Top 10 Bands of Laneway Festival 2016

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Laneway Festival just announced their lineup for 2016, and fuck me, I’ve shit the bed…twice. Whilst I clean the sheets, old mate WordPress came calling, and now you’ve got a list, ANOTHER BLOODY LIST, telling YOU who to go and begrudgingly see after you inevitably figure out that those caps you bought off the lad in Camperdown Park are duds.

10. Violent Soho

It seems real weird that Violent Soho were booked for Laneway Festival. The festival has always prided itself on booking acts either on the cusp of popularity, or who have only recently tasted that sweet, sweet music career success. Violent Soho easily sell out some of the biggest venues in the country, and already played the festival in 2011. It’s not really a complaint, as the band always put on a hell of a show, but it begs the question as to why the festival didn’t book someone more emerging as opposed to a band so established? Still, if ya feel like showering in other people’s sweat (read: my sweat) in a mosh, your best bet is to head to wherever Soho are playing.

9. Silicon

Kody Nielsen’s got a resume worth having a gag over: The Mint Chicks, Opossum, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and now Silicon. Old mate’s been signed to Domino Records (via Weird World), home to Sebadoh, Jon Hopkins and Dan Deacon. He’s got a record coming out which features the bloody tops “Burning Sugar”, and in a few weeks he’s going to be touring with Tame Impala Only one of those achievements is boring.

8. Majical Cloudz

Jesus Christ, Majical Cloudz are pretty good at making you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing with your life. The voice of Devon Welsh is like a mixture of your parents’ telling you that they’re disappointed in you and being left at the altar. There’s a whole lot of pain there, and it’s shaping up to be that watching Majical Cloudz in the flesh is going to feel like Frosty the Snowman is reaching into our chest cavities and strangling our hearts.

7. HEALTH

These guys are fucked, in the best way possible. Think of the danceable noise of Holy Fuck, but trodden with paranoia and an addiction to unpredictability. Their ‘Get Colour’ record is an incredible experience that, if listened to correctly, should blow out your ear drums. Their new record ‘Death Magic’ is equally visceral, a dark, violent affair well-worth your time. Allegedly, HEALTH’s live shows are surreal events that warrant ear plugs and a clean smock.

6. Thundercat

Look, I’ll be honest, my heart fluttered for a second when I thought that the cult 80’s kids cartoon I watched re-runs of when my parents were asleep was going to make a live-action comeback. I would bite the dick off a gargoyle if that opportunity presented itself. Unfortunately, we’ll have to settle for the other Thundercat, a Flying Lotus collaborator, bass god and master of neo-soul who will make us all want to be better people. #realtalk though, how sick would it be to abuse a pimply kid in a Snarf costume between craft beers and Grimes?

5. The Goon Sax

Let’s be real: it was definitely my article on the best bands of BIGSOUND that got this one over the line. You can be one of the best emerging acts to put jangle-pop on its head, you can pull off an incredibly heartfelt and original set in a packed out bar in Brisbane, and you can warrant a whole lot of tongue wagging with the announcement that you’re joining Chapter Music off the back of a few demos. But you can’t underestimate the power of #localblogs.

In all seriousness, it’ll be interesting to see how The Goon Sax pull off a set at a festival like Laneway. In a pub, they’re on home turf, playing to small, packed crowds of people that adore the music they make; their charm arises from their faults and humbleness displayed on the homely  pub stage. Who knows what might go down in front of gum-chewing punters hanging for Hudson Mohawke. Fingers crossed the rest of Australia gets to see the magic that I saw at Ric’s a few weeks back.

4. METZ

Their second album was a bit of an uneven affair, lacking the succinct and determined power of their debut, but there’s little doubt that METZ have lost the strength of their live show. Their show at GoodGod two years ago remains one of my favourites, and not just because they were joined by TV Colours and Batpiss. There’s an ungodly amount of bite in METZ’s music which is hurled at anyone within a fortunate distance. The Laneway organisers should put these guys and HEALTH together and ensure that NOBODY CAN HEAR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!

3. Vince Staples

Rap is not my strong game. Shit, it’s not even my game. I don’t know the rules, I don’t own the proper paraphernalia, and sometimes I get scared when I listen to an N.W.A song. But Vince Staples swooped in and plastered his ‘Summertime ’06’ record everywhere, and shit, I ain’t even mad. This album is thrilling, a thuggish, brutal hip-hop record that floats between expert production and terrifying lyrics. Live, his exuberance and savagery will produce gulps of fear in the squares of Australia.

2. Blank Realm

The Australian contingent is pretty solid this year, relying less on proven success stories of yore (e.g Dune Rats and Courtney Barnett last year) and more on instinct and intuition. It explains why artists like Ali Barter and High Tension found their way on the lineup. But Blank Realm!?? I assumed this band was doomed to a fate of being adored after their time, like fellow Brisbanites The Saints. But Laneway have made the right choice and picked up the best band in Australia for performance duties. Good. Fucking. Option. Mates.

Seriously, the shunning of mainstream popularity for Blank Realm is criminal. How many masterpieces have you got to release before the floodgates of mass devotion open? The answer is three. Blank Realm have three masterpieces. They just released their latest opus, and fuck me, if you still haven’t checked it out, then do yourself a favour and press repeat until your fingers bleed.

1. SPOD (TBA)

Some dickhead graphic designer completely forgot to put SPOD’s name on the lineup again! Jesus Christ! Two years in a row! That’s a stab in the back, isn’t it! Maybe the contracts still have yet to go through, but c’mon! Pull yourself together! He’s a national icon!

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10 Best Bands of BIGSOUND

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Brisbane – you go alright. Sydney folk have given you a bit of a rough ride throughout the years: “It’s too hot…full of bogans…fucking Maroon wankers” are all pretty common complaints. But after offering up so many fantastic bands over the years, it was awesome to finally experience the whirlwind of your uncomfortably warm embrace. And BIGSOUND! What a treat! Despite an abundance of blokes (always blokes) with incredibly overinflated egos (shoutouts to the guy that threw his pass in a security guard’s face, throwing his arm at the 30 second queue and exclaiming “But I’m a delegate! That’s a punter’s line…THIS IS BULLSHIT!”) BIGSOUND is an opportunity.

Y’see, there’s over 150 bands playingsome incredible, some lame as shit, but all there to hopefully further their careers and find success, whatever that definition might be. And I’m really happy about that – there’s not nearly enough cash being thrown back to the musicians who make our punter lives such a joy. So, even though don’t like it, who gives a shit? I’m happy for any artist, of any genre, to achieve their goal, particularly through a process like BIGSOUND, which is a great way to connect with folks who can help you. For every guy that can’t stop mentioning the fact that he works in the “music industry”, there are a dozen people who genuinely care about checking out as many of the good things on offer. So here’s my two cents on the best bands up at BIGSOUND – and by the way, if you ever fucking make me wait in a queue again, I will sue you.

10. Rainbow Chan

The electronic contingent at BIGSOUND was pretty disappointing this year. Maybe it’s coming from a really ill-informed “band bro” point of view, but watching someone overanalyse a set of decks just really doesn’t seem like that exciting of a thing to watch. It was the acts that went left of centre and made the most of their sets that performed best: Sui Zhen and NULL both pulled off impressive and visually engaging sets that are worth checking out. But it was Rainbow Chan that proved to be the most energetic and lively; she’s criminally underrated, and doesn’t play shows nearly enough. Any chance to catch her bop, groove and twirl onstage is a treat that should be taken advantage of immediately.

