Top 10 Acts to See at Splendour

I’m not all that impressed with the Splendour lineup. There’s way too many acts on there that have visited Australian shores recently, or don’t really entice the idea of going. And the omissions are countless. Childish Gambino? Perfect Pussy? Straight Arrows? I mean, c’mon, if your bill doesn’t feature some Owen Penglis, then you’re only fucking yourself.

Despite the sparse amount of acts to see, there are a couple that jump out. So if you’re going to splash out $500 or so, get around these groups.

10. OutKast

I’m not the biggest fan of OutKast, and their leak on the lineup a couple of days beforehand had a similar effect on me as when I found out that I had $10 in my wallet that I didn’t know was there previously. It’s cool, but not awesome. However, I did look at their recent performance at Coachella on the weekend, and Andre3000 and Big Boi certainly put on a show. It’s a big spectacle and sure to be fun if you’re in the thick of it, but I don’t know if it’d be worth fighting the crowds over.

 

9. Future Islands

I’m pretty stoked that Future Islands are announced on the lineup. They’re brand of indie-rock with electronic flourish is a pretty unique mix, and frontman Samuel T. Herring is a fucking madman on stage. Anyone who puts that much emotion onto stage is instantly worthy of attention, especially when it’s backed up by such fantastic music.

 

8. Darkside

Darkside make this beautiful mix of guitar and nuanced electronica. Nicolas Jaar is an insanely talented individual, and that comes through insanely strong in the music. Their album Psychic was such a pleasure to listen to, and every time you delve into it, something new and more beautiful strikes you about it. Unfortunately, I have no idea how the complexities of Darkside will translate live, but unless the set is totally butchered, it’ll definitely be better than whatever Lily Allen is doing.

 

7. Skaters

Skaters are a punk act with a pop edge that are obsessed with New York. So basically they’re The Strokes in 2014. Their debut album even sounds like Is This It! But that’s not worth complaining about when Skaters do mimicry with such vigour and energy that everything fades away to just listening to the music, and wishing you were in a seedy back alley in Brooklyn, spray painting dongs with your high school crush and lighting cigarettes with matches.

 

6. Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett, along with The Preatures and Jagwar Ma, are currently Australia’s biggest musical exports. And there’s a reason why: every single song Courtney Barnett has accomplished is an unwavering, majestical norm-core gem. If ever Elliot Smith were to have a successor, Barnett would be a shoe-in. Even a quick cover of The Lemonheads’ ‘Bein’ Around’ is enough to create a Helen of Troy scenario.

 

5. The Preatures

One of the most talented pop acts to exist in the past forever, The Preatures are a formidable force of hooks and delectable chorus’. Seriously, if bands were deserts, The Preatures would be a Pavlova. Do you have any idea how fucking great Pavlova is? It fucking rules! And so does ‘Is This How You Feel?’, easily the best pop song of last year. Get amongst these guys when they dominate Splendour like I dominate a burrito at 3 in the morning (and how that same burrito dominates me an hour later).

 

4. Interpol

Interpol have kind of lost all their talent that made their first couple albums such a pleasure to listen to. Their last album, a self-titled, had just one good song on it, compared to their debut, which had 10 great songs on it (aka the whole album). So why are they so high up on the list? Because their old material is really worth seeing live. Interpol have so many great songs to sing, so if you ignore their recent indescrepencies against music, Interpol fucking rule.

 

3. Danny Brown

Danny mothafuckin’ Brown. This dude is insane! When I caught him at Laneway earlier this year, he was an unstoppable mess of giggles, rap boasts and infectious charisma. DOES THAT SOUND LIKE SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO MOTHERFUCKING SEE!? Yes, yes it does. Plus, everyone’s going to light a blunt during ‘Dip’ and ‘Dope Song’ and that’s going to be amazing.

 

2. Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts are one of the most tantalisingly original acts to come from New York in ages. They’re so good I saw them twice when they came down for Laneway. They’re a hell of a live act as well, putting on a fervent and dedicated display of garage rock that switches fervently between half-minute punk jams and five minute reverb spoils.

 

1. Violent Soho/DZ Deathrays

Violent Soho and DZ Deathrays are acts that you absolutely must see at Splendour. They tie for best Australian live act, and are sure to get your heart pumping and fists flying faster than a seagull getting chewed up by the turbine of a Boeing 747. Packed with a bunch of fucking amazing songs, these young guns are going to blow minds all over the fucking walls of whatever tent they’re put in. Fucking see these bands. Fucking go see them. Don’t even hesitate. See these bands. Seriously. I’m begging you. See these bands.

