Encounters by Angie Bermuda

If you’ve involved yourself at all in the wonderful musical world that Australia has to offer, chances are that you’ve happened across Angie. She’s great. A bit of a legend. She’s been in a number of logic-defying bands like Kiosk and Circle Pit, and currently stands tall as a member of Straight Arrows, Southern Comfort, Ruined Fortune, GLOSS and her own solo material under the moniker of Angie. Whenever people infuriatingly say, “Oh, there’s no women in Sydney music”, after shredding them to pieces for their outright fuckwit-edness, it’s too easy to point towards Angie’s direction as a starting point for some of the most interesting music to be emerging in Australia.

Beyond sheer musical talent, Angie has drifted into a myriad of other mediums. She released her debut film, ‘Garish Hearts’ last year, and has directed music videos for the likes of Holy Balm, and her own projects. She’s also an accomplished artist, having her works displayed as part of the ‘Cut.Paste.Repeat’ exhibition happening right now.

But what I’m about to share succeeds all of this. Angie is now a poet. A storyteller, a fabricator of experience through the power of words. That might sound a bit of a flourish, but Angie has made herself a book she can be damn proud of, and that you should bother with.

Angie has always been a fantastic writer – this in particular is essential – but she’s printed and bound a series of her poetry specifically for the you and me to enjoy. And enjoy you will, fucker, because ‘Encounters’ is top notch. Each poem takes up a mere page, so if you find it all too consuming, just do it a page at a time.

But that doesn’t seem like a likely outcome. Her writing style is dark, brooding, comforting and sharp. The sentences are punctual, lower case, subdued and wrap their knuckles against your brain, her thoughts thumbing quietly from page to page. Her desires to fit in, belong and connect are laid bare in an honest, easy-to-understand way, measured and careful, precise but flowing fluently. ‘Encounters’ is about those surreal moments, where nothing fits together but is so too close to give up on. It’s Lynchian, terrified but soft and cradled.

There’s only 100 copies of ‘Encounters’ drifting around, so make sure you get your hands on one before they sell out. If you like to read poetry, ensure that this shoots to the top of your reading list. Grab a copy here, and make sure to like Ruin Press, Angie’s new publishing group. There’s some exciting stuff on the horizon here, including some writings from Jack Lee (Beef Jerk/Jack Lee)

New: Power – Slimy’s Chains

There’s only one rule, man, and that you gotta be cool to be cool. And there’s nothing cooler than Cool Death Records. They’ve got the best punk roster going round, a bonafide bulletproof list of the best bands to shred a stage. Amongst the ranks are Dribble, Soma Coma, Gutter Gods, Leather Lickers and Velvet Whip. But it’s Power that really punches through vital organs and emerges through your back with a bloody spleen in hand. And as they rightfully fucking should: this band is incredible. In. Fucking. Credible. Better than Netflix. Better than 4/20. Better than a Best of Gary Busey compilation.

Power are a supreme force, a blinding hail of guitar that ricochets around your skull like a ball trapped in a possessed pinball machine. It’s The Stooges meets Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments meets Golden Pelicans, riffs blazing a trail of fiery punk attitude that suckles at a demon’s teet. The howls implemented here are cackles ripped from a forgotten time, and the pounding fury of “Slimy’s Chains” is both biblical and terrifying.

New: LSD Ratkings – Taringa

Only 5 songs that don’t even break 15 minutes, Brisbane’s LSD Ratkings create the sort of dissonant garage that most bands like to think that they make. Both crushingly despairing, and as sparkly as the counters at the end of a BAM! And The Dirt Is Gone commercial, LSD Ratkings make punk songs that would be equally at home in the centre of a raucous house party, and bouncing off the walls of the room of the kid who wasn’t invited to the house party.

Taking cues from Ty Segall, Jay Reatard and the rest of the gang, LSD Ratkings are melodic garage caked in nasal vocals and more fuzz that Chewbacca’s pubes. Fuck, can things get more complimentary than that? Quit lazing around and prowling for another human being desperate enough to want to bump uglies with you, and grab this cassette.