9. Tired Lion

If I wasn’t guzzling booze and schmoozing up to the heads of the major labels with all the gusto of Gary Busey on a coke binge, then I probably would’ve made it into the sold-out Gang of Youths gig, and they would’ve been on this list. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen (didn’t even get a fucking corporate sponsorship out of all that sucking up either). However, it did mean that I caught Tired Lion, Perth shredders that feature an absolute powerhouse of a front woman, the unstoppable Sophie Hopes. She latched onto every figure in the packed out room with the ferocity of the band’s namesake tearing open the throat of the slowest gazelle in the Savannah. We are all that gazelle, and all we could do was stare in awe of the show that Tired Lion supplied as they stewed upon our entrails.

8. Cosmic Psychos

Their new album leaves a lot to be desired, as much of a disappointment as my results at uni. But it would be plain ignorant to call Cosmic Psychos as anything less than a heritage act, an influential band that spits in the face of legacy because they’re too busy riding tractors and slamming into dead roos. Their reputation as one of the best pub rockers remains undisputed when it comes to a live show. Sweaty, blood-spurting and beer-soaked faces caked the grey-haired but perpetually young-at-heart performance, as classics “Nice Day to Go the Pub”, “Lost Cause” and “David Lee Roth” all saw air time, both from the stage and the bevy of crowd-surfers.

7. DARTS

DARTS played two sets, and both proved to be overwhelming punches of spectacle. Straight ahead, teeth-bared rock that presents itself as a slew snarling anthems, but is plagued with cutting self-analysis and anguish, which explodes in the live arena. DARTS work well in confined spaces, barrelling through track after track on the stages of Brisbane with loaded sets of staunch, lip-curling grunge.

6. WAAX

On a bill packed with rock acts, WAAX feel like the band destined to inspire more than fair few teenagers to pick up the guitar and thrash around in their bedroom. This band deserves every loud-loving punters full attention, and catching them live should shoot to the top of the list. Ask anyone who was there, and you’re likely to get the same gushing response as entailed here. Front woman Marie De Vita is particularly worthy of praise, an irrepressible emerald-doused firework who dominates the crowd like she’s Joan of Arc and we’re all a bunch of bloody Brits ready for rock slaughter.

5. Tiny Little Houses

This show was absolutely fucking packed. A full 24 hours later, and my lungs still haven’t decompressed themselves. But mate, wasn’t it bloody worth it? I’d kinda given up on folk bands, what with the realisation that Boy & Bear and The Paper Kites both suck…but man, Tiny Little Houses – swoon! They’re lo-fi recordings shine on a stage, and the inclusion of a fair bit of shredding helps bolster their performances into quite the mesmerising spectacle.

4. The Ocean Party

The Ocean Party are easily the hardest working band in Australia, with more live gigs notched under their belts than Ron Jeremy’s got STD’s. Not only that, but they’ve got a fifth record due out in a month AND all seven members deal with their own stellar recording projects in what mythical spare time they have. With all that practice and constant skill-honing, it’s no wonder that The Ocean Party are one of the most charming bands to watch in Aus. Their gigs will suck you in like a bloody typhoon, and you’ll have their incredible brand of guitar-pop stuck in your head for days, weeks, months, years. Truly, this band is the herpes of music…but delightful instead of burning.

3. Dorsal Fins

There’s a fuck-off amount of members in Dorsal Fins, so many that it’s all too easy to lose count. Watching them is like watching that classic gorilla selective attention experiment video – your eyes are bouncing between so many members that a giant ape could walk through the middle and you wouldn’t notice. Not that King Kong antics are a problem here – you’re having way too much fun! Dorsal Fins do pop to its logical, exuberant climax, and the unstoppable Ella Thompson not only possesses one hell of a voice, but the most enthusiastic dance moves that BIGSOUND had to offer. On a bill filled with bright pop musicians, Dorsal Fins were far and away the most brilliant and enticing.

2. The Goon Sax

One song and a handful of demos is apparently enough to fill up a room to a dangerous capacity. If someone coughed, the whole audience would’ve come down with pneumonia the next day. But of course, everyone was excited to check out the new Chapter Music signing. After 20 years, one of the most prestigious and continuously enigmatic labels in Australia went out on a limb and signed their first band based on unsolicited demos. Holy shit did they make the right decision: three high school kids, loaded with shy charm and a love for bands that I wish I could’ve claimed to be into in Year 12 (The Apartments, Go-Betweens, and The Bats) deserved every cheer and clap they got during their slot. I don’t even give a shit if I’ve got whooping cough now – seeing The Goon Sax will be worth every second of my impending plague.

1. DEAFCULT

I am so okay with a band with four guitars. Yeah, you read that right – four. This band has the same amount of guitars as the core cast of Seinfeld has members. And they use these guitars in their entire brutal capacity – nobody was leaving this room without bleeding eardrums and grin planted on their cranium. Fuck, there is so much to love about this band: from the name, to the incredible musicianship on display, to the simple awe generated by the sheer volume of it all. This band is epic, but with all the pretension removed. Watching DEAFCULT is an experience that anyone with even a passing interest in what guitars can do should participate in. Fuck…I think I’ve shit myself just from thinking back to it.

Top 10 Australian Albums of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckon is the best of the best this year.

Albums are probably the most important listicle for me, personally, because they are the full form of creative expression for the artist. A single song, video clip or show can take certain things out of context, bolster aspects for the strongest appeal, and add new factors that increase the credibility. But with the album format, the artist has the range and capability to express themselves to their full extent. Sometimes, that leaves bands boring and stuggling for things to say and at other times there are plenty of gems to be found that represent the artist more fully than the ‘singles’ can convey.

If you haven’t heard any of the following albums, I beg you to go forth and purchase a copy. These artists deserve your attention.

Honourable Mentions: Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders (‘Playmates’), Ciggie Witch (‘Rock And Roll Juice’), Ernest Ellis (‘Cold Desire’), Pronto (‘When You’re Gone’) Andras & Oscar (‘Cafe Romantica’) Jonathan Boulet (‘Gubba’) Bloods (‘Work It Out’), Nun (‘Nun’), SPOD (‘Taste the Sadness’) Donny Benet (‘Weekend At Donny’s’) Collarbones (‘Return’).