New: The UV Race-Hot Dog

THE UV RACE AR BACK! And they haven’t lost any of their fast-paced irreverence either.

‘Hot Dog’ is the first single off an upcoming LP from the Melbourne punks, and it showcases their usual love of singing about shit that makes them and us laugh. My best guess about this one is that it’s about a bloke who is what we all aspire to be: a loveless, laconic mate, who smoke’s pussy and shoots darts. Don’t get your hopes up ladies, this guy’s got a face that’d make angels shit, but his heart is one of steel. But when it’s set to a razor riff, ditzy keys and pounding drums, who even gives a shit? Just be glad that you’re one of the million voices echoing the ‘I sucked him off’ sneer at the end of the song.

 

Video: City Calm Down-Pavement

I dunno what it is, but City Calm Down are probably the best electronic band going around right now. Really, World’s End Press and Jagwar Ma are the only other groups that comes to mind that have the same electricity, depth and allure as City Calm Down.

Case in point: the new song ‘Pavement’. In it’s nearly five minute run time, the song shifts from poppy RUFUS sound alike, to a sheening Donny Benet-esque 80′s lustmobile. Then it implodes into a high-synth chorus that’s all about self-doubt covered in sparkle, before ending on a grooving, shifting sand soundscape. There’s so much going on here it’s hard to know where to swoon, and where to let things just run you over with how amazing they are.

Overall, I’d say that’s a pretty fucking awesome song.

Album Review: Lakes + Flesh World

 

This is going to be a pretty short album review, because I’m heading to uni in about 20 minutes. But that’s okay, because this review is going towards two 7″ punk records (on No Patience as well!), which are shorter and more furious than a midget zombie on a leash.

The first 7″ is from a Melbourne band called Lakes. They’re less furious, and more looming and haunting. You’re more likely to get disembowelled in a creative fashion than bludgeoned to death. Lakes focus less on the brute force aspect of murdering the mind, and utilise spiky S&M guitars and disjointed dark synths to create a soundscape that would make Alex DeLarge begin to salivate.

‘Carved in Remains’ and ‘Face in the Ash’ are the only two tracks on here, but they recall a swamp rock that’s been remixed with the darkest nightmares imaginable. It’s both fucking spooky and crazy good at the same time.

Onto Flesh World. With a name like that, there’s no way you can’t be a pulverising, gnashing band that puts a Rottweiler on PCP and steroids to shame. Flesh World are like the ninjas of hardcore music, creating a whirlwind of indecipherable grunts and ferocious guitar that was made to destroy weaker minds.

The songs on the Planned Obsolescence EP vary between songs under a minute, which are basically Minor Threat songs covered in six inches of grime and gore, and songs slightly over two minutes, which are the more interesting ones. ‘Scab My Fists’ and ‘Fuck Time’ are maelstroms of sound, hurling and regurgitating piles of aggressive noise onto you with the power of a wizard drunk with power and surrounded by boulders. It’s hardcore music at it’s finest.

New: Naked Maja-Out of Mind

Naked Maja are a really good band from Brisbane, and here’s 5 reasons why:

1. They’re awesome

2. They’re previous EP, ‘Disillusion’ was Oprah-crazy good.

3. Their new single, ‘Out of Mind’ is a beautifully brooding track, like if The Smiths went minimal, and ended up sounding like a church exploding in slow motion. Look, it’s a very specific image, but the paradoxical nature of the song shuffling from expansive shuffling hi-hats and gentle vocals, to twinkling keys and hollow sound rings, means that this song gets a unique description.

4. Lawrence English mastered the aforementioned single, and if he’s even mildly associated with a project, then it’s amazing.

5. They’re awesome. This is my blog, I can say things twice if I want.

New Electronica Music: Collarbones + JaysWays + Second Hand Heart + Raymond Scottwalker

Doof Doof in ya roof! It’s the music to get you fired up, or alternatively, to sit down and wallow in a molten pit of emotion. Whatever floats your boat really.

 

Collarbones-Burnout

The elders have spoken: Collarbones are the premier R&B synth act on the planet. If Collarbones were Gaston (the antagonist of Beauty & the Beast, duh) then they’d have a whole village singing their praises directly to their face. Why? Because no one croons like Collarbones, or thumps like Collarbones, or smoothly edges synth pricks into the consciousness with the damn sexiness of Collarbones (okay, maybe Donny Benet beats them out on that last one). ‘Burnout’ is a solid reminder of why everyone loves to love Collarbones.