New: Tangrams – In Love/Ephemeral 7″

Brisbane is usually the go-to #hotspot for the best goth music – Gazar Strips, Bat Nouveau, Multiple Man and 100% to name just a few. But Melbourne is having it’s day in the sun, even though the perpetrators of the greatness sound like they’d much rather prefer to be in a pitch-black room, huddled next to some skull, or whatever it is post-punkers get up to these days.

Tangrams are as sinister a proposition as letting Charles Manson babsit your kids, a toxic mixture of HTRK and Gang of Four. Tangrams are a colossal drowning of post-modern noise and uncomfortable chugging that’ll make you squirm in your seat faster than your parents talking about their sex lives.

New: Hedge Fund – Look Who’s Back

Do yourself a favour. Do yourself a FUCKING favour, and listen to this behemoth of indie rock anthem. If this song was a fish in the deep blue sea, you know what it would be called? It’d be called a tune-a. Do you get it? It’s like tuna, but it’s spelt tune-a, because it’s a song. Classic!

Look, just because you can’t appreciate some high-brow comedy GOLD doesn’t mean you can’t get onto this. It’s as icy as the heart of any ex-girlfriend, and as soaring and encasing as any mega-hit from the indie-rock canon. It recalls the pop side of new wave – Psychedelic Furs, PiL, maybe even a little Echo & the Bunnymen. Good shit but, and with a chorus catchier than a case of crabs at a sex addict meeting. It’s hard to make WWII sound good, but Hedge Fund made a way.

New: Cosmic Psychos – Better, Not Bitter

I wasn’t aware of the Cosmic Psychos (who will henceforth be known as THA FARKIN’ PSYCHOS) until I was 17. That’s incredibly wrong. How could someone refuse me that right, that raw privilege of knowing the best Aussie band of all time. Up there with Eddy Current, Birdman, The Drones and GOD, THA FARKIN’ PSYCHOS eluded me throughout my formative years.

NO MORE! I’m alive and aware of THA FARKIN’ PSYCHOS, and not only do they continue to exist, but they are thriving! They’ve just released the brand spankin’ new “Better, Not Bitter”, which despite its title giving the assumption that THA FARKIN’ PSYCHOS are returning, it makes it very clear that they never left in the first place. They open with a chant that only THA FARKIN’ PSYCHOS could pull off, something as instantly hilarious and heinous as anything uttered in “David Lee Roth”, or “Lost Cause”. It doesn’t take too much stretching of the imagination to see a crowd belting out “FUGGIN’ BULLSHIT MAAAATE” at the next FARKIN’ PSYCHOS gig. Don’t believe me? Press play, and feel the skin melt off your face at the sheer howling volume from the return of one of the best bands this fair country has belched into existence.

Album Review: Gang of Youths – The Positions

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Gang of Youths are fifty shades of fucked. Hold up, stay with us here. Don’t go typing on your Tumblr about how your old mate Rye Rye is ripping into your new favourite band. Keep your head straight, they’re my new favourite band as well. Shut your trap, listen up. There’s good stuff going on here, you just need to keep reading.

As we all know, the word ‘fuck’, being the glorious word it is, has about a million different connotations and meanings behind it. In this scenario, the Sydney group known as Gang of Youths employ a mere fifty of them. Impressive, especially when none of these connotations are in the negative.

The first of many of these ‘fucks’ are exclaimed over and over again, with slack-jawed awe, at the sheer goodness and scope of the songs available on ‘The Positions’, their debut record. As someone who finds this absolutely bloody hilarious, the knee-jerk reaction to seeing something released on a major label is to balk, scoff and think of the closest adjective to ‘shit’ that one can apply to the band. But Gang of Youths are too solid, too resonating in their ability to craft a great song. Over the course of nearly an hour, Gang of Youths hammer home some of the most enticing indie-rock that man is capable of wringing to life. I, the epitome of ignorance, has somehow come round to adoring a major-label group. That’s fucked, right?

