Seattle / LA punk band The Drowns wear their street punk hearts proudly on their sleeves. Taking sonic cues from the Casualties and the Unseen, The Drowns’ latest 7” offering is as heart-wrenchingly melodic as it is a swift kick in the ass. It’s the kind of street punk that’s been through the wars but is smart and forward-thinking enough to embrace other punk subgenres’ music qualities into its own.
Laced with an acerbic, gruff Midwestern streak that made Dillinger Four a household name, the two songs found here are great sing-a-longs. They are songs that are at home at the pub, on the streets of your suburban neighborhood or in the mean inner cities, but also on the terraces of your favorite football club. “The Sound” is unrelenting guitar pummeling, sandpaper-like vocals, and easy to digest harmonies that never once lose their edge. The song is a call-to-arms of wanting the “simple life”, stamped by the noble cry that “our hearts are in the sound”. The guitar solo that shreds the close of the song is that great one last pint of brew to close the evening.
The second track “The Bricks Ol’ Rainier” is your turn up the volume to eleven Oi-influenced anthem that would be right at home in the Bouncing Souls catalog. It’s everything great about street punk- buoyed by the sounds of working-class grit, gang-vocals, and the intangible spirit of comradeship and brotherhood. This song is like fuel to fire.
While The Sound is a short offering, it continues the resolve they displayed on their 2018 full-length View from the Bottom. The members of The Drowns are no strangers to the punk landscape, having done time in bands like Madcap and Time Again, but this relatively new venture is the best of everything they’ve done so far. And if The Sound is anything to go by, then the future is looking like an amped up, supercharged blast. Let’s go!
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
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.