For those that aren’t great at interpreting accents in writing, that read New York Playlist. Why? Because I’m in the big fucking apple yo. And because New York has some of the greatest music of all time, it would be only right to honour the motherland of alternative music, and create a humble playlist in it’s honour. The kind of flow of this playlist is old school well known stuff, then moving to the 2000 era, hip-hop then underground garage/lo-fi/noise, some more well-known indie shit, and finally weird motherfuckers. All of it from New York, the home of How I Met Your Mother and Friends.
This is the latest from Bleeding Knees Club, one of Aus’s brightest garage rock wunderkids. Speaking of wunderkids, the whole superhero vibe is coming through pretty strong on their brand spanking new track. It could quite easily be the theme song for your average 90’s sitcom, like Malcolm in the Middle or Saved By the Bell. It shows that Bleeding Knees Club are going more in the garage-pop way of the tracks like ‘Girls Can Do Anything’ and ‘Let it Go’ from their debut, rather than the noisier, punker early stuff. Regardless of the change in direction, it sounds damn good, and an EP can’t be too far off. KEEN!
Skip to 45 seconds to get to any actual music, before that is all noise. This is the first visual taste of Youth Lagoon’s second album, ‘Wondrous Bughouse’. The son is a compilation of noise and lofty vocals, however the video is quite arresting. Featuring a young protagonist, he gets lost or some shit, and then walks into a house, meets Marilyn Monroe, and then everything goes to shit, like skulls and shit. It’s mildly entertaining.
‘Indigo Meadow’ is the most fully realised album The Black Angels have released to date. It’s equal parts Black Sabbath, Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Black Mountain and Big Black, with some black comedy and occult thrown in for good measure. The Black Angels, already a formidable force in modern psych music have upgraded themselves to undulating cult gods with this album. I don’t think I’ve ver used those words to describe a band before, so it’s a pretty bestowed term, and one that I think they fully deserve.
On ‘Indigo Meadow’, The Black Angels are fully in their own skin, making the album that ‘Phosphene Dream’ should have been. Not saying ‘Phosphene’ wasn’t incredible, it was; just saying that it had the potential to be better. Now, The Black Angels fully execute a range of dilated, tantalising, and creeping melodies, layered with fuzz, and reverb, and drenched in singer Alex Mass’ taunting, child-like voice. It’s like something out of the greatest horror movie ever made, like Friday the 13th Part XXIII: Jason Goes to Bandcamp. ‘Indigo Meadow’s’ constant droning guitars, deceptively snarled vocals, and drooling bass makes it a gorgeous combination of combusted and uniquely muddy mind-fuckery.
In terms of how it differentiates from past Black Angels albums, and how it progresses the pysch genre further, is that this album leans a little heavier on the garage part of the garage-pysch label. Whilst it’s always been an integral part of their sound, the band seem to have said fuck it, dropped the majority of their 13th Floor Elevators-inspired extended jams, and just re-defined the musical term pulsating. Every song stampedes through. Whereas previous sections would have been slowed down, the band goes against instinct, and rushes through, stomping like an elephant, and to great effect. This is shown on the shorter songs on the album, like title track ‘Indigo Meadow’ a brazen gurgler, and the swinging ‘The Day’ with shades of 60’s guitar fading grinding against the thumping washing machine of ‘Love Me Forever’. The band are having more fun as well, embracing their dark side but letting little spurts of cheek through. ‘Don’t Play With Guns’s chorus feels like it’s being sung by a group of kindergarteners chanting along to ‘Ring Around the Rosy’. And just like the subtext of that particular song, ‘Don’t Play With Guns’ has a menacing undertone. Luckily the wacked out reverb and slick tone makes it just a desirable song to shake your head to as an nursery rhyme. Likewise, in ‘Evil Things‘, ‘…that was done, when we were both people, doing people things, like collecting dreams…that was done when we were both blind, making what was mine,, killing all the time.’ Everything about the song, from the prowling bass, plucked verse line and droning chorus, belittling, wide eyed sneer, it’s all enveloped in an unsettlingly innocent texture that is anything but, however compels the listener to wallow deeper into the Black Angels madness.
