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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Discoverer 168: new indie findings

This week we triple the ante. Our latest installment in our discoverer series comes in the form of a trio of indie-rock bands. Because guitar rock is not dead. GUITAR ROCK is not dead. GUITAR ROCK IS NOT DEAD!

Woolen Men. We begin in Portland, Oregon, to meet the trio of Alex Geddes, Lawton Browning and Raf Spielman, who assembled around a decade ago after their members, intrinsic part of the Portland DIY punk community who had played in multiple bands (sometimes together), coalesced in their current outfit. A pretty active combo, they quickly began releasing a series of EPs and tapes (including the compilation album 'Dog Years'), with self-titled debut album arriving in 2012, initially self-released, but happily rescued by Woodsist label next year. Another string of releases followed until September 2015 marked the arrival of sophomore LP 'Temporary Monument'. Another round of EPs, 7" and their second compilation album, 'Lucky Box' (everything is available at their bandcamp, quite a feast for the listener) anticipated 'Post', their flamboyant new album, out this September 1st via their own label, Dog's Table. College rock in the XXI century? Woolen Men (sometimes with the The) sounds like the killer, idiosyncratic combination of The Feelies, The Clean, R.E.M., The Fall, Mission of Burma and several beloved acts from the 80s. There's a tension, a pulse, a sense of adventure and exploration without loosing the knack for the melody or a lyric with a bite in their blend of indie-rock and post-punk that sounds genuine and much needed today. Late to the party, we know, but folks, what a discovery!

Bad Sav. Big jump to our beloved Dunedin, New Zealand, in order to meet our second trio of the day, this time composed by "familiar names", as vocalist/guitarist Hope Robertson and bassist/vocalist Lucinda King are members of the highly recommendable Death and the Maiden, while drummer Mike McLeod also plays guitar with the great The Shifting Sands. They've been around for nearly 10 years, but the lack of releases, with an early song included on the Radio One compilation album 'A Century of Seasons' and four songs surfacing on their Bandcamp in 2014, was just appalling. Not anymore, as this September they finally unveil their self-titled debut album, out via our dear Fishrider Records (Occultation Records for our European needs). Shoegaze for David Lynch fans, turmoiled, disturbing guitar-pop, dark, intriguing psychedelia, Bad Sav sound stormy, nocturnal and cinematic... a lost soundtrack for the 'Twilight Zone'. Music to take a leap and dive in... 

Fontaines D.C..And we finish our trip in Dublin, Ireland, with this young quintet that met in college and assembled after their members had played individually in different outfits, bonded over their love for the same artists and poets (yes, another band with meaningful lyrics, there's still hope!). They have released three double A sided singles to date via Trigger Party Records, debuting with 'Liberty Bell/Rocket to Russia' in June of 2017, followed 'Hurricane Laughter/Winter in the Sun' that October, and 'Boys in the Better Land/Chequeless Reckless' on February 2018. Summoning the spirits of Mark E. Smith, Shane McGowan and Iggy Pop, these six tunes are raw, exciting, knockout slices of indie-rock flirting with punk and post-punk, infused with an undeniable Irish scent (that drawl from vocalist Grian Chatten, to begin with) and an "in-your-face" attitude that takes no prisoners. Instantly hooked by the soul, the swagger, the power. The promise... Press repeat!

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