New Post-Punk: The Soft Moon + Orion + Dianas

Post-punk is like the weird step-brother of punk, alone and angsty, and into The Gun Club when everyone else was still shitting their diapers:

The Soft Moon – Black

No one quite does ethereal disturbia to the same extent as The Soft Moon. With tortured synths that remind of a maniacal executor pulling out someone’s fingernails and translating the results into white noise. It’s the kind of thing that the new, hip J.J. Abrams’d Darth Vader would listen to on his way to Force-choking a motherfucker. As far as darkwave goes, The Soft Moon are on top.

Orion – Demo EP

Orion have been kicking around Sydney for a while now, confined to a few support slots in our city’s stranger and greater venues, such as 107 Projects and The Lansdowne. However, their freaky, ethereal pop can not be contained! It is simply too great! And with this four track demo EP, thankfully released through Paradise Daily Records, hopefully more and more people will become privy to this little secret. Their sound is like if Q Lazzarus had a shy cousin who adored The Jesus & Mary Chain, and wanted to make home recordings inspired by said recordings, albeit with a little more sadness. Ingrained in 80’s philosophy, Orion excel with bawdy bass, thrilling synths, weeping guitars and timidly brilliant vocals. “Red Light District” and “Sexy Alien” are lite-goth masterpieces.

Dianas – 1000 Years

Recently announced as being part of the Perth Laneway lineup, Perth’s Dianas are two syllables of drop-dead gorgeousness. Take a look at “1000 Years”, a riveting tale of guitar pop, linked with some rough, hurriedly scaling guitar work. It’s like the sweetest thing you’ve ever known grew up on a steady diet of Beach House and Dum Dum Girls. The work is frail and personal, intimate as an Oscar clip, but has an element of hugeness to it, an ideal that this could touch a fair few people around the globe. Overall, it’s just a really beautiful song.

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Video(s): Cloud Control + Phantogram + Blouse + I Know Leopard

What will you do when the swaggernauts rise up against us, their masters, and turn society as we know it into five-panel infested, ‘420-blaze it’ apparelled, dickhead-synonymous wasteland? Watch music videos, that’s what you’ll do.

 

Cloud Control-Moon Rabbit

In terms of the song itself, ‘Moon Rabbit’ isn’t all that much to get excited about. A small psych number that garners a few smiles here and there, but really elevates to nothing more than early Boy and Bear. However, the clip, released today, is amazing. It’s like Teletubbies and Heavy Metal got mashed together in some sort of acid trip inspired by the Wiggles. There’s space, brains, and some other ungodly shit.

 

Phantogram-Fall In Love

I remember playing this on radio the other night, and for a second I thought I’d accidentally played a new Beyonce feat. Jay Z song. The chopped chorus, heavy bass, and soaring synths all pointed to pop royalty and yet…it’s from some random NYC band. However, all the signs are pointing to the fact that Phantogram will be the next huge indie sensation. AND they’re not dull like Lana Del Ray or placidly vapid like Of Monsters and Men. Instead, it’s like Bat For Lashes got produced by Alicia Keys and Dangermouse. Overall, this song is the shit.

 

Blouse-Happy Days

This video plays out almost exactly like that Radiohead clip for ‘Karma Police’. A car drives on the road, everything’s super unclear, confusion settles OH SHIT! a person. The song itself also seems like a bit of a rip-off of Blonde Redhead, with the droopy female vocals settling under a very smooth, nice post-rock landscape. Look, I like it, but there’s a difference between having influences and being a cover band.

 

I Know Leopard-Hold This Tight

I talked a bunch about I Know Leopard’s new single a little while back, so let’s get stuck into the clip. Not a whole lot happens, except for the band twirling around on inflatable boats in a river/pond/ocean/body of water. The colour scheme and blank canvas of the clip is what makes it work, not showing all that much and yet managing to be all right simply because it reflects the song’s atmosphere of ‘floating along’. Fuck me, I’m poetic.

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 😦

Video: Blouse-A Feeling Like This

Completely beautiful and lush is the comparison I will draw to Blouse’s new track. I adored the first album from the band, but this brand new track exceeds the majority of what was on that album by quite a fair bit. That’s not derogatory to the debut, but a potent exclamation of excitement for ‘A Feeling Like This’. All the simplistic angles of the track run along on their separate ways, occasionally intertwining like strands of DNA. However, it’s the vocals that stand out on this song, the Kim Gordon meets Karen O voice of Charlie Hilton seducing the listener with pouted-lip power.

New: Heavenly Beat-Complete

Heavenly Beat is the side project of Beach Fossils’ John Pena. Now, if you like Beach Fossils (who are a damn great band in their own right), you’ll like Heavenly Beat, but for very different reasons. Sure, there’s the soft-as-baby-shit vocals, and plucky background guitar which is similar, but Heavenly Beat has a bit more of a commercial indie sound. Think Foster the People meets Craft Spells. But, Heavenly Beat feature a little bit more on the complex side of things to be dismissed as hipster fan-fiction. ‘Complete’ even manages to chuck some steel drums in there with its pulsating synths, wacked loops and dream-weaving guitar. Good shit man. Good. Shit.