New: King Single – Broke Advice

Living in Newcastle is like being one of the ugly step-sisters in Cinderella. For some reason, you’re made out to be the villain, and it’s all a little bit of bullshit, cause some fancy prick called Sydney-rella got to fuck Prince Charming aka Tony Abbott.

But in reality, the step-sister, although a bit on the weirder spectrum of things, is not ugly at all. In fact, they might even be a little bit BETTER than Shitney. Case in point: King Single. A one man band compromised of Rob Nedeljković, who has the pretty killer job of featuring in Lenin Lennon and Bare Grillz, has a day job of creating dream-pop that’ll make Captured Tracks cream in their pants. 

“Broke Advice” is probably the closest thing that King Single has come to mirroring his hardcore projects, with wild guitar lines echoing some of the more frantic moments of “Friends”, but the sighing drum machine thumps, and Craft Spells-esque vocals. Lovers of romantic pop, prepare to find your new favourite band.

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New: Lanks – Beach Houses

It’s been made abundantly clear on this website that the best kind of electronic music is the shit that makes you shit yourself in awe/has ties to Jon Hopkins. Those that go a bit further than the usual knob-tweaking and thumping bass makes all the difference, moving from standard floor-filler to bonafide thrillers.

Lanks falls into this category of beautiful demi-gods. His latest, “Beach Houses” proves that, if he had been born in the time of the Aztecs, folks would be performing ritualistic sacrifices to seek good favour from His Mightiness.

Sensual as hell, with bubbling vocals that could be found in a high-scale hotel lobby, and a pattering flute riff that’s going to make Mister Tumnus jealous as balls, Lanks makes himself out to be the Kanye West of Melbourne producers, where extravagance and masterful production are king.

New: Roland Tings – Devotion

And just like that, Roland Tings has dropped a brand new song that’ll make you give up any and all dreams of being a producer. Shattered synths reverberate with the strength of a thousand FEELS, man. If you don’t want to dance and re-enact some sort of shitty dance that you thought was cool at your Year 7 Social, like “The Shopping Trolley” or “The Fishing Pole”, then there is something insanely wrong with you.

“Devotion” is allegedly the first portion of an upcoming LP from Roland Tings. If he can make everything as instantly groovy and immersive as this JAM, then he can only have success and cocaine heaped upon him.

New: Hierophants – I Don’t Mind

Look, there’s a few things that are pretty goddamn swell about this new one from Hierophants. Firstly, it’s coming out on GONER RECORDS! That’s, like, one of the best fucking labels in the world! They put out Jay Reatard, and it’s owned by one of the guys from The Oblivians. It’s garage rock superstardom, the White House of shitty rock n roll.

Secondly, the release of “I Don’t Mind” comes with the news that Hierophants will be releasing their debut LP! Fuck yes! Fuck 7″s, when you can just go for the whole 12″ shebang.

Finally, it’s just a bloody tune. It’s schizophrenic, mongoloid rock that DEVO would love. Deranged synths, alien drum beats, the kind of rock and roll yelp that only comes from a haunted VHS tape. It’s v. fuckn cool.

New: Flower Drums – Bad Websites

Don’t I know all about bad websites. I’m the goddamn proprietor of a sad, bad website that looks about as decent as the regurgitation of that half taco hanging out of your mouth around 3:24 am on a Saturday.

But I digress…Flower Drums outta Perth have put together a tasty jam, full of smooth synth lines that make the moves in ballet look like an elephant getting blind drunk and stumbling upstairs. Accompany that with some hot-breath vocals, and there’s the recipe for sensuality right there. Guy Fieri, take note.

Album Review: Mesa Cosa – YaYa Brouhaha

When you open up a record entitled ‘YaYa Brouhaha’, you go into it knowing that you’re probably not going to find the next Bob Dylan. In fact, it’s more likely you’ll find a howling, fuck-eyed Iggy Pop, in the smearing-peanut-butter-over-his-belly phase of career. Yeah, that comparison probably sits right. It’s too fun of a title to be anything as macabre as GG Allin, and it’s too idiotic to be anything that takes itself seriously. So, basically the perfect mix of punk rock and hellfire carelessness.

