Top 5 Records w/ Bloods

Bloods are all time. All time, y’hear? They are easily one of the most exciting acts to be following in Sydney, packing out these damn near perfect 2/3 minute jams with more fun than a lazer-tag party hosted by Barney the Dinosaur. One of the more notable elements of their music is their lack of fear in injecting garage music with light-hearted pop, combining a throwback sound that a lot of garage bands seem afraid to do. Bloods pull it off, no wucking furries, mate.

Take for example their latest track “Penelope”. It’s awash with the good times, an encapsulation of something that you can easily jiggle your body around to. It’s fucking fun, man! There’s not much more to be said about it! Even though they’ve only released a handful of singles and an EP, with their debut album coming out later this year, it’s hard to see Bloods doing anything but kicking heaps of ass.

For Bloods’ Top 5 Records, I asked their drummer Dirk (acclaimed award-winner of “Nicest Guy In Rock ‘N’ Roll”) about his favourite thrash records. When I managed to catch Bloods for the first time, at Frankie’s Pizza, old mate was wearing the phreshest stylez of a Slayer ‘Raining Blood’ T-shirt and black jeans, which were soon soaked in sweat. Given that awesome experience, and the fact that I don’t talk about trash metal NEARLY enough, here’s Dirk’s little geek out on the music that’s 2Fast2Furious for the ears of the squares.

Top 5 Thrash Metal Records

5. Exodus – Bonded By Blood
I love this track – it has such a classic thrash riff which I believe Kirk Hammett from Metallica had a hand in, as he was in Exodus in their early days. When I first heard this I didn’t quite dig the vocals but I love how crazy they sound now! These guys don’t quite get the respect some of their peers get, but they are pretty damn rad.
4. Kreator – Pleasure To Kill
I always loved seeing these wacky Germans late at night on Rage as a kid – and this track is a good example of what they do. The production kind of(totally) sucks, but the playing is utterly manic and it just sounds mental to me! This is a good one to play to your Mum to really freak her out.
3. Megadeth – Hanger 18
Now this is by far(in my opinion) the most commercial track here, and it honestly isn’t nearly as ‘thrash’ as say Exodus or Slayer, AND i believe it came out in 1990! Oh well, close enough. If you’ve never heard Megadeth this is a good place to start, in fact, the whole album this is off (Rust In Peace) is killer.
2. Slayer – Kill Again
Now, most people reading this would argue that anything off Reign In Blood is the best kind of Slayer. BUT the album ‘Hell Awaits’ is the first Slayer I ever heard and I just love everything about it. The cover is amazing, the production is really raw, and it just sounds downright evil. When I was a kid I totally thought these guys were dangerous! I love the title track, but Kill Again is badass.
1. Metallica – Fight Fire With Fire
It’s almost impossible to pick a fave Metallica track off the first few albums, but this one is my all time fave. It’s on Ride The Lighting which is probably my fave album of theirs too. To me this is the pinnacle of thrash – and shows why Metallica stood head and shoulders above the competition back in the 80s. It is brutal, features some weird timing that i love, and has a classic acoustic intro which I think is essential to opening an 80s Metallica album!

New: And* – U Know Me

Although it’s a very uhhhhh….uhhhh….blunt name for an artist, the backstory behind And* proves that there’s something very strong there. The solo project of Dave Rennick of Dappled Cities fame, his second outing is pure-pop elagance. It’s the kind of thing that says DANCE SUCKA, icy synths and clicking beats hitting the deck like the track is a goddamn iPhone game. If Dance Dance Revolution was still around, this would be the main song on there. Kevin Bacon puts this song every morning to do a little jog on the spot to, before spreading out his jazz hands and shaking out his Weetbix. Also, Donny Benet features on here with a kick ass Moog solo that’s squelchier than gumboots in mud. For your pop fix this week, look no further than “U Know Me”.

New Weird Electronic: Bistro feat. Simo Soo + AFXJIM + Liam Kenny

There’s been a whole bunch of awesome weird electronic/production stuff released as of late, that’s like, heaps fucking good hey. So check it out harder than I check out my groceries for a long night of my favourite dish of Spaghetti-4-1 aka loneliness.

