News: NEWS

NEWS : THU, JUN 14, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Luluc Shares “Spring,” The Alluring New Single From ‘Sculptor,’ Their Forthcoming Album

Sculptor will be available worldwide July 13th from Sub Pop, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand from Mistletone

Luluc has shared “Spring,” the beautiful new single and opening track from Sculptor, their forthcoming album. Singer Zoe Randell offers this on the song:  “Broadly speaking, with these new songs I was interested in the difficulties that life can throw at us - what we can do with them, how they can shape us, and what say we have. That potential that is there for everyone, the different lives that are open to us. That’s what I love in Ise’s poem ‘Spring Days and Blossom’ - which form the lyrics to “Spring” - the brimming sense of spring and it’s cycle, the enormity of what’s possible and the beauty.”

Original artwork for track as seen above -> ‘Abundance’ by artist and printmaker Fleur RendellListen here, and on repeat via Spotify or Apple Music



[Photo Credit: Charlotte de Mezamat]

Luluc will release Sculptor, their gorgeous third album worldwide on July 13th from Sub Pop, with the exception of New Zealand and Australia through Mistletone. The new long-player featuring the aforementioned “Spring,” along with “Heist,” and “Kids,” was produced and recorded by Luluc. The album also includes guest appearances from J. Mascis, Aaron Dessner (The National), Jim White (The Dirty Three), Dave Nelson (The National, Beirut) and Matt Eccles (Weyes Blood, Connan Mockasin).

UK Magazine Uncut just named Sculptor its “Album of the Month” (8/10) and said, “Quietly devastating….when Luluc really want your attention they don’t shout, they whisper. The strongest and most assured record of their career. The songs dig deep emotionally – but critically their aesthetics are well-balanced, the voice and instruments perfectly calibrated. While its predecessors had a tendency for introspection, Sculptor is wide open.”  And NPR Music’s Bob Boilen raves, “I can’t stop listening…I’ve waited for years for this record (see All Songs Considered mix, May 29th).”



Sculptor will be available on CD/LP/DL through Sub Pop and Misteltone. Preorders from megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited Loser edition on magenta vinyl. There will also be a new T-shirt design available.


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : TUE, JUN 12, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Low Drops New Album ‘Double Negative’ September 14th, 2018 + Announces Worldwide Tour - Now Watch The Arresting Opening Triptych Video for *Quorum / Dancing and Blood / Fly*

On September 14th, in the faithfully defiant fashion of their 25-year career, Low will release Double Negative, its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album. As a prelude to the full-length album, Low presents a triptych video for the opening songs of the album. Each video can also be watched independently:
 
“Quorum” [watch here]
Directed & edited by Ben Chisholm  -  Filmed by Karlos Rene Ayala


“Dancing and Blood” [watch here]
Directed, filmed & edited by Karlos Rene Ayala


“Fly” [watch here]
Directed by Mark Pellington  -  Edited by Jen Kennedy

                                                           
To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the adventurous producer who in recent years has made records with Bon Iver, Lizzo, and Francis and the Lights. Returning once again to Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin (where they recorded 2015’s Ones and Sixes) Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds: they wanted to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do with their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative co-writers, building the pieces up and breaking them down until their purpose and force felt clear.

Tour Dates + Ticket Links 

Following summer shows in the UK, Germany, and Poland, the band will embark on a first leg of touring in support of the new album with a two-night stand at National Sawdust in New York City. See below for a full list of tour dates, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
                                                                       
Tour Dates:
Jun. 19 - Leeds, United Kingdom - Brudenell Social
Jun. 20 - London, United Kingdom - Queen Elizabeth Hall  (Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival)
Jun. 23 - Duisburg, Germany - Traumzeit festival
Jun. 25 - Munich, Germany - Ampere
Jun. 26 -  Dresden, Germany - Beatpol
Jun. 29 - Bialystok, Poland - Amphitheater of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic (Halfway Music Festival!)
Sep. 20 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 21 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 29 - Lisbon, Portugal - Lisboa ao Vivo
Oct. 1 - De Compostela Santiago, Spain -  Sala Capitol
Oct. 2 - Madrid, Spain - Sala But
Oct. 3 - Barcelona, Spain - Fabra i Coats
Oct. 5 - Milan, Italy - Teatro Dal Verme
Oct. 6 - Zurich, Switzererland - Bogen F
Oct. 8 - Leipzig, Germany - Conne Island
Oct. 9 - Berlin, Germany - Festsaal Kreuzberg
Oct. 11 -  Brussels, Belgium -  Orangerie (at Botanique)
Oct. 12 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
Oct. 13 - Paris, France - La Gaîté Lyrique
Oct. 15 - Bristol, UK - Trinity
Oct. 16 - Manchester, UK - Manchester Cathedral
Oct. 17 - Manchester Cathedral - Vicar Street
Nov. 02 - St. Paul, MN - The Fitz
Nov. 03 - Davenport, IA - Daytrotter
Nov. 05 - Detroit, MI - El Club
Nov. 06 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall
Nov. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
Nov. 09 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov. 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
Nov. 12 - Washington, DC U Street Music Hall
Nov. 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Funhouse
Nov. 14 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
Nov. 16 - Chicago, IL - Rockefeller Chapel
Nov. 17 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon


