Album Review: Gooch Palms – Introverted Extroverts

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Getting in on the ground level of a band that you go onto love is both good and bad. On the one hand, you get to see them develop from their scrappy beginnings, going from struggling with a couple of chords to unprecedented levels of success. On the other hand, there’s that risk of the band developing further and further away from what made you like them in the first place – The Westerberg Effect, if you will. This is the crossroads that I find myself staring at with The Gooch Palms, one of my all time favourites – on their second full-length album, where they going to make a Let It Be or an All Shook Down?

Newcastle’s Kat Friend and Leroy McQueen have made extraordinary progress since their humble beginnings as proud Novos flogging a Ramones covers EP on Bandcamp; it’s been crazy to see them go from support slots in Frankie’s Pizza to the Enmore Theatre. Their success is well deserved – since relocating to the USA and amidst a near constant touring schedule, their stage presence, (which was already full of Beavis butt tattoos and Twisted Sister covers) has been honed into them realising their potential as one of the most reliably entertaining bands to have called Australia home. So yeah, the live aspect still rules, but what about the new album? Have the Yanks diluted that ragged garage pop spirit that drew in so many eager punters like myself?

NOT AT ALL! Are you kidding me? You doubting piece of shit! Why the hell would you think the Gooch Palms would suddenly lose their magic? Listen to “Tiny Insight” above – that song fucking rules. That track is the equivalent of a 2 Dollar Tequila Night – two minutes, and you’re covered in sweat, shivering and intoxicated, delirious on the elixir of something sweet and jagged at the same time.

Fans of that driving, gonzo punk that propelled The Gooch Palms to cult status will not be disappointed – Introverted Extroverts is full of songs like “Living Room Bop”, “Eat Up Ya Beans”, “If You Want It” and “Sleep Disorder” that showcase that distinct Gooch Palms sound. Cutthroat riffs and throat-shredding chorus’ pure bred for an adoring crowd to belt back into the faces of the two disciples of the Church of Reatard. It’s colourful, inhibition-obliterating stuff – alcohol, with none of the calories and twice the flavour.

However, what’s really precious about Introverted Extroverts aren’t the mad dashes of lunatic garage but rather the ballads that sit pretty amongst the insanity. The songwriting chops of Kat and Leroy have been significantly expanded – although their debut Novos had highlights in the slow-burners “Don’t Cry” and “You”, but the fourth quarter half court shots of “Long Gone” and “Don’t Look Me Up” force you to look at the Gooch Palms in a whole new light. Not only can these guys slow their songs down, there’s none of the holding-up-a-flickering-lighter-anthem strength that coated their debut’s softer moments – these songs are naked; songs of stand alone incredibility.

I don’t think you’d ever apply the word ‘matured’ to the band with a frontman that constantly relives Andrew Johns’ Greatest Hits every time he’s onstage, but I don’t think I ever want The Gooch Palms to ‘mature’. I want them to keep that rawness, that screeching element that forces anyone to drop what they’re doing in fear and excitement. But I also want them to build as a band, to never put out the same records twice. And in Introverted Extroverts, the Gooch Palms have done that. They’re not the same band that I first saw – they’re better.  The Gooch Palms have evolved in the way that you want  a band to involve: without abandoning their roots but building upon them. And in that, they’ve swayed from the Westerberg Effect and landed squarely in the Husker Du Hypothesis: keep the fuckers pleasantly surprised with more the same unexpectedness. Mission accomplished.

Introverted Extroverts is out now through Gooch Palm’s own label Summer Camp Records, and available here. They’ll be swinging back through Australia in a few months time, playing Oxford Art Factory on August 20th, tix here.

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Best o’ the Best: Thigh Master + Multiple Man + Prag

Thigh Master – Songs To Wipe Your Mouth To 7″

Tenth Court put the ‘vanity’ in vanity label, amirite? Dude releases stuff by Dag, Mope City, Wireheads and a bunch of others, and has the freakin’ gall to put out his own band? On his own label! Where has the dignity gone?

Look, that can be overlooked, considering that Thigh Master are, I believe the term is, “fuckn’ sick aye”. They’ve just put out a three track 7″ of pop songs in the truest sense of the word. You’re basically tuning in for Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” as its being choked in hiss and fuzz, a pop tune that’s been sunburnt and caked in Brisbane’s dustbowl economy. “Age of Concern” is Yo La Tengo being driven several keys out of tune, “Flat City” is Q And Not U slowed down to a funeral pace, with mopey lyrics to match, and “Red Woons” is just oozing, slushed guitars piercing wrought, dying breath vocals. Spooky stuff.

