Album Review: Solids-Blame Confusion

Because Montreal based two piece fuzz outfits can’t get enough of Kevin Smith’s 1995 slacker ode ‘Mall Rats’, Solids gave the cover of their debut album over to a Magic Eye painting. Can you see the picture? Just squint!

Or maybe you’re like me, and sees through the bullshit that is a Magic Eye painting. That shit isn’t real! It’s an elaborate ruse, a distraction from the  freakin’ media, to ensure we’re a bunch of confused, cross-eyed idiots! Did you even realise that we elected Tony Abbot Prime Minister of Australia? What the shit? How fucking enthralled were we in Magic Eye paintings that the people elected that idiot?

Solids, like me, see through the bullshit. They don’t have time to sit down and talk about feelings with an acoustic guitar in hand, and there’s two reasons for that. 1. Folk singers never accomplish shit (even Bob Dylan agrees) and because going faster than the vomit escaping one’s mouth upon hearing ‘Achy Breaky Heart 2’, is badass.

Solids never withhold their blistering pace from the audience, ensuring that your ears are in tatters by the end of a single song. There’s a disgruntled howling guitar monkey that went to the studio with Xavier Germain-Poitras and Louis Guillemette the day they started ‘Blame Confusion’, and he didn’t leave the entire time. Instead, any time either tried to play an instrument, the beast would open its mouth and bellow unruly fuzz-isms into the microphone. Eventually, the pair were resigned to letting Mr. Monkey fuck shit up, and record drums and vocals behind whatever glorious cacophony the ape could muster.

Even though they are armed with a sonic ball-buster capable of summoning Cthulu, a significant reason as to why Solids sound so great on ‘Blame Confusion’, is because they muster some intensely genuine melodies on their songs. Opener ‘Over Sirens’ pummels, but it does so with fists like the ones Rocky would throw at Apollo Creed when they were training buddies. The viciousness is done in good humour, not with the intent to harm, but to build. It is also done with incredible technique, showcasing Solids’ ability to be your mate, slowing down where absolutely necessary, and speeding up to ensure you don’t become a little bitch about it. Same is the case for the melody-injected ‘Cold Hands’ and ‘Traces’. The ability to throw in as much energy as Solids do, and still have a thrusting, towering riff at the centre of the piece, like some sort of charismatic Eye of the Storm…well, that’s just a little bit breathtaking.

However, sometimes Solids don’t connect with that strong point of that full propulsion as with aforementioned songs, and this can cause these tracks to drag a little bit. Instead of nail-biting, attention-hogging, nuclear-fuelled garage explosions, we’re dealt with reverb that whizzes by, but doesn’t force you to choke on the sonic boom it leaves in its wake. Unlike fellow country-men and ambitious sources of pure energy, Japandroids, Solids lack some depth in a few songs that don’t hinder the album, but blur the edges a little bit of it being a sharp, focused peice.

So, although you could never accuse Solids of never putting in 150%, sometimes they hit, sometimes they don’t. For a debut album to take on a challenging noise-pop concept that’s really only been perfected by No Age and Lightning Bolt, and succeed for the most part, is a nod in the right direction. ‘Blame Confusion’ has all the signs of being a strong building block for future successes, and a band like Solids is going to be on the rise.

Pick up ya copy of ‘Blame Confusion’ here.

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New Electronic Music: BANKS + Youth Lagoon + Tycho + Scenic + Rainbow Chan x Cassius Select + ALTA + Oscar Key Sung x Black Vanilla

Bro, can you feel it? I’m peakin’ braj, I’m peakin’! Broseidon, I can’t feel my arms!

Such is the life of a gum-muncher. I’m here to fund that lifestyle! These tunes will be with you throughout the thick, thin and the paranoid moments when someone is watching you, and it doesn’t matter that no-one else can see them, they’re totally there.

BANKS-BRAIN

I really have to thank my spirit guide Luen for this one. This track is absolutely killer, in that it will cut your throat, empty your carcass of blood, and leave your lifeless, deflated corpse by the side of the road, but there are no regrets because this song was just way too good. Produced by the almighty Shlohmo, ‘Brain’ is a popping R&B infused track. It starts with sliding water-droplet subtlety, and then, funded by BANKS’ illustrious voice, moves into a pure orgasm territory. I won’t ruin it, but the short of it is that you need to listen to this track, because it will make you want to accomplish all your dreams.

