New Electronic Music: Basenji + Thrupence + Karma Kid

Been a while since electronic music got some coverage, so here goes with some of the latest from the country’s greatest, Future Classic!

Basenji-Heirloom

Basenji has dropped his latest single last night, and it’s fucking weird to think that it’s only his second official single. I mean, the dude’s been pretty much everywhere, and looks to be picking up in the vacuum that Wave Racer has left since he’s been trotting all over the globe. Anyway’s, this new one is about as uplifting as the finale of a Disney movie, just fucking stoked electronic sound getting to the higher reaches of happiness everywhere. It’s a triumphant song, and probably about the most fun future bass is ever going to come close to getting.

Thrupence -Don’t You Mind

Same label, very different sound. The soul comes through super strong here, like listening to The Roots going through a funnel of Flying Lotus. It’s very Brainfeeder-esque, and if you plan on having a wine-‘n’-cheese night tonight, this would be the perfect song to play before bringing out the expensive brie.

Karma Kid – Bird of Prey

This song would be my secret weapon if I were ever asked to DJ a club night. First, I’d bring everything down with some Drake, and Lil Wayne, ensuring that everyone in da club thought I was a shitty DJ with no taste, and was going to bum everyone out with my averageness. And then BOOM! I lock up this dope track, and get everyone dancing so insanely that the club burns down from all the hot fire on the DF. And then I’m sued for damages.

What I’m trying to say is that Karma Kid is so good, they will get you sued, so use this track sparingly.

New: Us – Fallout

Hold onto your buttholes, because what I’m about to tell you will blow off your goddamn face. This amazing fucking garage-punk force is made up from members of…wait for it…bearhug! What!? One of the most calming, tranquil and reverb soaked guitar lagoon bands in the world has a seething, broiling pit of anger in the stomachs of two members. They’ve gone on to create this hurtling piece of shreddery that’s like Bass Drum of Death being slammed into a brick wall by the Hulk.

This is slam-dancing music for sure, fucking fun and loud, forcing you to run around with your hands in the air like you’ve just been handed a bomb with 5 seconds left on the timer. That kind of Ramones-like frantic activity is rad, and this band needs to get their EP out pronto.

Top 5 Records w/ SPOD

There’s a reason why I always attach the prefix “Old Mate” when  talk about old mate SPOD. It’s because, although I’ve never met him, the guy is like Sydney’s father of good music, constantly churning out the hits for us to shake our booty to. He’s diverse, unpredictable and came out with a song called “Deadshits”. There is literally nothing more you can love about the guy.

Now, for all those that are unaware, SPOD recently came out with a bloody brilliant new record called ‘Taste the Sadness’, an adult re-imagining of his classic debut ‘Taste the Radness’. One of the best songs on there, a bonafide tear-jerker, is the first track “Last Dance”, which perfectly personifies its title, in that it is something heartbreaking and melancholy, but at the same time, leaves nothing unchecked. It’s just a really open and honest song, and if you were going to indulge in a last dance, “Last Dance” would be pretty bloody perfect to have a final waltz to.

Because SPOD is a bloody legend, I asked him if he’d want to do his Top 5 Records that he’d have his last dance to, and he replied with a surprisingly deep and   meaningful list, especially for a guy who makes us dance to the tune of “Get your fuck on, get-get  your fuck on”. Cheers SPOD you bloody legend!

Top 5 Records that SPOD would have his Last Dance to

01: Ween – Any album up to and including White Pepper

Ween were basically flawless from 1990 to 2000. 10 years of inspiring perfection that didn’t give a shit about anyone or anything asides from pure songwriting perfection & ultimate bravery. I don’t know if anyone still thinks they’re a novelty band, but if they do, they’re probably a total deadshit who likes the current Foo Fighters. It’s a bit of a kick in the nuts of my own mortality that Ween broke up. If two perfectly mismatched geniuses can’t remain best friends forever, then what chance do the rest of us have?

02: Harry Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson

I bought this record as a young man solely because of the cover of an out of focus Harry in a bathrobe. Who was this guy who dares to put such a deadshitty image on his album? Little did I know at that time that it’s one of the greatest albums of all time and Nilsson is a hilarious & touching legend. Nilsson was the original Ween, he loved dancing with the absurd just as much as writing a perfect song and could do both like no one else and planted the seed in the importance of adult pride.

