Video: Pool Shop – How Long

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Most folks would know about Jaimee Fryer because of her position in the excellent garage pop band Major Leagues, but she’s also got this amazing side project worth checking out called Pool Shop. Although it’s been a fair while between singles (a couple years in fact), “How Long” presents a warm and welcome return for Fryer’s solo material.

Lush, sweeping arrangements are the name of the game for “How Long”, with the stakes getting pushed through the roof every time that gorgeous chorus swings around. It’s right in the ballpark of Beach House and Blonde Redhead, the kind of indie rock that feels like it should have a halo and a pair of wings accompanying it at all times.

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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.

New: Scraps – Touch Blue

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I’m late to the Scraps party, so I didn’t know what to expect when I saw that the always dependable Moontown Records had chucked something new up on their Soundcloud. Maybe some broken pop, or the sounds of deranged noise punk? Instead, Scraps is a refreshing six minutes of washed out, gooey disco, paired with blitzed synths, and a voice that could cause world leaders to weep.

It’s soft, comforting music in the vein of Holy Balm and Superstar, slow enough to sink into but still full of little jabs here and there to keep you awake and interested. It’s hypnotising, calming, a way to take that heart beat from a potential seizure to a rate that resembles something normal. At the very least, it’s a way more effective comedown alternative than that hippie kale diet yoga shit that those fucks from Bondi keep squirting on about.

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.

Video: The Goon Sax – Boyfriend

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The best thing about The Goon Sax is their wit – it ain’t just razor sharp, it’s like Freddie Kreuger’s claws have picked up a typewriter and started banging out an acidic essay on the tired tropes of love. That’s the general motif behind “Boyfriend”, a song with lyrics as sinister as Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons. But instead of a barrelling onslaught of viciousness, The Goon Sax coat their barbs in cottoned pop, meagre acoustic strumming, quiet duets, and the occasional tock of a cowbell. It’s this subdued way that they approach love songs – intelligent, literary lyrics, gentle music – that raises them up as one of the best new bands of 2015, and why their forthcoming debut on Chapter Music is gonna be pretty much the best thing ever.

If you need any more evidence of how great they are, check out the accompanying video for “Boyfriend”, and look beyond the obvious greatness of gold-microphone fawning and the goon-sack appropriation of Warhol’s Silver Clouds. Check for the nervous glances between bands member, the occasional peeps to make sure their fingers are hitting the right notes, almost as if to say, “Can you guys believe this?”. It’s just another mark of their swift rise to being one of the most beloved bands in Australia, and those nerves are sure to disappear as soon as they hit the lofty heights they’re bound for.

 

2015 In Review, State By State

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It’s December 1st, so that means its time for the inevitable yearly wrap-up that gets all the clicks. But before I head into the dreaded listicle territory, I’m going to look at Australia’s literal territories, and just what the fuck they got up to this year, from the perspective of a child in Sydney who struggles to charge a phone, let alone understand the intricacies of the music scenes available within each state.

Short answer: bloody heaps, moite. Long answer:

Sydney, NSW

Look, we dropped the ball with the lockouts, and none of our NRL teams made the final. But other than that, Sydney did real well this year, with FLOWERTRUCK, YEEVS, Low Lux, Gordi, Le Pie and Palms being just a handful of the names that kept this dying city propped up.

In very important news, Sydney punk got re-ignited this year, specifically because of two bands: Orion and White Dog. Seeing these bands is akin to setting yourself on fire, Thich Quang Duc-style. Equally terrifying and exhilarating, you’re just as likely to be hit in the jaw by a flying crowd surfer as you are commit the violence yourself. Other new punk bands like Dry Finish, Point Being and Tim & the Boys popped up as well, which makes me feel like it’s going to be only a matter of time before Maggot Fest relocates North. Oh yeah, and Royal Headache returned in order to promptly release the best album of 2015.

Brisbane, QLD

Brisbane continued its reign as kings and queens of weird, as the local labels Sonic Masala Records and Tenth Court put out some fantastically obscure and refreshing records, whilst the pop was on point, with a few new teasers from The Creases, Babaganouj, and Love Signs. Blank Realm melted all our hearts with another masterpiece that was possibly BETTER than 2014’s Grassed Inn. Synth strangeness hit its peak, as the new bands 100%, and Corporate Vibes released some incredible tapes, and shoegaze returned in a big way with DEAFCULT and FOREVR injected a couple hefty doses of mind-caving avalanches of guitar.

Melbourne, VIC

Another year, another straight flush of amazing rock and punk. Thanks to Power, Little Desert, and Dribble for being the best a pimply teenager from Sydney’s suburbia could wish for.

