New: Jeen-Buena Vista

There’s a pretty high-class pub down the road from me called the Buena Vista. When I say high class, I mean they have the staff wear pristine uniforms, and their patrons are usually of the $100k+ yearly earnings. And it doesn’t smell like piss and cigarettes. Not my sort of place at all.

However, when I got an email titled ‘Buena Vista’, I was over the moon, because I thought they’d finally come around and decided to give me an all-you-can-drink Rech’s card for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, the contents were not that, but they were exciting nonetheless.

‘Buena Vista’ (the song) is a wonderful single from Canadian alt-pop darling Jeen. It’s a slice akin to something La Sera getting down in the studio with Robert Pollard or Kevin Drew might sound like-upbeat, but with a tinge of drama and a sincere bite that raises it above the usual drool that is indie music. Just like the staff of the BV at midnight, this Jeen track snaps at your heels and chases you out of the building with a delirious croon.

Gig Review: Straight Arrows + The Gooch Palms + TV Colours

Saturday 28 June @ The Fishbowl, Newcastle

You’re fucking kidding me, right? Three of Australia’s greatest bands in one house party? You’re fucking joking, right? That shit doesn’t exist in reality, does it? And yet, after a week of coughing up my lungs, and too much Codral, I found myself in Newy for the first time in my life, with a crudely drawn cock on one hand, and a sixie of South Korea’s finest brew in the other.

TV Colours are already blasting through a set off their debut album, with killer cuts like ‘Beverly’ ringing out onto the otherwise quiet Newcastle streets. These songs are Husker Du shredded down to Canberra size, and let loose in the Australian landscape. There’s probably nothing more beautiful than watching Robin and co. deliver with such confidence. Having seen TV Colours a half dozen times, its insane to see how the band has developed from being kind of sloppy and withdrawn, to being a hurricane of guitar shredding and explosiveness. In Newcastle, with only a hundred people in witness, TV Colours executed one of their best sets. As ‘Dark Days Against the Fade’ and ‘Bad Dreams’ rounded out the set, it’d be fair to say that everyone was fairly fucking stoked to see TV Colours play one of their finest shows.

After ‘Purple Skies, Toxic River’ had finished, Newy’s finest hit the stages. Kat and Leroy, aka The Gooch Palms are well-documented as one of Australia’s greatest current bands to see live. There will be sweat, there will be nudity, and there will be a cover of Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’.

The Goochies fuckin’ rule, and they were in top form. Sure, there were a couple technical issues, but that’s to be expected when you’re in a thronging crowd at a house party, in a city where there isn’t a million amazing gigs every week. When a show comes along this good, Newcastle folk don’t hold back, and they show no mercy. Neither did Leroy-a couple songs in, and his signature nudity was proudly on display, and his sweaty arse covered the faces of the front row. ‘Hunter Street Mall’, ‘You’ and ‘We Get By’ were taken and happily ravaged by the hometown crowd, and with this advantage,  the usual Gooch Palms shenanigans went into hyperspeed.

Finally, the house party hits its finale-Straight Arrows. Sydney’s finest wasted no time in laying waste to the crowd’s depleted energy. Straight Arrows don’t give a shit if you’re running low on fumes, you are going to party, and you are going to party hard. Although the toilet paper was limited this time around, the good times were still in full swing, as Straight Arrows tore through songs harder than Ivan Milat tore into naive backpackers. With cuts off both their debut and sophomore getting the sweaty, adoring treatment, Straight Arrows pulverised eyes and ears in the Fishbowl, ensuring that more people went home deaf and happy than not. The set, which included favourites like ‘Magic Sceptre’, ‘Something Happens’ and recent gut-churner, foot-stomper ‘Petrified’, managed to pulverise all five senses, and occasionally the sixth one.

I left the Fishbowl, drenched in a stench on par with a skunk dipped in rancid feces, and with a Dinosar Jr. t-shirt wetter than a nun at a porn shoot, to sleep in a Mini Cooper in the streets of Newcastle. Sure, my back was more cramped than an 80 year old arthritis patient, and sure, I froze my nipples off. But the fact that I had just witnessed three of Australia’s best bands at a house party in bloody Newcastle. Fuckin’ ripper of a Saturday night, if I don’t say so myself.

