Tuesday, June 7, 2016

An Earful of Aussies

The new releases are stacking up, and I really want to put in a good word for several of them... which I hope to do in batches this week and the next. Perhaps my favorite of the lot is the Goon Sax, a teenage trio that calls Brisbane home. There's an old African proverb that says when you follow in the path of your father you learn to walk like him. When your father is a legend, such as Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens, I imagine it's both a blessing and a curse. Perhaps the surname opens doors, but it always seems fans of the patriarch will judge junior more harshly than is fair. Even if I scrutinized the upstart Louis Forster in that fashion, the Goon Sax would still escape unscathed.

Much like his dad's band, the songwriting is split between two members. Forster writes two-thirds of the songs on debut album 'Up to Anything,' and James Harrison pens the rest. You will instantly know the ones that are Forster's because his voice sounds so much like his famous father. Check out the title track below for a prime example. The entire album is full of catchy indie pop with just the right dash of '80s jangle. You can tell they are fans of the Pastels and early Talking Heads, and there is that seemingly simplistic side to the instrumentation. The lyrics will probably take you back to your own uncertain days as an 18 year old. I find Harrison's tales to be particularly heartbreaking, but it's nothing age, impending accolades and smiles from adoring fans in the front row shouldn't be able to cure. All in all, if the Goon Sax are a band still finding its footing, there is much for pop fans to be excited about.

'Up to Anything' is on Chapter Music, the home of many other great Australian bands, like the Twerps and Crayon Fields in 2015, that seem to make my best-of lists at the end of each year. With the addition of the Goon Sax, it looks as if the label will be represented again in 2016.


A new acquaintance of mine from Australia turned me on to Community Radio only a week ago. He thought the Sydney-based band's laid-back approach to pop would be right in my wheelhouse, and how right he was! Thanks, Paul. They have been around for about six years. So, I have been playing catch up. As you can see (and hear) below, fans have been pacified with occasional songs the past couple of years as Community Radio assembled a self-released long player. Well, all of that patience is about to be rewarded. The 11-track 'Look Now You're Cursed' is slated for July 15 release. Give these a listen, including "Crystal Ball," which made its debut just this week, and I'll remind you of this album as we get closer to the big day.


The Swede said...

Marc Riley recently had Robert Forster back in the studio for his second live session in promotion of 'Songs to Play', this time with his touring band in tow - bloody marvellous he was too. Riley has also been giving The Goon Sax some welly and I like what I've heard a great deal.
Community Radio are a new name to me and I'm immediately super-impressed. I've just been checking out more of their stuff at their Bandcamp page and the quality just doesn't dip. Thanks for the intro. Buy Paul a beer from me next time you see him.

Brian said...

Thanks, Swede. Would love to hear the old man bragging about his son. Songs to Play is so great, isn't it? Yep, Paul deserves a pint.

George said...

I've just clicked on the first Goon Sax track and thought "they sound like the Go-Betweens!!!". Then I read what you'd written.

George said...

..........which isn't to say that I never read what you write, Brian....