Video: POND – Elvis’ Flaming Star

POND have always been a band with a penchant for the theatrical song titles. “Betty Davis (Will Come Down From the Heavens to Save Us” anyone? But this time round, “Elvis’ Flaming Star” is a succinct and powerful name, in the exact same way the song in question is.

Once again POND are stretching themselves into another gooey form, a psychedelic shapeshifter, and this time round, they’re like Saturn’s version of David Bowie. That’s not just because of the alien goggles and barrage of coloured slime in the video either. They’re euphoric and funky, breaking the rules in a glammy and extraordinary way the same way Bowie did way back when. And they’re doing it in this completely alien fashion, dissolved and freaky sounding from the core. Chuck that “Bohemian Rhapsody”-like roller coaster theatrics next to a video of VHS madness consisting of nature beating the shit out of man, and POND’s galavanting return is a welcome one. They make psych music not boring, and that’s a feat a lot harder than it sounds like.

Video: Pissed Jeans – Boring Girls

Think back to a time before Total Punk and Ausmuteants existed, before you could get decent fucked up punk music delivered to you as easily as ordering a heart-attack inducing Domino’s Pizza. That time was 2005, when Myspace was still relevant, and Alexisonfire where inexplicably a ‘punk band’. It was also when Pissed Jeans, a band with a name to rival our own Slug Guts, released their debut record ‘Shallow’, a fiery brew of sneering, bloody music that could only be played on loud speakers.

Sub Pop is going to re-release ‘Shallow’ (they’re also doing a Sleater-Kinney boxset, hey), and they’ve made a cool lil’ video to go along with the searing “Boring Girls”. It’s a searing bludgeoning deathknell, accompanied by the most brutal microphone batterings since ‘Damaged’. But with “Boring Girls”, there’s an added menace in the chorus and depraved lyrics.

The video is fucking amazing as well. Fucking amazing. There are multiple switches from suit to PJ’s for our unlikely, creepy protagonist. There’s a whole bunch of supernatural shit that goes down and scares the shit out of the same guy who was dumb enough to have a date around the same place that he stores a photograph of said date. SILLY BRO! A bunch of horrific shit goes down that makes American Horror Story’s gimp suit guy seem like a badly rendered Runescape goblin.

Album Review: Andras & Oscar – Café Romantica

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‘Café Romantica’ was the perfect name for Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung’s debut collaborative album. Neither are strangers to working in teams, with Oscar Key Sung’s fantastic work as Oscar + Martin, and Andras Fox’s butt-wiggling ride of Fox + Sui. Both artists have had extensive and profitable solo careers, with Andras Fox laying down multiple records that have garnered him instant fame and jealousy, and Oscar Key Sung dropping an EP earlier this year that sent the Internet alight. But when the two combine, and lose the classic collaboration ‘+’ symbol for the more sophisticated ‘&’, Andras & Oscar turn into a project with serious groove potential. Listening to this album makes you want to dance the night away with your best mates, and maybe even find that love interest that your fortune cookie assured you was going to happen.

But back to why ‘Café Romantica’ is the perfect name for Andras & Oscar’s introduction to the world. The name encapsulates the laid-back and easy-going nature of the record. It’s not trying to  break any world records, or start any arguments. It’s small-time feel good stuff for the culture guide. Oscar Key Sung’s vocals causing flames of infidelity to lick the insides of your partner is about as controversial as this album gets. Still, there’s something about the mixture of these musicians that pricks the ears, something to do with their subtly different styles. Andras Fox is eye-catchingly cultured and European, whilst Key Sung makes for more of a doe-eyed dreamboat, a young Johnny Depp to Fox’s Marion Cotillard.

But they work together exceptionally well, a chemistry blossoming the likes the musical world haven’t seen since Metallica and Lou Reed thrust themselves upon each other. For a less jokey reference, think of collaborations like Divine Fits, or Black Vanilla, where the sum of parts creates something that increases the talents of both parties. Something new is formed, something gloriously simple, and it becomes insane to think that this album wasn’t released earlier.

On “French Twist”, a beckoning finger extends through the funkiest bass lines this side of Parliament Funkadelic, but they waft along with these sappy synth works, and Key Sung’s alluring vocals. And the lightly twirling refrain of “We can talk it over” is battered down with some expert lounge sounds that wouldn’t be out of place in an opium den. The standout of “Everytime I Go” are thrusting in their bravado, but they’re bolted down with gently swaying ticks and tocks, clicks snaking along to tapping neon synths. Heartbreak sidles along with comfort in an intimate environment.

