New: The Dirty Nil-Cinnamon

The chorus of this song goes ‘You can be pissed off if you want to’, delivered with the kind of deranged howl that would make Satan be like, ‘Hey man, chill out, what are you so mad about?’

In retaliation, The Dirty Nil would smash their guitars and fuck shit up to an even more incredible level for the remaining two minutes of this incinerating new single. My brain feels quiet after listening to this, and the only cure is pressing repeat. Sorry cowbell, maybe next time.

Also, congratulations to these guys for signing to Fat Wreck Chords! That’s awesome!

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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’.

 

New: Jeen-Buena Vista

There’s a pretty high-class pub down the road from me called the Buena Vista. When I say high class, I mean they have the staff wear pristine uniforms, and their patrons are usually of the $100k+ yearly earnings. And it doesn’t smell like piss and cigarettes. Not my sort of place at all.

However, when I got an email titled ‘Buena Vista’, I was over the moon, because I thought they’d finally come around and decided to give me an all-you-can-drink Rech’s card for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, the contents were not that, but they were exciting nonetheless.

‘Buena Vista’ (the song) is a wonderful single from Canadian alt-pop darling Jeen. It’s a slice akin to something La Sera getting down in the studio with Robert Pollard or Kevin Drew might sound like-upbeat, but with a tinge of drama and a sincere bite that raises it above the usual drool that is indie music. Just like the staff of the BV at midnight, this Jeen track snaps at your heels and chases you out of the building with a delirious croon.

New: Holy Fuck-Sabbatics

Holy Fuck have a new single. Within that single sentence, thousands upon thousands of those into good tunes celebrated at an extraordinary rate. Holy Fuck are an elusive group that never step outside of the box of amazeballs, and ‘Sabbatics’ is no exception. There’s just three and a half minutes of squelchy, sneering half-electronica ambience. It pulsates with multi-coloured, pus-emitting glory, like the slow-motion birth of a Chestburster in a Slavic night club. Pretty fucking awesome, right?

Holy Fuck are playing at Good God on May 7. Buzz Kull, Seating Plan and I are all going to be there. You should seriously consider going, or else I’ll decapitate you with my copy of Holy Fuck’s self-titled LP.

Album Review: The Dirty Nil-SMITE EP

It’s not secret that I’m a pretty big fan of Canadian band The Dirty Nil. If you don’t believe me, well then just look here or here or here. That’s called evidence. Motherfucking CSI shit. Straight out of a crime lab, and served up to you on an Internet screen with an abundance of F-bombs. You’re welcome.

Anyway, after three years of churning out some glorious singles that were made to put Sum 41 to shame as the go-to teen angst rock band for 15 year olds (me), The Dirty Nil have released their debut EP. And believe me, they’ve gone from mere prodigies of alternative rock and pop-punk to actual disciples of dead set punk. There’s still some of the glorious anthem qualities that ‘Fucking Up Young’ and ‘Verona Lung’ initially showcased. But instead of leaning on the big hook/chorus combo, The Dirty Nil have gotten dirtier, filthier and more ragged. They’ve stripped back the fleshy pop tendencies. Or rather, they’ve skinned them alive, and feasted on the gory remains. Then they’ve gotten up on a stage and bombastically torn down all cynical expectations.

So, where there first stood a band that could’ve easily gone the way of New Found Glory or The Ataris, there’s now a band that screams authentic punk right in your fucking face. It’s so close, your ears actually get monsooned from all the flecks of spit flying from the stage. Take ‘New Flesh’, the paranoid track that squirms and retches with all the potency of some of OFF!’s best tracks. It’s bile-ridden, scourge-infested zombie carcass grabs you by the neck and throttles you until a coma seems like a nice way out. And ‘Pale Blue’, which starts off with a wildfire dash towards creating as much musical havoc as possible, builds and builds itself until there is literally no escape from the crumbling tower of the world’s tallest song metaphor.