Bistro feat. Simo Soo

It’s hard not to become strangely enraptured in this single from Sydney beatsmith Bistro. It’s like Flying Lotus is having a panic attack after ingesting too many Vicodin, and completely flipped his lid. The production on here is fucking solid, a brick wall of static and piercing drum beats. Also, that chorus is going to get stuck in your head faster than a Madonna song.

Pair this damn flawless hip-hop track with a video that is part vibrantly haunted television ad, part Grim Reaper hanging out on your porch, and you’ve got something indescribably good. With mushy beats as infectious as this and a uniquely freaky video to go with it, these guys might have just risen straight to the top of Australian hip-hop’s wealthiest, such as  Milwaukee Banks and Silly Joel & the Candymen.

AFXJIM – Distant

Oh. AFXJIM. Like Aphex Twin, right? Actually, that’s kinda clever and/or cool. But if Aphex Twin dialled down the alerted schizophrenia, and actually took his pills and laid down on the calmdown couch, he might morph into a little something like his Sydney counterpart AFXJIM. The songs on here are sharp and expertly produced, sliced together to form a slinky smorgasbord of songs. The offerings differ wildly, from the worldly indie-rock of the title track, to the prickly “Requiem For A Broken Discoverer”, and the hazy “Autumn Diary”. AFXJIM’s ability to combine samples and music into something strange but bright is really quite excellent.

Liam Kenny – Avalanche

Like the song, Liam Kenny’s clip for “Avalanche” is a health hazard. It’ll suck you up and spit you out like you’re a jellybean flavour that it took a while to decide that it didn’t like. It’s cruel and cutthroat, set in a world where lines and knives adorn a table where a game of who-knows-the-fuck-what is taking place. And all the meanwhile, a bespectacled Liam Kenny stares on, shades on and ready to re-interpret classics like Leonard Cohen’s “Avalanche”.

Video: JuliaWhy? – Just One Night

Sydney’s JuliaWhy?, a band which features members of punk extraordinary Snotty Babies, as well as The Cathys, King Tears Mortuary, and Sleep Debt. But whilst these projects cover a variety of genres, JuliaWhy? present a much more slick and gothy version of garage rock. On their new one “Just One Night”, there’s a strong Yeah Yeah Yeahs richness there, which is also permeated in the video.

Developed by some hella talented NIDA students, it resembles that clip for “Heads Will Roll”, only instead of a snazzy, ponytailed werewolf, there’s a pretty zombie. Whilst the beginning looks like things are about to get a little Carrie-d away (BOOM! Fuck I am GOOD!), they take a turn for the Footloose, as our enraptured and undead lovers prom out to some excellent garage jams courtesy of JuliaWhy?

Video: Bloods – Penelope

Obviously the wonderful trio of Bloods – Sydney’s finest purveyors of bubblegum rock and roll – are scared shitless by either dentists, or celebrities with scarily perfect teeth. Their oft-used moniker of a dripping grin becomes sentient and decides that, even though Bloods birthed this little guy into cult status off the back of their “Goodnight” 7″, it’s going to chomp these guys to bits. Armed with a burning rage and looking like the ghostly remnants of Gary Busey’s canines, this asshole chases old mates around a carpark, devouring them all until they are forced into a ghostly realm wherein they’ll be forced to play the same song over and over again. It’s like Groundhog Day but with a heaps good song.

New: Trust Punks – Gordian Knot

This kind of half-sinister, half-angular, half-haunted improper fraction stuff is what really got me into New Zealand’s Trust Punks. They’re gearing up to release their debut record on Spunk Records pretty soon. Whilst an updated “Prone Hold” didn’t get the butterflies going off in my stomach, this strung-out and nervous track called “Gordion Knot” is doing leaps and bounds for me. It’s like watching a contortionist build themselves into a tight box, twitching bones and tweaking joints that most wouldn’t have the slightest clue existed. There’s uncomfortable sounds aplenty on here, and the disconcerting chorus is the kind of thing that post-punk does best – a little bit freaky, a little bit poppy, and all kinds of nail-chewing nervousness. Tour here soon please?

