Video: The Ocean Party – Back Bar

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Another year, another Ocean Party record – it’s the stuff that helps folks like myself battle through these freezing winters. When the frostbite sets in, just know that the OP Crew will be personally delivering one of the records of the year any day now. And so, without further ado, take off the gloves and check out their latest, “Back Bar”, from their forthcoming sixth album.

After pumping out album after album, “Back Bar” shows that The Ocean Party have perfected their brand of pop. Close your eyes, and seep into that familiar Ocean Party sound of crisp guitars and honeyed vocals.

Then open those eyes and witness the terror of their new video – it’s David Cronenberg meets jangle-pop! A body horror film brought to you by Melbourne’s favourite sons! I’ve never been so repulsed and turned on in my entire life.

Get lubed up and catch The Ocean Party when they swing through town for a free show at the Union Hotel on the 9th of July, with old mates Cool Sounds.

Volumes 2016 Mixtape

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Last year, Sydney got a huge leg up in the form of Volumes Festival, a multi-venue event that put a spotlight on all the fan-fucking-tastic music we get to call our own in this city, as well as a 11/10 show from Blank Realm. Even the piece of shit writing this sentence had a pretty good time!

Which is why I’m really happy that Volumes will be returning for another year! Not only have the team expanded to include an extra day and the Burdekin Hotel amongst last year’s venue collective of The Oxford Art Factory, Brighton Up Bar and Cliff Dive, but they’ve delivered a lineup that forces even a chode like myself to concede a gasp of “Wow…”.

The full lineup and tickets can be scored here, but if ya want a pick of the best of the bunch, read on below:

BV

Formerly known as Black Vanilla, the Friday night headliners will be bringing their ferociously dark party to Volumes for a night of hedonism. In their own words: “No once cares how well you move, so just move”.

FISHING

The last time I saw FISHING, they rapped in French, and then brought up the Al Wright from Cloud Control for a song that sounded like the spiritual successor to Underworld’s “Born Slippy”. I don’t know how the hell they’ll be able to top that, but after months away, honing new material, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that FISHING’s return to the stage will see a truly crazy performance.

Rainbow Chan

Rainbow Chan is definitely the best thing in electronic music right now. Every time I see, hear or even think about her music, the words “jilted pop perfection” brand themselves into my brain. Her debut album will be out by the time she hits the stage for the first night of Volumes, so make sure you get a good spot early, because you’ll be one of the thousands clamouring to catch the biggest sensation of 2016.

Donny Benet

It’s been far too long since the ripple of Donny’s smooth and sensual touch has been felt. The sophisticated lover will be sparing no expense on the Saturday night, enrapturing all those who dare to feel the heat. Fuck, I’m licking my lips just thinking about this.

Unity Floors

I’ll take any excuse to belt out “Nice Fit” and all the other classic hits these guys have made over the years. UF’s second album Life Admin should be out by the time Volumes hits, so there’s plenty of time to learn the lyrics to all the new classics as well.

Rolling Blackouts CF

Someone once called Rolling Blackouts CF “…the best band ever…”, and that someone is me.

Scott and Charlene’s Wedding

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, the third best Neighbours-themed band from Melbourne, hardly make the trek to Sydney anymore, so any opportunity to see them should not be missed. Besides all the classics like “Rejected”, “Lesbian Wife” and “Jackie Boy”, they also do a killer cover of the Go-Betweens’ “Karen”, so make sure you’re front and centre when they tear Brighton Up Bar a new one.

The Harpoons

I’ve sorely missed The Harpoons’ R&B-tinged synth pop – it’s lip-biting, misty eyed stuff, and I’m filled with anticipation at the mere thought of swaying along with hundreds of others to “Unforgettable”.

Summer Flake

Summer Flake’s Hello Friends has been my ‘Album of the Week’ for the past three months – I’m a lazy shit who keeps forgetting to update that section of the website, but there’s also a hint of truth to my mistake. Summer Flake’s disarming honesty, golden guitar and harrowing voice makes her the perfect recipient of such a prestigious award. Can’t wait to catch Steph Crase and co. when they swing through Sydney again!

 

Volumes 2016 takes place on Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th of August, all up and down Oxford St. Once again, tix and full lineup here.

PREMIERE: Plum – Dead Leg

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Caleb Jacobs probably couldn’t have picked a better name for his solo project than Plum. It’s sweet, juicy and colourful – it’s a punch of refreshment, delivered with a bang to the taste buds. It’s not boring like an apple, and doesn’t feel the need to flamboyantly overextend in the fruit dick measuring contest like a fucking dragonfruit. It’s just a beautiful, gorgeous Plum.

