Dream Sick have a terrific psychedelic pop sound, displaying the influence of indie stalwarts Modest Mouse but creating their own distinctive sound. Frontman Jess Matsen is a busy lyricist, reminiscent of Malkmus in his clever balancing of the cryptic with the clear eyed. Their recorded sound has a rawness that suggests a live dynamic only achieved by the musicians playing together, feeding off each other and producing a sound that is akin to a high quality bootleg. These are dark songs tinged with an ambiguous strain of psychedelica – traditional structures are shattered, voices yelp, guitars burn, cymbals cascade, layers multiply, songs go on and on. Most tracks have a frenetic edge to them – as if an insomnia induced mania is closing in – but there are reflective moments. Featuring lovely pedal steel, “Long John” is a beautiful lament to an oncoming cold season that contains superb, yearning lyrics : “the winter comes then rushes out”.
“If the cops show up we run like hell”. So goes the refrain to the opener of “Crackstrenghth”, the absurdly good “Kick out the AmberLamps”. It’s a great garage pop song, packed with juvenile swagger and jangly guitar riffs and it’s a killer introduction to the sounds of Melbourne’s ScotDrakula. “Shake Ya Bones!” is similarly good fun, with it’s yelping vocals and gloriously stupid riffing. These are raw songs powered by teenage crushes and excess, though there’s more to ScotDrakula then meets then just garage rock and roll. “Don’t do anything Stupid ” is more akin to country dream pop, suggesting there might be a soft heart beating somewhere inside ScotDrakula. Just don’t tell his friends.
From Russia, The Rare Plants Garden are a dream pop duo who incorporate a myriad of influences into their lush, pretty sound. There is something indelibly pastural to the sound of this self titled effort, the electronic leanings of the musicians combining beautifully with elements of folk and traditional music. “The Sunshine” sounds precisely as a song with such a title should, all shimmering vocals and hazy beats; while “Sea Song ” puts a soft 60’s psychedelic groove over the top sound of a lapping ocean to great effect. Superbly understated and performed, there is a bounty of musical fruit to be harvested from The Rare Plants Garden.