Album Review: Donny Benet – Weekend At Donny’s

_Weekend At Donny's

Can we all just, for one second, take a minute to marvel at the artwork that is the album artwork for ‘Weekend at Donny’s’? Surely, that is a work that will be going in the pool room, or at the very least, be nominated as one of the images that will convey the best parts of humanity to visiting alien races. For those who aren’t as Donny mad as they should be, Donny is old mate in the middle there, with the sunnies and corpse pose. To the right is Jack Ladder with an expression stolen right off McCauley Caulkin’s shit eating Home Alone debut, and SPOD is looking like a cocky bastard. Man, I can’t wait ’til the whole crew finds out that these guys were totally fakin’ it! Then they’ll get sent to jail! And their careers will be in tatters! And they’ll never be able to re-adjust to regular society again due to the inhumane and extravagantly cruel conditions of Australian prisons. HAHAH, what a bunch of idiots!

On a less sadistic note, this album is Donny’s third record, and his first in which he doesn’t take the spotlight. Whereas his other records featured tracks that the producers of Knight Rider and Miami Vice were kicking themselves for not getting as theme songs, ‘Weekend At Donny’s’ instead allows for Donny to take the backseat. It’s almost like he is Kit, and he has a revolving guest-star  of Hasselhoff’s.

The results of ‘Weekend At Donny’s’ are both diverse and riveting, plunging into strange territories that seem like lost goldmines of eras that never existed. There’s this weird anachronism thing going on, like an episode of Quantum Leap that’s been taken over by the embodiment of sex. The guests range from the local to the high-profile: IsabellaManfredi from The Preatures, SPOD, Jack Ladder, Geoffrey O’Connor, Kirin J Callinan and Elana Stone of All Our Exes Live In Texas.

Now, some of these collaborations work better than others. For example, “The Edge”, which features Kirin J Callinan, is a match made in heaven. Or rather, a match made from the greatest porn parody of Star Trek, where the budget was concentrated on the soundtrack. It’s a song where the lyrics “I wanna fill you up with my love” sounds like the greatest thing a partner could whisper in your ear. Add the space-exploration bass riff and panting synths, and you’ve got the perfect hot and heavy song. You can so easily picture this in a live setting, both characters back-to-back, Donny slapping his bass with a wry smile and Kirin J Callinan absentmindedly flicking his mullet, whilst a blinding amount of cameras shoot their beams for what has to be the shot of the century.

Other parts of the record stand incredibly tall and , “Sex Tourist” with Jack Ladder and the SPOD collaborations. The former is the perfect palette for Jack Ladder’s baritone to sink to its most immoral depths, a song packed with humour and loneliness. The latter contributions, “Gentleman’s Choice” and “Fantasies”, are probably the closest thing that resemble old-school Donny, rumbling bass funkadelics, heavy breathing and Donny’s special brand of hedonism (and vocals).

The only issue to be had here is mild, in that some songs on here resemble the guests’ own projects more so than as temporary visitors to Donny Land. Sure, there’s the Benet aesthetic there, of whispered lushness and trickling, unreal bass slaps, but “Endless”, which holds Isabella Manfredi’s vocals, and “Never Alone” come off like Preatures and Geoffrey O’Connor songs that have been Back-to-the-Future’d a few times, and picked up some 80’s sprinkle from all that time warp-age.

However, this is hardly a complaint. When the cast is as arrayed and talented as this, scoring a really good Preatures song on a Donny Benet album is just a bonus treat amongst the gold already there. When you’re submerged in this sensual world of Donny’s, it’s hard, painful even, to pull yourself out. Even though I was born a decade after the fact, the 80’s has that sheen to it, and Donny exploits it for a new and eager audience. And with these guests, he surmounts that problem of novelty wearing off. Now, his supreme talent as instigator and philanthropist of retro-sound can be completely appreciated for the genius that it is.

‘Weekend at Donny’s’ is out on Rice is Nice Records now. Donny’s bringing the touch to Brighton Up Bar on October 10th and 11th, with You Beauty and Food Court respectively. Go to one. Go to both. But go. Because his name is Donny Benet, and he will bring you happiness.

