Video: Allah-Las-501-415

I’ve always liked the Allah-Las, and this video makes it abundantly clear why. The first single from an upcoming sophomore record, this slice of old-school rock n roll is delivered effortlessly. After listening to song after song from shitty rock bands that are trying way too hard to emulate what they think Jim Morrison’s mission statement was, its goddamn refreshing to see a bunch of guys that got high, found a frame and an animal skull, and made a music video out of some grainy footage. Their laid back approach to singing and strumming ironically works in an infectious way, in that you want to hear whatever the next bar delivers.

 

Advertisements

Album Review: Liars-Mess

Liars are always pushing out the weirdest of the weird. Actually that’s an understatement. The first time I heard ‘They Threw Us All In A Trench, and Stuck  Monument On Top’, I fucking hated it. I listened to it a couple days later, and thought it was awesome. What kind of band can have that sort of polarizing effect on a person? There were no drugs involved, I was probably in the same emotional state, and I don’t think I had learnt all that much about Nietzsche in the time between the two listens. And yet, I offered myself two completely different perspectives on the album within two listens a few days apart. That’s not a weird band, like Lou Reed’s solo work or The Flaming Lips’ latest stuff; That’s a band with mystical, probably dark magical properties.

The thing with Liars is they either offer albums that take time getting used to but never surmount to being special, or they create albums that are immediately likeable and zone in on human frailty and bash it with the inane focus of the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. ‘They Threw Us…’ and ‘Drum’s Not Dead’ fall into the former category, whilst their self-titled, and ‘WIXIW’ fall into the latter category.

So where does that leave their new album ‘Mess’? Well, this has perhaps been the easiest selection for any Liars album, as ‘Mess’ is an intensely enjoyable and sticky effort from Liars. Maybe it’s because I prefer Liars when they’re in a more traditional songwriting mode, or maybe it’s because their new focus on synths and moving away from blistering guitar drone makes it easier to swallow the album, but ‘Mess’ remains Liars most solid and refined album to date.

Don’t worry, there’s the usual sadistic, twisted sounds that we’ve come to expect from Liars. Opener ‘Mask Maker’ ensures that when a demonic voice announces ‘Take my pants off…use my socks, smell my socks…eat my face off”, whilst a dangerous synth beat emerges. That’s kind of the template for the rest of the album. Demented and tortured electronic soundscapes set to disturbing, droning vocals.

Case in point: ‘Pro Anti Anti’ is a storming, fascist beat, whirring mechanics creating a machine of destruction. ‘Mess on a Mission’ is the kind of thing Oppenheimer probably would’ve listened to in order to pump himself up for a day of inventing mass death. The song even has a ominous tick-tocking rhythm! And ‘Darkslide’ is a gooey, dark mix, like the trash-compactor creature from ‘A New Hope’ scoring his own production credit.

Every song on ‘Mess’ is darkly morbid, and equally disturbing. And that’s what makes it such an arresting album. It’s a non-stop bubbling over of carnal desire, hidden pleasures uncovered for all to see and morbid fascinations exposed to all. It revels in the dirt and muck, and then remixes it with the twisted delight of Aphex Twin, but without losing any of the strange intoxication that makes Liars such a unique and breath-taking band. And whilst some of their previous albums have taken multiple listens to understand, ‘Mess’ stands at the forefront, naked and screaming in demented ecstasy.

Album Review: Go Violets-Heart Slice EP

artworks-000060163276-qgaqlt-t200x200

Go Violets are more than just a band! They are an institution of democracy! Okay, now that I have your attention, its time to turn down the hype a tad and admit that they are just a band. But they’re a really good band! Like, super good! Better than biscuits fed to you by Selena Gomez. Four girls, each armed with an instrument and a killer voice, sitting with a sound somewhere in between Stonefield and Sleater-Kinney. And their debut EP is nothing short of sunny brilliance.