10. Lowtide – Lowtide

Both heartbreaking and riveting, Lowtide unveiled a shoegaze masterpiece with their debut record. Flawless reverb was achieved, a statement that is almost never uttered. What’s more, the band interjected excitable gems like “Wedding Ring” and “Held” to prove they could do more than poignant and mouth-watering dream-pop shudders. (Review Here)

9. Straight Arrows – Rising

There’s something rising alright, and its not just the pulse of this record. A 60’s bonanza of loose Nuggets nods with the breakneck pace that we’ve come to adore from Owen Penglis. “Petrified” will never lose its cooler-than-Kim-Deal aura, “Never Enough” will never not be accompanied by headbanging, and “Make Up Your Mind’ will never make you not sweat like a guy who just popped pills in a rave in the Sahara. (Review Here)

8. Yes, I’m Leaving – Slow Release

Four albums in, and YIL have fully embraced their aggressive and blisteringly amazing potential. The way that three dudes from Sydney managed to make music that completely replicated THAT scene from Total Recall is mindblowing (pun intended, motherfucker). Strangling brutality ensues at an unbelievable rate, and the result is must-hear. Yes, I’m Leaving have made punk exciting again. (Review Here)

7. Scotdrakula – Scotdrakula

Melbourne’s Scotdrakula released an album so heart-stoppingly fun and eccentric, you would swear you’re at a theme park run by Tim & Eric. The record was a singles-fest, from the h8r-proof “O’Clock”, to “Shazon” impractically kicking more ass than a buddy cop film from the 1970’s. The yelps, riffs and good times of this album are as addicting as crack, and 10x more fun. (Review Here)

6. Bearhug – So Gone

Bearhug impressed beyond belief with their sophomore effort, lush pools of guitar gliding gently but effectively. For the duration of their second record, Bearhug never failed to impress, creating deep wells of greatness. What’s more, the songs were so packed that every listen brought on a new subtle technique or riff to bubble with joy over. (Review Here)

5. Ausmuteants – Order of Operation

Hilarious, snarky and brutally underrated, Ausmuteants released their third, and best record, this year. Attacking a variety of subjects, from porn, to unoriginality, to just being angry at fucking everything, like if Devo made ‘Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out The Trash’. Beautifully loud obnoxious, like a Geelong-ised Cartman that loves The Monks, Ausmuteants are the punk band that Australia doesn’t need, but the one it deserves. (Review Here)

4. Step-Panther – Strange, But Nice

Going from a band of shredders that liked to make songs about fat kids getting abducted and teenage romance to something that people wanted to take seriously was always going to be hard, but Step-Panther achieved that with their stupefyingly good second record. As naked as open-heart surgery, Step-Panther laid things bare for a mind-numbingly good album, in the truest sense of the word. There’s a journey here, a quest guided by back-breaking guitar solos, bloody doom riffs and stories as wholesome as The Goonies. (Review Here)

3. The Ocean Party – Soft Focus

The Ocean Party have always been consistent, but on their fourth album, they’ve wrought an album of genius. ‘Soft Focus’ is packed with songs that tug on the ol’ heart, yearning lyrics pushing through walls of sound that recall The Triffids at their best. If you’ve ever wanted to immerse yourself in a record, “Soft Focus” is the easiest, and most likeable, of your options, a straight-up pop album masked in woefully gorgeous jangle. (Review Here)

2. Weak Boys – Weekdays/Weekends

Weak Boys, a Sydney supergroup made of Internet Sensations™, Dollar Bar contributors and Craig Lyons, quietly released an Australian classic this year on par with The Castle and Tony Abbott’s budgie smugglers. A diverse smorgasbord of guitar-pop and mope-rock, “Weekdays/Weekends” is fuelled by self-deprecation, glistening humour and a catchiness that rivals Taylor Swift. It is fantastic in so many indescribable ways, an encapsulation of the Australian, or at least Sydney, lifestyle in much the same way The Go-Betweens probably did back before Y2K. From the ode to Rice Is Nice’s Julia Wilson, to the plight of the hungover, Diane Keaton-pining miser (read: everyone), “Weekdays/Weekends” was both the most underrated release of 2014, and one of the best. (Review Here)

1. Blank Realm – Grassed Inn

‘Grassed Inn’ was released in January of 2014, a time when most records are easily forgotten about by the time Year-End Lists roll around. At here we are, December, and Blank Realm still reign supreme. Topping a list on some shitty blog is nowhere near the recognition this album deserves – it is a masterpiece. Off-kilter pop that hurts and burns, burrowing into the emotional conscious with such an ease, you’d think it was a Nicholas Sparks novel. From the droning weirdness of a Spiritualized/New Order hybrid to the embracement of hurt that a Johhny Cash/Robert Smith duet would reveal, a pool of influences are on display, embraced to create something magnificently unique. Wrapped in the keytar-adoring hands of Blank Realm, music is a malleable, smudged and sincerely uplifting creature that restores faith. Superb in every word, ‘Grassed Inn’ is essential for everyone. (Review Here)

Top 20 Australian Songs of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckons is the best of the best this year.

Fuck, this shit is really hard. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do. As opposed to the Best Videos of the Year, and the Best International Records,  this list has taken me days to put together, as I’ve been more indecisive than a newspaper editor trying to decided the front page between a story in which David Beckham and Ryan Gosling have constructed the world’s most beautiful baby, or an exclusive interview with Clive Palmer’s fourth chin. A toughie, that’s for sure.

Anyway, here are the picks of the year – Aussie songs that have made people turn their heads, jaws drop in astonishment, and allow for spines to be frozen over in fascinated horror. The list was torturing me, so it’s been lengthened to 20. Also, songs that were just released as singles got preference over stuff that was on albums, simply because those are coming in the next list! OH FUCK, CAN YOU EVEN WAIT THAT LONG, OR ARE YOU GOING TO CRYOGENICALLY FREEZE YOURSELF UNTIL IT COMES OUT, WALT DISNEY STYLE?

Honourable Mentions: Step-Panther (Parallel) Solid Dad (Kewl December), Jack Ladder (Her Hands), Andras & Oscar (Looking Back), Babaganouj (Bluff), Disgusting People (I Wanna Ctrl Alt Delete My Life), The Stevens (Thirsty Eye), GL (Won’t You See), Wives (Buried), Day Ravies (Hickford Whiz) Dead Set Ledger (Buddy’s Kickin’ Screwies on the SCG).

20. Miss Destiny – The One

A lambasting surge of sound from Melbourne’s Miss Destiny, this song is like Courtney Love being thrown in a blender whilst The Donnas and The Darkness throw down.

19. White Hex – Paradise

White Hex released a badass synth record earlier this year, ‘Gold Nights’. Dangerous seduction was the game, the kind that Michael Douglas would engage in, and White Hex won. Jimi Kritzler, former Slug Guts member, also released a fantastic book this year, “Noise In My Head”, but “Paradise” makes a case for being Kritzler’s no. 1 achievement of 2014.

18. Bachelor Pad – Fried

Bachelor Pad’s garage rock enthusiasm is irrepressible – it is actually impossible to stop them. Sounding like the bratty, cone-smoking kid of Ty Segall, “Fried” is as infectious as those warts that have started collecting themselves between your legs.

17. Postblue – Ugly

Poison City Records had a fuckn’ year didn’t they? Between the release of The Smith Street Band, The Bennies and re-releasing old Screamfeeder records, they found time for Postblue’s “Ugly”. On a record that’s full of affable, catchy rock tunes, Postblue especially stuck out on “Ugly”, an early Jebediah track that went through the digestive system of Steve Albini.

16. Total Giovanni – Human Animal

“Human Animal” makes me do weird things with my arms, but I like it.The bastard child between Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem, Total Giovanni have a feverish cult of personality surrounding their music. It’s alluring, funky-as-swinging-leather-pants music that PT Anderson wished was around for the soundtrack of ‘Boogie Nights’.

15. Nun – Evoke the Sleep

Easily the most ferocious synth-punk released this year, Melbourne’s Nun provided a storming debut LP earlier this year. “Evoke the Sleep” makes the case for these guys to be considered amongst the likes of DEVO and Depeche Mode.