Pre-orders of Double Negative through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Edition on crystal clear vinyl with an enclosed full-color flat of album artwork. The album cover for Double Negative was created by longtime collaborator, English artist, Peter Liversidge.

Double Negative
Tracklisting:
1. Quorum
2. Dancing and Blood
3. Fly
4. Tempest
5. Always Up
6. Always Trying to Work It Out
7. The Son, The Sun
8. Dancing and Fire
9. Poor Sucker
10. Rome (Always in the Dark)
11. Disarray



[Photo Credit: Shelly Mosman]

More on Low’s Double Negative by Grayson Currin:
In 2018, the band Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.
 
To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.
 
This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative cowriters, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.

Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fights for the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion.
 
During the immersive “Dancing and Blood,” Parker slowly comes into focus, as if singing from the wind-ripped mouth of a cave. Parker appears to beat back disaster for “Fly,” her soulful vocals curving into and above Garrington’s bold bassline as Sparhawk’s own signal cuts in and out. Elsewhere, though, songs like “Always Trying to Work It Out” and “Tempest” threaten to swallow the pair whole, their overwhelming quakes of dissonance aiming to silence them once and for all. Sometimes, Sparhawk and Parker are stuck in the Sisyphean middle, capable of neither failing nor forging ahead. During the brilliantly conceived “Poor Sucker,” written in large part by Garrington, their voices suggest skiffs stuck on some turbulent sea, falling beneath and rising above the cacophony with seasick irregularity. In this frustrated song of self-defeat, Low lists all the ways they could have made their lives matter. It is a eulogy of could-have-beens for a time that won’t really let you be.
 
As “Rome (Always in the Dark),” a march that forces its way through the din with damn-the-torpedoes tenacity, fades toward a rare silence, a pulse sculpted from a shard of noise emerges, flashing from a distance like the safety of a life raft. It rises into a steady thump, with Sparhawk and Parker floating above it in crystalline unison: “Before it falls into total disarray/You’ll have to learn to live a different way,” they sing, their melody forming a tightrope of despair and delight. In some ways, it’s a warning of the bad times to come. But it’s also a promise that we’re more powerful and adaptable than madness itself, that we have the ability to persevere. During the song’s back half, Sparhawk and Parker don’t say anything. They instead lock into august harmony and glide between notes, Parker’s purely ascendant tone pulling Sparhawk’s falsetto skyward. It is an exquisite and triumphant moment, an exhalation after all the damage and din.
 
In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?

Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : MON, JUN 11, 2018 at 9:00 AM

LVL UP Announce Farewell Tour, Share Final Single “Orchard”

Today we share the bittersweet news that New York’s LVL UP will embark on their final tour this fall, and has released “Orchard” the group’s final single today on Sub Pop. The trek begins August 27th in Boston at Great Scott, and ends September 28th in New York at Bowery Ballroom. Full list of dates is below.

LVL Up have issued a statement on the farewell tour and “Orchard” single:

“We have decided to retire this project. It has been an extremely rewarding journey beyond anything we could have ever realistically imagined. The band began in a college dorm room in 2011 as a lighthearted recording project. We have since been lucky enough to tour nationally and internationally over the last seven years with the support of many lovely people, and will never be able to thank our friends, families, and loved ones enough for providing such warmth throughout this experience. Our deepest gratitude goes out to every label, band, and person who’s played a role in this wild ride.

“Here is our last single, “Orchard”, which we recorded early this year. As always, thank you to our eternal friend and fifth member Mike Ditrio for helping us with this and every other recording process we’ve had.

“Everyone in the band will continue to support each other while we release new material through different outlets.

“LVL UP will be performing live for a final stretch of time this coming fall.