However, The Dirty Nil haven’t completely abandoned their roots of delivering solid tunes with just enough pop sheen to cause an entire audience to collectively abandon moshing for a heart-warmin sing along. This pop genius comes in the form of ‘Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü’ a track that would make Bob Mould so proud of punk music that he could wish his hair back into existence. This is a song so emotionally wrought and perfectly crafted towards making a stadium’s worth of teenagers sway with lighters in the air, and yet it doesn’t feel like a tired, by-the-numbers piece of shit. Woah….that’s crazy unique, man.

So, for a band with not all that much material, The Dirty Nil can only impress. Within five songs they can tear off your genitals, patch them back together, and then tear them right off again. They’re genuine, they’re passionate, and they’ve got all the elements for what should be a super successful rock group that doesn’t make you want to slit your throat. Really, there’s only a couple popular modern bands out there like that (*cough, Japandroids, Violent Soho, Cloud Nothings, cough*) and The Dirty Nil have more than enough panache to join that group. If you’re the sort of person that likes music with balls and grit, get this fucking EP.

Alternative Rock Album Reviews: Teenage Exorcists + Shape Breaker + Mavis Gary + Fat Children + Trick Mammoth + INVASIONS + July Days

Getting stuck into the album reviews again, this time from a fuckload of artists that deserve to be fucking knighted for their valiant efforts in promoting amazing music, via making amazing music.

 

Teenage Exorcists-Teenage Exorcists EP

At first, Teenage Exorcists come off like your average above-average indie rock band. They sound like they’re from California, the guitar fuzz is well rounded out by pretty great melodies, and the verses are smart and catchy. But then those solo’s crack in and change the perspective like you got hit in the face by a sledgehammer made of J Mascis riffs.

Specifically, the best thing about Teenage Exorcists, besides those amazing solos, is how smart they come off as a band. If Ball Park Music got Nick Zinner as a guitarist, then you’d have an idea of what I’m talking about. For example on ‘You Make Me Hippie’, there’s a line that goes ‘We can listen to Slayer, if that is what you love’. That’s probably the only line in an indie rock song of the past ten years that makes a positive and selfless reference to Slayer.

So, between the infectious-as-fuck chorus’, the Dino. Jr. solos and Vampire Weekend on crack indie rock that’s on display, its hard to find fault with Teenage Exorcists.

 

Shape Breaker-Eyes Wide

For those who like their indie rock with a sledge hammer right in the middle of their mind’s eye, then Philly’s Shape Breaker is the band to satisfy  that weird fetish of yours. They’re like a psychedelic band that got put in the tumble dry with the the guys from FIDLAR. There’s dirty, swashbuckling guitar solos abound, far-off stoner vocals and a bass that’s more fuzzed out of its mind than a bunny rabbit tripping on a heart dose of acid.

After hearing the first chords of ‘Climb Down’, I knew that I, along with the million or so garage rock fans that thrive on overdoses of reverb, would be 100% completely in love with this band. They’ve got an ethic and attitude akin to their contemporaries like The Orwells and Bass Drum of Death, so it surprises me that pitchfork hasn’t heralded this band as saviours of garage music yet. Oh well, that means that I get to do it. These guys are saviours of garage rock music, and you’d be more idiotic than a guy that waits on Coachella tickets to not grab this album while its still free. This band is fucking rad, and if it’s in your iTunes, then you’re rad as well.

Mavis Gary-Pin Me Up

And as soon as we were on the sunny coasts of indie rock California, we’re into Flying Nun territory. I really don’t give a fuck, do I? Anyway, Mavis Gary isn’t actually signed to Flying Nun (they’re on a label called The Attic) but they might as well be. They’re clean guitar pop is so reminscent of all those heyday Nun bands, that these guys could be a Clean cover band, straight up.

