Album Review: Jagwar Ma-Howlin


If, through some random deliberation, you believe you’ve never heard of Jagwar Ma before, you are wrong. It doesn’t matter if all you listen to is Kerser or Beethoven, you’ve definitely heard the band through some format or other. The only possible way Jagwar Ma could escape your radar is if you literally live under a rock. Jagwar Ma have been one of the most hyped acts of 2013. Their name has permeated almost every music publication available to the public from Rolling Stone, to the deplorable NME. They even got the tip of the hat from Noel Gallagher from Oasis, because apparently he’s still relevant. For a band of relatively few musical releases, everything they have released (which, before the album, accumulated to a couple of singles) was universally praised, and Jagwar Ma moved up one more spot on the hype ladder, somewhere between Frank Ocean, Snakadaktal and Palma Violets.

Now, in most cases, hype’s a killer. It’ll chew you up, spit you out and no one will remember your name, or the fairly mediocre album you left behind (cough, Lana Del Ray, cough). However, for Jagwar Ma, a Sydney duo that blend infectious Madchester sounds with modern pop sensibilities, their sound is one of unbeatable pragmatism. Indulging in a soundscape from obvious caretakers like The Happy Mondays, New Order, and The Stone Roses, to the rave subculture of The Crystal Method and Junkie XL, to subtler shades of  Primal Scream and Stereolab in their experimental-pop days. Jagwar Ma present the world with their best foot forward, with ‘Howlin’, an album that shifts in deliberate, cohesive patterns that ca only draw the listener in more and more.

The opening three tracks to the album paint a verbose, shady atmosphere for the album. The double dose of ‘What Love’ and ‘Uncertainty’ are heroin induced tracks that prepare the listener for the ecstasy riddled bona-fide fuck-you-up cascade of ‘The Throw’. And throw it does (sorry, that was too obvious), all around the room, a slow-burning tribal wave that starts out gingerly and then blasts you with gooey, green muck a la Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. You were expecting it anyway, but its still a fucking delight when it comes anyway. The album version of ‘The Throw’ is way better than the edited single we got a couple months back, simply for the fact that it has that extra couple of minutes to buck and weave and cement itself in a soundtrack of Trainspotting, should it ever get re-made (fingers crossed, knock on wood). Those disconcerting jungle chants around 3 minutes in would be perfect for the scene in which Rent Boy overdoses on heroin and gets carried around on the carpet.

So after a near 7 minute medley of ugly truth, what do Jagwar Ma logically follow up with? ‘That Loneliness’, a delicately balanced ode to romance, complete with counter-tenor chorus, subtle, jiggly worms of uninvited electronica, and more than a passing resemblance for the next track, and one of the first songs Jagwar Ma ever released to the public. I am of course talking about the feel good hit, ‘Come Save Me’. Swaying and fully immersed, it’s addictive simplicity is what many feel is Jagwar Ma’s unique and identifying quality.

Chanty, sing-song lyrics that draw the listener with a siren-like quality, latched together with dripping synths and multiple musical influences that all clash in beautiful harmony seem to be all in a days work. You can see it clearly in ‘The Throw’, ‘Man I Need’ (which happens to have one of the best music videos of the year), ‘Four’, and ‘Exercise’. Everything a sophisticated listener could want in an album is heartily available on Jagwar Ma’s debut. The palette is astounding, and the sonic shifts are all logical, and better yet, sound as cohesive as the move from a sip of Dom Perignon Champagne to a small dip of caviar. Regardless of the fact that I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about, and just looked up ‘shit rich people eat and drink’ on Google, it sounds pretty fucking good doesn’t it? Well, Jagwar Ma deliver all the goods and more, without any of the bullshit. I doubt they’ll be fading off into the NME Graveyard any time soon.


Album Review: Super Magic Hats-Super Magic Hats


Have you had a stressful week? Has your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/Russian mail order bride broken up with you? Do you have warts on your genitals that just won’t go away, despite having applied every cream known to man? Did Slytherin win the House Cup? Fuck that shit. You need the cure to every known first world problem on the planet, which would be Super Magic Hats EP of material that makes Dumbledore look like a douchebag. Why? Because it’s just too good.

