Top 10 Music Videos of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckons is the best of the best this year.

First, music videos. A dead medium. Who even the fuck watches this shit? It’s just a band wearing enough hair gel to freeze over hell, and badly lip-syncing to a song no one liked much in the first place. OR it’s a place where blood and gore thrives, and creativity is king. Here are the Top 10 Music Videos of the 2014, but first, some honourable mentions: White Hex (‘Paradise’), DZ Deathrays (‘Gina Works At Hearts’), SMILE (‘BLVD’), and Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders (‘Come On Back This Way’).

BONUS: Girl Talk & Freeway feat. Waka Flocka Flame

It seems strange to include a Girl Talk track in this blog, especially one that features human shitstain Waka Flocka Flame. I’ve never been a fan of kitschy rap that glorifies bullshit. But the visual ridiculousness of seeing a man like Waka sitting on a throne gesticulating with a recently dismembered arm, as Girl Talk beats up people on the street, is something so gloriously gonzo that it has to be included as one of the greatest audio-visual experiences of 2014.

10. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Cellophane

King Gizzard are the Spoon of garage rock – they just release really consistent, good records. Their two records of 2014, ‘Oddments’ and ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’ were pretty great, but the videos are what remained spectacular. “Hot Wax” was a solid contender, but it was “Cellophane” and its 3D video, that captured the cartoon-ish, Hanna-Barbera lunacy that they portray onstage. And if any song was going to act as the perfect vehicle for such a mindfuck, “Cellophane” would be it.

9. The Peep Tempel – Big Fish

The Peep Tempel are great at pumping out bloodthirsty tunes mopped straight from the floor of the seediest pub in town. They’re the kind of hard-working, sweaty band that plays loud, growling with menace. That’s probably why their clip for “Big Fish” is so great – it shows what the morning after a night out at a Peep Tempel is really like. Stumbling, trying to lit half of a cigarette, and raising eyebrows from every passerby.

8. Broadway Sounds – Something Sensual

Broadway Sounds came from nowhere, and released a fantastic EP of tangy and elastic synth jams. Then they released the video clip for “Something Sensual”, a Tim and Eric-esque sketch that just scrapes under the classification of porn. Strange burlesque folks in masks, Melbournite gymnastics and the ultimate ode to the constellations, “Something Sensual” manages to give you the weirdest boner of all time.

7. Blank Realm – Reach You on the Phone

Not only did Blank Realm unveil a 10/10 perfect album, and bring the keytar back from the furthest point of remembrance, but they also managed to release this fantastic video. The video easily re-creates all the billowing emotion and whirlwind romanticism, via a hued pastiche of purples, greens, pinks and yellows, and an abundance of fans (both the kind that blows air into your face, and the array of colourful characters who appear). There’s also the fantastic claymation that recalls the work of Adam Elliot (Harvey Krumpet). If you’re not sobbing at the end of this, you’re malfunctioning.

6. Bistro – DR NO feat Simo Soo

Straight outta Sydney, some of the best hip-hop you’ll hear all year – not only can Bistro provide music that doesn’t sound like something a lad from the North Shore spat onto a napkin, it also isn’t obviously inspired by American hip-hop either. Instead, it sounds thoroughly of its own time and place.

What’s more, he’s got a film clip that accurately depicts the kind of fucked up pace, flow and themes presented in DR NO. It’s frightening and acidic, worse than anything Walt Disney could come up with, a blend of schizophrenic gonzo-ism. When it hits Simo Soo’s rapid fire verse, your hands should be just blistering, white knuckled stubs of flesh.

5. Liam Finn – Burn Up The Road

One of the more feel-good clips of the year is Liam Finn’s “Burn Up the Road”. Yes, he is the kid of Neil Finn, but his style is defiantly his own. That comes through in the alternate (and infinitely cooler) future in which Liam Finn and Kirin J Callinan are best mates, then enemies on a autobahn motorbike ride to hell and back. It’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with more hockey pads and a liquid cool guitar riff.