Lastly, it’s the parts of The Black Angels that have always drawn their fans in that are just fucking nailed in ‘Indigo Meadow’. The warbling, gargantuan lines of wiggling sonic sounds produced from their guitars, fed through layer after layer of sound, the heavy, satanic bass screaming hollowly in the background, the clashes of melodrama punctuating every line (see ‘Always Maybe’), nothing sounds boring. And how could I forgot the organ?! The organ is haunting but driving, and a fundamental of a Black Angels atmosphere. It’s just straight up over-the-top rock n roll played in the most macabre way possible. Try listening to ‘Broken Soldier’ and not letting goosebumps form. You’ll feel like Shag and Scoob (ZOINKS!) within the first 30 seconds. ‘I Hear Colours’ is going to make you want to throw up whatever you ate most recently in cautious fear, and that’s only from hearing the lyrics and that ghostly, marching organ. ‘I can hear them everywhere, screaming by, glowing bright’ is delivered with such potent horror and macabre conclusion, it can only be described as impressive. Same goes for the entire album. My mortician’s hat goes off to these gods of horrifying and trancing psychedelica.
Contrary to the name, Jazz-Rat does not like Jazz. If you told him to play some Louis Armstrong, he’d put on the Tour De France. What an idiot! What a fool! What a buffoon! That’s enough insulting of the Jazz-Rat’s musical naivety. Despite not living up to his name, Jazz-Rat is a DJ, which he will take any opportunity to remind you of, and he is also a keen Michael Buble impersonator. Not fucking bad, I’d dare say Buble’s got some competition. The Voice has a new contender for Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden and Delta Good-head to slobber over. Because I love his lanky personality more than Darth Vader likes to choke his own soldiers, I compiled a compilation. At his request, there’s ‘a little bit of everything, cos I’m into everything, y’know, like not just electronic, but like, rock music as well’. So from the confines of The Mess Hall’s Aussie-bloke swagger, to Tame Impala’s (again, at his specific request) bombastic personification. There’s even the new Flume remix by Ta-ku and some Diplo and the Glitch Mob, because, you know, he’s a DJ (ladiezzzzzzz ;). Apologies in advance for the Pitchfork-y vibe halfway through.
1. Flume feat Chet Faker-Left Alone (Ta-ku Remix) (Available for Download)
8. Melt Yourself Down-We Are Enough (Free Download Available, this band will be huge)
Do you have any idea what it’s like to hold the very first output of a new Australian label? Forget holding a newborn baby, this shit goes deeper, waaaaay deeper. No, caressing Teenage Values’ debut release in my pudgy, mishappen fingers is akin to hanging out with Jesus for me. With recent releases including cassettes from Wax Witches and Step Panther, and Wax Witches’ debut album on vinyl and CD, Teenage Values’ can only go upwards, a fantastic fucking start from the label.
Anyway, onto the release, or TV-001 (I have a small shiver down my spine every time I see those words). The tape in question is a limited edition from Sydney local garage fun-lovers Bloods. With a name like Bloods it would be easy to assume that it’s your weird cousin’s heavy metal band that want to be Slayer so badly but end up more like Michael Buble with scraming. But instead, Bloods pack more fun loving, irreverent garage pop into their 2 minute tracks than Ball Park Music on pixie dust, and way less annoying. No, Bloods are more straightforward than anything that comes to the dirtiest mind. All they want to do is bash their instruments, twirl their voices in childish glee, and hopefully impress you, which they will, because it’s fucking Bloods.
