Beautiful Sydney beats – now that’s a phrase that you don’t hear nearly often enough. Most of the electronic stuff that comes outta Sydney is either bland as fuck, or distortedly thrilling, like Black Vanilla. Instead, Nakagin has taken a cues from the old mates of Brainfeeder and naturalistic sounds, creating these sonic palettes that would makes Monet’s most lushly quaint water-lillies look like sketches from an aggressive 3 year old. “Pines” is so gorgeously sensitive, that it’s a surprise that he isn’t being championed by Joaquin”Mr Beautiful Eyes’ Phoenix.
Weak Boys are a band that are so fucking unrequited, it’s like all three members were Jeff Daniels, the epitome of underrated-ness. Weak Boys should be poster boys for Australia, and yet they only have a measly 186 likes as of publication time. That statistic right there is proof of a cruel world. What could they be doing wrong? The album cover is a photo of a dog cuter than a baby seal in a band outfit, mini trombone and all. I mean, that alone should have every single member of Cool Dog Group falling over each other in an effort to click that prestigious blue thumbs-up. And they have songs so instantly iconic, they’re like Uluru or that fucking annoying little multicoloured spinny wheel.
For a bit of a reference point, Weak Boys slot in nicely as gruffer version of all the modern legends of Twerps, Full Ugly and Dick Diver, mixed heartily with classic jangle i.e The Clean,The Go-Betweens, The Cannanes. However, the thing that makes Weak Boys stand apart is the ability to be both self-aware, and completely absorbed. “Weekdays/Weekends” is full of songs that’ll make you laugh heartily, golden comedy nuggets that you’d expect nothing less of from THE Matt Banham of Matt Banham’s Jokes Internet Infamy. But it’s also packed with slices of truth that not even Truman Capote himself was capable of worming out of a pen.
To begin with, Weak Boys released the stellar song “Hangovers”, which I maintain to be one of the songs of the year, along with Blank Realm’s “Falling Down the Stairs”, Richard in Your Mind’s “Hammered”, and Dorsal Fins’ “Monday Tuesday”. It was a hilarious song delivered in deadpan, about how much waking up on Sunday was, and how shitty kids were. As a fellow kid, I can definitively confirm that 90% of people under the age of 21 are deadshits, including myself. For comparison, the deadshit factor only drops to 10% once over the age of 21, but hey, those are just cold, hard facts. Anyway, “Hangovers” is an awesome song, insanely catchy, great video, it made you want to spew in jealousy it’s so good. But, was it a total indicator of the album?
In a way, both yes, and no. Yes, every song has a little bit of comedy to it, but whilst some are light-hearted pokes set to simple but riveting guitar-pop, like “Jules, Brent & I” and “Fucken Landlords”, others are intensely dark and troubling, black comedy manifestos. Whereas “South Australia” yelps about getting pissy and moving out of our nation’s butt of jokes, all to the tune of some ecstatic guitar solos, “Never Drinking Again” deals with the same themes, but with such a solemn choke that you can’t help but want to reach through the song and give the bloke a hug. Similarly, “Settled” is a doozy of a depressor, a greyscale sigh about the troubles of being in the constantly stressing life that is the modern condition. When the words of, “Grab a butcher’s knife, and settle down/happiness would be rife, if I could settle down”, I automatically cried out a “NO!”, like I’d just seen Mufasa topple off a cliff for the first time. Think about that for a second – when was the last time you had an audible reaction to a song?
I went into this Weak Boys record with high expectations. After all, these three unassuming guys have been in bands as awesome as Little Lovers and Dollar Bar, so why wouldn’t their record be a bunch of bloody fun? But when listening to the thing, you can’t help but think…fuck, this is a masterpiece. A lot of people were obsessed over the Lower Plenty “Nullarbor” record a few years back, and “Weekdays/Weekends” appears to be the updated, Sydney reply to that album – just a strong, honest and genuine album booming with talent, perfect in every way. It’s hard to imagine Weak Boys not becoming iconic in some way or another, it’s just a matter of how big. As one of the most complete and fulfilling albums in recent Australian lore, I strongly urge, nay command thee, to buy this album.