Now, the Super Magic Hats EP has been around for a while, and yet I have not gotten even remotely bored of it. It’s so full of vibrancy, like a billion atoms jumping around in a horny 13 year old boys body. Every track on the EP is a flushing wave of brilliance, an energetic kick of soft electronic goodness, like steroids for non-douchebags. It’s great stuff. 

Although every track is standout, you’re going to want to give special attention to the tracks ‘Charcoal’, ‘Wind’, and ‘Hope’. These are just the tracks that standout on the EP, like stoned sloths amongst other normal sloths; they’re just that extra bit cooler. ‘Charcoal’ seems like an arena spectacular, constant gleaming tendrils of synthy goodness drilling into your soul. It jumps up and down, protracts and contorts like you could never believe, like some sort of alien from Ben 10. ‘Wind’ testifies to it’s name, a chilly, Autumn induced haze of clappy, smooth sounds. It lays down a creamy xylophonic rhythm, and then caps it off with sensitive touch pads, and warm, abundant soul. Finally, ‘Home’ starts off as Super Magic Hats most simple, and least electronic song, ringing bells slowly warming the listener into a dew-drop fuzz, before lending an acoustic guitar sample to the mix. Just when you think Super Magic Hats has chucked a Mumford and Sons, the whole thing morphs into a vibrating delicatessen of hook-laden samples all milling together and making a super-friendly vibe. If Adventure Time could be morphed into a song, it would be ‘Home’. 

Overall, Super Magic Hats’ first proper EP is an eclectic mix of sample ridden vapour that sucks you in, and then keeps you there. For those trying to study for the HSC or major examinations, put on the Super Magic Hats EP, it’ll lull you into a total trance of calm and focus. It’s an awesome EP, and the follow up is apparently just around the corner. 

You can stream/buy Super Magic Hats’ self-titled from his Bandcamp, and pick up a couple tracks and remixes for free, including the aforementioned ‘Wind’

Brand New Franz Ferdinand-‘Right Action’ and ‘Love Illumination’

Are you a fan of the perennial party-starting Scottish rock gods Franz Ferdinand? Of course you are.  Those lads are amazing. It’s been a while, a very long while since we heard anything from them, but they are back with a vengeance, recently releasing not one, but TWO brand new songs from their upcoming album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’. The tracks are a hefty dose of addictive guitar hooks, smooth-as-a-baby’s-butt melodies and anthemic choruses to service even the most selfish of lovers. It’s a good day for those who like to party. If you want to catch this shit live, you can see Franz Ferdinand play for the first time in Australia, since 2010, at the 3rd annual Harvest Festival in November.

Video: Pixies-Bagboy (Holy Fuck Yes!)

It’s fucking here! The brand new Pixies track! If this doesn’t convince you that everything is going to be all right in your life, then nothing will. I mean, c’mon this is The Pixies, one of the greatest and most influential bands to ever exist on the planet Earth. These guys have more hits than a Serbian mob. The Pixies will forever be one of the greatest bands to ever come to fruition, like some sort of combination of Jesus, Kurt Cobain and John Lennon (in spirit, not actual musical sound).

Despite Kim Deal leaving the band a few weeks ago, The Pixies still hold their shit together and deliver a powerful blow. Opening with a stormy, moody drum beat, and a temperamental chant of ‘Cover your breath, polish your speech’, Black Francis kicks out to jams with a fuzzy, distorted knuckle-sandwich of classic melancholy Pixies lyrics and musical genius. It’s a seriously beautiful track, quite long by Pixies-standards, and it makes everything in the world seem right again. Who cares if it’s been raining these holidays, and the NSA are probably having a field day with your private sex files? There’s a new Pixies song, and it’s so good, like butter on a bicycle good.

If all this didn’t make you spontaneously wet yourself, Pixies are giving away the track for FREE, for the price of an e-mail address. This is more worth it than hanging out in Hulk costumes with Lou Ferrigno.

