Video: The Goon Sax – Boyfriend

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The best thing about The Goon Sax is their wit – it ain’t just razor sharp, it’s like Freddie Kreuger’s claws have picked up a typewriter and started banging out an acidic essay on the tired tropes of love. That’s the general motif behind “Boyfriend”, a song with lyrics as sinister as Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons. But instead of a barrelling onslaught of viciousness, The Goon Sax coat their barbs in cottoned pop, meagre acoustic strumming, quiet duets, and the occasional tock of a cowbell. It’s this subdued way that they approach love songs – intelligent, literary lyrics, gentle music – that raises them up as one of the best new bands of 2015, and why their forthcoming debut on Chapter Music is gonna be pretty much the best thing ever.

If you need any more evidence of how great they are, check out the accompanying video for “Boyfriend”, and look beyond the obvious greatness of gold-microphone fawning and the goon-sack appropriation of Warhol’s Silver Clouds. Check for the nervous glances between bands member, the occasional peeps to make sure their fingers are hitting the right notes, almost as if to say, “Can you guys believe this?”. It’s just another mark of their swift rise to being one of the most beloved bands in Australia, and those nerves are sure to disappear as soon as they hit the lofty heights they’re bound for.

 

New From Sydney: Phantastic Furniture + Georgia Mulligan + Morning TV

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I’ve been heaps busy with wrapping up at work and uni, so I’ve gotten pretty lazy on the Internet side of things. NO MORE! Here’s a few tunes from Shitney you should familiarise yourself with:

Phantastic Ferniture – Gap Year

A nation of kids have just finished high school – according to numbers I’ve just made up, 50% will go on a gap year to “find themselves”. They’ll head to Europe on their parents’ dollar, pick up a range of STD’s and get too drunk to remember any of it, except for the part where they got, like, SUPER HIGH in Amsterdam. Bro, you totally gotta go.

The only “Gap Year” worth actually taking is the one from Phantastic Ferniture – lush, delicate and enough heartbreak to make Vin Diesel well up with tears and start complaining about all the dust in the room, the hats go off to this song, and this band. There’s huge things for them next year, so make sure you buy ’em a beer in a vain attempt to hitch a ride on their coattails to fame.

Georgia Mulligan – White Lies

More incredibly beautiful stuff outta my hometown, “White Lies” stands out for Georgia Mulligan’s incredible voice, in much the same way that Die Hard stands out from action movies because of Bruce Willis’ ability to deliver one-liners perfectly.

Although she initially started off with a series of covers, “White Lies” shows Mulligan embarking into original territory with the kind of ease that makes you scream, “Jesus Christ, why didn’t you start doing this earlier”. It helps that “White Lies” is a total ear worm, but not the kind that you’ll be able to replicate yourself due to the fact that you’re tone deaf and your voice sounds like a pair of aardvarks rooting in a dustbin compared to Mulligan’s. To get the full satisfaction of this song, you’ll just have to keep hitting repeat.

Morning TV – Golden

The only time to bother with morning TV (the concept, not the band) is whilst waiting in dentist offices, or when you’re so drunk that you just NEED to see how big Richard Wilkins’ head actually is. Now, there’s another decent reason to look that shit up.

Morning TV are a brand new band, serving up some nice slices of dream-pop. Think Unknown Mortal Orchestra meeting the drowsy swoon of Craft Spells or Wild Nothing for a drink at some new, trendy bar that hasn’t been completely overrun with dickheads just yet. On the morning TV spectrum, “Golden” falls somewhere close to the joyful antics of Karl Stefanovic, as opposed to the disturbing chortles of Kochie.

New: Buzz Kull – Nausea

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 6.19.42 pmIt’s been a long time coming, but Buzz Kull have finally followed up on last year’s “Dreams” and announced a full length album! Fuck yeah, goths of the world unite! This is a day as glorious as that time Robert Smith said he was going to re-animate the corpse of Ian Curtis for a Christmas single!

