Catching Chook Race While They’re Around the USA

October 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Australia, Jangle, Music, Seattle, Shows | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

chookrace

Taking on America with an extensive 25 date tour is ambitious for any band, but when you’re Chook Race, a little known three piece jangle pop band from Melbourne, Australia it’s downright impressive (and maybe a little insane). The band made its way into Seattle Wednesday night to play the Victory Lounge, a bar with no stage in East Lake. This is one band I thought I would never see in Seattle, but after self-releasing their first album, Chicago label Trouble in Mind signed them making their second LP widely available in the United States as well as this tour a reality.

Singer and guitarist Matthew Liveriadis has a slight monotone delivery, but drummer Carolyn Hawkins provides a beautiful juxtaposition with her backing harmonies. The trio played an energized and jangly set inspired by the Bats and Close Lobsters mixing soon to be jangle pop classics from their first LP with ones of a slightly more classic pop sound from their new second album Around the House. In their short existence the band already have a stash of A-list songs and they didn’t leave any of them out including jangly diamonds like Dentist, Time, Sometimes and Hard to Clean and Older. The band’s tight sound and laid back attitude easily won over the likely already won over folks in attendance and made us all appreciate the long trip they had made to get here.

zebrahunt

Like minded Seattlites Zebra Hunt opened for Chook Race with a set that consisted almost entirely of new songs (Half Right was the only old one). Apparently the new album is nearly ready and based on this evidence I would agree. One song really stood out with its Feelies-like crazy rhythm, even slowing down and then rebuilding itself into something quite raucous. Zebra Hunt has still got it!

So Much Water So Close To Home

January 28, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Albums, Music, Seattle, Vinyl | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

zebrahunt2

After a couple singles, Zebra Hunt, the Pacific Northwest’s foremost purveyors of the Dunnedin sound have released an album. City Sighs has obviously been influenced by the classic Flying Nun sound of the early 80’s made famous by the Clean, the Verlaines and the Chills, but it also incorporates some distinctly American sounds to create a fresh variation on a well worn style.

City Sighs seems to be an album full of jangle, longing and discovery. It’s full of pop songs that are instantly likable and easy to remember. Deleware starts the record and opines for a lost friend who’s up and moved back to the first state in the Union. Singer Robert Mercer sings just enough (and leaves even more unsaid) to get you wondering why this person left. It has an air of mystery to it like a Raymond Carver story. The American influences aren’t just literary. Call It Off is a dusty rocker that has Long Ryders feel to it and Isle of Song and Always both owe a little something to Galaxy 500. The band also rightfully resurrect Half Right and Beaches of LA, two of their best songs that originally appeared on their first single that came out on the now defunct Manic Pop label.

The last song Haze Of Youth may be my favorite song on the album. Starting out as pop and then transitioning into a long jam, it out real estates Real Estate. City Sighs is being released by the tiny Tenorio Cotobade label in Madrid, Spain, so you probably won’t see this record at your local shop unless you live in Seattle, but it deserves as much exposure and recognition as like minded records (on much larger labels) by the Twerps and Real Estate.

Vinyl & Download available from Tenorio Cotobade.
Download available from Zebra Hunt’s bandcamp.

If you’re near Seattle this weekend, don’t miss Zebra Hunt Saturday at Hilliard’s in Ballard.

2015/01/img_5044.jpg

The Good Earth of the Ginnels

May 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Music, Pastoral Bliss, Psychedelic Pop | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

ginnels-a-country-life

After last year’s Plumes compilation caught us up on what the Ginnels had been up to over the course of their previous three albums, they are back with album number four, A Country Life. Plumes was a sublimely excellent collection of songs separating the wheat from the chaff. A Country Life is a richly stalked silo of brand new songs that leads me to believe there never was any chaff in the Ginnels catalog. 

A Country Life paints a bucolic scene with its psychedelic, hazy, jangling songs. Previously Ginnels records were mostly Mark Chester solo affairs, but on A Country life he’s got some help on drums and guitar making this more of a band effort. To tell the truth it isn’t vastly different from before, which is ok since before was quite good. Songs like Woodlands and Car’s Parked and Honestly and Not What You Think are upbeat jangling affairs that are inviting and fun. The quieter, gentler ones like  the Great Escape and Settle Down and Ashton Memorial are perfect for kicking up your feet after a long day in fields, or in front of the computer. 

The Ginnels fourth album is pretty little thing. Recommended to fans of Elliot Smith, Apples in Stereo, early Divine Comedy, the Feelies and Teenage Fanclub with a good appreciation for tricks of the light and other subtleties of the countryside.

stream: The Ginnels – Woodlands (from A Country Life out on Tenorio Cotobade)

 

Zebra Hunt Go To Spain

August 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Posted in 7 inch, Music, Seattle, Vinyl | 1 Comment
Tags: , , ,

zebrahunt

Seattle’s kiwi loving popsters Zebra Hunt return from the ashes of the crash and burn of their former label with a brand new record. Luckily the Spanish upstart label Tenorio Cotobade has bellied up to the Zebra Hunt bar for another round of killer pop. So all you have to do is scour the internet for a buy link to put this pretty thing into your hands. And why would you want to pay exorbitant overseas shipping for a piece of plastic you ask? Because when you hear the A-side Only Way Out with its rubbery guitar lead and catchy chorus you will be helplessly reaching for your credit card. B-side Get Along is a rawer bar room romp that sees these big game hunters going for the jugular with a single shot.

Zebra Hunt are two for two in the record game. Could an album to solidify their unsung greatness be in the offing in the not too distant future? I’ll take that, or more singles like this one to feed the hungry pop beast inside me.

stream: Zebra Hunt – Only Way Out (order the 7-inch from Tenorio Cotobade)

Plumage of the Ginnels

August 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Ireland, Jangle-pop, Music, Spain, Vinyl | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

ginnels
Mark Chester may be one of the most prolific fellows you’ve never heard of. He’s released three albums in past three years under his solo moniker the Dublin, Ireland based Ginnels (Ginnels, according to my Merriam-Webster is a narrow passage way between two buildings). His last album was the sprawling 20 song Crowns which Chester said was inspired by records like 69 Love Songs, Sandinista and Bee Thousand. The problem was that all of the releases were digital only with the exception of one which was also released as a cassette. If you release a record into the ether does anyone hear it?  Sure, a few people do but is it taken seriously? Can you truly love a digital download?

Chester no  longer has to worry about questions like those because the Spanish label Tenorio Cotobade has just released Plumes on vinyl. Plumes collects songs from all three of Ginnels albums and slaps them onto a big piece of plastic so you can consummate your love these songs which have much in common with the likes of the Apples in Stereo, Salako, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Bats, and the Clean. Chester seems to be a bottomless well of them too. It’s like Like some mad scientist injected him with a serum that produces highly melodic, introspective, jangly compositions. Chester though adds a touch of weariness to this formula that makes them hold more weight than your standard caffeinated New Zealand loving indie band of today.

stream: The Ginnels – Plumes (Plumes is out now on Tenorio Cotobade)

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.