We're at a time of the year now where everyone is back into working, which means labels are back into putting out good records and, I've gotta say, 2013 is looking pretty great so far.
Here are a few new tunes that you should be blaring this long weekend in between The Finest Works Of Don Walker (not a real release, but hit me up for the Spotify link), Aussie Crawl's Sirocco, Midnight Oil's Head Injuries and Whispering Jack for a bit of late night singing.
THE DRONES – HOW TO SEE THROUGH FOG
But let's not stray too far from the Australian theme just yet. One of the country's most treasured bands have released their first new material in over four years this week and it has a lot of us very excited. It's not that The Drones have been completely quiet, frontman Gareth Liddiard released a sensational solo record in Strange Tourist back in 2010 and the band gave us 100 Mistakes, a stunning live release, at the end of 2011. But it's so good to have them back, as a band, in the studio, with a new record set to drop soon.
It's everything we've come to love about The Drones; Liddiard's lyrics are kind of disconcerting but completely enthralling, you never quite know which direction the song is going to go in next and there's a really gnarly sounding guitar solo midway through that is almost completely at odds with the sweet, chilling piano at the song's beginning. The whole thing makes you feel a little uncomfortable, so The Drones can consider that a win as far as I'm concerned.
ENDLESS BOOGIE – TAKING OUT THE TRASH
New York's Endless Boogie are one of those bands that just keep getting better; they blew minds with Focus Level, their debut album proper, back in 2008 and somehow managed to better that by far with their incredible Full House Head album of 2010. Next month they are releasing Long Island and, while I've only spun it a couple of times, it could very well be even better again.
The first single from it is Taking Out The Trash, one of the shorter songs on the album (the band tend to jam out their tunes for around ten minutes apiece) and a song that takes everything that they do well and shoves it right in your face so you just can't ignore it. There's a brilliant classic rock riff that chugs throughout the song, while frontman Paul Major takes it in turns to holler out his vocal and blaze away on lead guitar as the drums and bass lock into a groove that you'd set your watch to. Long Island will be one of the albums of 2013, I'm sure of it.
PISSED JEANS – BATHROOM LAUGHTER
It can be a lot of fun chatting with fellow Pissed Jeans fans about the merits of their respective albums in comparison to one another. The best of them admit that 2009's King Of Jeans is the pinnacle of their work thus far, the fans who are determined to never enjoy anything after it becomes somewhat popular will tell you they should have quit after 2005's Shallow, while there are some who consider their Sub Pop debut, 2007's Hope For Men, is one of the best punk rock records of the past ten years. There's no right or wrong and they're all good records, but it'll be interesting to see how Honeys, their new album which will be out Friday 8 February through Sub Pop/Inertia, fits in.
While they're always a pretty abrasive band, they still manage to make very different records and Honeys is no exception. This could be the angriest sounding Pissed Jeans record yet (that's really saying something) and the opening track Bathroom Laughter is a pretty damn good example of the brutal heights the band reach here; it's a vicious couple of minutes of hardcore that sets them up for what – wait for it – might be their best record yet. I look forward to debating that regardless.
DEVENDRA BANHART – NEVER SEEN SUCH GOOD THINGS
I have to admit, I have a bit of a complicated relationship with Devendra Banhart, his back catalogue is far from perfect and I get the feeling that if we ever caught up for a couple of beers I'd want him to go away very quickly. But the guy has written a stack of incredible songs, he seems to have a lot of balls and his live show is brilliant, so I always give him when new material comes along.
Never Seen Such Good Things isn't his best work, but there are plenty of things to like about it. He has really managed to capture that really odd feeling of breaking up with someone and finding them somewhat detestable while also still kinda being in love with them. It's also sonically gorgeous, with plenty of little unexpected instrumental and vocal flourishes throughout the song popping up very welcomely indeed.
ICEAGE – ECSTACY
Everyone told me to listen to Iceage upon the release of their first record New Brigade, which was released back in 2011, but for some reason I just never did it. I just kind of forgot about them before long, but now, with a new record set for release through Matador next month, I'm starting to see their name around everywhere and have figured I'd best take that advice.
Good thing I did, these young Danish dudes are fucking incredible; so dark, so cold, yet so catchy at the same time. If you were like me and stupidly neglected to listen to them before, you owe it to yourself to change your ways. The two songs from You're Nothing, the name of that aforementioned second LP, which have been released so far are both hinting that this will be another great record and Ecstacy (shown here with a really kind of disconcerting video) is such a great example of the way they manage to slip a certain sweetness into something so very ugly.