The best (and worst) new singles: The Chats, Cable Ties and more
29.01.2020

The best (and worst) new singles: The Chats, Cable Ties and more

Words by Augustus Welby

Also featuring tracks from Westerman and the team of Khruangbin and Leon Bridges.

The Chats – ‘The Clap’

There’s a difference between cultural cringe and being wary of shallow Australiana. I’ve kept my distance from The Chats so far chiefly because I sensed it wasn’t for me. Out of stubbornness I still haven’t heard the ‘Smoko’ song, but I figured I’d give ‘The Clap’ a go. No surprise to hear the song begin with the line, “Last week/Pulled a root/In the back/Of my ute.” It’s precise, tight garage rock; all Aussie brogue, STD references and nifty melodies. Look, I don’t hate it.

Label: Bargain Bin Records

Cable Ties – ‘Sandcastles’

Cable Ties return with an uncompromising rock song that comes at you like a tumbling child into a sandcastle. It nominates its target and surgically tears them down. The song’s fury is directed at charlatans whose entire purpose seems to be criticising and alienating anyone who doesn’t comply with their arbitrarily appointed principles. More specifically, the band rails against tendency for people to be “cancelled” as a result of semantic disagreement, rather than engaging in an adult discussion.

Label: Poison City Records

Westerman – ‘Blue Comanche’

At this stage it’s hard to tell whether Westerman’s Arthur Russell worship is so intense that he can’t help but sound like him, or if he’s just a diligent replicator of the late experimental icon’s work. While at first I had scruples, by now I couldn’t care less either way. It’s like being reticent to love your new dog for fear of insulting its predecessor. I’m at the stage of looking at Westerman and saying, “Oh come here you big idiot,” and letting his music slobber all over my face.

Label: PIAS

Khruangbin and Leon Bridges – ‘C-Side’

‘Texas Sun’ – the first single from Khruangbin and Leon Bridges’ EP of the same name – was sweet and smooth. However, like so many super-band projects, its main achievement was inciting longing for each party’s individual work. ‘C-Side’, however, proves the virtue of this heavenly collaboration. There’s a bit of dub, a bit of lysergic psych, and a whole lot of soul courtesy of Bridges’ lead vocals. This pairing is doing wonderful things to dismantle the clichéd image of Texan music. 

Label: Dead Oceans