14. Old Mate – Requesting Permission

On the more heart-breaking end of the scale, there’s Old Mate. A member of Bitch Prefect, Pat Telfer’s “Requesting Permission” will make you start jabbering about all the random dust that’s flown in within the last 30 seconds.

13. Hockey Dad – I Need A Woman

South Coast-muzzas Hockey Dad provide a slab of feel-good surf rock that’s lathered affectionately in pop and fuzz, drives school-girls crazy, and is really fucking great. Hockey Dad just need to stop wearing their damn trousers so low, and they’ll be well on their way to success.

12. Dorsal Fins – Monday Tuesday

Pop music so good Madonna would want to rip it off. Beginning with urgent piano and stomping bass, Dorsal Fins turn things into up a dramatic notch for an 80’s singalong straight from the stolen brain of Debbie Harry.

11. Bad//Dreems – Dumb Ideas 

When the opening notes of “Dumb Ideas” ring out, it becomes fairly obvious that Bad//Dreems are going to provide another stomper of a track. A flippant flipping off, “Dumb Ideas” is a confident, surly piece of rock that Angus Young would want to call his own.

10. Liam Kenny – I’m The Ocean 

Fairs fair, when you’re covering Neil Young, you’re headed straight to the top of a best-of list. But when Liam Kenny (Peak Twins, Bitch Prefect, The Friendsters, Roamin’ Catholics) does it, it turns into a squalling guitars, and heart-clutched vocals.

9. Tempura Nights – R.I.P Chix

Brisbane’s on a roll right now, with Velociraptor, DZ Deathrays, Babaganouj and Major Leagues all kicking major goals this year with releases and singles. But Tempura Nights, a lil’ suprgroup, kicked the most amount of ass with “R.I.P Chix” a sweet garage sprinkled with Deal sister guitar and the kind of head noddin’ you’d expect from a Brissy pop band.

8. Peter Bibby – Hates My Boozin’

Peter Bibby is a moper amongst mopers, a bloke who paints his own portrait with a bottle constantly in one hand and an impossibly perfect rolled cigarette in the other, carefree and full of whimsy on the outside, but burning up within.

7. King Single – Restart Newstart Allowance

A certain Bare Grillz/Lenin Lennon member changed things up by providing gorgeous guitar-pop and glassy drum sounds that create only one reaction in all within earshot: *SWOON*.

6. Richard In Your Mind – Hammered

Richard In Your Mind say it best when they swing drunkenly upon the line “Me and my baby get hammered in the daytime”. From their latest record ‘Ponderosa’, it’s a honeyed trip into the tastily warped senses of Richard In Your Mind.

5. The Harpoons – Unforgettable

As far as breaking up goes, no one seems to have hit it on the head harder than The Harpoons. What a bunch of sultry crooners! It’s a jam that’s part Caribou, part TLC, and part doe-eyed wistfulness that feeds upon your heart like a piranha of romantic longing.

4. FLOWERTRUCK – I Wanna Be With You

Speaking of romantic longing, the best band that seemingly came out of nowhere was FLOWERTRUCK. Bursting forth from the same scene that’s brought Big White, High-tails, and New Lovers, FLOWERTRUCK make the descriptor ‘infectious’ cower in fear. They’re Sydney’s own version of Blank Realm. If David Byrne and Bryan Ferry exploded into fit of joyous crooning, amid slashing puffs of synth and guitar, it’d be about as great as this.

3. Donny Benet – The Edge. Feat Kirin J Callinan

Donny Benet. The man. The legend. The myth. There ain’t nobody like this feller in the universe, mainly because there can only be one moustache-weilding, impressively groomed prince of seduction in the world. It’s a Highlander thing. On, “The Edge” Kirin J Callinan and the Don do battle over five minutes of exhausting sexual healing.

2. Weak Boys – Hangovers

“Hangovers” sort of set the staple for what my 2014 was, along with many other budding attendees of whatever Inner West domain Weak Boys have been fortunately dominating. I’ve listened to this song more times than I’ve asked for a jug of Resch’s at the Lansdowne. My intimidatingly large beer belly nods in agreement.

1. Constant Mongrel – New Shapes

In 2014, no single came close to the grisly terror imagined on Constant Mongrel’s “New Shapes”. Melbourne’s most ferocious unleash a bass-driven hellscape that indulges primal and carnal desires. As far as finale’s go, Constant Mongrel went for an ending more taut, nail-biting and mentally draining than the conclusion of ‘Heat’. A blood-caked knuckle-duster ride into a starved post-punk oblivion, “New Shapes” is the kind of thing post-apocalyptic hero would throttle in their car as they ravaged a scorned landscape in survival mode.

Top 10 International Albums of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckons is the best of the best this year.

With part one of the ‘Best of 2014’ thankfully out of the way (musings on the best music videos of 2014 this way), it’s time to turn our attention to the best international releases of 2014. As one ARIA red carpet attendee so accurately put it, Australian music sucks shit, and the only good music comes straight from our brothers n’ sisters of the USA! YEAH! ‘MURICA. And look, whilst The Clean and Cosmic Psychos didn’t release anything new this year, there have been some great releases. From Flying Lotus, to Caribou, to Sharon Van Etten, a wealth of talent was dumped on our ears in 2014. Here’s the best:

Honourable Mentions: Ty Segall (‘Manipulator’), Flying Lotus (‘You’re Dead!’), Schoolboy Q (‘Oxymoron’), Sharon Van Etten (‘Are We There’), The War on Drugs (‘Lost in the Dream’), Mogwai (‘Rave Tapes’), Ex Hex (‘Rips’), Golden Pelicans (‘S/T 12″).

10. Caribou – Our Love

A big toss-up between this record and Ty Segall’s ‘Manipulator’. Both are extensive leaps forward from established artists with near perfect track records. But it was Ty Segall’s inability to self-edit his 17-long tracklist that pushed Caribou into adoration. ‘Our Love’ is swirling, mystifying romance that is impossible to not get caught up in. Plus, “Can’t Do Without You” is a smoothie of Taylor Swift’s pop supreme, Spiritualized’s piercing gaze, and the best production this side of ‘Endtroducing…’.

Caribou is coming to Aus in February for Laneway, and a show at the Sydney Opera House, February 3.

9. The Men – Tomorrow’s Hits

2014 has been the year of The War on Drugs, and whilst ‘Lost in the Dream’ is a superb album, it seems unfairly raised above another working class band. But then again, that’s the curse of The Men. For too long, they have been serving up stone cold cult classics, from ‘Leave Home’, to ‘Open Your Heart’. On ‘Tomorrow’s Hits’, they almost completely erase their sludgy-punk/noisy past, and embrace country and the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that was deemed raunchy, but acceptable in the 1950’s. You can sing the praises of how great the lyrics and progression of “Red Eyes” and “Under the Pressure” are, but in turn, you’d have to say that about “Settle Me Down”, and “Different Days”. As far as Bruce Springsteen-love goes, The War on Drugs take the pain, but The Men preserve the joy. (Album Review)

8. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

Speaking of joy, nothing came even close to the maniacal fun of Todd Terje’s debut album, a perfectly honed magnum opus. ‘It’s Album Fun’ seems like something Dan Aykroyd  and Bill Murray would’ve cooked up in the 80’s, but only if Barry Gibb had possessed their souls.  Deep, sultry cuts of synth-led party jams, Todd Terje never misses a beat. What’s more, he occasionally ramps things up into a sentimental overload, with the Bryan Ferry-assisted tear jerker “Johnny and Mary”. But never fear, Terje’s classic ability to spice things into a frothing paste of swooning, electronic, Cantina-band-esque lushness  is always around the corner, as “Inspector Norse”, “Delorean Dynamite” and “Strandbar” easily attest to.