Mavis Gary’s dream-pop is dreamer than a bat of the eyelashes from the student that wants to bang our hero in the first Indiana Jones movie. Songs like ‘Pin Me Up’, ‘Dorothy Jean’, and the quaintly awesome ‘Colombine’ effectively combine that amazing softness with slacker attitude, that you’d swear you were listening to Yo La Tengo being suffocated in Chinese silk. If you’re a fan of Bearhug, Wilco or Sparkelhorse, then you’d be more than a fool to wait on this album-you’d be more fucking idiotic than Dennis Franz in Die Hard 2. If you understand that reference, then you’re my soulmate.

 

Fat Children-Three Quarters Of A Fistful

As a fat child, I find this band name offensive. But the fact that they sound like Les Savy Fav-goes-pop, and they’re from Dunedin puts them in the category of ‘I don’t give a fuck how offensive this band name is, I like them too much to care’. Insofar, there are no other bands that fit that very specific criteria, and as thus, they are the only ones in that category.

Anyway, the fact that they slide around like an obese man’s fat rolls in an anti-gravity machine is basically all there is to say about their music. That’s an overwhelmingly positive thing though. Fat Children are obviously an above-average band, with fantastic music. They’re most valuable quality is their ability to switch harshly between styles in the middle of the song, and have the only side effect being that the song becomes stronger. Case in point: ‘Caveat Venditor’. Within the frame of two and a half minutes, Fat Children wade between carnival swag, White Stripes-ish power riffage and more jangle than a man with baggy pants and too many coins in his pockets.

Basically, Fat Children override their highly offensive name that ridicules me to the very soul because their tunes are too good to simply forget about. Goddamn, those must be some tasty tunes. Congrats Dunedin, you’ve popped out yet another fucking amazing guitar-pop group. Why don’t you put your fucking feet up for a while and let Australians take their rightful place on the slacker throne.

 

Trick Mammoth-Floristry

Actually, on second thoughts, I just listened to Trick Mammoth’s ‘Floristry’ again, and it looks like the Kiwis have a handle on this shit. You go Trick Mammoth!

Trick Mammoth are the third and final band (in this article anyway) from Dunedin, New Zealand. However, when they sound something along the lines if Superchunk were attacked by Daniel Blumberg, the main guy behind Yuck and Hebronix, how could I not include them. There’s a super slow, romantic feel to all the music that Trick Mammoth flow forth with, and its as easy and breezy as a waltz down a quite New Zealand cobblestone road in the middle of an afternoon.

Overall, ‘Floristry’ will just mesmerise you the same way Day Ravies does: lightly and leaving you begging for more. Another fantastically stunning release from Fishrider Records.

 

INVASIONS-INVASIONS

Here are some things from Canada-maple syrup, Mike Myers, a really good friend of mine from high school who happens to be the coolest motherfucker around. Yeah, Canada is a pretty swell place. And we’re not even getting into the music stuff yet: Canada is host to some absolutely jaw-dropping talent like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Broken Social Scene. Forgetting the fact that it has also spawned fellow ‘musicians’ like Simple Plan, Drake and Shit-elback, Canada proves that its a goddamn goldmine of musical talent.

Just take a listen to the band INVASIONS. They hold true as fuck to their press release statement that they’re the lost soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino movie that was never made. As tracks like ‘Born On A Wave’ and ‘Lovingly’ wring out, you can practically hear Link Wray jizzing his pants. INVASIONS brand of surf rock is drop dead sexy and more suave than James Bond as played by Sean Connery.

This is no more apparent on the album than on the beauty of a track ‘Rosy’. This song is like what would happen if George Clooney and Cheech Marin became really good friends on the set of From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, and decided to drop their movie careers to become surf rock stars with flair (Marin) and sex appeal (Clooney). I’ll leave it up the the band themselves to decide which character they personally reflect.

Anyway, the great thing about INVASIONS music is how they can be so effortlessly cool (it kinda comes with the territory of being in a surf rock band) and yet having this hopping, boiling sex-romp energy bubbling underneath like a predator. Fucking delectable.