It really should be noted that whilst Oscar Key Sung provides the brilliant vocals, Andras Fox’s production cannot be understated. On standout “Looking Back”, when OKS looks on in a forlorn croon, the twinkling electronica and bass, that Fox most likely provided, turns a sobering R&B jam into something that is easily danceable, an added dimension that makes a dancefloor of a difference. The instrumentals, especially “Tutorials” also have that Fox charm surrounding them, and help introduce a little bit of plain gorgeousness.

Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung have to be some of the most talented future exports Australia has. On their own, they’re perfectly fine specimens of Australian music. But together, they’ve created a sharp and leisurely effort that will be able to satisfy most. They help each other, build off their own sounds, and slap each other with influence and progression.At ‘Café Romantica’, Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung are a special combination of lust, heartbreak, style and cool. It’s sophisticated pop at its best.

‘Café Romantica’ is out now on Chapter Music and Dopeness Galore. Andras & Oscar play together at Cut Copy’s curated Melbourne Music Week show, on Saturday 15th November, along with Roland Tings and NO ZU.

New Electronic Music: Bonobo + NO ZU + Broadway Sounds

Wubba wub-wub wub, Diplo is God. Now that I have the attention, follow me on a journey of awesome new electronic stuff:

Bonobo – Flashlight

Bonobo’s been around for a long time, and is one of the most critically acclaimed electronic artists. He doesn’t resort to gimmicks or cheap tricks with his music, but creates these amazing soundscapes that draw from a multitude of inspirations. “Flashlight” is his latest, and is a well of samples, layer upon layer of sounds balancing on each other, like a Cirque du Soleil of electronic music.

NO ZU – Raw Vis Vision

Like a PNAU lost in the woods, NO ZU (kind of an ironic name, considering they sound like a tribal jungle gathering dressed in neon). Cracking in at six and a half minute, “Raw Vis Vision” is a smooth marathon, flippant bongos and eclectic bass rhythms run through a funky-as-fuck tune with plenty of swaying potential. If Stevie Wonder had been stuck in the Amazon for decades, and then came back with a funkified version of the Hula that involved a lot of whistle blowing, “Raw Vis Vision” would probably be the closest thing to that hypothetically amazing creation.

Broadway Sounds – Something Sensual

If you’re a fan of this new-wave of throwback electro-pop that’s arisen in Australia (i.e Collarbones, Retiree Client Liaison), prepare your mind for the next massive thing. Your eyes won’t believe what they ‘re seeing, and your ears will melt in seduced pleasure. Squelchy beats flashing across a we plateau of laser synths, and bubbles of sound rising and popping everywhere, “Something Sensual” is a steam bath of hedonism.

Tie that down with an awesomely DIY video, that’s part intro’s to 80’s porn, part superimposed burlesque party involving synthesisers , and part fan-fiction from the mind of a depraved alternate-universe David Hasselhoff, Broadway Sounds are going to be massive, especially off the back of something like “Something Sensual”.

Video: Richard In Your Mind – Shooting Star

If the Mighty Boosh came out of the Blue Mountains, then their intro probably would’ve come around a lot more like the latest Richard In Your Mind clip. Bathed in sensual psychedelica, “Shooting Star” has a video that is basically that one credits sequence from James Bond, but instead of people getting shot etc. bearded guys with sultry vocals and glitchy guitars wind around a visual escapade of Australia’s territories and outer space.

Sound interesting enough for ya? RIYM play a free show tonight at the Lansdowne Hotel, launching their new album ‘Ponderosa’. Entry is FREE, and Fabergettes and Raindrop support, with Palms’ Al-Di DJ’s rocking on late into the night.

Video: Step-Panther – It Came From the Heart

A couple weeks back Step-Panther released a bonafide masterpiece, one of the finest records to have graced the ears of us mere mortals. I could go on, but the main gist is that a couple of shredders who love to play music ended up creating an honest document of what it’s like to have your life crumble around you. It was a diverse, progressive step for one of my favourite bands, and I was genuinely blown away by how great they sound. Right now, Step-Panther are like our down-to-earth version of Parquet Courts.