‘Weekdays/Weekends” is out now on Strong Look Records. Grab it at the link.
Saturday 25th October @ The Factory Theatre
Simpsons quote. Straight from the go, you’re off to a good start mates. Add to that fact that almost every great guitar act in our country is on a Blurst of Time bill, and you’ve got every cat and their air guitar whizzing to buy a fucking ticket. I mean, people of ‘Straya, what more do you want? The government’s fucked (with the grand exception of Bill ‘Shortball’ Shorten), we’re paying through the nose for uni, and to top it all off, I’ve had a bad sinus infection all week. Really shitty stuff. So a day of DZ Deathrays and beer in Marrickville was basically the only cure, short of going on a bender with Bill Murray (a boy can dream).
Hockey Dad began the day with a short ‘n’ sweet set of feel good surf rock tunes. If you haven’t heard of these blokes, get around them, because they’ve got #nextbigthing written all over their peachy mugs. Zach’s got a voice like an angel, and Billy smashes his drums like he’s on a blitzkrieg, Lleyton Hewitt headband dripping with sweat by the end. A few muck-ups, but the smiles and lack of pretention from these blokes meant that their set was a loud, and thoroughly enjoyable, as good as watching Happy Gilmore the first time round.
Black Zeros followed, but unfortunately, sound issues fumbled their performance. The songs are tight, but performance was unsure, as lead woman Joe Jackson had trouble hearing herself. I mean, “Ride” and “That Boy” are fucking sick, but the dwindling between songs so early in the day made it hard for punters to stick around, and enjoy the usual Black Zeros carnival. Outside, Babaganouj were killing it, an amalgamation of Brissy indie-pop mixed with damn solid 90’s nerd-rock. Think of the dorky pop of Weezer, Superchunk and Kim Deal, thrown together with amazing songs like “Bluff” and “Love Loath Love You”. They had heads nodding along like the crowd were a bunch of bobble-heads. It was down-to-earth euphoric rock, something I’m not sure even existed until this point.
Sticking around on the outside stage, where a bunch of menacing clouds grumbled with menace, High-tails came and conquered with a slew of tight indie rock. High-tails seemed in more of a rock mood, as their songs boomed with a bit more bravado and oomph than usual. “Bending Over Backwards” and a cover of Cake’s “Never There” highlighted a band that knew how to marry pop sensibilities and rock with success. A divorce doesn’t seem likely in the near future, and there’s a strong hint at an LP coming out next year.
Step-Panther, (another band, another hyphen) hobbled unassumingly onto the stage. Just three blokes – a guitar, bass and a drumkit. And yet, these three guys turned an ordinary set up into one of the most impressive displays of musicianship to have been blazed into my skull in recent memory. Starting with debut LP cut “Never Again”, frontman Stephen Bourke was immediately sprawled on the floor, abusing his guitar like it was an Ike and Tina Turner situation all over again. Whiplash guitar ricocheted throughout the small domain of The Factory Theatre, and anyone within earshot perked up like a Chihuahua being mass-fed caffeine. Daniel Radburn is beating the shit out of the drum kit like he’s a 12 year old with the house to himself and a bright and sparkly National Geographic laying bare like the temptresses they are. And Zach, of Hockey Dad @fame, well, he was just looking good. Their set was a fiery ball-tearer, with a couple props to old schoolers like “Fight Like A Knight”, but mainly focusing on their new, gobsmackingly good record, ‘Strange But Nice’ (review here).
