New Electronic Music: Angel Eyes + Liars + Oscar Key Sung x Naysayer & Glisun + Snakadaktal x Just Kiddin + SBMRGE + Fielded

Usually, this shit will start off mad, cool, and chilled out. Fuck that. Let’s get weird.

 

Angel Eyes-Heave

Please, just…fuck, please don’t get Angel Eyes mixed up with Angel Haze. Just…just don’t do that to me. When I see shit like that happen, it’s like someone hearing ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen, and then they start rapping ‘Ice Ice Baby’. Its so wrong on so many levels.

Anyway, rant aside, Angel Eyes, another stunning  ambient project from this sunburnt land (another way of saying I have no idea where this enterprise is actually from) have released a new track called ‘Heave’. And its eleven minutes long. Shieeet. Although ‘Heave’ comes with a warning that it’s ‘…not representative of anything I’m putting out in the near future…’, its a fine fucking thing to listen to. Heave it does, wishing and washing its way through a Terminator blowjob sound, as mechanical failure sets in and oblivion rears its ugly head. Even though it’s probably the longest song you’ve heard since Green Day put out ‘Jesus of Suburbia’, you’ll finish it, and immediately want to play it again. The same cannot be said for ‘Jesus of Suburbia’.

 

Liars-Mess On A Mission

Liars? By the sandpaper-tounge of Matthew McConaughey! Aren’t they, like, a post-rock band or something?

Actually, when they can put out this sort of scream-rave track, who even gives a fuck? This thing is both grating and gyrating, the kind of thing that would get played in the token club scene of any indie movie. This is the kind of thing made to sweat to, rotate your head to and abandon logic to. If this song were a celebrity, it would be Jennifer Lawrence-pretty sexy, and I have no idea why I adore it so much.

As a matter of fact I do: that sudden pause between the dull ‘Fact is fact, and fiction’s fiction’ and all out screams of oblivion amidst intense beats that drop to the floor harder than Point Break extras during a bank robbery scene. Liars=1, Jennifer Lawrence=0.

 

Oscar Key Sung-All I Could Do (Naysayer & Gilsun Remix)

Although the original, with its anthemic chorus, and super-sensual vibe, is undoubtedly never going to be beaten by the remix game, Naysayer & Gilsun have certainly had a fair go at trying to better Oscar Key Sung’s stand out single.

Aided by wispy loops and the gilded female moans, N&G add a rythmic balance to the track that it may or may not have been missing. This is less the sort of thing you sway to and more what you’d empty-mindedly grapple with on a dance floor. The seething beats, the sharp edge feel-it all combines for a damn good attempt at Oscar Key Sung’s crown jewel.

 

Snakadaktal-The Sun II (Just Kiddin Remix)

Damn, this song was made to be danced to in a dingy-lit nightclub just off of Oxford Street at 2 in the morning. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a compliment of the highest order.

Just Kiddin get this remix just right, adding some silky smooth layers of danceability to the track without treading into weird rave territory. With the high hats, wind-in-your-ears synth, and bass line that puts the listener in a funk chokehold, this kind of remix reminds of artists like Touch Sensitive and Kavinsky. And that fucking rules.

 

SBMRGE-Masked

We’ve already heard from Pilerats Records via their debut release of Sable’s ‘Feels So Good’, and the new lable show no signs of slowing down, having just released their third track by an artist known as SBMRGE. Listening to this track, there’s no doubt of the influence of SBTRKT. If you hadn’t picked it up from the name, then just a small snippet of the smoother-than-cream-made-of-silk soul of the track should convince you pretty quick smart.

However, there’s also a little of that Australian vibe through artists like Kilter and Yahtzel. However, with SBMRGE’s smoothness, he trumps those guys brash knob-tweakin’, and comes on top this round. You go SBMRGE!

 

Fielded-City of the Dayzed

At the very beginning of the track, Fielded (aka Lindsey Powell) immediately splits shit up by infiltrating a quiet, timid voice with rushing, raindrop-like xylophone sounds. However, that voice comes back in a big way very quickly, amping itself into some sort of Mariah Carey-influenced brand of The xx. Woah, right?

‘City of the Dayzed’ has just some of the strongest female vocals I’ve heard in a long, long time. If it were behind some sort of cheesy, bullshit thing, this track would’ve both been lost on me, and gone to the top of the Billboard Charts for approximately a week, and thousands of radio hosts would find a way to mispronounce Ms. Powell’s name. Instead, the shuffling, trembling music we get instead provides a lush background that completely allows the song to hit its absolute fucking peak.

Advertisements

Video(s): Bitch Prefect + Real Estate + The Kite String Tangle + Pluto Jonze + YACHT + JMSN + Grave Babies

It’s been a while since I looked at any music videos. Good thing that the bands mentioned in the title came across with some new ones that rule pretty fucking hard. Especially the Aussie contingent. Those videos rule harder than Ja Rule using a ruler to measure his plunge in pop culture obscurity.

 

Bitch Prefect-University Fiend

You’ve met him before (it’s always a he). A self-minded, self-rioghteous prick that spews forth right-wing bullshit every time he opens his mouth. He’s an outspoken arsehole, and Bitch Prefect fucking hate this guy, along with the sane portion of Australia. This fucking wanker is young, dumb and is guaranteed to start and finish his life in university. Man, fuck this guy.

