Chris Familton is the editor of the music websites Doubtful Sounds and Post To Wire and a regular contributor to Sydney’s Drum Media streetpress, FasterLouder and undertheradar.co.nz. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – Lower Plenty, Hard Rubbish: Melbourne has been churning out lo-fi’ish jangly guitar bands at a rate of knots lately – Twerps, Dick Diver, Boomgates, Pop Singles, Woollen Kits – all of them fantastic. There is a strong link to NZ bands like The Clean and The Bats, that mix of The Velvet Underground and The Byrds. One band who falls into that same class of 2012 but are on a slightly different tangent are Lower Plenty and I‘ve been captivated by their record Hard Rubbish that creates this wonderful sense of its own languid time and space. It is quite a unique album, very Australian yet not in any obvious or tangible sense. It is ramshackle, fraying at the seams yet wholly endearing. Nullarbor is the track that initially drew me in.
2 – Regular John, Strange Flowers: Remember alternative rock? Big in the 90s if you recall. The legacy of the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Jane’s Addiction etc is a strong one but it doesn’t seem to be particularly in vogue at the moment. Sydney’s Regular John aren’t afraid to mix the influence of those acts and some swirling psych rock on Strange Flowers and I’ve been loving it. The first single Slume is fantastic and live they sound even better. One of the best album’s of modern rock I’ve heard in a while.
3 – Bernie Griffen & the Grifters, Everything So Far: I began my fascination with Americana music in the early 00s courtesy of the likes of Ryan Adams, Will Oldham alongside a lifelong obsession with Neil Young but I never really found a connection with New Zealand country and folk songwriters at the time. Maybe it was me or maybe it was during a time before online social media made accessibility so easy. In recent years I’ve been listening to bunch of great records from Aotearoa, most recently this gem from Bernie Griffen that finds him at his songwriting peak. He mixes things up stylistically with the bare honesty of 29 Diamonds alongside upbeat country moments and some jazzy, noir-tinged tracks. A fantastic album of mature and tender songwriting.
4 – Metz, Metz: Every year I eagerly anticipate the album that will tick the boxes of loud, heavy, primal, visceral rock music and the selection seems to get fewer and fewer. I’m talking bands like Jesus Lizard, Boris, Nirvana and Fugazi, the ones that make you want to behave like a kid playing air guitar with a tennis racquet all over again. This year the self-titled album from Canadians METZ has been the one. Short, concise and frantic it makes my blood rush and an inane smile creep across my face as I keep reaching for the volume button. This is music to be played LOUD.
5 – Nils Frahm, Felt: I’ve always been drawn to instrumental music via electronica, jazz and dub and recently I’ve been increasingly drawn into the world of what many are calling modern classical. It’s really just a handy catch phrase to describe the intersection between classical, post rock and ambient music but there is a ton of great stuff under that umbrella. Nils Frahm is one such composer and in particular I’ve been revisiting his album of last year, Felt, on a regular basis. Based around piano compositions it draws in glitchy micro-rhythms and some subtle field recordings and drones but ultimately it is the emotional response I have to the intimate and melancholic nature of his playing that keeps drawing me back. The perfect soundtrack for late night headphone listening and rainy afternoons.