It was a party set through and through, a contorted mixture of thrash punk and pop knowledge, covered in gnatty noise and a genuine love, and ability, to rock the fuck out. For every awkward inner-teen out there, Step-Panther is the band you want to familiarise yourself with. They’re almost like a modern and local version of Bleach-era Nirvana, ruthless and primal, and Stephen Bourke makes for a picturesque Kurt Cobain, with his shoulder-connected-to-neck solos being a sight worthy of the Bucket List. New singles “Nowhere”, “It Came From the Heart” and “User Friendly” were a shredder’s haven, and a reminder that Step-Panther are some of the last heartfelt headbangers in Sydney, possibly even Aus. Make sure you get down to their album launch (with Bearhug and Point Being!) at Goodgod on November 21st.
After exhilaration-incarnate, it felt like nothing could possibly match a Step-Panther show. Obviously, it’s been a while since I went to a SPOD show, and I’ve forgotten how one-of-a-kind this man, nay, GOD, is. Where Step-Panther are one of the ultimate rock bands, SPOD is the ultimate party band. I feel like that needs to be repeated -SPOD IS THE ULTIMATE PARTY BAND! NEVER MISS A SHOW FROM THIS GUY! EVER! EVER! EVER!
Armed with a battalion of all-black, sunnies-inside security guards (Steve’s #1 & #2, and old mate Nathan Wood) who never dropped their demeanour of seriousness and professionalism (sic), SPOD tore The Factory Theatre a new arsehole. Beginning with the song of our generation, “Deadshits”, SPOD’s set soon become something that people will talk about centuries from now, in hushed whispers, in case the legend himself blazes down from the heavens to destroy all human life with his hard-partying ways. To put it bluntly, the set was compromised entirely of legends. From young pup/legend Dom O’Connor being literally picked up and thrown around SPOD like a stripper on a pole during “Letz Dance”, to Dion Ford (Australia’s greatest guitarist/legend) coming onstage to crank out Oz’s favourite pub rock tune “Couple Of Drinks”, to old mate/legend Jules (of Rice is Nice one of the greatest labels to adorn our fair country) getting her waltz on to the finale and every pervert’s funky favourite “Electric Hips”. And I’d be lying to you if I said that getting on stage with pretty much every living legend the Australian music industry has seen for a singalong of “Boys Night” wasn’t one of the Top 5 Moments of my life. I entered the Factory a boy, and left a man, thanks to SPOD. The man is a saint.
After a sweat, party-filled few hours, it was time for Blank Realm, one of the main acts on the bill. After the release of their flawless pop record “Grassed Inn” earlier this year (review here), Blank Realm was a band that I physically could not withhold myself from seeing. Whilst the beginning of the set was marred by sound issues, primarily the bass thudding over the top of other instruments, things were abruptly fixed so that it was all Blank Realm awesomeness, all the time. Their set seemed to compromise of only a few songs, mostly of their latest album, but that’s hardly a complaint. My body was instantly entranced into twisting into an amalgamation of shapes I had no clue I was capable of. Maybe I was just trying to mimic the movements of the band themselves, in which they moved with poetic energy, jumping and grooving with artistic beauty. It was strange, and timelessly wonderful. Getting to see stuff like “Reach You On the Phone”, “Go Easy” and a sped-up “Falling Down the Stairs” (#songoftheyear) is something no ones forgetting any time soon. Summarisation: 2014 – year of the keytar. Never change, Blank Realm, never change.
Outside, a new and unruly beast was unfolding in the form of Velociraptor, fleshed out with a rare appearance from original members Shane and Simon of DZ Deathrays. Banshee cries were the first thing I really noticed from the set, followed by a ruckus on par with a football riot. Bodies flew everywhere, and it honestly felt like a tsunami of rock music had arrived. Whereas Velociraptor are garage-pop on record, the raw energy of earlier recordings was in sure-fire play during the set. As guitars reigned supreme, and the multi-limbed juggernaut of rock ‘n’ roll heaved on headbangers like “Cynthia”, “The Walk On By”,”Cool, Baby, Cool” and the anthemic “Ramona”, it was like an alternate ending from Jurassic Park, where the T-Rex doesn’t show up, and the kids aren’t so lucky. As the final chords rang out, and Jeremy Neale stood poised, with fist raised triumphantly above his lolling head, grin planted firmly on his mug, it was ultimately obvious that Velociraptor had fucking won.