Bitch Prefect’s spot-on downer tune couldn’t reflect the unanimous opinion of this guy better. However, in the spirit of free speech, the dickhead is allowed to share his opinion on Bitch Prefect themselves, stimulated through the video for the track. The Predator-vision whilst the camera focuses on the band, and sudden switch to bright-eyed purple when admiring past accomplishments and the happiest/saddest day in this fuckhead’s life (graduation) shows that his opinion is solidly of the ‘fuck Bitch Prefect’ viewpoint. But who gives a shit. He’s a university fiend.

 

Real Estate-Talking Backwards

It’s Monday, which means that a lot of people will be listening to wistful indie rock. Fuck that. Listen to metal.

Okay, so maybe Monday arvo isn’t the best time to get into a nostalgic Pantera session, but instead of spinning Lana Del Ray for the millionth time, go for something new, something fresh, and something actually good. This new one from New York’s Real Estate is just the kind of friendly depression-visor that Monday’s call for.

There’s not a whole lot of amazing shit that happens in the clip, just an insight into what the characters of Real Estate get up to when no-one’s watching. Although I never really felt that was a hole in my life that needed to be filled, it has, and at the very least, there’s a kickass Real Estate track coming out of it.

 

The Kite String Tangle-Given the Chance

When I first heard this, I nearly shit a brick. Although it fits into the usual triple-j fodder of really good electro-dance artists like Panama and Rufus, this track makes squiggles of pleasure shoot through my brain at a frightening pace. If you’re listening to this track right now, you’ll realise the sort of sensations I’m feeling. The soulful voice, the trickling keys, the touch-n-go electronic-drumbeats…oh, and that fucking chorus croon! Jesus Christ, it’s like someone unleashed a hybrid of Adele and Miles Davis!

As for the video, well fuck me with some tindersticks. I don’t wanna sound like a pretentious prick, but why break the habit? It pretty much perfectly captures the introspectively uplifting mood of the track. The trippy, colourful visuals are amazing, and the self-discovery plot that seems to go on is, in a word, niiiiiiceeeee.

Get this fucking song, right fucking here. Go watch The Kite String Tangle at Oxford Arts Factory on Wednesday, 13th of Feb. Don’t sleep on that shit, because this dude has sold out four shows of his tour already.

 

Pluto Jonze-All Washed Up

Pluto Jonze is like the Vance Joy of indie-pop. By that I mean, he’s a small-time dude, with a whole bunch of pretty good songs on his belt. After slewing it out, and releasing amazing video after amazing video, he’s going to hit it big. And I mean really fucking big. Pluto Jonze is going to be fucking big, possibly bigger that Vance. In fact, the only super big differences is that Pluto Jonze is from Sydney, has a more broad spectrum of arrangement in his songs, and sounds a little bit more bummed.

And maybe, just maybe, ‘All Washed Up’ is Pluto Jonze’s ‘Riptide’. Who knows? Its definitely catchy, there’s a whistle-hook in there, and Pluto Jonze has been kicking around for long enough now that people should recognise the name. And with a video this fucking great, featuring a quick flurry of baffling but visually tasty images, it’s hard not to become kind of obsessed with this song. Hell, the images even relate to the lyrics the same way as in the ‘Riptide video. Pluto Jonze’s bummed face + Monopoly money + You’re all washed up’= music video symmetry heaven.

 

YACHT-Plastic Soul

YACHT are an electro-pop duo from Portland, Oregon, and they’ve done the most Portland thing ever by advertising the fact that it cost them ONLY 5 grand to make this video. Jinkies, do you want hipster cred with that order of overwhelming douchebraggery?

Although I do feel guilty putting two ‘retro, ironic karoake’ clips together, the song itself is actually pretty great. It’s bouncy and squelchy and a little bit off-putting but in an enjoyable way, like Hannibal Lecter playing with a basketball made of human flesh. Nice imagery right?

 

JMSN-The One

This clip was described to me as kinda dark, a statement that definetely goes as a frontrunner of ‘Most Underplayed Description of 2014’. The song plays like your average soulful ballad, not all that dissimilar to Oscar Key Sung or The Weeknd.

But then you watch this clip, and your eyes literally fall out of your head at the kind of shit on display. This is like watching Hellraiser in the company of someone who only wears spandex and leather, insists on speaking like a snake, and will never kiss you, only stick their tounge down your earholes. It’s incredibly creepy, disturbing and a hundred percent unique. For sure, you will not see a clip like this for a very, very long time.

 

Grave Babies-Pain Cycle

Time to get completely out of the smush zone with a hard-hitting new video from Grave Babies. I’ve always profounded my love for this band and their rich brand of goth mind-fuckery. On ‘Pain Cycle’, the rich grooves of crushing S&M synth are especially potent. Usually, a Grave Babies track will just tie you down and melt your mind. ‘Pain Cycle’ wants to compress it and place somewhere it can never be found.

If that wasn’t dark enough for you, check the video. It is so fucking creepy, like the Blair Witch Project being branded into the minds of the Children of the Corn. Green television sets blink and flicker in nothingness and a timid girl does what every horror-movie girl does: refuse to turn the fuck around and scream their way to safety. Oh well, at least her demise makes for a video that you will actually not be able to tear your eyes off.

Album Review: Mogwai-Rave Tapes

Does…does this album even need to be reviewed? I mean…c’mon people! It’s a brand new Mogwai album! As in the Scottish group that made instrumental music exciting again! How can it be physically possible, humanly even, to not rave about Mogwai? The album is fucking called ‘Rave Tapes’!