However, Melbourne’s usual spot on proliferation of jangle-pop stalled a bit this year – there were great records from big hitters The Ocean Party, Twerps and Dick Diver, however none of these releases rose above their preceding material. They were good, but not enough to warrant the feverish excitement that accompanied previous albums.

On the other hand, electronic music regained its foothold in the Southern State – NULL, Planete, and Sui Zhen forced heads to pop up and start salivating, whilst friendships, Total Giovanni  and NO ZU proved to be the most entertaining and fun live acts that Australia provided this year. But it was Roland Tings who takes out MVP – that record of his is a work of fucking art.

Adelaide, SA

Wireheads, Bad//Dreems and Summer Flake provided the best material from the City of Churches, although the latter has pissed off down to Melbourne, so it’ll probably only be another few months before she disappears into an alleyway and becomes swallowed by that famous coffee culture. Another Adelaide export, Lord Fascinator released a whole swag of tracks that had an approximately 50% hit rate.

Besides the big names, there were a few newish bands from Radelaide that are showing a fair bit of promise – Old Mate released another album, Rule of Thirds put out their debut, and in very recent news, The Yabbies and The High Beamers have put out a few tracks that points to them becoming the biggest things out of Adelaide since Paul Kelly became the official sponsor for Coopers [sic].

Perth, WA

Tame Impala released a pretty average record, POND released a really good one. The various side-projects between these two bands number into the millions, and they’re all varying engagements of the same incestual psych village. There’s just a bit too much, and it’s all a bit “Eh”.

Similarly to the psych boom, there was an over saturation of electro-pop and grunge. Both of these scenes started off exciting, with KUCKA, and GRRL PAL providing satisfying starts in the former category, and Tired Lion, Pat Chow, and Black Stone From the Sun churning out detuned Heimlich manoeuvres in the latter. But by the end of the year, it became a bit tiresome hearing the same old thing. These bands are still good, but with the exception of LOWER SPECTRUM and Catlips, it felt like people in Perth are either listening to too much Grimes or Nevermind.

Hobart, TAS

The most underrated and painfully ignored album of 2015 came courtesy of Tassie’s Heart Beach. We, as a collective society, should have raised this album to triple platinum status, at a bare minimum. Heart Beach is flooring, and I feel ashamed that I didn’t review it. If you’re after a record that you can curl up with, that’ll both comfort you and turn your bones to ash, turn to Heart Beach, and don’t stop listening until you’ve reached the highest point of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If there was going to be an album that guided you towards a higher consciousness , it’ll be this one. Please, do yourself the greatest of favours and jump on over to Heart Beach’s Bandcamp, where the album is still listed as a ridiculous name-your-price.

Darwin, NT

I have no idea what happened in Darwin this year. Can someone let me know?

New From QLD: Sydney2000 + Donny Love + DRAGGS

a2087001811_10This heat has made it possible to empathise with our cousins to the North. May your air conditioners never break and your football teams only face each other in a Grand Final once:

Sydney2000 – _

Are they referring to our postcode, or to the greatest bloody Olympics of all fucking time? Cathy Bloody Freeman, am I right?

Turns out these guys are from Brisbane, and named their debut EP an underscore, which…fuck, is that an insult? I don’t know? Is Sydney an underscore to Brisbane’s greatness? I wouldn’t disagree with that, Brisbane’s great.

Anyway, who cares, just listen to the bloody EP. A free download of sharp, punchy garage punk, that sounds like Ausmuteants, Witch Hats or maybe The Wipers if they were signed to Flying Nun. When Sydney2000 get completely jilted is when things get exciting: take “Wink”, when the vocals feel like a washing machine with a mental patient and a guitar trapped inside. Round and round and round they go, crazed blasts spinning at the pace of a nice dry finish.

Donny Love – Sultry Visions EP

Cramps-loving swamp rock that opens with a song called “Cosmic Fuckfest 07”, Donny Love sound like they’re pretty much The North’s version of The Pinheads, or Los Tones. If they can prove they’ve got the live show to boot, well then it looks like there will be one hell of a three-way death match coming up on the horizon.

But that’s for the future to worry about. Right now, its time to lie down with some jaunty guitar ripped straight from a Halloween party in Hawaii. This EP is a horror soundtrack bloated with sand and beer, a manic interpretation from a bygone and happier era.

DRAGGS – DEMO

Filthier than The Islander Hotel come Schoolies week, Gold Coast’s DRAAGS prove that kids in Year 12 with fake ID’s and a desire for binge drinking goon aren’t the dirtiest things on Australia’s most terrifying strip. Their debut EP is packed with barrages of lo-fi shredding, each song mere minutes of full-blown garage rock tornados. Every track attempts to out-do the last – harder, faster, let’s beat them over the head even HARSHER this time.