7. Liars – Mess

Once again, very hard to pick between Liars’ new record and Mogwai’s brilliant ‘Rave Tapes’. Both records had a hard-edged zealot-ness to them, but Liars simply harnessed and appropriated it more. Liars showed they weren’t afraid to plunge into the obtuse, as their insanity and demented nature ramped to new heights. Their music has always bordered on paranoid, but now it became frighteningly so, a schizoid mixture of frightening, alien sounds munching on gnashing lyrics. For sheer animated terror and cartoonish slasher value, Liars’ ‘Mess’ was a helluva album. (Album Review)

6. Die! Die! Die! – SWIM

Hailing from New Zealand, it feels like this shouldn’t be an Internationally Acclaimed Album (TM), but rather one of our own. Alas, New Zealand have different accents and laws, and as such, we can’t claim an act like Die! Die! Die! as one of our own in the same way we can with Russell Crowe.

On their fifth record, Die! Die! Die! maintained the ferocity and biting cynicism that would seem appropriate for a band with their name. The friction caused between the power trio that is Andrew Wilson, Michael Logie and Michael Prain is enough to power a town to the same capacity of a nuclear reactor. As soon as someone can figure out how to harness this, the global energy crisis will be over. Until then, let’s just enjoy the beautifully pure punk explosion that is ‘SWIM’. (Album Review)

5. Shellac – Dude Incredible

The almighty Shellac returned this year, and delivered a brutal heap of music that hate-shamed most of the rock music released this year. Powered as always by Bob Weston’s inhumanly powerful bass, Steve Albini’s serrated lyrics and Todd Trainer’s consistently vile drumming, ‘Dude Incredible’ is a bile-spewing, looming work of the Gods of the music industry. You want affirmation in a world full of 5SOS and neutered indie acts that think a fuzz pedal is a nickname for an electric razor? Chuck on ‘Dude Incredible’, and allow yourself to whisper those same words over and over again, as each crushing song belies your idea of awesome. (Album Review)

4. Eagulls – Eagulls

Depressingly good, Eagulls have painted a picture of a visceral England so much more brilliantly than any Arctic Monkeys record ever could. Their debut self-titled is raw power, in the Stooges sense of the word. It pulsates and breathes, each song a punch in the guts whilst a bellowing drill sergeant insists you surge onwards. It is a sensational experience to put on this Eagulls record, a face-melting treatment of pop smudged and bludgeoned by teeth-baring, white-knuckled frenzy. (Album Review)

Eagulls are coming to Aus in February for Laneway Festival, and play a show at OAF on Friday 30th January.

3. King Tuff – Black Moon Spell

Probably the most perfect party rock record since Judas Priest’s ‘British Steel’ (“BREAKING THE LAW, BREAKING THE LAW, DUH DUH”). Coincidentally, “Headbanger” begins with a line that swoons over a girl’s record collection: “You had Sabbath, and Priest and Number of the Beast, it was heavy metal perfection”. Indeed ‘Black Moon Spell’ excels at just being a really fun record to rock out to. From the Marc Bolan-isms to the Slash-levels of gratuitous guitar solos, King Tuff revels in an  unparalleled love of classic rock with a modern flair, laying down the tastiest jams since Ozzy was in Sabbath. (Album Review)

2. Spoon – They Want My Soul

There’s a reason Spoon are the most consistently rated band of all time – they’re really fucking good at being an indie rock band. Believe it or not, being an indie band is hard. People, like me, will hate you for no other reason other than you have a trendy haircut, which means YOU’RE MUSIC SUCKS SHIT! But with Spoon, there’s nothing to hate; Britt Daniel simply aches with great songwriting. Catchy melodies snared by heartbroken lyrics on “Rent I Pay”, “Do You” and “New York Kiss” are too much. (Album Review)

1. Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else

Ahhh, Cloud Nothings. Over the course of four albums, they’ve gone from a solo project of fun, if not particularly memorable, lo-fi pop jams, to throttling, fearsome snaps of exhilaration. When the Steve Albini-produced ‘Attack on Memory’ came out a few years ago, everyone was thinking that there was no way it could be topped. Enter ‘Here and Nowhere Else’, a challenger with balls and a willingness to show them (that sounds fucked up).

The lyrics of ‘Here And Nowhere Else’ are deceptively simple, but nonetheless powerful. They’re bolstered even more so by some of the most brilliantly scathing music of the last few years. But most memorable is the way Dylan Baldi, a bearded and bespectacled fellow of an unassuming nature, belts and inflects his words with whipping fury. There is something in his throat which carries through onto record that is completely unexplainable. Pair that with vicious ability and concentrated aggression that wouldn’t be out-of-place on a  Fugazi record, and you’ve got Cloud Nothings at their jaw-dropping finest. (Album Review)

Top 10 Music Videos of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckons is the best of the best this year.

First, music videos. A dead medium. Who even the fuck watches this shit? It’s just a band wearing enough hair gel to freeze over hell, and badly lip-syncing to a song no one liked much in the first place. OR it’s a place where blood and gore thrives, and creativity is king. Here are the Top 10 Music Videos of the 2014, but first, some honourable mentions: White Hex (‘Paradise’), DZ Deathrays (‘Gina Works At Hearts’), SMILE (‘BLVD’), and Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders (‘Come On Back This Way’).

BONUS: Girl Talk & Freeway feat. Waka Flocka Flame

It seems strange to include a Girl Talk track in this blog, especially one that features human shitstain Waka Flocka Flame. I’ve never been a fan of kitschy rap that glorifies bullshit. But the visual ridiculousness of seeing a man like Waka sitting on a throne gesticulating with a recently dismembered arm, as Girl Talk beats up people on the street, is something so gloriously gonzo that it has to be included as one of the greatest audio-visual experiences of 2014.

10. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Cellophane

King Gizzard are the Spoon of garage rock – they just release really consistent, good records. Their two records of 2014, ‘Oddments’ and ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’ were pretty great, but the videos are what remained spectacular. “Hot Wax” was a solid contender, but it was “Cellophane” and its 3D video, that captured the cartoon-ish, Hanna-Barbera lunacy that they portray onstage. And if any song was going to act as the perfect vehicle for such a mindfuck, “Cellophane” would be it.

9. The Peep Tempel – Big Fish

The Peep Tempel are great at pumping out bloodthirsty tunes mopped straight from the floor of the seediest pub in town. They’re the kind of hard-working, sweaty band that plays loud, growling with menace. That’s probably why their clip for “Big Fish” is so great – it shows what the morning after a night out at a Peep Tempel is really like. Stumbling, trying to lit half of a cigarette, and raising eyebrows from every passerby.

