Album Review: King Tears Mortuary-Asleep At the Wheel of Fortune 7″

Reviewing an EP that goes for 9 minutes is kind of like my love life-fleeting, brief and finished abysmally at an all too quick pace. What’s left when the music finishes its spin is a dark and dismal disappointment that the record won’t keep spinning, and the happy-go-lucky times are finished. But it was a damn good time when it lasted right?

King Tears Mortuary are a Sydney based group who make ‘nice’ rock ‘n’ roll music. There’s some hefty guitar strumming, some dainty drum bashing and sing-song vocals that make Best Coast  sound like a racoon coughing up a lung. Goddamn smokers.

Anyway, although King Tears spin away for an unfortunately short 9 minutes, they make every millisecond count. They dance daintily with more melodies than a Sound of Music marathon, but with the aesthetic of a solid night had in the Inner West of Sydney. These are the sorts of good times soundtracked with Nike/Jeans combos, Tooheys New Longnecks, decks upon decks of cigarettes,  and an abundance of inside jokes being made.

As for the music itself, they switch between Bloods-ish bubblegeum punk ditties (‘Flippers’, ‘Face Blind’) that stick to the roof of your mouth with sickly sweet infectiousness, and droning guitar pop songs. ‘Grease Trap’ is the stand out, a song that sits there and taunts you into dancing. It’s got a crunch and gravelly sugar-coat that reminds of Vivian Girls. Try and defy the laws of pop on this one-it’s not possible. So don’t you dare try. Seriously, I don’t want to be charged for the hospital bills/existential crisis that’ll follow if you defy the pop genius of this song.

Also, that’s not to say that the other tracks on here aren’t thrashing honeyed masterpieces. ‘Too Many Sam’s’ has a bouncing, energetic riff that comes straight from the ballroom scene in Back to the Future. And ‘False Pregnancy’ is a rushing, breathless garage rock n roll showcase, blasting through fuzzy riffs and mumbled lyrics like KTM were disciples of the 60’s. Which they probably are. So…there’s that.

Basically, King Tears Mortuary have made a damn fun record. And despite my grievances with the short time frame, it works in there favour. They get in, they get out, and boom, you’re left wanting more than Freddie Mercury. Greedy dead bastard.

So, in the sense that King Tears Mortuary pique the interest, they succeed, and a little bit more. They pique the interest, take it out for a nice brunch, and build up it’s expectations to the point where interest thinks there might be a healthy and sustainable relationship to come from it. But alas, ‘False Pregnancy’ finishes, the record stops, and interest waits with baited breathe for the LP.

Premiere!-Osborne Again Music Sampler feat. Ciggie Witch + Haircut + Jordan Thompson + Jack Lee

Look, as much as I love Sydney, with all of its wonderful rock n roll bands and DJ’s that can force me to dance, Melbourne has got the guitar-pop genre under lock and key. If you want a song with lackadaisical guitars that winds your head around your shoulders, you can’t touch the genius’ of the South. Maybe it’s the colder weather, or the cultured atmosphere. Maybe it’s that Melbourne is just a really nice place with way less dickheads than Sydney, and that breeds really nice music. Who knows?

The point is that there’s all these amazing jangle and guitar-pop bands popping up with these killer tunes, and they need labels to collectively distribute and promote them. That’s how the music industry works, apparently. Of course, you’ve got your bigwigs like Chapter Music, but there’s also a fair few young guns with rosters better than the 1975 lineup of AC/DC.

One such label is OsborneAgainMusic. Run by Lachlan, from The Ocean Party and Ciggie Witch fame, the label looks to be doing some absolutely fucking killer things in the future. How do I know? Because I’ve had a sneak peek at a couple of the releases in store over the coming months, and I’ve decided to share them with you. Aren’t I fucking generous?

Without further ado, here they are:

 

Ciggie Witch-Taylors Lakes

I’ve been a pretty big Ciggie Witch fan for a fair while now, with tracks of theirs like ‘Stuck In A Rut’ and the new one ‘Long Weekend’ becoming staples of my tearful icecream binges. There’s something inherently comforting to the soft guitars and lyrics about being 25 and directionless.

