Video: Simian Mobile Disco & Bicep-Sacrifice

Bit of nice house music for those that like that. Slow bass beats thumping against some synths and slick drum machines. Yes, slick is the way to describe this track, gliding superbly, another gem from the Simian Mobile Disco machine. Fuck Swedish House Mafia, why would you listen to that, when you have something as gentle and satisfying as this. The music video is pretty cool as well, mixing astronomy, animation, mathematics, and magic into a single awesome plot. Not only is the track black and white simplicity, but the video is as well.

Album Review: Elvis Depressedly-Holo Pleasures

Yes, like all the self-deprecating, celebrity-portmanteuing genius bands before them, from the Dandy Warhols to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elvis Depressedly are cool as shit. So, their latest album, or EP, whatever, ‘Holo Pleasures’ is an awesome listen. Absently minded melodies twirl through rays of comforting heartbreak and remorse.

The entire album, and indeed all Elvis Depressedly’s material is on the sombre side, in case you didn’t pick up on the ‘depressed’ part of their name. It reminds me of the time I heard a guy describe Elliot Smith as ‘Sad-core’. I don’t think Elvis Depressedly fit a pigeonholed description like that, or particularly sound like Elliot Smith, but there is a super suburban macabre element to their material. ‘Holo Pleasures’ sees them narrow that into a fixated and concentrated effort that sounds as polished as lo-fi is going to come off.

Slow, glazed guitar, in varying states of cleanliness grate patiently against main man Matt Cothron’s voice, that scratches the listener ever so gently, it’s like a mouse sobbing, albeit a fucking talented mouse. A track like ‘Inside You’ with it’s elegant, Pavement-esque style is the right kind of music for any fan of relaxation. With the garage wooo’s cliche slowed down about 1000 bpm to quaint hums, and crashing cymbals reduced to taps in the background, the no-fi mixing of this track creates  an above average love song. Couple this with the next track ‘Teeth’, with diluted vocals that waver almost as disturbingly as the intermittent synths, ‘Holo Pleasures’ would be a fine record with just these two songs.

However, the shining moment comes from ‘Pepsi/Coke Suicide’, a track as grave as the funeral for Mr Rogers. Yes, it’s a bummer track, packed with some strings, yet totally empty. Even Corthron’s vocal seems to droop and sag into each phrase, as he hopefully states ‘Always real/Always right/ Always Allright’ to close out the track. It’s like extinguishing a candle: it’s not huge or catastrophic, but at the same time, it holds a metaphorical significance.

If ever there were a sad album, let this be it. It’s painfully soothing, grappling with reality and a way better cure than The Cure. Cue goth anger.

Get the album for free, as well as the rest Elvis Depressedly’s material at Bandcamp. There’s a fuckload of material, so try going my personal favourites, ‘Disgraceland’ feat. the amazing ‘I’m Never Going to Understand‘ and ‘Mickey’s Dead’.

Video: Cool Ghouls-Natural Life

If you ever wondered what Casper the Friendly Ghost would sound like if he got stoned and joined a garage band….well, Cool Ghouls are it. Cool little jammers outta San Fran, they’ve just released their debut cassette/album through Empty Cellar and Burger Records. Does it get better than this? Probably. I mean, being doused in chocolate sauce by Playboy Bunnies whilst the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight to the death for your entertainment is probably better than Cool Ghouls ‘Natural Life’ single, BUT ONLY JUST.

Video: The Black Angels-Don’t Play With Guns

What starts as a normal enough dinner turns into a fucked up cult orgy and a 10 year old doing a schizophrenic dance, with the introduction of the Illuminati symbol on a TV. The girl is a spitting image of Wednesday Addams, and fucks with her parents at dinner, which is kind of a dick move, but whatever, it’s The Black Angels. These guys are the gods of Texas psychedelic, better than even The Butthole Surfers, and if you haven’t checked out their new-ish album ‘Indigo Meadow’ it’s well worth your time.