Seriously though, it’s been two years since that first Heat EP, and it was starting to feel like maybe Buzz Kull was going to fold before granting us with a full length. Luckily, “Nausea” is here, a pungent puncture that has moved light years on from the early atmospheric dissonance of “Fallen Flower” and “Vision & Lights”

Short and sharp at only two minutes long, “Nausea” does exactly what it says on the tin, lighting a flame at the pit of your belly, allowing all that stomach acid to start churning around the base of your body, brewing and burning until your whole being is thrashing around, vibrating with the trill of ill.

Buzz Kull are gonna be playing a show in a few weeks at the Record Crate in Glebe – Jan 3rd, supporting Kid Trails; Skull & Dagger, and Agroclam are also gonna play!

Video: Naked – Sprinters of the World Unite

12342586_1064247643608040_5733229443607803402_nFuck yeah! It’s nearly Christmas! That time of year when you disappoint your whole extended family with your barely thought out, incredibly dodgy and (let’s be honest) fucking stupid gifts. And then it’s Boxing Day, when you get to eat all of the Christmas ham that your cheap aunt knicked from the butcher’s bin, and you get to drink your grandpa’s home brew, which tastes like acidic shit, but he’s not been feeling well lately, so you chuck on a grin and say, “Mmmm, delicious!”. AND THEN it’s New Year’s, when you get to look back at all the stuff you said you would achieve, and then calculate exactly how far flat you fell, all to the tune of whatever bangers are playing at the fucking terrible New Year’s Party you’re at. Some wanker will count down/bellow obnoxiously into your ear, you’ll make out with no one, and then you’ll go home, wake up, and head to the gym, certain that THIS will be the year that you get healthy, stop smoking, and squeeze into those skinny jeans you haven’t been able to get into since 2007.

Naked’s “Sprinter of the World Unite” is the clip you should play when you first hit that treadmill. As the evils of the night before sweat out of your body, the first three and a half minutes of your fitness regime is soundtracked by some mopey pop with the most inspirational visuals pressed onto a green screen since Sylvester Stallone used digital wizardry to convince people that he could run up stairs in Rocky. I mean, there’s pizza, babies and troll dolls, as well as a song title that’s basically the alternate heading for that movie Chariots of Fire. Is there anything out there even as remotely inspiration as this song/video? 2016, here we come!

Video: Plum – Tiny Feet

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Like most sports, I suck at Racquet Ball. However, unlike most sports, I’m not embarrassed about it. Because fuck racquet ball – that’s the sport equivalent of dying alone, and only being found nine months later when the stench is too much.

Plum, the new project of Caleb Jacobs (The Cathys) utilises a game of racquet ball for his debut video. Maybe its a reference to my earlier allegory, maybe it was just an excuse to wear all white and goggles. Whatever the reasoning, the only thing that matters is that it provides a great background for “Tiny Feet”,  a pretty cool little tune that hums alongside the likes of Washed Out and Real Estate.

Top 10 Australian Albums of 2015

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I’ve listened to a fair bit of music this year. A decent amount, I’d say. Some of it was old, some of it was new, some of it was shit, and some of it was really fucking shit. But for the most part, it was really, really, really fucking good.

And at the pinnacle of it all was music from this country – there were plenty of things to be ashamed of Australia about this year, but music wasn’t one of ’em. After years of ignorance and cultural cringe, trying to echo the charts of the US and the UK, Australia produced three globe-conquering bands that feel like they could have only been birthed right here. Regardless of how you feel about their music, the fact that Courtney Barnett, Tame Impala and Hiatus Kaiyote wrestled the spotlight back to the land of Vegemite and lockout laws can only be a good thing. At best, it’s a chance to show how Australia can excel whilst working outside the lines of what is considered traditional pop music, and at worst, you can be a little bit patriotic when it comes to these fucking year end lists.

