Album Review: The Dirty Nil-SMITE EP

It’s not secret that I’m a pretty big fan of Canadian band The Dirty Nil. If you don’t believe me, well then just look here or here or here. That’s called evidence. Motherfucking CSI shit. Straight out of a crime lab, and served up to you on an Internet screen with an abundance of F-bombs. You’re welcome.

Anyway, after three years of churning out some glorious singles that were made to put Sum 41 to shame as the go-to teen angst rock band for 15 year olds (me), The Dirty Nil have released their debut EP. And believe me, they’ve gone from mere prodigies of alternative rock and pop-punk to actual disciples of dead set punk. There’s still some of the glorious anthem qualities that ‘Fucking Up Young’ and ‘Verona Lung’ initially showcased. But instead of leaning on the big hook/chorus combo, The Dirty Nil have gotten dirtier, filthier and more ragged. They’ve stripped back the fleshy pop tendencies. Or rather, they’ve skinned them alive, and feasted on the gory remains. Then they’ve gotten up on a stage and bombastically torn down all cynical expectations.

So, where there first stood a band that could’ve easily gone the way of New Found Glory or The Ataris, there’s now a band that screams authentic punk right in your fucking face. It’s so close, your ears actually get monsooned from all the flecks of spit flying from the stage. Take ‘New Flesh’, the paranoid track that squirms and retches with all the potency of some of OFF!’s best tracks. It’s bile-ridden, scourge-infested zombie carcass grabs you by the neck and throttles you until a coma seems like a nice way out. And ‘Pale Blue’, which starts off with a wildfire dash towards creating as much musical havoc as possible, builds and builds itself until there is literally no escape from the crumbling tower of the world’s tallest song metaphor.

However, The Dirty Nil haven’t completely abandoned their roots of delivering solid tunes with just enough pop sheen to cause an entire audience to collectively abandon moshing for a heart-warmin sing along. This pop genius comes in the form of ‘Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü’ a track that would make Bob Mould so proud of punk music that he could wish his hair back into existence. This is a song so emotionally wrought and perfectly crafted towards making a stadium’s worth of teenagers sway with lighters in the air, and yet it doesn’t feel like a tired, by-the-numbers piece of shit. Woah….that’s crazy unique, man.

So, for a band with not all that much material, The Dirty Nil can only impress. Within five songs they can tear off your genitals, patch them back together, and then tear them right off again. They’re genuine, they’re passionate, and they’ve got all the elements for what should be a super successful rock group that doesn’t make you want to slit your throat. Really, there’s only a couple popular modern bands out there like that (*cough, Japandroids, Violent Soho, Cloud Nothings, cough*) and The Dirty Nil have more than enough panache to join that group. If you’re the sort of person that likes music with balls and grit, get this fucking EP.

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New Australian Music: Shrapnel + NUN + Lace Curtain + Full Ugly + Slow Violence

Boom, shackalaka! New Aussie music tunes to fill your ears unlike that hole in your life left by a yearning sense to accomplish something of semi-importance, and achieve self-fulfilment. Alas, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs will again go disused. Now go, cover that shame with some killer tunes.

Shrapnel-Print and Sign

Sam Wilkinson is a man of many guises, like some sort of musical Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2. Hell, both are located in Sydney! Shit, Sam Wilkinson is fucking Tom Cruise!

Massive coincidences aside, Mr. Wilkinson has a new project under the name of Shrapnel, which is a weird, psych-pop thing that has all the cuteness and warmth of a gentrified Chest-Burster. If ‘Print and Sign’ grew up in the wild, it would be a ferocious beast that’s sole aim in life was to rip open chest cavities, and wreak horror upon a crew of unsuspecting space explorers. Luckily, Sam Wilkinson tamed this gnarled terror into a lounging, Mac DeMarco-meets-MGMT (Brian Eno era) pop number, that ends in a tripped out passage that’s more Hitchiker’s than Alien. Damn, it feels good to drop dumb references to local music!

NUN-Evoke the Sleep

NUN (not to be confused with the surf-rock group NUNS) are one of the brightest and best synth-punk groups to come out of Melbourne since Primitive Calculators. They’re undulating, weird and best of all, really super. Their new single, which comes off their upcoming debut, starts out ultra-Devo. Penetrating synth chords develop under blinding heat, until eccentric-noise buries them and brilliant rays of Jenny Branagh’s voice evokes a most Doctor WHo re-indition of Olivia Newtown John’s ‘Let’s Get Physical’.