Brand New World’s End Press

Brand New World’s End Press

 The Melbourne electro-poppers are back at it, having just dropped their new single, and taste of their forthcoming debut album. So far, so good. They’ve got drooling rhythms pulsating like a heart beat, pumping electronic blips through a song that charges in a unique way. It’s like The Strokes meets LCD Soundsystem. The chorus on the other hand branches into a unique, and well-established World’s End Press territory, harmonic vocals against splashes of hi-hat and crunchy synths. They can even afford a solo of sorts, with trinkling, overlapped sounds all moulding into each other at the 1:50 mark. Really good stuff, debut album should be awesome.

Video: Big Scary-Luck Now

I’m very excited for the upcoming Big Scary album. The first teaser, ‘Phil Collins’, and now ‘Luck Now’, it’s shaping up to be looking like a highly personal, bare-bones and beautiful record. The proof of what will undoubtedbly be a great record is in the above video for ‘Luck Now’. Despite the optimistic name, the song cascades with lost forlorn, washed out and bleached to a dire pain. It features a ticking drumbeat, delicate piano, and a very artsy clip that is strangely intoxicating. Just going to reiterate: I’m very excited for the new album.

Album Review: Willow Beats-Alchemy EP

The illustrious techno wunderkids Willow Beats have just dropped their new EP, ‘Alchemy’, and it has blown expectations out of the water, into space, and onto a distant planet, where aliens discover it’s bloated corpse (due to the ramifications of travelling through space without suitable equipment) and cruise to Earth for a bong party with some extraterrestrial shit. Yeah, it’s pretty great.

‘Alchemy’ is a highly different form from it’s predecessor. Whilst the first Willow Beats EP featured a distinctively trip-hop sound, filtered with some intensive dub step, ‘Alchemy’ takes a stylised stance, using glitchy, patched over vocals underneath soaring, impartial beats and taps. The opener and title track, is a highly intriguing track, mixing naive sounding female vocals with reaching keyboard riffs, synthy waves and a tripped out sample that sounds like a million bubbles bursting within milliseconds of each. It’s easy to see that Flume was an influence here.

From there, ‘Elemental’ slows things down, a Portishead kind of song, with the vocals silently draped silkily over a silently exploding electronic sound, suitably unique and natural. The warping is fundamental to the track, as lasers shoot delicately, whilst a harrowing chant haunts the overall melody of the track, and a tap drum bounces around, giving a side-swiping effect that is gloriously light-weight. After ‘Elemental’ is ‘Blue’, a very slow track that works minimalism in it’s favour, more XX than anything else. The male vocals are a nice shift at this point in the EP, with rising and falling shades of light electronica sifting the song into a nice, smooth track that pulsates quietly but confidently.

‘Incantation’ shows another shift in the EP, this time into a higher, more experimental gear. Opening with trickling sounds, and a drum beat that collapses on itself as soon as it raises its sleepy head, ‘Incantation’ is a song that prods and searches with as much confident intrigue. It’s a deeply mystical song that wades in technical prowess, incredibly interesting and rhythmically full to the brim. Last on the album is ‘Cog Goblin’, which is the only track that is not one word, or named after something incredibly soothing. As such, the track takes on a more destructive tone, or at least, as destructive as Willow Beats can allow. Shattering beats clash with an edge as sharp as Joseph Heller’s wit, with perusing sounds faltering then shuddering into life, in the most dubby track the album has to offer. It’s the kind of thing that might get played in a fantasy movie about pixies that are into dubstep, the song itself a collage of greens and blues in a dripping, dense atmosphere.

Altogether, the ‘Alchemy’ EP is a highly impressive feat of electronic music, showing off Willow Beats to be at the forefront of underground electronic music. Highly skilled and pulled off with enough prowess to warrant even the most stiff-limbed listener a head shake or two, ‘Alchemy’ is destined to be a hit with anyone who takes their hat off to chillwave. Calling it now: Willow Beats are Australia’s answer to Washed Out.

You can buy ‘Alchemy’ for a cupla bucks off Willow Beats Bandcamp, as well as see them live on Gold Fields’ upcoming national tour, playing Oxford Art Factory in Sydney Friday, 28th of June

Video: British India-Plastic Souvenirs

In case you haven’t heard British India’s fourth LP ‘Controller’, it is, to say the least, a departure, and a step in growth from the band that once relied on bratty grungey anthems to put bread on the table. The boys have just released their latest single from the album, and it continues in the thread of their other single ‘I Can Make You Love Me’. Although not as good as the ‘ICMYLM’, as the kids are calling it these days, and featuring a far less interesting clip (made up of smiles and tour footage), the track is still a captivating track.