After a truly sweeping performance, TV Colours graced the stage for a very different, but similarly affecting, display of amazing. TV Colours released the best album of last year, and they wilfully proved it. They had walls of sound at their disposal, tearing through songs like “The Neighbourhood” and “Lost Highway” with a virtuosity and newfound, dare I say it, professionalism. Their fury was there, but it was more controlled, funnelled into the seething audience of bobbing heads. It doesn’t seem far-fetched to believe that “Purple Skies, Toxic River” will be mentioned in the same breath as “Primary Colours”, or “Havilah” in the future. It’s a modern masterpiece, and seeing a band as talented and great as that dominate a stage is a pleasure as always. If you haven’t seen TV Colours rip through “Bad Dreams” or “Beverly” and let your jaw drop to the floor in utter amazement, you haven’t lived.
Die! Die! Die! seemed like a bit of a left-field choice for the day, the only Kiwi band on the bill. But they had a new orgasmic album to show off, and you’d have to be a total dillweed to miss out on these guys bombastically destroying expectations. Die! Die! Die! are one of the few punk bands left that can completely blow you away every single time you see them, pounding expectations to the ground as dangerously as frontman Andrew Wilson behaves on stage. Perched precariously on a stack of amps, Wilson cradles the microphone and bellows “A.T.T.I.T.U.D” with a conviction that belies belief. A song over seven years old, Wilson only needed to jump into the crowd and be assaulted by eager punters willing to scream the celebrated chorus, for the epiphany to click that Die! Die! Die! will never die. They’ll forever live on in a myth of wholesome awesome, a preservation of smart punk rock that shames anything that tries to come near it. The members are performers and musicians that have no contemporaries, lambasting temples of a bygone era.
To watch Die! Die! Die! in action is a sincere honour, a pinnacle of what humans can do when they really, really, really wanna tear the world a new arsehole. Although new tracks “Get Hit” and “She’s Clear” shook The Factory to its hinges, it was old timers like “Wasted Lands” and “Ashtray! Ashtray!” that forced the crowd into a hurricane frenzy, centred on the eye-of-the-storm, Andrew Wilson. It can not be overstated how pivotal to your existence it is that you, dear reader, go and see Die! Die! Die! in action.
Cruising to a nice little backstage loft, watching DZ Deathrays side of stage was a set that will be ingrained into my memory for a fair while (Blurst of Times seems to be full of those, hey). After a lengthy UK tour, the duo added an extra guitar and a moustache to Simon’s head for their extraordinary set of euphoric rock. However, there was something a else about the performance. No, DZ were fairly perfect, they didn’t fuck up, and were rockstars to an inch. But that was the issue – these guys should be headlining stadiums, blowing out eardrums worldwide. The fact that they came back to Australia to dwindle with the mere mortals…I mean, how are you meant to react to something like that?
Watching with swollen eyes, every onlooker became enraptured with DZ’s sweaty thrusts of pummelling songs, mainly drawn from the pool of talent that is their sophomore “Black Rat”. Every song was a debilitating lesson in how to be a motherfucking rockstar, from classics like “The Mess Up”, to the slow-burning epic “Northern Lights” and a finale of epic proportions in “Gina Works At Hearts”. Watching DZ is a heart-in-mouth experience, where you want to vomit, cry and mosh all at the same time, where fist-pumping and deranged shouting is par for the course.
After a sincerely great fucking day, Hard-Ons finish the night with a heated dosage of their signature metal/punk/thrash expertise. For those who are unfamiliar, The Hard-Ons are a classic band of Australian lore, as integral to our musical landscape as Radio Birdman, The Saints and The Scientists. Getting to lose my Hard-Ons virginity was something I can only ever be thankful for. They swung through songs with riffs sent straight from another dimension, reaching into the bowels of my brain and throttling the joy factor. There weren’t as many punters there as the Hard-Ons probably required, but really that just gave the more dedicated few room to move and stand in awe of the wicked trio, and insane musicianship of Australia’s coolest band.Ray Ahn proved to those there that all you need to be in one of Australia’s most loved bands is a working pair of footy shorts, a flowing man of hair, and a certificate from Shredding School.