Thigh Master are coming down Sydney way for a HUUUUUGE show at Blackwire. $10 will get you TM, Bare Grillz, King Tears Mortuary, Clever, Exiles From Clowntown, Roamin’ Catholics, Point Being and Table.

Multiple Man – Persuasion 12″

This one’s for all the freakin’ lovers out there, man! Take your sweet bride, pick her up, throw back that veil, and then engage in some grisly and fucked up coitus ripped straight from a blending of the that rave scene from the second Matrix, and the stuff of Patrick Bateman’s nightmares. Multiple Man can be the soundtrack to that. This shit is dark and irresistible, New Order being slashed by Jack the Ripper, Depeche Mode being force-fed amyl as The Soft Moon watches on in demented glee. Also from Brisbane, this 12″ has been a source of torture for me, as I have waited with baited breath for one of the best songs of 2014 to finally get a wax release.

Don’t like freaky shit? Fuck off, this is for the strange trying to mutilate their minds with the world’s greatest cocktail of gothic synths and drum machines that could kill the Terminator. This 12″ is deadly, and if you’re under the age of 12, I would suggest sticking with a digital copy. The vinyl is probably more razor-edged than Shredder’s claws, and kids shouldn’t play with sharp objects.

PRAG – S/T

PRAG are fucking sick, and I’ll pull some sick telephone pranks on anyone who begs to differ. They are brutal hardcore, music for the deranged generation. It’s Cosmic Psychos in a cage match with Boris, claws out and haunches raised. It’s loud and aggressive, purpose built for destruction. Sludgy, evil riffs pound relentlessly through their veins with whiplash intensity, a source of willpower and insanity. The noise is excruciating, and the guitars careen like they’re the Millennium Falcon dizzily dodging its way through an asteroid field. Going into this album with anything less than the expectation of having your face melted off is folly. PRAG are ugly, creatures of the Black Lagoon that woke up each morning to smash a copy of ‘My War’ over their heads and use the shards to eat their cereal made up of Darkthrone records. PRAG are relentless, pushing with a fiery willpower, a just-got-out-of-bed look that all the punk kids are trying to achieve these days. Don’t fuck with PRAG, or you’ll end up with metal up your ass and four songs of decapitating fury bleeding you dry.

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)

Punk Rock Album Reviews: OKAY COCAINE + Champion Lover + Sewerside

I wish I could give each of these albums a review of their own, because they seriously deserve the minimum 500 word treatment. Unfortunately, uni is testing me with assignments, and when I say that, I mean that they’re bending me over a table and fucking me raw. No lube, no nothing. Kinda like these records that you should definitely get amongst:

Okay Cocaine-Free Coke EP

Besides having a fucking killer name that makes all the 80’s fiends perk their heads up from their rolled up Benjamin and pile of 90% baking soda, Okay Cocaine are actually pretty cool. They’ve got a rock n roll sound that is like The Lime Spiders of The Stems being rolled up and smoked by a Newtown leather jeacket bought fresh from Cream on King.

The songs on the ‘Free Coke EP’ are played loose, shrill and reckless, with the kind of stocky swagger that Ned Kelly could respect. Every lyric is shouted at the top of one’s lungs, and every musical note rings with potent glee. It’s like whiskey was soaked into every crevice of the EP, and then the band watched with baited breath as the frontman stood over the top with a lit match, ready to watch it all go up in flames at any moment. Like their contemporary compatriots Doc Holliday Takes the Shotgun, Okay Cocaine revel in the threat of exploding at any moment, and their best instances are when they’re on the verge of exploding (see: ‘Sunglasses’)

 

Champion Lover-Champion Lover

If Children Collide, or Eagulls, reverted back to their original EP, and then got massacred in noise, they’d sound a lot like this stellar fucking album from Toronto’s Champion Lover. This album is slathered in genius, a triumph really. It pummels with the kind of excitement that used to fuel McLusky. One song in, the pants-shittingly-good ‘Read My Mind’, and you’re hooked into the cult of Champion Lover. The rest of the album is an unflinching work of harrowing, blue-collar, cigarette-pumping punk that’ll tie you down and not let you leave until you’re another disciple.

 

Sewerside-Don’t Want You to Lose

Sewerside epitomise punk. Not necessarily in the ‘1,2,3,4! Fuck Abbott…’ sense of the word (although anyone in their right mind would be of that opinion). No, Sewerside are punk rock because it’s just a couple chords from a broken guitar, being played with the kind of exuberance and charm that would make anyone wet at the knees. Not weak, mind you, but sopping bloody wet.

