PREMIERE: Dollar Bar – Pencil It In

If you’re not excited for Dollar Bar’s upcoming album, then I will personally make my way over to your abode, and slap some sense into you. Dollar Bar are a shining, and criminally underrated light, in Brisbane’s music scene.

Not even two minutes long, “Pencil It In” is a small, urgent ode to making sure that you’ve got your life sorted, something that I definitely haven’t gotten around to doing. Furthermore, Dollar Bar seem to be moving away from their Weezer/Superchunk-esque nerdy rock, and towards something a little more in line with The Pogues. Is that a violin? Fuck, this new album is going to be more sophisticated than an evening with the Queen in Mosman.

Dollar Bar’s third record (!) comes out in March on Sonic Masala Record. If you’ve had your head up your arse this entire time, make sure to go and pick up all their previous stuff for a Pay-What-You-Want Price at their Bandcamp. Trust me, more worth it than a kebab at 2am.



Album Review: Weak Boys – Weekdays/Weekends

Weak Boys are a band that are so fucking unrequited, it’s like all three members were Jeff Daniels, the epitome of underrated-ness. Weak Boys should be poster boys for Australia, and yet they only have a measly 186 likes as of publication time. That statistic right there is proof of a cruel world. What could they be doing wrong? The album cover is a photo of a dog cuter than a baby seal in a band outfit, mini trombone and all. I mean, that alone should have every single member of Cool Dog Group falling over each other in an effort to click that prestigious blue thumbs-up. And they have songs so instantly iconic, they’re like Uluru or that fucking annoying little multicoloured spinny wheel.

For a bit of a reference point, Weak Boys slot in nicely as gruffer version of all the modern legends of Twerps, Full Ugly and Dick Diver, mixed heartily with classic jangle i.e The Clean,The Go-Betweens, The Cannanes. However, the thing that makes Weak Boys stand apart is the ability to be both self-aware, and completely absorbed. “Weekdays/Weekends” is full of songs that’ll make you laugh heartily, golden comedy nuggets that you’d expect nothing less of from THE Matt Banham of Matt Banham’s Jokes Internet Infamy. But it’s also packed with slices of truth that not even Truman Capote himself was capable of worming out of a pen.

To begin with, Weak Boys released the stellar song “Hangovers”, which I maintain to be one of the songs of the year, along with Blank Realm’s “Falling Down the Stairs”, Richard in Your Mind’s “Hammered”, and Dorsal Fins’ “Monday Tuesday”. It was a hilarious song delivered in deadpan, about how much waking up on Sunday was, and how shitty kids were. As a fellow kid, I can definitively confirm that 90% of people under the age of 21 are deadshits, including myself. For comparison, the deadshit factor only drops to 10% once over the age of 21, but hey, those are just cold, hard facts. Anyway, “Hangovers” is an awesome song, insanely catchy, great video, it made you want to spew in jealousy it’s so good. But, was it a total indicator of the album?

In a way, both yes, and no. Yes, every song has a little bit of comedy to it, but whilst some are light-hearted pokes set to simple but riveting guitar-pop, like “Jules, Brent & I” and “Fucken Landlords”, others are intensely dark and troubling, black comedy manifestos. Whereas “South Australia” yelps about getting pissy and moving out of our nation’s butt of jokes, all to the tune of some ecstatic guitar solos, “Never Drinking Again” deals with the same themes, but with such a solemn choke that you can’t help but want to reach through the song and give the bloke a hug. Similarly, “Settled” is a doozy of a depressor, a greyscale sigh about the troubles of being in the constantly stressing life that is the modern condition. When the words of, “Grab a butcher’s knife, and settle down/happiness would be rife, if I could settle down”, I automatically cried out a “NO!”, like I’d just seen Mufasa topple off a cliff for the first time. Think about that for a second – when was the last time you had an audible reaction to a song?

I went into this Weak Boys record with high expectations. After all, these three unassuming guys have been in bands as awesome as Little Lovers and Dollar Bar, so why wouldn’t their record be a bunch of bloody fun? But when listening to the thing, you can’t help but think…fuck, this is a masterpiece. A lot of people were obsessed over the Lower Plenty “Nullarbor” record a few years back, and “Weekdays/Weekends” appears to be the updated, Sydney reply to that album – just a strong, honest and genuine album booming with talent, perfect in every way. It’s hard to imagine Weak Boys not becoming iconic in some way or another, it’s just a matter of how big. As one of the most complete and fulfilling albums in recent Australian lore, I strongly urge, nay command thee, to buy this album.

