Album Review: March of the Real Fly-March of the Real Fly EP

For those who like their indie music with a bit of spunk and sunshine, along the likes of Coconut Records, Ball Park Music, and The Go! Team, then you’ll be excited by the prospect of local Sydney act March of the Real Fly. They’re a couple of young kids, and are like the un-depressing, less self-serious version of Snakadaktal. They’ve been around for a while, long enough for me to see them live before, and they’ve got at least a few releases under their belt, including the fantastic ‘Girl’ and ‘Poison’. However, their just released self-titled EP sees them at their best.

March of the Real Fly have never shied away from cliche subjects. Relationships are a common theme. However, it’s the way the band execute them unrelentingly unabashed is what allows them to pull it off. Whereas some bands might take an overly serious angle, the fun is obvious in their brand of folky-punk. They make regular use of an organ sounding synth thing that seems to be constantly fixed in about-to-explode-it’s-so-high key, and a ukelele is never far out of the mix. It works in their favour, and creates a bright, bubbly atmosphere that trickles through the entire EP and creates a unique sound for them to work with.

At 11 minutes, the band hurries through 5 tracks with a surprising amount of enjoyability. You wouldn’t think that a track with boyish, strained vocals, handclaps and said synth thing  that only crams for a wee 2 and half minutes would dictate much listening pleasure, but it does! ‘Those Trees’ is the standout pop track on the EP, straddling a line between wild kid fun and fixated zealotry.

However, after passing through the first three head-bopping, dance-inducing tracks, the band shake it up with ‘Angel in the Snow’, which sees a frenzied ukelele strumming and snake-charmers rhythm, and the semi-sombre ‘Started Peacefully’. The latter is especially poignant on the album, as it shows the band can differentiate from the non-stop jump up and down, to a territory that wouldn’t be out of place on a Laura Veirs album, with the lone ukulele strumming dutifully behind the squalor vocals. 

Overall, the EP is a honest representation of the band: it’s fruitful, pretty interesting, and as a full piece of work it remains in a state of omnipresent enjoyment.

You can get the EP, as well as all their other material, for free, off their Bandcamp.

Advertisements

Video: Jagwar Ma-Man I Need

In a rare moment, I have found a clip that outweighs the track itself. Not that Jagwar Ma’s latest single is anything less than stellar. ‘Man I Need’ see’s them channelling a calmer, more romantic Hot Chip-fronted-by-James Murphy sound; jittery yet in total control the whole time, with wafting vocals over bleak tribal beats. However, the clip knocks everything to the wayside. After what must have taken a long time, we are presented with a trippy, vibrant and very stimulating animation. It’s actually one of the best clips I’ve seen all year, fun, exciting, and perfectly suited to it’s song.

Video: Shark?-California Grrls

Shark? capture their music perfectly in their name: the precipice of confusion just before chaos hits paradise. Their mix of grungey nihilistic guitar-pop is a refreshing breath in garage music, and is something clean and smooth that doesn’t reek of awfulness. On their latest clip, they channel their inner ‘Point Break’ running around in big fake masks, and committing petty crimes, sans Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Thumbs up for the heavy set dude that nut shots another guy, and for the child kidnapping.

Pairs solo show at Black Wire, July 8th

Rhys, the formidable frontman from Australian-through-Shanghai punk band Pairs, has a solo show at Black Wire Records on Monday, July 8th. Besides being a nice dude, he is the modern anecdote for Steve Albini: sharp, witty and  initially-offensive lyrics that actually make you think, unlike whatever shit you’re cranking on 2Day FM. It’ll be a night to remember, and all you have to do to get in is give a donation. That’s all. Sweet punk tunes > being a stinge. If you don’t know Pairs, check out the review I did of their fantastic album ‘If this Cockroach Doesn’t Die, I Will’, or download some of their albums for free, including my personal favourite, the self-titled debut from 2010. 

