New: DIET. – Your House

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Mash Real Estate with a wrangled copy of ‘Meat is Murder’, and you’ve got the debut single from DIET. On the one hand, it’s a real breezy song that wouldn’t feel out of place drifting from the speakers of a lazy share house backyard, threaded together on a playlist of Twerps, The Feelies and The Apartments.

But then, there’s something a little rougher that pokes through occasionally, a bit more ceremony. There’s a small-but-sure amount of theatrics in that summery pop, and makes it just that bit more fucking golden.

 

Album Review: Palms – Crazy Rack

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My love affair with Palms is one that has been replicated by pretty much every teenager with a penchant for the guitar solo. I heard “Love” and went head over heels for the sheer blast of it. Palms weren’t just a band, they were a fucking rock band – which is a very important distinction, I might add. They were not indie rock, not surf rock, or garage rock. It was straight up rock – pure blasts of energy aided by that basic setup of guitar, bass, drum and Al Grigg’s rousing bellow.

Their debut album, ‘Step Brothers’, came through and won my heart. I started seeing this band whenever I could – the live total has reached somewhere around 30 or something. I know I’m not alone in my enslavement  – the same heads are always gathered at Palms gigs with a beautiful consistency. What’s more, every show brings in a new tidal wive of fans, who know every word, and are even more rowdy than the last bunch. Fuck, doesn’t that just make your heart swell? Doesn’t it make you shed a goddamn tear?

In the two years since ‘Step Brothers’ was released, Palms have made some huge steps forward as a band. They’ve switched labels, moving onto Ivy League Records, and graduated from tiny pubs to support slots at the Enmore…but that love for churning out a belters that are customer-made to turn a crowd into a foaming pit of writhing bodies hasn’t moved at all. If anything, the band have indulged even more in their unwavering love for splintering solos and big choruses. If Phil Lynott were alive today, Palms would probably be his favourite band.

The first three songs off Palms’ new record, ‘Crazy Rack’ are like the three points of the rock dog Illuminati. You’ve got “Bad Apple”, which manages to slip in a sheepish nod to the influence of Sydney’s premiere rock legends You Am I between blazing riffs. Then there’s “Rainbows” –  keen observers will note this was originally called “Rainbow Road”, which makes sense considering the fuck-me-it’s-so-hard-to-concentrate-on-not-falling-off-because-off-all-the-bright-flashing-lights pace of the song. Finally, “Thoughts Of You” completes the trifecta, Grigg administering passages of leather jacket-clad love between sleazy grunts of guitar. Three songs in, and you feel like that kid from the beginning of the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” clip, throwing his Dad out of the window with a single six-stringed detonation.

Speaking of hair metal, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to witnesses of a Palms DJ set as to the extent to which they embrace 80’s rock and pop, as Cheap Trick adoration rings loudly throughout. But really, Palms actually share their biggest likeness with a band from a little further down the track – Superchunk. It’s all there: big riffs, heart on the sleeve songwriting, and the ability to be at home just as easily behind a huge anthem like “In My Mind” as they are on doughy-eyed. quieter moment (“Photographs”). They’re a band indebted to rock in the original sense of picking up a guitar, pouring in a whole lot of fire and seeing what happens. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a frantic hurtle like “Beatdown”, a lesson in curled-lip cool like “Sleep Too Much”, or the yearning woop of “Fake Pictures”, Palms will rock it one way or another.

Sure, Palms are just a rock band. There’s plenty of those around. But how many of those rock bands gets you excited about going to see them for the 31st time? Grab your air guitar, chuck on “Crazy Rack” and shred your way to the end of that hypothetical question.

‘Crazy Rack’ is out Friday, the 30th of October on Ivy League Records, and you can pre-order the record here. Palms play At First Sight Festival on November 14th, with Total Giovanni, My Disco, Blank Realm and more. Grab tix here.

Video: These Guy – This Fucking Guy

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Donny Benet meets Tame Impala meets intergalactic yacht rock. Interested? You fucking better be.

Brissy’s These Guy combine the never-ending appeal of BBQ’s and murder with legged psych-pop guitar solos and jaunty synths. Watch this clip and fall in love with a bunch of guys crack the shits over dodgy snags and lose their shit on air guitars. Worth it for the outfits and special effects alone.

New Electronic Music Pt. 2: chunyin + Lovely Head x Pendant + OCDANTAR

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Remember when Pt. 1 came out? Life was so much simpler, so much more pleasant. Oh well, here’s Pt. 2, let the electronic apocalypse begin:

chunyin – Softcall 101

Chunyin is the side-project of Rainbow Chan, deviating from the intimate, hazy pop of her main gig into a more direct, experimental dance territory. She’s released a few tracks here and there before, including a recent collaboration with Thomas William, but “Softcall 101” is her first ‘proper’ single.

Stylistically, its very similar to the fantastic mini-LP released by Melbourne producer Null. chunyin strings along zaps of alien sounds that sound like they’re being beamed from the edges of the universe, and then thumps them over the head with thick, crunchy percussion.

Catch chunyin doing her thing this Thursday at Freda’s, supporting the legendary CORIN on her album launch. They’ll be joining by Electric Sea Spider from Melbourne, and Kimchi Princi and Ju Ca.

Lovely Head x Pendant – Take

Some more gorgeously experimental stuff from Sydney, this time courtesy of a team up between Lovely Head and Pendant. As icy as the palace of Mr. Freeze, “Take” wafts on a chilly breeze of sparse production and rich vocals. The voice here is seductive, keeping a nice contrast to the production until the conclusion, where the parallel lines meet and simmer nicely.

OCDANTAR – Sky Sea Client View feat. LIAHONA

Two things to get you interested in this – it’s the solo project of Josh Delaney of Rat & Co/SMILE, and he’ll be playing with Shigeto in a few weeks. If you haven’t clicked play yet, you’re obviously not a huge fan of music.

If you do need a little more convincing, then how’s this: Delaney’s debut track offers up Unknown Mortal Orchestra falsetto prodded by scant buzzes of electronica. It’s quiet and intimate, a really beautiful debut track that doesn’t fit easily into any genre trap. Given Delaney’s previous involvement in a few of the best musical experiments in Melbs, there’s a fair chance you’ll want to get on board OCDANTAR nice and early.

New: Spookyland – Bulimic

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Spookyland have always had a penchant for the epic – their EP from last year specialised in powerful, swelling anthems that made you stop in your tracks, take your hand off the X-Box controller, and really pay attention to the song blaring from your stereo. Spookyland have an inherent ability to gift people with raw and tantalising tales of heartbreak, and its a talent they’ve been exploiting tremendously.

But this, this is something else. “Bulimic” comes as an incredibly visual take on the heartbreak narrative, a cliche that Spookyland wrangle into their own beautiful story. Think of “Bulimic” as The Notebook of indie rock – emotional terrorism, a no expense-spared bashing of the soul. You think to yourself, surely, it can’t get any more brutal, but then Marcus Gordon applies even more pressure to the wound, and you’re in tears all over again. This thing goes for six-minutes, so there’s plenty of time for even the most sturdy individual to break down. You could be a toughened criminal, dotted with teardrop tattoos, a growl welded onto your face, a figure who doesn’t even know what the word sadness means….and by the end, you’d still be sopping wreck, complaining about all the dust that has suddenly appeared in the room.

Specifically, it’s that punishing finale that I believe to be the secret to “Bulimic” and its ability to pick our scabs of sadness. After three and a half minutes of Gordon rousting up the listener’s own demons and regrets, Spookyland fall head first into an astonishing climax. They go all out, ALL THE FUCK OUT, drawing up the Catalina Wine Mixer of conclusions. This thing is fucking enormous, a gargantuan battle between instruments, gouging each other’s eyes out, trying to get on top in the most glorious way possible. It’s huge and evocative and indescribable…every time I get to the end, my hands are shaking, my knees are weak, there’s vomit on my sweater already. Seriously, this track is so huge and devastating, it should have been made into a trilogy with Peter Jackson signing on for all three instalments.

“Bulimic” comes as the introduction to the forthcoming debut from Spookyland, and its got me chomping at the fucking bit. As far as the first course goes, this is the finest caviar served in a jewel-encrusted goblet that Jesus used to sip from. It does not get better than this.

Also, Spookyland will be playing the Newtown Festival on November 8th. It’s an arvo gig taking place in Camperdown Park, with mates like The Laurels, Gordi, FLOWERTRUCK and a bunch of others joining in. Catch ya there.

New: Claws & Organs – No Teeth No Stamina

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When Claws & Organs are good, they are fucking great. When it rains, it pours, that sort of deal, you get me? Such is the case of “No Teeth No Stamina”, which showcases a riff so bloodthirsty, so intent upon wreaking havoc, that if it was a film star, it would be Sylvester Stallone in Rambo, with a body count winding into the hundreds.

This thing is menacing, furious – a three and a half minute radio-ready song that needs to get blasted on the airwaves and pilfer the minds of the young and innocent. If you’re any sort of fan of the pulverising riffs of Damn Terran, DZ Deathrays or Future of the Left, get this into your bloodstream, pronto.

Claws & Organs will be playing a free show at Frankies Pizza on November 5th.

New: ORB – Migration

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ORB served up a sonic enema earlier this year in the form of their debut EP, which you can/must check out here. Pungent Black Sabbath riffs plunging through some very stormy territory. Most excellent.

Since the release of that tape, they’ve pledged their allegiance to Flightless Records, and will be joining King Gizzard and The Merlons on a bunch of tour dates around the country pretty soon. To get the tongues wagging a little harder, ORB have released a new single in ‘Migration’, a thick, evil splattering of B-Movie riff-rock.

If there was any doubt in your mind about the promise of big riffs present in this article, all you need to do is press play. Go on, do it. Have you done it? If you have, your whole being will be quivering, swarmed by the dominating chug that ORB so easily cook up. Your mind and body will progress through this song much in the same way as that can of beer that Bart shakes up to prank Homer; what starts as a mere tremble develops into a giant fucking explosion.

New Punk: Stations + Snotty Babies + Death Church + The SMB

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Raw, disgusting and repulsive stuff coming at you in spades:

Stations – Stations 7″

I am absolutely terrified  of Stations – scared shitless, nightmares plaguing my every nanosecond of sleep. Nothing has infected me this brutally since the first time I listened to Venom. I’d say the reasoning behind the terror is fair though – the way that Stations loom and hiss on their first ever material points to a band that will be waging war on peaceful slumber with the efficiency of Freddy Kreuger on a Ritalin binge.

This four-song 7″ showcases a lot of potential for Stations – mechanical grinding that puts a gothic spin on the chugging punk noise of Primitive Calculators. They play well with space and dynamics, shrouded under lo-fi blasts of noise and synth savagery. The package is jagged, militaristic and fucking pissed. “Hunting” and “Master/Disciple” stand out particularly, pushing Stations’ punk thrill to an overdose.

Snotty Babies – Snotty Babies

Snotty Babies are a bit of a relic from a few years back, but it’s great to finally have something physical to remember them by. And who wouldn’t want to be reminded of this? Decadent swamp rock dragged from the ditches of Marrickville, Beasts of Bourbon drunk vomiting into Kim Salmon’s tape recorder and emerging with blackened genius. “Sicko” is a  vicious, punk grimace stained with feedback, “Dead Rat” a ramshackle rock and roll high speed chase that ends up with brains splattered across the highway for 50 K, and “Death of the Party” raises itself on its haunches, “Nick the Stripper” style, wide-eyed and manic, switchblade at the ready. For a while there, Snotty Babies were essential, and its a relief that their music gets to see the light of day.

Death Church – Inside Struggle/Betrayal Demos

Two tracks, both demos clocking in at 2 minutes and 47 seconds, from a band who’s name could possibly be a Rudimentary Peni reference. Fuck, that’s just one of the many reasons I love Death Church. They’re so intense, shackled beasts ripping and tearing at their chains through bloodthirsty swipes at angular guitar. It’s a thuggish post-punk inflected snarl, similar to that of Low Life, but done with the more obvious intention of feeding the listener through the shredder a la Steve Buscemi in Fargo.

Personally, “Inside Struggle” stands out as the better of the two demos, simply because I just think that the riff in there batters the hatch of my fragile psyche a little harder, and there’s a stronger chance that listening to that will unlatch my inherent serial killing motives. That being said, both of these songs will eat your fucking face off, and I can’t recommend them enough.

The SMB – The Price of Love

Yep, that Steve Miller Band. The one that got booked for Meredith, and a whole bunch of folks thought they’d get the opportunity to listen to “The Joker”. Fuuuuck that, could you imagine anything worse? Fuck it, why didn’t they go the full monty, and grab Hall & Oates and Don Henley DJ set?