Okay, if you must know, this album rules so hard, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The rolling textures, the sharp, knifey melodies, the introduction of more unnerving electricity into their work? Mogwai have always been a moody band, but they usually build up their songs to epic proportions. On ‘Rave Tapes’, things are almost constantly kept subdued, humming at a menacing level, like the world’s most attractive mosquito.

On this album, it feels as though the band haven’t had anything extreme happen to them personally, but they’re reflecting on more worldly issues. The music incorporates more forward, electronic dynamics that push the album in a straight, focused line. Its always buzzing, seething, but never blows up or exasperates itself. Anyone who’s been a teenager can connect with that feeling, of being so mad that you feel like its more effective if you silently pray for your offenders’ demise than directly attack them. If anything, ‘Rave Tapes’ is the ultimate passive-agressive soundtrack. Forget your go-to Metallica/Marilyn Manson/Slipknot loud-fests that are basically torture screams over guitars. You want something that actually broods and speaks to your inner angst? Listen to this album on repeat.

On a more specific level, the songs of ‘Rave Tapes’ are, unsurprisingly, interesting as fuck. Like, more interesting than a chat in an opium den with Einstein, the Dalai Lama and Jim Morrison. The album is unbelievably textured, shifting between a million emotional paradigms. At one point, ‘Hexon Bogon’, which features tumultuous feedback undercutting dilapidating piano strokes, gives a vulnerable side to Mogwai. And then, a couple songs later, ‘Master Card’ provides a re-strengthend, thought-provoking journey with a thrusting, aggressive guitar part whilst synth waves shake the song to its core.

But, as usual for Mogwai albums, the most memorable moments of ‘Rave Tapes’ come from the more epic and sinister parts of the album. It’s just what the band do best. ‘Remurdered’, is the first taste of the album (and most brutal overall) where we get to hear some cynical musical savagery. As if the title wasn’t enough, the song itself plays out like a climactic scene of a gory Cormac McCarthy novel. At the beginning, the lighter key parts hint at some sort of bullshit happy discovery scenario. But as the song delves further into its six and a half minute run-time, the gruesome nature of the track reveals itself bit by bit. Seriously, if someone were to make a remake of Se7en, just have ‘Remurdered’ be the score. The heavy, scrambling notes that appear about halfway through the track are both primal and futuristic, like Blade Runner, if Harrison Ford were played by a Neanderthal.

Likewise, the track ‘Deesh’ stands out for its significantly villainous overtones that, although cut with some hopeful synths, bring the mood to a thoroughly bleak outlook. Even the closer of ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’, a track that was probably inspired in some part by the work of Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized, holds a certain darkness to it. The organ rings and robot-filtered vocals bring the song, and encapsulate the album’s overall vibe, of being the sort of future that is run by a Skynet programmed by the Westboro Baptists Church. Hell, maybe there’s actually a whole Terminator thing going on, and this is the only way the guys from Mogwai know how to warn us simple mortals.

‘Rave Tapes’ is not Mogwai’s best work. That being said, it’s not their worst either. It’s in a beautiful middle ground, very similar to 2003’s ‘Happy Music for Happy People’. Its minimalistic approach (for Mogwai, anyway) is different but for a mostly positive effect. But, despite the connotations of the title, ‘Rave Tapes’ is a pretty shy work. It never wants to point the finger, and rarely retreats out of the framework to give off the signature epic Mogwai blasts of emotion. Nonetheless, ‘Rave Tapes’ is accomplished, well-produced, and is more conceptual and resonating than 9/10 modern albums. And all this from a band that say nearly fuck all.

If you’re keen, (as you very well should be) you can hear an exclusive stream of the album here on The Guardian’s website, right here. ‘Rave Tapes’ comes out on the 17th of January, via Sub Pop/Rock Action/Spunk Records.

New: Thigh Master + Shaking Hell + Petty Things + Dum Dum Girls + Diveliner

So many tunes, so little time. What a shitty, cliched introduction. Fuck it, we’ll do it live.

 

Thigh Master-Goon Punch

Thigh Master are from Brisbane, so you know they’re tough as fucking nails. All is pretty much confirmed when you’ve got a song entitled ‘Goon Punch’, an all too common experience had by every teenage boy soon after sculling four litres of pure demon piss. Musically, Thigh Master are awesome. They sound like a strung-out, tired-of-your-shit Archers of Loaf, hidden behind a couple of layers of badass fuzz.

If you’re free on the 25th of January, make sure you head out to The Clarence Hotel, because Thigh Master are going to play ‘Goon Punch’ and a bunch of other sick tracks. Ruined Fortune (!), Beef Jerk and Video Ezy play support.

 

Shaking Hell-I’m Not Your Friend

Remember that Frenzal Rhomb track ‘You Are Not My Friend’? Well this song from Melbourn’es Shaking Hell is nothing like that. Its way more furious, and it burrows into your brain within a millisecond of the first chords erupting. It’s a friendly sort of evil, like South Park’s version of Satan, and you can’t help but let ‘I’m Not Your Friend’ invade your blood stream, forcing every fibre of your body into a dangerous state of punk overload. Shaking Hell are a band that demand to be moshed to, and who the fuck are you to deny them of that?

Shaking Hell are playing what is guaranteed to be one of the best shows of the year at Blackwire Records on January 18th, with Yes, I’m Leaving (!), Narrows Lands (!) and Palmer Grasp. If that sort of lineup doesn’t make you sopping in the loin areas, you’re fucked mate.