Which is exactly what a Mesa Cosa show is. If you haven’t caught them before, make a blood pact with yourself to catch them in the flesh. Make a deal with the devil, eat out a porcupine, go for a toilet dive like that scene from  who gives a shit, just make sure that you see these guys unleash hell upon your unprepared soul. Sure, they’ve got a song about getting the hell out of me beloved Sydney, but can you really blame them? Shitney is basically pompousness, a harbour filled with chemically-suffocated fish and a big bridge.

The main issue regarding Mesa Cosa on record, is that converting that amount of insane energy and complete disregard for hygiene would be bloody hard. Shit, that’s not just hard, it’s damn nigh impossible. When you have a band that puts their bodies on the line as enthusiastically as Mesa Cosa, it’s hard to know whether you’re dealing with living, breathing psychotics or a slithering five-headed Hydra that is actually immortal, and therefore has no need for things like “safety” and “personal space”. Therefore, capturing that sort of idea in recorded format seems to be a task about as likely as finding someone/something for George Brandis to mate with (Farmer Wants a Brandis?)

But in ‘YaYa Brouhaha’, Mesa Cosa do a damn fine job of showcasing their revoltingly ecstatic mind frame. Switching between the likely demonic rambles of Cheech Marin in ‘From Dusk ‘Til Dawn’ set to the sound of Armageddon Garage Rock n Roll (“Bad Blood”, “Bruja”) and straight up fucked-up-ness that makes Kevin Smith’s ‘Tusk’ seem like one of the more reasonable releases of 2014. For those who don’t know about it, the guy who made Clerks has gone batshit crazy and released a movie where Justin “I’m A Mac” Long gets turned into a motherfucking Walrus. And Mesa Cosa’s “Inocente” makes that dude look sane.

Whilst the beginning of the record starts off wobbly and unsure, by the time “YaYaYaYa” rolls around, your ears just be but bloody stubs. ‘YaYa Brouhaha’ is a record best played loud, with the expectation of partying to disembowelment. It sounds like early Ty Segall records fleshed out to the size and ferocity of early King Gizzard. It’s Taz the Tasmanian Devil’s favourite band. If the B-52’s hooked up with the Manson family, and had a drug-fuelled orgy, this would be the recorded result. Their rock and roll is absolutely brutal, compelling and twisted, enraged and playful. It’s rock n roll on Mexican opiates – and because the band are having so much fun with the album, it becomes hard not to get sucked up into their hurricane of destruction as well.

Get a load of it at the Mesa Cosa Bandcamp.

New: Wireheads – Holiday

I’ll wire your head in a second mate, what with all these good choons coming straight from your bloody Soundcloud. What starts as wiry, chiming guitars turns into something actually kind of like the actual late-period Wire.

The band have semi-retracted the ferocity that has permeated previous Wireheads releases, and instead ingested a country-solo being shoved through a trash compactor-vibe, using their seven minutes of prime-time recording space to completely envelop the soul with a whole manner of regurgitating noise. It’s music made on the outskirts of reality, something that Hunter S Thompson would’ve really enjoyed when he was sitting in the desert, neck deep in opiates. So, pretty much modern day Adelaide. No wonder these blokes are keen for a getaway. Postcards, what’ve you got?

Album Review: Liam Kenny – A Kenny For Your Thoughts

Liam Kenny, of the stellar bands Bitch Prefect, Peak Twins, Silly Joel & the Candymen and The Friendsters, has released his first solo record. In the great tradition of Saturday night karaoke/OD’ing on saki wine, he has re-iterpretated underrated classics from the likes of Leonard Cohen, Billy Idol, and Bob Dylan, amongst others. And when I write re-interpret, I mean soulfully collapse and rebuild, and when I write underrated classics, I mean songs I wish someone had introduced me to a hell of while earlier.