‘Taylors Lakes’ is no different, as tight guitars trickle over each other, multiple melodies more or less telling you that everything’s going to be alright, despite the down-n-out lyrics.

 

Haircut-I Been Dreaming

Deadset, this song is the sort of thing you want in a dream sequence. It’s guitars and vocals drift along like you’re floating down a river of pillow stuffings. It’s so incredibly soft, like a velvet cocoon. You’d be hard pressed not to be forced into thinking about the happiest moments of your life during this one.

 

Jordan Thompson-Nobody Will Ever Know 

Jordan Thompson is a member of one of my favorite bands, The Ocean Party. However, his solo track starts out with some Amazonian pipes or something, tropical guitar slowed down to a mumble, and dazzled synths. It’s like taking a stroll in the stars, just chilling in the nethersphere in a state of complete and utter relaxation. And the voice! This guy’s voice is like Paul Kelly if Paul Kelly had the voice of an angel. It’s fucking vocal silk!

 

Jack Lee-Stories to be Kept Under Lock And Key (The Cannanes Cover)

Jack Lee is the singer from Beef Jerk, an awesome band from Sydney (Yeah! Sydney!). On his solo outing, he takes on a cover from one of Sydney’s indie-rock greats The Cannanes. This is the most indie-rock centred track of the bunch, a shambling, furry song that honeys its way into everyone’s hearts. It’s got an ugly beauty to it, and is one of those tracks that’s key to a hangover recovery. When your heart’s in the gutter, and you feel like an absolute piece of shit, this is the song to play.

New Music: The Babe Rainbow + Barbituates + Jonathan Boulet + Beach Pigs

Today’s amazing Australian/NZ tunes is brought to you by the letter ‘B’. The letter ‘B’ is often to used in the descriptions ‘Badass, ‘Bloody’, and ‘Blistering’, which describes the following tracks. Enjoy.

The Babe Rainbow-Secret Enchanted Broccoli Forest

I seriously don’t know what to make of the new Babe Rainbow single title. It’s the kind of thing you’d make up when tripping tremendous balls and staring at a plate of veggies. However, the song itself is pretty redeeming of the title, with some strong Eastern intrumentation, and theremin-wielding taking place. No wonder The Babe Rainbow are on Flightless, King Gizz’s label.

Barbituates-Meet Modelle

Brisbane’s dark-electronic juggernauts Barbituates have released a new EP’s worth of suspended, alien material. It’s something that would probably play over a Being John Malkovich epiphany or something. There’s dripping wet sounds that revolve at a glacial pace. They’d probably calm down the baby from the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but other than that, they pretty much just tantalise and freak out the average listener. Good stuff!

Jonathan Boulet-Happy Vacation

Jonathan Boulet used to be the go-to indie rock guy. When you wanted something that screamed ‘POP!’, all you’d have to do was chuck on ‘A Community Service Announcement’. However, this new track of his, and the past couple he’s chucked up on Soundcloud, are pointing in a much stranger direction. It’s like Seekae getting swallowed by a lo-fi Godzilla. I’m not sure if this is just a muck-around thing, or if it’s completely serious, but it’s engaging to say the least.

Beach Pigs-Night Surfing

Here’s some more of that gorgeous garage rock, this time by New Zealand band Beach Pigs. It starts out with a fuzzed out, dredged-from-the-gutter bass line, before crashing into a taught guitar line, and coming into full guitar pop territory. It’s a cool track, something that you’d put on for the drive home after a really great arvo surf.

Video: Life Coach-Tigersharx

I wish I had a life coach. To tell me stuff like, ‘No, Ryan, she has herpes’ and, ‘Now, don’t go sticking your dick in the microwave’. It would’ve saved me A LOT of trouble. However, I’ve had to make do with this killer new band called Life Coach from Newcastle, and am currently sitting here typing with a sizzling groin.

Well, make-do isn’t the right word. If it weren’t for my STD-riddled body, I’d be jumping around to this fuzz-beast, just like the lucky kids in the skate park. ‘Tigersharx’ is an earnest pop-punk jam, similar to shredders like Palms, Wax Witches and Step-Panther. And if my sincere love for the track isn’t enough, then how about the fact that Al Grigg (Palms) and Owen Penglis (Straight Arrows) have contributed to the track? Yeah, that’s right if Sydney’s loosest are in love with a fucking amazing track like this one, why wouldn’t you be?