New: Workshop + Ali E + Plains Wanderer + Them Bruins

Workshop-Repeat After Me

Another day, another stellar release from Brissy’s own Tenth Court Records. Workshop is a synth-duo that will make your jaw unhinge itself, crawl off your face, and slap you out of sheer bewilderment. This is their debut single, and it already sits on the same tiers as Ela Stiles and Naked Maja. The same paranoid, less-is-more approach remains, but the amount of beauty that Workshop fit into this song is what makes it so unnervingly gorgeous.

Ali E-We Are Strangers

I remember seeing Ali E a little while back, supporting Salad Boys on their recent tour of Aus. Or more specifically, I remember being struck by her voice-it’s the kind of voice that belongs to a girl that your Mum warns you against, and your Dad encourages you to go after. It’s a voice packed with subtleties and one that weaves a billion stories into a single sentence. That’s why her latest single ‘We Are Strangers’ is impossible to waver away from. Also, that guitar solo at the end is the softest but most alluring thing since looking into the eyes of a kitten.

 

Plains Wanderer-Emu War

Holy shit….holy shit. There are no words to describe how amazing this debut effort from Sydney’s Plains Wanderer is. No, but seriously, the album cover features an emu sticking its beak out over an outline of NSW, which is all drawn on a piece of carboard. And there’s song titles like ‘Ode to Mullet’ and ‘Pots & Pints (A Request to the Australian Government for the Standardisation of Beverage Sizes). Did you read that? Did you read those fuckin’ pearler song titles? It’s honestly what dreams are made of.

Besides the fact that you can’t get any more Australian on here, unless you’re Steve Irwin getting in a punch on with Russell Crowe over a pregnant kangaroo who’s holding a VB, ‘Emu War’ is chock full of pretty goddamn amazing poetry and the most lackadaisical accent since Nathan Roche. If you’re any sort of fan of The Stevens, Dick Diver or Boomgates, and always wanted Sydney’s answer to that gorgeous little Southern movement, Plains Wanderer are here to quench your thirst and sing a great song about Al Montfort’s mullet.

Them Bruins-Barrenlands

If you’re a fan of Kingswood or Damn Terran, then you’re going to be over the fucking moon with the new one from Them Bruins. ‘Barrenlands’ is basically just a ferocious riff-fest, a slab of classic rock implanted into the 21st Century conscience, and turned up to 11. This thing is loud, chunky and a little bit brutal, and would surely make the Vasco Era stoked.

 

New Electronica Music: Ara Koufax + Falqo + Mickey Kojak

This post has the best electronic music to have been released in the past week, deal with it, cool:

Ara Koufax-Converge

Ara Koufax probably doesn’t ring any bells, but it’s the latest project from the guys behind Naysayer & Gilsun. Insanely talented and fun to watch, they’ve made a deep, deep pit of electronic music that swirls around some brilliant female vocals and alarm bells. A total stunner of a track.

Falqo-Feel Your Love

So, it’s been a few days so far, and I’ve probably listened to this track a decent 50 times. If you were one of those dickheads that liked ‘Get Lucky’, you’ll probably spontaneously combust over this track. For the rest of us, there’s that bass line and and chorus made of pure sex to froth over in the meantime. Goddamn, this song is as infectious as a rogue, malaria-ridden mosquito in a quarantine zone.

Mickey Kojak-Feel My Pain ft. Tazzy

I wouldn’t call this song strange, more strange in the way that it’s totally hypnotic and addictive. It’s like trap music being filtered through a synth, and then those trappy beats are getting stretched to their most flexible point. Anyway, the latest signing to Sweat It Out is combining the best elements of alumni What So not and Rufus, and clashing them together for a track that Nicole Millar wishes she had mad.

Mixtape: Oz Do It Better!

 

Fuck me with a spatula, and call me Gordon Ramse! There is no way anyone will be able to beat the eye-popping names on the latest mixtape from Peking Tapes.

Let me lay it out for you like this: Do you like Parading? Or Day Ravies? Or Shrapnel? Or Cat Cat? Or Wizard Oz? Or…fuck me, every name on this compilation is like Aus underground royalty, and every second you waste reading this is a second that could be spent buying this tape.