Cover bands are a strange anomaly, in that they can either be a cheap way of watching someone else do a better job than the real thing could do themselves (hats off to SPOD’s Bon Voyage).  Or it can be a depressing reminder that your local pub is stocked with the desperate lameshits trying to reclaim their youth by repeatedly yelling “Born to Be Wild” into a microphone like a wildebeest has clamped its jaw around their genitals. And then, there’s that weird grey area where someone re-interprets a classic for the better, something that bands have managed to do really well sometimes (like here and here) or fuck up completely other times.

But here, Liam Kenny does a fine job of taking songs and reworking them into completely soul-shattering ballads. He’s always had a very diverse body of work, whether slyly thumping drums with sunnies adorned to slimy punk, or cranking rickety guitars to gutter-observations of Australian lifestyle, and spitting rhymes about how all music sucks. But on ‘A Kenny For Your Thoughts’, he flits between styles as organically as our government can embarrass our nation. The fact that he’s picked less obvious artists, instead of gravitating to the usual “Hallelujah” and “My Sharona”, makes it all the more worthwhile.

The thing that seemed to get a lot of people (including my stumpy, ginger self) excited was Kenny’s take on “Avalanche” by Leonard Cohen. Featuring saxophone by Al Montfort (Total Control, The UV Race, all the bands ever), the track is six-minutes of industrial, back-breaking terror, scorned guitars gnashing the flesh from your ears. It’s hollow and terrifying, staring into the eye of the beast whilst he devours your soul. It’s a mesh of colour and flavour, grinded to an almost incomprehensible carnivorous version from the original.

However, “Avalanche” and its tumultuous face-chewing is the outlier of the record. The rest of the record is devoted to mostly calmer, regarded interpretations. There’s the dainty sci-fi of “Eyes Without A Face”, a plodding unsure cover of Billy Idol, and an off-kilter “It’s All Over Now (Baby Blue)” which will make you soul crack faster than Kenny’s voice does. That finale makes you want to crawl into a fetal position and just listen to this trickling synth-laced track until you turn into the ghoul from Tales From the Crypt.

In saying all this, the themes of each song remain intact in the hands of Liam Kenny. The opener of Neil Young’s “I’m the Ocean” still retains all the hurt and power as Young had in his crackling 1995 original. The slow-build into schizophrenic noise territory just accentuates the ideas of being misplaced, and Kenny’s ability to thrust into each lyric makes them stand out just as much as when Neil Young was doing them in the first place. Whilst Kenny has taken creative liberties, he never removes the original ida from any song.

This Friday night, when you’re counting down the days until NRL season starts again, and you’re pounding a Reschs, look at the local Fleetwood Mac cover band. Then think back to what Liam Kenny has done on this LP. In his own unassuming way, he has delivered one hell of a varied, and worthy debut from such an accomplished musician.

 

‘A Kenny For Your Thoughts’ available through it Records now.

Gig Review: Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders

Thursday 13th November @ Newtown Social Club

The man is taller than Yao Ming on stilts. His voicer is deeper than the Marion Trench post-testipop. And he’s got the fashion sense that makes the description ‘impeccable’ cower in the corner. Of course, the name is Jack Ladder, and he has recently released his stellar new album ‘Playmates’, a fourth album of intricate, synth-laden poetry. To celebrate, a sold-out performance was in order, at The Newtown Social Club, with The Dreamlanders (Kirin J Callinan, Donny Benet and Laurence Pike) in tow.

Geoffrey O’Connor, former Crayon Fields-frontman, and Weekend at Donny’s collaborator (probably the highest honour that can be bestowed upon any musician, period) stepped up, and played an immersing set of cuts from two solo albums. Whilst on record, his songs can feel frail and gentle, his live performance is heavily accentuated with a drumpad that added a sprinkled steroid sensationalism to the music. The set built upon itself, with O’Connor almost seducing his guitar the same way he immersed his audience. It was alien, but highly romantic, something that Sydney folks probably aren’t used to, what with our CRAZY hustle ‘n’ bustle in this BUSY. Sultry crooning was exactly the remedy that THE BIG SMOKE craved.

