So it took me a while to get on top of this one, but from what I gather, Japanese art punk trio TsuShiMaMiRe released what I take to be a “best of” collection – Mamire – last week (though, given the usual limitations of Google Translate and the fact that my Japanese is limited to a few dozen kanji, I could be wrong about all of this), touching on much of the band’s 15 years together.
Within the one new track included on Mamire – “Speedy Wonder” – verses fall somewhere on the spectrum between late 1960s Midwestern garage and “Fell In Love With A Girl” era White Stripes while the chorus flirts seductively with what can only be described as punk rock monody, all of which is tied together with a whole-tone (nearly palindromic) under-chorus. Put it all together, especially with the video, and the package feels a little like a Coathangers track (who, by the way, will have a new record out next month). (Don’t for one second think I mean to imply anything by that. After all, TsuShiMaMiRe have been wielding these skills for ages. This comparison is intended for educational purposes only.)
Wow, lots of parentheses up there. Anyway, here’s the video. And one last link to the website. Also Facebook.
The last time I saw Fever Fever, it was 3AM, the waning hours of Canadian Music Week and the end of a long day including a wake for the White Stripes and more coffee than should ever be consumed by any reasonable human being. And though I’ve been pretty much useless since I left them in the narrow cramped corridor backstage at Toronto’s Rivoli nightclub, with major festival appearances on both sides of the Atlantic and a new album in the works, the band have been anything but. I said a while back that I was really excited about some stuff coming up on new Norwich label Gravy Records – well, this is what I was talking about.
‘Pins’ is the first proper single to be lifted from the Fever Fever’s upcoming album and, like the free single (‘Teeth’) released earlier in the summer, finds sees band in the studio with producer Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey; Anna Calvi). It’s a formula that seems to be working, because ‘Pins’ finds the Norwich trio in top form. It’s the sharpest thing we’ve heard since ‘Monster’ broke out and bashed our faces in 18 months ago. Have a listen and maybe you’ll begin to understand why I ran halfway across downtown Toronto at 2AM to hear them. Just be careful you don’t hurt yourself.
‘Pins’ is available as a digital download and a (very) limited screen printed CD single.
Speaking of big things from tiny labels, Hollows (from my old home, Chicago) have put out a couple of domestic releases – a 7-inch on Trouble In Mind and an LP on Addenda (good luck getting your hands on that one) – but now they’ve taken their organ-driven pseudo surf across the pond to Soft Power Records (indiepop offshoot of online record shop Soft Power UK). Now the kids at Soft Power have been making a valiant go at it since the label launched about a year ago, but imagine my surprise last week when I learned they had managed to release a single by one of my favourite bands from here in the good old Midwest without me noticing.
However it happened, I’m glad it did. They’re an ideal pairing (this from a guy who’s spent the last week caught in a C86 vortex). The recent disintegration of The Like has left a gaping hole in the 60s girl group sound. They’re some pretty big shoes to fill, but, for my money, Hollows are the band to do it. And with another dark December looming ahead of us, the summery sounds of Hollows are just what we all need to keep us warm through those grey Scotland days and frigid Chicago nights (not to mention, ‘Hot Sand’ is the perfect soundtrack for that ironic midwinter beach party I know you’re all planning).
The single, ‘Hot Sand’ b/w ‘Shapeshifter’ (limited to 300 copies) is available from a handful of retailers, including Soft Power UK (naturally).