8track: Jared Doherty, Spring Teeth, Tender Tones, Lyndsi Austin, The Hatchets, Jon Cocker, Cyd Williams, Ocean Onyx

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 Jared Doherty, Spring Teeth, Tender Tones, and Lyndsi Austin, while Program 2 features music by The Hatchets, Jon Cocker, Cyd Williams, and Ocean Onyx.


Program 1


A1: Jared Doherty – “Keep the Balloon”

Jared Doherty

Opening up this 8track is Kamloops (what an awesome name for a city) singer-songwriter Jared Doherty and his single “Keep the Balloon”. An important factor to consider in psychedelic music is provoking the imagination, often by way of stimulating it into conjuring a visual representation of the sounds we’re hearing. We see the unmade music video on this one: hazy film of a child at a carnival, holding a balloon limply waving along in the wind low to the ground to Doherty’s slightly shaky vocals and warbling, squeaking synths until SUDDENLY!… the child loses their grip just as the song erupts into loud, textured guitar noise. Condense the lengthy, surrealist epics of Mercury Rev’s Yerself Is Steam and Boces into a more contained space (maybe a balloon?) and you might end up with something similar to this. Beyond “Keep the Balloon”, Doherty’s solo catalog is limited to his 2018 album Small Window as of now (available on cassette), but you can also check out his band Mother Sun if you want to take another trip. (socials: Twitter, Instagram)


A2: Spring Teeth – “Winter Year-Round”

Spring Teeth

Nothing quite gets us pumped like a catchy ’90s style alt-rock jam with big, noisy riffs and infectious melodies and hooks, and Finnish band Spring Teeth deliver the goods with their single “Winter Year-Round”. The lyrics are simple but uplifting to match the energy of the performance and serve as something of an “it can get better” pep talk to the depressed. If you’re into Superchunk and bands of that ilk, this one’s a must-listen, and you can listen to the band’s other single “Land of Bones” here(socials: Facebook)


A3: Tender Tones – “Strangers From Ultra”

tender tones
Tender Tones

Next up is the ultra-catchy synth pop of “Strangers From Ultra” courtesy of Manon Deruytere and Maxime Pargaud, the French duo of Tender Tones. Quietly rumbling guitar, paired vocals, quickly pounding drums, and a huge ’80s-like synth-propelled chorus make this one a total nostalgia bomb. “Strangers From Ultra” for Stranger Things? The music video’s got some real manic energy as well: almost as much flailing as I do when I listen to this. You can listen to more Tender Tones here(socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)


A4: Lyndsi Austin – “Dancing in the Dark” (Bruce Springsteen cover)

lyndsi austin
Lyndsi Austin

Tidal Babes’ Lyndsi Austin makes a quick return to COUNTERZINE, this time with her solo cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”. Produced by Tidal Babes bandmate Chris Qualls, it operates within the same general synth pop framework of the original while slowing things down and imbuing it with a feminine touch. The result is familiar, but more ‘sultry’ and distinct enough in its approach to merit existing alongside the original. This is is Lyndsi’s only solo track as of now, but you can follow her on Bandcamp for future updates. And go ahead and check out her band’s Album Auto-nalysis of the OMG EP while you’re at it. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)


Program 2


B1: The Hatchets – “Great Chorus”

The Hatchets (photo credit: Koryn Bennett)

Opening up our second program, we have “Great Chorus” by Milwaukee rockers The Hatchets. Starting with a base of quiet tension that builds and builds until it bubbles over at the “great chorus”, it’s a song of triumph: crunchy, wailing guitars, swelling horns, and active organ all aid in forming a grand atmosphere that draws you into to joining the refrain along with the smoky-voiced vocalist. “Great Chorus” comes from The Hatchets’ album The Uncounted Blue Jillions, which you can buy here digitally or on vinyl. (socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)


B2: Jon Cocker – “Green Blue”

jon cocker
Jon Cocker (photo credit: Richard Shashamané)

Next up, something a bit more subdued and contemplative in English singer-songwriter Jon Cocker’s “Green Blue”. Cocker’s excellent acoustic guitar playing, freewheeling sense for melody, soulful vocals, and intimate recordings on not only “Green Blue” but his entire self-titled EP make it easy to draw comparison between him and Nick Drake. As he sings “All my love fades to grey”, you feel the muted reality of heartache: no spectacle, just a lingering lack of colour. You can check out the rest of Cocker’s incredible EP here. (socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)


B3: Cyd Williams – “Low”

Cyd Williams (photo credit: Hans-Jørgen Hersoug)

What if the The Cure were… sunny? Well, you might find yourself with something similar to our next track, “Low”. You can hear it in the guitar riff of the chorus on Copenhagen indie popper Cyd Williams’ single, but a slight tonal shift flips the sound entirely on its ear and creates a fascinating juxtaposition. We have to mention Cyd’s voice as well, which is just the right mix of “charmingly boyish but not childish” to have him blow up if it hits the right ears. He’s gonna be a heartbreaker, and you can condition yourself in advance by checking out more of his music here(socials: Facebook, Instagram)


B4: Ocean Onyx – “Wave of Dark Matter”

ocean onyx
Ocean Onyx

Finally, we close with a beautiful dream pop song with just a slight twinge of country from Swedish songstress Ocean Onyx. Consisting of gently drifting acoustic guitar (with the occasional twang of an electric), moody, airy synths (aside from one static-y one that likes to perk up and tickle the eardrums), and one of most gorgeous and soothing voices we’ve heard in a while, “Wave of Dark Matter” is a gentle wave deserving of being ridden on repeat. Check out more Ocean Onyx here to extend the length of your spirit massage. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)


Somehow, it worked out again that every song is on Spotify, so here’s the playlist, kids. Not huge fans of the Big Spot here, but necessary evils and whatnot:

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