Fuck, so I gotta summarise this experience, right? Paragraph after paragraph of praising the shit out of all the bands I managed to cram into a day, and I gotta come up with something witty AND all-encompassing? I think I’ll stick with the words of everyone’s hero Dom O’Connor, who described Blurst as “… a house party”. And indeed it was – you had mates crammed next to each other, love pouring from every socket, and some of the best bands this country has ever seen playing enormously tight and friendly sets. Although clashes prevented sets from Bloods, Bearhug, Donny Benet and a few others from leaking into my pupils, and Low Life cancelled last minute, and a few sound issues tore away from otherwise perfect shows, The Blurst of Times made an excellent debut in Sydney. From booking the best and loudest, to having minimal deadshit attendance, and relatively cheap drinks and food, Blurst of Times has gone down as one hell of a festival.
Gazar Strips, outta Brissy, are probably one of the most stand-offish and instantly enrapturing bands coming from that solemn city right now. They’ve got a brand new one called “Lost Holiday”, which features their usual Jesus And Mary Chain-via-The Cure-being-sucked-through-a-black-hole-by-Satan sound, which is pretty one-of-a-kind thing. It has to be heard/seen to be believed, ja feel?
Gazar Strips are still maintiaining those looming guitar lines, which I’m all for, and they still have that goth poetry being spat out with guttural baritones. “Lost Holiday” is a swirling cavern of depressed noise and, like the eyes of Medusa/Lee Lin Chin, if you stare at it too long, you risk being turned to stone, caught forever in a terrifying gaze. To summarise, I’m all for “Lost Holiday”, and will wait impatiently for Part 2 of the Gazar Strips Single Series to be released in a couple weeks.
I’d say that anyone who’s visited this site before would become quickly overwhelmed with how much of it is dedicated to things of the lo-fi and local variety. I fucking love stuff that’s been spawned nearby, whether it come from a sharehouse in Marrickville or a two-up in Melbourne, or an unliveable shack in Brisbane etc. etc. Pretty much any city in Australia with a low-rent living space.
So, it’s with abundant pleasure that I found out that there was a new record label called EXXE Records that have collected a bunch of my favourite bands into a compilation, with a few exclusives and fan favourites involved. On a compilation of 13 tracks, there are twelve (plus one) songs of amazing and diverse sounds from around the country. Not getting around this cassette is a sin only Joe Hockey is capable of.
Before I get stuck into the bands, here’s a lil’ info on how EXXE came to be. Formed by a couple mates living in a share house in Moncur Street, Marrickville, EXXE’s bands are all linked by time spent there, where a lot of the songs on the comp were apparently bred into existence. Their basic mission statement seems to be to release their mate’s bands, all of whom happen to be really fucking good. Shit, they don’t even make a profit from these things, but rather use any money gained to fund more recordings. Fuckn dedication, amirite?
Onto the bands – the artists listed on here is like The Rich List of Australia’s Most Underrated. Sydney garbage-punks Housewives, Ghastly Spats, Drown Under and Snotty Babies, all of which have made scrabbled and scathing noise their purpose of life. There’s a fucked up snarler from the usually docile Beef Jerk, twisted pop smiles from King Tears Mortuary and The Friendsters, and quaint guitars from Mope City. There’s The Gun Club, via Beasts of Bourbon, sounds of Bad Guys, and dark, throbbing post-punk strangulation from Sacred Product. A new one from Kitchen’s Floor opens with tambourine and a gargantuan burp, before switching into their signature strum ‘n’ pine formula. Julia Why?’s contribution is probably the most professionally-produced effort, with limited hiss allowing for some fantastic Breeders-esque rock and roll. Sleep Debt, who haven’t been heard from in ages, also appear with “Day’s End” an instantly catchy and brusque howler that’s half-Dischord, half-Inner West pop.