But if you insist on getting the blow-byblow, let’s start at the top: Andre begins things with a squelchy guitar romper called ‘Single Town’, and then Parading double down on that crunchy reverb with an exclusive single entitled ‘Try to Do A Good Thing’. From there, it’s one of my favourites off Shrapnel’s debut, a cool pop song called ‘Baby Picks Up’, followed by a jangly one from Cat Cat that manages to be both sad and relieved at the same time, the perfect song for when you’ve got your back turned on something.

Mac DeMarco on crack gets channeled excessively in the track, ‘You Were Mine’, from Colours, as lazy guitar mingles with clashing noise. The middle of this is a brilliant mind-fuck, moving between twinkling emptiness and a feeding frenzy of feedback. Day Ravies continue down this road of overblown noise in their contribution ‘Drink the Ocean’, a track that starts quaint and Pavement-esque, and then bombards the listener with squirming noise towards the end.

Wizard Oz dilute the waters with a frowning track called ‘Go Home’, a song swarming with warm synth work and lyrics that are more desperate than the Socceroos attempts at a World Cup.

Now, after a mixture of noisy and down-tempo tracks, Australia’s garage/slacker scene gets a chance to shine, with contributions from Cool Sounds, The Ocean Party, Thigh Master, Disgusting People and The Grease Arrestor. Each of these songs is warmer than a dole cheque, and they’ve got more heart than those lab-rats with organs grown on them.

The best mixtape ever ends with two amazing pop tunes from Snowy Nasdaq and Moondice, both providing tracks that could easily fit into the ‘Sexy Time’ playlist (that you’ve never used before).

To summarise, the title of this playlist doesn’t even remotely do the contents justice. Oz does music so good, they should outlaw other countries music, and just have this playlist on repeat globally. The songs on here are more or less the pinnacle of human achievement. Sure, there may be a bit of gratuitous hyperbole in that last statement, but until the other continents catch up and release a mixtape as good as this, then Australia wins the award for best underground music in the world. Take that, Brooklyn!

Video(s): Tijuana Panthers + Low Fat Getting High + Weird Womb

Let your eyes go square with a bunch of new videos:

Tijuana Panthers-Cherry Street

Very cool garage rock from these guys, which is to be expected when you’re name-checking both the drug capital of Mexico and Penrith’s favourite NRL team in one fell swoop of a band name. The video for their latest single is damn delicious as some NCIS kinda shit goes down over donut death.

Low Fat Getting High-Police Cop

Without the sound on this video, it just looks like a couple nervous, bored teenagers that are being forced to do karoake. But with the added element of audio, it’s a vicious punk thing that’s like Fugazi and Minor Threat combined in a McKaye orgy, and got a youthful facelift. There’s also some weird acid flashback cartoons that include a hot dog and a cupcake hanging out. So, there’s that.

Weird Womb-Tanned Tits

At the beginning of this clip, there’s a sound that is either a guy having a great time, or a cat having its spleen ripped out. Turns out it’s a guy having a good time on top of a girl having a really shit time. That all changes when Weird Womb’s new single ‘Tanned Tits’ gets involved-she takes total control of the situation and turns Mr. Selfish Lover into a bitch. Fucking hilarious, and an even better head rush of a tune to accompany it.

 

Album Review: Total Control-Typical System

Nup, you’ve got to be joking. There’s no way Total Control just released another album. Surely blood should be raining from the sky, swarms of locusts should be covering all available crops, and children should be crying. There’s no other way that a band so holy could announce their second masterpiece without a spectacle at least on par with that. Anyway, whilst we wait for Beelzebub to raise from his slumber, you may as well just read this review.

The reason why I use such excited hyperbole when describing ‘Typical System’ is because this album actually succeeds the genius put forth from Total Control’s debut album. They’ve moved in a million new directions, covering so much ground that it makes you want to throw up in jealousy and happiness. There is still the synth-wadded post-punk and insane fury there, but this time it feels like Total Control are adding more, fucking with the formula, and coming up with a potent potion that puts those mud concoctions you made as a kid to shame.

The main thing when venturing into ‘Typical System’ is that not one song acts as a signifier for the whole album, but rather all the songs together form a jigsaw puzzle that you can only solve after listening to the entire thing. Remember the satisfaction of completing a jigsaw puzzle? Well, gorging yourself on ‘Typical System’ multiplies that weird pleasure by a million.