 

July Days-The Night Is For Hunting

Going through the Facebook page of Melbourne rock quartet July Days, its not hard to see where they get their sound from. They supported Darren Middelton, the guitarist of Aussie rock icons Powderfinger (who also produced this album). They linked an article from Noel Gallagher of Oasis, lamenting about radio not playing Aussie bands. And a listen to any of their tracks reveals a penchant for hooks akin to the likes of Crowded House.

In fact, listening to July Days is like going through a patchwork of radio ready rock acts. The band have taken these bands, pastiched them together, and created a sound that will be comforting for listeners. Although this doesn’t push the boundaries, it undoubtedly sounds pretty good. There’s the recalling of the likes of The Killers and Kaiser Chiefs on the track ‘Should’ve Told Me’, and their acoustic tracks are akin to the stylings of more modern favourites like The Rubens and The Trouble With Templeton.

Regardless, July Days have put out a pretty strong debut album. Whilst they do put their influences right at the centrefold of their music, they manage to maintain a strong hold on the listener throughout the album.

Gig Review: Mac DeMarco w/ Twerps

After this photo was taken, we made sweet love in a villa in Eastern Jamaica*

Thursday, 12th December @ The Standard

May as well start this bleary review by saying that Mac DeMarco put on a gig worthy of the almighty Top 10 of the year. That’s right, some no-name numbskull, that every blog from Pitchfork to Polaroids of Androids seems to adore, was one of my favourite things to see with my own eyes that was musically related. Put it somewhere between a repeat viewing of Spinal Tap and The Stooges. Yeah, it was pretty fucking great. Here’s why:

FOISTLY, Twerps one of my all-time favourite recent Australian bands (thoroughly confused yet?) were opening the bill for our lovely Canadian compatriot Mac. Actually, Destiny 3000 (one of the best up-n-coming Sydney bands of 2013, check ’em out here) opened up the whole show, but because I live a demised life, I missed their set. By all accounts, they played really great, which is no surprise, because they are better than sex followed by pancakes.

Anyway, back to Twerps.  They don’t come up to Sydney all that often, which is a total bummer and a money-saver, because I would see them every time they came. It seemed that not a whole lot of people in the audience knew who Twerps were, or at least the punters I was surrounded by, but by the end of the set, everyone in the crowd was fucking enthralled.

I say fucking enthralled because Twerps put on just the greatest of sets. The set was mostly leaning on new material, a whole slew of stuff coming from their upcoming sophomore record making appearances. Judging by the mixed expressions of awe, shock and the sudden realisation that the only way to spiritual one-ness is to follow this band to the ends of the earth that adorned most attendees’ faces, the new material worked a charm.

Not that the established stuff didn’t hit the mark either, far from it. Opener ‘Dreamin’ captured everyone’s attention immediately and set the performance at a cracking pace (a paradox because of the songs’ silkier-than-a-waterborne-sealion nature, but you get the point). And newer hits off their triple A-side single that came out last year, ‘Work It Out’ and ‘He’s In Stock’ were so thoroughly charming, you’d swear Marty was a goddamn Disney prince.

So, Twerps have walked off stage, and I’m at a crossroads, because in my mind, in absolutely no way have they played long enough. No, my body craves Twerps like teenage pop idols crave tabloid attention. Mac DeMarco could have bailed on the show right then, and I would’ve gone home happy. But no! He had to rock up with his band, ALLLL the way from fucking Canada and make sure I had one of the best nights of my year.

DeMarco gets on stage with the band and starts acting like he’s been in the country for his entire life, with the quick ease and intimacy that would put any comedian to shame. Did I mention this guy’s fucking funny? Throughout the night, he spat beer into the audience (in good humour), spouted about Einstein and how ‘…everything’s relative…’, and there was kind of an extended part about fucking various band members’ mums. Oh yeah, and he has the greatest radio voice of our generation. Someone get Alan Jones to fuck off and replace him with Mac DeMarco.

