New: Little Desert – Captive

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Holy shit! Listen to this song! Watch this video! Rejoice in the fact that Little Desert is a band! They are so good! So, so, so good! It’s like Rowland S. Howard and Siouxsie Sioux teamed up for the most frantic and intriguing song of 2015!

There are three very distinct sections to “Captive”, but it’s hard to decide which is more essential. It begins with an overwhelming sense of biting anxiety, albeit buried under softly pattering guitar and soaring vocals. Things then fade into an almost completely different song: dooming rolls of thundering drums, spindly guitar and keys that belong in a slasher flick directed by Ed Wood, before indulging in one of the most arresting displays of theatrics since people lost their shit to Madama Butterfly. It’s a controlled blast of icy, gothic rage, and it’s a ride and a half that should shave your the skin off your cranium.

Do yourself a favour, listen to this song, and love this band. They are worth every second of your precious, precious time.

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Album Review: FLOWERTRUCK – Dirt EP

a1034313333_10There’s a reason that FLOWERTRUCK had one of the busiest rooms at the King St Crawl yesterday arvo. Sure, the job was pretty much completed for them by way of the absolutely chock-a-block set put on by Soundly Sounds DJ’s (available for corporate events, book now, serious interest only [no funny stuff]). However, it’s fair to say that a couple extra punters made the trip out because they’d heard there was a pretty decent band doing the rounds at the moment. That band starts with an ‘F’ and ends in ‘ucking FLOWERTRUCK’. Sweet, we’re on the same page here, this band rules.

Until a few mere days ago, FLOWERTRUCK were EP-less, and yet they’d captured the hearts and minds of the folks of Sydney. Meanwhile, what have you been doing lately? You been releasing pop gems like “Sunshower”? Huh, punk? You been making rage indie clips of the week with “I Wanna Be With You”? You been doing that? You played with Alex Cameron and You Beauty? Have ya? No? Call us when you wanna play with the big dogs like FLOWERTRUCK.

As mentioned above, “Sunshower” and “I Wanna Be With You” are magical. They make pop music fun again – before these songs came along, Sydney was essentially the town in ‘Footloose’. FLOWERTRUCK is our Kevin Bacon. That means that, in a few short years, this band is going to be sidling up next to the musical equivalents of Tom Hanks and Bill Paxton is some sort of indie rock ‘Apollo 13’ blockbuster. And that doesn’t even seem that surprising of a claim to make. These songs are incredible, and like everyone’s favourite ham flavoured Hollywood star, its an early entry into a lengthy and acclaimed career.

Sandwiched between these two colourful bursts are three earworms that slot easily into any contemporary Australian guitar-pop playlist. Twerps, The Ocean Party, Big White…FLOWERTRUCK. Too easy. Job done. “Bad Dreams”, a swelling number that feels very ’16 Lovers Lane’, particularly stands out, a paced out burner that works itself into a frenzy of furry guitar work and chiming synths.

It’s absolutely no surprise that FLOWERTRUCK are packing out venues – they combine the flavours of Flying Nun/1980’s Brisbane shade of rock with New Wave pop sensibilities to the degree where it belongs in one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants. There’s heat in the fucking kitchen, geddit? You wanna get a lick on a few of these tasty morsels? Grab a plate – FLOWERTRUCK’s debut EP just came out. You can grab it at Bandcamp here.

Also, FLOWERTRUCK are gonna play the East Coast pretty soon. Band comes highly recommended. The Sydney show is at Deus Ex Machina on October 9th.

Video(s): Death Bells + Crepes + Broadway Sounds

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Audio visual pleasure, courtesy of:

Death Bells – Come On Feel the Come Down

Yeah, I hope I’ve made it pretty bloody clear that you need to go and check out Death Bells. Do you wanna be that dickhead that has to ask who the band is that everyone’s screaming over at the show. “Hey, who’s this again?”, you’ll question innocently, only to be shot with a million glares of hipster apprehension. “YOU DON’T KNOW! UGGGH, IT”S FREAKIN’ DEATH BELLS! JESUS CHRIST, I THOUGHT YOU WERE COOL, (your name here)”. Avoid this social faux pas, and check out their new clip for their sophomore release “Come On Feel the Come Down”, and rejoice in their icy, driven post-punk.

