In the rugged world of Bandcamp Hunting, a strong first track is vital. “My Own Heart Let Me More Have Pity On”, the opening track of Kelly Latimore’s album “Trails, is a superb folk song that does everything a good opener should do-it engages, pulls at the heart strings and sets the scene for things to come. Latimore’s voice is full of yearning and heartache, and his songwriting is dark and deep. There are experimental moments here (the jumbled answering machine montage that features in the brilliant “Cello”) but mostly these are humble folk songs, recorded in a warm lo-fi glow. Back to the opener, and as Latimore sings the songs beautiful refrain of “can’t keep this up now” we can only hope he does, and there is much of this to come.
“1859” is the third release from Argentina’s Sobrenadar, the musical project of Paula García’ that explores the outer reaches of dream pop, and beyond. Utilising guitar, piano, electronic sounds and samples, García’ creates ethereal soundscapes that range from the minimal (the poigniant “Sirio”) to grooving layered pop (the fantastic opener “Primero”). García’s voice doesn’t feature on every track but when it does it’s truly beautiful, a ghostly sound of transportive power. Elsewhere she uses sampling to intriguing effect, adding recordings of astronauts describing alien lights to the gorgeous “Los Tres Dias”. A wondrous release from an artist of immense talent.
The music scene in Melbourne has always been strong but recently it seems great bands have been popping up on every street corner, or at least in the bars that share them. Sandcastle are one of these fresh arrivals and their debut EP is a terrific brace of frenetic post punk songs that display great promise. “Warriors” grooves along with crunching riffs and a pounding rhythm, eventually breaking down to its bare parts before building back up into a glorious, noisy finale. “Red Lights” paces back and forth amongst squalling guitars and more of that insistent beat, building tension and then releasing it in a wall of cathartic sound. Closer “Ice Cream Treat” is an eight minute epic that sees Sandcastle rising and falling across jagged terrain, evoking Televison at their finest though doing something that is distinctly their own. Raw, wicked and very exciting indeed.