But it’s not really. Gang of Youths have made a brilliant fucking album, and to deride that would be to shit on the face of good music. This here record carries heartbreak with poise; evocative, emotional songwriting uplifted through crystal production. Each guitar riff is like the distilled waters of Babylon, each chorus a shout along moment. There’s plenty to celebrate here, from the belying anthem of “Radioface”, to the thumping shuffle of “Poison Drum”, to the spine-tingling keystrokes of “Restraint & Release”. There’s not a song on here that doesn’t hit squarely, with a particularly unique force for an indie rock album. That’s fucked, right?

Once again, not really. The story behind ‘The Positions’ isn’t exactly one that can be applied to many. A marriage that’s been born beneath cancer, and then dissolved. Fuck, even typing that is like a weight getting dropped onto one’s back, like those anvils from Looney Tunes cartoons. The more you peer into the lyrics of the songs on ‘The Positions’, the more the powerful facade of the band fades, and the more you want to receive a giant fucking hug. The song “Magnolia” is a perfect example – bright, simmering guitars mingle with strings, and there’s a bold chorus that makes you want to raise your fist in the fucking air, and chant some goddamn lyrics! But those lyrics are, “There’s no way to lie, as far as I know/if heaven won’t take me, then I’m staggering home”. It’s about a suicide attempt. That’s fucked, right?

For a final fucking time, no, not really. ‘The Positions’ is astonishing in its honesty. But more than that, it’s astonishing in its ability to connect so easily. It’s a brave, soulful record, that puts everything on the line, and does it well, with everything perfectly in measure. To go through what this band has gone through, and come out the other side with such a raw, pure and excellent album…that’s shit that doesn’t happen. Nope, that’s fucked. That’s truly fucked. This record is completely fucked, in the best way possible. It’s fifty shades of fucked, and you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Do yourself a favour, and get a copy of this record. Or see Gang of Youths at Oxford Art Factory on Friday 15th May.

New: The Zeds – Al Dente Moments

You ever seen a Z-movie? Not a B-Movie, or a C-Movie, but a straight up Z-Movie? Bruh. BRUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHH. These things are what make life worth living. ‘The Room’ for example – this creature of stunning idiocy is probably the closest thing to a caption of the modern condition that will ever exist.

Sydney’s The Zeds take that Z-Movie aesthetic of lo-fi basicness, but instead of creating a baffling subgenre that people love to hate, they’ve made an EP to love because it’s pretty rad. It’s casual, ramshackle guitar pop, four songs that don’t stretch for longer than a couple of minutes. Covering the usual subject of getting your heart beaten up, The Zeds defy their name with a case for the real goddamn catchy. Plus, old mate’s voice makes a strong stance to be the next Don “Thunder Throat” LaFontaine

Video: Death Bells – You, Me and Everyone In Between

Sure, it’s only their debut single, and they’re from Sydney, ‘Straya, and not Brooklyn, ‘Murica, but how the fuck is this not being released by Captured Tracks? The guys are falling perfectly into the vein of the amazing acts that that label pushes out so consistently, like Wild Nothing, Craft Spells, DIIV and Blouse.

This is just straight up excellent dream-pop brilliance. There’s no two ways around it, mate. This song is just straight up fucking gorgeous. Makes me want to find love, or better yet, take a shower. It’s been three days since I’ve put on pants and seen sunlight, and “You, Me & Everyone In Between” makes me want to return to being a normal human being.

Video: Pat Chow – Pleasure Unit

Pat Chow are gonna be huge. I can feel it in my loins. As soon as that grumbling bass belches “Pleasure Unit” into existence, you just have that innate knowledge that Pat Chow are gonna be big. Everything about this song is right. From the way that Pat Chow painstakingly build this sludgy grunge masterpiece into a squealing, untouchable masterpiece of angsty rock, getting every note, every ascent juuuuuuust fucking right…you know these dudes are onto something special. There’s a chemistry existing here, bubbling beneath the surface, that’s as vital, deadly and soon-to-be-as infamous as that of Walt and Jesse’s. They’re surely doing themselves some favours there with a (most likely unintentional) allusion to that pivotal desert scene in the first episode of Breaking Bad. And just like that mystical TV show, Pat Chow are going to take off into the highest echelon of pop culture. Watch ’em go, exploding like a badly-cooked batch of meth.