Side One is actually a treat to listen to, two original tracks, and two covers. Opening with ‘This Town‘ it’s a bashed out, hurried track, attitude curving an awesome path harder than Tony Abbott carves the image of a dickhead. It’s little ooo-wah-wah-oooo’s give it a 60’s surfie vibe that I didn’t even know I missed until I heard it. The diverse covers of The Premiers ‘Farmer John’ and (holy shit) Sugababes ‘Freak Like Me’ are executed in style, with the Sugababes cover taking surprising superiority in tone and execution. I never would have thought that I’d take late 90’s contrived girl pop over some classic 60’s psych-garage, but Bloods have managed to prove me wrong.
They come off as a less uptight Sleater-Kinney, with garage-ness turned up to 11, Spinal Tap style, as ‘Into My Arms’ will attest. It’s impossible, literally impossible not to bop your head up and down and all around whilst Bloods play that jam. It harks in and out, a dance floor gem, like Calvin Harris’ cooler younger sister. The chorus even gets a little Dum Dum Girls, that’s how attractive and flower-poppy a track it is. To ensure they are the kings and queens of cool, they slide into a Spanish bopper ‘My Luchador’, and ‘Turn Blue’ and ‘That’s OK’ are absolute pearler little tracks that never flounder for a moment. The bass thumps, the drums reverberate, and the guitars bounce of the vocals creating a small but powerful tornado of sound straight from the 60’s.
With it’s trickling font, gaping wide mouth and intimidating name, Bloods doesn’t seem like the most delectable band for lovers of reminiscing of 1969 California beaches and trying to answer the age old question of what would The Beach Boys sound like if they came out in 1977? Bloods politely answer that question with a racket of irresistible, drippy garage pop, straight from the hometown of Sydney. Congratulations Teenage Values on picking up one of the Sydney’s best bands. GOLD COAST SCUM!
You can catch them playing on the Sydney leg of Dig It Up!, The Hoodoo Gurus curated Festival, and various dates playing support for The Rubens.
I have a friend, who has a ‘love’ for music. After perusing his iPod I was shocked at the amount of T.I and Ministry of Sound that I could find. That’s like a concoction for the death of a musical nerd. My eyes grew abundantly wider at every song that came up in Shuffle. Sure, there was some good shit, but there were no Flaming Lips. Imagine…a life without the madness inducing Wayne Coyne present….it’s an unfathomable nightmare. Being the douchebag I am, I rose to rectify the situation as quickly as possible (ASAP if you’re into abbreviations, A$AP Rocky if you’re into overhyped hip-hop acts), and showed him Dinosaur Jr.’s ‘Feel the Pain’. To ensure no more audio-induced disaster is bestowed upon his poor, blonde head, I’ve made him this.
If your idyllic album cover is a pyre of otherworldly bleakness, encircling a bloody pig’s head embedded on a spike, look no further for your future favourite album, Grave Babies ‘Crusher’. For those, and I believe I speak to the majority, who think that is mildly fucked up, read on for your next favourite gothic masterpiece. For yes, Grave Babies will be the next Cramps, not in sound (apparently they fucking hate being compared to other artists more than Rasputin hated being targeted for assassination) but in style and execution of glorious, frivolous, revelling music that is sure to capture the gothic crowd of 2013, and get them masturbating to something other than pictures of Robert Smith’s hair. In the recent history of post-gothic, post-punk, post-bullshit music of a dark nature, there was firstly Crystal Castles, followed by The Soft Moon, and now Grave Babies are taking their turn as the torchbearers, or rather pallbearers (ba-doom tisch) of these coffin-clad resonators known as Darkwave! (just to point out, Crystal Castles and The Soft Moon both have recently released albums, and both rock my pasty body to the core, it’s just that 2013 seems like a Grave Babies sorta year)
