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.

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Album Review: WOODBOOT – CRIME TIME

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The other day, I’m at the pub, chewing on a Resch’s and hating myself, when I hear some bloke from the other end of the bar utter these blasphemous words: “Yeah, nah, look, punk’s dead, mate”. I look down, full of shame and pity, harrowed to the bone. When all of a sudden, I’m inspired by the iTunes artwork of “Nerd Holocaust” by Brisbane’s WOODBOOT (it should be mentioned that when you’re drinking at the pub by yourself, it’s best to chuck in your earphones and stare at your iPod, so it looks like you might actually have the mirage of a social life). An epiphany strikes me like one of Zeus’ bolts. I’ve been shot through the heart, and WOODBOOT are to blame. Sure, I could tap the bloke on the shoulder, and engage in a friendly debate on the merits of punk’s existence roughly 30 – 40 years after its inception. Or I could re-enact the front cover of my new favourite punk album, and bludgeon the shit out of some unlucky bastard, whilst yelling “PUNK IS ALIVE AND WELL, LISTEN TO WOODBOOT YA DAFT FUCK!”. I’m recreating the bloodiest scene from Drive, (Gosling = Saar), and entrails fly across the walls like a teenager emptying their guts after a six pack of cruisers. I stand – triumphant, ecstatic, victorious – a copycat killer motivated by a punk record as vicious as my crime. Now, I’m sitting in prison, facing life with no parole, orange jump suit still reeking of death.

 

That story is complete shit, but if there were a new record out there that could inspire a violent murdering spree, it’d be WOODBOOT’s CRIME TIME. There aren’t too many records like this in Aus anymore, who place extremity over everything. I don’t mean extreme in terms of literal action, like a black metal band burning down a church, or GG Allin pissing and shitting his way through a set. I mean it in the sense that WOODBOOT care about one thing – inciting a reaction, which they achieve violently. CRIME TIME charges for its running length, and constantly finds new ways to keep injecting the listener with excitement. Punk records have a habit of burning out, but WOODBOOT churn with intent, on a mission to seek out that one kid in a million and push them to their most bombastic state possible.

Songs like “Nerd Holocaust”, “Suicide Solution” and “I’m Gonna Push You In Front of A Car” channel that classic punk snarl that made bands like The Victims, Dead Boys and Angry Samoans. Any fat is trimmed so that only the barest, bloodiest, and unrelenting of sounds remain, chainsaw guitars coupled with the sort of stabbing shouts that define release. After finishing with CRIME TIME, there isn’t just exhaustion, but buckets of sweat and the need to find even more punk music that sounds exactly as brutal as this. If you’re in need of a musical enema, to clear out all the shit clogging up your record collection, do yourself a favour and chuck on WOODBOOT.

You can grab CRIME TIME for a name-your-price download, or you can grab the record from your local.

New: Braves – Get It Right/Dropout

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I know I just spent a little while there ragging on about how bands in Perth have a propensity to rely a little too much on grunge, but all that grouchiness disappears when I listen to Braves. Not that they’re grunge per say – although they utilise the verse-chorus-verse formula, their sound more closely mirrors the garage punk of Wavves and FIDLAR, minus the cringe.

Braves are one of the first straight up rock bands I’ve heard in a long time that make me want to jump around and have a good time. There’s an authenticity and eagerness to the music that Braves play, particularly their two newest tracks, that makes me want to catch the next Tigerair over to Perth and give ’em a high-five and shout ’em a Resch’s. Poor bastards don’t have God’s drink over there, it’d be the least I could do. But right now, I’m too busy shredding on an air guitar and grinning from ear to ear, so a sojourn to Tame Impala Inc. will have to wait.

PREMIERE: Hobby Farm – Wrong Things

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Garfield was a prophet: Mondays suck. There’s that sudden realisation that all the harm you’ve inflicted upon yourself over the weekend will suddenly and inescapably catch up to you, and turn a mere 24 hours into a lifetime of pain. Unless you’re me. Shit, Mondays are great for me. I do nothing. I wake up around 1 in the afternoon, hang out with my dogs, catch an episode of The Sopranos, and then have a 4:30 FaceTime Conference with the fellas. Technology, amirite?