Youth Lagoon-Worms

I went and saw Youth Lagoon on Thursday night. I’m not going to write a review for the show, because frankly, he kinad sucked. I love his music, especially his first album, but in live shape, it was a bit of a self-indulgent, cinematic mess. However, this new track from him is amazing. ‘Worms’ is precisely that, a slinky, earthly thing that slowly worms its way around. There’s a constant twinkling, but the whole thing feels underground, trying to make its way to nowhere in particular, searching for purpose, but at the same time, pretty content knowing that’ll just be your average worm. Stay humble Youth Lagoon, its what I love you for.

Tycho-Montana

Segue alert: Youth Lagoon has a mad, mad, insane, mad song called ‘Montana’. This next paragraph is dedicated to a song entitled ‘Montana’, that also happens to rule. What the Franco, James?

This is a lot more spaced out than the previous entries, an instrumental track that heavily lies on the ‘instrument’ part of that phrase. Not only does Tycho incorporate synths and ticks, but there’s a lot of classical instrumentation appearing-live drums, piano, guitar, various percussion…It makes for a layered, super intriguing track that has more texture than a cup of fro-yo with all the toppings.

Scenic-Ride the Thrill

Scenic are from Perth, which means there’s a de facto Tame Impala influence on there. I’m genuinely surprised they got snapped up by Future Classic and not Modular. Regardless, Scenic actually share more in common with label-mates Jagwar Ma, channelling that Madchester rave scene in all its Happy Mondays glory.

Swishy, hazed vocals washing over you, a pulsating, electric pulse and a thumping synth line that crawls all over the place like a drunk Spiderman on a skyscraper. Dayum Scenic, you got yourself a fucking great song!

Scenic are going to be opening up the Laneway festivities tomorrow in Sydney, so be sure to catch them. Unless you’re at The Growl, with me, in which case, its cool, all is forgiven.

Rainbow Chan-Milk (Cassius Select Remix)

I absolutely adore Rainbow Chan. Her cool, teenage melodies that are chirpier than Twitter’s mascot are to actually die for. I would stab Zeus for a chance to cop an exclusive listen to new Rainbow Chan material. I also adore GUERRE (remix alias=Cassius Select). GUERRE/CS is also very awesome. Glad we’ve established that. Moving on.

So when two adorable elements such as the aforementioned collide on a re-re-remix track, amazing is sure to follow in stead. Prepare yourself for a sultry remix that is not afraid to do its own thing whilst flashing the sex-eyes at you every couple seconds and make sure you’re watching. What a minx!

ALTA-Wandering

Melbourne group ALTA are prepared to rip open your expectations via the earballs, and ensure that you’re paying more attention than the poo-eating scene from Human Centipede. Think of Willow Beats and Super Magic Hats, super silky smooth stuff that gets you jittery behind your belly button.

On ‘Wandering’, ALTA still retain their tribal roots, going full on Amazon, but also adding stylistic elements, pulling back just when you want to hear more, and then pouncing forward right when you’re least expecting it. Basically, ALTA have got the listener hooked, and a lack of this stuff will lead to withdrawal.

ALTA are playing tonight (!) at Good God. Get on that shit.

Oscar Key Sung-All I Could Do (Black Vanilla Remix)

Final entry, though no less organ-failingly good. It’s another remix of Oscar Key Sung’s badooshhhh single ‘All I Could Do’, this time from Sydney tune-shiners Black Vanilla. Usually more R&B focused, this one takes a small sample of Key Sung’s vocal ‘…could…’, and then adds some trap claps and shimmering, trickling synth work to make this remix the ice-queen of all OKS remixes. YEWWWW!