If it had just been the comedy and word jousting, I probably would’ve left a very happy man. But these dudes added music on top of it! And it was really, really good music! Like, really, really good! Think an amalgamation of The Idiot/Lust for Life-era Iggy Pop crossed with The Rolling Stones in their drug fucked Exile On Main Street days, and then sprinkle some Screamadelica-level Primal Scream over that already mouth-watering delicacy. You do realise I’ve just rattled off three prominent artists at their artist peaks, and this fucking dude goes and combines all that shit into an orgasm inducing bender? You do realise I’ve just done that, right?

Anyway, you may have heard a couple of his tracks getting bounced around, stuff like ‘Ode to Viceroy’, ‘My Kind of Woman’, and of course, ‘Freaking Out the Neighbourhood’. All of these were above and beyond good, making the crowd shake and our lungs work overtime to try and reciprocate the lust vibes emanating from DeMarco.

However, the most interesting aspect of the music was how it became so alive on stage. When listening to it on record, you sort of get this weirdly awesome haze hanging over it, but in the flesh, the haze is replaced with a full-blown sleaze rock accent. Everything becomes a little more corrupted and amazing to witness. People even were moshing and crowd surfing, to music that sounds as though it was made as bong smoke filled every corner of the recording studio. Thats an amazing sort of reaction to garner, and DeMarco responded thusly, even stage diving into the crowd during ‘I’m A Man’, and inviting Marty from Twerps to do the same.

But DeMarco sure know how to save the best for last, a medley of unrelated by stunning covers. There was ‘Taking Care of Business’, ‘Rollercoaster of Lover’, ‘Enter Sandman’, and a back to back of Back in Black’ and ‘Thunderstruck’, all played with the shambolic and fun attitude that made Mac DeMarco a unique and fucking invigorating thing to watch.

So, to summarise, Twerps were awesome and Mac DeMarco waas really awesome. There was simply just too much awesome in a single room for a night. It was not good, I had awesome in my clothes, I smelled of it for days after. I fucking hate awesome stuff. Goddamit Mac DeMarco and Twerps, why you gotta ruin my pessimistic existence?

*This sentence is in absolutely no way, shape or form a representation of anything resembling truth 😦

Rock Album Reviews, Pt. 1: White Summer + Designer Mutts + Hari & the Karis + Lightsabres + Almighty Rhombus

I’ll admit it. I’m a massive knob. My e-mail has been stockpiling record review request after record review request, and I’ve been sitting here, trying to do something about it. Except, instead of doing stuff about it, I went to a bunch of gigs and focused on not fucking up my new job. But to quote The Big Lebowski, ‘Sometimes, there’s a man…and even if he’s a lazy man-which Ryan most certainly was….aw, I’ve lost my train of thought’. Anyway, here’s a bunch of review of the albums that I thought were pretty badass. Apologies to the artists that I couldn’t give them an original piece, it is simply a matter that I would probably end up in the morgue from finger blisters. Enjoy my shitty descriptions, then go buy these albums.

White Summer-What I’ve Been Waiting For EP

The White Summer are a rock band from Melbourne. If you typed that sentence into Google, you’d probably get an infinite amount of search results, but goddamn if this isn’t one paying attention. Right off the bat, their tunes will worm their way into your ears and set up a permanent residence. If The Black Angels spent some time getting guitar lessons from Dan Auberach, and there was a vocal morphing of Ian Kenny and Matt Bellamy, you could get something with the power and balls of White Summer. If you don’t believe that description, think its lame or whatever, listen to ‘Head in the Sand’, and feel the wrath of wrongness.

Designer Mutts-A Day At the Wauchope Races

Despite the fact that I’d never head of Mauchope before this EP crossed my path (it’s a small town in the Mid-North Coast of NSW, whoever said reading shitty music blogs wasn’t educational), I did know a bit about Mark Spence. The dude was in a band called Royal Chant that I adored and saw a couple times back in Year 10 when I first found out that there was something to listen to besides Mix 106.5. Designer Mutts is a side-project from Royal Chant, and the EP that Mark has released is great. Every track on the EP is a solid rock track, something that you could easily find yourself singing along to down at your local inner West venue. A special standout track is ‘High Low’, a song that will make you want to ride down a highway, top down and shouting at the top of your lungs, so fucking stoked with the track that you’ll completely ignore all the abundantly cliche nature of your behaviour.