O’Connor’s music harks back to a forgotten era, but added flourishes, both musically and lyrically, that forced your eyes to drill into his extravagant poses. He’s a figure that can pull off  a line like, “Your nipples pointed to the stars”, and have a swooning reaction from the crowd. A triple-threat finale of “Jacqueline”, “Her Name On Every Tongue” and “Whatever Leads Me To You”, meshed all the best factors of O’Connor’s style and music, a sheen as bright and poignant as any chiselled glare into the sunset pre-role of the credits.

Lavish isn’t quite the right description for how Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders attended the stage. You’d be a lot closer by recounting it as a God descending, which wouldn’t be to far from the truth, what with all the hushed whispers, ecstatic catcalls, and angelic choir booming down from the speakers. Call it a low-rent Second Coming. With all the anticipated murmuring, it really felt like being in the presence of a few holy beings, only instead of frankincense and myrrh, they brought guitars and zany haircuts. All this promise came to fruition with lead cut “Come On Back This Way”, and a follow-through of the bouncy sleaze of “Her Hands”. Much has been made of the greatness of these songs, with their soaring, heart-clenching chorus’, emotionally-wrought and ability to turn even the biggest Ebenezer Scrooge diehard fan into a swaying, bawling wreck. But in the live arena, the music is twisted and contorted into something so much more alive, with new inflections and suspense, but without wrecking any of the original recording’s gorgeous presence. Kirin J. Callinan leans into each of his guitar thrashes with extraordinary zest, playing each note like he’s performing to a stadium, and every word that drips from Jack Ladder’s throat is the equivalent of injecting pure baritone into the pleasure gland.

Jack Ladder’s set purrs along, motored by a range of talent from both the man himself, and the dream team he has assembled. But at a subtle halfway mark, Jack Ladder launches into one of the most serene moments of 2014: “Cold Feet”, followed by “Hurtsville”. Experiencing this in the flesh can only be described as careening – torn absolutely to the core, stuck between overwhelming joy and harrowing sadness eschewed from the sight and sounds of the stage. The way the songs unfold in front of the audience’s stunned eyes, it made you want to kill yourself and fall in love at the same time, profess undying devotion and shut yourself off from humanity forever. When “Hurtsville” ended, the crowd exploded into adoring applause, surrendering to ovation. We were already standing, but if seats had been in the venue, then not one single arse would have been planted.

From this point, the performance balanced itself evenly amongst tumultuous demons being purged, and Jack Ladder The Poet serenading our ears. Recent tracks “Neon Blue” and “Reputation Amputation” provided heated forays into the Rainbow Road-territory, whilst the encore closer of a reclining ‘n’ sighing version “Case Closed” provided more shivers down the spine than Jack Frost giving you an ass-tap after the game.

There aren’t any words that can really describe the collective and genuine appreciation the souls of the Newtown Social Club felt the night. Awe is a word that springs to mind, but it doesn’t do justice the sheer magnitude of respect that one can have for a performance of this magnitude. It was a special occasion for sure, as with a KJC sophomore album looming, it’s doubtful the guitarist will be able attend future shows.But the uniqueness of the night extended more than just the mere players. There was a vibrancy in Ladder’s heartfelt tribute to those that had helped shape the record, and a grin on Donny Benet’s face that was as wide as his bass lines were fat. Tonight wasn’t just another night on the chart of a touring musician, but a momentous occasion for the band themselves that reverberated around the venue.

Oftentimes, Jack Ladder is hurriedly compared to Nick Cave, and even chose to utilise a stage name, because his original name, Tim Rogers, caused confusion with the You Am I frontman. But with this new record and scale of performance, Ladder has graduated to an infinitely higher plane. Comparisons are meaningless. Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders’ ‘Playmates’ album launch can only be nodded ferociously along to as one of the finest shows of the year.

 

‘Playmates’ is out now on Self-Portrait Records. The band play a follow-up show as part of ARIA Week, headlining the Inertia showcase at Vic on the Park, Marrickville, with support from The Harpoons, Milwaukee Banks and KUCKA on November 23rd.

