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The latest band with a boy’s name is…

ALTERNATIVEdave the band, Slob Stories(believe.) ****From the naming convention that gave us James, Travis, Brad and george – and in a reference to the number of Daves in rock (Grohl, McCormack et al) – Newcastle’s dave the band are doing their bit to keep ’90s slacker rock (and bands with boys’ names) alive. They channel…

ALTERNATIVE

dave the band, Slob Stories

(believe.) ****

From the naming convention that gave us James, Travis, Brad and george – and in a reference to the number of Daves in rock (Grohl, McCormack et al) – Newcastle’s dave the band are doing their bit to keep ’90s slacker rock (and bands with boys’ names) alive. They channel bands of the era from Jebediah (Get Smart) to Custard (the frenetic Fine!). Then there’s the inspo-rock of Brave (“Just because you’re scared doesn’t mean you can’t be brave”) and the pendular guitar chime of Capsule. Their irreverent pub-rock-cum-punk gives off similar vibes to Brisbane’s own Midnight F—boys, and makes them a band to watch.

POP

Fletcher, The S(ex) Tapes

(Capitol) ***1/2

As befitting a sex tape, and like an unexpected break-up, Fletcher’s new EP has dropped abruptly, inviting us into her head as she navigates the conflicting emotions of her real-life forced singledom. Opener Silence alternates between deep-house and funky bass, while the standout track is recent single Bitter, with Aussie DJ Kito: “You’re still in my head/But you’re not in my bed… I left a taste in your mouth/Can she taste me now?” Then there are the to-hell-with-it sexcapades of The One: “You’re not the one/But you’re the one right now.” Don’t Say It is thick with chunky bass as she eschews words for sexual action, while the plaintive Feel takes a softer acoustic turn in places, as her vocals soar to new heights. “I just had sex with my ex in a New York apartment,” she confesses on the electro-pulse epilogue Sex (With My Ex).

FOLK

Van Walker, Ghosting

(Independent) ***

Pain is the artist’s muse, and it doesn’t get much more painful than the ordeal that birthed Ghosting. Five years in the making, Van Walker’s latest sprang from the end of a long-term relationship and a mental and physical breakdown. The result is a collection of acoustic ballads that are as warm as they are raw and cathartic. “I must be high, unless I’m dead,” he sings on Land of Shades. A poignant four-minute instrumental intro blows out Crystal Ball’s runtime to over 10 minutes. “This old world ends with a whimper/That we both just disappear,” he sings on To Be Sure, which dissolves into mournful harmonica. But memories needn’t all be painful, and Van Walker picks up the pace, and mood, on the bittersweet When You Were Mine. And it’s not all personal: Nobody Knows mourns the cost to the environment of insatiable economic growth.

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