SUPER SPECIAL BONUS REVIEW: Royal Chant-New Nowhere. Starting off with an acoustic strumming, the song soon envelopes and matures into a full-blown, catchy-as-REM-on-steroids rock track. Download for free, and enjoy with a side of breakfast in Surry Hills, because with the money you’ll save on good tunes with ‘New Nowhere’, you’ve earned an expensive early-morning treat.

Hari & The Karis-Hari & The Karis

Let’s just say that if you include an old-school Black Keys cover that you completely nail with boogie-woogie infection, then you’ll get an all-star review on my website that means fuck all in the spectrum of things. However, Hari & The Karis, a garage swamp band from New York that put the rock back in defrockingingly badass, have more than enough tunes on hand to back that prematurely biased evaluation. Just take a listen to ’24 Hours’, a song that screams and squirms, bursting out of the normal with a chorus that goes ‘All we have is 24 hours, all we need is a miracle!’. Sound familiar to anyone who’s done an assignment, ever? Anyway, all the songs on these guys self-titled record are spaced out boogie monsters that will cling to your brain like a Facehugger, switching between schizophrenically wild to gooey macabre, and a whole spectrum of other emotions as well. At the least, you’re brain is going to explode all over the room from being wildly entertained. If Velociraptor (the band, not the villain) toured with these guys, the world would probably combust from the charisma.

Lightsabres-Demons

Stoner rock from Sweden has always been a little pet-love of mine. I never knew that much about it, and it seemed hard to delve and find any more  information about it short of moving to Stockholm, but let’s just say Dozer have always been a constant reminder to me of how great that nationalistic sub-genre is. However, the new band Lightsabres has sought to rectify that gaping hole in my life. There’s nothing not to love with Lightsabres. Firstly, their name is from the most badass weapon in Star Wars, something most people that have visited this website will know I love. Secondly, they’re a stoner-rock band from fucking Sweden, something I’ve already established is almost as badass as lightsabres themselves. To clarify, their riffs are a murky mess of slow and toxic menace, choking out the listener like Hulk Hogan in his Black Sabbath-loving days. Finally, Lightsabres do a pretty good (not better, but pretty good) cover of one of my all time favourite songs by one of my all time favourite artists, Ty Segall. Although, a relatively short work, ‘Demons’ is fucking badass.

The Almighty Rhombus-Lucid Living

And to round out my embarrassingly late reviews, its The Almighty Rhombus, a Canadian band with a good name (the rhombus-most underrated 2D shape ever) and even better songs. For an indie rock band, none of these songs are grating, at least for me.They flow nicely from one to another, bright  and melodic enough to not bog themselves down, but with enough lyrical self-deprecation (see: ‘Butane Brain’) and diversity in the music to ensure that their music doesn’t get annoying. If Vampire Weekend and The Strokes teamed up and found their credibility again, you could get something like ‘Lucid Living’. Even if you’re not an indie-rock fan, the song ‘Blank’ is worth a geez.

New: Running Red Lights-Mulberry Love (free download)

Mmmm, this melts right into your mouth like a slice of warm chocolate cake on your birthday. If that sounds resoundingly fan-fucking-tastic, that’s because it is. ‘Mulberry Love’ is as cascadingly beautiful as the snow fall in Toronto (incidentally, that’s where Running Red Lights are from. Coincidence? I think not!). The song sheds any sort of pretension and simply shifts itself into a comfortable position from which it can sound awesome from. ‘Mulberry Love’ takes a little while to wake up, but once it’s shaken off the slumber and the vocals bumble in, it’s impossible to get enough of this song.

