New Punk: Red Red Krovvy + GROTTO + Heads. + Pairs

New year, new you, new punk rock saturation

Red Red Krovvy – New Year

There’s nothing quite as tough as the sound of new Red Red Krovvy. Listening to these guys is like being punched by Charles Bronson or Patti Smith – it’s got a touch of the old school, but it hasn’t lost any of the industrial strength.

GROTTO – Scumbags + Trash Rash

GROTTO, formerly Fermunted, are like Circle-Jerks and The Casualties being thrown in a blender. Their music is equivalent to peeling the skin off your skull with a blunt wedge. It’s brutal as fuck. Get around it.

Heads. – A Mural Is Worth A Thousand Words

In much the same way that Narrow Lands and Yes, I’m Leaving have throttled our being with insulting good punk music slowed down to a sluggish and gut-empytingly good bludgeon, Heads. are here to belittle our senses. They’ve come forth with this track “A Mural Is Worth A Thousand Words”, which is the equivalent of having one’s head crushed by Godzilla’s foot.

Pairs – Grandparent

Pairs may be defunct, but they’ve obviously got a whole shitload of unreleased music that would be blasphemous to not check out. Queue up ‘Grandparent’, an EP/Album of material that has to be some of their most blisteringly addictive ever, released through the always excellent Metal Postcard Records. Just when “Blue Dress” made us all think they’d hit a peak, “Gig of the Week”, “Loose Strings” and a buttload others show that Rhys and F can still speedily blitzen all expectations. Pairs might be down, but they’ll never be out.

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New Australian Music: Tempura Nights + White Lodge + Birds With Thumbs + Melon Melon Melon

There’s been a shit-tonne of new Australian music that needs to be covered. Well worth checking out these artists, all hailing from our loins of the earth, ‘Straya.

Tempura Nights – Brainroof

Isn’t the skull more the roof? I don’t know, I’m not a surgeon, but I do recognise that Tempura Nights are fucking sick. Created from a bunch of sick Brisbane bands like Go-Violets and Major Leagues, “Brainroof” opens up like a lost Kim Gordon track, incredibly slick vocals raining down on a morbid guitar sheen. It then devolves into shuddering 90’s guitar pop, both sparkly and dark at the exact same time. “Brainroof” takes what makes both Go-Violets and Major Leagues so pleasent to listen to, and then chucks it into an alternate universe in which the Deal sisters grew up in Brisbane and are miserable. So, basically the average Northern childhood. ZING! BOOM! SYDNEY ROOLZ!

White Lodge -Technicolor Visions EP

Straight off the bat, “Laguna Negra” establishes that White Lodge have been listening to a bit of The Cramps early shit since their last 7″ was released in September last year. It’s a riveting ramshackle ball of saliva that goes on snowballing at a sickeningly giddy pace. The rest of White Lodge’s new EP resounds with a similar sort of black magic, reaching the heights of voodoo exuberance. Listening to songs like “Sands of Graveyard Atoli” and “Switchblade Blues” sounds like you’ve stumbled upon a cult that only listens to The Black Lips and The Growl, and eats their meals from the members of bands who’ve lost their potency. This EP is repulsively awesome.

Birds With Thumbs -Ran

As long as there have been teenagers, there have been snotty teenage bands making rock and roll music. Birds With Thumbs join the long line of bands of mates who know a few chords, love guitar solos and giving the finger. Their new single “Ran” highlights a band that could very easily rise to the top of their pool. They’ve got the same kind of immediate rock catchiness that bands like Chicks Who Love Guns and Horror My Friend have, and they even have the potential to huck a logie in the direction of success sludged out by British India and Children Collide.

Melon Melon Melon – EP

It’s weird to think there’s a band out there with almost nothing to be known about them, and they already have killer tunes like these. Although they’re scrappier than a three-legged Terrier that’s grown up on a dog-fighting circuit, and have a name which turns even the most cunning linguist into a tongue-tied dipshit, Melon Melon Melon’s songs are bloody brilliant. They hold that same suburban cowboy aesthetic as Lower Plenty, Chook Race, and Fully Ugly, dustbowl guitars rebound against awkward 20-something musings. Songs like “Chemist” and “Domestos” are perfect lo-fi jams that could soundtracked any Terry Zwigoff/Zach Braff movie ever.