Lace Curtain-I Can’t Wait

Lace Curtain hold one of my favourite EP’s of all time to their name, so anything they produce will cause rabid fits of excitement, and put me into a minor form of mental institution. ‘I Can’t Wait’ is no exception, and only after listening to it multiple times could the perfect metaphor be crafted to explain its greatness. Dark, titillating post-punk rears it’s Loch Ness head from a murky marsh, as all the Swamp Monsters and Black Lake Creatures gather around and dance their flapping gill-heads into the night, never losing their gaze from the tyrannical sounds onstage.  Copious amounts of MDMA were all involved in the production of such an orgasmic gathering of oft-overlooked B-Movie Monsters.

Full Ugly-Hanging Around

‘Drove Down’ was one of the most criminally underrated songs of 2013. Even I, No.1 Ginger of Sydney, didn’t recognise the brilliance of this 7″ for quite some time. And I felt the wrath of personal underachievement for quite some time. BUT ALL SHALL BE RECTIFIED, because Full Ugly have gotten around the releasing a new single! Although ‘Hanging Around’ doesn’t hold the same ability to touch upon all the emotions of the rainbow like ‘Drove Down’, it still showcases Full Ugly as one of the best slacker bands in Australia.

Each chord in ‘Hanging Around’ seems to drip off each other, forcing your rigid, cynical neck to bop up and down in the most fluid and gentle of ways. And the chorus, although sung in an off-the-cuff, casual way, has the same potency as if it had been screamed into your face by one of the bands off Cool Death Records. Doper than a Jesse Pinkman monologue.

Slow Violence-New Teen Angst, Pt. 2

Slow Violence? New Teen Angst, Pt. 2? Yeah, there’s no fucking way these guys aren’t a really shitty Black Flag rip-off that actually spent more time listening to My Chemical Romance and Taking Back Sunday than they did with ‘My War’. Only, they’re not. Instead, Slow Violence provide one of the most subtly comforting soundtracks in recent history. A mostly ambient mix, there’s traces of sighin’ R&B (‘Crushin’), Jon Hopkins shufflin’ (‘Limb’) and post-rock akin to Explosions in the Sky-meets-The National (‘Kidz’). Woah…did your jaw just drop? Mine is currently chilling on the opposite end of the Earth, somewhere around Greenland.

Album Review: The Stickmen-The Stickmen/Man Made Stars

There’s this band right. They’re called The Stickmen. They’re from Hobart, Tasmania, the cesspit where culture goes to die, or so say all the Sydney yuppies I hang out with. But how can that be true, when a band such as The Stickmen, such a visceral, and violent, and genuine act, one that displaces conventions and turns heads like a NASCAR race, comes from such a territory? Surely, there’s been a mistake?

Indeed, there has, but it’s got fuck all to do with locale. Instead, it’s all about the sad, sad day in music history that accompanies the fact that The Stickmen aren’t really around anymore. Like The Primitive Calculators, it took an ATP curation to resurrect these former heroes. Also like The Prim Calcs, these guys absolutely shredded all that the squares hold dear, bringing punk rock spirit and intensity to songs that could be properly appreciated. Underground heroes? Fuck that, these guys need to be revered the world over. At the very least, they’re a million times better than Nirvana.

Which is why, with a stifled cry of enlightenment, comes the re-issue of The Stickmen’s classic albums on Homeless Records. I fucking love this label: Bits of Shit, The Stabs and Cuntz are just a couple of the bands to be spewed forth from these guys, and the world is actually a better place for it, tipping the scales of pop mediocrity back to punk rock genius spasms.

Listen up, you putz, you scum, you wretched bile-I’m about to devote a couple hard-earned paragraphs to why you should go out and buy both these fantastic albums. It’s not because they’re limited edition, or because some of the covers are ‘special’, none of that Sub Pop shit. No, you need these albums because there is no other band out there like The Stickmen.

