Alternative Rock Album Reviews: Teenage Exorcists + Shape Breaker + Mavis Gary + Fat Children + Trick Mammoth + INVASIONS + July Days

Getting stuck into the album reviews again, this time from a fuckload of artists that deserve to be fucking knighted for their valiant efforts in promoting amazing music, via making amazing music.

 

Teenage Exorcists-Teenage Exorcists EP

At first, Teenage Exorcists come off like your average above-average indie rock band. They sound like they’re from California, the guitar fuzz is well rounded out by pretty great melodies, and the verses are smart and catchy. But then those solo’s crack in and change the perspective like you got hit in the face by a sledgehammer made of J Mascis riffs.

Specifically, the best thing about Teenage Exorcists, besides those amazing solos, is how smart they come off as a band. If Ball Park Music got Nick Zinner as a guitarist, then you’d have an idea of what I’m talking about. For example on ‘You Make Me Hippie’, there’s a line that goes ‘We can listen to Slayer, if that is what you love’. That’s probably the only line in an indie rock song of the past ten years that makes a positive and selfless reference to Slayer.

So, between the infectious-as-fuck chorus’, the Dino. Jr. solos and Vampire Weekend on crack indie rock that’s on display, its hard to find fault with Teenage Exorcists.

 

Shape Breaker-Eyes Wide

For those who like their indie rock with a sledge hammer right in the middle of their mind’s eye, then Philly’s Shape Breaker is the band to satisfy  that weird fetish of yours. They’re like a psychedelic band that got put in the tumble dry with the the guys from FIDLAR. There’s dirty, swashbuckling guitar solos abound, far-off stoner vocals and a bass that’s more fuzzed out of its mind than a bunny rabbit tripping on a heart dose of acid.

After hearing the first chords of ‘Climb Down’, I knew that I, along with the million or so garage rock fans that thrive on overdoses of reverb, would be 100% completely in love with this band. They’ve got an ethic and attitude akin to their contemporaries like The Orwells and Bass Drum of Death, so it surprises me that pitchfork hasn’t heralded this band as saviours of garage music yet. Oh well, that means that I get to do it. These guys are saviours of garage rock music, and you’d be more idiotic than a guy that waits on Coachella tickets to not grab this album while its still free. This band is fucking rad, and if it’s in your iTunes, then you’re rad as well.

Mavis Gary-Pin Me Up

And as soon as we were on the sunny coasts of indie rock California, we’re into Flying Nun territory. I really don’t give a fuck, do I? Anyway, Mavis Gary isn’t actually signed to Flying Nun (they’re on a label called The Attic) but they might as well be. They’re clean guitar pop is so reminscent of all those heyday Nun bands, that these guys could be a Clean cover band, straight up.

Mavis Gary’s dream-pop is dreamer than a bat of the eyelashes from the student that wants to bang our hero in the first Indiana Jones movie. Songs like ‘Pin Me Up’, ‘Dorothy Jean’, and the quaintly awesome ‘Colombine’ effectively combine that amazing softness with slacker attitude, that you’d swear you were listening to Yo La Tengo being suffocated in Chinese silk. If you’re a fan of Bearhug, Wilco or Sparkelhorse, then you’d be more than a fool to wait on this album-you’d be more fucking idiotic than Dennis Franz in Die Hard 2. If you understand that reference, then you’re my soulmate.

 

Fat Children-Three Quarters Of A Fistful

As a fat child, I find this band name offensive. But the fact that they sound like Les Savy Fav-goes-pop, and they’re from Dunedin puts them in the category of ‘I don’t give a fuck how offensive this band name is, I like them too much to care’. Insofar, there are no other bands that fit that very specific criteria, and as thus, they are the only ones in that category.