Album Review: Five Years of Bedroom Suck Records Compilation

This is less an album review, and more so a praising, or an ode, to one of the finest record labels in the land. Y’see, right now, it seems super easy to form a record label. There’s plenty examples of a few mates with an idea to release decent music and following through on it. Born to Lose Records, Strong Look, it Records, and Sonic Masala are all solid examples of labels that have sprung up recently and done a fine job of showcasing some amazing music. To think that  the likes of Tape/Off, The S-Bends and Weak Boys wouldn’t have been showcased to the public is a crime not even worth thinking about.

But these labels only exist because that blueprint was set in place by a brave few. To be precise, the now-institutions of Rice is Nice, RIP Society, Anti-Fade and Aarght! Records have all been incredible towards cultivating the blossoming independent scene that Australia has on offer. But Bedroom Suck particularly stand out because they are from Brisbane. And whilst one can stand here and point to the myriad of amazing Brisbane bands, such as Gazar Strips, Cured Pink, Multiple Man, and Kitchen’s Floor, there wasn’t that attention or even relative interest in what Brisbane had to offer. Bedroom Suck Records changed all that. Started as just a small-time operation, Bedroom Suck has shone a light on some of the most gorgeously repulsive bands, living in the underbelly and oft-ignored corner of Australia.

The amount of support that Bedroom Suck Records has provided for Brisbane and Australian music, is undeniably amazing, and a compilation of un-released stuff from some of the highlights of the label is a goddamn national treasure. Not only because of the fact that Bedroom Suck has been the home to some of the brightest talent to explode this year, but also because of the sheer diversity and on-point nature of the label as a home.

That diversity becomes immediately clear when comparing some of the artists on the compilation. There is the bludgeoning Birthday Party-esque gravel spit of Slug Guts with “Dealin’ in the Dark’, a five-minute representation of what it probably feels like to drown in a new one from Angel Eyes, and a contradiction of furious reverb and bored snarl on Martyr Privates “Someone’s Head”, which is like Jason Pierce fronting Sonic Youth during their ‘Confusion is Sex’ era. Primitive Motion take harmonies and stretch them out to their most delicate, and arrange a beautiful, post-modern tale of tragedy in the process.

Then there’s a gallantly primitive take from Per Purpose (is anyone surprised?), and a sci-fi escapade of glitch-ridden horror and pleasure ridding side-by side via Peter Escott’s “The Missing O”. Circular Keys appear with a “pleasant” piano ditty and Australian drawl combo, followed by a minute of arcade melodies. And Ela Stiles, of Bushwalking fame, who released her own a-cappella record earlier this year, remains in astonishing beauty mode, on her contribution “Misplaced Charity”, which is like if Sinead O’Connor got herself trapped in an opium den, and came out with something ten times as amazing as anything she’s written before. Silly Joel & the Candymen take a turn with some actually decent Aussie hip-hop, and Terrible Truths churn forward with their usual brand of alienating post-punk that’s like The Fall being chewed alive by stark melodies. Full Ugly and Totally Mild, welp, they are just at their poppy best. If you feel like a good time, call 1800-Totally Mild, or +614-Full-Ugly for some never fail pick-me-ups.

But it is the standouts of the contributions of Blank Realm, Boomgates and Love of Diagrams that are the head-turners on this album. Funnily, all three artists have had wildly different career turns in 2014. Boomgates broke up, or went on hiatus, or just generally disappeared, Love of Diagrams returned after an absence that can only be described as too long, and Blank Realm finally got the recognition they deserve on one of the finest albums of 2014. Each of these tracks, although wildly different in style, managed to succinctly encapsulate what Bedroom Suck Records do best – weird, original and forward-thinking.

Bedroom Suck Records is a label that puts art ahead of commerce, and from that, has ironically drawn considerable success. It’s a label that takes its chances, but always manages to push through with the strange and amazing. Why not release an album where the band make their own instruments? Why not fund an album of terrifying sludgy punk? And why not invest in some random genre that wasn’t even popular when The Go-Betweens were doing it? Because Bedroom Suck Records give a shit. And if they hadn’t, then there’s a fair chance that none of us would have either.