Did you read those descriptions? Did you see how fucking good those bands sound? Even if you haven’t heard of a single artist on the ‘Inhalation Compilation’, the luscious descriptions of some ginger on the Internet must make you want to pick up music on a format many don’t even know exist. It’s simple – these are some fucking great, if unpolished, bands who champion the amateur aesthetic. You don’t need Rick Rubin to produce your single, or a mountain of coke to help ‘inspire’ you. All you need is a sharehouse, an instrument, maybe a four track, and a future compilation featuring amazing bands like this.
You can splash out and buy the tape here, at the EXXE Rekkids Bandcamp. Because you don’t need groceries for this month, right?
EXXE Records is gonna have a launch at The Chippendale Hotel in, yep you guessed it, Chippendale. Sleep Debt, Julia Why?, King Tears Mortuary, MOB, The Friendsters, Mope City, Destiny 3000 and Ghastly Spats are all gonna play for the cheap, cheap price of $12. Sick, see ya there.
It’s no secret that ‘Straya is booming right now on the garage front. Ramshackle mind-obliterating LP’s have been released recently from the likes of The Frowning Clouds, Straight Arrows and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard seem to pop up with a new album every few months (their fifth comes out in a few weeks). But there’s a contendor in the ring, a possible Muhammad Ali to the reigning Sonny Liston’s of the rock n roll scene of Aus. They’re called Los Tones, they’re from Sydney, get around ’em quick smart, because these guys are going to be doing a little bit of alright in the next few years, especially if they can maintain the momentum of their debut album.
‘Psychotropic’ is a record with serious brawl, thudding bass lines intermingling with 60’s guitars at a dangerous pace. It’s surf rock placed in a criminal context. Surely this kind of thing must’ve been going through Dennis Wilson’s mind when he was brandishing a drug habit to rival Charlie Sheen, and hooking up with Charlie Manson. It’s slightly deranged, a little bit psychotic, but very, very fun. It’s like an audio version of your crazy boyfriend/girlfriend who gives you the best sex ever, but then burns down your house to the soundtrack of a Guitar Wolf album.
This record thrives on the freak-outs, of which there are plenty. Like Jellbellys, everyone’s going to have a favourite, and my personal heartbreaker is the melting guitar solos and organ inflections of “Cry”. But, hey, that’s just me. Some of you might like the tingling pelvis swaying in “Buchanan Hammer”, others can live off the rapid-fire boogie of “Waste of Space”, a track that takes Drunk Mums’ depraved excitement and injects it with the soundtrack from a Quentin Tarantino film.
This is a rock ‘n’ roll record, through and through. Every moment is scorched in blazing hot guitar, the entrails of all other genres laid bare in the wake of this destructive album. Some might say that there could be a lack of diversity, but instead of that, I view it as a lack of spreading the energy. The closest thing that Los Tones get to an “average” pace is the charming and snarling “Ordinary Man”, which is still quite the bombast. However, Los Tones quickfire energetic performance isn’t really much of a critique. I mean, it’s fair better to stay in the loose and reckless part of the meter, rather than risk fucking up the whole thing with some ballad that doesn’t fit in anywhere.
The point of “Psychotropic” is to introduce the world to a very vibrant and completely un-ordinary garage band. They’ve got a love for the old-school that transcends the trap that most rock ‘n’ roll bands fall into, in that they mime too hard, and end up a cliche. Los Tones are too committed to being ruthlessly authentic, that their debut LP is simply too good for any garage fans to pass up. Play this shit loud, and thrash it until you’re record is just flimsy wax. Then buy another one. Repeat until the apocalypse.