Album Review: Majical Cloudz-Impersonator

Majical Cloudz are currently my new favourite minimalist project. They are just so incredibly interesting, like Fugazi if they decided to go chill-step, or chill-wave or whatever the fuck that genre is called nowadays. You know, the super down played stuff that people like James Blake, Nosaj Thing and Gem Club are popularising. Well, Majical Cloudz are my personal favourite artist in that sort of style of music, and it’s not just because they have an awesome, awesome name. Who knew that replacing the actual letter with the phonetic sounding letter could create such a great band name?

I first heard about Majical Cloudz when I saw the name pop up as a collaboration on Grimes’ album from last year, on the glitchy, J-pop sounding ‘Nightmusic’. Although I heartily enjoyed it, and delved into the ‘Turns Turns Turns’ EP, I kind of lost track of them until I spotted the brand new album, ‘Impersonator’. And by jolly fuck nuzzles is it great. A great slice of immersing white man R&B, ‘Impersonator’ purrs and slants in all directions, a sifting delicacy that is absolutely chilling and frighteningly good.

The title track, and opener,  ‘Impersonator’ is a good example of the depth and texture of the album. It’s not an album that you warm into. You start right in the deep end of the blue lagoon of reverberating sound, submerged in holy disconcerting washes of silently bellowed vocals. Following ‘Impersonator’, is ‘This is Magic’ and ‘Childhood’s End’, both songs about symbolising the crashing of innocence, done with heart-wrenchingly perfect execution. It’s really hard to describe the cold grasp that clutches in ‘Childhood’s End’ when the lyrics sob ‘Our fate/ it is sealed…I don’t cry/ Oh God tell me why’ against a sullen portrait of grey strings and electronic whirs and taps, like the most depressing Nicolas Jaar song you’ve never heard.

The tantalising sorrow doesn’t stop at the forefront of the album. No, it continues in a hypnotising organic fashion, like at the midway point of ‘Mister’, the song that initially stopped me in my tracks ‘Turns Turns Turns’, and the excruciatingly good ‘Silver Rings’. The former is charged forward by the raindrop-pattering percussion, set up against otherworldly soaring organ and tortured whispers. ‘Turns Turns Turns’ comes in to revamp the record. This is a track that manages to be infinitely more intriguing than whatever Rudimental or Calvin Harris is blasting obnoxiously right now, with sullenly repeated vocals, some quaint female chanting, ice-cold claps and distant instrumentation. It churns with a desperate avante-garde spirit, but shows nothing on the clasper of ‘Silver Rings’. The poignant rippling of squeaks in that song, building with the ‘ooo-ing’ and delicately soft string section is to die for, and comes off as totally natural, and not at all douchey, which defies logic. Usually string-sections in popular music are reserved for bands that are out of bravado ideas (cough, Daft Punk, cough), but the effect is incredibly mesmerising and even dizzying.

Of course, the highlight, and ‘single’ of the album is ‘Bugs Don’t Buzz’. With the opening of disenchanting piano chords, coughing a disturbingly sad vibe throughout the track, the vocals only build on that. You can practically see the tears spilling out of the track. Then, once you think things are at a crystallised depression, bass-synths and white noise electro effects waft into the track, and crease the whole piece into a distorted bleak landscape.  This song was made for a long, grey drive through the country-side after a funeral. It’s just that powerful and engrossing. Lyrically and musically, it’s unstoppable.

The reason ‘single’ is presented in italics above is because of the way the album is constructed. It needs to be listened to in full. It begs it, because most tracks on ‘Impersonator’ can not give off the full wrangling effect that the album conveys so well. It’s an album of material that dips and dives in freezing capacities, indulgent in the most subtle of ways, cascading towards oblivion; but only when appreciated in it’s fullest context. If tracks are listened to singularly, the only effect you will gain is one of soft off-putting, as the songs are far too slow to engage at a cast-away glance. This isn’t flashy pop music made to satisfy in a shallow sense, but highly emotive and deeply personal art, and by far one of the most together and well-spoken  releases out of Canada since Japandroids ‘Celebration Rock’.