4. Multiple Man – Persuasion

A lot of bands adopt the VHS approach these days, and it’s becoming a tad painful to see. It started out cool, but when everyone’s doing it, it sort of fucks up the novelty and greatness of it all. But with Multiple Man, they’ve cannibalised and evolved that CHS concept into something that’s both alluring and scary as hell. I imagine watching the bleached colours burrowing themselves into your eyes as the Campion twins purr along to squelchy beats and trickling synths is the same way sensation people felt after watching The Matrix for the first time. When New Order is getting swallowed by The Soft Moon like that to the fuzzy, white-noise head fuck of the “Persuasion” video, something inside of you says “Hey, probably not going to see some shit like that for a while”

3. Client Liaison – Free of Fear

Client Liaison toe a line that can easily cross into self-parody. They’re fantastic, but when you sound like a Prince and Michael Jackson-crossbreed being fed through a fax machine, and interpreted by Olivia Newton-John, there’s a large chance that there could be a mis-translation. However, these guys just write damn fine pop songs, and their videos are works of art. “Feed the Rhythm” borders on being one of the videos of the year, but it’s the grand randomness revealed with straight faces for the comic ages (try patting an alligator in the desert, and not cracking a smile), that ensures that the elaborate “Free of Fear” clip excels at being the No. 1 lavish homage and extension to the greatest pop era in history.

 2. Zanzibar Chanel – Mustn’t Evolve feat. Dungeon Posse

This video was released only mere weeks ago, but when it opens like a soap opera taking place in gangland warfare, and a brutal, eye-popping murder takes place before any music starts, then things look to be pretty amazing. “Mustn’t Evolve” is a torture-cry laden, synth delight, soaked in evil vocals and a cell playground for Melbourne’s finest to rap-squat and jiggle their way into infamy. It’s about as close to a Hunter S. Thompson wet dream as things go.

1. Collarbones – Turning

Not only is “Turning” the motherfucking JAM of 2014, an electronica glitch in the binary code that turns 0’s into Destiny’s Child and 1’s into Aphex Twin, but it has the best video of 2014 as well, for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, it’s got a celebrity cast, including Marcus and Travis of Collarbones, Doug and Russell of FISHING, FBi legend Frances Barrett, Marcus of Siberia Records, and Romi and Matt Banham, the greatest Internet sensations Australia has seen since Steve Irwin. Secondly, it’s directed by SPOD, a name that causes amateur filmmakers to quake in intimidated passion. Obviously, that means the clip is loaded with all sorts of crazy Internet craziness, like Brown Cardigan and Deep Internet Reddit made passionate love on a green screen. And thirdly, it has outfits that make like The Devil Wears Prada moved into a Health Goth store, andn has teh choreography of a ferocious mythological creature being taught to twerk to R Kelly, (I imagine SPOD was the one who taught said beast, via a My Fair Lady “The Rain in Spain” musical number).

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Video: Client Liaison-That’s Desire

Client Liaison have been well-documented on this website, due to the fact that they are one of the most fantastically gob-smacking acts on the planet right now. If you miss the 80’s, and all the coke, spandex and INXS that came with it, watch this video. The nostalgia will come rushing back like an orgasmic, synth-tinged tidal wave.

Although I was born halfway through the 90’s, watching this video makes me wish that I had been a contemporary to Olivia Newtown John. The moody VHS ballet accompanied by unashamedly sexy saxophone, and ‘uuuugh’ sound effects is what dreams are made of.

Be at Good God on Saturday, May 3rd, and watch your life change before your eyes.

February Playlist

February: Valentine’s Day, and the shortest month of the year. If February were in jail, it’d be December’s bitch. This wussy piece of shit has done nothing except for produce a couple of damn fantastic tracks. Why can’t we just get rid of February?