‘Teenager’ opens our love affair with Go Violets, an instant head-bopper if ever there was one.  Take ‘Liar, Liar’ by The Castaways and then get Beth Consentino from Best Coast to take ecstasy and act all happy n shit all over it. ‘Teenager’ rings with a lovely innocence, of adoration and maturation at the same time (by the way, don’t read maturation as a dirty word-I mean it not how wine matures, but more the way Johnny Depp matured from 21 Jump Street to Fear and Loathing. Y’know good maturing). This maturing shifts indefinitely for the power-pop anthem ‘Josie’. Despite sounding nothing like the Blink-192 counterpart that it shares a name with, both songs have a sense of paralleled similarity. There’s the namesake, the pick-me-up themes, and the rushing, eyes closed, clutching smile chorus that makes your heart swoon. However, with the #punklite version, you want to take a skateboard and watch Bam Magera videos, and the Go Violets song makes you want to pick up a surfboard and not act like a Fred Durst loving twelve year old.

Anyway, continuing on into ‘Beside Me’, a song that gets a little bit more down in the dumps than the openers. There’s still some ‘woo-woo’s in there, but you get the feeling that these are more sighing reflections whilst you kick your dirty gumboots in a rainy puddle, than the ones previously used on a sunny January. Likewise, ‘Crazy’ has the down-tempo down pat. There’s still a feeling that you want to tap your foot, but the general tone in the vocals and guitars is like you are actually on your way to an insane asylum, and you just happened to run into your childhood crush. Despite that sounding like a pretty dismal situation, Go Violets manage to keep it upbeat-ish, and make ‘Crazy’ a very fun listen.

Finally, the final two songs give off a bleached beach vibe that’s kinda rare these days outside of a Best Coast or Dum Dum Girls record. ‘Wanted’ and ‘Runner’ are still very windswept and lovetorn, but less forlorn than the previous two tracks, and they don’t have the immediacy of the openers. However, with that time and space, Go Violets lock into a very strong groove and you can hear the ladies working together to make a really solid product. The songs build and build, swooning and suffering, until you can’t help but be totally lovestruck by them, ‘Wanted’ especially.

Go Violets aren’t the sort of band that do self-indulgent things. Unfortunately that means no crazy shredding guitar solos that will rip your mind apart, but fortunately that means that there won’t be any painfully egotistical lyrics that make you want to wish a sorrowful death on the lead singer. Go Violets like to keep things plain and simple, and that’s totally fine. As long as their songs stay as addictive as they do now, I can’t see a problem emerging any time soon.

For some free Go Violets, head to their Triple J Unearthed Page, right here.

Album Review: Feelings-Be Kind, Unwind

ImageYou probably know Simon Berkfinger by another name: one-half of the perennial party-starters Philadelphia Grand Jury. Yeah, remember those guys? Well, Berkfinger is back on the Australian music scene with this, frankly fucking fantastic new record under the name Feelings. Its got all the groove and upbeat nature of Philly Jay’s collection of songs, but this time round, the sound is fuller, more expansive, and a little more realised than ‘Hope Is For Hopers’. This time round, its not all party, party, party, and there’s some injection of the bitter actuality of reality and love in there. Its this sense of bipolar between the happy and cynical that shows that Feelings is a project that is going to outlast the ‘ehrmerhgerd pherlerdphier grend jere’ hype, and ensure that Simon Berkfinger is going to get the praise as a musician that he deserves.

Opener ‘Square’ brings the funk strong and fast, like having George Clinton’s multi-coloured dreads slapping you in the face. But there’s also a little bit of Franz Ferdinand in there, a pop-rock atmosphere that  has the opposite effect of what pop-rock usually does to a human being (namely, to simultaneously shit yourself and throw up). This kind of pop style, an upbeat, super cool, shiny sound is continued sporadically through the album to great effect. ‘New York Summer’ comes off like a refreshing sip of Sprite right before you and your buddy kill a roomful of amateurs that fucked over your boss (props to those that got the Pulp Fiction reference). And ‘Good Juju in My Medicine’ brings the Regurgitator vibes, with the spaceship drum machine and sullen vocals that can’t help but make you want to dance.

However, as explained before, its not all good times, intercourse and metaphors for shitloads of drugs. ‘City Hall’ disguises a morbid topic of being totally manipulated and unrewarded by love, under a solemn ‘woooo’ and catchy chorus. And closer ‘Bring On the Night’ brings a single tear to the eye as Berkfinger gets in touch with his inner emotions. The keys that sound like Pacman dying, and death-march drums only enhance the lonely pain that’s being felt in this song, and as a song, its a standout on the album.