None of the aforementioned artists actually feature in my favourite albums of this year – the records were objectively good, but I’ve never been at the pub, heard “Let It Happen”, and turned to my best mate with a wide grin. However, I respect the fact that they’ve gotten the world’s attention to Australian music again, and now that we’ve got their eyeballs in a Clockwork Orange binge position, we suffocate them with as much of the good stuff as possible. Such as:

10. Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida

Melbourne, Florida holds plenty of reasons as to why you should be showing Dick Diver to everyone you know. Even without mentioning their magnum opus Calendar Days, shoving songs like Waste the Alphabet” or “Tearing the Posters Down” should be high on your priority list of songs to put on when someone asks “What should we listen to?”. There’s a narrative tilt to the way that Dick Diver write songs that’s unmatched amongst their contemporaries. If anyone claims that jangle-pop is too disaffected and obsessed with the mundane, smack them sideways with your copy of this record, and showcase the emotional weight in songs like “Boomer Class” to silence them effectively.

Full Review of Dick Diver’s Melbourne, Florida

9. Bad//Dreems – Dogs At Bay

If Dogs At Bay had been released during the period that Bad//Dreems are emulating, then it would’ve been one of Au-Go-Go’s most prized possessions. As it happens, Dogs At Bay came out in 2015, and introduced a whole new generation of kids to the glory of pub rock. Beer-soaked riffs, a howl that reaches all the way to the loner coughing up their life savings at the pokies, and a wide swathe of material that nodded to folks like GOD, Coloured Balls, The Go-Betweens and The Angels, Bad//Dreems pounded the listener with an affecting album of impressive rock.

Full Review of Bad//Dreems’ Dogs At Bay

8. Palms – Crazy Rack

Outside of Sydney, it seemed like this record was a bit ignored. Which is a huge shame, because it’s full of rock gems that span from the riff hurricane of “Bad Apple”, to the Cheap Trick-spiritual successor “Thoughts of You”, to “Sleep Too Much” a face-melter that rivals the power of The Ark of the Covenant. There were also pleasantly surprising softer moments that took Palms away from being pigeon holed as a band that could only do garage-rock. When you feel a bit shit, and needed that quick fix of heartfelt headbangers that you’re not ashamed to belt out off-key and shred an air guitar to, crank Crazy Rack. 

Full Review of Palms’ Crazy Rack

7.  MAKING – High Life

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MAKING were the band that took me by surprise most this year. I’d never seen their live show before, and had only really glanced through their previous singles. Which is how “Come 2 Me” hit me so hard, Thor’s hammer splicing open my skull, caving in expectations. Indeed, all of High Life has that effect of being ripped apart from the inside by a pack of raging rhinoceros. Over the course of a half-hour, MAKING pulverises minds to dust, leaving you shivering, cold and begging for more. Their approach to music – thundering drums ploughing into a swelling bruise of menace until the whole fucking thing explodes – is exceptional. Furthermore, the sheer musicality of MAKING is terrifying: HOW DO THEY MAKE THE SOUNDS THEY ARE MAKING? How do they force their record to appear like the apocalypse? It’s complexity completely removed of pretension, just bucking insanity stripped to its most batshit crazy.

Full Review of MAKING’s High Life

6. Heart Beach – Heart Beach

Hobart’s Heart Beach are an unassuming bunch; they use what they need, and nothing more. Their cover for their album is just a heart and a palm tree – nothing fancy, just enough to let the kids know what they’re getting. Musically, they’re just as sparse: mild guitar lines, feathering drums, the occasional burst of noise, and lightly duetting vocals that miser around bum-puffing, waiting, and the small pleasures you hold dear when you work in office.

And with that simple tool of simplicity, everything that Heart Beach quietly whisper is a boom. When you’re a band like Heart Beach, loaded with inherent sorrow, its the little things that count the most. This is an album focused purely on the little things, and for that, this unassuming record has become one of the most powerful of the year.

