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Mitch talks up some of his favourite recent releases:
I’ve been flogging this album since it first came through the store last year, so it’s great to have it back in stock. Top shelf observational songwriting within a kind of country vein; the kind that takes seemingly mundane moments and refracts them into something unexpected. The songs (and lyrics sheet) are sprawling but approachable, surreal, and funny take on the mundanity of suburbia/life in general (“Of all the dreams that ain’t been slobbered on the slip-case I got dibs on two” “limo company night shift drivers/are ashin’ in the library rental return” “rebel academics with delirious souls/Jeff Foxworthy in a serious role” etc etc) all played with a looseness and off-the-cuffness.
Can’t recommend highly enough!!!
Cassandra Jenkins - An Overview on Phenomenal Nature LP (Ba Da Bing, 2021)
An unexpected favourite of the year so far. Something about the new agey lyrics and sound of this one kept me locked out of it for a little while, but once you ease your way past that, this is a beautiful folk album reflecting on grief and loss. Lined up to be a guitarist in the Purple Mountains touring band, Jenkins’ album doesn’t sound like a Berman release but reflects on his passing. Lushly produced ambient-leaning folk, full of Nels Cline-esque guitar accompaniment, meditative tenor sax lines, and Central Park field recordings.Thanks to shop regular Geoff for telling me to stick with this one, it paid off!
My favourite inzane jamming crew back with another LP. Hard to keep across their extensive output (or the output of the extended Doberman crew) from this side of the globe, but what does float our way is always of top quality. Everyone Is Rolling Down A Hill continues on the group’s approach of long-form woozy psychedelic jams stitched together into one LP. A universe of overblown wind instruments, echo-distorted guitar shredding, synth riffs, creepy circus music, and industrial-adjacent grooves!
Strapping Fieldhands - Across The Susquehanna LP (Petty Bunco, 2021)
All the pressers for the new Strapping Fieldhands record pin the classic “psychedelic shanty rock” label to it. But there’s no Tik Tok trend shanty sing-a-longs here! Songs a kind of 60s rock lineage (thinking, Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks, Revolver/Sgt Peppers-era Beatles, or Dylan blazing thru Maggie’s Farm) or the blues of Lightnin Hopkins or R.L. Burnside played as though the sound has melted off the tape or the record is warped to shit and played at the wrong speed. Wild, disorientating, but fun—like a great day out on the water I guess?
Max Easton - Magpie Wing Book (Giramondo, 2021)
Been a while since I sat down and read a novel cover to cover, but friend of the store and familiar face around town Max Easton’s (Barely Human, Meatspin Recs, Romance, Basic Human, The Baby, BB & The Blips etc. etc.) debut was one that I eagerly tore through in the past couple of weeks. A coming of age novel set within western/inner Sydney footy, leftisit political, and underground music communities of the past 20 odd years, it was weirdly uncanny how many parts of the book seemed to ring true to my personal experiences in all of those worlds. Lots of familiar places (The Square, The Vic, Repressed Records!) and circumstances (the great drum machine uptake of the mid-2010s) dotted throughout to hold interest and anchor the story in. But what I think Max does best in the book is use fiction to grapple with the weighty question whether there is whether (and how) sub- and countercultural communities can be mobilised in a politically generative manner. (I’m still a believer that they can be!). Not something that we have in stock (we did stock the zine that became the book!), but a shop-adjacent work well worth your time!
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