New Ball-Rippers: WOD + Dead Set Ledger + Truly Holy + MUSK + Vomitface + Pet Sun

As the title would indicate, these are a few songs that will have a similar effect as a kangaroo using your nutsack as a speedball. Also, the kangaroo is on speed. Also, there is no way you can listen to all five of these bands in one sitting and not suffer a heart attack. You’ve been warned.

WOD – Top 5

Out on the fucking legendary label Pissfart Records, who’ve also done shit with Drunk Mums and Dumb Punts, party disembowlers WOD have released an ode to fucking around and being unable to count to 5. “Top 5″ is all about Eddy Current Suppression Ring meeting AC/DC at the gloryhole in a dingy Melbourne watering stick carpet venue.The entire song spends its time expelling true rock and roll from both ends of the body. If aliens discovered this track, they’d be falling over their tentacles to be the first to Planet Earth, so they could all hang out with our overlords WOD.

Dead Set Ledger – Buddy’s Kicking Screwies on the SCG

This seems damned appropriate considering the Grand Final is in a few hours (‘CARN SWANNIES!). However, it comes from some old mates out of Melbourne, the legends known as Dead Set Ledger. Utilising old commentary praising the great Buddy Franklin, a chocolate thickshake of a riff and a beautifully macabre yelp, Dead Set Ledger may have just made themselves the best footy ode since “That’s My Team”. And “That’s My Team” sucks. So yeah, just listen to this instead, because it fucking rules.

Truly Holy – Paradise

Truly Holy have a name that might bring to mind a band like Boy & Bear or Father John Misty, or some other bullshit that’s all about connecting your spirit with the earth. But their tunes are so fucking Melbourne and rock ‘n’ roll, it’s easy to throw that gesture away. Their single, which I wish I had gotten onto ages ago, is a looming monologue in the style of Total Control being mixed down. It’s a hard-working existential paradise, and will make you feel as depressed and elated as if you whipped yourself a Nietzsche smoothie.

MUSK – Last Stand/ Rot Soft

MUSK are a band out of Oakland, which is where my entire family lives. I have a strong and heady heart for Oakland, because it always manages to produce some of the most badass music. MUSK are a prime example, a mixture of fire-spitting brutality, and deadly swagger. If Tex Perkins grew up in a city more dangerous than Baltimore in The Wire (see: Oakland) you’d be hard-pressed to see him forming a band other than this delicious stanky MUSK.

Vomitface – Sloppy Joes

First up, how fucking great is the name Vomitface? It’s right up there with Diarrhoea Planet and The Gooch Palms. Their music is just as primal and beautifully revolting as their name, falling in the vein of Eagulls and Hookworms, or that J Mascis/King Tuff side project Witch. They’ve got these super finger-nails on chalkboard vibes running through their crunchy guitars, distortion turning the song into a mushroom-cloud laying motherfucker. The finale is a brutal mix of stoner-rock that would make the members of Kyuss weep.

Pet Sun – Feel Like I’m Going Away

I am super surprised that Pet Sun don’t have a Hozac Records tag on them yet. They seem like exactly the sort of thing that the home of Heavy Times and Radar Eyes would jizz over harder than Gary Busey watching Point Break reruns. It’s jungle-party rock and roll, debased and disgusting, dribbling and hungry guitars chewing the scenery. “Feel Like I’m Going Away” is a relatively simple track, with a basic refrain, badass riff and bootylicious solo, but the legendary-ness comes from The Stooges-like swagger that Pet Sun pull off. They’re rock and roller with ease, like Drunk Mums or Straight Arrows, and pulverise the senses with what seems like little effort. Sexcellent.