They’ve got the morose drone of Melvins, but without the demonic sludge. They’ve got the mathy jitter of bands like Q And Not U and At-The Drive In, but without the faux rage and pretentiousness. They’ve got the drilling intensity of Black Flag, and the murk of The Scientists and their most gloop-ridden. But then, there’s the fact that The Stickmen defy pigeon holing. Every track on these albums shifts to a completely different landscape, not just between each other, but within the song itself. The band search and scorn with equal measurement, like a Christopher Columbus that’s been molested with the soul of Ian MacKaye.

Songs like ‘Who Said It Should Be Good?’ and ‘Floating Pawn’, they’re the main reason why one would initially become obsessed with The Stickmen. They’re complex, original and riveting, with all the right dynamics to make pants tight and thighs wet. But then there’s weird tracks like ‘Creep Inside’ and ‘Shoot to Kill’ which are almost jazz-infused, like Primus x Fugazi, doused in the groin flames of Dizzy Gillespie. And then, there are bouts of fury, punches of Mike Tyson-enraged glory, like ‘No’. These songs just want to go as hard and fast as humanly possible. If 2 Fast 2 Furious were set in a post-punk 90’s Hobart, there’d be a scene where Vin Diesel and Paul Walker would face off to this song.

Look, I just described the shit out of a few Stickmen songs. My favourites to be precise. But really, both albums don’t have a bad song between them. The songs just pulsate with an icky life of their own, drooling hell-slobber on all those lucky enough to listen in. The Stickmen might even be too good. Maybe that’s why they were forgotten in the annals of Australian Music History and Nick Cave got picked up for his billionth album.   All I can say is thank fuck Homeless got on this shit and were able to spread the love and fury of The Stickmen to us mere mortals.

BUY IT HERE AND HERE! DO IT, YOU PHILISTINE!

Album Review: You Beauty-Jersey Flegg

You Beauty are the sort of band that can get every true Aussie on board. And by that, I don’t mean some bullshit ‘Nulla Riots definition of ‘True Aussie’ (white, bogan, accent that sounds like a koala being put through a tree-shredder), but rather the things that embody the Australian spirit. To be specific, I’m speaking about footy. Yep, footy. Football, rugby, ruggers, fisting-for-amateurs. Call it what you want, footy is an integral part of Australian culture and life. Indeed, sometimes it seems like people get more vicious about an upset loss than any sort of “democratic’ decisions that get passed.

You Beauty embody the Australian spirit so thoroughly because their songs are almost all based around the aforementioned sport. Like, it’s not even subtle. The songs on their debut album all revolve around the titular game. At first glance, this might seem a bit strange, even limiting. How can you make an album all about footy? Some music fans might even get on their high horse about how footy has no place in music. “Leave it to the Spiderbaits and AC/DC’s!”, they’ll (I’ll) cry, “for footy has no place in the regal realm of indie rock music! How dare thee desecrate such a holy structure!”

But You Beauty have done more than just talk about how everyone gets dirty, and the occasional finger is slipped in your arse during the scrum. Indeed, they Sigmuend Freud the shit out of this genre (footy rock? indie rugby?) and add a bunch of conceptual analysis that elevate You Beauty from a bunch of guys who love to romanticise about their favourite sport into philosophers of urban normality.

Think I’m stretching the truth? Fuck you. But listen to the album for yourself you prick, and try to quit the swooning. Opener and title track ‘Jersey Flegg’ starts off at a crackin’ pace, capturing Sunday afternoon in its most picturesque form. Try to not imagine yourself as a bright-eyed, naive teenager, bouncing out of bed and darting off to play and consequently watch your heroes bounce a ball around on a field, as well as crunch each other into balls of semi-deranged anger. I can actually remember that point in my life, and you probably can too.

There’s also ‘Ann-Maree’, a song about, you guessed it, a girl. Tightly coiled guitar plods along whilst the ‘Strayan accent comes down hard. Longing and lusting, and boasting with the confidence that only playing on a local footy team with your mates can bring. It gives you the balls to send over a dashing waterboy to give your beloved a drink, and silently promise yourself that you won’t let her go home with anyone else  but you.