Anyway, the fact that they slide around like an obese man’s fat rolls in an anti-gravity machine is basically all there is to say about their music. That’s an overwhelmingly positive thing though. Fat Children are obviously an above-average band, with fantastic music. They’re most valuable quality is their ability to switch harshly between styles in the middle of the song, and have the only side effect being that the song becomes stronger. Case in point: ‘Caveat Venditor’. Within the frame of two and a half minutes, Fat Children wade between carnival swag, White Stripes-ish power riffage and more jangle than a man with baggy pants and too many coins in his pockets.

Basically, Fat Children override their highly offensive name that ridicules me to the very soul because their tunes are too good to simply forget about. Goddamn, those must be some tasty tunes. Congrats Dunedin, you’ve popped out yet another fucking amazing guitar-pop group. Why don’t you put your fucking feet up for a while and let Australians take their rightful place on the slacker throne.

 

Trick Mammoth-Floristry

Actually, on second thoughts, I just listened to Trick Mammoth’s ‘Floristry’ again, and it looks like the Kiwis have a handle on this shit. You go Trick Mammoth!

Trick Mammoth are the third and final band (in this article anyway) from Dunedin, New Zealand. However, when they sound something along the lines if Superchunk were attacked by Daniel Blumberg, the main guy behind Yuck and Hebronix, how could I not include them. There’s a super slow, romantic feel to all the music that Trick Mammoth flow forth with, and its as easy and breezy as a waltz down a quite New Zealand cobblestone road in the middle of an afternoon.

Overall, ‘Floristry’ will just mesmerise you the same way Day Ravies does: lightly and leaving you begging for more. Another fantastically stunning release from Fishrider Records.

 

INVASIONS-INVASIONS

Here are some things from Canada-maple syrup, Mike Myers, a really good friend of mine from high school who happens to be the coolest motherfucker around. Yeah, Canada is a pretty swell place. And we’re not even getting into the music stuff yet: Canada is host to some absolutely jaw-dropping talent like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Broken Social Scene. Forgetting the fact that it has also spawned fellow ‘musicians’ like Simple Plan, Drake and Shit-elback, Canada proves that its a goddamn goldmine of musical talent.

Just take a listen to the band INVASIONS. They hold true as fuck to their press release statement that they’re the lost soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino movie that was never made. As tracks like ‘Born On A Wave’ and ‘Lovingly’ wring out, you can practically hear Link Wray jizzing his pants. INVASIONS brand of surf rock is drop dead sexy and more suave than James Bond as played by Sean Connery.

This is no more apparent on the album than on the beauty of a track ‘Rosy’. This song is like what would happen if George Clooney and Cheech Marin became really good friends on the set of From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, and decided to drop their movie careers to become surf rock stars with flair (Marin) and sex appeal (Clooney). I’ll leave it up the the band themselves to decide which character they personally reflect.

Anyway, the great thing about INVASIONS music is how they can be so effortlessly cool (it kinda comes with the territory of being in a surf rock band) and yet having this hopping, boiling sex-romp energy bubbling underneath like a predator. Fucking delectable.

 

July Days-The Night Is For Hunting

Going through the Facebook page of Melbourne rock quartet July Days, its not hard to see where they get their sound from. They supported Darren Middelton, the guitarist of Aussie rock icons Powderfinger (who also produced this album). They linked an article from Noel Gallagher of Oasis, lamenting about radio not playing Aussie bands. And a listen to any of their tracks reveals a penchant for hooks akin to the likes of Crowded House.

In fact, listening to July Days is like going through a patchwork of radio ready rock acts. The band have taken these bands, pastiched them together, and created a sound that will be comforting for listeners. Although this doesn’t push the boundaries, it undoubtedly sounds pretty good. There’s the recalling of the likes of The Killers and Kaiser Chiefs on the track ‘Should’ve Told Me’, and their acoustic tracks are akin to the stylings of more modern favourites like The Rubens and The Trouble With Templeton.

Regardless, July Days have put out a pretty strong debut album. Whilst they do put their influences right at the centrefold of their music, they manage to maintain a strong hold on the listener throughout the album.

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