Video(s): Lower Plenty + Orlando Furious + Roland Tings

Sure, you don’t have the mullet of Al Monfort, or the bleak majesty of Orlando Furious, or the electronic chops of Roland Tings. But you do have these videos:

Lower Plenty-Life/Thrills

The title track from Lower Plenty’s sophomore album is the standout, a yearning heart-tugger if ever there was one. ‘Life/Trills’ makes you want to curl up and regret every decision you’ve ever made, regardless of the negative or positive connotations. The way the lyrics are delivered are pangs of guilt in audio formation, ensuring the tears march out on time. Forget about those salad days, boys, they’re gone forever!

That’s not exactly the sentiments delivered in the clip, which is one of the most heartwarming stories of the decade. Three Aussie-as-a-kangaroo’s-balls mates get caught in the crossfire…of love. However, through the power of Melbourne Bitter, which has the same strength as TEN GREYSKULLS (!), old mate is raised from the tomb and the three best friends carry on to the park with sputtering beers in hand, and more shit-eating grins than a diarrhoea fetish party.

Now that, my friends, is how you make a goddamn music video.

Orlando Furious-Fresh

Phre$h is the word that comes to mind when describing Melbourne’s Orlanda Furious. So they made a song and a clip about it, featuring the Phre$hest dog gamn tights/swag chaing combo this world has ever seen. What starts with some convulsions on a junkie mattress turns into King Swag, a purple-suited audiophile pimp, who changes the way our young protagnist looks and feels about the world: Str8 gangsta. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, just watch the clip

Roland Tings-Floating On A Salt Lake

MMMMM new Rolan Tings. Finally, some electronic music that doesn’t assualt your ears with jumping ADHD trap or bring your faith in humanity crashing to the ground with some dick-measuring mashup of sounds that were never meant to go together for a reason.

Roland Tings is here with the smoothest electronic beats, providing six minutes of blissed out atmosphere. He really is a child of Jon Hopkins, breathing air with his minimalistic approach, learning that less is more. Watching the man work on his lonesome in this video makes you appreciate how well he makes his music dance, the subtleness taking full flight. Every time you listen to this Roland Tings song, a DJ Snake fan dies 🙂

Album Review: Straight Arrows-Rising

In a parallel universe, Straight Arrows never exists. As a result, everything sucks. Sydney continues in a vein of ignorant, cliched and ultimately placid indie rock and alt-country. It becomes a city of mediocrity, where absolutely nothing dangerous or exciting happens. The scum, filth and riveting thrills of the Sydney we know, are gone. Everything takes on a shade of grey, and everyone becomes boring as batshit. Life is as bleak as opening up some Cocoa Puffs and finding out that cockroaches have eaten the whole thing, leaving no high-carb, chocolate-stained treats for you to enjoy. In summary, this alternative timeline sucks balls.

Now, I’m not saying that Straight Arrows are the be-all-end-all of Sydney’s, or Australia’s, alternative scene. But you’d be a fool to ignore their status as one of the first cult bands to emerge and have a substantial effect. They’re 2010 debut album was a tour-de-force in having fun, being an obnoxious teenage wanker, and not taking yourself seriously. It was the refreshing breath of air that Australian music needed, and caused a shit tonne of amazing bands to form and follow the standard that Straight Arrows set.

Four years on, and Straight Arrows release their sophomore record, ‘Rising’. Now, I’m not sure what they’re rising to. Because once you’ve reached the top, were do you go? Everyone that knows the Straight Arrows name loves them. Besides conquering the adoration of the continent, Straight Arrows have pretty much risen to every other challenge. I guess it’s in reference to our (read: ‘Straya’s) pulse at the prospect of the amazing material on this album. Or maybe it’s a dick joke. Who knows?

Anyway, the material on this album is just as exploitative of fun times as ‘It’s Happening’. I’d like to say that Straight Arrows have ‘matured’ and ‘grown’, and taken a The War On Drugs stance to music, enveloping the listener in a cool, crisp glaze that shatters their expectations, and lulls them into a new take on life and love. Fuck that. Straight Arrows are pushing boundaries, breaking down the walls of fuzz and generally fucking shit up. They’re destroying my eardrums and I love it. I want more. Straight Arrows are a Class A drug, and Owen Penglis is my dealer.

