8track: Charcoal Burners, Witchbrew, Wilson Hernandez, Dali, The New Pollution, Quinton Barnes, Sewnshut, Ebril

8track is a new COUNTERZINE feature where we review 8 tracks by 8 artists and arrange them in sequence like those old 8-Track tapes (the WCW of portable analogue audio media you don’t remember). This edition, Program 1 includes tracks by Charcoal Burners, Witchbrew, Wilson Hernandez, and Dali, while Program 2 features music by The New Pollution, Quinton Barnes, Sewnshut, and Ebril.

 

Program 1

 

A1: Charcoal Burners – “The Verlaines and Husker Du”

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Andrew Spittle (of Charcoal Burners)

Today, we kick off 8track with “The Verlaines and Husker Du” from Dunedin, New Zealand’s Charcoal Burners, and everything we just wrote lets you know exactly what to expect with this one. Hailing from Dunedin themselves as well as making reference to well-known purveyors of the Dunedin sound, Charcoal Burners put forth a fuzzy lo-fi jangly post-punk tune with sugary walls of guitar noise. Frontman Andrew Spittle’s sweet vocals aid in the track’s dreamlike quality, but the powerful, tight drums give it a kick in the ass that helps keep the listener grounded in the conscious realm. You can pay-what-you-want for the track along with the rest of Charcoal Burners’ catalog here. (socials: Facebook)

 

A2: Witchbrew – “Tangled”

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Witchbrew

Tallahassee, Florida producer Witchbrew’s “Tangled” is our next track, and this one’s a trip. Aiming to “provide ambience with a psychedelic element”, Witchbrew pulls together quick, consistent drums, bubbling keys, and vocal hums to craft something akin to a tribal hymn or summoning ritual (just swap out the incense for LSD). The result is a vivid, hypnotic trance of a track aiming for its listener to transcend. Multiple tracks off of his album Caritas Mea have been making the rounds on Spotify playlists, and you can stream the full album here. (socials; SoundCloud)

 

A3: Wilson Hernandez – “Stoli Soda Sprite”

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Wilson Hernandez

We’ve featured the adorably smol jangle pop hits of Wilson Hernandez before, both in the Album Auto-nalysis of his band Tennis Club’s LP Pink, as well as the music video premiere for that album’s single “Ghost Cops”. This time around, Hernandez is striking it solo with his Last Sunday EP on Spirit Goth’s net label BIRTHDIY. Standout track “Stoli Soda Sprite” encapsulates in a minute twenty-four everything that distinguishes Hernandez’s signature songwriting style: light, bouncy earworm melodies, cute twee vocals, and lyrics about being a bum, doing drugs, and loving girls. How’s that for your subversion of punk rock? You check out and buy the full EP here, and be sure to check out Tennis Club too. They’re pretty great. (socials: Instagram)

 

A4: Dali – “The Fire”

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Dali (left to right: Olivia Green, Daniel Chan; photo credit: David & Dennis Films)

Australian indie pop duo Dali close out program 1 with “The Fire”, an obscenely catchy tune that refuses to settle for that alone. Production is the best kind of lo-fi, with every element clear but with a light, warm hiss (like watching old films with the grain). Olivia Green delivers a soulful vocal performance and between that and guitarist Daniel Chan’s noodly, twangy lead riff, this is basically a country song. Like a classic western filtered through pop musak. That’s not all! You like tape music? Of course you do! And you’re gonna love the section immediately after the first chorus. This is really creative stuff that still feels super accessible, and Dali are definitely an act to keep an eye on. You can listen to and buy the rest of their self-titled EP here or stream it here. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

Program 2

 

B1: The New Pollution – “Nonstop” (Drake cover)

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The New Pollution

We don’t like Drake very much here at COUNTERZINE. Hell, we usually don’t even like covers: too many artists settling for less-than imitations. However, New York no wavers The New Pollution proves that two wrongs DO make a right with their skronky rendition of Aubrey Graham’s “Nonstop”. When he found time in-between sliding into the DMs of underage female celebrities, Drake churned out this lukewarm, low energy banger, only for these kids to finally make it good by gloriously mangling the shit out of it. It’s noisy, it’s chaotic, and it’s oh so disrespectful: halfway through they abandon Drake’s lazy bars in favor of Peter Frampton’s “(I’ll Give You) Money”. You can pay-what-you-want for the now definitive version of “Nonstop” here, and same goes for the band’s debut live album Live​!​? at Creative Corner on WEATNU Records here(socials: Twitter)

 

B2: Quinton Barnes – “Domestika”

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Quinton Barnes

While we don’t like Drake, we LOVE Grimalkin Records and their recent roster addition Quinton Barnes. ‘Loosey’ “Domestika” introduces Grimalkin fans to Barnes with a sensual synth-laden slice of alternative R&B, with lyrics such as “Wake up, wake up / I want to dedicate my life to you / They can’t shake us / We’ll lock ourselves away just to see it through” painting the image of love between two people who find comfort in each other and life at home when the outside world won’t accept them. If this is what ‘didn’t make the cut’ so to speak for Barnes’ upcoming March album, there’s every reason to be incredibly excited for what’s to come. You can listen to and learn more about Quinton Barnes via his website and follow Grimalkin Records to keep updated on the album. (socials: Facebook, Twitter)

 

B3. Sewnshut – “Perceptive Waste”

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Sewnshut

Next up is the centerpiece of Norwegian downtempo producer Shewshut’s debut self-titled album, “Perceptive Waste”. Characterized by its constantly evolving melody of electronics that manage to be almost plucky while still maintaining the duller ambient tones the genre is known for, “Perceptive Waste” is danceable, IF you can keep your head in the game. There are also some textured droney growls that pop in and out, so concentration is key! More evolved lifeforms may be better suited to that task, but us Earthlings can still have our synapses tickled by its shifting, off-kilter groove. You can buy Sewnshut here digitally and on cassette. (socials: Facebook, Twitter)

 

B4: Ebril – “Ailium Road”

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Ebril

Finally, we close with a lovely track from Canadian singer-songwriter Ebril, titled “Ailium Road”. A slow, stripped acoustic guitar-led track accompanied by sparse ambient synths and what sounds to us like the flowing water of a stream, “Ailium Road” manages to be both magical and earthy, as if Ebril were some sort of gentle forest spirit. Though cryptic, it’s also haunting and heartbreaking: lyrics such as “Someone who took you / it came out your mouth / someone who hurt you / it came out my mouth” give us an idea of what this is about and it’s, uh, pretty heavy. For more Ebril (and also something a bit different), we also recommend the dream pop of “Mercury” and “Running to the Next Bus Stop”. (socials: Instagram)

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