 

Petty Things-Bored

This is a song by a band from Arizona. Cool. The songs about a bunch of kids who are walkin’ down the street and kill a dude for shits and giggles, because they were bored. Now we’re talking!

‘Bored’ reminds me of those fuzz bands that popped up around California around the time Wavves first started getting popular. There’s a definite slacker/punk vibe to these guys. Like, they want to rebel against their parents and go to that White Fang show….but there’s a bong just out of arms reach, and that is definitely the more pressing issue here. Hey, we’ve all been there. Now, go get this fucking song, because it’s rad.

 

Dum Dum Girls-Rimbaud Eyes

Although the first single off the new Dum Dum Girls was pretty meh, but this new one is way more to my liking. It’s so 80’s, you’d think that the Dum Dum Girls was a culmination of the Psychedelic Furs and Debbie Harry. Seriously, the icy waves of New Wave are so prominent here, you’d think that the Dum Dum Girls’ record collections were solely made up of New York synth artists and The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ 12″ single. If Lou Reed were still around right now, I feel that he’d be obsessed with this song, and that’s enough for me.

 

Diveliner-Vìda

Wanna listen to King Krule, but scared that you’re friends will all yell at you for jumping on the hipster bandwagon? All you have to do is listen to Diveliner, the most perfect replication of King Krule’s nu-jazz to date. The song ‘Vìda’ is pure perfection, a slow-moving sex-jam that rolls around the brain like a caramel sundae drizzled in Beyonce’s perfume. Its so goddamn smooth, it’d put an event of Drake songs as sung by Ray Charles to shame. Everything about this song is near perfect, from the glossy guitar strokes, to the computer blips and saxophone love-making horns. Layer that underneath one of the soon-to-be-declared ‘best voices of 2014’ and its a recipe for success.

 

Alternative Rock Album Reviews: Teenage Exorcists + Shape Breaker + Mavis Gary + Fat Children + Trick Mammoth + INVASIONS + July Days

Getting stuck into the album reviews again, this time from a fuckload of artists that deserve to be fucking knighted for their valiant efforts in promoting amazing music, via making amazing music.

 

Teenage Exorcists-Teenage Exorcists EP

At first, Teenage Exorcists come off like your average above-average indie rock band. They sound like they’re from California, the guitar fuzz is well rounded out by pretty great melodies, and the verses are smart and catchy. But then those solo’s crack in and change the perspective like you got hit in the face by a sledgehammer made of J Mascis riffs.

Specifically, the best thing about Teenage Exorcists, besides those amazing solos, is how smart they come off as a band. If Ball Park Music got Nick Zinner as a guitarist, then you’d have an idea of what I’m talking about. For example on ‘You Make Me Hippie’, there’s a line that goes ‘We can listen to Slayer, if that is what you love’. That’s probably the only line in an indie rock song of the past ten years that makes a positive and selfless reference to Slayer.

So, between the infectious-as-fuck chorus’, the Dino. Jr. solos and Vampire Weekend on crack indie rock that’s on display, its hard to find fault with Teenage Exorcists.

 

Shape Breaker-Eyes Wide

For those who like their indie rock with a sledge hammer right in the middle of their mind’s eye, then Philly’s Shape Breaker is the band to satisfy  that weird fetish of yours. They’re like a psychedelic band that got put in the tumble dry with the the guys from FIDLAR. There’s dirty, swashbuckling guitar solos abound, far-off stoner vocals and a bass that’s more fuzzed out of its mind than a bunny rabbit tripping on a heart dose of acid.

After hearing the first chords of ‘Climb Down’, I knew that I, along with the million or so garage rock fans that thrive on overdoses of reverb, would be 100% completely in love with this band. They’ve got an ethic and attitude akin to their contemporaries like The Orwells and Bass Drum of Death, so it surprises me that pitchfork hasn’t heralded this band as saviours of garage music yet. Oh well, that means that I get to do it. These guys are saviours of garage rock music, and you’d be more idiotic than a guy that waits on Coachella tickets to not grab this album while its still free. This band is fucking rad, and if it’s in your iTunes, then you’re rad as well.

Mavis Gary-Pin Me Up

And as soon as we were on the sunny coasts of indie rock California, we’re into Flying Nun territory. I really don’t give a fuck, do I? Anyway, Mavis Gary isn’t actually signed to Flying Nun (they’re on a label called The Attic) but they might as well be. They’re clean guitar pop is so reminscent of all those heyday Nun bands, that these guys could be a Clean cover band, straight up.

Mavis Gary’s dream-pop is dreamer than a bat of the eyelashes from the student that wants to bang our hero in the first Indiana Jones movie. Songs like ‘Pin Me Up’, ‘Dorothy Jean’, and the quaintly awesome ‘Colombine’ effectively combine that amazing softness with slacker attitude, that you’d swear you were listening to Yo La Tengo being suffocated in Chinese silk. If you’re a fan of Bearhug, Wilco or Sparkelhorse, then you’d be more than a fool to wait on this album-you’d be more fucking idiotic than Dennis Franz in Die Hard 2. If you understand that reference, then you’re my soulmate.

 

Fat Children-Three Quarters Of A Fistful

As a fat child, I find this band name offensive. But the fact that they sound like Les Savy Fav-goes-pop, and they’re from Dunedin puts them in the category of ‘I don’t give a fuck how offensive this band name is, I like them too much to care’. Insofar, there are no other bands that fit that very specific criteria, and as thus, they are the only ones in that category.

