Weekend Listening: Soundgarden, Neil Young, Crystal Castles

JODY MACGREGOR picks out the best bits of music this week – from Crystal Castles unleashing the fire of wrath to Soundgarden rewarding their fans for the long wait.

Reformed Soundgarden’s return to form

We’re sorry if reading this makes you feel old, but the next Soundgarden album, King Animal, due on November 13, will be their first in 16 years. That’s right, the 1990s were more than 10 years ago. But if Chris Cornell’s solo material in the meantime had you worried, the aptly named ‘Been Away Too Long’ is here to set your mind at ease. It’s a thrashy howler, so straight-ahead rockin’ it’s reminiscent of AC/DC and we mean that in the best possible way.

Not Neil Young’s response to ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’

Neil Young & Crazy Horse released an album of covers earlier this year but are spoiling their fans with an album of new material in October as well. It’s called Psychedelic Pill and if ‘Walk Like a Giant’ is any indication it will live up to that name, with not one but two epic dirge guitar solos. Young’s singing about some of his favourite things, skipping rails and ridin’ on the desert wind, and the whistling and “oooh wop-wop” going on behind that are ace.

Crystal Castles unleash the wrath of God

Crystal Castles will be releasing their third album, called III to save confusion, in November. The band’s Ethan Kath produced the whole thing this time, and on ‘Wrath of God’ he’s alternating between subtle, pretty synth and a blown out wall of trance that makes Alice Glass sound like she’s trapped inside it, which fits the song perfectly. It’s like she’s being gradually overwhelmed by the sound, crying out until eventually it breaks her down into inhuman distortion. It’s chilling.

Cabins channel the Big O

Sydney band Cabins say that they’re “drawing inspiration from the Big O (that’s Roy Orbison for younger readers)” on ‘In Blue’, and boy are they ever. It’s the kind of yearning pop song Orbison perfected, but with an added layer of echo and mystery that makes it sound like it could have come from the soundtrack to a David Lynch film. At the end, it echoes away into the distance as if it’s still playing as you’re leaving the cinema, or the party, or possibly life itself.

Hungry hungry kiddoes

Brisbanites Hungry Kids of Hungary have stepped it up a notch on their new single, ‘Sharp Shooter’. It barrels along like it’s racing you to the three-minute-thirty mark, Kane Mazlin yelping, “Sharp shooter! Show your face.” (It may actually be a metaphor, not really a song about a sniper.) This is from their second album, You’re a Shadow, which doesn’t come out until March next year. Suddenly, that seems like a long time away.

Dance likes Deerhoof’s watching

Deerhoof are a difficult band to classify, define or describe in any way. Try to pin them down and they’ll just wriggle away from you. ‘Fíªte D’Adieu’ is from their album Breakup Song, released earlier this month, and it has a video that will make you feel much better about your own awkward dancing, because while the refrain mentions “a robot on the dancefloor” these guys look more like shuffling zombies. This is what dancing like nobody’s watching really looks like.