 

JaysWays-Something in the Trees

I was kind of bummed that JaysWays didn’t win Triple J Unearthed High last year. I’m stoked that Lunatics on Pogosticks won, but somehow I reckon JaysWays was robbed a bit, especially in retrospect. He’s been pumping out these absolutely gobsmacking tracks lately, and ‘Something in the Trees’ is a fine testament to that. The track is a small, revolving ball of delicious energy, and those weird outdoor chirps and squeals amongst the lush soundscapes make for the kind of vibe that I’m sure Legolas is used to, what with being an elf and all that. On a completely unrelated note, fuck Lord of the Rings.

 

Second Hand Heart-Damnesia

The name Second Hand Heart, as well as a track title like ‘Damnesia’, is kind of pointing in the direction of a pop-punk group that really liked Alkaline Trio. But prepare your mind for some heart-decapitating, slow-burning goodness. The song basically features some Kevin Spacey-death stare-cold piano and the hushing vocals of a songstress, along with some simmering drums and cymbals. That combination makes for a eerie ambient soundscape, one that’s not meant to leave your brain for quite some time either.

 

Raymond Scottwalker-Thylacines

In a weird twist of fate, I accidentally forgot to post about the previous Fallopian Tunes release I got, and it’s been sitting in my drafts for a while. I only discovered this mishap when I was in the process of writing this. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. There’s no deeper meaning here, other than I slept most of the long weekend, and everything has vaporised from my brain. So I’ll probably just describe this amazing Thylacines EP now, and post the other Fallopian Tunes stuff later.

Anyway, Raymond Scottwalker (who should be noted as to having an amazing name) makes the kind of subdued electronic music one would normally find in the basement of a serial killer. The feelings and textures here are languid and disturbing, mopped up despair from the average kid who left university optimistic, only to find their dreams shattered around them a few months of mediocrity later. Even though there’s no vocals here, Thylacines isn’t for the faint of heart. Sounds weird, but the shifting, Fly-Lo-forgot-his-Prozac sounds here are stunning. Raymond Scottwalker (such a great name) has dug deep here, and found some sounds actually worth sharing on the electronic spectrum, besides doof-da-boof.

New Aus Music Pt. II: Fallopian Tunes + Spartak + Milkshake + Problems

More new Australian music to wet your eucalyptus-smeared lips and brush the corks hanging from your Akubra out of your face. See? Stereotypes can be fun!

 

Fallopian Tunes-Document Swell/ X In O 7″ Split

Besides having one of the best record label names in Australia (Fallopian Tunes has given me second-chin chuckles multiple times), they have an amazong roster. They, along with Two Bright Lakes, Silo Arts and Dream Damage, are easily on the forefront of underground Australian electronic music. Every release seems to showcase the shit out of a group I’ve never heard of before but inevitably end up falling in love with.

Which is probably the reason they’re starting an ongoing 7″ split series, starting with the groups Document Swell and X In O. Document Swell’s track is a little like The Notwist, a basic thing with surging piano, scant vocals, some church bells and a droning percussion section, before leading into some weirder synth shit and handclaps. Can’t have a good electronic track without handclaps. Meanwhile, X In O’s contribution is slightly more industrial, like if Nicolas Jaar got up in Cassius Select’s bizness. The textures are incredibly murky and sci-fi, and I fucking love it. If I can’t have the X-Files, then at least I’ve got some X In O.

 

Spartak-Five Points EP

Again, some more glitchy stuff, this time out of Canberra. Yes, that whole of cultural sobriety has spawned yet another killer band! Spartak are from our nation’s capital, and have released some stuff that’s like Liars, only in that permanently knife-poised-above-victim stage and slowed down to a romantic, almost glacial, pace. Songs like ‘Catch/Control’ and ‘Consistence’ are mostly minimalistic, bouncing and reverberating like cells under a microscope, and succeeding at freaking out so hard because they’re scarily able to pinpoint all the hairs on your neck. Meanwhile, the other songs, especially ‘Nightshift’, adopt a fuller sound that seems to round out the tracks and give them a bit more musical substance, although it’s the kind of substance that is still hacked at with an icepick of paranoid synth and percussion etchings. Damn, Spartak really do bring out some of the best metaphors in me. Thanks for the lovely tunes and inspiration guys!