Album Review: Shellac – Dude Incredible

The word ‘Dude’ is the pop-punk of personal nouns. Born from anti-establishment origins, with only a pure, if naive, heart, and slowly turned into a common indicator, if not trophy, of douchebags. Whereas in the 1980’s and 90’s, the words ‘Dude’ and ‘Pop Punk’ were still creative honours, being bestowed upon the greatest movie of all time (The Big Lebowski) and birthing some of the best bands (The Replacements, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, The Descendants), they soon got franchised into these dirty beings. Sure, the purity existed, but only in the most maligned of corners. Today, if you heard the word “Dude”, 9 times out of 10, it will be followed by a phrase like, “I totally finger banged some drunk chick last night”, as opposed to, “Check out this Husker Du cassette”.

But, without even the use of punctuation, Shellac have managed to reclaim one of my favourite words to use (besides “Fuck, and “Dipshit”) and make it incredible again. If Bill & Ted’s musical talents grew, but their vocabulary stayed the same, this is how they would describe this new Shellac record. This is hands down, one of the best records to have been released from any band this year.

For those uninformed about one of the most important bands to ever exist in an underground sense, Shellac are the All Tomorrow’s Parties poster boys, right next to Swans (cool!) and Nick Cave (cool?). They’re compromised of Steve Albini, Todd Trainer, and Bob Weston. Two of them are studio/recording engineers engineers, and together, they’ve featured as members of Big Black, Rapeman, Scoutt Niblett, The Volcano Suns and Mission of Burma. Weston and Albini have also worked on records by Sebadoh, The Pixies, Nirvana, Archers of Loaf, Cloud Nothings and The Jesus Lizard.

Now that you’ve been crushed by the weight of these accomplishments, go and listen to Shellac’s other recorded works. Especially ‘1000 Hurts’. That album is a work of goddamn art, and should be placed in a museum and Wu-Tang-ified. There’s something especially brutal and unique about Shellac’s work. Maybe it’s their complete lack of interest in worrying about commercial prospects (all members being fully employed). Maybe it’s the fact that all members have heavily contributed to the collective underground conscience in more ways than anyone else could hope to. Maybe it’s because the instruments on here sound like they’re trying to recall a parade of machine’s out of Mad Max colliding into each other in a black hole made out of evil. Who knows? All that’s obvious is that Shellac are incredible, dude.

Like the album cover, this record is pretty much a steroid. It’ll help you alleviate any anger left in your soul, turning you into a complete husk of a human, exhausted just from plugging into a single song. Shellac have narrowed themselves severely, trimmed down to a bare essential grit. Only two songs exceed four minutes, one being the title track which is a six minute rock opera that makes like John Wayne fronting Fugazi with a hurtling, demonic banshee cry. The trio have badassed their way into some kind of sound that grinds people’s faces off. It’s like walking into a revolving door of the  Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, each song propelling you into another nightmarish terror full of mutilated normality that’ll flay you alive.

On no other record have Shellac married their music and aggression more perfectly. They’ve always been one’s for creating the perfect atmosphere, but there’s always been room for improvement. Every note hits like a sledgehammer swung by a God, as cool as they have ever been. Each vocal, regardless of which member sings, is a searing rod to the ear canals. They are un-repressable, and completely without barriers. Songs like “Gary”, “All The Surveyors” and “You Came In Me” are sneering tour de forces, like a more cynical and organic Future of the Left.

For anyone that is bored shitless with the state of music, and needs something brutal and modern, look no further than ‘Dude Incredible’. This supernatural squirrel is a foreshadowing for your experience with this record – it will go all Bane-mad, lift you up and snap your back, then nurse you back to health in an environment of solitary confinement, wrapped in rich bass lines, brutal drum pounding and snarling vocals.

New: Hoodlem – Firing Line (Rat & Co Remix)

Rat &  Co released one of the finest electronic albums of the year earlier on, a mixture of Fly-Lo and Boards of Canada. Now, they’ve done an amazing remix for Hoodlem’s “Firing Line”, taking a song that has caught itself alongside Banks, AlunaGeorge and FKA Twigs, and moved it into a glacial, intergalactic freeze. Listening in here is immediately transfixing, immediately cold and intriguing. It’s like putting a summer jam in a cryogenic freeze, cooling something down so that it’s just a pale jilting beacon of technological prowess. Upon listening to the finale, I feel like this is how people felt the first time they watched ‘Blade Runner’.