Cheer Up Julia Gillard Playlist

So, in a cruel twist of irony (Alanis Morissette anyone?) Jules ‘Moving Forward’ Gillard has been unceremoniously kicked out of parliament, and been replaced by the guy she replaced, Kevin Rudd. This just goes to show that Australian politics is an absolute joke. On one hand, you’ve got a misogynistic idiot who would rather show off his tiny dick in a swimsuit than be seen in parliament, and then on the other hand you’ve got a flaming heard feline, who also happens to be an idiot. No one wins. So what do they do? Nobody wins, and the guy everybody thought was an idiot is back. Julia must be really down in the dumps right now, so in a show of my support for my fellow RIC (ranga-in-charge), I’ve offered a humble playlist. 

1. R.E.M-Everybody Hurts

2. Beat Happening-Redhead Walking

3. The Sex Pistols-God Save the Queen

4. The Avalanches-Since I Left You

5. Cyndi Lauper-Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

6. Michael Jackson-Beat It

7. Fall Out Boy-Thnks Fr the Mmrs

8. Cee Lo Green-Fuck You

9. The Smiths-Bigmouth Strikes Again

10. Marf Loth-Trees in Canberra

11. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds-The Weeping Song

12. Nirvana-Half the Man I Used to Be

13. Donny Benet-Julia

14. NOFX-Murder the Government

15. KFC Theme Song

16. Noah & The Whale-L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N

17. Beyonce-All the Single Ladies

18. Neil Diamond-Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon

19. Pennywise-Fuck Authority

20. Black Sabbath-Never Say Die (Kevin didn’t)

Video: Bad//Dreems-Hoping For

Bad//Dreems=more indie than a hipster riding a penny farthing in Greenwich Village whilst spilling a microbrew on his grandma’s top. Why? Because they don’t even fucking bother with instruments! Instead, they channel their inner 13 year old metalhead and mindlessly strum on whatever’s at hand: shovels, sticks, brooms, whatever. Still, that can’t take away the awesomeness behind Bad//Dreems new song. It’s as cool as four Radelaide dudes can get, meandering and effortless. It’s awesome like a seagull wearing an eye patch is awesome: you’re not exactly sure why, but it just seems to have some sort of underdog poetic justice.


If you read the title, well that’s more or less everything I have to say about this. Melbourne label I OH YOU, home to Snakadaktal, City Calm Down, DZ Deathrays, Bleeding Knees Club and Violent Soho have just put out a compilation of the best up and coming Australian artists. You can find  tunes from Sydney garage bistro-bros Straight Arrows, and the equally exclusive Palms, as well as some soothers by Ta-ku (feat. Chet Faker) and Worlds End Press. Also, just so everyone knows shit’s serious, the comp. includes soon-to-be-world-dominators POND. So yeah, it’s free. Why aren’t you downloading it?

Video: The Dirty Nil-Zombie Eyed

Romance. Murder. Hipsters. The Dirty Nil have it all in their new clip for ‘Zombie Eyed’. Shouting a sound of 90’s rock, updated with some balls, like Violent Soho.

The Dirty Nil are an excellent band, dos excellent. You should check out their other stuff. It’s tres excellent. You can get ‘Zombie Eyed’ for free, but my personal favourite is ‘Fuckin’ Up Young’. Get it from their Bandcamp.

Video: Disclosure-When A Fire Starts to Burn

The preacher in the music video trope is an overdone one (#TheMessHallandKanyediditbetter) but UK house superstars Disclosure didn’t seem to get the memo. Their club-ready album of absolute bangers culminates in this blood-thumper that features some blasphemous activities from Forest Whitaker’s little cousin. What starts out as a fairly vapid affair soon turns to absolute insanity. You’ve got grannies dancing, Larry David lookalikes without eyeballs and Native American wrestlers clotheslining some Mackelmore-ite in a church. Pretty weird shit for such a straightforward anthem, but hey, Disclosure never where ones to just lay down.

Video: Jaill-Pointy Fingers

New school freaky jams from Sub Pop’s Jaill. The band who perfected weird pop on their album ‘That’s How We Burn’ are back with a clip that brings the strange, but not a whole lot of substance. Whilst the clip is worth watching simply because of it’s playful absurdity. However the sing shifts too quickly from warp speed to super-happy-fun-times-yeah! and loses momentum pretty quick. However, Jaill are a very good band, and they’re on one of my favourite labels, so it’ll be good to see what ELSE they come out with soon.