Album Review: Yuck-Glow & Behold

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For a while there, it looked like Yuck were fucked (OOOOOO RHYMING!). They’d released one hell of a debut record that had catapulted them to the top of every hipster’s playlist, but then out of nowhere, their frontman bailed on them. Daniel Blumberg was a major factor in the band, writing a decent portion of their music, but he up and left to rebrand himself as Hebronix (a fucking fantastic record was released earlier this year, read the review here). So, Yuck were over right? Right? Nope, they got themselves a new guitarist (Ed Hayes), and Max Bloom stepped up to the microphone. All signs of logic pointed to a most likely fucked album, but the result is a pleasantly surprising and glowing sophomore album.

Whilst the first album leaned towards the college rock of earnest early 90’s bands like Pavement and Dinosaur Jr., ‘Glow & Behold’ is much more invested in the shoegaze scene that was developing at the same time, with hints of Slowdive and Ride popping through. Oh, and it’s a given that My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Isn’t Anything’ record was on repeat during their recording sessions. But like their debut, Yuck haven’t stuck to simply copying their influences onto a record to be upheaved, praised and forgotten by the Pitchfork public. No, they take these sounds and re-invent them, and they do it well. Its like sculpting the Statue of David with Playdough-beautiful from a surface level, and only more impressive once you delve more into it.

While for the most part ‘Glow & Behold’ is content to lovingly drift along like a bunch of playful otters caught in a current, there are moments of staggering beauty, like Titanic-finale level beauty. ‘Lose My Breath’ with the friendly warning vocals and seething guitar, the melodramatic but still gorgeous ‘Nothing New’, and the heart-melting romanticism of ‘How Does It Feel’, a song that makes me want to run, on all fours, to Max Bloom and never let him go. And it wouldn’t even be weird, because it’s almost guaranteed that every single other person who’s heard that song is doing the exact same thing. But hands down, the song that will puncture your brain with its flooring vibes of awesomeness will be ‘Rebirth’. Located smack-bang in the middle of the record, the My Bloody Valentine renaissance is felt most solidly here. The super shoe gaze rhythms, sighing falsetto and strings…it’s the perfect song. In fact, ‘Rebirth’ could be seen as a metaphor for the ‘new’ Yuck: adopted sound executed to perfection, impressive melodies that refuse to give up…the chorus is even Max Bloom swooning ‘Go down, I’d wanna go down’, like he’s daring critics to shun the new Yuck. Well, it’s impossible, because ‘Glow & Behold’ sounds straight majestic.

Hebronix might be the better post-Blumberg project to diverge from #Yuckgate, but only by a sliver, a very fucking small sliver. Yuck have defied expectations, and have delivered a resonating album of shimmering beauty. If Azealia Banks had done this album, she would have said ‘DIS ONE’S FOR ALL DA H8TERZ’ at some point, but thankfully Yuck did the album, and they just quietly smile to themselves as they redeem the band with a fine tapestry of shoe gaze rock that can be enjoyed at any time, anywhere.

Video: Yuck-Middle Sea

Well, hypothesis has become fact now: Yuck don’t need Daniel Blumberg to prove that they can rock the fuck out. ‘Middle Sea’ is an intoxicating mixture of heavy and hard rhythms that thrust and jut their swaying bodies at self-confident but ugly angles, like the candidates of a fat convention. However, this is magnificently juxtaposed by the truly wondrous vocals and melody. The harrowing giant gurgling guitar is awesome, refreshing and powerful.

New: Frankie Rose-Sorrow

Do you remember that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder version, not the shitty Johnny Depp one) where Willy Wonka has that mad song about chocolate and shit, and it’s so romantic, it’s like he wants to fuck the candy? Well, that’s the first single from Frankie Rose’s new album ‘Herein Wild’, entitled ‘Sorrow’. Except instead of chocolate, Frankie Rose wants to fuck your sadness and the emptiness of your life. Beautiful strings cascade across this track, the vocals soar and the whole thing reeks of being the prettiest thing you’ll hear all week.

Video: Youth Lagoon-Mute

Skip to 45 seconds to get to any actual music, before that is all noise. This is the first visual taste of Youth Lagoon’s second album, ‘Wondrous Bughouse’. The son is a compilation of noise and lofty vocals, however the video is quite arresting. Featuring a young protagonist, he gets lost or some shit, and then walks into a house, meets Marilyn Monroe, and then everything goes to shit, like skulls and shit. It’s mildly entertaining.