 

However, there is a key to this jigsaw puzzle, and that key lies in the first two singles from the album, ‘Expensive Dog’ and ‘Flesh War’, two songs that couldn’t be more different in sound if they tried. The former is just crushing, epic guitar, like Hans Zimmer on crack, and ‘Flesh War; is a post-punk epiphany. Although I stand by the statement that no two songs on ‘Typical System’ are alike, they do fall into a category of heart-pounding, cynical ball-tearers, or the synth-wrapped post-punkers that are schizophrenically soothing.

For example, the opener ‘Glass’ is a shot, shining and altogether slinking electronic thing that sounds like Gang Of Four is being squeezed through a wormhole, whilst ‘Systematic Fuck’ is a screaming carnivore. As the chorus of ‘You’re the one to blame’ rings out loudly and abusively, it becomes fairly obvious that Total Control aren’t afraid of making enemies. Rather, they take pleasure in tearing down the walls of timidness and banality.

‘Typical System’ is so much more than an album by one of our nation’s greatest treasures-it’s a record that thrives upon the things that most people sweep under the carpet. Modern fears, modern truths and modern lies are all shouted out by Total Control, with the kind of unwavering energy that GG Allin had. Only instead of throwing their shit at the audience, Total Control use thumping music with more crunch than the Captain, and imprint their tunes with a seal of viciousness and whiplash that belies most of The Birthday Party’s work. That jigsaw mentioned before? Fuck that, Total Control have smashed it to pieces, and created their own goddamn puzzle. Dark, foreboding, and looming, not above you, but with you, Total Control act as the heroes of modern day Australia with ‘Typical System’, and you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Garish Hearts: A Film By Angela Garrick & Jay Cruickshank

I was perusing the latest issue of Sneaky Magazine, because I’m a narcissistic bastard that likes to see the stuff I’ve written in print form. It was here that i discovered exactly what I’d be doing on June 26th: the Sydney premiere of ‘Garish Hearts’.

‘Gairsh Hearts’ is a film that is bound to make your insides squirm, your heart combust, and your brain implode with the sort of fucked-up glory that people don’t usually have the balls to pull off anymore. Described as a ‘Psychic Melodrama for All the Family’ and instantly piquing my interest with a trailer that shows off a recent widow that describes herself as, ‘…Fabulous’, ‘Garish Hearts’ is promising to be the weirdest, strangest, and most slack-jawed brilliant film of 2014.

The plot goes along the lines that a bunch of crazy people named Maude, Max, Wayne, Violet, and Zach, have their lives become intertwined in a case of funerals, cults, online sexual predators and ambiguous reality TV. If that doesn’t sound like something that you’d want to lose an arm to watch, you’re actually someone not worth hanging out with. That is a hilarious plotline on par with The Big Lebowski, or Fargo.

Look, here’s a warning. There aren’t going to be any Michael Bay-esque action sequences, and there are zero features of Bruce Willis’ shiny cranium. HOWEVER, if you’re willing to sacrifice a little amateur production values for one hell of a script, and performances that’ll blow your goddamn mind, then go watch ‘Garish Hearts’. Seriously, go watch ‘Garish Hearts’, and then pick the mind slime off the walls of the Dendy. Worth it times a billion.

‘Garish Hearts’ a film by Angela Garrick & Jay Cruickshank is premiering this Thursday, June 26th at Circular Quay Dendy, and tickets are only $15, which you can get here.

Album Review: Hockey Dad-Dreamin’ EP

From the ages of around 7-15, I played the shit of some sports. Kickin’ dunks, shootin’ touchdowns, I was the motherfuckin’ king of sports. Every Saturday, I’d be over at Brookvale Oval, cheering for my team, the Sydney Swans. Shit, I’ve been all over Australia, watching my favourite teams kicking ass and taking names.

I guess this love of sport was in some part inspired by watching those dads on the side of pitch. Yelling, screaming, calling the ref of a under-10’s soccer match a, ‘Bloodthirsty Nazi on the warpath of childhood destruction’. Man, those were some inspirational days. Seeing bloated, weathered dads with beer bellies and shattered dreams trying to live through their uninterested kids. Could it be more bloody heart warming?

Well, yeah, obviously. That’s where the Gong’s Hockey Dad come in. They’re a band so good they’ve managed to climb out of the mire of Woolongong and become a fastened interest of Sydney punters, because that’s the dream. In all seriousness, they play a fuzzy garage-pop that piques interest like a poster of Optimus Prime gallantly riding a dinobot in a teaser shot for  Transformers 4.