5. Gang of Youths – The Positions

The accompanying story to The Positions makes it clear that it was always an album that was going to be made. It’s a testament to the band’s ability that what they have made is so good. Pivoting between enormous waves of Springsteen arena-ready rock and intimate moments  that could easily belong on a Joni Mitchell record, the thing that holds these changes together is frontman Dave Le’aupepe bare honesty. Put in the same position, there’s no fucking way I’d be comfortable sharing  ideas like suicide, critical levels of self-doubt and watching the person you love the most slowly dying in front of you. But that’s what Gang of Youths do, and its a jaw-dropping experience of an album because of that.

The Positions isn’t just an album that’s captivating because of its story, or because of how a person is telling the story, or because of the musical accompaniment, but a sum of these amazing parts. Do yourself a favour, and sit down with this album. Don’t get distracted, don’t listen to just the singles, listen to all of it. By the end of that run-time, if you’ve done it properly, The Positions will have hit you like a fucking train has ploughed through your soul, and you’ll be thankful for it.

Full Review of Gang of Youths’ The Positions

4. Roland Tings – Roland Tings

Here’s a good reason why Year End Lists matter – without Mess + Noise’s ‘Best Songs of 2013’ article, I never would’ve found Roland Tings. Since hearing “Tomita’s Basement”, I’ve been devoted to everything he’s put out. It’s just the smoothest music in the land right now, exotic soundscapes made by a bonafide genius.

Roland Tings’ debut is one that just keeps on giving, whether it be the hyperactive, salivating “Pala”, which sounds like Tings recorded synths over the best pool party ever, the cavernous “Cultural Canal” or the tantalising squelch of “Coming Up For Air”. Roland Tings made a party record that is universal, a protege extension of Todd Terje’s thrilling music. It is so easy to get lost in this album, but when its a record this flamboyant, diverse and fun, you’ll never want to get out.

Full Review of Roland Tings’ Roland Tings

3. Power – Electric Glitter Boogie

Putting on Electric Glitter Boogie, you get hit with the same feeling that accompanied people hearing Raw Power and Teenage Hate for the first time. There’s a carnal, primitive energy that only hits rock music every now and then, a spark that sounds like someone throwing a toaster in a bathtub.

Electric Glitter Boogie is unrelenting in its mission to seek and destroy what was previously the most maddening rock to scorch this Earth. Every song wreaks complete destruction, proto-punk missiles sinking their teeth into your very being and thrashing around, until your as cold and lifeless as all the other victims. When Power scream, they flatten their surroundings to patches of dirt. Power make me want to put my hand in a blender, and laugh all the way to the emergency room. They’ve made the most maniacal, demented, absurd ode to real rock music capable, and if you have any interest in the carnivorous power of guitar, you need to indulge in this album. Power’s title doesn’t just ring true, it redefines the meaning.

Full Review of Power’s Electric Glitter Boogie

2. Blank Realm – Illegals in Heaven

A year later, and Blank Realm are still on top – their 2014 masterpiece Grassed Inn seemed like an unbeatable benchmark for the group, but here we are: Illegals in Heaven is Blank Realm’s SECOND magnum opus.

There’s not a song on this album that isn’t a total winner, even if they incite that reaction for different reasons. “No Views” cries victory for its chugging riffs and squealing keytar, whilst “Palace of Love” and “River of Longing” triumph with their stories of lost love that are so intimate, yet could also apply to millions of relationships out there. And “Gold” remains possibly the best song Blank Realm have ever written, and in following logic, that means its one of the best Australian songs ever written.

Illegals in Heaven isn’t a perfect album, it is the perfect album. There is so much here to fall in love with, a constant stream of discovering new points in the album to exclaim, “Well, fuck me, that’s got to be the best thing ever recorded!”. It’s an album to be listened to with friends, with strangers, by yourself, at the pub, at a party, at a funeral, at the fucking fish and chip shop – there is no situation to far fetched or ordinary that Illegals in Heaven wouldn’t make the perfect companion to. Buy this album, hold it close, and severe all ties with anyone who tries to “borrow” it.