8. Broadway Sounds – Something Sensual

Broadway Sounds came from nowhere, and released a fantastic EP of tangy and elastic synth jams. Then they released the video clip for “Something Sensual”, a Tim and Eric-esque sketch that just scrapes under the classification of porn. Strange burlesque folks in masks, Melbournite gymnastics and the ultimate ode to the constellations, “Something Sensual” manages to give you the weirdest boner of all time.

7. Blank Realm – Reach You on the Phone

Not only did Blank Realm unveil a 10/10 perfect album, and bring the keytar back from the furthest point of remembrance, but they also managed to release this fantastic video. The video easily re-creates all the billowing emotion and whirlwind romanticism, via a hued pastiche of purples, greens, pinks and yellows, and an abundance of fans (both the kind that blows air into your face, and the array of colourful characters who appear). There’s also the fantastic claymation that recalls the work of Adam Elliot (Harvey Krumpet). If you’re not sobbing at the end of this, you’re malfunctioning.

6. Bistro – DR NO feat Simo Soo

Straight outta Sydney, some of the best hip-hop you’ll hear all year – not only can Bistro provide music that doesn’t sound like something a lad from the North Shore spat onto a napkin, it also isn’t obviously inspired by American hip-hop either. Instead, it sounds thoroughly of its own time and place.

What’s more, he’s got a film clip that accurately depicts the kind of fucked up pace, flow and themes presented in DR NO. It’s frightening and acidic, worse than anything Walt Disney could come up with, a blend of schizophrenic gonzo-ism. When it hits Simo Soo’s rapid fire verse, your hands should be just blistering, white knuckled stubs of flesh.

5. Liam Finn – Burn Up The Road

One of the more feel-good clips of the year is Liam Finn’s “Burn Up the Road”. Yes, he is the kid of Neil Finn, but his style is defiantly his own. That comes through in the alternate (and infinitely cooler) future in which Liam Finn and Kirin J Callinan are best mates, then enemies on a autobahn motorbike ride to hell and back. It’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with more hockey pads and a liquid cool guitar riff.

4. Multiple Man – Persuasion

A lot of bands adopt the VHS approach these days, and it’s becoming a tad painful to see. It started out cool, but when everyone’s doing it, it sort of fucks up the novelty and greatness of it all. But with Multiple Man, they’ve cannibalised and evolved that CHS concept into something that’s both alluring and scary as hell. I imagine watching the bleached colours burrowing themselves into your eyes as the Campion twins purr along to squelchy beats and trickling synths is the same way sensation people felt after watching The Matrix for the first time. When New Order is getting swallowed by The Soft Moon like that to the fuzzy, white-noise head fuck of the “Persuasion” video, something inside of you says “Hey, probably not going to see some shit like that for a while”

3. Client Liaison – Free of Fear

Client Liaison toe a line that can easily cross into self-parody. They’re fantastic, but when you sound like a Prince and Michael Jackson-crossbreed being fed through a fax machine, and interpreted by Olivia Newton-John, there’s a large chance that there could be a mis-translation. However, these guys just write damn fine pop songs, and their videos are works of art. “Feed the Rhythm” borders on being one of the videos of the year, but it’s the grand randomness revealed with straight faces for the comic ages (try patting an alligator in the desert, and not cracking a smile), that ensures that the elaborate “Free of Fear” clip excels at being the No. 1 lavish homage and extension to the greatest pop era in history.

 2. Zanzibar Chanel – Mustn’t Evolve feat. Dungeon Posse

This video was released only mere weeks ago, but when it opens like a soap opera taking place in gangland warfare, and a brutal, eye-popping murder takes place before any music starts, then things look to be pretty amazing. “Mustn’t Evolve” is a torture-cry laden, synth delight, soaked in evil vocals and a cell playground for Melbourne’s finest to rap-squat and jiggle their way into infamy. It’s about as close to a Hunter S. Thompson wet dream as things go.

1. Collarbones – Turning

Not only is “Turning” the motherfucking JAM of 2014, an electronica glitch in the binary code that turns 0’s into Destiny’s Child and 1’s into Aphex Twin, but it has the best video of 2014 as well, for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, it’s got a celebrity cast, including Marcus and Travis of Collarbones, Doug and Russell of FISHING, FBi legend Frances Barrett, Marcus of Siberia Records, and Romi and Matt Banham, the greatest Internet sensations Australia has seen since Steve Irwin. Secondly, it’s directed by SPOD, a name that causes amateur filmmakers to quake in intimidated passion. Obviously, that means the clip is loaded with all sorts of crazy Internet craziness, like Brown Cardigan and Deep Internet Reddit made passionate love on a green screen. And thirdly, it has outfits that make like The Devil Wears Prada moved into a Health Goth store, andn has teh choreography of a ferocious mythological creature being taught to twerk to R Kelly, (I imagine SPOD was the one who taught said beast, via a My Fair Lady “The Rain in Spain” musical number).

Top 10 Australian Albums of 2014 (So Far…)

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There have been an orgy of new Aussie releases this year that have tickled the chin of genius, and caused her many rolls of fat to quake in laughter. But there have been a few that have genuinely succeeded in being goddamn masterpieces. These, are those records:

10. TIED: Nathan Roche-Magnetic Memories + Shrapnel-Tobacco Dreams

I honestly couldn’t decided between these two works of art. One is a laid back bible on whatever happened to come into Nathan Roche’s mind when he strummed the chords, and the other is a deceivingly simple collection of pop songs that make Mac DeMarco look like a rookie. But both Nathan Roche and Shrapnel exceed in making unique statements with their albums that few Sydney bands, indeed Australian bands, could think up over years of training.

9. Rat & Co-Binary

The second album from Rat & Co is a sonic tapestry, something that combines the past with the future extraordinarily easily. Rat & Co cover a million different varieties and spices on this album, from lush synths and haunted child samples in ‘Vocal Insanity’ to the glacial ‘Calculated Movements I, II and III’. But ‘Binary’ remains a solid fixture of the Rat & Co thesis of creating beats that’ll surpass the band. Hopefully, when aliens dig up this civilisation in millions of years, they find this album instead of the new Lana Del Ray record.

8. HTRK-Psychic 9-5 Club

The HTRK story is a tortured one, but that’s probably what helped them to become the strong and identifiable unit they are today. HTRK’s new record moves in honeyed and dance-worthy directions. Although rife with the kind of saddening lyrics that are expected from a HTRK record, ‘Psychic 9-5 Club’ is infinitely less abrasive as previous material, and allows itself to be, dare I say, accessible. Songs such as ‘Blue Sunshine’ ring with an allure that is insanely gorgeous, and create a mystical atmosphere around this record that can’t be overstated.

7. Ernest Ellis-Cold Desire

The first record that introduced me to Ernest Ellis is, by far, also one of the greatest pieces of dramatic indie rock I’ve heard in years. Both intimate and expansive, Ernest Ellis manage to combine the blue collar poeticism of bands like The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile, with the grandness of U2. Akin to their touring mates Shining Bird, Ernest Ellis pull you into their album like your tumbling headfirst down a waterfall of happiness. If only my similes were half as good as the music on this album.But seriously, listen to ‘Black Wire’, your life will change.

6. Dune Rats-Dune Rats

Dune Rats sure did deliver on their debut album. After a couple EP’s and countless cockteasing, the guys who were previously most famous for this have gone n done a full LP. Full of the kind shit that made us fall in love with them in the first place, the album is a singles fest of fun, riotous tunes meant to be shouted back at the band at a show where there’s more joints than people.

