New Punk: Stations + Snotty Babies + Death Church + The SMB

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Raw, disgusting and repulsive stuff coming at you in spades:

Stations – Stations 7″

I am absolutely terrified  of Stations – scared shitless, nightmares plaguing my every nanosecond of sleep. Nothing has infected me this brutally since the first time I listened to Venom. I’d say the reasoning behind the terror is fair though – the way that Stations loom and hiss on their first ever material points to a band that will be waging war on peaceful slumber with the efficiency of Freddy Kreuger on a Ritalin binge.

This four-song 7″ showcases a lot of potential for Stations – mechanical grinding that puts a gothic spin on the chugging punk noise of Primitive Calculators. They play well with space and dynamics, shrouded under lo-fi blasts of noise and synth savagery. The package is jagged, militaristic and fucking pissed. “Hunting” and “Master/Disciple” stand out particularly, pushing Stations’ punk thrill to an overdose.

Snotty Babies – Snotty Babies

Snotty Babies are a bit of a relic from a few years back, but it’s great to finally have something physical to remember them by. And who wouldn’t want to be reminded of this? Decadent swamp rock dragged from the ditches of Marrickville, Beasts of Bourbon drunk vomiting into Kim Salmon’s tape recorder and emerging with blackened genius. “Sicko” is a  vicious, punk grimace stained with feedback, “Dead Rat” a ramshackle rock and roll high speed chase that ends up with brains splattered across the highway for 50 K, and “Death of the Party” raises itself on its haunches, “Nick the Stripper” style, wide-eyed and manic, switchblade at the ready. For a while there, Snotty Babies were essential, and its a relief that their music gets to see the light of day.

Death Church – Inside Struggle/Betrayal Demos

Two tracks, both demos clocking in at 2 minutes and 47 seconds, from a band who’s name could possibly be a Rudimentary Peni reference. Fuck, that’s just one of the many reasons I love Death Church. They’re so intense, shackled beasts ripping and tearing at their chains through bloodthirsty swipes at angular guitar. It’s a thuggish post-punk inflected snarl, similar to that of Low Life, but done with the more obvious intention of feeding the listener through the shredder a la Steve Buscemi in Fargo.

Personally, “Inside Struggle” stands out as the better of the two demos, simply because I just think that the riff in there batters the hatch of my fragile psyche a little harder, and there’s a stronger chance that listening to that will unlatch my inherent serial killing motives. That being said, both of these songs will eat your fucking face off, and I can’t recommend them enough.

The SMB – The Price of Love

Yep, that Steve Miller Band. The one that got booked for Meredith, and a whole bunch of folks thought they’d get the opportunity to listen to “The Joker”. Fuuuuck that, could you imagine anything worse? Fuck it, why didn’t they go the full monty, and grab Hall & Oates and Don Henley DJ set?

Alternatively, you could get really fucking excited about a band that sounds like the Gun Club are being given shock treatment by Pussy Galore? Lo-fi ramblings of love and lust, blasting at despicable volumes, ripe for the kids to throw back paper-shrouded longnecks and puff on cheap cigarettes to.

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Album Review: JuliaWhy? – Wheel

JuliaWhy? ends with a question mark, but it’s not the kind of question mark that’s soft, and only mildly troubled. Instead, it’s a question mark that screams and stomps, and a threatening gesture of exasperation rather than kindly mentorship. It’s the response to the bratty child in the mall that won’t stop screaming, the frumpy teenager with a smudged frown and a bad haircut, the employee who would rather read dumb Sydney blogs than do any real work. JuliaWhy? have taken that frustrated scream, bottled it onto their long-awaited debut record and popped the fucking cork.

‘Wheel’ is a pleasantly surprising record that’s absolutely packed with pop-influenced raucous that contain enough blast-power to be used in Chilean mines.  The majority of the album slides by with powerful, gnashing punches, as frontwoman Julia Wylie ferociously thrashes her voice around an untameable maelstrom of guitar melodies. She is restless and unstoppable, moving through the record with a Kim Gordon-esque banshee squeal and sugary sweet verses that Kim Deal wish she thought of first.

Maybe it’s the short run-time of the overall product (18 minutes) and song lengths (the majority between 1-2 minutes), and that short time frame allows for JuliaWhy? to be as punchy as possible. But there are heaps of punk bands who can get uninteresting too quickly. Instead, it comes down to the fact that JuliaWhy? know how to shake things up, like a garage version of George Clinton. From the velvet, breathy “Turntable”, to the searing thumbing of “Painkiller” and “La La Love”, to the hilarious horny jangle of “Flowers”, it’s been a while since a record has moved around this much, and yet retained focus and remained so tight-knit.