The Mess Up

Cancel your plans. I don’t care if you were going to watch Cops and furiously tug one out for eight hours straight, or if you were meant to be meeting Elton John. Sydney’s best pub, The Lansdowne Hotel, is going to host some absolutely crazy shenanigans every Thursday night, via The Mess Up.

‘But Ryan,’ you scream at your laptop computer screen, ‘I don’t want to go to the Lansdowne Hotel. What could possibly be on offer for me there?’

Check it out: Yes, I’m Leaving, Lenin Lennon and HANNAHBAND. Sydney’s best punk band are going to be joined by the remnants of Sweet Teeth (and who fucking rule in their own right) and Newcastle’s finest punk purveyors for a night of intensity and fun that you will never forget. Scratch that, there’s $10 jugs, and $5 Cheeseburgers, you will definitely forget what happens tonight.

BUT DO NOT FEAR! For The Mess Up (presumably named after that absolutely killer DZ Deathrays track where everyone throws up aka the way a night should end) will be at the Lansdowne EVERY Thursday night, and it’s been run by experienced party maniac Simon Parsons, who also happens to be a blood relative of the aforementioned DZ Deathrays. Partying and putting on killer shows runs through his veins!

The last few weeks have seen These New South Whales, Hockey Dad, Chicks Who Love Guns, Gazar Strips, and Bad Jeep. Aren’t you fucking kicking yourself that you didn’t find out about this earlier?

The vixen on top of this orgy of good news is that the killer lineups don’t stop after tonight. Next week sees Bowl Cut, TV Programmes, and The Bag Steamers, and the following week will feature Reptiles and Julia Why?

BY THE HAIRY MOLE OF LEMMY KILMISTER! How has everyone reading this not blown their fucking lid!? Get down to Sydney’s best pub, smash a cheap jug, and watch some bands blow the roof of a pub that’s older than me.

*And if it helps, I’m going to be DJ’ing tonight as well. ‘TALLICA!

Video:: Dasher-Go Rambo

Dasher are the kind of furious punk band you only get once a year. The video for their song ‘Go Rambo’ makes it pretty clear why. It’s screeching banshee punk, delved out like a recreation of Hitchcock’s The Birds, only instead of crows and ravens clawing out innocent eyeballs, its a visceral punk froth.

Their video is suitably DIY, basically just a live clip smothered in flour, and a manequin being slung around and massacred. But what the video lacks in creation, it makes up with fire and viciousness. You can just tell that watching these guys live would be the equivalent of getting a musical decapitation.

Top 5 Records w/ Anti Fade Records/The Living Eyes

It’s a well established fact that I fucking love Anti Fade Records. They’ve put out killer release after killer fucking release. Don’t believe me? Here you go, you doubtful swine: Gooch Palms, Straight Arrows, The Bonniwells, Austmuteants, The Clits, Cobwebbs, Housewives, The Kremlings, The Frowning Clouds…fuck, I’m out of breath. Point being, this label is the centre of the universe when it comes to garage rock that’ll whip your pants off and blow you. Speaking of the centre of the universe, Anti Fade have also released two compilations called ‘NEW CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE’ and they fucking rule. Best cassettes I’ve ever bought.

You may have noticed I left out a very important band in the list of Anti Fade releases, namely The Living Eyes. That’s because I wanted to create dramatic tension/talk about it in this paragraph, you living splooge stain. Anyway, The Living Eyes adhere to the Anti Fade rule of kicking copious amounts of ass. Just check this video for ‘Eat It Up’:

Did you fucking see that? Or were you blinded by the way that it makes everything else you’ve listened to in the past 48 hours sound like the sound of a disinterested dog scratching its balls? Either way, consider yourself lucky as you read the Top 5 Records of Billy from The Living Eyes/Anti Fade Records fame. I sure do.