Disgusting People are a bunch of bloody charmers, comprised of some of the best talent that Sydney-town has got on offer. You’ve got members of Weak Boys, Day Ravies, Mope City, Nathan Roche and a couple other bands you’ve probably caught a woff of at some point or another. However, just because they can charm you harder than George Clooney hopped up on some horny goat weed, doesn’t mean that they’re not prone to the same primitive impulses that bind you and I to this mortal coil. If these legends of the West want to strap together a few scrappy songs on a four-track and deliver them to our undeserving ears, then so be it.
First and foremost, this is an album that needs to be listened to on cassette. Now, whilst that might come off as some crass hipster-ism, it’s a genuine nod. The buzzing and whirring, the hiss and delvings into random noise make it the perfect thing you want to chuck it on a format that hasn’t been wildly popular since Motley Crue could still sell records.
Anyway, the record is pretty much a loose collection of previously released stuff (“Make You Happy”, “Snail Song”, “2×4”) and new just-as-irreverent tunes. It’s obvious that all members here have contributed songs, as the album swings wildly in all directions, from loose, fuzzy and frantic “Third Wheel”, to introspective hula-meets-depression jams, cc: “Between Mothering and Murdering”.
Whatever you could want in a song, Disgusting People have you covered, a buffet of pop on offer. There’s also a certain order to the randomness. The album begins with bouncy mope-pop tracks, slacker guitar lines wafting lazily next to tracks that make you want to clap your hands in stupid joy (“Snail Song”, Between Mothering and Murdering”, “Make You Happy”). Then things turn a lil’ rockier, with “Third Wheel” sounding like someone spilled an unfinished MC5 record into the mixing desk. I maintain that “I Wanna Ctrl Delete My Life” is one of the finest songs released this year, and short, snappy song that goes out to all the office squares who wanna rip off their loose-fitting shirts and scream an AC/DC song.
Then things get super fucking weird.There’s the Tim and Eric sketches that the world’s funniest duo forgot to put into their show, in “Cat Song”, “Candy” and “T-GAS”, high pitched homages to all out weirdness. The 19-track opus finishes with a few tracks, including a Yo La Tengo-esque reprise to standout track “2×4”.
Basically, Disgusting People didn’t try too hard on this album. There was no label meddling, no pressure, no harsh times infecting the performances of the band members. It’s just off-kilter pop music played by mates, for mates, and it resounds with a weird and wonderful tang that permeates throughout. The exploitation of the strange is strong on this one, a perfectly preserved encapsulation of the fucked up shit you do when it’s just a few mates. If you’re the kind of person that thinks that SPOD should’ve started a jangle-pop band, then this album is for you. If you’re the kind of person who likes Beavis and Butthead, and wished they’d made an Australian version, this album is for you. And if you’re the kind of person that wished Clive Palmer had a reality TV show, you’d probably enjoy this album as well. And if you’re not that kind of person, I hear Alt-J have a new record out. So, yeah, enjoy that.
Highly recommend picking up this in physical format, which you can do right here, at Strong Look Records Bandcamp. Also, catch Disgusting People launching the album THIS THURSDAY (30 November) at The Mess Up, at the Lansdowne Hotel. Entry is free, and King Tears Mortuary and Carpet are coming along for support.
The Go-Betweens were a fair bit before my time, which was a shame, because I would’ve loved to see a young Robert Forster kick some ass behind an acoustic guitar. But on the silver lining, there are a whole bunch of modern bands taking what the Goey’s did, and updating it for my context. If you’re looking for beautiful, slightly ethereal, but grounded music, look no further than Dick Diver, The S-Bends, The Ocean Party, or Twerps, to name a few.
Pop Singles were also a great band of that irk, although who knows what’s been happening with them. Although that camp has been pretty quiet since the release of their fantastic “All Gone” LP, their frontman Tam Vantage has gone n’ done a solo album. Beautifully mastered into a quaint acoustic ditty, this stripped-back jangle effort is packed with the kinds of pop hooks that wouldn’t be out of place of a lost Kinks B-side that Flying Nun put out. Pretty gr8, hey.