To prove my point, you could check out any song on this album. Seriously, do a random search, and the song you land on will force your legs and arms into the caterwauling dance manoeuvre known as the ‘Drunken Don’t Give a Fuck’. You’ll cringe, laugh, spew and punch a cone all in the same movement. Where’d you get weed from? That’s all part of the mystery.

For example, ‘Never Enough’ is a good place to start on Buzzfeed’s 10 Reasons Why Str@ight Arrowz Rule (I assume Buzzfeed’s editorial board consists of 12 year old boys who haven’t figured out how to jerk off). The song is a blast of rock that has more punch than Muhammad Ali using your chin as a speedball. There’s giant sloppy riffs that crash upon you like you’re tied up underneath an avalanche. And the chorus is a fucking brutal thing made to be screamed at your ex-partner from the window of your apartment, throwing assorted clothing at their slowly disappearing car.

Likewise, ‘Make Up Your Mind’ gets the unruliness started within seconds, trawling the brains of listeners through a chemical experiment of partied-out guitars, bleeding drums and lovesick, fed up lyrics. It’s the kind of thing that Romeo would’ve made if he’d listened to The Stooges and The Soft Boys, and had stuck around with Juliet for more than a second, and gotten sick of her, as that egomaniac inevitably would have.

And then there are the songs on ‘Rising’ that make out like they could’ve been ripped from lost compilations of the 60’s. ‘Nuggets for the Perpetually Interesting’, as they were probably called. Anyway, tracks like ‘Don’t Call My Name’, ‘Can’t Stand It’ and ‘Without Ya’ have the aesthetic of a New York loft that Patty Smith used to own, that’s been filled with the love-children of hippies and punks. They’re romantic tracks soaked in propane guitar and lit with teeth-rotting garage rock.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. There’s shit to do, like watch The Big Lebowski for the 74th time, drizzle pepperoni pizza with peri peri sauce, and think about what goes on behind the heads of people that replace the word ‘to’ with ‘2’. Seriously, what the fuck happened there? But what can be said with total and utter certainty is that Straight Arrows have officially and irrevocably created an album that will never stop being fun to shout, scream and throw up to. ‘Rising’, like its predecessor, will be the soundtrack to many boozed up, fucked up and turnt up nights in the future. Party on Straight Arrows, party on.

‘Rising’ comes out through Rice is Nice Records on Friday, June 13th. That’s next fuarkin’ week! WOAH! AND! They’re playing Newtown Social Club the night after (Saturday, June 14th). If you haven’t seen Straight Arrows, your life isn’t complete. If you have, you’ve probably already gotten yourself a ticket. TV COLOURS! AND SPIRIT VALLEY! ARE PLAYING SUPPORT!!!!!

Album Review: King Tears Mortuary-Asleep At the Wheel of Fortune 7″

Reviewing an EP that goes for 9 minutes is kind of like my love life-fleeting, brief and finished abysmally at an all too quick pace. What’s left when the music finishes its spin is a dark and dismal disappointment that the record won’t keep spinning, and the happy-go-lucky times are finished. But it was a damn good time when it lasted right?

King Tears Mortuary are a Sydney based group who make ‘nice’ rock ‘n’ roll music. There’s some hefty guitar strumming, some dainty drum bashing and sing-song vocals that make Best Coast  sound like a racoon coughing up a lung. Goddamn smokers.

Anyway, although King Tears spin away for an unfortunately short 9 minutes, they make every millisecond count. They dance daintily with more melodies than a Sound of Music marathon, but with the aesthetic of a solid night had in the Inner West of Sydney. These are the sorts of good times soundtracked with Nike/Jeans combos, Tooheys New Longnecks, decks upon decks of cigarettes,  and an abundance of inside jokes being made.

As for the music itself, they switch between Bloods-ish bubblegeum punk ditties (‘Flippers’, ‘Face Blind’) that stick to the roof of your mouth with sickly sweet infectiousness, and droning guitar pop songs. ‘Grease Trap’ is the stand out, a song that sits there and taunts you into dancing. It’s got a crunch and gravelly sugar-coat that reminds of Vivian Girls. Try and defy the laws of pop on this one-it’s not possible. So don’t you dare try. Seriously, I don’t want to be charged for the hospital bills/existential crisis that’ll follow if you defy the pop genius of this song.