Chrome-Red Exposure
Anybody into Chrome will most likely know how much of a fan I am already, since I nicked the label name from them. I took it from the chorus of this song, even though they have a different song altogether called Anti-Fade. This song’s better though!
There’s heaps of cool stuff on this album and I’m always amazed at the weird overdubs and sick production on it, considering its only two dudes performing and recording the whole thing.
The Kinks-The Kinks Are the Village Green Appreciation Society
Even though this album is known to drag out a bit towards the end – I still reckon its amazing. The first 10 songs are all completely second to none. The last 5 are still great but maybe not as great. Sick song writing and drumming – tempo changes in ‘Walter’ and ‘Animal Farm’ are so good. It was real hard to pick just one song to preview here
The Soft Boys-Underwater Moonlight
Most recent LP I heard on this list. Only got into it in the last 6 – 8 months. Great lyrics, great bass lines, great lead breaks, the works. Pretty bangin’! The lead break after the chorus in this song gets me every time, I don’t think it’ll ever get old.
DEVO-Duty Now For the Future
I really can’t pick between the first two Devo albums. I was a bigger fan of the first one for ages but the second has been getting a lot more spins over the last year so I listed it here. It’s a bit more weird which is good. There’s too many hits to pick from on here anyway.
The Saints-Eternally Yours
Australia’s finest. Even though they’d moved to London by this point, it’s still Aussie! Pretty much same deal as the Devo one – very on par with the first LP. I like the direction they take on this one though, little less punk (in a good way) and self-produced. Plenty of good riffs that ya just can’t argue with.
*The embeds are messing up, not sure what’s wrong with them.

New Aus Music: Charles Buddy Daaboul + Lucy Cliche + Rat Columns + Martyr Privates + North Arm

Ahhh, old mate ‘Straya. Sun is shining, birds are chirping, crocs are snapping the limbs off wayward tourists. Just another day in our sunburnt country. No better way to enjoy it that with some quality chunes.

Charles Buddy Daaboul-Toohey’s New

If anyone can ever recite the opening monologue to this song word for word, I will straight up submit myself to them for the rest of my life. Although I’m a Resch’s man myself (I use the term ‘man’ incredibly loosely), this ode to Australia’s second greatest beer, and by that extension, past-time, is damn glorious. Set with a glazed guitar line, and some clucking percussion, this song works so well in its simplicity. Goddamn, the way that this man wrings the blues from his guitar will never cease to amaze me.

Lucy Cliche-Shallow Shadow

When the new single from Lucy Cliche starts, sounding like a submarine being birthed into deep space by a pregnant Roland, you just fucking know it’s going to be an absolutely killer tune. Dark, robotic terror gets rained down in electronic shards, more or less disintegrating the listener with sheer glare. If this song were a potion, it’d be super deadly. Like, King Cobra deadly. That’s like, the deadliest you can get. But seriously, this song is all kinds of amazing, and my shitty jokes aren’t doing it justice.

Also, Lucy Cliche is playing support this Friday for Lace Curtain at Good God…woah. That’s going to be insane.

Rat Columns-Another Day

Out of the doom and gloom comes Rat Columns. David West is one part of the aforementioned Lace Curtain (!), and he’s also a mighty contributor to the jaw-droppingly good Total Control. On top of that, his solo project takes its queues from neither of those. Rat Columns is steeped in the lore of guitar pop, both of the Flying Nun and Matador origins. Recite that back to yourself in a David Attenborough voice, and tell me I don’t write like a goddamn scientist. I dare thee!

Anyway, new track ‘Another Day’ is like if Elliot Smith had a good day. Very tranquil and kind of delicate, but slowly building towards a strong pop aesthetic that bands like The Stevens and Dick Diver contain when they’re at their best.

Lace Curtain are playing this Friday at Good God (LA DE FUCKING DA, THAT’S OLD NEWS) and Rat Columns are going to be appearing at the jizz-tastic R.I.P Society 5th Birthday Party at the Opera House this Saturday, along with every other good band ever (Housewives, Woollen Kits, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, FUCKING FEEDTIME)

Martyr Privates-Something to Sell

You can’t get more lackadaisical than a Martyr Privates track. This new one of theirs is no exception, featuring a drawl that’d put Mick Molloy to shame. It’s a guttural, rotten toothed, gum-infected ode to fucking up relationships, and holy shit is that applicable to a lot of people. Pretty similar escapades going on here as the aforementioned BWBB and Woollen Kits, the drawl and fuzz-centric guitar cocoon are what make this song a good fucking listen. I’d give the track 3 thumbs up if I were a mutant.