Press play, you won’t regret it, but your bleeding fingers will. They’ll be begging your brain to stop huffing on this gruesome garage punk schlock that keeps beating your hands to a pulp, but you’ll ignore it once more, press play and repeat that brutal cycle until you’re dead and grinning.

Video: The Goon Sax – Sometimes Accidentally

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Oi blogs! Yeah, I’m talking to you, the taste making denizens of the Internet! Fuck is wrong with you? Why haven’t you picked up The Goon Sax yet? You’ve really dropped the ball on this one, y’know. These guys are pure talent, hit city, the superstars of tomorrow, and you’re just letting them slip through your keyboard-glued fingers. Poor form, poor bloody form.

There is absolutely no reason that The Goon Sax should be ignored, by anyone, because they are the best thing since Lowes had a 90% off sale. They’ve only got this track “Sometimes Accidentally” to their names, but its a song that accentuates all there is to love about the guitar pop genre. Although they’re in a class that can occasionally stale itself with too often repeated meanderings on mundanity that has now almost bordered on cliche, The Goon Sax keep things straightforward. Relishing in a delightful low- key riff, The Goon Sax examine their personal faults and flaws in such a charming way that its impossible not to fall head over heels in love with them.

“Sometimes Accidentally” has been stuck in the heads of all pop lovers for a few months, but now there’s a video, and goddamn, doesn’t it just cement all the stuff there is to love about these guys? They’ve filmed with an unashamed homemade aesthetic, complete with drawn on moustaches, supermarket munchies and giggling when they sing their lyrics. They’ve even opted out of the big budget, and decided to film themselves playing in a park, as opposed to the blockbuster, explosion-laden, Michael Bay directed film clip set in the Amazon that Chapter Music would have probably paid all expenses for.  As iterated before, there’s nothing false about The Goon Sax – it’s authentic and likeable, devoid of any irony or inside-joke pats-on-the-back. Fucking hell, blogs, can you get off your arses and start #hastagging about this band?

Video: These Guy – This Fucking Guy

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Donny Benet meets Tame Impala meets intergalactic yacht rock. Interested? You fucking better be.

Brissy’s These Guy combine the never-ending appeal of BBQ’s and murder with legged psych-pop guitar solos and jaunty synths. Watch this clip and fall in love with a bunch of guys crack the shits over dodgy snags and lose their shit on air guitars. Worth it for the outfits and special effects alone.

New Electronic Music Pt. 2: chunyin + Lovely Head x Pendant + OCDANTAR

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Remember when Pt. 1 came out? Life was so much simpler, so much more pleasant. Oh well, here’s Pt. 2, let the electronic apocalypse begin:

chunyin – Softcall 101

Chunyin is the side-project of Rainbow Chan, deviating from the intimate, hazy pop of her main gig into a more direct, experimental dance territory. She’s released a few tracks here and there before, including a recent collaboration with Thomas William, but “Softcall 101” is her first ‘proper’ single.

Stylistically, its very similar to the fantastic mini-LP released by Melbourne producer Null. chunyin strings along zaps of alien sounds that sound like they’re being beamed from the edges of the universe, and then thumps them over the head with thick, crunchy percussion.

Catch chunyin doing her thing this Thursday at Freda’s, supporting the legendary CORIN on her album launch. They’ll be joining by Electric Sea Spider from Melbourne, and Kimchi Princi and Ju Ca.

Lovely Head x Pendant – Take

Some more gorgeously experimental stuff from Sydney, this time courtesy of a team up between Lovely Head and Pendant. As icy as the palace of Mr. Freeze, “Take” wafts on a chilly breeze of sparse production and rich vocals. The voice here is seductive, keeping a nice contrast to the production until the conclusion, where the parallel lines meet and simmer nicely.

OCDANTAR – Sky Sea Client View feat. LIAHONA

Two things to get you interested in this – it’s the solo project of Josh Delaney of Rat & Co/SMILE, and he’ll be playing with Shigeto in a few weeks. If you haven’t clicked play yet, you’re obviously not a huge fan of music.

If you do need a little more convincing, then how’s this: Delaney’s debut track offers up Unknown Mortal Orchestra falsetto prodded by scant buzzes of electronica. It’s quiet and intimate, a really beautiful debut track that doesn’t fit easily into any genre trap. Given Delaney’s previous involvement in a few of the best musical experiments in Melbs, there’s a fair chance you’ll want to get on board OCDANTAR nice and early.