For the uninitiated, ‘Crusher’ might seem a swarthy mess, overloaded with coarse vocal abilities, howling mentality, and blistered riffs clunking over each other. Personally, that sounds like a great album to me, but it goes much further than that. There is diversity, and a forward thinking agenda to be discovered. ‘Count Cuts‘ is a head-lolling, love ballad disguised as a corpse. ‘Your crashing all around me/dig deeper into my sleep’ is just an example of the harrowing, blood-curdling lyrics that undercut the brilliant mournful cries of guitar curdling the song into a caption of heartbreak. It’s got a tear stained face permanently branded on it’s forehead, a standout in the album of noisy grief.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Well, it is, but it isn’t entirely delivered with a snarling gasp of desperate anguish. ‘Over and Under Ground‘ the first single from the album, is at times almost sort-of melancholy, delivered at a rolling, stamped out, factory pace, something that would play during the crux of a Charles Dicken’s novel. It’s a gory, curled blaster of a song, the highlight of the album, delivered with a snowed-in, apocalyptic tone, like a T-Rex that’s just discovered how short it’s arms are, and that all the other dinosaurs have been laughing about him behind his back. It’s hurt and harnessed, pulled back and pushing suppressed blasts of feedback. Another beautiful carcass of a track is ‘Pain Cycle’, which is literally a cycle of robotic, metallic-sheen loops stretched into a cavernous sound, propelling the listener to another dimension of the pain Grave Babies try to execute.
Overall, ‘Crusher’ depicts exactly what it wants to: an off-kilter romance, both longingly obsessed with the anguish, and excitedly fixated with expressing it in the most skelter-ish, mentally deranged way. It’s a true thing of beauty, clashing sounds subdued to a whisper, faraway vocals belted in a silent scream, minimalist sounds executed in deadly, bombastical succession. Could ‘Grave Babies’ have released a better album than ‘Crusher’, loaded with the hauntingly-drenched works of ‘Skulls‘, ‘Slaughter’, and ‘Death March‘? Probably not. It’s hellishly good pop for the jilted generation, an insulted work of black and white otherworldly decapitation, just like the album artwork.
Download ‘Over and Underground’ and ‘No Fear’ from Grave Babies’ Hardly Art page, and check out some of the other Hardly Art bands like Colleen Green, Unnatural Helpers and Australia’s own Lost Animal.
Summer is well and truly over, and shit is kicking in. Year 12 is looking to be an even bigger bitch of a year than every other one combined, especially with the results of my half-yearlys. Also, the weather is not dissimilar to that in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ in that it sucks balls. Jesus Christ Sydney, get your shit together! Anyway, in lieu of the major bummer that is April, this playlist is loaded with a bit more of a gothy, post-punk side. #doilooklikeigiveafuckthroughmyguyliner #TheCure4Lyf. But there’s also shitloads of the usual shitty garage and lo-fi, and a little bit of pop thrown in for good measure. Happy Birthday to Davos and Dasha!
10. No Joy-Hare Tarot Lies (<—–Download available)
13. GRRL Pal-Amazon (<———-THIS IS THE POP MUSIC, IT’S REALLY GOOD)
14. Prissy Clerks-Bruise or Be Bruised
15. Pony Face- Silver Tongue (<—– download available)
Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys own the title of Sydney’s best band name, and also have one of the best garage sounds this city has to offer. Taking their queues from The Replacements, these guys scream punk, then take a garage rock shit all over it while punk is trying to catch some z’s in the van between shows. This is their first clip showcasing their debut album ‘Ready for Boredom’, and by fuck do they look fucking bored. It’s like, woah man, woah, back off, we just wanted to play music, not tap into your bullshit, commercialist ya-ya-ya. Despite putting in minimal effort, I can’t help but watch the whole clip, partly to see if there’s an explosion or nudity at the end, or if they all start a massacre or something. Fucking whatever, it’s a great song off an even greater album. There’s been a re-pressing of it, that’s how great it is. A fucking re-pressing, that, like, totally falls into a capitalist agenda! You can start calling Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys sellouts….now. Do a butter commercial why don’t you!