‘Weekdays/Weekends” is out now on Strong Look Records. Grab it at the link.

New: Dollar Bar – Legside

Like a slap in the face from all of Weezer’s fans post-Pinkerton, Dollar Bar have reinstated themselves in our collective minds as one of Australia’s greatest pub rock bands. Harking back to a time when Screamfeeder records were basically signifiers of how much of a legend you were (nothing’s changed btw), Dollar Bar have again pulled some magic from their guitars. The riffs on here are solid as hell, immediately forcing your fingers into assuming the air guitar position. It’s the kind of track that makes you want to do a scissor-kick in the middle of your debilitated local pub. But then again, you can’t expect anything less from a band that put out one of the songs of the year in 2013.

New: Disgusting People-Snail Song/Two By Four

I just came from the Dollar Bar show, which was amazing. Good bands for $10, a romper of a feat that even Greg Inglis would have trouble topping. One of the bands of the night were the amazing Disgusting People. Although they were minus good bloke Roche, Sam ‘Every Band in Sydney’ Wilkinson made up for it with his high-diving guitar shenanigans, and the in-between song banter. Shit, they almost made Silverchair’s ‘Freak’ sound good again.

Anyway, they’re out with two new songs as of today, ‘Snail Song’ and ‘Two By Four’. They’re both romper little guitar songs from the GBV handbook.

They’re straight up-and-down strummers, guitar-pop done with the kind of flair that Stephen Malkmus prays to Satan every day for to accomplish. ‘Snail Song’ is a tad more boppy, like if Brian Wilson grew up in the Inner West. Meanwhile, ‘Two By Four’ features a slacker pop jaw-breaker, and features lyrics about getting touched as a kid. So there’s that.

Video(s): Dollar Bar + The Furrs + The Stiffys + WTCHS + Suburban Living

Bunch of videos that your local cable access channel would never play for fear of being cancelled in favour of re-runs of Cheers. Total bummer, dude.

Dollar Bar-Half the Battle

Dollar Bar are perrenial favourites of mine, and after watching the delightful clip for ‘Half the Battle’, you should be encompassed by that stigma as well. If you’re not, well there’s no hope for you, as cynicism has eaten away at your soul at such an acidic rate, you’re nothing but a hulking skeleton.

ANYWAY, this clip from last year’s ‘Half the Battle’ cheerfully follows front man Patrick McCabe around parts of Asia. There’s some goats, some signs in another language, and sky rails. Basically, it’s a culture trip set to a great fucking tune.

The Furrs-Get On Your Horse

This song, oh god, the 90’s nu-bohemian vibes that resonate from it, they are thick and fast. You can see The Furrs soundtracking a teen movie featuring Seth Green and Liv Tyler so easily, it’s insane. On the official film soundtrack, ‘Get On Your Horse’ would be right next to from The Gin Blossoms, a new one from The Dandy Warhols, and maybe The Brian Jonestown Massacre if the producers were open-minded. All the sign-posts are there-teardrop guitars, cool band rehearsal room, a tambourine. It’s really a pity that these guys are a new band, otherwise they’d easily have a record deal with Capitol. As it turns out, they’re simply disciples of the time, and are cranking out awesome tunes such as this one in the 21st Century.

The Stiffys-Boogie Boarding

It’s not often that you get a song that shares the exact sentiments of its title. But that’s what The Sitffys are all about-simplicity. Rocking simplicity. There’s a simple, edgy bass line, simple snare/hi-hat combo, and a simple chorus that could’ve been ripped from a bogan version of Eagles of Death Metal. By that, I mean, it’s infectious as fuck. And watching a bunch of sailor-clad gentlemen cruise around on a boogie board amongst an adoring crowd pretty much gets your jealousy glands salivating.

If you’re keen, The Stiffys are playing a free show with Chicks Who Love Guns tomorrow night (Wednesday 2nd April) at Beach Road, Bondi.

