration. Dodge And Burn is another album brimming with massive, Jack White approved guitar work, rich, synth-fuzz bass, solid drum chops and backing vocals from Mr White and a powerful, emotive vocal from lyricist and singer Mosshart.
First single I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) and album opener is a typical Dead Weather big guitar riff, with Mosshart’s commanding presence as vocalist, howling “why does my heartbeat feel like a speaker?”, swirling down to half time and back up again for a big finish. Other highlights such as Let Me Through and Open Up follow a similar winning formula, while Lose The Right and Too Bad lean more on the side of blues-rock, with a signature Dead Weather spin on it. Guitar solos and stadium rock production qualities a plenty.
In saying this, those that have been following the band over their career will notice a formula that gets used very frequently, resulting in an album of solid tracks but nothing of particular prominence. Without doubt this album is big, ballsy and fun, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Album Title Terrible Truths
Label Bedroom Suck Records
Genre Indie Pop, Indie Rock
Moments Of Bitch Prefect, Pylon
Stand Out See Straight, Uptight
After a couple of now hard to find EP’s, a split release with fellow Melbournians Hissey Miyake and some extensive touring, Terrible Truths have finally released their debut self-titled album on Brisbane label Bedroom Suck Records. A fresh, punchy pop album with strong elements of 80’s pop, post punk angularity and danceable beats, this is nine songs and 21 minutes of no-nonsense fun. The trio of guitarist/vocalist Rani Rose, bassist/back up vocalist Stacey Wilson and drummer Joe Alexander have crafted a refreshing and enjoyable album that will be perfect for the upcoming summer.
The simplicity of a three piece band is certainly an element that works in favour for Terrible Truths’ style; minimal, choppy guitar lines, bouncy bass lines and tricky drum patterns work seamlessly together to form a collection of tracks that a without a doubt, is going to get you moving – even if just a little. Being such a short album, there is no room for filler. Each song shines as a summery glimpse of great vibes with an uncomplicated essence of ease and elation.
A perfect example of what Terrible Truths do best is on the single See Straight, where duelling vocals meld in with a mid tempo jaunt, slightly reverb-y guitar stabs and a lo fi ethic. Previously released but re-recorded for the album, the song Don Juan has been polished up, rounding out the drum sounds and tightening the bass on this new version. Again, interesting to hear what a bit of extra time and money can do to a band’s recorded material.
Along with the swaying mid tempo, fuller sounding Don Juan, songs like The Coast Is Clear also show that the band can play faster, punkier tracks too. Still identifiably Terrible Truths with Joe’s trippy drum patterns, but showing the versatility of the band’s sound within the stylistic scope that they do best.
It’s definitely worth taking a short part of your day to take some time out and put this album on. A undoubted hit for the warmer months, be sure to keep your eyes and ears out for what this band are up to – as this album is going to take them places.