Make sure you get behind the Client Liaison, War on Drugs and Blank Realm. Why? Because these tracks will make you want to lead a better life, and apologise to that grandma that you beat up the other week. Suddenly ‘Falling Down the Stairs’ has a really dark ring to it, doesn’t it?

1. Client Liaison-Free of Fear

2.Cloud Control-Scar

3. Damaged Bug-Photograph

4. Trabajo-Black Practice

5The Slits-I Heard It Through the Grapevine

6. Blank Realm-Falling Down the Stairs

7. Bachelor Pad-Movin’ On

8. Phantogram-Fall In Love

9. Young Franco-Brooklyn

10. Scenic-Ride the Thrill

11. Wave Racer-Streamers

12. Run the Jewels-Pew Pew Pew (feat. DJ QBert)

13. Liars-Mess on A Mission

14. Wet Blankets-TV Suicide

15. Teenage Hand Models-We Can Find A Way to Fuck It Up

16. The War on Drugs-Red Eyes

17. Natural Child-Saturday Night Blues

18. Kurt Vile-Freak Train

19. Real Estate-Talking Backwards

20. Surf Dad-Unholy (featuring Camille Foley)

Video(s): Jagwar Ma + Client Liaison + Sable

Some audio-visual delights for a Friday arvo.

Jagwar Ma-Uncertainty

Jagwar Ma are pretty fucking huge right now. I mean, they were wayyyy bigger off the back of their debut album ‘Howlin’, but the music industry is a fickle she-wench, and Jagwar Ma have dropped from the collective conscience a bit. However, they should be right back there with the new video for their track ‘Uncertainty’.

Most people remember the band for their Madchester-like tracks, but ‘Uncertainty’ is way more alike to the indie-dance floor staples of the present. Think Oscar Key Sung fronting The Chemical Brothers recent stuff. ‘Uncertainty’ has a mind-melting chorus that’s like Black Moth Super Rainbow minus the reverb-drench, and the general vibe is a seductive, sex-fuelled journey on a synth spaceship.

As for the video, well it’s deplorably awesome. Blue horizons jettisoning overhead as the boys do their thing on a bunch of instruments from the future, and spiders crawling over to cop a geez at whatever those awesome sounds are.

Client Liaison-Free of Fear

Recently, there’s been a whole bunch of indie-electronic acts that are re-inventing the sounds of the past for ultimate payoff. Think World’s End Press, Architecture in Helsinki and the aforementioned Jagwar Ma. But Client Liaison rise above them all, because not only do they adopt the sounds of late, but they adopt the stylistic roles and attitudes of the era as well.

Watching the video for Client Liaison’s brand new video is like being transported to some alternative version of Mad Max. There’s still the desert, lack of cars and mullets, but then there’s also the dashings of Miami Vice drug dealer in there. Neon suits, vast displays of lush power, Frida Kahlo x Cleopatra dancers… It’s basically living out the ultimate 80’s dream. If the characters of Wall Street were really eccentric, they’d probably have made this video.

Sable-Feels So Good

Speaking of retro, check out the fucking mad video for Sable’s single ‘Looks So Good’. Except instead of bad suits and mid afternoon beverages, it’s a transportation into any arcade video game of the mid 80’s. Imagine if you could be transported into Space Invaders, Tron-style, and check out the inner-workings of the alien spacecraft, and their exact schedulings of dropping in uninvited on Planet Earth.

Meanwhile, the music whirs on in the background, accompanying the flurrying images with as much bright colour as those piercing synth chords can. Basically, what you’re looking at is a super-awesome-happy-fun-times experiment, funded by SABLE Corp.