Crepes – Size Of Your Town

My personal favourite karaoke jam is “She Sells Sanctuary” by The Cult. I fucking kill it when that shit comes on. When my turn for the mic comes on, I’ll disappear, only to return with five bandanas and a bad attitude. Lock up your daughters, because for that sweet, sweet four and a half minutes, I am a sexual bandit, irresistible to a fault. Obviously, when that time runs out, I return to being the dorkiest fuckwit this side of Eddie Vedder, but ya know, I get my (nearly) five minutes.

Relive those moments of rockstar fandom with the new clip from Melbourne’s Crepes. Sure, “Size of Your Town” is the opposite of “She Sells Sanctuary”, being self-aware, and actually decent – but as you ease through this, use  the video to help cast your mind to simpler times, when your standing in front of a nondescript karaoke screen, beer in hand and overwhelming shame splattered over your wailing head.

Catch Crepes tomorrow, when they play the FREE King St Crawl, at the Vision Stage @ Waywards.

Broadway Sounds – Shonky Man

Broadway Sounds are easily one of the best electronic acts in Aus right now, right up there with NO ZU, Roland Tings and friendships. Part of that is derived from their spectacular fusion of swinging beats, pattering African rhythms, and building upon the blocks of ESG and Liquid Liquid. Spectacularly strange for all the right reasons, Broadway Sounds’ music is full of intense and vivid imagination that is currently matched in Aus electronic music.

The other part of their greatness is their visual aesthetic. “Shonky Man” is fantastic by itself, but turns into a whole other galaxy of bizarre when thrown next to their graphic element. Broadway Sounds have always been awesome with videos (it’s imperative that you check out “Something Sensual” and “Sing It Again”) and “Shonky Man” goes to lengths to show why. Eccentric doesn’t even begin to describe what’s going on here. Just press play and wait for the finest video of your life to unroll before your disbelieving eyes.

New: Shining Bird – Rivermouth

Shining BirdFun fact: I was hanging out with my good friend Sean Connery (of James Bond fame), and I saw that Shining Bird had a new single out. After playing it to him, he leaned back into his throne, took a sip from his chalice and smirked: “Thash a tashty birrrd. Are they from the leshure coasht?”, to which I replied, “Yes, Sean. Yes they are”. Staring off into the distance, blue eyes glazing over, he murmurs to himself “Thish ish the besht band I’ve ever heard”. Never have truer words been spoken.

After waiting two long years for more material after their stunning ‘Leisure Coast’ album, Shining Bird have unveiled the shimmering beauty of “Rivermouth”. It’s got all the usual delights that the South Coast legends have become well-known for: a wide range of delicate instrumentation, immersive soundscapes, and, of course, the voice that’s broken a thousand hearts – the voice of one Dane Taylor. Jesus, every time he opens his mouth, you can hear the swish of heads turning and jaws hitting the floor. In a climate where Tony Abbott can enact the same policies as that of Nazi Germany, it’s nice to sit back and submerge yourself in some objectively beautiful music. 

Video: Low Lux – Ruin

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I am completely in love with Low Lux. Just bloody smitten. They’re just so goddamn beautiful –  more gorgeous than watching a swan dance ballet on a frozen lake of freshly laid roses. If you can’t fall in love with Low Lux, then your soul is colder than some sort of D-Trump/Tony Abbott hell beast.

Low Lux have just dropped the new clip for their second single “Ruin”. This thing is majestic, swelling from pattering synths into a flowing gown of instrumentation fit for a royal wedding – you just know that if Low Lux had been around a few years back they would have been the band for Kate & William’s special day. Daisy Dowd’s vocals are on point, fluttering at an icic but approachable level, submerging the listener in a bed of lush pop that should be turning heads around the world any time now.

Album Review: Blank Realm – Illegals In Heaven

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Today was hard. Real hard. Top 5 hardest days of my life. After twenty minutes of trying to find my Mission of Burma record, I decided to go through and re-organise my record collection by genre. An honourable task, I know – truly, I am the people’s champion. But in all seriousness, we now live in a world where the The Replacements will no longer rub shoulders with Rob Zombie (it was an ill-advised present, I swear).

The only reason I mention this, besides to gloat, is that when Blank Realm’s new album ‘Illegals in Heaven’ arrives. It’s going to be tough to slot this record into one of the newly orgnaised pigeon holes. Sure, you can throw it amongst the rock stuff, but Blank Realm are too sensitive and honest to fit in with the cock rock that dominates my shelves. New Wave? There’s too much depth to throw it next to Bronski Beat and Human league records. Punk maybe? Nah, I don’t feel like burning down the government when I hear this band. Psych? Fuck no, who do you think I am? I don’t have a fucking psych section. Jesus Christ.

