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.

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New: Bushwalking-High Hogs

The drama and brutal sass is increased to exponential levels on this new Bushwalking track. Think Cloud Control possessed by Evil Oprah Winfrey. Weird and juggulatory sounds explode from the guitar, chewing through razor blade gum with fierce concentration and joy. Distorted and peaceful, Bushwalking play music that is delivered in nutcrushing complexity, but also appeals to even the most simple of minds. The ending of ‘High Hogs’, with the plateau of Antarctic sound is especially amazing. Looking forward to their upcoming album ‘No Enter’ very much.

New Song: Active Child-She Cut Me

Wow, just wow. This new Active Child just blows me right out of the water, Free Willy style. I feel like I’m riding a chariot of dolphins on this track, it is truly amazing. It’s completely epic, but intricate at the same time. Pat Grossi, aka Active Child combines frantic pluckings, desperate harmonies, and rolling percussion, moulding it into a xylophonic spree of paranoia and urgency. It’s such a beautiful track, shimmering with complexity and listenable ease, like a Rubiks  Cube that solves itself right in front of you. Purely stunning stuff. Active Child is coming to Australia, but unfortunately, he is exclusive to Melbourne Festival. If you find yourself south of the border on October 25, would definitely reccomend going to see him. His new EP ‘Rapor’ will be out ‘soon’.

Album Review: Oisima-Goddess EP

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Adelaide’s Oisima is one of, if not the most, promising producers in Australian music right now. But Ryan you ginger shit-filth, I hear you cry, Oisima has been dominating the scene for, I don’t know, forever! Yes, I’m late to the party, but with a new single to flaunt (available for free right here), I thought I’d do a review of his second EP, ‘Goddess’. Its mindblowingly austounding how fucking good hip-hop beats with Middle Eastern flavour and a little trickling of talent can take things. The answer is to: to Alderaan and back.

Compromised of mostly instrumental beats that gloriously slide and overlap each other, the ‘Goddess EP’ is a sample namesake, something that should make DJ Shadow fans wet their fingers and clear out their ear canals in surprise. If DJ Shadow as Muhammed Ali, then Oisima is his Joe Frazier. Whilst DJ Shadow is uncompromising in his audio assualt, Oisima takes a more spindly route, wining and dining the listener, seducing them with various lush tracks until bam! You’re his number one fan.

At least, that’s the process of the first half of the EP. ‘Where the Light Is’ is a super small and tight-knit thing, forgoing extravagance in favour of touching all the right bits and bobs. After establishing himself, the listener is treated to some more left-of centre stuff on ‘Glow (feat. Adam Page)’. It certainly is a glowing track, that emanates a strange otherworldly warmth from the centre, and it would be as amiss as a bull without horns not to mention to smooth sultry saxaphone on the track. It’s goddamn sex. I feel like something non-consentual has taken place after hearing ‘Glow’, but the Motown meets minimalism electronica is too good to complain. Then comes the boom, bang, bop! the exclamation that frightens and entices, with ‘That Lovin’ Thing’. It starts bubbly, but slowly and assuredly gains the confidence to break into a Shlowmo mix, that eventually morphs into a drone-y accusation. If being yelled at by a girlfriend was minimalist Australian techno, it would be this.

Remember, the last few songs I’ve described are only the first half of the EP. There is still more of the same shuffling, voyeuristic and slanted stuff to be found on the remaining EP. That’s not to say that the rest of the stuff sucks, or is even bad. In fact, it’s the exact opposite-Oisima continues his brilliance throughout the EP, a swarming, buzzy energy that adamantly persists regardless of what song it is. Whatever song is playing, you’ll feel an unnatural sense of calm wash over you, and a supernatural love for the music of Oisima.

I’ll say it right now: Oisima is going to be the next big thing, not just in the Australian scene, but internationally. I can see him headlining shit with the likes of Nosaj Thing, Cashmere Cat, XXYYXX and all those other dudes. His brand is unmistakable, sexy and flowing like the dress of a Greek Goddess. Never mind the fact that sounds pretentious as all fuck, but if your any sort of chilled person that enjoys a little electronica here and there….get this EP. GET IT NAOW!

You can stream the ‘Goddess EP’ of which I just described right here, as well capture his brand new single in the Pokeball that is iTunes, from his Bandcamp right here. You can catch him at Tatler’s, Kings Cross on August 15th, or Outside In Festival on September 21st.