Confused? Probably. But take a garner at Plum’s latest single “Dead Leg”, and it’ll all make sense. Following on from last year’s Black Doris EP, Plum dives further into the washed synth territory that was only hinted at. Lush walls of sparkly sound shoot up on Dead Leg”, reminding of Chromatics, Youth Lagoon and Washed Out. It’s simple, but there’s an elegance and satisfaction in that – by the end of this, there’s a solid chance that you’ll be just as satisfied as you would after having thrown down one of Jacobs’ titular purple fruit.

Plum will be launching “Dead Leg” on July 2nd at OAF Gallery Bar, on a bill that includes Melbourne’s Glaciers and the always fantastic Black Springs

Album Review: Zone Out – Transcience

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Zone Out has been kicking around Melbourne for a few years now, mainly centred around the gorgeous vocals of Ashley Bundang. For their debut album, Zone Out have stripped back to the two piece of just Bundang and best mate Dove Bailey (Scotdrakula), and let me tell ya, the result is nothing less than spectacular.

To describe Transcience in one word is to call it ethereal. Sure, seems like a bit of a buzz word for lazy writers, and although I demand to be referred to as such, Zone Out really do tick all the boxes for the ‘ethereal’ tag. The album strolls but never meanders, each track gentle and warm, like Bjork in animated suspension. There’s an otherworldly quality to the way Zone Out produce their songs, each one lush with detail that’s spread peacefully throughout. Nothing seems rushed or stretched, it’s just a record that you can sit down with and enjoy washing over you.

Transcience’s standout comes from the previous 7″ track “Inside”, an intimate song that features some delicate guitar work from Bailey. It’s a warm blanket of a track, one that is all too easy to bury yourself under when all the stresses of the outside world become a bit too much.

Indeed, “Inside” works as a great encapsulation of the record as a whole: a beautiful and instantly familiar retreat from everything. Transcience is a simple pleasure, but one that will deliver as a sturdy companion for years to come. Even when the vinyl is scratched and dusty, this album feels like one that can be relied on for some time.

Transcience is available now on Deaf Ambitions. Grab the vinyl or digital download from Bandcamp here.

Since Dove has gotten married (YAY DOVE!) and moved overseas, Zone Out will be completing their album tour as a solo show. Catch Ashley playing at the Union Hotel on Friday June 10th. It’s a free show, Ciggie Witch will also be launching their great new record on the night, and Greenwave Beth and Black Springs will be along for the ride as well.

 

Album Review: Police Force – Formula 1

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Punk rock and the police are intrinsically linked – from the early days of cops breaking skulls at Saints’ shows, to classic track after classic track after classic track about the punks’ and pigs’ mutual respect for one another – the embrace between the badge and three chords is a strong one.

Brisbane’s Police Force don’t explicitly state anything about coppers on their tape, but I like to reckon that they’re reflecting the seedy underbelly and corruption of a modern day police force in the way they make music. The scuzz that coats this tape is filthy and repugnant (read: 10/10); the sneer that marks their voices drawls with acidic vigour. In songs like “The News” and “Freaking Out the Squares”, there’s the same kind of blind red-misted fury that you’d see in the eyes of a cop about to beat the living shit out of some 16 year old trying to have fun in a backyard. Only this time, the roles have been reversed – now, it’s the musicians deploying their seething vitriol, using instruments instead of batons and pepper spray.

Simply by utilising what sounds like a few synths, a drum machine and some guitar, Police Force’s  Formula 1 delivers raw and dirty punk, stuff that seeps into your skin and lays a few eggs. 1977-era Martin Rev and Alan Vega would have fucking loved this record. Actually, scratch that – modern day Martin Rev and Alan Vega would fucking love this record.

Formula 1 is out now on Tenth Court Records. Grab it through Bandcamp here.

New: Alex Lahey – Let’s Go Out

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Talking a bunch of shit on this ratty blog pales in comparison to a Best New Music thumbs up from Pitchfork, but hey, here we go. Alex Lahey, a bloody star and a half, is only three tracks deep, but fuck, if you  have even a 30-second geez at what she’s put out, it’s fair to say you’ll be more hooked than a game of Big Buck Hunter that’s broken and accidentally spitting out free games.

Let’s take a proper gander at this bloody recipe for success:

  1. Her latest, “Let’s Go Out” is a song about cutting loose set to a plucky riff, that features a chorus infectious enough to cause pangs of jealousy in Madonna.
  2. The video features a dog.

Seriously, that’s all you need to put together an absolute barnstormer of a single. Good on ya Laz, this one’s a ripper.

New: Good Boy – Poverty Line

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I’ve always liked Brissy’s Good Boy – songs like “Transparency” were always enough to perk the ears, but I had yet to catch the song that made me switch from Jekyll to Hyde, sauntering up to whoever happened to be closest and interrogating them with news of the track. That mentality (and my mental state) has shifted dramatically with the introduction to their new single “Poverty Line” – I’m sold like a goon sack to a 17 year old on their way to their formal after party.