5. Bachelor Pad-Dooming Out

Bachelor Pad are literally made of good times. It’s in their blood. If you cut open Huw, you’d get an overdose of fun-fumes and bongwater instead of blood. They’ve packed all that awesomeness into an album ready made to be the go-to party starter. Even if you’re an accountant that works for Telstra, you’ll be able to enjoy this album. Just listen to ‘Fried’, ‘Movin’ On’ or ‘Let Me Go’ and for a few minutes, everything will be centred around total, unobstructed gewd times.

4. White Hex-Gold Nights

Think of a scenario in which Depeche Mode are dipped in a vat of boiling acid, and their steaming carcass’ are used as the bare bones for a revolutionary dark-pop project out of Melbourne, half-headed by one of the guys from noise enthusiasts Slug Guts. White Hex’s second record ‘Gold Nights’ is exactly that, thudding synth work shuddering against shimmering walls of noise and breathless vocals from the amazing Tara Green. The results in this album are simply stunning, the kind of thing Robert Smith wished he’d invented.

3. Straight Arrows-Rising

Although this album hasn’t even officially come out yet, it’s been a steadfast go-to listen for the past month or so. Every time I need something to pick me up before going out, and I’m all Sabbath-ed out, I’m hitting up ‘Rising’ instantly. Packed with tunes that get the blood pumping and the genitals,, you guessed it, rising, the record could not be a better successor of Straight Arrows’ debut.

2. Nun-Nun

Another self-titled debut effort has cracked the Top 10. Man, I’m just fucking crazy, aren’t I? Anyway, the first LP (of hopefully many) from the Melbourne synth-punkers is a shock to the system on par with having Alice Cooper break into your house and throw a toaster in your bathtub. The songs on here range from far-out schizophrenic jams, to tight and ugly lil’ ravers that get up in your face like the most bratty kid imaginable. Overall, the record is unabashedly hectic and unforgettable.

1. Blank Realm-Grassed Inn

So, the best album of this shithole years so far, in my own humble opinion, is Blank Realm’s purple-glazed ‘Grassed Inn’. They created a pop masterpiece, and I will challenge anyone who disagrees to a jelly fight in a bathtub. I say that knowing the full consequences of uttering such a profound statement, but I stand by it. The tracks on this album have been mumbled under my breath on the train so many times, I think they’ve surpassed Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’. Every tune has a poignance and impressionability that surpasses almost every other pop release of the past couple years. The fact that the lyrics are heartbreaking and honest, and Blank Realm come from humble Brisbane beginnings is just a major, major plus. Goddamn, if you have a soul, you will spend the rest of your days listening to this album.

Top 10 International Albums of 2014 (So Far…)

Welcome to the latest episode of ‘My Opinion Is More Valid Than Yours’. For those that don’t know, this is an ongoing series of how my opinion matters more than yours. Pleb. Anyway, in this episode, we will be examining the best albums of yonder that have emerged in the first part of 2014.

10. The Lawrence Arms-Metropole

For a long time, The Lawrence Arms always existed outside of my consciousness. I never paid heaps of attention to them, and the songs I had heard only mildly piqued my interest. But a copy of their new record ‘Metropole’ changed that, and it actually made me believe that pop-punk hadn’t been completely soiled by shitty bands that confused slitting wrists with amazing melodies. On ‘Metropole’, The Lawrence Arms pump out track after track of infectious blue-collar punk tunes, intensely wrapped in headbanger blues. ‘You Are Here’, ‘The YMCA Down the Street From the Clinic’ and ‘Paradise Shitty’ are probably some of the best pop-punk tunes to have existed since the last apocalypse false warning.

9. The Men-Tomorrow’s Hits

It always seemed like The Men were one step ahead of the game. They were releasing visceral, ravaging post-punk and noise music before No Age were even foetus’  (sic). But they always managed to evolve and re-evaluate their position on the musical compass. So for their fifth outing, they went alt-country. Now usually, I’m of the ‘Fuck Alt-Country’ persuasion, but The Men managed to turn the genre into a romper of a good time. Songs like ‘Different Days’ and ‘Pearly Gates’ unfolded with majesty, more blue-collar punk, but this time pushed through a birth canal of harmonica and twinkling guitar.

8. Damaged Bug-Hubba Bubba

John Dwyer is more famous for his Thee Oh Sees project, who released a pretty fantastic album this year as well. But it was Damaged Bug, his new solo electronic-tinged outing that got my underwear soaked. It’s a morbid fantasy, morose guitars drowning under thick, black synth work. It’s like Dwyer’s voice is being held under a lake of caviar, like in that scene from James Bond. And just like James Bond, Damaged Bug emerges on top of his game with a world class entertainment product, full of explosions, exotic locales and evil incarnate defeated…for now!

7. The Black Lips-Underneath the Rainbow

Finally, The Black Lips, one of my all time favourite groups, released a new record. It’s a lot more cleaned up to say the least, but it’s got just the same amount of unruly ruckus that has stained the legacy of true rock n roll. The Black Lips throw down some Southern Comfort, slaughter a few teenagers and strap down their guitars for a full-blown massacre of garage rock on this album. They blow through 12 songs with the dashing handsomeness of Prince Charming on backyard meth. And the result is an insanely enjoyable record.

6. Future Islands-Singles

It seems like with ‘Singles’, Future Islands are finally going to break the mainstream. I mean, they always hung out on the precipice of global adoration, but this new album is so completely orgasmic, it’s hard to imagine them getting ignored again. Obviously there’s the new ‘Let’s Stay Together’ in ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, a song so readymade to be the new token making love track it’s a surprise it’s not on the soundtrack of every sappy romantic comedy being released this year. But the rest of the album continues on the breathless synth route that worms its way into the heart of everyone with even a semblance of romanticism.

5. Mogwai-Rave Tapes

Mogwai have released another epic album, complete with huge, lengthy songs that manage to be more dangerous than having sex with a pufferfish. The notes are razor sharp, trawling through the mire of Death Star-esxplosion level synth work, and Hiroshima-level devastation. Mogwai have never sounded as huge or as carnivorous as they do on this record.

4. Liars-Mess

Likewise to Mogwai, Liars did a 180 on their previous post-rock/noise sound, and evolved to some kind of tortured disco. Songs like ‘Mess On A Mission’ and ‘Pro Anti-Anti’ sound like the Grim Reaper had too much sugar, and found himself a set of decks. ‘Mess’ makes you want to dance yourself into the apocalypse, both terrifying and completely alluring.

3. Sharon Van Etten-Are We There

Unfortunately never got around to reviewing this one, but it is simply too stunning of a record to ignore. In this album, Sharon Van Etten hits her ultimate stride of marrying beautiful, love-torn lyrics with hypnotising music. She’s done it splendidly before, but whereas before it was all about recognising and sympathising with the listener, this time around she actually causes the heart to crack and break under the brunt of her brutal honesty and sadness. When ‘Break Me’ and ‘Our Love’ ring in, you’ll be swimming in a pool of your tears, whilst the anaconda of ‘Are We There’ slowly strangles you, whilst Jon Voight looks on in sick fascination. Sick 1997 film reference, bro!