03: Beastie Boys – Pauls Boutique

What a masterpiece. I remember when this came out, I was still totally juiced on Licenced to Ill and the idea of these 3 brats spraying beer on the dicks of the world. Along with the rest of their fans, I wasn’t ready for such a mature step into this world that they and the dust brothers created. This gave birth to a lot of music I loved that came after it, and also a lot of Fat Boy Slim pieces of shit, but man this album was a bolt of lighting, and still sounds fresh as the day it landed. It was such a huge flop when it came out that I got it for $5 on vinyl. Nice. It also put me onto more good albums from its samples than any thing else I’ve come in contact with.

04: Black Moth Super Rainbow – Dandelion Gum

When I stumbled across this album on some blog in around 2008, I had kind of given up finding another band to obsess over, thinking I’d grown out of that part of my life and was destined to float through the rest of my days just recycling past loves till the end of time. Then this came along, a perfect mix of everything I loved up to that point. VHS Video Stores, Hip Hop, Psych Pop, Vocoders & cool songs from a faceless dude. A future primitive dance party for lonely dudes in the summertime.

05: Beck – Mellow Gold

Again, sure he’s got technically better albums in Mutations, Midnight Vultures & Odelay which are all masterpieces, but Mellow Gold, along with Weens Pure Guava, were displays that ideas are the most important things to have as long as you have a 4 track and a room to record them in. This was back before your telephone could record an album, kids. It was a bloody revolution! It sounds so personal and close, like a best friend just gave you a tape they made, which just so happens to sound like the future of Bob Dylan joining the Beastie Boys.

Premiere! The S-Bends – Bottle-O-Farrell

Political dissent in a can! Who couldn’t get around that!? Nah, but this single from The S-Bends is probably the greatest quiet moment that Sydney has had in fucking forever. This band is actually the shit, especially if they can keep pumping out gorgeous songs like this. Not quite jangle-pop, “Bottle-O-Farrell” has a sighing bravado to it, complaining about these fucking bottle shop closures and smashing bottles, paired with shaky camera footage of the youth just being the youth.

It’s like we’re watching the first singles from The Ocean Party, or Lower Plenty, being released just before us, only this time, it’s from a bunch of Sydney legends. The fact that we’ll soon have a local contender who can do battle, if not succeed the crown of having the most beautiful misery song in Australia, well it just makes my heart warm, and this time, it’s not an oncoming heart-attack.

The S-Bends are playing THIS THURSDAY at Valve Bar with Claire & the Cops and Wash, who both fucking rule.

Album Review: Ty Segall – Manipulator

Ty Segall is one of the most renowned names in rock n roll from recent years, and with good reason. The dude knows exactly how to make his guitar crunch and shred with the same ferocity as being run over by a stampede of rhinoceros (rhinoceroses?). He has the same ability to turn a guitar into a chomping trash compactor as Jimmy Page, and he hurls it into the pop sensibilities of Husker Du and The Replacements. It’s music to be thrown against a brick wall over and over again.

Over the years, Ty Segall has shifted from the more mucky Cramps-like recordings that were on ‘Lemons’, ‘Melted’ and ‘Goodbye Bread’, and into cleaner sounding recordings, with ‘Manipulator’ falling into possibly the squeakiest he’s been. But, it doesn’t stop him from absolutely shredding. After the calm and collected Segall that was unveiled on ‘Sleeper’, it’s thankful that he’s gone back to making songs that would deafen a firework engineer.

The album is packed with songs so loud, they’d un-deafen Pete Townshend. There’s ‘The Faker’, a track so chugging and large, it’s like a train that’s piloted by Creedence Clearwater Revival. There’s the spindly and slimey “The Crawler”, which is like a spider that learned how to tied a distorter pedal to each of it’s limbs and jumped. “Susie Thumb” has a similar effect of plunging the listener headlong into a rabbit hole about how much of a shallow idiot Susie is, all whilst loaded with poltergeist-raising riffs.

Continuing along, “Feel” manages to retain a super creepy, shlock horror, (almost) Black Sabbath vibe , with a blood-soaked guitar stabbing solos into our hearts, time and time again. Seriously, that solo is straight from a witch’s cauldron, made from the blood of a serial killer’s bat, and the most toxic poisons of the Amazon. It’s an exotic thing that can only be found in the darkest corners of the world. And “Connection Man” is like an interstellar rock hit, like something two bong-smoking aliens would traipse around the galaxy to when they couldn’t find their KISS cassette tapes.

