Abba’s back, Kanye’s pro-Trump. We’re living in a time of few certainties, but one constant is that the good tunes keep rolling in. WAAX are firing off in full force this week with new single ‘Labrador’ and they’re finding themselves in good company amidst new numbers from Snail Mail, Gabriella Cohen, Lehmann B. Smith, Teens, levitation room, and Cullen Omori.
WAAX – LABRADOR (DEW PROCESS)
A volley of naked power, ‘Labrador’ throws grunge soaked guitar on a collision course with Maz De Vita’s heart-bleeding vocals. It showcases WAAX deploying to full effect. A blistering storm of heavy licks and bleak suburban hopelessness.
SNAIL MAIL – HEAT WAVE (MATADOR/REMOTE CONTROL)
Following ‘Pristine’, ‘Heat Wave’ strikes the same emotive edge. It bounces between languor and high energy moments. Giddily in love, heartbroken, furious and despondent, this latest comes laden with contrast and guitar heroics.
GABRIELLA COHEN – MUSIC MACHINE (DOT DASH/REMOTE CONTROL)
‘Music Machine’ dissects the contradictions of The Music Biz with Cohen’s typical flair for songcraft. It feels like that central lyric is making a sly nod back to those great statements of musical disillusionment. Is it Bowie’s ‘Fashion’? “They do it over there/But we don't do it here.” George Harrison’s ‘Taxman’? Neil Young’s sarcasm on ‘Are You Ready For The Country’? Perhaps it’s just that good of a lyric, an instant classic.
LEVITATION ROOM - MIDSUMMER'S DAYDREAM (GREENWAY)
This sunny slice of smooth sailin’ arrives courtesy of levitation room. They’re an LA psych outfit previously associated with Drag City Record and have recently cut a 7” with Greenway Records. One for the Heads.
LEHMANN B. SMITH - TROPICAL (BEDROOM SUCK/REMOTE CONTROL)
‘Tropical’ is fragmented but serenades with a grandiose sense of melodrama. At a little over two minutes, its romance is fleeting. A sweet sketch of musical fantasy.
CULLEN OMORI – FOUR YEARS (SUB POP)
It still feels like we’re in the wake of the Smith Westerns fallout. That said every project that’s spun out of the defunct Chicago outfit has seen its former members playing to their strengths. ‘Four years’ sees co-founder Cullen laying out a charming tangle of melodic hooks, warm retropopic inflections and lovesick longing.
TEENS – BRAIN DEAD (INDEPEDNDENT)
Fire breathing punk form Launceston. Teens cut it dystopic. This single sees the group tapping into the kind of South Island grit mainlanders could only envy.
KANYE WEST – LIFT YOURSELF (UNIVERSAL)
Is putting up with this guy worth the effort? Not sure. We’re just here for the samples.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald