New: Scraps – Touch Blue

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I’m late to the Scraps party, so I didn’t know what to expect when I saw that the always dependable Moontown Records had chucked something new up on their Soundcloud. Maybe some broken pop, or the sounds of deranged noise punk? Instead, Scraps is a refreshing six minutes of washed out, gooey disco, paired with blitzed synths, and a voice that could cause world leaders to weep.

It’s soft, comforting music in the vein of Holy Balm and Superstar, slow enough to sink into but still full of little jabs here and there to keep you awake and interested. It’s hypnotising, calming, a way to take that heart beat from a potential seizure to a rate that resembles something normal. At the very least, it’s a way more effective comedown alternative than that hippie kale diet yoga shit that those fucks from Bondi keep squirting on about.

A Comprehensive List Of Everything I’ve Forgotten To Write About in The Past Three Months: Pt. 2 Guitar Pop

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It took about a month to follow up part one of all the shit I forgot to write about for the past three months, and I was considering throwing the towel in and start covering all the latest goss on the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, but a lot of this stuff is so great that I’ve convinced myself to postpone my Flea think pieces for a few extra days.

 

Ocean Party – Mess + Noise Critics Poll 2015

R.I.P  Mess + Noise, Long Live The Ocean Party! This little mini-album is absolutely fantastic! If you’d like some more in-depth analysis on this album, someone on Bandcamp described it as a collection of “…moist beats…”, and who am I to disagree?

Cool Sounds – In Blue Skies

The only thing better than this beautifully lush, semi-new one from Cool Sounds is the blue-tinted panther that adorns the cover of their single artwork. Fuck yes to the marriage of jungle cats and 10/10 guitar pop!

Crepes – Hidden Star

Another winner courtesy of Deaf Ambitions, this one is a bit more of a psych-laden pool of guitar. It’s a bit of a slower jam than Crepes previous singles, but “Hidden Star” is still a crisp sip of a tinnie in January.

Heart Beach – Counting/Relief 7″

I wish that we lived under the kind but firm rule of a benevolent dictator that forced everyone to own a copy of Heart Beach’s Counting/Relief 7″, and we were forced to play it three times a day, every day, to remind us all how lucky we are that Heart Beach are a band making songs like “Counting” and “Relief”.

Weak Boys – Life Rules

Weak Boys got a shoutout in the liner notes in the new Violent Soho album, and they managed to grab a bloody gig at the most hallowed of Sydney’s venues – the Newtown Social Club (as immortalised on the B-Side of this CD-R single). So yeah, life really does rule, doesn’t it?

SMILE – Rhythm Method

If you’re having a shocker, put on this new album from SMILE. As soon as the frenzy of “Cool. I Need Money” kicks in, the shitkicking you’ve suffered through will start to fade. By the time “BLVD” rolls in, the fact that you work as a Dave Hughes impersonator is a distant memory.

Great Outdoors – I Look Back

I reckon Don Burke should renew Burke’s Backyard, and make “I Look Back” the new theme song – it’s a fucking great song, it keeps with the whole “outdoor” theme, and it would surely see a dip in the ratings for all the other early-arvo lifestyle shows. You’re move Ready, Steady Cook.

Tiny Little Houses –  Milo Tin

Yeah, nah, how great is this band? Every time I steal 2 minute noodles from now on, it has to be soundtracked by this song.

Verge Collection – Class of ’09

This is the best song about high school since Papa Roach’s “Last Resort”.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Write Back

They’ve changed their name but RBCF’s still know how to write the fuck out of a song. “Write Back” makes you want to put down the guitar and notepad because you’ll never be as good these blokes.

Glaciers – Local Hero

“Local Hero” has that same gentle, lilting embrace as Boomgates, Scott and Charlene’s Wedding and Twerps and that’s the highest compliment anyone can give a band.

 

Morning TV – Dive

It’s pretty tough not to swoon at this one – what a bunch of bloody dreamboats! Second song in, and I’m hooked like a tuna that’s happened to pass within a one kilometre radius of a fishing trawler.

 

New: GL – Grip

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Look, here’s the deal – GL are bloody perfect. They are as perfect as finding out that you and your Uber driver both share a love of Madonna, and busting out multiple renditions of “Like A Prayer” all the way back to your house, and the harmonising was so good that your Uber driver actually ends up giving you money.

Look, full disclosure – “Grip” isn’t in the same league as Madonna, but fuck they’re close, aren’t they? This is damn good music to gyrate a pelvis too! The duo of Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson are fearsome, and they’ve just been pumping out consistent gem after the other, the kind that makes your lips involuntarily twitch in excitement over. “Grip” is just the latest, a song that begins with a throbbing bass, and jabs of sensual synths, before falling away to allow all of the room for Ella Thompson’s blatantly gorgeous voice. That’s the kind of voice that otherwise law-abiding citizens would commit vocal-chord robbery for. Seriously, can that woman be any more incredible? Can we nominate her as the supreme overlord of pop already?

Fucking hell, what a bunch of goddamn geniuses. If GL can repeat this sort of magnificence on the rest of that debut album they’ve got up their sleeves, that question of lords of pop fiefdom won’t be a rhetorical one on some shitty Sydney blog, it’s going to be the real fucking deal. ALL HAIL GL!

 

New: Whipper – Chase the Rainbow

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This new Whipper song is the definition of raw fucking power. Just a pure, brutal, unadulterated, spit-flecked, blood-soaked, pupil-dilated beacon of raw fucking power. There’s not a single ounce of strut or ponce or pout to this song, it just exists as a stirling example of what can happen when a bunch of people who grew up on the unrelenting power of guitars and The Stooges put their heads down and produce greatness.

“Chase the Rainbow” doesn’t fuck around, it just gets stuck in, pummelling your stomach with adrenaline-addled punches of seething riffs that have surely contracted a disease of some sort. Seconds in, it makes you feel like Beavis when he sees a naked flame: “FIRE! FIRE! YEAH! YEAH! FIRE!”. It’s the kind of song that, when those violent three minutes and twenty three seconds have finished, you come to the realisation that you’ve chewed off your lips as a token of your savage appreciation. It’s probably the best punk song I’ve heard since POWER released their disembowelling debut last year.

MIXTAPE: Heart Beach

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I’m as guilty as any other shocking blog/media sites that pulls out the token “OMG Tassie is so far away, amirite?” introduction when it comes to writing about bands from down that way. It’s lazy, unprofessional writing, and I always feel a bit shit when I do it. I guess it’s because I just don’t know the scene or bands well enough to express anything worthwhile in my articles.

However, that’s about to change, because I just got a top notch guide from Heart Beach, one of my favourite bands from last year. Their debut album from last year was brutally underrated – if I had my way, every single person in this godforsaken land would be required to own a copy and spin it at least three times a day. It’s such a magical album, full of blunt, beautiful musings on everyday life paired with splashes of guitar, a fantastic sequel to the likes of Beaches and Love of Diagrams.

Anyway, Heart Beach are coming to Sydney pretty soon to launch their new 7″, and I’m bloody excited. They’re gonna be fantastic, I just know it, especially if this list of top-notch locals they threw together is anything to go by. They’ll be playing The Record Crate in Glebe w/ Low Talk, Miners and Skyboxes. If you need any more details, you can find them here on Facebook, right after you check out this awesome guide to Tasmanian music.

1. Treehouse – Sick Stink

2. Drunk Elk – Your Beautiful Face

3. Small Black Lambs – Gold

4. Naked – Think About Death

5. All the Weathers – Beans 

6. PCM – Gone

7. The Native Cats – Lemon Juice

8. Tantric Sax 

9. Filthy Little Star – Keep On Whistling

10. Anthony Rochester – Mathematics

11. Peak Body – Fade to Black

New: Braille Face – Glow

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I’ve been watching a lot of that show Daredevil lately, and lemme tell ya, that Matt Murdock knows how to kick some ass! Also, in case your knowledge of Marvel’s B-grade superheroes isn’t as sharp as it should be, Daredevil is blind, and with that comes a lot of close up shots of Murdock reading braille, subtle bumps on a page that translate into words. Anyway, I find that whole concept of a written language for the blind as cool as those scenes of Daredevil absolutely smelting some bad motherfuckers with his fists.

That idea of something that’s nearly invisible having an enormous impact is reflected in Braille Face’s new single “Glow”. First of all, a round of applause for that segue. Secondly, you definitely need to get on this song: it’s paranoid, stark, and minimalistic. The small, jilting sounds that BF works with makes it that much more impactful. “Glow” will feed on your anxiety, sink its teeth into your fear, and hypnotise you with BF’s magnetic vocals. If you feel like being consumed by some really dark and beautiful electronic textures, fuck Kid A off and listen to this.

New: Shining Bird – Helluva Lot

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Friends, comrades, lovers, enemies. Come together. Sit down, have a beer. Have two beers, you cheeky bastard. Chatter amongst yourselves – “How’s Suzie? She must be in primary school now, yeah?” – catch up, reminisce! But when I press play, you had all better shut up and focus every single one of your five senses on this new one I got for ya. Because this…this is a hit I tell ya, and if you’re not paying attention, then the only person who misses out is you.

This is a band removed from the Big Smoke, and you can hear it. There’s not a hint of the city smog in frontman Dane Taylor’s vocals that otherwise rattles throughout that throats of suburban bands. There’s a density in the music that recalls the thick of the Australian bush, a stronghold of eucalyptus guitars and synths that sparkle like the sun peeking over the Three Sisters. That’s an image that couldn’t possibly be perpetrated by some suit-clad city-slickers.

“Helluva Lot” gives you pause, as it sinks into your skin. It’s a refreshing blast of energy, but not like a manufactured caffeine hit – more like the graze of scorching dose of Vitamin D followed by a skinny dip in a secluded bath out in the middle of fuck knows. It’s a sound that hasn’t been this refined and powerful since The Triffids and The Church were doing it. Stoke the campfire, keep the laughs flowing, and hit repeat on this absolute gem.

Shining Bird play Newtown Social Club on June 8th, tix are here

Gig Review: The Goon Sax

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Saturday, April 2nd @ Newtown Social Club

I was a loser in high school, a big time dork. I look back on those days, and hang my head in shame. Every morning I wake up and check the Internet to make sure that some regrettable photo from that period hasn’t surfaced in a mission to ruin my life. I live with caution, certain that it’s only a matter of time before people realise that, at 15 years old, I was the biggest Red Hot Chili Peppers fan and argued with my parents over getting the lyrics to “Dani California” permanently inked to my skin.

Which is why, when I look at The Goon Sax, a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds from Brisbane, I instantly become consumed with jealousy. They’re playing after FLOWERTRUCK, who are essentially Sydney’s gatekeepers of guitar pop, an Edwyn Collins/David Byrne amalgamation from heaven. FLOWERTRUCK have just put on a hell of a show, not exactly something you’d jump at the chance to follow. But before The Goon Sax have played a note, before they’ve even made a gesture, I know that they are the coolest people I’ve ever seen in my life, and that they’re about to play something very memorable. There’s a casual but inviting way to how they stand on stage that speaks of nervous anticipation. I’ve seen so many bands get up at the NSC looking bored or dismissive, and the novelty of The Goon Sax’s quiet excitement doesn’t just make them interesting, it makes them far cooler than they already are. And that’s all before they’ve even started strumming.

Musically, The Goon Sax have taken jangle-pop, and applied a level of self-awareness, self-deprecation and affable charm that has evolved the genre. There’s no obvious allusions to their forebearers, nor the modern champions of the genre like Twerps, Dick Diver and The Ocean Party. They stand apart, spinning seemingly mundane topics into compulsive stories, which spill from the stage and directly into your gaping mouth. These yarns – simple, scratchy and flawed – are wrought directly from the teenage experience; but the real sucker punch is that these songs speak to any age, without relying on some sense of nostalgia in the lyrics or music. It just speaks to the fact that The Goon Sax are really fucking amazing songwriters, who actually get pop music, far more than I ever will. It’s only when frontmen Louis Forster and James Harrison switch instruments that you’re pulled out of the spell, and it once again dawns on you that, holy shit, I will never be as cool as the people I am watching right now.

Although an hour set might have been a bit ambitious (maybe that’s just me – I love a good short and sweet set), the performance never felt like it dragged. There were lulls, sure, but The Goon Sax have a talent for always being able to reset the audience’s interest, whether it be through one of their instant-classic singles, such as “Boyfriend” and “Sometimes Accidentally”, or hidden gems from their debut album, like the closer “Ice Cream (On My Own)”. Or maybe it was their attitude that made them so loveable; the fact that, whenever you zoned in on the band, you could see a real love for what they were doing, with none of the ego or cynicism that usually coats other guitar pop bands onstage. That kind of genuine and unpretentious behaviour is infectious, and gives all the more reason to become completely and utterly infatuated with this band.

As soon as The Goon Sax left the stage, there was nothing left to do but swear a blood oath to them. The Goon Sax have gone from being yet another fantastic Brisbane band, to one of my favourites in the country. I may be consumed by jealousy at their monstrous coolness, but the music and show is too good to bite a thumb at. Folks, here’s some sound advice: see the show, buy the record, and learn a thing or two from these bloody geniuses.

New: Hockey Dad – So Tired

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Let’s be real – your mates Hockey Dad were always going to be a bunch of superstars when they decided to name themselves after a ridiculously obscure Simpsons reference. It’s a shame they didn’t go with Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge, or they would’ve been a surefire contender for the biggest Aussie rock gods since Bon Scott had an unfortunate chuck up.

Top notch pop culture nods aside, Hockey Dad continue to be favourites because they write damn fine songs. Cruisy, carefree, but never crude, it is easier to get swept up in the charm and riffs of Hockey Dad than it is to draw dignity.

Case in point: “So Tired”. It’s the first single from their debut album “Boronia”, which promises to feature crisp white buns and garage pop goodness in equal measure. They’ve thrown the song out a few times during their near constant touring, and it’s always proved a winner, so it’s good to see the recorded version has lost none of its ability to get a smile on ya dial.

PREMIERE: Roomates – Stay With Me / Burnt Down

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It’s almost become common knowledge around these parts that Beko Disques, the micro-label out of France, does a better job of representing great Australian music than local labels. How some bloke from the other side of the world has managed to spit out releases from obscure but brilliant Aussies like TEES, PILLS, Day Ravies, and more is a complete mystery.

The spot-on musical recommendations are still coming thick and fast from Beko, with the latest announcement of their latest artist Roomates. The solo project from Melbourne’s Jake Lanyon, these bedroom recordings are miles ahead of the usual “mere bedroom recordings”, loaded with inherently sorrow vocals that scrape over bare bones guitar. Skeletal and simple, “Stay With Me” and “Burnt Down” are terrific examples of blissful content and raw pain laying side by side. Do yourself a favour, and get yourself familiar with Roomates.