It’s not just the Eddy Current-styled trashy delivery that lifts this song, or the vitriolic subject matter that hits way too close to my exceedingly empty bank account. “Poverty Line” feels infinitely more convincing and urgent – there’s real spit behind that yelp. The dust bowl has been stirred, and the sting in your eyes feels good, it makes you feel alive and excited. Good Boy are prepping the needle for an impromptu stick ‘n’ poke that’ll turn out to be your favourite tattoo. They’re not just another band – they’re THE FUCKING BAND.

New: Collarbones – The Cut

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Not too long ago, I was part of a heaving audience at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, one of many who were caked in sweat and adoration for our hometown heroes Collarbones. On that night, they dropped their yet unreleased “The Cut”, and instantly there was a presence that had been unfelt until that point – something dangerous and sensual.

A few months later, and Collarbones have unleashed “The Cut” to the world, and it’s exactly how I remembered it. Beginning with a few tantalising moments of Marcus Whale unwrapping his desires in that transfixing way only he is capable of, followed by a thudding garage beat that pours salt into the fresh wound Whale just opened up.

“The Cut” warps and shifts, successfully fusing the tranquility of Collarbones’ earlier work with the savage pop stabbings of “Turning”. Not only does it make for exciting music, but it pulls out the Bic and boils the blood in anticipation for whatever Collarbones will pull out next.

New: Hot Spoke – Outlines

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Right now, I imagine most folks are going to their places of employment with the caution of entering Chernobyl. Hazmat suit on, extra oxygen tank at the ready, heartbeats racing every time a colleague leans their head back to sneeze. Office life is a fucking war zone, I tell ya.

Well, here’s a few hot tips on how to handle all that sickness panic. Heat up a cup of tea, rack up a couple of Codral, and ward off the  various winter plagues with Hot Spoke’s “Outlines”

When the voice of Vanessa Jade kicks in, you’re more than welcome to see just how far your jaw can drop. What a bloody serene voice! I could listen to Jade hover on that “In the Outlands…” chorus for just about a million years, I reckon. Couple that with some beautiful alt-country instrumentation that wouldn’t be out of place on the latest release from Jagjaguwar or Woodsist, and you’ve got a band that could give Angel Olsen a run for her money.

New Post Punk: Wives + Masses + Infinite Void + TOL + Mere Women

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Gather round and sulk at the latest, greatest and darkest from around Aus:

Wives – Whipping Boy EP

Canberra’s Wives put out an excellent record on NO PATIENCE last year that felt really unfortunately ignored. It’s phenomenally dark and direct stuff, and if you’ve got a chance, I recommend you give it a go.

However, being the prolific punks they are, Wives have already followed up on last year’s record with another EP of material. It’s twitchy stuff – synths that emerge from nowhere, teeth bared; guitars that scratch and bleed. It’s a simple reminder that Wives are a band that you need in your life.

Plus if that isn’t enough, there are remixes on the EP from ASPS and the forever-intriguing Enderie Nuatal.

Make sure ya catch Wives playing Blackwire Records on the 11th, with support from Diecut, Marcus Whale and Cat Heaven.

Masses – Masses

For those that dug Gold Class but wished they had a bit more crunch need to get familiar with Masses. It’s goth-ridden post-punk that lashes with intensity, a huge scaly beast that singes your hair with every song.

There are delicate moments, sure, but when Masses lean in, they put your attention in a strangehold. Take “Crosses”, “Moloch” or “Paranoid” – these are all songs that drive with the same bloody wrath as Bauhaus – unrelenting and a perfect soundtrack to this week’s excorcism.

Infinite Void – Face in the Window

As soon as the bass riff kicks in for this, it becomes immediately obvious that this is gonna be a gud ‘un. Infinite Void are essentially the White Walkers of Melbourne – terrifying, beautiful and absolutely freezing. “Face in the Window” is liquid nitrogen that builds into a torrential downpour of icy sheets of guitar, hurtling with the singular vision of outdoing the Ice Age. If you feel like sinking into the equivalent of a sink hole in the Arctic, do yourself a favour and chuck this on.

TOL – Survive

TOL fall towards the latter half of the post-punk equation, armed with the kind of seething, sharp riffs that Steen Spielberg wishes he could’ve used to line the cavernous face hole of Jaws. Buried under a caked layer of feedback, TOL plunge and dive with abandon, as ferocious as they are loud. Put this into your ears and feel your head go through a similar transformation as the bald guy with glasses in Scanners.

Plus, this came out on NOPATIENCE and the band features members of LAKES, Spite House and ZOND – surely that’s enough of an indication that TOL are an essential band.

Mere Women – Numb

This song came out fucking ages ago and I never got around to having a yarn about it. Better late than never, right?

Anyway, “Numb” is another gem from one of Sydney’s finest and most underrated. Mere Women are one of the most interesting bands going around this shitty town at the moment, and if ever the opportunity arises for you to go and see them, DO NOT FUCKING HESITATE!