“Thank you for everything,  
*_* Dave, Greg, Mike, Nick *_*”


Farewell Tour Dates + Ticket Links

Aug. 27 - Boston, MA - Great Scott
Aug. 28 - Montréal, QC - Bar Le Ritz
Aug. 29 - Toronto, ON - The Garrison
Aug. 30 - Cleveland, OH - Mahall’s
Aug. 31 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen
Sep. 01 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St Entry
Sep. 04 - Missoula, MN - Union Ballroom
Sep. 05 - Seattle, WA - Barboza
Sep. 06 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
Sep. 08 - San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord
Sep. 09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
Sep.10 - Phoenix, AZ - Rebel Lounge
Sep.13 - Dallas, TX - Three Links
Sep.14 - Austin, TX - Barracuda
Sep.16 - Nashville, TN - High Watt
Sep.17 - Asheville, NC - The Mothlight
Sep.18 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
Sep.19 -  Richmond, VA - The Camel
Sep. 20 - Washington, DC - DC9
Sep. 21 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle
Sep. 28 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom




LVL Up’s last full-length release, Return To Love, is also available now on CD/LP/DL/CS from Sub Pop right here.


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : THU, JUN 7, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cullen Omori Shares Video For “Happiness Reigns” From His Forthcoming New Album ‘The Diet’ Out Worldwide on August 17th

On August 17th Cullen Omori will release his sophomore effort, The Diet worldwide via yours truly, Sub Pop Records. Omori has shared a brand new video for song, “Happiness Reigns” [as seen above here], which was directed by Sarah Strunin and is a charming slice of power pop with lyrics that combine fatalistic imagery (“flowers of uranium/ and the kids just play along”) and a wide-eyed apologia to a woman, is perhaps the closest Cullen gets to the classic love-song ideal on The Diet.  


 
“Reigns” was not only inspired by Omori’s current girlfriend—she was intricately involved in his vision for bringing this love song a la Beatles or Rolling Stones “into the 21st century.” “Seldom are songs actually about the women in my life, but when I choose to write them I try to act in conspiracy with my ‘muse,’” he says. “On ‘Happiness Reigns,’ I was consciously trying to prevent the song from  lyrically falling into this one-way ode to an idolized muse. Of course some of my favorite artists like T-Rex or John Cale have albums chock full of them but my intention was never to be a rock classicist or to make something that was an extension of my influences. So I had her write it with me. If I was going to write this about someone, even in vague terms, I thought it would be interesting to intertwine their perception of themselves and of our relationship.”

Cullen Omori Tour Dates + Ticket Links

Prior to the release of The Diet, Omori will embark on a seven date tour opening for the Japanese alternative rock band The Pillows. These shows are presented by Adult Swim to celebrate the highly-anticipated return of the channels cult-anime hit FLCL. The tour will kick off on July 10th in Boston, with shows in New York, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
 
Jul. 10 - Boston, MA - Royale * [Sold Out]
Jul. 12 - New York, NY - Gramercy Theatre * [Sold Out]
Jul. 13 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza * [Sold Out]
Jul. 15 - Seattle, WA - Neptune * [Sold Out]
Jul. 16 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom *
Jul. 18 - San Francisco, CA - August Hall * [Sold Out]
Jul. 19 - Los Angeles, CA - The Mayan *
* w/ The Pillows & Noodles




Pre orders for The Diet are available now through Sub Pop right here. LP pre orders through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on lavender swirl vinyl (while supplies last). There will also be a new T-Shirt design available. 

Cullen Omori
The Diet
Tracklisting


1. Four Years
2. Borderline Friends
3. All By Yourself
4. Happiness Reigns
5. Master Eyes
6. Quiet Girl
7. Black Rainbow
8. Natural Woman
9. Millennial Geishas
10. Last Line
11. Queen
12. A Real You


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : WED, JUN 6, 2018 at 7:00 AM

ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER SHARE “THE HAMMER” & ANNOUNCE US TOUR DATES HOPE DOWNS OUT NEXT WEEK ON SUB POP!

Just days away from the release of their highly-anticipated debut album Hope Downs - out Friday June 15 via Sub Pop Records, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever today announce their biggest headline tour to date. The monolithic Hope Downs World Tour will see the Melbourne outfit traverse the globe across four months playing to fans in the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Europe and will include sets at Lowlands (Netherlands), Pukklepop (Belgium) with more to be announced. In celebration of the news, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have dropped a surprise slice from their album in the form of closing track, “The Hammer” to follow the already stellar tracks “Mainland,” “Talking Straight,” and “An Air Conditioned Man” we’ve been treated to so far.

It’s been an incredibly busy few months for Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Between taking out the coveted Australian Levi’s Music Prize and being announced on this year’s Splendour in the Grass, the five-piece have filled their time touring across North America, the UK and Europe playing sold out headline shows (many of which on their first time through the city) and performances at some of the world’s biggest music festivals including Coachella, The Great Escape, Primavera, Shaky Knees and more.