2. Eagulls-Eagulls

Whilst the overwhelming majority of buzz bands manage to fail, or at least disappoint, on their debut albums, Eagulls simply raised expectations to ear-shattering levels. They shook off their Killing Joke-rip off comparisons, and made the original look like a copy. That’s some Inception-like shit right there. But ‘Eagulls’ greatest strength is putting together enormous, tidal riffs and clashing them with pop hooks that would make Michael Jackson weep. The result is a explosive and spine-snapping record that has contributed to way too many mosh-pit related hospital visits.

1. Cloud Nothings-Here And Nowhere Else

Easily the best record of 2014 so far, Cloud Nothings shun their indie rock/lo-fi past, and scrape the barrel of intensity for a truly visceral and honestly breathtaking record. It’s eight tracks of pounding fury, each song building a giant demolition machine that’s knocks down jaws and floors expectations. ‘Here And Nowhere Else’ is an album that examines loss, fragility, the unknown, disappointment, and separation, and lays these themes down next to some of the most white-knuckle riffery and jarring music heard. Every song on this album is worthy of your attention, a real no-filler, all killer record. Sorry Sum 41, Cloud Nothings actually came through on that promise.

Top 10 Non-Existent Band Names

The band name is one of the most important aspects of a band. It lets people know who you are, and what you stand for. For example, a folk group are probably not going to be called Satan’s Cock Juice, and likewise, a metal band probably won’t be called Cindy Crew & the Exes. Here’s some band names that should exist but don’t, and the world sucks because of it.

1. Iraqi Real Estate

2. The STD Appreciation Society

3. Herpes Outbreak Apocalypse

4. Canadian Putin

5. Cool Fedora, Dude!

6. Goon N Poon (obviously a Guns N Roses cover band)

7. Pedophiliac Uncle

8.The Unfortunate Birth Defects

9. Mum’s Got A Rat’s Tail

10. Flatulence or Fuck Off

Top 10 Signs You’re A Self-Hating Hipster

 

The word and definition hipster is as worn out and confused as a twelve year old obsessed with Insane Clown Posse, but lacking the funds for the face paint, and having to make do with house paint he found in the basement, thus subjecting himself to an insane amount of noxious fumes. Who knows what a hipster is anymore. Is it someone that listens to obscure bands? Someone that wears crazy outfits they picked up at a Vinnies? Or has it come down to being a self-centred, attention-seeking cosmic caricature that hates every moment of their life because of the extremities they engage upon themselves, but perpetuate the image of being a hipster because it’s all they know? If you find yourself nodding along to the final categorical definition of hipster, read on:

10. You create a blog, adamantly demand that it’s a domain

So Tumblr gives you hard ons, with all the cute anarchy slogans and pictures of people smoking bongs. So you get one. But don’t let anyone tell you it’s a blog. It ain’t a fucking blog. This is a serious domain. Not a blog, and certainly not a website. This is where serious issues, such as government corruption, asylum seekers, and political hypocrisy are examined and ravaged. On Tumblr.

9. You use Friendster

Man, fuck Facebook. All those annoying ads, and pictures of high school friends enjoying a normal existence. Fuck. That. You don’t give a shit that Kings of Leon are playing a show soon, or that horny, sexy Christian singles are in your area. And the alternatives aren’t much better. Twitter is such an encapsulation of the ADHD generation, and you don’t have the artistic creativity required for Instagram. So you use Friendster, the only social media service that really cares about its patrons: pedophiles that like to cover all the bases. And you.

8. You stop going to see new bands to find out about newer bands

Wanna go see that new band Disgusting People? You keen for that White Hex show? Shit, Multiple Man are coming to town, we gotta go! Nah, you reply, intently focused on the screen of your MacBook Pro. Those guys aren’t new enough. I only want to see a band play their first show. Of course, when it comes time to see a band play their first show, say DMA’s or Fermunted, you’re too busy scrawling through Soundcloud, looking for demos  of the side project that the guy from Deer Tick said he’d post.

7. You slit your wrists with broken shards of vinyl

Did you hear that new Sebadoh record? Jesus Christ. This calls for some of The Cure and The Jesus & Mary Chain. No, not listening to those songs, that would be counterproductive. It’s time for some good ol’ fashioned wrist-slitting. But razor blades are old-fashioned. You want something that has pain and suffering intrinsically written into itself. Cue shards of goth records. ‘The Weeping Song’ never sounded so good, or bloody.

6. You burn issues of Maximum Rock N Roll and The Village Voice for warmth

Living in New York/San Francisco/London/Berlin/Paris is fucking cold. So you’ll take a leaflet out of the book of your ancestors, and burn shit for warmth. Sure, you might burn down you’re overpriced apartment ($800 a week for a one-bedroom), but the way the flames lick those articles about Sonic Youth is just so tantalising. Also, what else are you gonna do? Turn on the heater? That would be way to easy.

5. You drink moonshine

Pabst Blue Ribbon has become a thing of the past, and chucking down VB’s never seemed quaint enough. Hence the moonshine. It’s a great, homegrown alternative that covers all the hipster bases. It’s cheap, it’s definitely local, and best of all, it’s completely impractical. But it tastes so revoltingly disgusting and no one else is doing it! So yeah, not being able to feel your lips for the next three days and alcohol poisoning are pretty much the only negatives.

4. You exclusively listen to (insert ridiculous obscure genre here)

Former ‘niche’ genres like shoegaze are slotted into the iTunes genre section, it’s time for change.  You can’t have a bunch of obscure genres that you pick and choose from-that would be ignorant. No, you need to exclusively listen to something that has about four or five bands attached to it, and is known by only you and those four or five bands. And you can’t listen to anything else. Brazilian post-afrobeat? Sure. Japanese proto-piano-punk? Yeah, that’ll do. Prog-trance with flourishes of big beat, from the late 1980’s Berlin scene? Get fucked, that’s more mainstream than wearing a Joy Division shirt at this point.

3. You use scraps of Vonnegut Jr. and David Foster Wallace as tissues

Being a self-hating hipster is hard, what with all the hate and hipsterisms, so there’s a lot of crying involved. But fuck that normal tissue bullshit. You’ll sit in your bathroom, and tear out pages from ‘Cat’s Cradle’ and ‘Brief Interviews with Hideous Men’ to dry your salty emotions. Because strong men also cry. Strong men. Also. Cry.

2. Listening to Nothing aka music that just hasn’t been created yet

You scrawl through the urban jungle, watching your wasteland be populated by chumps that only want to watch/listen to The National, or Schoolboy Q, or Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Not even the sacred realm of old-school hipster safety deposits are safe, as it seems like every twelvie now owns a Soft Boys record. So you’ve taken a leaf out of old mate John Cage’s book, and starting listening to nothing on your headphones. But it’s not really nothing-it’s the sound of music that hasn’t been created yet (TM).

1. You spend all your money on flannels and fake eyewear

Coachella? Meredith? A case of Resch’s? Sorry guys, you’ve spent literally all your money on flannels and fake eyewear. And look, there’s an admitted downside. You’re scrounging around for cents just to make rent, and you’ve had to give up on luxuries like food and utilities. Even your iPhone has become a glorified torch light, because you don’t have the money to pay for the phone bill. But on the plus side, you’ve got a closet bursting with cross-patterned wool shirts and glasses that don’t help your eyesight.