I talk a fair bit of shit about the ol’ wub-wubs on this blog of the Gods, but this stuff I’m about to unveil is for the sophisticated dance lovers. It’s for those who have a Gucci pinga purse, and wear their bum bags with a seal fur lining. These people can afford speed-dealers from the top rack of the 7/11, and use Evian bottles for their bongs, not those pesky Mount Frankies or Gatorades. This is for the intelligentsia fist bumpers:
Sui Zhen – Infinity Street
There’s a slew of female R&B/production virtuoso artists floating around at the moment, from obvious nods at BANKS, to local legends KUCKA, Rainbow Chan and Banoffee. But Sui Zhen, man, she takes the cake. She also takes all the other delicatessen delights, because goddamit, she’s earned herself a righteous snack. “Infinity Street” is the first single from her upcoming debut album, and it’s a tight Grimes-esque bubblegum explosion of pink synths and icy claps. It’s Grimes brought to an even more wide-eyed innocence, cuter and more surreal than anything that’s popped up recently. This music is gorgeousness incarnate, more charming than the Prince himself.
I’lls – Fifty-Phiphti/ Asakusa
I’lls, a Melbourne electronica group that sound like The King of Limbs under a muffler of sleep, have quietly but surely returned with a brand new 7″. Two tracks long, the result is a shuffling escapade of lite electronic pattering, more Jon Hopkins-esque that any of I’lls work before. The opener “Fifty-Phiphti” builds upon slow-burning layer after layer, Flying Lotus’ ‘When The Quiet Comes’ acting as a bit of a influence soundboard. There’s a lot of cool jazz occurrences, and they’re moulded delicately and expertly into wordless samples, taking what Seekae exposed the world to on their debut, and revitalising it for a modern audience. Follow up “Asakusa” continues the dreamy beats that combine the noises of outside with the technical proficiency of someone who’s spent a while inside. The ensuing 8 minutes is something you want to check out.
Milwaukee Banks – Pluto Bounce (friendships Post-Apocalypse Grave-Rave Remix)
Apparently, Milwaukee Banks are a ‘cloud rap’ group, and whilst I don’t know what the fuck cloud rap is (nor do I care), I do know that these guys are crazy talented. The amount of chemistry apparent in their EP and music is something that even someone with only the faintest idea of good music will instantly be drawn to it.
Another Melbs group going by the name of friendships have contributed to a remix EP (featuring previous remixes from LUCIANBLOMKAMP and Andrei Eremin), and they’ve completely flipped and distorted the original track until it resembles an exoskeleton of its former self. Whereas the original could only be described as “dope-ass”, this renewed track harnesses the shuffling dance-floor potential, scooting eclectic sounds across a dark and moody atmosphere that must have involved some voodoo magic.
Leisure Suite – Leisure Suite EP
For the most part, indie acts add electronic flourishes with one of two possible outcomes occurring. One, the band could end up completely sucking (see: RUFUS, Chet Faker’s album, Alt-J). However, there’s another chance that the electronic stuff brings to light the intricacies of the band, and such is the case with Leisure Suite. Absolutely stunning, every song on this far too short EP is arresting, a straightjacket of subtle but emotional jams. Leisure Suite are sincere and gorgeous, and this EP is a surefire success indicator.
As I’ve made fairly obvious, I bloody love SMILE. Great band, good vibes, great classic hits, a modern Go-Betweens if there ever were one. As with most great bands, there’s a fantastic frontman (There are exceptions cc: Public Image Ltd.). SMILE’s frontman is the one and only Pete Baxter (in the figurative sense of the phrase, there’s probably another bloke called Pete Baxter out there), and he’s got a solo project called Paradise Palms.
Paradise Palms released a debut video/track the other day, and the instant you hit that little sideways triangle, the flamingo-pink Miami motel font that shows up let’s you know that this is gonna be a good song. The video follows in a Drive-like vein, with a slow, beautiful shot of Pete’s head floating along to the casual scrapings of a guitar. It’s simple, but effective, and in the company of soft, mumbled vocals and scratchy acoustics, “Old Boys” is pretty damn alright.