Gig Review: At First Sight Festival

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Saturday, 20th July @ Carriageworks, Redfern

At First Sight Festival, a festival made up of local talent and co-presented by FBI Radio and the venue, was a good idea on paper, and an even better idea when seen in execution. Equal parts record fair and music festival, set in Redfern’s Carriageworks, it was an absolute awesome spectacle to take part in. It succeeded in an environment that has seen so many festivals fail. In the pst 12 months, OutsideIn Festival and At First Sight Festival are the only debut festivals in the Australian market that haven’t folded or completely fucked up. Movement, Parklife, Supafest-these are just some of the few that have been fucked. But At First Sight completely exceeded expectations and even managed to sell out it’s series of concerts, in it’s debut year nonetheless. It could’ve been the bands, made up of local acts either from Melbourne or Sydney, that gave a very communal and Australian feel to the festival. It could’ve been the relaxed and take-it-as-it-comes vibes that flowed the entire time, turning the crowd into a consistently respectful and appreciative audience. For example, when Marty from Twerps broke a string, a guitar from another band was instantly fed up to him, regardless of the fact that they had a back-up ready. It could’ve been the awesome unearthing atmosphere that surrounded the entire event, as in both the record fair, and festival, music fans of all persuasions dug up incredibly rare treasures. Or it could’ve been a culmination of all these things. Yeah, it was probably a culmination.

Unfortunately, I missed the first part of the festival, and although I’m kicking myself about that, I can’t continue without at least mentioning the great contingent of acts that swept past my gaze. Day Ravies, Holy Balm, Client Liaison, and Shining Bird are all awesome acts worthy of checking out, and I’m sure they all put on killer performances. However, I was too busy indulging in being a dickhead and eating brunch/scoring Pussy Galore’s ‘Dial M For Motherfucker’ for $20 to see them, and for that I am sorry, awesome Sydney/Melbourne bands.

So, for the first act of the day, Straight Arrows had to suffice. I say suffice, but in reality, they were a kick-arse, bruised balls start to a festival that no average coffee from a breakfast spot in Redfern could hope to replicate. Although the crowd was slightly sparse, Straight Arrows’ frontman Owen Penglis gave it his absolute all, shouting and screaming his raucous garage-punk with the tenacity of a stubborn Velociraptor, between half-retarded gimmicks to get the attendees to buy their shit…it worked. The set mostly veered towards the material off their debut ‘It’s Happening’, with ‘Bad Temper’, ‘Haunted Out’ and “Something Happens‘ standouts. However, new song ‘Never Enough’ did make an appearance, which was fuggin’ awesome.

Next was Songs, also from Sydney. They’ll be playing Splendour in the Grass next weekend, and one of their members used to be in Youth Group, who had that song/cover ‘Forever Young’ (don’t even fucking pretend you don’t know every word). However, the un-Google-able Songs don’t really play the pop-centric la-di-da of Youth Group (but then again, WHO DOES AMIRITE?). Songs are shoegaze with a cohesive edge, with slurred, rhythmic pulses shooting out from the band constantly. Live, songs like ‘Boy/Girl’ develop personality, with the body of the song shifting into overdriven waves that hit the audience with undeiniable energy. Although Songs hit a few bumps early on, with their opener conking out due to a lack of sound from singer Ela Stiles’ bass, their set steadily built into a highly enjoyable tale of purist sound.

After Songs came Super Wild Horses, from Melbun. Although the members Amy Franz and Hayley McKee started out with the premise of forming a band, and then learning instruments, their bare-bones rock n roll was something that would make Jack White drop his guts. Despite being pretty exposed, and sporting a case of bronchitis, Super Wild Horses were on top of their game. They shifted instruments, they were entertaining and friendly and their stage banter reflected a very down-to-earth band. Musically upbeat, and bluesy in the happiest way possible, recent hit ‘Alligators’ off their 2013 album ‘Crosswords’ proved to be a crowd favourite. Oh yeah, and they had the world’s tightest snare onstage. That thing could shatter glass it was so taught.