Full Review of Blank Realm’s Illegals in Heaven

1. Royal Headache – High

There’s a whole list of reasons as to why High is the best and most important record of 2015. It sees one of Australia’s arguably greatest contemporary band return to form after a three year absence, it sees them extend and explore beyond what they became so well known for, it followed one of the best performances the Opera House has ever been privy to, and Iggy Pop really liked it.

But the main reason why Royal Headache top this pretty irrelevant list is because High wins from sheer listenability. And isn’t that precisely what a good record should be? I’ve listened to this album more than any other this year, so much so that I’ve worn out my first copy and had to order a second one. I love it so much that I’m terrified to write about it, because I know I won’t even get close to describing how good it is.Whatever your rating system is, 10 stars, 5 flaming guitars, A/B/C/D, whatever…High doesn’t just take out the highest possible rating, it expunges that system from existence, and sits glowering atop the rubble.

The way Royal Headache punch through song after song, bringing the house down every two minutes or so – that’s exactly what drew me to liking music in the first place. High incites a reaction in me that hits so close to the bone that I’m embarrassed to even talk about it. This sounds like raving, but it’s important, at least to me, to express how much of total fucking masterpiece this record is. If there’s anyone out there with a doubt of how good a band can possibly be, chuck on this Royal Headache album, and feel all your cynicism at modern music fade away.

Full Review of Royal Headache’s High 

Album Review: WOODBOOT – CRIME TIME

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The other day, I’m at the pub, chewing on a Resch’s and hating myself, when I hear some bloke from the other end of the bar utter these blasphemous words: “Yeah, nah, look, punk’s dead, mate”. I look down, full of shame and pity, harrowed to the bone. When all of a sudden, I’m inspired by the iTunes artwork of “Nerd Holocaust” by Brisbane’s WOODBOOT (it should be mentioned that when you’re drinking at the pub by yourself, it’s best to chuck in your earphones and stare at your iPod, so it looks like you might actually have the mirage of a social life). An epiphany strikes me like one of Zeus’ bolts. I’ve been shot through the heart, and WOODBOOT are to blame. Sure, I could tap the bloke on the shoulder, and engage in a friendly debate on the merits of punk’s existence roughly 30 – 40 years after its inception. Or I could re-enact the front cover of my new favourite punk album, and bludgeon the shit out of some unlucky bastard, whilst yelling “PUNK IS ALIVE AND WELL, LISTEN TO WOODBOOT YA DAFT FUCK!”. I’m recreating the bloodiest scene from Drive, (Gosling = Saar), and entrails fly across the walls like a teenager emptying their guts after a six pack of cruisers. I stand – triumphant, ecstatic, victorious – a copycat killer motivated by a punk record as vicious as my crime. Now, I’m sitting in prison, facing life with no parole, orange jump suit still reeking of death.

 

That story is complete shit, but if there were a new record out there that could inspire a violent murdering spree, it’d be WOODBOOT’s CRIME TIME. There aren’t too many records like this in Aus anymore, who place extremity over everything. I don’t mean extreme in terms of literal action, like a black metal band burning down a church, or GG Allin pissing and shitting his way through a set. I mean it in the sense that WOODBOOT care about one thing – inciting a reaction, which they achieve violently. CRIME TIME charges for its running length, and constantly finds new ways to keep injecting the listener with excitement. Punk records have a habit of burning out, but WOODBOOT churn with intent, on a mission to seek out that one kid in a million and push them to their most bombastic state possible.

Songs like “Nerd Holocaust”, “Suicide Solution” and “I’m Gonna Push You In Front of A Car” channel that classic punk snarl that made bands like The Victims, Dead Boys and Angry Samoans. Any fat is trimmed so that only the barest, bloodiest, and unrelenting of sounds remain, chainsaw guitars coupled with the sort of stabbing shouts that define release. After finishing with CRIME TIME, there isn’t just exhaustion, but buckets of sweat and the need to find even more punk music that sounds exactly as brutal as this. If you’re in need of a musical enema, to clear out all the shit clogging up your record collection, do yourself a favour and chuck on WOODBOOT.

