26 Sep Trading Tunes with The Stevens
Back in July, the Melbourne band The Stevens dropped probably my favourite Australian album of the year, just ahead of the RVG and Tornado Wallace releases.
Good is sprawled out brilliantly over 18 relatively short tracks, all sparking in different directions whilst remaining true to the identifiable sound of the band. The album’s lack of prominent formula and predictability make the replay experience feel as erratic as a Rick and Morty episode. The radio friendly songs with immediate hooks — ‘Chancer‘, ‘Cruise‘, ‘Pulling All The Facts Together‘, ‘Keep Me Occupied‘, ‘I Know (Charles and Jerry)‘ and ‘Thirsty Eye‘ — are spread out evenly, while the tracks in between keep you guessing as to what’s going to happen next. Basically, the album manages to feel like both the scattered friend who keeps life interesting and the friend you can always trust.
You can catch The Stevens album launch this Friday September 29th at The Tote with Possible Humans + Primo, but before the show you can listen to five tracks Gus Lord has sent us with the theme of “I Wish.”
The Beach Boys – ‘Wonderful’
“I’ve been going through an absurd love affair with the Beach Boys that has lasted the better part of a year and a half. I had always liked them, but recently something clicked. I feel like their records (pre Brian’s mental breakdown) have the tone of great home recordings, albeit with an absurd budget and the best recording technology available for the day. If you listen closely though you can hear coughs under organ solos and tape dropping out. The Smile Sessions plays like a big American pastoral from Plymouth Rock down to LA and is the sound of a band grappling with themselves and coming to terms with the fact that their saccharine vision of California was falling well out of synch with the turbulence of the times. I wish I knew Brian Wilson.”
Archie Sheep – ‘Things Have Gotta Change’
“Indeed they do. A squealing 16 minute incantation to rally against the trauma of the times. A sentiment that is still pertinent today, unfortunately. I wish things would change.”
Jimmy Campbell – ‘Another Vincent Van Gogh’
“This was the greatest punt record purchase i ever did make. Dug the cover and picked it up for a measly price and was totally blown away. It’s kinda dandy and very earnest. I don’t know much about him, but much like the protagonist of the song, his expression was lost in the glut of artists vying for space on the hit parade at the time. There are some beautiful word pictures painted in this song and throughout the whole album. I wish Jimmy Campbell had become famous – he deserves it.”
Jeanne Lee – ‘Your Ballad’
“I think this song is so captivating. It heaves and pulsates, and like most jazz from this period of time, it sounds like its wheels are about to fall off at any given moment — although I’m sure the musicians involved knew exactly what they were doing. I wish I could sing properly. “
Guided by Voices – ‘The Deeds of Fertile Jim’
“Guided by Voices are the greatest. How do you write so many god damn hits? Even the songs that aren’t hits reveal themselves to be hits once you develop an ear for them. They burn through melodies and ideas and commit them to tape in such a haphazard alarming rate that you can only deduce they have a direct main to whatever great unconscious wellspring creativity comes from. This is a Tobin Sprout song. The melodies are triumphant. the arrangement is earnest. It’s Perfect! I wish Guided by Voices would tour outside of the United States.”