Ty Segall and Jay Reatard are the obvious reference points here. Sewerside just want to do some lo-fi cruisin’ and pluck the shit out of their guitars. It’s not that hard, as obviously showcased, but when you’re having this much fun with it, and coming up with a couple killer fuzz buckets along the way, then what’s the damage? Besides this noise coming back to haunt you, and becoming the soundtrack to a couple loose nights out, there’s no harm in enjoying the fuck outta ‘Don’t Want You to Lose’.

 

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.

Album Review: White Fang-Steady Truckin’ For the Summer

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You wanna know a band that’s as real as the $treet$? Motha. Fuckin. White Fang. Yeah, this band is fucking crazy. This is a band that’ll sell it’s granma’s cooch hairs for a crack rock, and not think twice about it. This band makes Heisenberg look like their little bitch. White Fang will sink it’s proverbial teeth into your neck and drag you to a secluded clearing in the Portland woods and feast on your still living carcass. Why? Because White Fang are badass. (Editor’s Note: White Fang do not condone cannibalism, they just want to let you know that their music has a badass mind of its own).

You’d be able to listen to this album anywhere, but I feel like there’s a few choice scenarios in which this music would be best appreciated. Scenario One: Smoking meth with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, and then flipping on ‘Wanna Ride’ on your old tape deck, because you really wanna impress the dudes from Breaking Bad with a kickass tune. Scenario Two: Talking to Hunx and his Punx, arguing about how he is the only good bubblegum-punker right now and then flopping out ‘Bad Boys’. Scenario Three: Going to a Who concert, and when they bust out ‘Baba O’Riley’, stick in your earphones and play ‘Loud Ones’ instead, because it’s got a better keyboard riff. Scenario Four: Koala wrestling to ‘Great Weekend’. Scenario Five: Surfing a tsunami of blood with Freddie from Nightmare on Elm Street, because that’s the only thing that’s gorily awesome enough to match the guitar squall of ‘Go See California’. Scenario Six: Time travelling back to the 80’s and becoming the musical director of Hawaii Five-O, and making the them song to that show ‘I Want A Party’. Scenario Seven: Jay Reatard comes back from the dead, wakes you up and wants you to play a song for him, and so you obviously pick ‘FTW’ by White Fang. Scenario Eight: Reflecting on your bummer-ass life, and needing a song to reflect your melancholy mood, but you’ve listened to The Smashing Pumpkins too many times recently, and your Cure CD is in the car, so you put on ‘Tomorrow’.

Oh, look at that. We went through the whole album, and picked out plausible, everyday situations the average White Fang fan finds themselves in, and matched a track from the new album to each situation. Wasn’t that incredibly convenient? Although none of those situations will ever realistically occur for you, don’t let that dissuade you from listening to this album, Like I said before, you can enjoy that shit anywhere. Yep, ‘Steady Truckin’ For the Summer’ is pretty fucking great all round, even if you don’t have access to Hunx and His Punx or a Hawaii Five-O time machine. So, instead of wasting your valuable time trying to build an inplausible machine/stalking Hunx, go buy the cassette, or download the album here, and use the power of imagination to visualise hanging out with the late great Jay Reatard.

White Fang rulz!

Album Reviews: Elvis Christ + the Wrong Man + Cobwebbs

So, Long Gone Records just sent me their trifecta of new albums. That’s fucking awesome. All the albums are better than peanut butter brittle slathered in cocaine. That’s fucking awesome. And all the albums came out on cassette. That’s fucking awesome. However, I am pressed for motherfucking thyme! I got exams and study to do, and very limited amount of time to review! I feel like the whitest poet, probably because I am, I just didn’t know it! However, quick change of format: I’m going to do all three albums on one post, instead of a post each. So, instead of 500 words, it’ll be 200 for each, or something. Is that ok for you? Is that cool? Do you mind? Get fucked, I’ll do what I mow-forkin’ please.

