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Broadcaster – A Million Hours

Long Island: bad hockey team, good bands. Broadcaster keep the latter going.

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There has always been something about Long Island, NY. The number of terrific bands that have come out of this stretch of land could fill stadiums a plenty. Three-piece rock trio Broadcaster could very well be the latest in a long line of Long Island bands to really make themselves household names.

Taking cues from terrific prairie rock favourites The Weakerthans and older time punk rock/indie stalwarts Jawbreaker and Superchunk, Broadcaster mix the best elements of Southern-tinged rock with uptempo, emotionally charged punk. Following on from the terrific 3-song 7” Tightrope Walker (listen to the title track, it’s just fantastic) comes their new full length A Million Hours.

From the get to, the band forge their sound in chunky riffs, whoa-whoahs and some good time melodies that bring back some of those great Lookout Records pop-soaked punk days. The song “Jamie” could easily be something Limbeck wished they had written while “Show Me Something New” traverses down a road paved by the likes of Husker Du and to some extent, early Gin Blossoms. Songs like “I Don’t Wanna Talk” have got a little bit of Lucero in them while “Petrified” is perfect for long breezy drives with the window down.

All through the record I kept telling myself, in slight bewilderment, “How good is this??”, and my only serious qualm was the lateness of my arrival to the Broadcaster party. The record has got a distinct sound, one most would find familiarity with upon finding out it was produced by Jawbox’s J. Robbins. The guitars are thick, the percussions distinct, and the fuzz portion of the harmonies all well in tune.

The only thing really missing from the album is the inclusion of the song “Tightrope Walker” as that song particularly, is still the best song the band have written thus far. Nonetheless, A Million Hours closes off particular strong with “Wasting Time With You” and “World Turned Gray”, providing listeners plenty to be excited about going forward.

While Long Island may stand in the shadow of their big city counterparts, the long line of bands that have stepped out from this shade have leapt far higher than a great number of NYC rock stars. There may be something in the water in Long Island, but maybe Broadcaster are just damn good, regardless of where they’re from.

(Jump Start Records)

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Hatchie – Keepsake

Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars

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Hatchie Keepsake

Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.

There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.

However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.

The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.

(Heavenly Recordings)

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