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Monday, September 3, 2018

Discoverer 167: new indie findings

September's arrival comes with a new round of our discoverer series with a trio of infallible Antipodean proposals, with bands and artists that have come out with some of the most exciting releases of the year so far. Long life to guitar indie-pop from down under!

School Damage. We begin our trip between Melbourne and Geelong, with this foursome formed around 2013, although initially it was the bedroom pop project of Carolyn Hawkins (member of the great Chook Race and also in Parsnip) and Jake Robertson (Ausmuteants), releasing the tape 'Deep Net' that November via Moontown Records. Then the duo expanded to its current format with the addition of Jeff Raty on drums and Dani 'Damage' Hakim on bass. After two 7", 'Break Up' in August 2014 and 'Phone Drone / Something New' in October 2016, the band came out in 2017 with their self-titled debut album, out in June 2017 thanks to Chapter Music. This year they have released another 7", 'Sings' ... Four Songs About One Cat' out via Upset! The Rhythm in May and, since this August, their sophomore album 'A To X'. Like an impossible crossover of Look Blue Go Purple, Young Marble Giants and Television Personalities, their songs are quirky and über catchy  indiepop tunes revolving around shaky keyboards and knitting bass lines. Instant crush.    

The Beths. Quick shift to Auckland, New Zealand, to meet this irresistible (damnit I missed their recent gig in Barcelona) four-piece leaded by Elizabeth Stokes (guitarist, lead vocalist, and primary songwriter). A band of longtime friends, Stokes and guitarist Jonathan Pearce attended high school together, and at the University of Auckland meet up with old mates bassist Benjamin Sinclair and drummer Ivan Luketina-Johnston, where they studied jazz. Luckily for us, that genre has nothing to do with The Beths music, something we started to confirm in March 2016 with debut EP 'Warm Blood'. Now the band wants to hig big with first album 'Future Me Hates Me' out via Carpark Records since this August. And they should achieve that goal, because the record is a knockout collection of energetic and infectious guitar indie-rock tunes packed with bitting lyrics, joyful pop hooks and killer vocal harmonies. Heavy contender for debut album of the year.

Hatchie.  And we return to Australia to meet Harriette Pilbeam, a very young artist from Brisbane who is making a lot of "good noise" over the blogosphere thanks to her debuting EP 'Sugar & Spice', out since May. Formerly part of Blog favourites Go Violets, her current incarnation has been properly active since 2016, the 25 year-old musican's tunes are an inmediately catchy coalescence of dreampop landscapes and the poppier side of shoegaze, with a stunning knack for penning the definitive pop hook. Yeah, it might have a bit of that everywhere now 80s sound and the "sugar", or the Sky Ferreira-Carly Rae Jepsen (ugh) could easily "win" in forthcoming releases. But there's no point in creating future bad vibes as, for now, we can enjoy this addictive five tunes summoning the spirits of The Sundays of Cocteau Twins. Lot to love.

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