Album Review: Yes, I’m Leaving-Mission Bulb

Finally, I’m going to bring back some punk to this blog. It’s kind of been bogged down with the illustrious scene of garage, and negative reviews of a certain French house duo’s recently disapointingly overhyped album, but the time has come to delve back into the realm of punk. Sydney hasn’t really had a definitive flag-bearer for the punk category as of late. I’m not talking about old school legends like The Hard-Ons, Radio Birdman or The Celibate Rifles, or the awesome garage styled punk of bands like Royal Headache or Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys. I’m talking about the intense, lit up, bonfire kind of punk, that screams and ricochets through your brain at ungodly speeds, and with the fury of a warthog on meth. However, that has all changed with the recent release of Yes, I’m Leaving’s album ‘Mission Bulb’.

As of May 22nd, the boys from Parramatta have just released their third record, and second on Tenzenmen Records, a local label that can’t seem to do bad. If it’s unique, and it’s good, there’s a solid chance it got released on Tenzenmen. If you see the name, and you’re into having your earholes petrified, ensure you grab it. For a bit of context, they’ve released stuff by heroes such as Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing, Hira Hira, and Skip Skip Ben Ben. Not just content with releasing the best of heavy stuff, Tenzenmen also delve into releasing just plain fantastic alternative stuff, as the last band I mentioned will prove. However, Tenzenmen mainly release heavy, expiremntal and punk stuff, and it’s always going to be a thrill ride, one way or another, as ‘Mission Bulb’ proves. Yes, I’m Leaving have been around on the scene for a little while, gigging and honing their craft of Dischord Records-like punk to a nihilistic perfection, and it comes out for sure on the record.

The mention of Dischord above was not a throwaway either. Yes, I’m Leaving certainly contains the drawl and angry drive of bands like Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses or Rites of Spring. Each song on the record pushes forth with a ferocity that only a genuine band like the aforementioned actually possessed. This is an incredibly rare, and beautiful thing to listen to. To actually hear the self-hating and snarling lyrics on ‘Four Chorder’: ‘And as I look in the mirror, I just see my eyes/ the reflection of you that has been compromised’ followed by an undulating, harshly screamed chorus is proof that punk’s not dead. This is all wrapped in a killer Drive Like Jehu-lite riff that hooks the listener with sharp daggers of crazy venom. A pleasure to listen to.

The entire album is like this, just picturesque punk done in slam-dancing, white eyed rage, blaring like the horn of a truck barrelling down on a highway. Every line is sent with the vocal chords straining to their limit, the guitars bleeding a sound of coarse deliverance, unholy and beckoning. The drums crash and force the beat into near oblivion, and the bass is so blazing it’s just a tornado of sound. Lead singer Billy Burke deserves special mention for his nasally sing-song shout; it is this unique voice, as well as the excellent musicianship, that separates Yes, I’m Leaving from the usual punk kerfuckle (not a spelling error), and gives the songs the hurtling-to-a-precipice tone that is rare and very appreciated.

The plunging, razor-edged tone of ‘Mission Bulb’ is a jackhammar to the gonads; a perpetual state of nose-dive affairs that highlights disaster in the most infectious way possible. It’s an untainted record, brimming with noisy capability, catastrophically good, and will give you nosebleeds in the opening chords. It’s the album that punks the world over have all been waiting for, and it’s just Sydney’s luck that they picked up these bruisers. I highly recommend getting this album, so you have something to listen to next time you want to punch a helicopter into dust, because you’re just that fucking mad!

Yes, I’m Leaving are playing in Sydney at The Casula Powerhouse June 7th, and at Black Wire Records June 29th. I’m pretty sure their live show is better than seeing donkeys guillotine Optimus Prime. You can buy ‘Mission Bulb’ and their previous Tenzenmen release ‘Nothing’ for a coupla bucks off their Bandcamp, and their debut is going for free. Enjoy some o’ that gewwwwwwwwd punk.

