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.

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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!

 

 

New: Witch Hats – Deliverence

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THEY’RE BACK! They said it couldn’t be done, but new Witch Hats has landed in our laps, and fuck me, doesn’t it sound great? Although they’ve mellowed since their earlier noise offerings like “Ma Birthday”, this new stuff still has plenty of kick and snarl to beckon your attention.

“Deliverance” pulsates with power, starting small before unleashing the fireworks at the end. It’s got an irrepressable swagger, the kind that you’d find adorned on the blemished, bruised but never beaten bloke at the back of the pub who’s obviously got a few stories under his belt. Every time that chorus comes round, there’s another blow to the chest, a flick behind the ears, an electrical shock to the pleasure centres in the brain. When that final boom is heard in the last few moments of “Deliverance”, aided by the usual Witch Hats cacophony, you can’t help but want to detach your jaw so you can sing just that little bit louder and bawdier.

Deliverance will be coming out on July 1st on Behind the Beat Records.

New: No Local – Thinking the Wrong Things

12977220_1549345078693189_582633036424664137_oI’ve had the severe displeasure of growing up in suburb that doesn’t have a decent pub for km’s. You have to drive for twenty minutes before a schnitty special even crops up, and even then, you’re looking at a price that would make the average punter balk. So, when a band that comes around with a name like No Local – a two word phrase that sums up the existensial dread felt by every Australian lacking their home away from home – you’ve gotta dive in head first.

On top of having the most spot-on band name in recent memory, No Local is also the new vehicle for Zac and Snowy from The Ocean Party, which means that even though “Thinking the Wrong Things” is their first song, it’s a bloody good one. Lush pop that features whirring synths, a grumbling bass line and Snowy’s instantly recognizable breezy voice.

No Local are playing a few shows at the Tote this week: Thursday night as part of Shining Bird’s “Helluva Lot” single launch (also w/  Lowtide and Glaciers) and on Friday as part of the Zone Out album launch.

Video: Hideous Towns – Don’t Forget

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I’ve been sick as a dog the last few days – lungs filling up with black fluid, mucus pooling around my nostrils, the hint of death looming closer and closer – that sort of thing. When you’re in a state like that, it helps to have some really beautiful music to hold onto; something slow and warm, brimming with comfort. Essentially, you want the audio equivalent of a nice soup and herbal tea combo.

And this new one from Hideous Towns should sort you right out. Heavy dollops of reverb, a very gentle, purring riff, and some gorgeous vocals that soar over the top. It’s both hugely expansive and intimate, like a Snuggie stitched with shoegaze instead of phenomenal thread count. If you’re under the weather, the electric blanket is missing, and you’re searching for a reason to live in the face of an invasion from the sniffles, look no further.

New: Holy Balm – Fashion

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A few months back, Holy Balm showcased a new single they’d been working on in the Triple R Live Studios. Since seeing that video, I’ve been hounding for the release of a tangible single or record, something that isn’t a dodgy Youtube rip front ended by 30 seconds of jazz.

Well, today is the day – this otherwise uninteresting Wednesday marks the official release of new Holy Balm material. “Fashion” is a song that springs alive on the back of warring synths, one squelching like its trudging through a muddy field, the other buzzing like an organ on ecstasy. Both circle and bite, only coming together underneath the gorgeous vocals of Emma Ramsay, who’s ethereal voice stands high and mighty.  Altogether, it’s weird, and cool, and decidedly alien, especially when that climbing staircase of sax enters the picture. It forms Holy Balm as the house band for an intergalactic discotheque –  Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes hopped up on D.A.F. records – where the only surefire thing is that Holy Balm are far too cool and otherwordly to possibly have come from this planet.

“Fashion” is the first single from Active, the forthcoming sophomore album which will be out in August on Chapter Music.

Album Review: HANNAHBAND – Quitting Will Improve Your Health

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If you’re going to come out of Retirement, it better be for a damn good reason. But hey, I reckon giving your album a title like Quitting Will Improve Your Health will suffice. After reading that title, I rolled around for a decent twenty seconds before my smoker’s cough came through and sent me into a fit of weezing. Is that ironic? Ah, who gives a shit, let’s get onto this album!

There’s a significant step up in the recording quality of Quitting… as compared to HANNAHBAND’s previous albums. Each song sounds a bit more rounded, and the tape hiss that swarmed around their previous releases is less apparent, maybe even completely absent. At first, it’s kind of weird – that radioactive glow gelled so well with their songs! But then, you get warmed up to the high-fi step up, as the songs on Quitting… push through with extra force and spit than ever before.

Opener “Burn It Down” is a perfect example; the vocal push and shove between Nathan Martin’s guttural diatribe against Marnie Vaughn’s soaring chants of “Burn It Down” makes for anthemic listening. Second that motion with the likes of “Bath Arms”, “Grave Semantics” and “29er”- short, sharp and direct tracks that draw equally from Shellac as they do Break Even. The songs wrestle on a bed of throat-burning screams, arse-clenching guitar, and stomping drums that threaten to split open your skull. Each snare is one step closer to a permanent migraine, which is really the only way a drum kit should be played.

Although HANNAHBAND have evolved from their smaller mom + pop operations of before, and transformed into something even more brutal and thrilling, it doesn’t mean they’ve completely left their emotionally raw roots behind. Simply put, they’ve brought those intimate moments to the forefront and then shredded them to pieces through the most exhilarating and howling music that they’ve prepared yet. It makes Quitting… a tight and succinct record, with plenty of punch and drive to see you through multiple listens within the same sitting.

Quitting Will Improve Your Health is out now via Blackwire Records and their own Bandcamp (name your price download) Also, if you haven’t seen ’em live yet, do it. Actually, it’s kinda hard to believe that anyone in Sydney still hasn’t seem HANNAHBAND play before, because they’re essentially the Blackwire Records house band. Anyway, if you’re on of these miracle people that hasn’t had their mind blown yet, HANNAHBAND will be launching Quitting… on the 4th of June. Support comes from Nervous Habit, Canine and Snape, AND the whole evening doubles as a sixth birthday party for the world’s greatest venue!

New: Unity Floors – Moving to Melbourne

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Gus Hunt and Henry Gosling were two of the first people I met in Sydney who were in a band. Actually, not even just a band – they were in Unity Floors, one of the coolest and funnest bands that exists in this city. This was the same band that wrote deadset hits like “Nice Fit” and “Holy Hell”. And they were really cool in person as well! Fuck, my 18 year old head was spinning faster than when I downed my first tequila shot a week prior.

Fast forward two years and many Unity Floors shows later, and my heart is in my mouth when I see that the new single from the band’s upcoming Life Admin record is called “Moving to Melbourne”. Piss off! No way! What? Why? Is Sydney seriously about to lose two of its’ biggest legends/best songwriters? Just because the rent is astronomically high and Circle Pit broke up? C’mon, think about all the money you could win at the casino!

Actually, “Moving to Melbourne” has more to do with the cliche of moving to AUSTRALIA’S ROCK CAPITAL™ than the actual decision to move there. It’s that rash move that accompanies recent pain and/or heartbreak, and deciding to fuck it all off and start afresh.

Luckily, Unity Floors aren’t actually pissing off to embroil themselves at nights at the Tote and debates on flat whites vs. espressos, and will be sticking around with their GBV-inspired songs for a few more weeks. Catch ’em playing for free at The Union on May 28th, with Us the Band and Abigail and Daisy, or June 1st at Rad in Wollongong with Solid Effort and Abigail and Daisy.