Why the New Daft Punk Album Sucks-An Essay

So, if you’ve been on the internet within the past six months, and are vaguely into music, you’ll have figured out that Daft Punk, the French house artists with zany helmets just released a new album. It’s entitled ‘Random Access Memories’, and I think it sucks. Not just me though. I saw a photo on Facebook of an anonymous JB HI-FI employee that described the album thus: ‘It’s like being a kid on Christmas, and running downstairs to open up the Sega you’ve been waiting all year for, only to find out that your parents are instead taking you to the vet, because you have to put the dog down.’ That, my friends, is goddamn poetry, and more entertaining than any single track found on the new Daft Punk album. Now, I don’t claim to be a critical connoisseur of any sorts, especially not of the electronic genres. My forte rather heaves on the garage spectrum of things, as yo will know if you’ve even glanced at this blog with the shitty name before. However, I do know a few things: Crystal Castles makes consistently good albums, the 90’s were a good time for dance music and Australia has an abundance of talent in the area, from obvious choices The Avalanches and Flume, to underdogs Fishing and Seekae. Now, picking on Daft Punk seems like a risque move, as they are one of the most incredibly powerful figures in dance music of all time. ‘One More Time’? ‘Around the World‘? ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’? These are not just dance music icons, but household names, all over the fricking world man! The last song was sampled in a fucking Kanye West track! That guy only samples the best of the best, like that Will Ferrell line from ‘Blades of Glory‘. However, despite pulling off one of the best launches, in Wee Waa, rural NSW, the hype has not only exceeded the actual album itself and left myself severely disappointed, but has hindered the Daft Punk legacy as a whole. Harsh, but true,as I prove that ‘Random Access Memories’ is no more than a bland, self-indulgent smothering of randomness than never peaks past ‘meh’.

Firstly, there is not a track on here worthy of note. Not fucking one. ‘NAY!’ cries every single electronica fan that hasn’t discovered The Chemical Brothers yet, ‘Nay, you ginger headed dwarfsicle! For there is ‘Get Lucky’!. Yes, and what a stellar track that is, brimming with the talent and authenticity that first attracted so many to French robot fever. That is sarcasm by the way. This is something I would half expect T-Pain to put out if he was in a creative and jazz friendly mood. This is literally a song about getting laid muffled over some jazzy, zig-zag rhythms. Not only does the auto-tune and entrance of Daft Punk bring down any of the soulful and hard-earned positive elements that Pharrell Williams brings to the track, it’s 6 minute length time definitely ensures that the most ‘likeable’ and ‘danceable’ track on the album overstays its welcome. Speaking of Pharrell, he is one of the many collaborators on this album that can’t save it from being a highly flamboyant un-ironic caricature of art. Nile Rogers, famous for his schtick with Chic, has his hand in a few tracks, including opener ‘Give Life Back to Music’ and ‘Get Lucky’, whilst the aforementioned Pharrell is seen in ‘Lose Yourself to Dance (with Nile Rogers)’. Animal Collective’s Panda Bear is evident on ‘Doin’ it Right’ and even The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas shows himself, providing vocals to album ‘highlight’ ‘Instant Crush’. This doesn’t even reach the halfway mark of the plethora of guests on ‘Random Access Memories’, however, it remains a meddling mess. A fault of too many cooks in the kitchen? I doubt it. Daft Punk’s weakness for deploying wildly overdone and tasteless orchestra arrangements is seen throughout the album, from the rash and wince-worthy opener ‘Give Life to Music’. Speaking of terrible, pompous openers, ‘Give Life to Music’  seems like a four and a half minute overdub of a Chemical Brothers track, something from the albums ‘Come With Us’ or ‘Surrender’. The auto-tuned vocals in the Daft Punk song giving the listenable appearance of a pufferfish gasping for air on the beach: it looks, smells and sounds disgusting, but you can’t help feel sorry for it.

Whilst on the warpath of declaring why the new album is devoid of listenable tracks, one can take a scour of ‘Instant Crush’ featuring Julian Casablancas, or as I like to call it: the track they left off ‘Comedown Machine’ because it sounded too similar to The Strokes 2011 album ‘Angles’. Yep, Daft Punk are almost unrecognisable in this foray of what could perhaps be the only track with what could be deemed a layer of substance. It does have a semblance of groove, but it still comes off half-hearted and plaintive, awkwardly juxtaposing the shit-shock of tracks like ‘Game of Love’ and ‘Lose Yourself to Dance’. Another of their diving into traditional singing backed by eschewed keys and a bass line that must have been lifted from a 1970’s blaxploitation film, is ‘Fragments of Time’ featuring Todd Edwards. Now, even though it has a mildly intriguing style, it isn’t anything that should incite the riot-like passion of Daft Punk’s hardest fans. It’s something you would jam to while wasting time on the train, not bust a move to on the dance floor like dance music should inspire