Anyway, the fact that they slide around like an obese man’s fat rolls in an anti-gravity machine is basically all there is to say about their music. That’s an overwhelmingly positive thing though. Fat Children are obviously an above-average band, with fantastic music. They’re most valuable quality is their ability to switch harshly between styles in the middle of the song, and have the only side effect being that the song becomes stronger. Case in point: ‘Caveat Venditor’. Within the frame of two and a half minutes, Fat Children wade between carnival swag, White Stripes-ish power riffage and more jangle than a man with baggy pants and too many coins in his pockets.

Basically, Fat Children override their highly offensive name that ridicules me to the very soul because their tunes are too good to simply forget about. Goddamn, those must be some tasty tunes. Congrats Dunedin, you’ve popped out yet another fucking amazing guitar-pop group. Why don’t you put your fucking feet up for a while and let Australians take their rightful place on the slacker throne.

 

Trick Mammoth-Floristry

Actually, on second thoughts, I just listened to Trick Mammoth’s ‘Floristry’ again, and it looks like the Kiwis have a handle on this shit. You go Trick Mammoth!

Trick Mammoth are the third and final band (in this article anyway) from Dunedin, New Zealand. However, when they sound something along the lines if Superchunk were attacked by Daniel Blumberg, the main guy behind Yuck and Hebronix, how could I not include them. There’s a super slow, romantic feel to all the music that Trick Mammoth flow forth with, and its as easy and breezy as a waltz down a quite New Zealand cobblestone road in the middle of an afternoon.

Overall, ‘Floristry’ will just mesmerise you the same way Day Ravies does: lightly and leaving you begging for more. Another fantastically stunning release from Fishrider Records.

 

INVASIONS-INVASIONS

Here are some things from Canada-maple syrup, Mike Myers, a really good friend of mine from high school who happens to be the coolest motherfucker around. Yeah, Canada is a pretty swell place. And we’re not even getting into the music stuff yet: Canada is host to some absolutely jaw-dropping talent like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Broken Social Scene. Forgetting the fact that it has also spawned fellow ‘musicians’ like Simple Plan, Drake and Shit-elback, Canada proves that its a goddamn goldmine of musical talent.

Just take a listen to the band INVASIONS. They hold true as fuck to their press release statement that they’re the lost soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino movie that was never made. As tracks like ‘Born On A Wave’ and ‘Lovingly’ wring out, you can practically hear Link Wray jizzing his pants. INVASIONS brand of surf rock is drop dead sexy and more suave than James Bond as played by Sean Connery.

This is no more apparent on the album than on the beauty of a track ‘Rosy’. This song is like what would happen if George Clooney and Cheech Marin became really good friends on the set of From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, and decided to drop their movie careers to become surf rock stars with flair (Marin) and sex appeal (Clooney). I’ll leave it up the the band themselves to decide which character they personally reflect.

Anyway, the great thing about INVASIONS music is how they can be so effortlessly cool (it kinda comes with the territory of being in a surf rock band) and yet having this hopping, boiling sex-romp energy bubbling underneath like a predator. Fucking delectable.

 

July Days-The Night Is For Hunting

Going through the Facebook page of Melbourne rock quartet July Days, its not hard to see where they get their sound from. They supported Darren Middelton, the guitarist of Aussie rock icons Powderfinger (who also produced this album). They linked an article from Noel Gallagher of Oasis, lamenting about radio not playing Aussie bands. And a listen to any of their tracks reveals a penchant for hooks akin to the likes of Crowded House.

In fact, listening to July Days is like going through a patchwork of radio ready rock acts. The band have taken these bands, pastiched them together, and created a sound that will be comforting for listeners. Although this doesn’t push the boundaries, it undoubtedly sounds pretty good. There’s the recalling of the likes of The Killers and Kaiser Chiefs on the track ‘Should’ve Told Me’, and their acoustic tracks are akin to the stylings of more modern favourites like The Rubens and The Trouble With Templeton.

Regardless, July Days have put out a pretty strong debut album. Whilst they do put their influences right at the centrefold of their music, they manage to maintain a strong hold on the listener throughout the album.

Playlist: Australian Artists to Watch in 2014 (January Playlist)

Alright, two things.

1. I realise I’ve been pretty shitty about getting out the monthly playlists of songs that you don’t give a fuck about. Frankly, I haven’t been listening to all that much new stuff, just old school Mogwai, The Triffids and this band that Guy from Chapter Music was raving about called The Plants (check ’em they’re rad). So, consider this a January playlist.

2. A bunch of musical related things like the NME have been raving about bands they reckon will explode this year. Honestly, I don’t really give a fuck about Temples or Sam Smith or whatever bullshit Justin Vernon rip-off project is occurring. Now, I wanna talk about some homegrown talent that is sure to lay siege to your brains in this new year.

Before I get stuck in, I’d like to prefix this by saying I didn’t include bands that have had stellar years in 2013. No Palms, or Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys or Bad//Dreems, or anything like that. Definitely no Courtney Barnett after the outrageous (but certainly earned) amounts of praise.  The following bands and artists are ones that came on the verge of hitting big in 2013, but saved up their magic for what is sure to be a stellar following year. Get used to these names-some of them will begin to dominate Triple J, or at least your community radio station, some will begin to invade your hometown with shows, and some will break up, and it’ll be like they never existed. However, all are incredibly, incredibly good, and they’re only at a sapling phase. In 2014, watch these bad boys and girls grow into behemoths of the Australian music scene.