Current radio single “Talking Straight” is also shining at radio, with support from the likes of SiriusXM, KEXP, and KCRW in the States, triple j in Australia, and BBC 6 Music & BBC Radio 1 in the UK.


[Photo Credit: Maclay Heriot]

ROLLING BLACKOUTS C.F. TOUR DATES (New North American Dates in Bold)

Wed. June 6 - Birmingham, UK @ The Hare & Hounds

Thu. June 7 - Guildford, UK @ Boileroom

Fri. June 8 - Porto, PT @ Primavera Sound

Mon. June 11 - Harlden, DE @ Haldern Pop Festival

Sun. July 22 - North Byron Parklands, AU @ Splendour in the Grass

Sat. Aug. 4 - Katowice, PL @ Off Festival

Tue. Aug. 7 - Aarhus, DK @ Tape

Wed. Aug. 8 - Copenhagen, DK @ Pumperhuset

Fri. Aug. 10 - St. Gallen, CH @ Sur Le Lac Festival

Sat. Aug. 11 - Rees-Haldern, DE @ Haldern Pop Festival

Mon. Aug. 13 - Munich, DE @ Milla

Tue. Aug. 14 - Luxembourg, LU @ Rotondes

Thu. Aug. 16 - Trondheim, NO @ Pstereo Festival

Fri. Aug. 17 - Bigginghuizen, NL @ Lowlands Festival

Sat. Aug. 18 - Kiewit, BE @ Pukkelpop Festival

Sun. Aug. 19 - Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man Festival

Tue. Aug. 21 - Dublin, IE @ Whelans

Sat. Aug. 25 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar

Mon. Aug. 27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom

Tue. Aug. 28 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent

Thu. Aug. 30 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir

Fri. Aug. 31 - Vancouver, BC@ Fox Cabaret

Sat. Sep. 1 - Seattle, WA @ Bumbershoot

Mon. Sep. 3 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

Wed. Sep. 5 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge

Fri. Sep. 7 - St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club

Sat. Sep. 8 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

Mon. Sep. 10 - Detroit, MI @ El Club

Tue. Sep. 11 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern

Wed. Sep. 12 - Montreal, QC @ Le Ministère

Thu. Sep. 13 - Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

Fri. Sep. 14 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s

Sat. Sep. 15 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom

Mon. Sep. 17 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat

Thu. Sep. 27 - Brisbane, AU @ Brisbane Festival

Fri. Sep. 28 - Sydney, AU @ Factory Theatre

Sat. Sep. 29 - Wollongong, AU @ Yours & Owls

Fri. Oct. 5 - Perth, AU @ Rosemount

Sat. Oct. 6 - Adelaide, AU @ Jive Bar

Fri. Oct.12 - Geelong, AU @ Workers Club

Sat. Oct.13 - Melbourne, AU @ Corner Hotel

Fri. Oct. 19 - Manchester, UK @ Manchester Academy 2

Sun. Oct. 21 - Leeds, UK @ Stylus

Tue. Oct. 23 - Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2

Wed. Oct. 24 - Portsmouth, UK @ Wedgwood Rooms

Thu. Oct. 24 - Oxford, UK @ 02 Academy 

Mon. Oct. 29 - London, UK @ Koko

Sat. Nov. 3 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Noord

Sun. Nov. 4 - Nijmegen, NL @ Doornroosje

Wed. Nov. 7 - Oslo, NO @ John Dee

Thu. Nov. 8 - Stockholm, SE @ Nalen 

Fri. Nov. 9 - Lund, SE @ Mejeriet

Tue. Nov. 13 - Cologne, DE @ MTC


Watch “An Air Conditioned Man” - https://youtu.be/pK2usB-nCwc

Listen To “Mainland” - https://youtu.be/gqZPbcJQC2Q

Watch “Talking Straight” - https://youtu.be/Zj5tH-6vNKY


Hope Downs is now available for pre-order here and will come in the following formats:

- Standard LP on black vinyl
- The limited Loser edition LP on light ice blue vinyl (while supplies last!)
- CD
- Cassette
- Digital


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : TUE, JUN 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Deaf Wish Share Official Video for “FFS” The Propulsive And Excellent Lead Single From ‘Lithium Zion’, Their Forthcoming Album

‘Lithium Zion’ will be available worldwide from Sub Pop on Friday, July 27th, with the exception of the UK on Friday, August 3rd

Melbourne’s Deaf Wish have returned with an official video for “FFS”, the propulsive and excellent lead single from Lithium Zion, their forthcoming album. “FFS” was directed by band members Jensen Tjhung and Daniel Twomey, is shot in glorious black and white, and stars guitarist/vocalist Sarah Hardiman delivering an intense and engaging performance of the song.