You can grab CRIME TIME for a name-your-price download, or you can grab the record from your local.

New: Roland Tings – Hedonist (Alba Remix)

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Alba don’t pulsate, they throb. Boom, boom, boom, thunking away at your temple, gnawing at the base of your spine. Their originals are spot on masterclasses in morbid beats, but their remix work is fantastic as well, often warping the original into a form of deadly, malleable steel, kinda like the equivalent of the guy from Terminator 2. Check out their take on Oscar Key Sung’s “All I Could Do” and Elizabeth Rose’s “The Good Life” for evidence.

Here, they latch onto Roland Tings’ latest track, “Hedonist”, taking the song’s original pleasure = everything atmosphere, and dragging it into some deeper depths. It feels like a crocodile (saltwater, obviously) slithering just below the surface of the water, lumbering towards prey, clasping some jaws around the tropical beast’s neck and submerging it beneath the surface. It’s a jerky, thudding, steamy spread of electronica and you’d better do what’s right and click that little download button.

PS: Roland Tings is playing this Saturday at Howler in Melbourne – get along to it if you feel like casually witnessing one of Australia’s premiere electronic musicians at work.

Video: Empat Lima – Bowie On the Beach

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Before “Bowie on the Beach”, hypnotism was just some bullshit that terrible magicians would practise at the dodgy ends of the Strip in Las Vegas. Now, it’s more real than ever – I am bent to Empat Lima’s command.

Seriously, do yourself a favour, a succumb to the neon post-punk of this band. Allow yourself to get drawn deeper and deeper into the sheer absurdity of their music. It’s a shimmering mirage, a heatstroke injection into pop that you cannot afford to miss out on. Invest. Believe. Synergy. Empty Lima.

Hell, I ain’t yet to told you about the video yet. Smattered with the kind of colourful haze that clouds your vision right before you throw up all the three-month old milk, the clip for “Bowie On the Beach” has to be one of the best videos released this year. It’s like Eric Warehaim directed Point Break. There are conk shells, cannonballs, and dolphin races, all smothered in that distorted, disturbing, delicious haze. It’s funny, it’s weird, and it’s kinda brilliant  – there is absolutely nothing more you could want from a video.

Empat Lima – you are fucking awesome. Please never leave.

New: The Gooch Palms – Tiny Insights

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Poor Newcastle – the Knights came in dead last in the comp, and they haven’t won a premiership in over a decade! Things are looking dire, the people need a hero, but all three Johns (Andrew, Matty, Daniel) are all looking like pretty dodgy candidates these days.

Enter the unlikeliest of heroes – The Gooch Palms. In just under 12 months, Newy’s finest have relocated to the USA, played with everyone from No Age to Cumstain, travelled the country enough to make Lewis and Clark crosseyed, and still had enough time to get their debut album re-released on Burger Records. If anyone was going to stand out as role models for these Newy kids, the nude, costume-centric, guitar thrashing duo of The Gooch Palms couldn’t be more perfect.

Wait, fuck, I’m not even done yet…They’ve ALSO recorded a new album, which will be released on their own label at some point next year.Check out “Tiny Insights”, a return to the stomping, simple format that made everyone fall in love with this band in the first place. Leroy yelps and squeals, churning out a guttural riff that could’ve been plied from the cold, dead hands of a Ramone, whilst Kat smashes the shit out of the drums like she’s stapled the faces of her enemies into the skins. It’s brittle, boney garage done right, smashed out and sounding as ramshackle and fun as ever.

PS – THE GOOCH PALMS WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR!!!! They’ll be tearing a new one at The Vic on the Park Hotel on the 1st of January, as well as playing a headline show at OAF on the 25th of Feb, with Los Tones and Wildhoney.