What it comes down to is infectious and fantastic songs. They’re short knockouts that scrape away bullshit, and replace it with the kind of delirious, fuzzy pop that put Karen O and Sleater-Kinney on the map. Try not to get your feet stamping along to “Just One Night” or “I’m Not Gay But My Boyfriend Is”. It’s nigh impossible. ‘Wheel’ is well-executed in every fashion, a long-awaited but masterfully delivered snapshot of a band that’s not afraid to hide their great ability to write a song, nor terrified at the thought of smothering it in layer upon layer of frantic fuzz.

JuliaWhy? are gonna be launching ‘Wheel’ at Brighton Up Bar on April 5th, with support from The Cathys and Melon Melon Melon (the band so nice they named it thrice). See ’em off before they head to Canada, and pick up a copy of ‘Wheel’ at their Bandcamp!

New: God K – SUPERFORCE

The second release from new label EXXE Records is a creature dredged from a forgotten swamp where The Cramps and Kyuss spent one fateful night together. On the one hand, God K is as foreboding as anything taken from an EyeHateGod record, but the vocals are lathered in some fritzy camp, half-shouted, half-regurgitated for your ears to try and untangle.

God K work best when they are just completely unleashing their sonic depravity. Tracks like “Bionic Man”, “Copycat Killer” and “Superforce” are classic rock power chords wrapped in enough muscled reverb to kill the average Swervedriver nerd. They exist in a sludgy universe where everything is askew and thuggish, and God K are pretty much the only friend that you have. Hazy and demented, God K are like a version of The Cheshire Cat that’s gotten incredibly into Beat Happening’s “Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive”, and this EP exists as a token of their whirring, snarling brilliance.

God K are playing a kickass show at The Union Hotel in Newtown on March 19th, with Broadcasting Transmitter and Melon  Melon Melon.

Playlist: EXXE Records Inhalation Compilation

I’d say that anyone who’s visited this site before would become quickly overwhelmed with how much of it is dedicated to things of the lo-fi and local variety. I fucking love stuff that’s been spawned nearby, whether it come from a sharehouse in Marrickville or a two-up in Melbourne, or an unliveable shack in Brisbane etc. etc. Pretty much any city in Australia with a low-rent living space.

So, it’s with abundant pleasure that I found out that there was a new record label called EXXE Records that have collected a bunch of my favourite bands into a compilation, with a few exclusives and fan favourites involved. On a compilation of 13 tracks, there are twelve (plus one) songs of amazing and diverse sounds from around the country. Not getting around this cassette is a sin only Joe Hockey is capable of.

Before I get stuck into the bands, here’s a lil’ info on how EXXE came to be. Formed by a couple mates living in a share house in Moncur Street, Marrickville, EXXE’s bands are all linked by time spent there, where a lot of the songs on the comp were apparently bred into existence. Their basic mission statement seems to be to release their mate’s bands, all of whom happen to be really fucking good. Shit, they don’t even make a profit from these things, but rather use any money gained to fund more recordings. Fuckn dedication, amirite?

Onto the bands – the artists listed on here is like The Rich List of Australia’s Most Underrated. Sydney garbage-punks Housewives, Ghastly Spats, Drown Under and Snotty Babies, all of which have made scrabbled and scathing noise their purpose of life. There’s a fucked up snarler from the usually docile Beef Jerk, twisted pop smiles from King Tears Mortuary and The Friendsters, and quaint guitars from Mope City. There’s The Gun Club, via Beasts of Bourbon, sounds of Bad Guys, and dark, throbbing post-punk strangulation from Sacred Product. A new one from Kitchen’s Floor opens with tambourine and a gargantuan burp, before switching into their signature strum ‘n’ pine formula. Julia Why?’s contribution is probably the most professionally-produced effort, with limited hiss allowing for some fantastic Breeders-esque rock and roll. Sleep Debt, who haven’t been heard from in ages, also appear with “Day’s End” an instantly catchy and brusque howler that’s half-Dischord, half-Inner West pop.

Did you read those descriptions? Did you see how fucking good those bands sound? Even if you haven’t heard of a single artist on the ‘Inhalation Compilation’, the luscious descriptions of some ginger on the Internet must make you want to pick up music on a format many don’t even know exist. It’s simple – these are some fucking great, if unpolished, bands who champion the amateur aesthetic. You don’t need Rick Rubin to produce your single, or a mountain of coke to help ‘inspire’ you. All you need is a sharehouse, an instrument, maybe a four track, and a future compilation featuring amazing bands like this.

You can splash out and buy the tape here, at the EXXE Rekkids Bandcamp. Because you don’t need groceries for this month, right?

EXXE Records is gonna have a launch at The Chippendale Hotel in, yep you guessed it, Chippendale. Sleep Debt, Julia Why?, King Tears Mortuary, MOB, The Friendsters, Mope City, Destiny 3000 and Ghastly Spats are all gonna play for the cheap, cheap price of $12. Sick, see ya there.