North Arm-Hollow Days

I’ve got a pretty killer headache right now, probably because Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ has been ringing in my ears all day. But North Arm’s ‘Hollow Days’ searches to rectify that, or at least, ensure that the pain subsides to a somewhat endurable level. ‘Holloy Days’ is very beautiful, which is to be expected from an ex-Firekites member. It’s pretty enchanting stuff, and the fact that it helped the kraken-awakening headache mellow to gentle-kick-in-the-temple is mighty reassuring.

 

 

Album Review: Shrapnel-Tobacco Dreams

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No, Sidney Nolan didn’t come back from the dead. What you’re seeing right there is the artwork for the debut album from Sam ‘I’m In Every Band’ Wilkinson. Besides ‘kickin’ it’ in local stalwarts like Day Ravies, King Tears Mortuary, and Mope City, amongst a bunch of others, you can pretty much catch Sam and his blonde mop at any decent show worth going to. Oh yeah, and he sometimes helps out with his mates The Ocean Party and Summer Flake as well, in case the resume wasn’t disembowelling enough already.

Shrapnel is his latest baby, slowly but steadily making its own name amongst the keener eared of Aussie legends. After previous singles ‘Print & Sign’ and ‘Tobacco Dreams’, he has unleashed upon the world an album that can only be described as jangle-pop rattling in a tin can. The sound is undoubtedly swathed in the aesthetic of bedroom bands, titillating between drum-machine, synth freak outs and sincere, tunnelling ballads.

It’s the fact that Shrapnel switches so easily between the two that’s really interesting. In one moment, you’re grooving down the highway of good vibes with ‘Direct Debt’, a broken kid’s keyboard accompanying a hurtling guitar, and a pop embrace that shuns boredom at the door. This is a fun-times only party, sorry Boredom, you can’t come in. No, you can’t see Julia, she doesn’t want to see you. You really fucked it up this time Boredom. Anyway, she’s making out with Shrapnel in the corner. She’s moved on, Boredom, you should to. *’Direct Debt’ plays in the background, as Boredom sullenly walks away*

But with the space of a single song, the project has moved onto far more introspective territory. For example, ‘Baby Picks Up’ shows a fair hand at trickling guitar work, which in turn creates a super intimate space for the song to bathe in. The little melodies the song does contain manage to cocoon the shit out of the listener. It’s like a micro version of Black Moth Super Rainbow being projected into our skulls at a much more pleasant-to-swallow rate.

And best yet, when these two worlds collide (Powerman 5000 anyone?) with each other, the energetic pop that seems to ooze way too easily from Shrapnel’s veins, and the sullen, introspection that give the band so much character and depth, the results are infectious beds of music that won’t be heading away for long. ‘Tobacco Dream’, ‘Print & Sign’ and ‘Sinker/Stinker’ are the key tracks from this department, and they could really suit any occasion. 3am train ride home after another night of loneliness? Check. Best mate’s in town, and needs a good song to settle into the couch with? No worries. Ran out of VB’s? Mate, you’re fucked, audio entertainment can’t save you.

In Shrapnel, Sydney now has its own Blank Realm-weird pop music from the otherworldly nether regions known as the Western Suburbs. Tobacco Dreams is eclectic, instantly likeable, and norm-centrically gorgeous. It’s music that works on a personal and social level, that can be enjoyed regardless of atmosphere.

New: Prints-Lady Penelope

I heard this song on FBi today, and it reminded me that the government fucking sucks for not devoting at least 78% of the annual budget to local Sydney bands. This band should be swamped with as many deadly vices this country has to offer! And they’ve only released a single!

I mean, this is the first single! By all accounts, this song should suck harder than the second Speed movie (to give perspective on how much that movie sucked, it took place on a cruise ship, and featured approx. 0 blank-face Keanu Reeves monologues). Instead, it’s an shambling rock odyssey, a kicked-back, Brad Pitt-in-True-Romance, kind of song-handsome but with just enough slacker to make it way cooler. ‘Lady Penelope’ is bedroom pop with edge, and it’s addictive as a deep-fried Mars Bar dipped in heroin.