Words: Doug Wallen
Melbourne trio TV Haze take an affectionate trip into the past with the twangy new single, ‘Maple Leaves’, the first taste of their third album.
TV Haze may hew toward the slacker side of indie rock, but the band is actually on track to have released three LPs in the space of 18 months, thanks to Circle the Sun arriving in April. Heralding the new record is lead single ‘Maple Leaves’, accompanied by a heartfelt video that sees the band members revisiting their childhoods. Shot in the present day on a sun-soaked playground, it’s intercut with scenes of singer/guitarist Dylan Stewart, bassist Andrew Hayden and drummer Sarah Thompson as kids – plus a very memorable guitar solo.
If 2016’s self-titled debut and last year’s Scrap Museum tapped the ragged, flannel-draped glory of bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Buffalo Tom, ‘Maple Leaves’ betrays a touch of alt-country in Stewart’s well-worn rasp that brings to mind vintage Son Volt and even the rootsier side of The Replacements. It’s a powerful first statement for an album that stretches beyond the band’s admitted ’90s sweet spot into rough-and-tumble college rock and ’70s power pop and country.
“Maple Leaves is a trip down memory lane,” according to the band. “It’s a nostalgic flash back to childhood: growing up in the suburbs, riding push bikes around, working-class family life, summer holidays at the beach, changing of the seasons, skating up to the local milk bar, exploring, living and learning. We’d been digging back into a bunch of ’70s records ahead of making this record – stuff like The Byrds, Big Star and Buffalo Springfield – so those influences definitely creep into this song.”
‘Maple Leaves’ comes out next week, with fellow album track ‘Bobby & Sally’ as the B-side. Circle the Sun follows in April through Hayden’s own beloved label, Poison City. The three-piece recorded the album this summer with Matt Chow (Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Deaf Wish), split between Footscray’s punk-friendly pub The Reverence and a secluded farm cabin near Kyneton, Victoria. Guest drummer Chris Rawsthorne (of Jess Locke’s band) filled in for Thompson at times, as Thompson has been busier than ever as one-third of Camp Cope.
TV Haze are looking plenty busy themselves, with plum supporting slots next month for American alt-rock icons Lemonheads and local dream-pop wonders Lowtide, not to mention a regional stop in Castlemaine. Expect them to tour further afield on the back of Circle the Sun in the coming months. Until then, enjoy the yesteryear warmth and dishevelled scrappiness of ‘Maple Leaves’.
‘Maple Leaves’ comes out Feb 21 via Poison City Records.
TV Haze shows:
Mar 6 – Melbourne, VIC – The Curtin (supporting Lemonheads)
March 24 – Melbourne, VIC – Northcote Social Club (supporting Lowtide)
April 14 – Castlemaine, VIC – The Bridge Hotel (with Michael Beach and Loobs)
Banner image: Naomi Lee Beveridge