But this Monday’s different, because there’s the first look screening of the debut single from Hobby Farm. Yet another side-project from a member of The Ocean Party, it’s beginning to look like The OP’s are trying to organise some sort of mass acquisition of Melbourne night-life, where the entire jangle pop ensemble stages a show at every venue in The Great Art Capital of ‘Straya. Listen mate, you’re either going to an Ocean Party show, or you’re going to the casino.

Not that it would be a bad thing – amongst Ciggie Witch, Velcro, Cool Sounds, Jordan Thompson, Snowy Nasdaq, and a couple others I’m probably forgetting, you can check out Hobby Farm, probably playing a quiet but warmly received set in the Tote front bar. They kick off with their first song “Wrong Things”. Mournful guitars warble next to bruised sax and Zac Denton duets with an unnamed woman on a nostalgia-stained sermon. He’s dressed as a professor, with a glass tumbler filled with the finest wine in the supermarket to match; he’s reminiscing, as all good lecturers do, on his woes. His brother looks on from the corner of the room, shirtless and covered in sweat from all the iron-pumping and kidney punches. The song ends, the tears well, the crowd stands, the room erupts.

And that’s what I did on Monday.

Hobby Farm’s debut album is out now on Osborne Again, in the old USB format (TECHNOLOGY!) or Name-Your-Price on Bandcamp.

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

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Audio visual pleasure, courtesy of:

Death Bells – Come On Feel the Come Down

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

Crepes – Size Of Your Town

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

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

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

Broadway Sounds – Shonky Man

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

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

New Aus Punk: Destiny 3000 + Cereal Killer + Woollen Kits + Nailhouse

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Destiny 3000 – Destiny 3000 7″

This record has been on the burner since the second best Fast and Furious movie was released (Furious 6, for those keeping score at home). Destiny 3000 haven’t played all that many shows either in recent history, which is a shame, because they will make your ears bleed and your heart swoon. But putting all of that aside, they have finally released a record, and it is worth all the droning Vin Diesel monologues about family in the world.

This 7″ is just so fantastic in every aspect. Coated in grime, guitars battling for supremacy, and an overall disaffected garage pop aesthetic that puts Destiny 3000 next to Australia’s premiere shredders like Angie, Miss Destiny, and The Friendsters. Although only four songs long, and attached with a mild uncertainty as to if Destiny 3000 will stick around to record anything more (knock on wood), this 7″ will, at the very least, form some sort of legacy for a deserving band.

Cereal Killer – Track 1

Barely nudging past one minute, Cereal Killer put a whole lot of other punk bands to shame in a deft swoop of snotty, thumb-biting vocals and flailing guitars. It’s dine and dash punk, a flurry of distraction action that gets you all exhilarated…”What’s happening?”, “This is great!”, “I hope this song goes on forever!”…before finishing in the same amount of time as a the life cycle of a mayfly with a heroin problem.

Woollen Kits – Girl With Heart 7″

Not really a punk band, but you’re too far through the “article” (and I do mean that in the loosest definition possible) to stop now. C’mon, I believe in you. Besides, you’ll like Woollen Kits, I guarantee it. They’re easily the most underrated band in their genre of strummed guitar pop…how the fuck can a band release two perfect albums and still not be gracing the cover of the New Musical Express with fancy haircuts and a hyperbolic headline*? How are Woollen Kits not best mates with Johnny Depp?

The time will come when Woollen Kits are rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s sharpest dressed, and botox treatments are referred to as “Lazy Tuesdays with Alan Rickman”. Until then, feel free to crash into some more-of-the-blessed-same pop via the brief but welcome Girl With Heart 7″.

*The irony of me calling out someone on irony is registered.

Nailhouse – Nailhouse

Straight outta Newcastle is some punk of the demonic variety. Nailhouse share a lot in common with FANG and Flipper, preferring to indulge in feedback-laden drones of nihilism than any sort of accessibility scheme. Built from steely glares and throat-crunching cries, Nailhouse climb on top of their own precarious lodgings of noise, only to fling themselves off. It’s music that could only come from a forgotten town like Newcastle, where the cultural cringe is worn on the sleeve. Frayed and loaded with loathing, Nailhouse’s “March” stands out strongly as a despairing track on a despairing tape from a despairing band in a pretty alright city.