Also, that’s not to say that the other tracks on here aren’t thrashing honeyed masterpieces. ‘Too Many Sam’s’ has a bouncing, energetic riff that comes straight from the ballroom scene in Back to the Future. And ‘False Pregnancy’ is a rushing, breathless garage rock n roll showcase, blasting through fuzzy riffs and mumbled lyrics like KTM were disciples of the 60’s. Which they probably are. So…there’s that.

Basically, King Tears Mortuary have made a damn fun record. And despite my grievances with the short time frame, it works in there favour. They get in, they get out, and boom, you’re left wanting more than Freddie Mercury. Greedy dead bastard.

So, in the sense that King Tears Mortuary pique the interest, they succeed, and a little bit more. They pique the interest, take it out for a nice brunch, and build up it’s expectations to the point where interest thinks there might be a healthy and sustainable relationship to come from it. But alas, ‘False Pregnancy’ finishes, the record stops, and interest waits with baited breathe for the LP.

New Music: The Babe Rainbow + Barbituates + Jonathan Boulet + Beach Pigs

Today’s amazing Australian/NZ tunes is brought to you by the letter ‘B’. The letter ‘B’ is often to used in the descriptions ‘Badass, ‘Bloody’, and ‘Blistering’, which describes the following tracks. Enjoy.

The Babe Rainbow-Secret Enchanted Broccoli Forest

I seriously don’t know what to make of the new Babe Rainbow single title. It’s the kind of thing you’d make up when tripping tremendous balls and staring at a plate of veggies. However, the song itself is pretty redeeming of the title, with some strong Eastern intrumentation, and theremin-wielding taking place. No wonder The Babe Rainbow are on Flightless, King Gizz’s label.

Barbituates-Meet Modelle

Brisbane’s dark-electronic juggernauts Barbituates have released a new EP’s worth of suspended, alien material. It’s something that would probably play over a Being John Malkovich epiphany or something. There’s dripping wet sounds that revolve at a glacial pace. They’d probably calm down the baby from the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but other than that, they pretty much just tantalise and freak out the average listener. Good stuff!

Jonathan Boulet-Happy Vacation

Jonathan Boulet used to be the go-to indie rock guy. When you wanted something that screamed ‘POP!’, all you’d have to do was chuck on ‘A Community Service Announcement’. However, this new track of his, and the past couple he’s chucked up on Soundcloud, are pointing in a much stranger direction. It’s like Seekae getting swallowed by a lo-fi Godzilla. I’m not sure if this is just a muck-around thing, or if it’s completely serious, but it’s engaging to say the least.

Beach Pigs-Night Surfing

Here’s some more of that gorgeous garage rock, this time by New Zealand band Beach Pigs. It starts out with a fuzzed out, dredged-from-the-gutter bass line, before crashing into a taught guitar line, and coming into full guitar pop territory. It’s a cool track, something that you’d put on for the drive home after a really great arvo surf.

New Aus Music: Charles Buddy Daaboul + Lucy Cliche + Rat Columns + Martyr Privates + North Arm

Ahhh, old mate ‘Straya. Sun is shining, birds are chirping, crocs are snapping the limbs off wayward tourists. Just another day in our sunburnt country. No better way to enjoy it that with some quality chunes.

Charles Buddy Daaboul-Toohey’s New

If anyone can ever recite the opening monologue to this song word for word, I will straight up submit myself to them for the rest of my life. Although I’m a Resch’s man myself (I use the term ‘man’ incredibly loosely), this ode to Australia’s second greatest beer, and by that extension, past-time, is damn glorious. Set with a glazed guitar line, and some clucking percussion, this song works so well in its simplicity. Goddamn, the way that this man wrings the blues from his guitar will never cease to amaze me.

Lucy Cliche-Shallow Shadow

When the new single from Lucy Cliche starts, sounding like a submarine being birthed into deep space by a pregnant Roland, you just fucking know it’s going to be an absolutely killer tune. Dark, robotic terror gets rained down in electronic shards, more or less disintegrating the listener with sheer glare. If this song were a potion, it’d be super deadly. Like, King Cobra deadly. That’s like, the deadliest you can get. But seriously, this song is all kinds of amazing, and my shitty jokes aren’t doing it justice.