 

Milkshake-Milkshake EP II

Milkshakes have some of the most positive connotations that a word can have. Back in the old days, you could pick up chicks just by taking them to a milk bar, and buying them a milkshake. Even now, when someone says they’re buying a milkshake, I go into a phase that doctor’s would describe as ‘unhealthy’.

Melbourne band Milkshake have taken up the moniker, and have added a bunch of new connotations to the word. Their mix of shoegazey, slightly experimental music is a pretty beautiful thing. Think along the lines of Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, and Bored Nothing slowed down to an unhurried and kinda unintelligible softness. Special standout on this one is ‘The Way Back Through’, but the whole EP is worth a listen, especially if you need something to help you fight the lords of sleep.

Haha, jokes on you, this bad boy will put you in a temporary coma, and you’ll never finish those uni assignments, and you’ll fail, and you’ll have to start a band just to make ends meet, and you’ll be really successful and everyone’s going to want to suck your dick, and you’ll be mega rich and famous. Haha, sucked in.

 

Problems-Terraces

Problems are an electronica act from Adelaide, but they defy their band name with the music they’re weaving. Their single ‘Terraces’ is exactly that, a stepping stone chill wave experiment, jumping lightly from one level to another, like an infinite game of Icy Tower. It’s a beautiful, glacial thing, and something that should get all the Oscar Key Sung/Collarbones fans’ tongues wagging. Problems (the band) don’t have problems (the plural noun), they’ve just got sweet tunes.

Video(s): The Harpoons + Guerre + Moppy + Fraser A. Gorman + The Murlocs + OFF!

How great are stunner deals at Hungry Jacks? Nah, they actually taste like a cow took it’s final, bloody shit in your mouth. Instead, cop out for the real stunner deal of amazing clips from a range of Aussie/New Zealand artists, and a couple blokes who are punk as fuck.

 

The Harpoons-Unforgettable

The first thing I think of when the word ‘Forget’ comes into conversation is the memory loss Axl Rose must’ve lost between Appetite of Destruction and G N R Lies to go from rocking so hard to sucking so hard. That’s a complete lie, but a good introduction, and a stubbornly true fact, so let’s keep it that way. Anyway, The Harpoons’ new song ‘Unforgettable’ is actually that, a languid slab of emotion, with some absolutely killer Beyonce-esque vocals coming through. The video is also a damn fine slice of mod-pop, splicing weird mono-colours together, whilst yearning synths ache in the background.

 

Guerre-Klusht Musket

It’s hard to make out what to think of the new Guerre video, mainly because it doesn’t sit still or in focus long enough to make out anything. The video is as strange and unique as the song itself. There are a whole bunch of instruments that I have no idea what they are, just weird shit that consistently shifts and allures at the same time. Fucked up, but in a totally fashionable way.

 

Moppy-Slow Napisan

If Satan were to ever be put in the laundry with a Napisan commercial, this is precisely what would emerge. No questions asked, this is exactly the thing that you would get. It start out at a demonic slow pace, before glitching out, and turning into a sloppy, melting nightmare. It’s pretty fucking alright.

 

Fraser A. Gorman-Book of Love

In this clip, featuring a song that is jaw-droppingly fucking good, Fraser A. Gorman hangs out with a bunch of mates that you might know from bands like You Am I, Courtney Barnett, and King Gizzard. Yeah, Fraser A. Gorman has got way cooler mates than you do. He then goes out on a boat, reads a book with no words in it, and drinks shots without paying for them. Yeah, you don’t have to pay for drinks when Stu from King Gizz and Courtney Barnett are your back-up vocalists. But don’t you dare fuck with his chicken. That thing is as gorgeous as a sunset dipped in warm cocaine, and helps Gorman discover the meaning of love. That’s a damn fine pheasant if you ask me.

 

The Murlocs-Paranoid Joy

The Murlocs’ debut album is a fucking ripper, featuring track after track of warbling, harmonica-fuelled genius. ‘Paranoid Joy’ is one of the most memorable takes off the album, and it’s got an equally deranged video to accompany it. Basically, if Cerberus swallowed a VHS copy of outtakes from your band practice, and shat it out with that bad serving of paranoid delusions he accidentally hoofed down, then you’d get the ‘Paranoid Joy’ video.