ImageElvis Christ’s ‘And So It Shall Be’ is what I imagine Brad Pitt’s premature ejaculation is like: its heavenly while it lasts, but its still too short, and leaves you wanting way more. Then again, bragging rights. Lustful Pittian dreams aside, its unruly, tongue wagging garage rock n roll. It spits in your face, cleans it with a dick rag, and then laughs because now you have spit and jizz on your dome. Sucks to be you, doesn’t it? Nah, because you just got to listen to the rip-roaring ‘And So It Shall Be’. ‘You Want It All’ features one hell of a fucking guitar solo (think Dave Grohl being fucked by Satan), and ‘I Just Wanna Go For A Ride’ recalls Thee Headcoats and similar hellfire meth bands, which is a really good thing. Like, really good. Super good. Fuck it, that song makes me want to dance. Elvis Christ truly deserves to retain his moniker, and he does the other two guys called Elvis proud. Smiley face!

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There’s a lot of manly stuff out there. I mean, you’ve got Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Joe’s Bag of Buttpluggs (please let that be a real band). But what happens when you get the Wrong Man? Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 classic tried to answer that question, but instead of wasting a couple hours of your life, just listened to this self-titled record from Brisbane. This shit is German porn levels of filthy, drenched in layers of bedroom fuzz, and caked in grimy Lux Interior vocals and swagger. Serious props on the opener ‘Virgin on the Hill’ which manages to be both cacaphonic and lustful at the same time. The Wrong Man make music that will make your mother weep and Danzig jack off. Isn’t that a deliriously beautiful image?

ImageI actually knew about Cobwebbs before I was given this album. I had frothed over their previous shit, which I’ll aptly describe as noise rock thrown in a blender. So, imagine my surprise when I find that the band have traded in their awesome brand of shitty death guitar for synths and darkwave. However, I’ll have you fucking know, this isn’t some pissweak New Order imitation. Do you like Buzz Kull, HTRK, Nite Fields, or like minded Australian dark electro bands that drill into your skull? You’ll definitely dig this shit. Cobwebbs have got atmosphere down pat to a creepy Cheshire Cat smile, all knives and no stabbing. It’s like an hour long horror movie buildup that leads to a transvestite vampire party. I especially dig on ‘Elevator’ and ‘Slow It Down’, which are tracks that show an alternate Scooby Doo future in which the whole gang gets slaughtered by a swamp monster. Pretty fucked up, right? You should definitely check out this album.

So, that’s my quick summary of some really, really great shit. I hope you enjoyed it, and want to go buy those records. If you’re the kind of Average Joe who enjoys your Britney Spears with a side of shit, then it’s probably not for you. The rabid Glee fans, top-button wearing faux hipster scum and pinger munching fake-tanned hunks of muscle probably aren’t going to be lining up either. For the rest of you, go shell out three bucks each for these awesome records. I think you can do without your McDonald’s Breakfast Taco for a day. Go here for Elvis Christ. Go here for the Wrong Man. Go here for Cobwebbs. Long Live Long Gone!

Album Review: Peace-In Love

ImageIn recent times, there’s been a whole bunch of British bands that are channeling scenes of olde. Palma Violets are doing 80’s British pub rock quite well and Temples are blowing up with Madchester written all over their tracks. Well, Worcester’s Peace are perfectly reminiscent of all the better Britpop acts, and not just in the vague one-word band name’s either. Blur, Oasis and Pulp are super involved in the sound of Peace, and for the most part, it sounds pretty great.

Unfortunately, Peace don’t get off to the greatest of starts. Opener ‘Higher than the Sun’, which shares the name of one of Primal Scream’s better songs off their best album (furthering my Britpop affair hypothesis), seems flat and uninspired. The chorus, assumedly meant to be a full on flush of colour and sound, seems to me to just mimic that to the best of it’s abilities. However, with the slaughter of that over, Peace really pick up on their next few tracks. The caterwhauling, careening ‘Follow Baby’, future Vampire Weekend single ‘Lovesick’, and the Foals-meets-Babyshambles ‘Float Forever’ are all tracks that, despite maybe rubbing shoulders with influences a bit too much, are able to stand out as strong and enthusiastic.

Things continue in the vein of pop-friendly, very British rock that, as mentioned before, is hard to separate from early Oasis or later Blur, but still highly enjoyable nonetheless. ‘Waste of Paint’, ‘Delicious’ (which features the best guitar solo on the album), and ‘Toxic’ are all tracks that infect you with the rock bug. It’s hard not to imagine that these songs will become popular favourites, ready-made stadium anthems. And don’t confuse ready-made as some sort of formulaic system either; these songs are concoctions, carefully constructed but in a way that makes the band closer with the audience. I call it the Pete Doherty effect, and it’s evoked pretty damn well on ‘In Love’.