The realism that Berkfinger brings to his already established super-happy-fun-times-party-on-Wayne-party-on-Garth means that Feelings becomes more than the usual self-indulgent solo-project. Instead, Berkfinger shows that he can diversify himself, make music that incorporates a whole shitload of elements and themes, and prove that he’s going to stick around for longer than that ‘Casino’ track will.

‘Be Kind, Unwind’ is out now through Create/Control, and its better than that Jack Black/Mos Def movie that it almost shares the same name with. In awesome news, Feelings are playing The Standard on the 7th of December….with Philadelphia Grand Jury! That’s right, Berkfinger’s old band is coming back for a tour to play all the golden oldies. The Creases, a fucking great band in their own right, are also going to be along for the ride. So basically, you need to be at this show.

Video: Parquet Courts-You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now

As inevitable failure in the form of the forthcoming English Paper 2 HSC exam creeps further forward in everyone’s mind, I combat your paranoia with the video for a song I’ve reviewed a fuck load before, and am still not tired of. Yep, the video for ‘You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now’ by Brooklyn stoner punks Parquet Courts is up and at ’em. Smart lyrics like ‘Seasicks better than heartsick baby’ come to life as a little red Pacman ghost dances along to them like a music video for a High School Musical song. In the background, some seriously weird shit in the form of a creative re-imagining of looking under a microscope in Year 8 goes on. Weird shit that’s weirder than purple poop-wouldn’t expect anything less from Parquet Courts.

Album Review: Parquet Courts-Tally All the Things That You Broke EP

If every Parquet Courts fan in the entire world met up in one place (let’s say…Arizona Desert? And call it something like….Burning Sasquatch?), and channelled the appropriate amount of excitement and adoration for this new EP that Parquet Courts just put out, there would be enough energy to power Europe for 21 days. Now, that might seem highly unlikely, illogical, and even impossible, but it’s a scientific fact that it would work. Just ask the dudes from MythBusters or something.

This new EP from Brooklyn-via-Texas band Parquet Courts (if you’ve been on this website before, you’ve probably heard the name) is a bonafide smash hit compromised of delectable tracks on par with ‘Paranoid Android’ and ‘Fire in Cairo’. In other news, what is hyperbole? Okay, so maybe I’m guilty of exaggeration and bias, but this EP is better than having a peanut butter and jam sandwich with Tupac.

It’s only a few tracks long, but ‘Tally All the Things That You Broke’ packs a punch, and surely the title holds over an element of foreshadowing after the first track is done. ‘You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now’ is fast and not very furious, but don’t take that to mean that you won’t go on a rampage of delight. There’s a little pan flute riff in there that makes you think both ‘What the fuck?’ and ‘Why isn’t that there pan flute in every song?’. The sweaty guitar breaks that occur twice in the song are also very fucking cool, like Jack Nicholson rapping Wu-Tang Clan levels of cool.

The EP moves onto ‘Descend (The Way)’, a shouty, underfed grimer, like that kid that you used to go to school with that always smelled like a dead body and ate rotting cheese for recess. After that dirty but delicious thing, there’s “The More It Works’, a song that wouldn’t sound out of place in an Ian McKaye set-list. The song’s only got se7en words in it, but it’s less Kevin Spacey decapitating your wife, and more ‘holy shit, let’s mosh until we decapitate ourselves’. As the guitar drips out, a slinky bass line kicks in for ‘Fall On Yr Face’ a narration driven track that shows off a more disturbed side to Parquet Courts than anything we’ve ever seen (Oh My!).

So far, the EP has been a happily haphazard affair, and super enjoyable. But shit’s about to get unreal with the announcement of ‘He’s Seeing Paths’. The obvious comparison would be Beck’s ‘Odelay’ what with the strangely addictive samples that collectively form a church of wacked out, smacked out noise. But ‘He’s Seeing Paths’ is too funky and cool for that. The sound pushes like it’s searching for something, and it keeps you hooked for a whole seven minutes, a very impressive feat for a band that’s made their name with hooky, verse driven two minute tracks. To divert into something that takes the funk of Stevie, and the throwback cool of Anton Newcombe, and to force them to make love over a cowbell riff…that takes balls. Best of all, it’s the standout track of the EP.