They’ve gone ‘n’ done a video for their track “It Came From the Heart”, that’s half-haunted house ride, half-shlock B-Movie drive-in genius. Vegetarians rejoice, you’ve got nothing to worry about. For the rest of you, just…just don’t fucking walk into an abandoned house, practice for a bit, and then devour the greasy remains of a chook. Because a giant beast will stab you and let your disembodied head wander around space and time for eternity. Actually, that’s a pretty fucking rock and roll way to go. Turn the sound off, and Step-Panther turn from scuzz heroes to Wollongong replicas of the self-destructive likes of Motley Cru and KISS. Devil Horns!

New: Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders – Her Hands

I think a lot of people were expecting something just as dark and moody as Ladder’s previous record ‘Hurtsville’. But on the first two singles, “Come On Back this Way” and the just released “Her Hands”, it’s become obvious that Jack Ladder is going hard-out on the synth vibes. Maybe it’s the Dreamlanders, Ladder’s trusty trio of a backing band, culminated from Sydney talents Laurence Pike of PVT, Donny Benet, and Kirin J. Callinan, exerting some influence.  The Afro-beats that soar on “Her Hands” showcase Ladder entering a new direction that I’m sure folks will be able to get around faster than my romantic relationships blossom and crash (i.e: instantaneously). With a cool little synth line in here that could’ve come from a futuristic kung-fu movie, Jack Ladder looks to be going for his third AMP nomination, and hopefully his first win. You can’t turn down genius like his that many times!

Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders play Newtown Social Club on November 13th, with Geoffrey O’Connor, cya there.

Video: Lowtide – Wedding Ring

Lowtide released one hell of a record earlier this year, a mesmerising chant of overdriven guitars sliding in next to absolutely stunning vocal interplay. They’ve gone and released the video for their single “Wedding Ring”, one of the best dream-pop songs of recent memory, and to summarise, it shows that the band love themselves some cacti. Can’t get enough of the spiky monstrosity. Seriously, the whole thing is fucking dedicated to the desert’s green devil. Obviously, I’ve got a bit of a vendetta against cacti, but Lowtide make up for it.

Video: Grinding Eyes – It’s All To Strange

Grinding Eyes are going to be Sydney’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. That’s not meant to mean that these guys are a ripoff, because they aren’t. What I mean is that Grinding Eyes are going to be Sydney’s version of a really fucking awesome garage-infused pysch band. We’ve already come close, but never really perfected it.The Laurels can get a bit too psych-y, and Spirit Valley are too heavy to be garage, but Grinding Eyes are hitting the nail on the head.

On “It’s All To Strange” they infuse droning rhtyhms that Dead Meadow would like to steal, then chuck a bunch of haunting guitars that are basically the audio equivalent to a spirit doing the moonwalk. There’s also this amazing organ line that could’ve come from a Nuggets compilation, but slowed down to devouring purposes. Chuck vocals in there, that are layered with grime, and a flurry of images that include Shaft, car demolitions and a sprinkled orgy of intertwining colours, and Grinding Eyes do themselves proud on their first video.

New: The Friendsters – AWOL

Earlier this year, The Friendsters released a searing 7″, a post-punk maelstrom wrapped up in glaring lyrics. The spindly “Revenge is the Best Revenge” featured an insane chorus that was like a banshee screaming bloody murder.

Out of the blue, The Friendsters announced a new track, and they’ve also gone with…fuck it’s a cliche and hard to type, but they’ve changed up the sound a bit. It’s like The Beach Boys being assassinated, and this is the sound that a choir sings as the band ascend to heaven (or hell, The Beach Boys did some fucked up shit). It’s masquerading as a happy song, with the jangly guitar, the refrains of love and “Ooo-ahh-ooh”. But underneath it, the lyrics point to the band that released those stoic straightforward classics.

The Friendsters end up doing a killer update of a lost Beat Happening song, with a verse that goes “One day he went away/but he never came back again/they said he took a bullet to the brain/and they never covered his remains”. Sound like something you’d be pretty keen on listening to? That’s known as a ‘rhetorical question’ for all the kids who’ve just finished the HSC English exams. Shoutouts to myself from a year ago.

The Friendsters support Old Mate at Black Wire, this Saturday, 18 October.