This is from an subjectively objective point of view: I would admit if I saw the new Daft Punk album as revolutionary as some do. It just seems that it’s been hyped beyond belief, to a point where nothing they did would have succeeded. However, it goes to a point where it’s like they are re-hashing old ideas done better by old bands. Monologues followed by down-to-earth jazz drumming and spritzy electro as seen on ‘Giorgio by Moroder’? DJ Shadow did it better on ‘Endtroducing…’. Cheesy lyrics belted out with earnestly, whilst the star of the show hums idly and seductively asI assume was the motive for ‘Get Lucky’? Our own Chet Faker kills anything Daft Punk brought to the table. Spacey, out-of-this-world bass drops with acoustic guitar plucked delicately, with ‘Motherboad’? I’ll take Radiohead thanks. Even the attempts at melodrama and over-the-top, end up somewhere Daft Punk nor the listener want to be, and it comes off as totally idiotic (see: ‘Give Life to Music).

It’s not just a case of their-old-stuff-is-better-than-their-new-stuff, but it’s just a disappointing album of flat, empty pieces of music that aren’t as shimmery or glamourous as the band hoped for. Hype can do so much, such as stir your robot-kilted fans into near-murder mania, in which they’ll stab each other to clasp their fingers around your spandex wearing, auto tuned vocal pipes. But it can’t save the album that was never meant to be anything more than filler. Unfortunately, ‘Random Access Memories’ is a robotic apocalypse filled with jarring, mostly-dumb and boring observations that have been done so many times before, it’s past the point of cliche, and into the realm of just plain sad.

Video: Hootenanny-Elephant Woman

Everything you know about sass is incorrect. For this video has so much sass, that it makes other sassy things, like Jennifer Lopez and Oprah Winfery pale to a Dr Phil like comparison. Hootenanny are a duo out of Perth who quote, unquote ‘Make Your Balls Look Tiny’. I have never felt so satisfactorily emasculated.

Sounding a whole bunch like The Pack A.D, these girls know how to scrape a guitar. Check out the wailing solo just after 2 minutes as the Beth Ditto look alike chews on the ribcage of a cheerleader. I know that seems like a mouthful of a sentence, and a tad hard to believe, but it’s all right there for you. If your a fan of the recent outpourings of Stonefield, a damn good band in their own right, but after something a bit crunchier, check out Hootenanny.

Album Review: Bonniwells-Yesterdaisy EP

This one’s from a fresh pack of fucktards (said in the most endearing way possible) hailing from Geelong. Unsurprisingly, they’re on Anti-Fade, and unsurprisingly, I’m in love with them, almost up to the point in which I would hitchhike down to Melbourne, employing only ‘The Book of the Road’ by George Carlin, dress up as a beggar outside their house, and wait until they took pity upon me, before savagely and awkwardly forcing myself into the band as their triangle player. And man, would I kick ass on the triangle! Unfortunately, I don’t think triangle really fits with their sound of scuzzy, dirty-as-the-bottom-of-a-fat-dudes-fridge sound, and also because I got an HSC to complete. But otherwise, I’d be down there like a desperate guy goes down on a…waterslide, you sick bastards.

Bonniwells are interesting, in that they don’t want to show their hand immediately. Even when I picked up the 7 inch, I had a hard time actually reading what the album title was, the cover being a patchwork assortment of flowers obviously done by someone emulating the poppy scene in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, only done as a knitwork animation. The vinyl itself is purple marble coloured, and has a cat/mouse chasing design. If you don’t understand that, There is a static image of a cat chasing a mouse, and when the record spins, it will magically appear as if a cat is chasing a mouse. If you don’t understand that, there is no hope for you.

First track is the dainty ‘Lazy Daisy’. Done in a nihilistic drawl, and deadpan manner reminiscent of Thee Oh Sees, it’s some fuzzy goodness that serves well. It even features a stoic, 60’s guitar solo, each note plucked and reinforced with laidback vigour. Paradoxes be damned, I like that description. Next is ‘Dum Dum Surf’ which is just dumb good fun. A classic surf rock melody, inlaid with caustic vocals? I’m sold man, I’m just fucking sold. Chuck in some religious allusions, enough room in the guitar riff to shake an enraged fist at this damn kids music, and I’m a straight up worshipper.