The songs are good, there’s no doubt about that. However, when the album is centrally built around 2-3 minute goldmines, and said album goes for a full 58 minutes, with 17 tracks in total,  it becomes slightly exhausting to listen to so many high-modal thrashers. What made some of the older Ty Segall material so effective was because the albums were short, and sharp, and that the shitty production, that made it seem like the songs had built in tape hiss, gave a little humanising and ordinary quality that helped pace the record out. It feels like Ty Segall could’ve separated this record into two searing records, and maintained the punch without knocking out the listener.

However, when the only real complaint about a record is that the artist in question has gotten better equipment and actually has a bit too much good material, then the album in question can’t be bad. ‘Manipulator’ is still a choke-slam, and has got you gagging for air faster than a rollercoaster ride going at light speed whilst blasting an audiobook of 50 Shades of Grey. Boom! Ther’s a fucktonne of dynamite in this record, and it’ll keep blowing your fingers right off until you physically can’t put the record on anymore.

‘Manipulator’ is out on Spunk Records right now, AND Ty Segall is fucking coming to Sydney. He’s gonna be at Oxford Art Factory, on Wednesday 17 December. Why haven’t you clicked this link to buy tickets yet?

Top 5 Records w/ Unity Floors

Old mates Unity Floors are one of the best things that Sydney town has. They’ve got these awesome tunes that are like junkyard pop, weird pop songs constructed from rusted guitars and tin can drums. They’re a ramshackle band that write some of the best tunes to listen and dance to, like if Paul Westerberg if he’d grown up in the suburbs of Sydney, and listened to Pavement.

Now, although Gus and Henry are pretty similar in that they’re friendly guys with steady knowledge on how to write a good song, their musical tastes are wildly different, apparently. So, I asked them to show me the Top5 Records that they could agree upon.

Also, these bloody legends are playing The Standard Bowl on September 12th, with other bloody legends Chook Race and Community Radio.

 

Top 5 Records That Gus and Henry Both Like:

1. CAN – Delay 1968

 

2. Grauzone – Welt Rekord 7″

 

3. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Hate Rock N Roll

 

4. Captain Beefheart – Safe As Milk

 

5. The Cramps – Bad Music For Bad People

Album Review: SPOD – Taste the Sadness

I have many regrets in my life. Why did I let her go? Why couldn’t I have been a better son? How come I turned down that 2-For-1 kebab deal? It was a strong fiscal decision! But really, one of my largest regrets is not getting into SPOD until a mere year ago. I used to see this guy’s mug all over the Internet, with people doting on how he was such an excellent, exciting and brilliant songsmith and/or party starter. “HUH!”, I would exclaim to myself, alone in my room on a Saturday night. “I only listen to rawk music! This guy doesn’t quote the Foo Fighters as a major influence, what a DOUCHEBAG! HAW HAW HAW, serve me up another slice of that sweet, sweet Slipknot!”

Little did I know, I was missing out on one of the biggest legends to have adorned Sydney music. A mere 11 years ago was the release of his debut record ‘Taste The Radness’, an disgusting molestation of the senses that, to this day, remains unparralleled. On this planet, there exists no bigger legend than SPOD, and if you were like me, and think that he’s not for you, I urge you with every inch of my soul to listen to his music. From “Letz Dance” to “Deadshits”, and everything in between, SPOD remains to be THE MAN.

However, just as my love for SPOD’s original and visceral tunes were hitting their peak, SPOD decided he wanted to go and fucking grow up, reframing his classic debut ‘Taste the Radness’ into an updated ode to the depression of seeing your better years behind you. GROW UP!? SPOD!? As in, like, get a real job, settle down, get married, die in a coffin? What the fuck? I mean, at the very least, I always imagined SPOD would pass from this mortal world after doing battle with Poseidon or something. Not like this. Anything but this.

However, in a weird twist, SPOD has created an adult album, about being an adult, and injected so much sadness (the only real emotion to be connected with growing up) that you actually begin to crack and tear at the thought of SPOD’s process of creating this album. Obviously, our old mate has been torn up by the inevitable, and he’s written an album so heart wrenching, it makes the ending of Lassie being shown at a funeral look like graduation day aka the happiest day of your life.