Overall, Parquet Courts have released a fucking awesome EP, a bunch of material that see’s the band gearing towards a freakier direction. Now that’s some shit that we can all get behind. A little weird, but still throwing out familiar bones for those of us that don’t want a 180-sound fiasco, this EP will  tide the fans over whilst we wait in mutual adoration for a sophomore record, and it will pick up a whole bunch of new fans. The punk may have dimmed a litte, but the freak-flag is still flying.

Parquet Courts will be playing Laneway festival in February, and are one of the top reasons to go (along with Cashmere Cat, Kurt Vile and Savages).

New: Oliver Tank-Different Speed feat. Ta-Ku

Every time someone listens to Oliver Tank, a baby seal is born. That’s a fact. Engaging in something so beautiful must be reciprocated with something equally as beautiful. Now, it’s been a while since we heard anything new from the holy man, but ‘Different Speed’ lives up to expectations. A slow ticking beat runs next to Tank’s stunning voice, a voice which melts hearts almost as fast as molten lava trapped in the ribcage. There’s also the beautiful strings and synth waves subtly infiltrating the sound, filling out the sound and building the song, but not ruining the illusion of minimalist romance that Tank does so well. Fucking awesome.

New: Feelings-New York Summer

Simon Berkfinger is back doing what Simon Berkfinger does best-creating awesomely catchy music. There is no way you’ll be able to get ‘New York Summer’ out of your head. The electric, finger-on-the-pulse tone of the track is totally infectious, writhing around in ecstatic beauty. Despite the theme of break-up, Feelings manage to turn the cliche into danceable, groovy and guilt-free pop.

Feelings’ debut ‘Be Kind, Unwind’ will be out on October 25. SCHWEEET!

Video: Go Violets-Wanted

Brand spanking new track from Brisbane dream-pop darlings Go Violets. Fuck, this is an astonishingly beautiful track. It’s so luscious and there isn’t a moment in the whole thing that doesn’t sound spot-on amazing. Despite traversing the same old road as the majority of the other dream-pop bands of broken romance, Go Violets outdo their contemporaries Blouse and Best Coast, and are absolutely killing it on ‘Wanted’.

Go Violets are playing September 14 at Good God, with SURES. I guarantee this is going to be one of the better Saturday nights of your year.

Album Review: Parquet Courts-Borrowed Time 7″

Image

Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be a massive Pulitzer Prize ode to music like I usually pull out of my ass. This is only a 7″, albeit a fucking fantastic one, but there’s only so many words one can use to describe material that lasts shorter than my wish to make a career out of taming house cats.

Parquet Courts are a fantastic band. Combining stoner punk with sweaty lyrics, the band is something that should be required listening for the Bong Squad. If you’re ever feeling like you need a pick-me-up, Parquet Courts will not only suffice, but go and buy you a coffee and talk to you about your problems. He may light a joint at some point, but at least he’s listening. Parquet Courts, fuck yeah, Parquet Courts.

Anyway, this is the band’s latest 7″, which features one of the best tracks off their debut ‘Borrowed Time’ and two unreleased tracks. You should feel so lucky. ‘Borrowed Time’ is a college-flunked, cigarette smoking jam that wanders around the school quad for hours at a time, just thinking, man. ‘Borrowed Time’ is the kind of stonerific punk statement you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Its just a damn good track, there’s no two ways about it. ‘Seems these days I’m captive in this borrowed time…’….you’ll be singing that shit ’til you kick the bucket.

On Side B, Parquet Courts get a chance to show off both sides to their music, bang bang, right after each other. Quick succession, no bullshit, just the way I like it. ‘Smart Aleck Kid’ is a paranoid and unrestrained punk jam, totally fucked up, whirling out of control with no idea where it’s going. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity. Then, as soon as Descendants have been payed their respective dues, Parquet Courts take a turn shooting the shit with Archers of Loaf on ‘Free Ice’. Super 80’s independent rock jam it is (read that in a Yoda voice) baritone quaking in it’s boots and not all that confident either. Somewhere in the world, Stephen Malkmus is losing his shit over ‘Free Ice’.

So, if you’ve waited this long to get into Parquet Courts, like, what the fuck are you waiting for? Have you not heard ‘Stoned and Starving‘? Are you, like, the AntiChrist? Go and fucking buy ‘Light Up Gold’, right now. If you are like the rest of humanity (fucking conformist) and worship Parquet Courts, then the ‘Borrowed Time’ 7″ will only bolster your utmost faith in the band.