Also, Lucy Cliche is playing support this Friday for Lace Curtain at Good God…woah. That’s going to be insane.

Rat Columns-Another Day

Out of the doom and gloom comes Rat Columns. David West is one part of the aforementioned Lace Curtain (!), and he’s also a mighty contributor to the jaw-droppingly good Total Control. On top of that, his solo project takes its queues from neither of those. Rat Columns is steeped in the lore of guitar pop, both of the Flying Nun and Matador origins. Recite that back to yourself in a David Attenborough voice, and tell me I don’t write like a goddamn scientist. I dare thee!

Anyway, new track ‘Another Day’ is like if Elliot Smith had a good day. Very tranquil and kind of delicate, but slowly building towards a strong pop aesthetic that bands like The Stevens and Dick Diver contain when they’re at their best.

Lace Curtain are playing this Friday at Good God (LA DE FUCKING DA, THAT’S OLD NEWS) and Rat Columns are going to be appearing at the jizz-tastic R.I.P Society 5th Birthday Party at the Opera House this Saturday, along with every other good band ever (Housewives, Woollen Kits, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, FUCKING FEEDTIME)

Martyr Privates-Something to Sell

You can’t get more lackadaisical than a Martyr Privates track. This new one of theirs is no exception, featuring a drawl that’d put Mick Molloy to shame. It’s a guttural, rotten toothed, gum-infected ode to fucking up relationships, and holy shit is that applicable to a lot of people. Pretty similar escapades going on here as the aforementioned BWBB and Woollen Kits, the drawl and fuzz-centric guitar cocoon are what make this song a good fucking listen. I’d give the track 3 thumbs up if I were a mutant.

North Arm-Hollow Days

I’ve got a pretty killer headache right now, probably because Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ has been ringing in my ears all day. But North Arm’s ‘Hollow Days’ searches to rectify that, or at least, ensure that the pain subsides to a somewhat endurable level. ‘Holloy Days’ is very beautiful, which is to be expected from an ex-Firekites member. It’s pretty enchanting stuff, and the fact that it helped the kraken-awakening headache mellow to gentle-kick-in-the-temple is mighty reassuring.

 

 

New Aus Music Pt. I : TV Programmes+ Little Desert + Hailer + Yeo + The Jones Rival

Nothing more Australian than watching Neighbours, chilling next to Uluru in the desert, hailing a cab at 2 in the morning on the way home from the Cross,saying ‘Yo’ to your inner city homies, and getting all riled up as the number 6 jersey of Jones kicks the winning goal, and cements his place as an eternal enemy.  As you might have noticed, those are vaguely related things in relation to the bands about to be reviewed, as suggested by the title. So, after an incredibly complicated introduction, here’s a bunch of bands that are making some sick music in our backyard.

 

 

TV Programmes-Combuster

First up is the vague Neighbours reference. TV programmes are something we all watch, and the Sydney band should be no different. Unless your one of those strange mongoloids that stubbornly refuses to move on and watch a fucking screen. C’mon man, conform to societal expectations! All the cool kids are doing it!

Inside TV Programmes debut EP is a swarming organism of laid back pop, and it’s a goddamn beautiful sight, like witnessing the Grand Canyon for the first time, or seeing Tony Abbott get kicked out of parliament (fingers crossed guys!). The music is mostly a murky shoegaze assortment, but there’s less feedback and reverb than, say, Sunbeam Sound Machine or Day Ravies. Nonetheless, this band capture the same sweeping but frantic romantic gestures of those band. Right now, TV Programmes are constructing some delicate harmonies (a la Bearhug) and need to just continue that vein to earn all the money ever.

 

 

 

Little Desert-Ashes 7″

Now for a turn of the macabre and melodramatic, it’s Little Desert. These guys are very similar to Harmony, doing crazy deep things that make me feel things that my therapist would describe as ‘progressing towards true emotion’. Fuck that! I want to be tucked away in sombre depression, hiding away my feelings from the world and pretending I don’t care! I don’t want some random band from Melbourne that features one of the most sorrowfully beautiful voices I’ve heard to make me empty salt water from my eyes!

But seriously, ‘Ashes’ is fucking heart-wrenching and beautiful and dramatic, and if The Drones had to have a spiritual sibling, Id be totally fine with having Little Desert take up the mantle.