It seems that for the first time, SPOD is being straight with his audience, telling them how he honestly feels, and from that you can’t help but crumble. A musical revolution has been implemented – gone are the frantic synths and thumping beats, to be replace with piano and light snare/hi-hat combos, drowned under SPOD’s vocals. From the surface, it appears like a Kate Bush, or PJ Harvey album.

But then, SPOD’s lyrics, the foremost important thing to SPOD’s songs, and the thing that personally drew me to him, appear, and you see that SPOD, although at his lowest, is at one of his most honest. “Last Dance”? That song is a bonafide way to crush any hope in the world. You could’ve just recovered from the most debilitating flu in the world, and have won local bingo, and you’d still be floored by the way this song manages to turn your eyes into salty mush. On “So Lonely”, he spins a tale of such heartbreak and tumbling depression, with a chorus”I’m so lonely”, that he makes it weird to not be crying by the end. “Totally Sad” sees the lyrical mastermind ring out with “Your personality is so despised, alone at home watching the Price Is Right….You look like Sean Penn brought the girls to tears, now you just look more like Britney Spears” and with “Hell No”, probably the most angry SPOD gets about age on the record, he smashes out the line “I’m a billion years old, years are taking hold, dick is covered in mould, and beer bloats my soul”.

Despite SPOD doing a 180 on his previous musical sound, and risking everyone’s love for him, turning his former Andrew WK-meets-synth-explosions tunes into a spillage of all his inner thoughts about life and growing old, ‘Taste the Sadness’ ends up becoming the ode that every person over 30 needs. You can see it in the eyes of every has-been, every former child star, every high-school rugby 1st XV player. That spark that they know will never come back. SPOD has taken that, and wrought it into physical and audible being, a sadness that can only come from once tasting the radness. But rather than let it destroy him, SPOD has commanded it, and dominated it. Although this is the saddest we’ve ever heard SPOD, it’s also his most self-assured and fortchoming. Although the beats are gone, SPOD still remains. He may not be able to party with the kids anymore, but he’s our SPOD y’hear! And we love him in all his forms, but the sad and the happy. Although this album might be SPOD’s little swansong to his glory days, it doesn’t show for a lack of talent or radness.

‘Taste The Sadness” is out now on Rice Is Nice Records, and old mate SPOD is planning for a launch at everyone’s favourite pub The Lansdowne, ‘Dinner & Show’ on September 19. Get there mate.

New: The Reprobettes – The Reprobettes

Australia doesn’t exactly have a shitload of all-girl groups kickin’ ass, which is why the fact The Reprobettes exist is such a breath of fresh air. Packed with dangerously hot surf licks and a bass that’ll kick you in your genitals if you look at it the wrong way, The Reprobettes could not be more fine.

Listening to this record recalls that amazing and definitely underrated Quentin Tarantino movie ‘Death Proof’, specifically Part Two, when the movie switches focus to a bunch of babes who love cars. At the end, the crew, which includes Rosario Dawson, beat the ever living shit out of Kurt Russell. I feel like if those girls moved to Melbourne after the credits rolled, and decided to pick up some instruments, they’d morph right into The Reprobettes. Both groups have that proud stance, relaxed but sharp poise and infectious attitude.

Oh, and they’re both stuck in the wrong decade. If The Reprobettes were born in the 60’s, they could’ve been Australia’s answer to The Shangri-La’s. As it were, it looks like The Reprobettes are going to be battling it out with The Fabergettes for who gets to soundtrack Grease 3: T-Birds in Oz!

New: Bored Nothing – Ice-Cream Dreams

Before I get into how bloody great this new material from the fantastic Bored Nothing (aka Fergus Miller) is, can we all just marvel at how much the dude looks like a young J Mascis? That same withdrawn but self-confident stare, awkward pose, and luscious mane, only a chestnut brown instead of silver?

There’s a theory that dogs and their owners who look alike have the same personalities, and I feel like that can apply to Melbourne bedroom muso’s and their doppelgangers. “Ice-Cream Dreams” is like a young Australian version of something that could be coming off J Mascis’ upcoming solo record. There’s soft clacking percussion, intimate guitar and a voice that sincerely washes over you, seething into your soul like his words are being squeezed out of a sponge.