For all the short titled songs, dripping vocals and plucky music, Peace are actually a good band. At times, they can come off as a little too commandeering of influences, and other times they can wander directionlessly on a song, but for the most part, Peace are a fucking good Britpop revival act. Fuck it, they’re a good band all round. If you’ve heard ‘Parklife’ or ‘What’s the Story Morning Glory’ a few too many times, try ‘In Love’, I guarantee you’ll love it. For those that have been soaked in Nirvana fumes for their whole lives, then ‘In Love’ will provide some welcome relief, as did the first wave of Britpop bands. And if your looking for some nice, modern powerful rock full of swooning vocals and honeyed guitars…well, Peace couldn’t be a more perfect band to fit that category. If you can ignore the fact that ‘Waste of Paint’ has nearly the same chorus as ‘She’s Electric’, and just enjoy the overwhelming presence of ‘In Love’, then you’re fucking sorted for your Monday morning pick-me-up on the way to your shitty office job. Sorting files has never been so spectacular!

Peace are doing a tour of Australia in September, and support is coming from the Brissie lads Millions, who are pretty killer live. They’re playing OAF on Saturday, 21st September, and I’m going to be there.

Album Review: The Prophet Hens-Popular People Do Popular People

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In research for this album review, I typed in The Prophet Hens into Google to see what would come up. Hands down one of the most hilarious stories appeared before thine eyes, and regardless whether The Prophet Hens (the band) were inspired by The Prophet Hens (apocalypse hoax), everyone has to know this story. It goes like this: in 1806, the year you might recognise as the year when fuck all happened, a woman in Leeds, England, experienced a horrific event. Her beautiful chickens were laying eggs of which the words ‘Christ is Coming’ were inscribed. It was later found out that the woman had let the chickens lay the eggs normally, then etched on the apocalyptic words with acid (assumedly, she took some herself) and then re-inserted them into the chooks fun parts. What the actual holy fuck is a phrase that can be associated with that story, as well as The Prophet Hens debut record ‘Popular People Do Popular People. They don’t call me the king of segues for nothing.

Anyway, as you might have alluded to from their less than subtle title, The Prophet Hens is a band that indulges in their loser affiliations. They roll in, spoil and gulp down the average, but in a swift and totally Shyamalan twist of events, turn it into ball-busting great music. Opening track ‘High Times’ is proof, a delicate, sunny, Hills Hoist of a song. Dual female-male vocals bounce off each other as they swing around and around and around and around (repeat the process of this enjoyable swinging sensation for the entire 2:52 duration of the song).

The sunny, good-time vibes are a continued musical progress, as the jangle-pop of The Prophet Hens gets only  janglier and poppier for the following five songs, all of which are highly agreeable and brisk. The format seems to stay within a relatively consistent mix of dry guitar, cool played-off bass lines and drum parts, and clean vocals. It’s like Sunday in audio format, or the Kiwi version of any 80’s college band, albeit not completely forgettable. Gentle, rollicking, something you could both show your Grandma and listen to whilst under the influence of a Hunter S. Thompson arsenal of drugs. However, it isn’t until ‘A Filled Page’ that things get markedly different or shift, with shades of doubt and crying vocals shrouding the otherwise super upbeat Prophet Hens.

The final two tracks on the album, ‘Green Blades of Grass’, and ‘Red Blonde’ are the record’s best, as they showcase a complicated side to The Prophet Hens besides just jangly fun times and daisy guitar that is on show for the majority of the album. ‘Green Blades of Grass’ is a lost 1980’s track from 1980’s MidWest America, and ‘Red Blonde’ implies some downer sorrow that is unfortunately not more tapped into. It’s mournful verses and conjoined sighed passages are absolutely stunning, like the world’s final sunrise or the last episode of The Wiggles.

So yeah, although The Prophet Hens could be accused of not really moving around much on their record ‘Popular People Do Popular People’, they could never be criticised for being boring or indulgent. They simply play what’s natural to them, a blend of weird kid jangle and adoration for beautiful pop music. And the result is a damn fine record. A damn fine record indeed.

‘Popular People Do Popular People’ is an album not recommended to say when you are drunk, because you will look like an idiot. However, it is an album recommended to buy, or at least stream from The Prophet Hens’ Bandcamp. It’ll be out on the 5th of August, on Fishrider Records, the same lil’ Dunedin label that put out the awesome, awesome, awesome Opposite Sex album last year. If it this trend of fuckable New Zealand music continues, then the Kiwi’s will be beating us at rugby and alternative music. C’mon Australia, get your shit together.