1. Go Violets

2. The Stevens

3. ScotDrakula

4. The Clits

5. Blood Plastic

6. Adults

7. Destiny 3000

9. Multiple Man

10. Circular Keys

11. Tincture

12. GUERRE

13. Cull

14. You Beauty

15. The Creases

16. Driffs

17. Bloods

18. Chicks Who Love Guns

19. The Frowning Clouds

20. Mining Boom

Punk Album Reviews: HANNAHBAND + Bare Grillz + Schotel van de Dag + Mock Duck + X Is Y

Anyone who’s visited this site knows that punk rock holds a very dear, very special place in my heart. I’m pretty sure I listen to Black Flag at least once a day. It’s a really great way to wind down, honestly! Anyway, although the following bands aren’t going to be the next Black Flag, at least they’re all better than Green Day, post-Dookie era.

 

HANNAHBAND-Honey, I’m A Bad Singer

Honestly, I feel really bad that I haven’t put this review up earlier. This album is one of the best punk rock items to be bred into the consciousness of Sydney existence since I found out that Jonathan Boulet had a pretty great decent hardcore band (they’re called Snakeface, if you gave a shit). Anyway, this is the more brutal, slimy project that was formed in the remnants of the amazing Sweet Teeth. Although there’s nothing as intensely memorable as ‘I LIKE GIRLS, GIRLS WITH DADDY ISSUES’ on the debut HANNAHBAND record, the album does provide a more serious, focused project that works on an infinitely more measured and constantly enjoyable level than Sweet Teeth releases. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Sweet Teeth, but its easier to tell that Nathan and Marnie are putting a lot more concentration and effort into this release, and it pays off in spades.

Whether or not that’s an actual phrase or not, ‘Honey, I’m A Bad Singer’ never loses its self-deprecating edge or snarling tone for even a second. With the explosive songs and growling hurt, it rings like Australian/Chinese punks Pairs if they were recorded by Steve Albini. The hoarse screams recall a time when emo wasn’t a frowned upon genre, and if Dischord was in its glory days, there is no doubt in my mind that HANNAHBAND would be at the top of the roster. Its too hard to pick a single standout song, but gun to my head, the slow-burning ‘Seven Day Quarrel Cycle’, which grinds like the best Fucked Up song never written, would be the frontrunner. ‘Long Distance Running’, which barrels forward like a strung-out Squirrel Bait crawling out of a toilet bowl and beginning a hunt of vengeance on the wankers that killed punk rock, is also an absolute shiner on an album of shiners. Overall, a fucking brilliant work of art, from start to fucking finish. I fucking ADORE this album.

 

Bare Grillz-Friends

Thank the Dethklok gods that Bare Grillz are back in action. I always thought that they had broken up, until I was pleasantly surprised by their furious display of screaming punk fury at Sound Summit. Now, after that hell of a performance, Bare Grillz rejected the status quo again by going and releasing this stellar record entitled ‘Friends’. More nihilistic than a Nietzsche convention, and more engaging than a personal performance from Nation of Ulysses. Why does Bare Grillz sound so good? Well, they sound like no one else, I actually find it hard to give a comparison. I’d liked to say that they’re a little Fugazi, but there’s not enough strong-willed anger and determination to change society. Same goes with a comparison to At the Drive-In. Instead, Bare Grillz are so purely Newcastle, with a sound that is so completely their own, and it could only have risen from being in such an isolated, close-knit environment. Whatever makes Bare Grillz tick, it allows them to spin between a million different ideas and musical styles, one minute floating on a tropical cloud, the next bashing our brains into oblivion, and a second later there’s only far away, lost vocals, math rock drums and a trembling bass. The amount of things Bare Grillz can balance on their plate, especially considering their status as a mild punk three-piece, they’re more like a Hydra of assorted punk tunes than any sort of traditional band. And that is a very, very good thing. Thank fuck Bare Grillz are back.

FUN FACT: Bare Grillz once did a split EP with Sweet Teeth, the aforementioned band that disbanded and led to the creation of HANNAHBAND. Shooting star, the more you know.

 

Schotel van de Dag-Vinger in de Pap

The press release for the Dutch band Schotel van de Dag was described as being Fugazi on crack, however listening to them, I was pleasantly surprised, or more aptly, fucking stoked, to hear an amalgamation of a bunch of my favourite hard punk anarchist punk bands. If Refused got together with the guys from Anti-Flag, and they were then locked in a room that played Pantera non-stop, then you’d have Schotel van de Dag. This band puts the brutal back in punk music, and they aren’t doing it half-heartedly. They throw themselves into every song like its a life or death situation, creating a maelstrom of sound that needs to be listened to. The thick, glistening slobs of bass that linger over the purely mental drums-its just a testament to oblivion via punk music.

Although the whole album is hard to find fault with, at least in my humble opinion, the opener of ‘Seventy Songs’ (possibly an allusion to Fugazi’s mind-shattering debut?) is the standout on the album. This is a song that should make Red Fang and Kvelertak quake in their boots, because there’s obviously another hard-working, hard-hitting punk/stoner/metal hybrid band that are all to ready to light the dynamite that will explode your expectations all over your living room. Reckless and endangered, Schotel van de Dag are the rare kind of band that makes you want to do something with your life, or at the very least, trade your testicles for tickets to their next show.