Alternatively, you could get really fucking excited about a band that sounds like the Gun Club are being given shock treatment by Pussy Galore? Lo-fi ramblings of love and lust, blasting at despicable volumes, ripe for the kids to throw back paper-shrouded longnecks and puff on cheap cigarettes to.

New Electronic Music Pt. 1: Rat & Co + Thomas William + Air Max ’97 + Thhomas

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Part 1 of 2 – make sure you tune in for the epic finale:

Rat & Co – Crumar3b

I have no idea what “Crumar3b” is meant to say, but honestly, I don’t even really give a shit. Rat & Co can be as mysterious and incomprehensible as they want, because when they’re making trip-hop like this, I don’t even care. They can put all the random numbers and letters they want in their title – as long as they keep up this standard of Brainfeeder-meets-Majical Cloudz style electronica, I’ll keep trying to figure out the Rubik’s cube that is this song title. P.S. it’s a free download!

Thomas William – Sleepwalk

Whilst “Tuition” offered an experimental introduction into what Thomas William had planned for his upcoming EP , it’s “Sleepwalk” that gets me actually excited. Lurching, sticky, haunted – that’s what comes to mind when listening to this. It’s like the intro music to The X-Files if that episode had been directed by David Cronenberg. There’s something intrinsically unsettling about this whole track, and it keeps you on edge throughout its entire run time. You could drop this in a set, and you’d have the whole floor enthusiastically grooving, but also constantly looking over their shoulder for the imminent appearance of Jason Voorhees.

Air Max ’97 – Core Work

Hands down, the greatest DJ name that has scorched Australian soil in the last few years. Fuck. Yes. Just look at that name. Look at that glorious title. Fuck. Look at it!!!!!!

Anyway, Air Max 97’s drill is pretty similar to that of Eugene Ward’s solo stuff (he of Dro Carey/Tuff Sherm fame). Scintillating clicks that sound like splatters of blood dripping down a well, booming echoes , and a near-constant whirr that’s not too dissimilar to those droning sounds you always hear in movies just before someone’s head gets sliced off. Very experimental, very dark, very great.

Thhomas – Clams Pt. II

I keep on forgetting to check in with Moontown Records – they’re easily the most productive label in Australia right now, and almost everything they’ve released has been awesome. They release stuff so quickly, and by the time I realise something’s out, they’ve already got something new on the horizon

The latest artist they’ve sucked into their vortex of productivity is Thhomas, a Melbourne producer who came out with that incredible “Heat Wave” song a while back. Anyway, he’s now got this track, “Clams Pt. II” out, and it’s definitely worth your seven minutes and fifty-four seconds. But it’s only three minutes and fifty-seven seconds???? Yes, but you’ll be playing it twice, won’t you? Because it’s that fucking good.

 

Skydreams’ Great Classic Hits

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Skydreams, run by Telepath host and all round legend Nick Hollins, is more than just a blog. It’s a label, a photo-journal, long form music essay, detailed time capsule – there’s a lot of guises that Skydreams falls under. It also has a habit of covering some of the most interesting and burgeoning of artists. There’s plenty of bands out there that Skydreams has championed from the start, from Blank Realm, to The Laurels, to Day Ravies. It’s certainly helped me in the discovery of a few local bands I’d otherwise have no idea about, like Orion and Laurence.

Celebrating five years on top of the world, Skydreams has released a 25 song compilation featuring a few of the best Sydney bands they’ve picked up along the way, and it’s quite the spread. You’ve got regulars like The Laurels, The Holy Soul and Regular John popping their faces up again, as well as a few folks that have been around for a couple years, like Buzz Kull, Devotional and Option Command.  Then, there’s a heap of new faces – Spirit Faces, Super Galaxies, and Mezko for example.

However, it’s the variety of music here that’s the really impressing factor. Nine minute ballads, 60’s rock ‘n’ roll, throbbing noise, instrumental guitar beds, bedroom hip-hop…it’s all here! It’s exactly the thing that gets me excited about the Skydreams blog, that you can go through that Jukebox and find a completely different song on each page.

The compilation is not only name-your-price, but if you do put some cash forward, all proceeds go to Reclink!