But things don’t stay so bright and cheery as ‘Jersey Flegg’ and ‘Ann-Maree’ makes it seem. ‘Mennal Mondays’ grunts about the fucking shitty experience that is Monday and the lording, overcast bitch that is a personified work week. Pouring your heart, soul and energy to fund your passions and only having the faint hope of weekend enjoyment keeping you going. And ‘Drop Me Now’ screams our hero’s greatest fears right in his face: you’re getting dropped from the team mate, go fuck yourself.

The point You Beauty are making, through the elaborate and beautiful love of footy, is that life sucks, and it probably won’t get better. And worst of all, it applies to all but the Rupert Murdoch’s and Tony Abbot’s of this world. Unless you’re a raging dickhead, packed with millions and you even narcissism thinks you’re self-obssessed, you’re destined to be the average punter who battles on. There’s no Ann-Maree, work isn’t getting better, and there’s no game to look forward to on the weekend. As the closer of ‘Off the Bench’ puts it: ‘No hunger for a woman, a game, or a fight/It’s a dud feeling, all right.’ And although it stings with the truth of a thousand bluebottles, it’s heartwarming to know that You Beauty pulled it off with such a fantastic album, packed to the brim with amazing songs and squirming with genius.

You can grab ‘Jersey Flegg’ from the link right above this sentence, you drollop. Enjoy it with the passion of a thousand Christ’s.

New: High Tails-Bending Over Backwards (free download)

Summer’s nearly over, and thank Christ for that. For someone like me, who looks like and personally will confirm that they belong inside at all points of the year, regardless of the season, Summer is specifically uncomfortable, especially in the sauna of molten lava that is Sydney.

However, no one told High Tails, because their second single ‘Bending Over Backwards’ is like shining a tropical sun right over the cold, ashen existence that is my life. This song is like being transplanted into the middle of Big Day Out, with sun rays shining and burns rapidly spreading over the necks and shoulders. This track moltens particularly slowly, rotisserieng sounds into a nicely baked rock track.

Video: Retiree-Together

The debut video for Retiree opens with an old country bloke, who looks like his favourite bands are Cosmic Psychos and AC/DC (sicks choices old man, I like it!), saying that, ‘I saw them at the Bondi Lifesaver, and they were fastastic!’. BOOM! Plot twist, the bloke is a hipster! Really should’ve seen that one coming actually, what with the beard and ‘ironic’ workman’s shirt.

The clip then divulges into some scenery of Australia’s bronzed landscape, milk carton’s and synchronised sunset serenades with your mates. BOOM! Second plot twist, there’s an underground sweat rave happening in a mine of some sort, and shit gets trippy. It’s like that scene from the second Matrix movie, boganified, and set to a luscious mix of song equal parts Oscar Key Sung, Jagwar Ma and Silo Arts. Booty-full.

If you’re keen to see this shit, join ME at the Oxford Art Factory tonight, where Retiree are playing support for World’s End Press.

Video(s): Cloud Control + Phantogram + Blouse + I Know Leopard

What will you do when the swaggernauts rise up against us, their masters, and turn society as we know it into five-panel infested, ‘420-blaze it’ apparelled, dickhead-synonymous wasteland? Watch music videos, that’s what you’ll do.

 

Cloud Control-Moon Rabbit

In terms of the song itself, ‘Moon Rabbit’ isn’t all that much to get excited about. A small psych number that garners a few smiles here and there, but really elevates to nothing more than early Boy and Bear. However, the clip, released today, is amazing. It’s like Teletubbies and Heavy Metal got mashed together in some sort of acid trip inspired by the Wiggles. There’s space, brains, and some other ungodly shit.

 

Phantogram-Fall In Love

I remember playing this on radio the other night, and for a second I thought I’d accidentally played a new Beyonce feat. Jay Z song. The chopped chorus, heavy bass, and soaring synths all pointed to pop royalty and yet…it’s from some random NYC band. However, all the signs are pointing to the fact that Phantogram will be the next huge indie sensation. AND they’re not dull like Lana Del Ray or placidly vapid like Of Monsters and Men. Instead, it’s like Bat For Lashes got produced by Alicia Keys and Dangermouse. Overall, this song is the shit.

 

Blouse-Happy Days

This video plays out almost exactly like that Radiohead clip for ‘Karma Police’. A car drives on the road, everything’s super unclear, confusion settles OH SHIT! a person. The song itself also seems like a bit of a rip-off of Blonde Redhead, with the droopy female vocals settling under a very smooth, nice post-rock landscape. Look, I like it, but there’s a difference between having influences and being a cover band.