When Super WIld Horses finished up, Beaches took the stage. Beaches is a group of five ordinary girls who make amazing reverb-saturated shoegaze. If Songs were the shoegaze band that brought everything together in a body of music, then Beaches were the band that exploded that apart. Every member would shoot off a tendril with their own musical direction, creating a very complex and layered musical experience. Although it took them a while to hit the stage, due to one of the amps being blown, when they did, minds were blown. Beaches set mostly showed off a range of tracks from their recent album ‘She Beats’, including the amaze-balls ‘Send Them Away’ and ‘Distance’, and it was a blasphemously great experience. Although the mix was slightly fucked up, Beaches still delivered a killer performance, that see’s them out savaging Savages. Bonus points are awarded because one of the girls was wearing a Drown Under t-shirt.

After Beaches blistering set came Sydney pysch-garage band The Laurels. Having seen them previously in support of The Black Angels a month or so ago, I knew that we were in for a treat. Still, they brought more than the usual ragamuffin behaviour, with the band being everywhere at once on the small stage. Headbanging, pedals and washed out machinations of sound were the calling cards of the performance, as well as a stellar ‘Changing the Timeline’. It looked pretty fuggin’ brutal and exactly how I imagined a Burnt Ones show might go. Fuck me, I was very proud that a band of such awesome magnitude called Sydney home.

So, what better way to follow The Laurels psychedelic masterpiece than Twerps, the painfully original slacker pop band from Melbourne. Fun Fact: Twerps are Jessica Alba’s favourite band. Does that matter for anything? No, no it does not. Well, maybe it raises Jessica Alba from soul-sucking scum to mildly annoying piece of shit. Anyway, Twerps are a band that everyone who isn’t terrible should love. They sound like they don’t try, but end up up coming up as a better version of Camper van Beethoven, or the Australian Neutral Milk Hotel. Yes, they are better than Jeff Magnum. Maybe it’s because they’re uniquely Australian and it feels good to hear Australians sing about Australian shit, but it goes further than that, as every bit of material Twerps have put out in their very, very short career is absolutely amazing. They proved that straight away with both tracks off their Work It Out 7″ being amongst the first songs they played that night, as well as the closest thing Twerps would call a hit, ‘Dreamin’. All these tracks are supremely different: ‘Work it Out’ is the break-up anthem to end all break-up anthems (Morrissey can shut the hell up), ‘He’s In Stock’ a drug deal ode, and ‘Dreamin’ a modern, morbid Aussie fairytale. However, they all kick considerable butthole. There was even a trio of new songs, most of which remained un-named except for one with a ‘working title’ known as ‘something something something Bondi Junction’ (it was really fucking long, I couldn’t remember most of it). As for the band, well, cheap sweaters and plastic heart necklaces, goofy smiles and goofier cliche rock manoeuvres are all the standard in a Twerps performance. It was an actually an honour to witness the greatness of Twerps in live format, and blew my mind of all expectations, my brain littering the various expanses of the Carriageworks. Their closer of ‘Who Are You’, performed with the help of the ladies of Super Wild Horses and Beaches was a spectacular finish that was completely unexpected and very well received, the 3 bands rocking Sydney like only Melbournites could.

To finish out the night were headliners HTRK (pronounced Haterock, I guarantee you’ll feel like a twat once someone inevitably corrects you). Their doomy ‘n gloomy disco was highly divisive in my mind. Whilst at some points it seemed to muddle and drone on unnecessarily, the rest of HTRK’s set was composed of incredibly intoxicating electronica. There were a few moments, such as the gothy and drained ‘Synthetik’, in which my face involuntarily twisted into a shocked o-face. HTRK’s creepy loops and spine-tingling darkness shrouded their music in intrigue, but as a performance it was mediocre, and I checked the time a couple times extra than usual. Still, a HTRK performance was still a moment of triumph in a day’s worth of extraordinary and diverse music.

I’ll reiterate what I said in the introduction: At First Sight was a crowd-pleaser and was especially awesome at succeeding in the same area that so many others, with arguably much bigger and better lineups, had drastically failed. Then again, who needs Nas or 50 Cent when you’ve got Twerps on the lineup?