Hockey Dad’s debut EP opens up with ‘Lull City’, and fuck me if that isn’t a scrubby footy match of a track. The guitar riffs bounce like a footy passed between the pre-pubescent teams’ finest, aka a muddy, fumbled and glorious mess of intertwined fuzzy riffery. There’s the cool little ‘Ooo’s in there that strongly resemble a Dune Rats track, and the whole track reeks of something to be moshed to inside of a pub, late on a Friday night.

The follow up song is a pop standout. ‘I Need A Woman’ is pretty much begging to become the next go-to track to make out song. Picture this: you’ve just finished up your Friday Night Lights marathon on the couch with your girlfriend, this song comes on, and Boom! the clothes are off by the second verse.

Moving on into the middle of the EP, and it’s ‘Beach House’, a frantic surfer tune, that was custom made by those guys in Vampire Weekend, whilst someone sanded down the nose on a sweet little 6’1″ Al Merrick. Yeah, I used to surf, it’s not a big deal or anything. But whilst the days of my tanned six-pack are behind me, ‘Beach House’ showcases Hockey Dad just breaching a form of crunching awesomeness.

‘Seaweed’ and ‘Babes’ finish the EP off with some steamy romanticism, or at least as much steamy romanticism that can leak through thundering drums and pinpoint garage rock. The finishes on these songs are especially glorious, just full-throttle sappy romantic things that are having the skin of their skulls peeled off due to the sheer velocity at which their being executed.

There’s been a slew of teenager bands in the past couple years, but only a few who have managed to do it right. SURES and Bleeding Knees Club have been the only bands, of recent memory, who’ve managed to achieve without falling into a trap of cliches and redundancy. Well, add Hockey Dad to that list as well. These tunes aren’t going to be forgotten any time soon. The songs of the ‘Dreamin’ EP are memorable, well done, and best of all, shred total balls. Unlike those dads on the sideline, Hockey Dad are making the most of their youth, and don’t plan on being wankers in polo shirts yelling obscenities on the Saturday morning.

Hockey Dad’s EP comes out on June 27. Don’t be a bloody drongo, and pre-order it here:

Top 5 Records w/ Straight Arrows

Straight Arrows are one of my all time favourite bands. Seriously, this local band playing live is probably what it felt like to watch a band like Nirvana or David Lee Roth’s Van Halen back in the day. People knew there was something historical happening. When you listen to or watch Straight Arrows, your soul becomes imbedded with some insane energy, like you’ve suddenly become a part of an ancient Aztec rock n roll ritual. Live, Straight Arrows are a beast that force you to move your body and dance like you’ll be sent to a prison where they play Matt Corby on repeat if you don’t hit a sweat quota.

Which is why I’m over the fucking moon that Straight Arrows’ frontman cared to share his favourite ultra fun time records with me. After so many stupidly smile-engaging times with Straight Arrows, it’s awesome to hear what gets Owen going while he makes his double egg yolk smoothies in the morning, before he goes out and punches cow carcasses in preparation for the big match-up on Saturday.

Theme: Top 5 Ultimate Amazing Fun Records

Don and the Good Times – Where the Action Is.
After playing keyboard on Louie Louie, then leaving the stiffs in the Kingsmen after that prick Lynn Easton took control, Don formed the Goodtimes and smashed it out of the stadium with this record. The next one was BAD bubblegum. Then he quit playing and produced the Stooges’ Funhouse. Perfect resumé
We’re the Banana Splits.
Sure, it was a kids’ TV show with a bunch of shitty skits between even worse cartoons, but the album is a BUBBLEGUM MASTERPIECE.
GG Allin and the JabbersAlways Was, Is, And Always Shall Be.
GG when he was trying to make a tuff punk/pop record, pre-turds and tough guy posturing.
Rolling Stones – England’s Newest Hitmakers.
All r’n’b (in the classic, albeit white, sense), all hits. All the time.
Prince Buster – Wreck A Pum Pum.
His dirty album. Self recorded. Has the Pharaoh House Crash on it. Somewhere on the cup of ska and rocksteady. King of Jamaica. He could do no wrong in the 60s.