 

I Know Leopard-Hold This Tight

I talked a bunch about I Know Leopard’s new single a little while back, so let’s get stuck into the clip. Not a whole lot happens, except for the band twirling around on inflatable boats in a river/pond/ocean/body of water. The colour scheme and blank canvas of the clip is what makes it work, not showing all that much and yet managing to be all right simply because it reflects the song’s atmosphere of ‘floating along’. Fuck me, I’m poetic.

February Playlist

February: Valentine’s Day, and the shortest month of the year. If February were in jail, it’d be December’s bitch. This wussy piece of shit has done nothing except for produce a couple of damn fantastic tracks. Why can’t we just get rid of February?

Make sure you get behind the Client Liaison, War on Drugs and Blank Realm. Why? Because these tracks will make you want to lead a better life, and apologise to that grandma that you beat up the other week. Suddenly ‘Falling Down the Stairs’ has a really dark ring to it, doesn’t it?

1. Client Liaison-Free of Fear

2.Cloud Control-Scar

3. Damaged Bug-Photograph

4. Trabajo-Black Practice

5The Slits-I Heard It Through the Grapevine

6. Blank Realm-Falling Down the Stairs

7. Bachelor Pad-Movin’ On

8. Phantogram-Fall In Love

9. Young Franco-Brooklyn

10. Scenic-Ride the Thrill

11. Wave Racer-Streamers

12. Run the Jewels-Pew Pew Pew (feat. DJ QBert)

13. Liars-Mess on A Mission

14. Wet Blankets-TV Suicide

15. Teenage Hand Models-We Can Find A Way to Fuck It Up

16. The War on Drugs-Red Eyes

17. Natural Child-Saturday Night Blues

18. Kurt Vile-Freak Train

19. Real Estate-Talking Backwards

20. Surf Dad-Unholy (featuring Camille Foley)

New: Chet Faker-Talk Is Cheap

 

What….the….fuuccccck? Who expected to wake up this morning to a new Chet Faker track/video? How can pessimism exist when this kind of shit occurs, huh?

Chet Faker, the bearded guy who covered ‘No Diggity’, and proceded to make everyone, including my own, jaws drop spontaneously, has finally announced his debut album. Apparently scrapping it twice and starting over again, third time lucky proved to be successful as a date has been announced (April 11) and the first single has dropped. The question though-is it worth the wait?

Fuck your cliffhanger rhetorics Ryan, you fuckwit, of course it’s good, it’s Chet Faker. How good? Try better than chocolate coated dinosaur pets good. ‘Talk Is Cheap’ manages to be sexier than a George Clooney make-out session. It combines some love-making saxophone that drips with sensuality,  with lush piano chords and a bass/clap combo that literally makes panties drop. I’ve had to pull up my undies involuntarily at least 12 times, and I’m only 40 seconds in.

And, as usual, Chet Faker’s voice is caramel sex incarnate, brimming with a unique and warm spirit that flows into your soul and hands it a hot chocolate and flicks the sex-eyes a couple times, a gesture that you would no doubt cross space and time to meet. The chorus is a swooning, crooning coitus-inducing orgasm. Basically, everything about ‘Talk Is Cheap’ echoes pre-piss R. Kelly, when every girl wanted to be with him, and every guy also wanted to be him. Good on you, Mr. Faker. You’re all right in my books.

New: Roku Music-Reflector

Imagine if Kim Deal was captured by the Reid brothers, and they were taking her to a top-secret, underground musical base to record a bunch of demos that would never see the light of day. But when navigating that difficult 45 degree reverse park in the base’s parking lot, a drunken Kevin Shields ploughs into them with a semi-trailer. Scientists from Brisbane are able to resurrect a machine of sorts, made from the body parts and musical instruments in the base, half-Terminator, half-Robocop, and a little bit of Weird Science. The result: Roku Music.

If you don’t believe me, then check out the new single ‘Reflector’, a song which happens to be loads better than that other Arcade Fire stuff with the kinda same name.

Because your life won’t be complete after listening to that song, you can see Roku Music at The Square on March 21st, and at Blackwire on the 23rd.