 

Mock Duck-Inner Infinities EP

And, now we’re over to Tokyo, Japan. I’ve said it before, the only really great bands I know from Japan are Guitar Wolf, The 5678’s and Boris, although I adore all these bands thoroughly. However, Mock Duck easily joins those ranks. If you’re any sort of fan of Kyuss, then you’d do fucking well to get on the free download offered of the ‘Inner Infitinies’ EP. This thing manages to be punk through the sheer fury of itself, but there’s also that slimy fuzz that coats it and brings it into stoner territory as well.

All six tracks (especially the weirdly-titled but intensely orgasmic ‘For A Few Minutes The World Smelled Like Pears’) on here kick tremendous amounts of ass. I mean that sincerely, in the way that Dozer kicks so much ass. The sludge is sped up like a 33 record was stuck onto 78. It blisters the mind and moults everything in its path. Basically, what I’m trying to say here, is that Mock Duck will blow your mind into a million fucking chunks in the space eighteen minutes. If you like your punk dripping wet in blazing gore and riff with solos, Mock Duck is brilliance incarnate.

 

X Is Y-Summer and Winter Warfare (Re-Issue)

And this one is from Shanghai. Fuck this article has been all over the fucking globe. Although not strictly punk, X Is Y adopt a math-rock attitude on their music, and they do a pretty badass job of it. If I’ve learnt anything from people older and wiser than me, its that punk rock doesn’t have to be brutal to be amazing. I actually had to lose the shit about don’t plagiarise from people and any semblance of social normalcy to make way for that brain nugget.

Anyway, X Is Y is like Tool, if all the bullshit got stripped away. You know, all that shit that Maynard James Keenan always blathers on about, like hookers with penises and prison sex. Without all that in the way, and the heaviness shaved back a bit, what you get is a complex and interesting view into music. I feel like I’m sitting in a classroom, and being taught how to read sheet music, only instead of being bored the fuck to death, the class is being taught by Steve Albini.

In summary, ‘Summer and Winter Warfare’ doesn’t have any spectacular moments, but that’s okay, because neither does any This Town Needs Guns or Polvo albums. Instead, you’ve simply got to let X Is Y spin its music all over your mind, like some sort of Shellac-meets-Underground Lovers spider creating a web. Overall, it’s hard to be disappointed in an album that is shifting so much, but always maintaining a direction of awesomeness.

New: Oily Boys-Rabbit’s Foot (free download)

I wanted to include this in the previous post about new shit, but there was no way I could include it subtly, and there was no way I was going to put a track this good all the way down in the bottom, especially after a bliss-out on the Woods track. No, Oily Boys deserve so much better than that, so they get their own very special post, and maybe an extra 10 words or so. Someone give me a fucking Nobel Peace Prize or something!

Anyway, if you haven’t heard of Oily Boys, they’re one of the saints of all things heavy and detrimental in Sydney. Its songs like ‘Rabbit’s Foot’ that sends WASP mothers running for the hills, begging for 7 inches to be labelled with warnings about thematic nature. Well, good fucking luck untangling the babble of awesome that ferociously bubbles on this track. As the drums pound mercilessly, and the guitar overlaps itself like a racehorse that’s going at the speed of light, but can’t quite figure out how, ‘Rabbit’s Foot’ just gets faster and more furious (but never resembling a Vin Diesel vehicle in the slightest) until its an overblown punk spew. Words don’t really describe how fucking brilliant this track is.

New: Mac DeMarco + Damaged Bug + Trust + The War on Drugs + Habibi + Woods

There’s more new songs in this article than there were impoverished orphans in Charles Dickens’ novels. That’s a lotta songs.

Mac DeMarco-Song About Pussy

This song doesn’t actually have a name. Hell, this song probably is just a little fuckaround thing he did between blowing minds at the bunch of sold out shows he did in Australia (I was at the one he did at The Standard, with Twerps. It was awesome, thanks for asking). Anyway, if watching a naked cowboy with an acoustic guitar that just barely covers his pubes, you’re in luck. If you want that to be soundtracked by a sleazy, 80’s throwback track sung by our favourite Canadian, then you’re in double luck. If you want a twist ending, and Mac to randomly pop his frizzy head up at the bottom of the screen by the end of the track, then you have an oddly specific fetish.

Damaged Bug-Eggs At Night

Oh, shit goddamn, hot salsa orgies on a microwave plate! It’s new John Dwyer material! Although that name might not ring a bell, Thee Oh Sees certainly should, a project that happens to be the brainchild of Mr. Dwyer. The fact that the man is nothing short of a King Midas, turning everything he touches into gold, should come as no surprise.

Anyway, although the sad news of Thee Oh Sees going on hiatus has been confirmed as fact, the man isn’t slowing down by any standard, instead adopting the name Damaged Bug, and deciding to put out an electronic-toned solo LP. ‘Eggs At Night’ is the first taste, and fucking hell, its like he’s shoved a five course meal down our throats! The song is absolutely amazing! Slow, creepy, vaudevillian synths creep the song into existence, like the SOS of a lonely, The Fall/Rowland S. Howard-loving lighthouse keeper, whilst Dwyer’s vocals echo like some sort of post-modern Dracula, dripping with loneliness. It’s like Ian Curtis never died after all! Absolutely fucking beautiful, and I mean every word.

Trust-Rescue, Mister

I really, really enjoyed the first album I heard from Trust. It was dark, gothic and delectable as hell. Then, late last year, I saw a music video that completely turned me off Alfons. There was a pop sheen to it that sounded like they’d been dipped in a bowl of Rihanna jizz. With caution, I pressed play on the new single from the band, and was delighted when it came back to that original sound. Weirdly enough, I can’t seem to find that pop track that turned me off Trust. I’ve spent two hours looking, coming up blank. Maybe it was all a bad dream.