 

Hailer-El Cosmico

Hailer are a band from Sydney that sound either sound like Arcade Fire at their best, or Dead Moon watching a Dukes of Hazard marathon. Seriously, each of the six songs patiently alternates between either the former or latter category. ‘Cold Outside’ could’ve been taken from Ernest Ellis’ new album, and ‘Symbol and Allegory’ wouldn’t sound out of place on Beck’s ‘Sea Change’ record. Meanwhile, ‘Crucify the Commodore’ and ‘Machine Music’ revel in noisy rock territory, sliding between psychedelic hopelessness and full-blown in-ya-face 80’s pop-punk rock (Husker Du, The Replacements). While Hailer might not be breaking any new ground, it’s still good to see a band that can play a bit of rock music well.

 

Yeo-Kobe

The new one from Yeo is a jilted orchestra away from being a Phillip Glass-meets-Little Dragon-meets-Friendly Fires clash. It starts out like a highly strung electro-pop tune, but slowly manoeuvres into a soulful and genuine track that bounces and vibrates as hard as the strings with which the song samples. It’s a surprise that Yeo isn’t a household pop name, but I guess that’s the way Melbourne likes to keep ’em.

 

The Jones Rival-Uncle Frank

I’ve never had an Uncle Frank, but I can imagine that he’d be a good bloke. Plays footy, has a killer handlebar moustache, and can down a half-case of VeeBosses before regaling you with tales of how great INXS were at the local RSL back in the day. The Jones Rival garner that image pretty hard in this single, utilising a gravel-heavy, garage-soaked sound. It’s very akin to some of the loose bohemian tunes the Brian Jonestown Massacre displayed heavily on ‘Take It From the Man’ and ‘Thank God For Mental Illness’. Which is a super good thing. Super dooper good.

New Aus Music: Emma Russuck + Twin Caverns + Eleanor Dunlop

Sappy introduction warning!

Here’s some beautiful music that’s going to make your dreams that much sweeter. If these songs don’t make you want to work out of the back of a van, selling vegetables and safe sex kits to inner city children for free, then nothing will.

Emma Russuck-You Shouldn’t

Absolutely beautiful song. Really, you could be a unicorn that won first place in the beauty pageant, and you still wouldn’t be as amazing as this song. It’s a hurt, heart-tugging piece about sex, love and misfortune. This all seems pretty familiar territory, but the way Emma Russuck bends her lyrics into pure emotion, with the gorgeous guitar/piano accompaniment weaving in forlorn patterns amongst the heartbreak, it all seems like new ground.

Twin Caverns-Undiscover

This song is another beautiful track, and undeniably poignant. The way it trickles and haltingly flows, it’s like a swan gracefully landing in a lake. Amazing imagery, I know. There’s the spectacular beats x piano x luscious vocals x ambience thing going on, and to be perfectly blunt, its goddamn breathtaking.

Eleanor Dunlop-Rough Side of Town

The first thing that strikes about Eleanor Dunlop is that her voice is totally resonant of Cat Power. In fact, her entire atmosphere reminds of Cat Power’s trailing, whimsical and smart demeanour. The shuffling drums, nodding piano, and shivering percussion provides for a cold, sleepy reverbation throughout ‘Rough Side of Town’. But its her voice that really takes the song off. Similar to the way you find yourself careening to one side every time you do a mad, sick turn in Mario Kart, you find yourself leaning over every time Dunlop swells her voice to pirouetting heights.

New: Nathan Roche-Magnetic Memories (free download)

Nathan Roche-Magnetic Memories

I interviewed Mista Roche about a week ago, and on the topic of his new solo record, he was pretty non-chalant. There was the usual, ‘Ah, just been fucking around’ sort of language. There was no hint that this kind of genius was about to get dropped on us, the unwaveringly dedicated music public. The vibes are pure bogan-Hawaiian-bliss, like a the fumes from a crack pipe made out of the shell of a coconut. This song is like being immersed in a submarine in the Mighty Boosh universe, whilst Sebastian from the Little Mermaid’s stoned cousin serenades you. All your friends have said he’s a sleaze, but the way the words drip out of his mouth, and the guitars wibble-warble along, it’s hard to not want to fuck the shit out of this song.