I’m not going to finish the review by saying some cliche bullshit like ‘And man, can Bored Nothing prove they’re as sweet as their song titles’, but seriously, this song is noice.

Album Review: Twerps – Underlay EP

We live in a cruel, cruel world. Intolerable, really. There’s no words to describe the kind of pain and suffering we go through. I mean, what kind of just God puts so many painstaking months between each stunning release from Twerps? A year on from their triumphant ‘Work It Out 7″, we’ve been graced with the perfection that is the ‘Underlay EP’.

Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to become unhealthily obsessed with Twerps. At their sold-out Red Rattler show, a guy stage-dived during ‘Dreamin’, and was trying to start mosh-pits for the majority of the show. Mosh pits!? At a Twerps show!? Bit of a dipshit move, obviously, but it just proves the point that people are being driven to the point of insanity by Twerps’ music.

I mean, it might have all started with that dolewave thing. Man, fuck dolewave. If your band sets out to make a dolewave record, give up, go home, that’s probably the most suicidal way of starting a band I’ve ever heard. Your music will suck, as you’ll constantly be repeating the phrase WWDDD (What Would Dick Diver Do) to yourselves, and crushing any and all hope of originality and creating something good to listen to. Instead, look at Twerps, or Dick Diver, or The Ocean Party. These are not “dolewave” groups, they’re just bands bounded together by amazing lyrics and a knack for strumming a guitar. The ‘Underlay EP’ is a perfect example of how Twerps succeed that bullshit pigeonholing, and prove themselves (as if they hadn’t already) to be one of Australia’s most bonafide lovely bands to listen to.

“Heavy Hands” starts off the record, a thing that almost puts the catchiness of “He’s In Stock” to shame. It’s got a riff as perky as the wind of St Kilda, and a chorus of defeatism that screams relatability to every single shit-kicking nobody on the face of this planet. What kind of rare song has the ability to be catchy as a case of herpes in a porn shoot AND actually speak to disenchanted and maligned? Not since Big Star, right?

The genius doesn’t stop there. There’s the Little Miss Muffet-esque “Conditional Report”, and “Hypocrite”, a lovely love song which is the audible equivalent of an aimless Sunday arvo with a VB in hand, an existential crisis on par with deciding whether to eat a mouldy sausage or not. Twerps manage to remain disarmingly charming, and yet put every shred of heart on their sleeves, and speak with soft passion. Not to remove myself too far from my ocker writing personality (my Mac just brings out the bi-polar in me, fuck you Jobs) but the voices of Marty and Jules are packed with subtlety, and every time something occurs, the enjoyment of the music is slightly marred with a questioning of what they could be talking about. For such simple music, Twerps pack themselves with questions.

Take for example the standout track “Consecutive Seasons”. Under a bubbling jangle guitar/bass line a song which features the lines “I don’t wanna sing Dreamin’/it’s lost every single meaning/I’m so damn sick of it all”. Are you serious? Did Marty just nonchalantly and gorgeously dust off a line about how one of his band’s most famous songs is bullshit? What? Are bands allowed to do that? Are they allowed to shoot themselves in the foot like that? Or are Twerps a bunch of psychics, and foresaw a dipshit nearly derail that same song at the Rattler, by constantly knocking into me with a repeated phrase of “Sorry bro, but hey, you know how it is!”

To be blunt, the magic of Twerps is that they always manage to scrape together songs that are as ramshackle, and dusty as the engine of a rusty ute in Darwin, and yet they’re absolutely flawless pieces of songwriting and pop structure. And when I say flawless, I mean, there is absolutely no holes to be poked in there. Nothing. There’s nothing bad to say about this album, or the band. I mean, some Skrillex-muncher might think they’re boring, and that the lyrics, “have too many words,” and, “not enough sick drops”, but for those who can appreciate a decent grasp of musicianship, as well as honest, humorous and endearing reflections of Australian culture, then there’s nowhere to go but Twerps.

You can buy the ‘Underlay EP’ here through Chapter Music’s Bandcamp. It’s recommended to get on the vinyl/cassettes quickly, as they will vamoose faster than a Cronulla Sharks player getting asked for a drug test.