‘Rescue, Mister’ takes on a distinctly sophomore-era Crystal Castles vibe, with the spider web female chorus, and gothic synths reaching to newfound heights.Weird disco penetrates this song like I penetrate the walls of The Red Rattler-bug-eyed and awkward, but having too much fun to care that everyone else thinks that its the most out of place thing imaginable.  If this is what Trust ends up sounding like on the new LP, then please, don’t hold back. Alfons: assault me with that freaky disco carnage.

The War On Drugs-Red Eyes

I feel bad, because I absolutely adore The War on Drugs, and yet I had no clue they had a new track out. AND I was away for their apparently spectacular gig at Oxford Arts a couple of days ago. I’m slightly ashamed of myself. Yet ‘Red Eyes’ takes that all away. Whether they’re referring to the side-effect of a spectacular amount of marijuana injections (that’s how you do pot, right?) or from a shit load of crying, the fact remains that this song could be a comfortable sidekick in both situations. Smoother than George Clooney’s ass cheeks, and more resonating in the pleasure centre than a brain implant of chocolate ice cream, ‘Red Eyes’ simply needs to be adored. And the best thing is that it doesn’t even need to try. It seems that all those years with Kurt Vile paid off for the rest of the band, and now, they can hone their own brand of spiritually-cleansing rock. Damn, this is just such a fine song that everyone on the planet should own.

Habibi-I Got the Moves

The band’s name couldn’t be further from what’s on display on this stunner of a track. Whilst the name evokes a Middle Eastern stereotype store you could find in downtown anywhere, the band is a girl group playing surf rock the way it was meant to be done. Super catchy, super light and super short ‘n’ sweet. Its like these women came right off the set of Gilligan’s Island, where they played sexy surfers that abandoned poor Gilligan at the end of the episode. No surprises, it comes off Burger Records, the home of all good surf rock. Good on ya’ Burger!

Woods-Leaves Like Glass

Its been a while since I was in this neck of the Woods (someone give me a fucking sitcom deal). I’m speaking, of course, about alt-country territory. I’m talking about Blitzen Trapper, Fruit Bats and Deer Tick, that weird gray area between shitty indie folk stuff and shitty country music, where the stories are weird and the music is weirder. Woods have always fit in there snugly, and now more so than ever. ‘Leaves Like Glass’ features a brilliant little organ part, which is tugged along by the acoustic guitars strumming their wares. To put it bluntly, Woods become charming as fuck on ‘Leaves Like Glass’, like some sort of hybrid of The Moondoggies and Brad Pitt.

Video(s): King Krule + CEO + The Persian Leaps + Libel

Only a few videos this time around, but they’re all pretty madddddd dawgggg swagga. Enjoy profusely.

King Krule-A Lizard State

Boom! We start off the new King Krule video with a smashing picture of a dude that looks exactly like Hitchcock (or is it actually Hitchcock) fucking with us on a vertical plane. Then, we get into this 20’s heyday roar horn section with Krule’s trademark deep blues voice. Not unusually, his voice gets my loins all slimy-like, a description in keeping with the title of the song. A fantastic track deserves a fantastic clip, and with all the disconcerting camera angle changes, noir themes and plot centred around plaguing mystery, it’d be an understatement to say that King Krule hasn’t delivered on this clip.

King Krule is playing Laneway on Sunday, 2nd February in Sydney. If you missed on tickets to the festival (sucked in) he’s also playing on the 4th of February at Oxford Art Factory.

CEO-Whorehouse

A track called ‘Whorehouse’ is sure to raise a few eyebrows, in the same way a scheduled visit to Las Vegas from Hunter S. Thompson gets drug dealers boners wagging. However, CEO delivers with a video that only strengthens the Standish/Carlyon-in-Bangkok vibes of their music. ‘Whorehouse’ jitters and squeals all over the place, squelching like a mermaid having mutiple orgams whilst under the water. If MIA was caught in a washing machine with Jagwar Ma, you’d get something like ‘Whorehouse’. Meanwhile, the video glows in an artistically gorgeous way, akin to the quietly vibrance that made ‘Drive’ such a glorious smash hit. Enjoy this clip with a heavy dose of acid and/or good companionship.

The Persian Leaps-Sleepless

The Persian Leaps sound like Guided By Voices, which means that I immediately like them a fuck load more than the average slacker rock band. And I adore almost all slacker rock bands. The college rock haze moves into their video clips with ease. Trippy shades of colour infiltrate otherwise pretty poignant scenes. Notice I didn’t say boring, you ignorant wanker. The environments on display in the ‘Sleepless’ clip echo the kinds of places where you’d find yourself at ease automatically-on an escalator, under the power lines, and in a cool band’s practice space. Man, anyone in the Saint Paul, Minnesota area should immediately seek out The Persian Leaps practice space and set up permanent camp there.

Libel-Tomorrow’s Children

I feel that if Mudhoney were about 10 years younger, and Seattle was still the snide, mostly-ignored cesspit of awesome that it was in the 90’s, then they’d sound a lot like Libel. There’s a bitterness there, and I can dig it. There’s a little McLusky-goes-pop vibe to it as well.

The accompanying clip is cutesy, a bunch of animated figures doing stop-start synchronised things, but for the most part, its the song that takes centre stage here.