The music on Lithium Zion was collaboratively written by Deaf Wish, with each member taking turns on lyrical and vocal duties throughout the album. The album was recorded and mixed in Melbourne in April of 2017 with Nao Anzai, with additional mixing from Mikey Young of Total Control (who also mixed the group’s “St. Vincent’s” 7” single and Pain album, both released on Sub Pop).



Lithium Zion will be available on CD/LP/DL/CS worldwide on Friday, July 27th, except for the UK on Friday, August 3rd, through Sub Pop [pre-order here].  LP preorders of the album through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on hot pink vinyl (while supplies last).

Lithium Zion
Tracklisting

1. Easy
2. FFS
3. Metal Carnage
4. The Rat is Back
5. Ox
6. Hitachi Jackhammer
7. Lithium Zion
8. Deep Blue Cheated
9. Birthday
10. Afraid For You
11. Smoke



[Photo Credit: Ela Stiles]

More on Deaf Wish’s Lithium Zion by Matt Korvette:
There’s an inherent flaw in the perennially alternating “rock is back” and “rock is dead” arguments: they are based on the idea that rock music is a logic-based choice a person consciously chooses to make. Contrary to the critics who are looking to suss out cultural trends and movements (but have never actually lifted a greasy bass cab onto a stage in order to entertain a couple dozen people), the decision to play loud, distorted, unabashed guitar-rock isn’t a strategic move but a higher calling (or curse, depending on one’s point of view). Some might say the pursuit of rocking out via deafening amplifiers, crusty drums and a beer-battered PA is a spiritual one, an affliction that either strikes or doesn’t. Few groups today embody this sentiment like Melbourne’s aptly-named Deaf Wish.
 
They’re more likely to ask a fellow musician what they do for their “real” job (for one, guitarist Jensen Tjhung works as a builder) than talk shop about publicists, ticket counts and online promotions. They’re a grisly rock group and they’ve already signed to Sub Pop, which is to say they’ve already succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, so anything that comes after (performing in strange new cities, meeting like-minded souls, maybe even selling a t-shirt or two) is a bonus. And if they come to your town, you would be wise to clear your calendar: “I’ve started pouring a can of beer on my head every show. If that ain’t worth five bucks then I’m quitting show biz for good,” promises Tjhung.
 
Lithium Zion is their fifth full-length album (and second for Sub Pop following 2015’s Pain), and while it’s a rare case that a group’s fifth album is their best, particularly any band operating under a “loud fast rules” ethos, Deaf Wish make a strong case as the exception. Their previous albums were all recorded in makeshift studios (Is that a basement with some quilts stapled to the ceiling? Now it’s a “studio”!), which of course is a wise aesthetic choice for capturing the hazardous riffing, chemically-stained vocals and fiery rhythms conjured by a group such as this, but this step toward a slightly more professional sound only enhances their power - think of the difference between a tangled pile of firecrackers and a red stick of TNT lodged in a hornets nest. The record opens with “Easy”, a languid rocker in the rich Australian tradition of groups like X and The Scientists. From there it’s onto “FFS”, a moody downhill rocker sung by guitarist Sarah Hardiman (“I feel like a fool / out playing pool / hitting on you”) that confirms Deaf Wish’s relation to fellow Sub Pop employees like feedtime and Hot Snakes. “The Rat Is Back” is tense and epic; “Hitachi Jackhammer” pays a brief and noisy tribute to Hitachi’s second most notable device (you’d be forgiven for assuming this song is about vibrators). Lithium Zion is a veritable buffet of garage-punk energy, post-punk pathos, sardonic wit and the fearlessness that comes with Aussie rock, a natural consequence for anyone living on a continent teeming with grapefruit-sized spiders and man-eating mosquito swarms.
 
As has always been the case, the whole group shares vocal duties, even drummer Daniel Twomey (you know the band is slightly unhinged if they’re letting the drummer sing). Hardiman and Tjhung are as ragged and hairy as ever, chugging along as though krautrock was trying to speed past the late ‘70s but got caught in the sticky grasp of punk. Such is the way of Deaf Wish, a group destined to write songs that are simultaneously stupid and sublime, vulnerable and ferocious, and play them with the unbridled intensity they demand. Anyone serving a life sentence to rock will surely concur.


Posted by Rachel White