 

OFF!-Red White And Black

When you’ve got your video featuring Brian Posehn and Dave Foley as white supremacists in faux-Nazi uniforms, you’ve got yourself one of the best videos ever. The video then divulges into a punk rock haven, slurring guitars going into an overdrive that would kill Vin Diesel. Then the neo-Nazi’s get the shit kicked out of them, and everything is hilarious.

Top 5 Records w/ Nathan Roche

Nathan Roche. Fucking good bloke. There probably doesn’t exist a guy that is a notorious a good bloke as Nathan Roche. On top of that, he knows how to write a killer pop tune. In the vein of greats like Pavement and Guided By Voices, Roche’s past two solo records have been keen to prop themselves up as fantastic fucking albums, as the below link will advertise:

A couple months back, I was lucky enough to interview the sex symbol known as Nathan Roche. One of the questions I asked him was how he’d like to people to view his album, to which he replied that he viewed it as an album people would enjoy whilst driving. Little did he know that throwaway comment was going to be the theme for a future-penned piece on the greatest website to ever exist, ever.

Theme: Albums to Listen to While Driving

Monks – Black Monk Time

The Monks were a few ex-American army men who started a band post-war in Germany. They were a bunch of lunatics who were well ahead of their time. I don’t have a car or a license but the driving avant-garage rhythms of this album are perfect for someone who does. If only I could fit my vinyl copy into a friends CD player in the car. A song like “Shut Up” sounds a lot angrier and more powerful than anything from 77’ even though this came out ten years earlier in 66’ – they take the best elements of exciting experimental and velvets noise and combine them with 60s garage.

 

Minutemen – Double Nickles On The Dime

From the car engine revving up at the start of track one “Anxious Mo-Fo” and then powering through another 44 tracks of pure energy. There would be no cooler way to crash a car than to the unbelievable bass lines of Mike Watt. It would be a great little mention on a gravestone.
Your uncool music fans who you’ve picked up will call out from the backseat “Wait! Isn’t that the theme song from Jackass” and you’ll bang your head on the steering wheel and say yes. Too many great moments on this record. Worth driving around in circles too until its over.

 

Parliament - Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome

No one knows funk like George Clinton and his acid burnout cult Parliament (or even Funkadelic) this record is a tour-de-force of musical brilliance. People rave about “Maggot Brain” and I will admit that was my first entry into Clinton’s world of funk. I remember coming to the grade 12 formal with a stereo blasting “Can You Get To That” on a razor scooter whilst everyone was in their fancy cars with their beautifully orange tanned North Queensland women. I lost my date at the last minute. But I remained optimistic because you’re never alone when you have FUNK.

 

The Fall – John Peel Boxset (Disc one)

I bought this box set from Sounds Unlimited in Townsville when I was about 16 or 17 and around that time I was taking my parents car around the place blasting it. I think there are eight discs in the boxset but I didn’t make it past the first one and second one for about 3 years. Probably my favourite “band” of all-time.. Mark E. Smith is an innovative genius.. And that old crackling keyboard on tracks like “Mother Sister” and “Futures Past” is sensational. I reckon all the Peel-recorded sessions are the best versions of the songs. “Cruisers Creek” off disc-three is the greatest riff of all time. Smoke On The Water can blow it out its arse!

 

Townes Van Zandt – Sake Of The Song

Ah Townes. This would work for a late night road trip. Maybe this or Alexander “Skip” Spencer’s “Oar” — You could really select any Townes Van Zandt album really but this is a personal favourite. Poetic desolation. He made being miserable something romantic and desirable. Maybe you could drive off a cliff to this one but I wouldn’t advise it.

He makes life worth living and worth driving out to the middle of no where in the dead of night. Because when you do, you can imagine him doing the exact same thing forty years ago. He’d probably be on more codeine than you though.

 

New: Bored Nothing-Why Were You Dancing With All Those Guys?

 

You actually have to love Bored Nothing. The way those vocals and lyrics twist and turn around your heart, vice-grip style, it makes you want to choke on the brilliance, like watching Pulp Fiction for the first time, or eating a really good lasagne.

‘Why Were…’ is a perfect example of why everyone (worth speaking to) loves Bored Nothing. It’s a miserable song, but it’s hidden amongst a quiet pop sensibility. Jangly guitar lines and harmonica are at the forefront here, the Bravehearts of this song, only to be disembowelled in the aftermath by a heartbroken Fergus. That metaphor was almost as beautiful as the song itself.