Album Review: Majical Cloudz-Impersonator

Majical Cloudz are currently my new favourite minimalist project. They are just so incredibly interesting, like Fugazi if they decided to go chill-step, or chill-wave or whatever the fuck that genre is called nowadays. You know, the super down played stuff that people like James Blake, Nosaj Thing and Gem Club are popularising. Well, Majical Cloudz are my personal favourite artist in that sort of style of music, and it’s not just because they have an awesome, awesome name. Who knew that replacing the actual letter with the phonetic sounding letter could create such a great band name?

I first heard about Majical Cloudz when I saw the name pop up as a collaboration on Grimes’ album from last year, on the glitchy, J-pop sounding ‘Nightmusic’. Although I heartily enjoyed it, and delved into the ‘Turns Turns Turns’ EP, I kind of lost track of them until I spotted the brand new album, ‘Impersonator’. And by jolly fuck nuzzles is it great. A great slice of immersing white man R&B, ‘Impersonator’ purrs and slants in all directions, a sifting delicacy that is absolutely chilling and frighteningly good.

The title track, and opener,  ‘Impersonator’ is a good example of the depth and texture of the album. It’s not an album that you warm into. You start right in the deep end of the blue lagoon of reverberating sound, submerged in holy disconcerting washes of silently bellowed vocals. Following ‘Impersonator’, is ‘This is Magic’ and ‘Childhood’s End’, both songs about symbolising the crashing of innocence, done with heart-wrenchingly perfect execution. It’s really hard to describe the cold grasp that clutches in ‘Childhood’s End’ when the lyrics sob ‘Our fate/ it is sealed…I don’t cry/ Oh God tell me why’ against a sullen portrait of grey strings and electronic whirs and taps, like the most depressing Nicolas Jaar song you’ve never heard.

The tantalising sorrow doesn’t stop at the forefront of the album. No, it continues in a hypnotising organic fashion, like at the midway point of ‘Mister’, the song that initially stopped me in my tracks ‘Turns Turns Turns’, and the excruciatingly good ‘Silver Rings’. The former is charged forward by the raindrop-pattering percussion, set up against otherworldly soaring organ and tortured whispers. ‘Turns Turns Turns’ comes in to revamp the record. This is a track that manages to be infinitely more intriguing than whatever Rudimental or Calvin Harris is blasting obnoxiously right now, with sullenly repeated vocals, some quaint female chanting, ice-cold claps and distant instrumentation. It churns with a desperate avante-garde spirit, but shows nothing on the clasper of ‘Silver Rings’. The poignant rippling of squeaks in that song, building with the ‘ooo-ing’ and delicately soft string section is to die for, and comes off as totally natural, and not at all douchey, which defies logic. Usually string-sections in popular music are reserved for bands that are out of bravado ideas (cough, Daft Punk, cough), but the effect is incredibly mesmerising and even dizzying.

Of course, the highlight, and ‘single’ of the album is ‘Bugs Don’t Buzz’. With the opening of disenchanting piano chords, coughing a disturbingly sad vibe throughout the track, the vocals only build on that. You can practically see the tears spilling out of the track. Then, once you think things are at a crystallised depression, bass-synths and white noise electro effects waft into the track, and crease the whole piece into a distorted bleak landscape.  This song was made for a long, grey drive through the country-side after a funeral. It’s just that powerful and engrossing. Lyrically and musically, it’s unstoppable.

The reason ‘single’ is presented in italics above is because of the way the album is constructed. It needs to be listened to in full. It begs it, because most tracks on ‘Impersonator’ can not give off the full wrangling effect that the album conveys so well. It’s an album of material that dips and dives in freezing capacities, indulgent in the most subtle of ways, cascading towards oblivion; but only when appreciated in it’s fullest context. If tracks are listened to singularly, the only effect you will gain is one of soft off-putting, as the songs are far too slow to engage at a cast-away glance. This isn’t flashy pop music made to satisfy in a shallow sense, but highly emotive and deeply personal art, and by far one of the most together and well-spoken  releases out of Canada since Japandroids ‘Celebration Rock’.