Video: Girl Band – Paul

As a song, the new Girl Band track is…pretty good. Not amazing or anything, but pretty spot on, especially once they escalate into their standard havoc-wreaking around the 3 minute mark.

But the video…..fuuuuuck, these guys have created a video and a half. This isn’t some footage of a couple mates messing around, or a half-assed attempt at “vision”. This video is incredible.

It’s like if that film “Death to Smoochy” was made with some real balls. A disappointed father, a jealous son; a romance gone sour, a creepy comrade; drugs and alcohol fuelling a job that stopped just short of achieving a dream. This clip says a lot in a short amount of time, and as Girl Band limber up, flex their muscles of noise, and finally unleash, the ticking time bomb that is our protagonist has exploded, a fiery storm of black comedy.

New: Crayon Fields – She’s My Hero

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It’s been a while between drinks for Crayon Fields, specifically six years. Although frontman Geoffrey O’Connor has been steadily pumping out hits like “Her Name On Every Tongue”, there’s still that yearning for some signature Crayon Fields pop. Some lulling guitars, mild shoegaze vibes, seduction incarnate – mmm yeah, been missing that for a while, hey.

It’s pretty fantastic that Crayon Fields are back. I loved their ‘All the Pleasures of the World’ record, but just like Mercy Arms or Panel of Judges, it seemed like Crayon Fields were doomed to never live past 2010, and a whole swathe of newly 18 year olds were deprived of their shimmering pop. Luckily, they’ve returned with these brief swooner, just under three minutes of unabashed, unashamed love. If any midnight love-song dedication DJ’s out there are fiending for some new material to get insomniac housewives lusty over, look no further than “She’s My Hero”.

New: The Ocean Party – Guess Work

It feels like every 15 minutes there’s something new to post from The Ocean Party camp. But instead of going for the King Gizzard route, The Ocean Party remain consistent in their excellence. There will be no 10 minute jizzy-james – there will only be greatness for miles around.

For their fifth record, The Ocean Party have thrown a few potential spanners in the works, a change to the formula. The boys have moved out of their ramshackle bedroom studio, and taken shelter in in an actual professional studio. WHAT THE SHIT? Can they do that? Are they allowed to do that? There must be some sort of stipulation in their contract, right? FOR FUCK’s SUCK, THE WHOLE DOLEWAVE UNIVERSE IS FALLING APART! WHAT THE HELL IS A WHITE SUBURBAN KID MEANT TO BELIEVE IN NOW?

Well shove this down your trembling throat, because “Guess Work” is tremendous. With opening lines concerning murder, saxophone intrusions, and a triumphant guitar solo, it feels like The Ocean Party are finally going to become the bouncers at the jangle-pop nightclub. Congrats, guys, I’ve got a VIP section waiting for ya.

The Ocean party are coming through Sydney to launch the single with Beef Jerk! It’s happening at The Vic on the Park in Marrickville on the 25th of July. BE THERE!

 

Best Albums of 2015 So Far (That I Missed)

I’m human. Believe it or not, the pinnacle of dickhead that is I am prone to fucking up. I can only pump out one horrible 500 word review every now and then, and as such, have missed out on some pretty incredible records. Other sites offer up the #content, sure, but I feel bad that I haven’t been able to personally deliver a small, spelling-error-stuffed, profanity-laden review of some amazing records that I think others should hear about. For some reason or other, I never posted about them at their time of release, and I’m genuinely bummed that I didn’t offer my two cents whilst the iron was hot, or whatever the phrase is. So, basically, here’s the good stuff that I missed that you shouldn’t:

1. The Living Eyes – Living Large


2. Screaming Females – Rose Mountain

3. Heart Beach – Heart Beach

4. Love of Diagrams – Blast

5. Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper


6. METZ – II

7. Jess Locke – Words That Seem to Slip Away

8. Dollar Bar – Hot Ones

9. Twerps – Range Anxiety


10. Marlon Williams – Marlon Williams

11. Sharon Van Etten – I Don’t Want to Let You Down EP

12. Grenadiers – Summer

13. Clowns – Bad Blood


14. Blur – The Magic Whip

15. Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter

16. Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

17. Superstar – Table For Two


18. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

19. Kangaroo Skull – Palace of Nothing

20. Oh Mercy – When We Talk About Love