WTCHS-Over Kilmer

WTCHS are a UK band that are following hard in the footsteps of Eagulls, and for that, I like them pretty fucking hard. Their single ‘Over Kilmer’ is a gritty chant that would sound like something a bunch of druids would get around if they were into Queens of the Stone Age. There’s droning guitars, harsh vocals and a general slamming propensity to the track. As for the video, well, take everything I’ve just said, and bathe it in a sickly red light, and chuck a bunch of nude bodies in there. Stoked yet?

Suburban Living-Video Love

Remember how good DIIV were before they became more famous for being junkies and the significant other of Sky Ferriera? Well fuck DIIV, because Suburban Living are doing more or less the same thing, and they have way cooler videos. Dreamy, injected guitar-pop that dances on the soul-boner, whilst VHS karaoke shenanigans occur. There’s even a subtle nod when the ‘sick guitar solo’ comes in, just to ensure that you’re ready to rawk out.


Album Review: Dollar Bar-Paddington Workers Club

a3920985061_2Man, this legendary bogan pop from Dollar Bar is sweeter than a cooked kangaroo steak at 3 in the morning (that’s what people outside of a 20 kilometre radius of the Sydney and Melbourne CBD’s do right?). Dollar Bar are like the lost love child of the Go-Betweens, the baby that came from a one night stand with the cracked out corpse of Archers of Loaf. The old-school references make sense because Dollar Bar are actually a 90’s band in disguise, ‘Paddington Workers Club’ being their sophomore studio release, following on from a debut record in 2004. So, the Guided By Voices influences are a lot less weary and understandable than a couple of the bands that have been popping up lately, 18 year olds that sound like they just sucked Robert Pollard’s dick after a ‘The Bears For Lunch’ session, as opposed to actually growing up with the band and their contemporaries.

Anyway, ‘Paddington Workers Club’ is a fine, cohesive record that wears the words ‘slacker’ and ‘guitar’ on its sleeve like a Superchunk fan wears a homemade iron-on patch of the album artwork ‘Heavy Pocky For Kitty’ on their denim jacket. The songs on the record whisk and wallow, waxing an everyman poetry about really average, relatable shit. ‘(You’re) Blind Baby’, adopts an acoustic doo-woop barbershop quartet vibe that’s been hijacked by a mad scientist way into acoustic surfer rock, and has settled into ‘my girlfriend sucks’ paradigm. ‘We Won the War’ gets a really loud Weezer vibe, earnest, simplistic lyrics (I keep hoping you’re next to me/finally I’l be in ecstasy) that are bolstered with a brash, pop-punk vibe that is catchy as all fuck. And standout track ‘Diff’rent 4 Gurls’ is like if that downtrodden guy from the beginning of ‘Undone (The Sweater Song)‘ got way into Marcy Playground, and then decided to write a song musing about the shitty double standards of gender-equality.

With these tracks and the whole shit-tonne of GBV and other semi-seminal 90’s-influenced stuff on ‘Paddington Workers Club’, Dollar Bar have come back pretty fucking strong. Finally, you can throw out that Afghan Whigs record you’ve kept for God knows how long, because Dollar Bar can replace that shit pronto. Not only are the songs better and contain more dark, dejected humour than a Ben Folds Five best-of, the fact is that Dollar Bar make really nice music to jam along to.

You can buy the record now at Dollar Bar’s Bandcamp for $8, or less than half of a McDonald’s Family Meal. You can catch Dollar Bar (and you should, because who knows when they’ll be back) at Petersham Bowlos on the 22nd of November.

Video: Dollar Bar-Diff’rent 4 Gurls

Usually, when you see a misspelled song title, you’re in for the royal treat that is a Ke$ha song. Lucky you. But this time round, its something different and good. ‘Diff’rent 4 Gurls’ is the new one from Brisbane’s Dollar Bar. Fuck, it sounds so great, and rings a little bit too true. The Steve Albini-chewing-off-Julia-Casablanca’s head vocals mixed with the nonchalant and cooler than a squirrel-riding-a-motorbike guitar, ensures that this track is a heavy slap dash of awesome. It is actually incredibly hard to get over how great of a song this is, as every time you think it can’t get better…it does. Very, very, fucking cool