Blank Realm are remarkable for their ability to glide through their albums genre-less; the only thing that can be firmly planted on them is their uncanny skill to marry sorrow and incredible musicality. Since beginning eight years ago, they’ve released a constant run of albums that dabble in gnarled noise, synth-pop, lo-fi rock, and more, peaking in last year’s masterpiece, ‘Grassed Inn’. Since releasing that, and witnessing their amazing live show many, many, many times, Blank Realm have rocketed from underground favourites to Australian legends.

Not only does ‘Illegals in Heaven’ cement that ideology, but it seals it in carbonite, Han Solo-style. Soon, Blank Realm will be frozen in a horrified pose, placed as a trophy in the lair of some overweight tycoon (hey, how you going). This album is an accomplishment of variety – shifting from dazzling drama that wouldn’t feel out of place spurting from the world’s biggest stages, all the way to chugging swings of post-punk and yearning ballads that have reached the end and can’t go on any longer. There’s a wonderful smorgasbord available here for the fussy eaters – you’re welcome to pick and choose, but it’s recommended that you just sit down and gorge yourself on the sheer variety that’s available.

In saying this, Blank Realm display a logical graduation throughout ‘Illegals…’, rising and falling with the pulse of an expert mixtape, the kind that Rob Gordon from High Fidelity would fawn over. There’s a huge difference to the sporadic and random splurges of ideas that Blank Realm brought to their earlier output. The album opens with “No Views”, a frantic and frank ode to Blank Realm’s adeptness to explode from the iTunes Library and right into your very being, before manoeuvring into the herky-jerky “River of Longing”. You can bet a million and a half bucks that shit would be The OC’s theme song if that shit was still around.

Following on from the one-two punch of riveting gonzo pop that only Blank Realm are capable of delivering, they settle into a pattern of restless anti-love songs for the rest of the record – “Palace of Love” performs Waiting For Godot in a chamber of dense synths and fluttering guitars, whilst “Costume Drama” pairs a throng of careening, buzzsaw riffs with pleasant, clipping keys. The finale of”Too Late Now” shoots daggers of despair, a six and half minute anguish override. When Daniel Spencer sighs, “It’s much too late now, for you to ever come back/ It’s much too late now, they just don’t write ’em like that”, there’s a good chance you’ll throw up a little in your mouth in harmonised hopelessness.

That excerpt is just a sample of Blank Realm’s songwriting prowess which remains as focal to their music as the instrumentation itself. Often Daniel’s lyrics and delivery cry out, and persistently resonate with anyone who’s been dragged through the muck that is having your heart torn out. There’s too much to specifically haul out and quote, so just take the word that he’s damn good at putting pen to paper, and then singing about those words. However, it’s Sarah Spencer shining on “Gold” that forces the jaw to officially drop…Holy shit! What the fucking goddamn fuck on a shit stick is this!? Is your heart in your throat? BECAUSE MY HEART IS IN MY FUCKING THROAT! It’s sitting there like I’ve swallowed a boulder. I can’t breathe, you can’t breathe, we’re just sitting here in wide-eyed silence, unable to even gasp in awe. Why? Because Sarah possesses one of the most arresting voices on this planet. It’s like Chrissie Hynde’s and Stevie Nicks’s vocal chords had a kid that moved to Brisbane. Sarah Spencer is a powerhouse, and “Gold”  stands out as one of the most potent, heart-shredding songs on an album full of them.

I mentioned before that I’m not going to have anywhere to put ‘Illegals in Heaven’. Fuck that, I’ve got just the place. A big, fuck off jewel case. This album is a monument to the best band in Australia – this record proves what Blank Realm have been ploughing away at all this time: their capacity to surprise and enthral with only music. This album has completely matched the stunning nature of ‘Grassed Inn’, a two-for-two deal of dense records packed with emotionally ruining content. After their record last year, the cracks began to show in Blank Realm’s status as a purely cult band. With ‘Illegals in Heaven’, the intention should be to burst through the wall and shake the world to its roots. That’s the only way it should be.

‘Illegals in Heaven’ is available this Friday, September 4th through Bedroom Suck Records. You can pick it up from their Bandcamp here. They’ll be playing the At First Sight Festival in Sydney on November 14, alongside My Disco, Total Giovanni, NO ZU and more. You actually can’t miss this gig – it’s imperative that you are there.