Side B offers some more unchallenged high-life tracks. It opens with the downer ‘Farmyard Song’ that prays and swoops, then snarls within a second of nothing. You could shave a hipsters’ shitty moustache with the amount of venom this track drips, it’s quite a throbbing track caught up in being as scathing as possible. Then there’s the disgustingly titled ‘Pigeon Pizza’ which has, dare I say it, an explosive melody. It bends and rolls like the pig in mud it is, sniffing at it’s filth, smiling crookedly and then spewing up a chorus of ‘Do you love me, Do you love me so.’ It’s got a bass line that sniffs coke off a public toilet seat, and a chorus that whacks itself with a Ouija Board for shits and giggles. It’s weird, messed up and addictive. 

Fuck, Anti-Fade records just kill it in terms of their roster. I can’t get over how great it is. The Frowning Clouds, Straight Arrows, Gooch Palms…these guys are packed wall to wall with artists that are better than Picasso and Warhol together! And waddyaknow, there’s a xylophone in ‘Farmyard Song’. I never thought those cheap skates would resort to a gimmick such as shitty dinging percussion, but I was wrong. Guess I better don my hobo uniform and practise threatening musicians. You can catch me at the next Bonniwells show holding the band at gunpoint and profusely playing the triangle.

Anti-Fade only released 300 copies of ‘Yesterdaisy’, so if you see it, grab it. However, it’s Bonniwells’ third release, so you should grab that shit too if you see it, including the awesomely titled ‘Sneeze Weed‘. You can also grab 2 of the 4 tracks from the ‘Yesterdaisy EP’ or the album ‘Sunny Brick’ for free on Bandcamp, as well as 2 tracks off ‘Sneeze Weed’ from their Triple J Unearthed Page. Or hit them up on Facey

Album Review: Ooga Boogas-Oogas Boogas

I was once told that if I ever wanted to make a friend, like, ever, then I might want to break the ice with a joke. So, here goes: What do you get when Mikey Young from Eddy Current Suppression Ring and all round musical god starts up another band with some kick arse prodigal entities that love the shit out of some Scientists? Ooga Boogas second, self-titled album of course! Are you guys laughing as hard as I am right now? Are you laughing at all? Do you want to be friends? I made a replica of you out of peanut butter and your old toenails! I promise it’s not an effigy! Where are you going? It’s cool, I’ll see you tonight, when I watch you sleep and bottle your snores in a sealed jar.

Anyway, my creepy manifestations aside, this is a brilliant record that you should consider getting if you want to be associated with the phrase ‘…good music taste…’. Yes, Mikey Young, of aforementioned Eddy Current fame, has taken time out from being a godlike genius behind the control panel (this dude is a renowned producer, of everything from Anti-Fade records to local acts like Food Court, and acid legends The UV Race, and taken up his rightful throne as Aussie garage king. So much allusion in one sentence, I know, but deal with it princess. Anyway, Ooga Boogas create distinctly Australian music that throttles like a V8, is toasty as a Sunday arvo barbecue, and as good as a ripper sunset. I have never typed, nor spoken the words ‘ripper sunset’ before, that’s the sort of power this record has over me.

It’s undulating a weird, and shows an underbelly to garage music that you wouldn’t normally find in your average Aussie garage jammers, of which there is currently an abundance. Opener ‘Circle of Trust’ is a real ball-licker, boasting a classic Eddy Current addictive bass line, and the off-putting, cult-like. When frontman Stacky (Of Sailors fame, a damn fine garage band, up there with the likes of Native Cats/Terrible Truths) chants ‘Come join, come join us’ and then the hypnotic melody kicks in, I’m not sure whether I should take the red pill, the blue pill or both (Yeah, I pulled a Matrix reference, AND linked in a Taco ad. Where is your God now?). ‘FYI‘ is a synthy, crazed jolt of reference to 80’s synth-pop, but done with the deliberately botched care of a 1950’s mad scientist or Mel Brooks. It’s a black and white, hands to your face, stilled circumnavigation of the brain, poisonous organ sounds  infiltrating from every side and burning holes left and right. ‘Mind Reader’ is a Nick Cave-y ballad sort of thing, done with the upright tempo and disturbing lyrical content that makes these kinds of songs so arresting. You think what I said in the first paragraph was fucked up? ‘You said that you were sleepy/ So I made you some Camomile tea/ And I slipped a little something in your drink to help you sleep/ But when you woke up in the morning, I assessed you were less than impressed!’ cries Stacky, in what could be the worst case scenario sequel to Grinderman’s ‘No Pussy Blues’. The first track on Side B, ‘Sex in the Chillzone’ is another creepy thing that makes every hair stand on end, and totally puts you in the frame of mind that the song is describing: having sex with a stranger whilst being incredibly high on drugs. Not many songs can claim that. Stacky’s voice is suitably plaintive and forceful, as if he’s pushing each lyric into your ear, and choking you with the song’s potently simple ryththm.

Fortunately, after the clasp of ‘Circle of Trust’, ‘Archie and Me’ seems to assure the listener that Ooga Boogas don’t want to pour cyanide down your throat, but rather take you out on a friendly trip to the Nullarbor. Name-checking almost as many Aussie tools as ‘Down Under’ by Men at Work, ‘Archie and Me’ is something You Am I might have chucked out on their better albums, and is a friendly, cooling jam that softens what could have been a bitter blow for many after the overwhelming first track. This seems to be imminent on the whole record, as every time Ooga Boogas freak out, they pull back on the next track, and drape you in something nice and comforting to remind the listener that the album is your weird-as-fuck mate, and not the serial killer who lives down the street and always smells like pomegranates and has a dingo’s pinkie on a necklace around his neck. Hell, the closers on both Side A and Side B are not only affable, but are at home with embracing you as a family, like a Midnight Oil song that isn’t shit. ‘It is A Sign‘ is a tantalising love spill, and ‘A Night to Remember’ is something you play whilst circling around a fire in country Victoria, jumping hand in hand with a loved one as it blasts out of the radio. It could be a Go-Betweens track or possibly a Paul Kelly track, but there’s no doubt it belongs on an Ooga Boogas record.

The beauty of the record lies both in it’s ability to shock, scare, comfort and warm the listener. Whilst some points might have you perking up and weirding out, it’s perfectly balanced by the moments in which a smile just crosse your face, and your brain explodes in an endorphin overload. This is a prime Australian treasure, and Ooga Boogas show that they will play their own game, and despite that, guarantee you entertainment. It’s a diverse love letter of a record, and stands out on its own, something that an Australian band, especially in a genre that can be derivative such as garage, should claim as a solid stakehold in the music they produce. If ever there were a band to replace The Scientists as the prodigal sons of Australian garage, the honour would go to all the dudes from Ooga Boogas.

Clancy: Keepin’ it Real Playlist

It’s my mate’s birthday today, and he has, hands down, one of the most eclectic and beautiful music tastes in the world. Often, I will sit next to him in one of our bullshit classes together, cross my legs in wonder, and stare at him as he triumphantly teaches me the ways of the latest in good music, like Sophacles would teach his pupils Philosophy in Ancient Greece. He is a lover of all things, from Kurt Vile to Lapalux and everything in between. I could not, in good faith, forget his birthday and not make him this. Happy Birthday to the doppelganger of Slender Man. Sorry for the lack of r@p mu-sick.

1. Kurt Vile-Wakin’ on a Pretty Day

2. The Soft Pack-C’mon

3. Heathers-Teenage Clothes

4. Ooga Boogas-Circle of Trust

5. Shlohmo-Just Us

6. Holy Other-Yr Love

7. Fuck Buttons-Colours Move

8. Death Grips-Culture Shock

9. Marijuana Deathsquads-Same Pizza

10. Nite Jewel-Suburbia

11. Megastick Fanfare-June Strangelets (Seekae Remix)

12. Nicolas Jaar- Why Didn’t You Save Me

13. Nosaj Thing-Snap

14. Cloud Control- There’s Nothing in the Water We Can’t Fight (bretonLABS remix)

15. The Soft Moon- We Are We

16. Sex Beet-I’m In Love With You (So Shut the Fuck Up)

17. Wavves- Post Acid

18. Cloud Nothings-Hey Cool Kid

19. Maus Haus-No More Girls

20. The Fresh & Onlys-Waterfall

Video: The Living Eyes-Eat it Up

Are The Living Eyes getting morbid? Nah, fuck that, they might be getting melodramatic in the lyrical sack, but they still pack a punch with their 60’s garage rock n roll. ‘Eat it Up’ jerks around schizophrenically, just jamming all levers into overdrive and creating pure fun sound. Meanwhile, the band employ what has to be the least adequate style of clothing in a video, with jackets, hats and even sunnies made from newspaper. It all fit into The Living Eyes retardedly cool atmosphere.