New: TEEF Records Presents Imperium in Imperio II

a1578789729_16

There are so many blogs on the Internet, and there’s maybe a dozen who are actually worth following. Soundly Sounds sure as shit doesn’t fall into the latter category, but Sound Doctrine certainly does. Run by Tommy Faith, the ol’ SD has been a permanent fixture in my browsing history. Here’s Tommy’s secret – he reels you in with the spilled VB tinnie and fluffy koala graphics, and then keeps you transfixed with tale after tale of incredible Australian acts that you wouldn’t possibly know about otherwise. I have Sound Doctrine to directly thank for the discovery of gems like Spirit Faces and Reuben Ingall, amongst many others

That penchant for discovery courses through Tommy’s own label TEEF Records. They’ve got some stellar releases under their belt, but it’s the compilations that I always look forward to with mouth-watering delight, because there’s a huge cast of unknown superstars spilling out of TEEF’s Bandcamp page. Following on from last year’s Imperium in Imperio compilation (which featured the likes of Electric Sea Spider, Setec, and Collarbones), TEEF present their sophomore mixtape, and fuck me sideways if it isn’t ripe with the goods.

Right off the bat, you’ve got a new one from Tracy Chen, the super quiet Adelaidian who makes music to cry by yourself to. Sparse, minimal and incredibly gentle, James Blake wishes he could’ve made a song as moving as this. And then there’s IljusWifmo – it actually annoys me that I can’t pronounce the name, because for the next week (at least), I’m going to be going up to people on the street screaming, “Hey there’s this amazing producer who makes this thrilling, sci-fi soundscape and their name is *mumbles incoherently*”.  Oh, and you can’t forget Ribongia’s “Dreams”, which forgoes his usual club thump for something a bit more surreal.

AND HOLY SHIT THAT’S JUST THE FIRST HALF! A brand new group called H/R have somehow managed to turn the most despised squadron of office life into a tantalising vortex of lush synth work and hushed vocals. Sampa the Great proves why she’s the most talked about artist of the year with an exclusive track of pulsating music that raises the bar of local hip-hop several levels. And FISHING return with “Energy Drone”, a throbbing pupil-widener of constantly shifting parts and parcels that sounds how a Rube Goldberg machine operates.

I have barely scratched the surface on all the incredible artists awaiting to be discovered on this mixtape – if I went into a detailed description of every song on here, this article would end up several thousand words. In summary, let’s just call TEEF Records’ Imperium in Imperio II an absolute barn-stormer of a mixtape, packed with tracks custom made for the moment when you need to show off something cool and new that can be unanimously hailed by the crowd as a masterpiece.

Oh, fuck, that’s still not good enough? Well, how about the fact that all proceeds raised from this mixtape go towards OXFAM’s Syrian Refugee appeal. Listening to good stuff, and doing good stuff at the same time? 2016 truly is the year of miracles.

Head to TEEF’s Bandcamp here to cop the comp. And make sure you visit Sound Doctrine regularly – seriously, that place is stacked with the best o’ the best. And it’s waaaaaaaaay better than this blog.

Volumes 2016 Mixtape

13342972_902563493199392_7275202565506079043_n

Last year, Sydney got a huge leg up in the form of Volumes Festival, a multi-venue event that put a spotlight on all the fan-fucking-tastic music we get to call our own in this city, as well as a 11/10 show from Blank Realm. Even the piece of shit writing this sentence had a pretty good time!

Which is why I’m really happy that Volumes will be returning for another year! Not only have the team expanded to include an extra day and the Burdekin Hotel amongst last year’s venue collective of The Oxford Art Factory, Brighton Up Bar and Cliff Dive, but they’ve delivered a lineup that forces even a chode like myself to concede a gasp of “Wow…”.

The full lineup and tickets can be scored here, but if ya want a pick of the best of the bunch, read on below:

BV

Formerly known as Black Vanilla, the Friday night headliners will be bringing their ferociously dark party to Volumes for a night of hedonism. In their own words: “No once cares how well you move, so just move”.

FISHING

The last time I saw FISHING, they rapped in French, and then brought up the Al Wright from Cloud Control for a song that sounded like the spiritual successor to Underworld’s “Born Slippy”. I don’t know how the hell they’ll be able to top that, but after months away, honing new material, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that FISHING’s return to the stage will see a truly crazy performance.

Rainbow Chan

Rainbow Chan is definitely the best thing in electronic music right now. Every time I see, hear or even think about her music, the words “jilted pop perfection” brand themselves into my brain. Her debut album will be out by the time she hits the stage for the first night of Volumes, so make sure you get a good spot early, because you’ll be one of the thousands clamouring to catch the biggest sensation of 2016.

Donny Benet

It’s been far too long since the ripple of Donny’s smooth and sensual touch has been felt. The sophisticated lover will be sparing no expense on the Saturday night, enrapturing all those who dare to feel the heat. Fuck, I’m licking my lips just thinking about this.

Unity Floors

I’ll take any excuse to belt out “Nice Fit” and all the other classic hits these guys have made over the years. UF’s second album Life Admin should be out by the time Volumes hits, so there’s plenty of time to learn the lyrics to all the new classics as well.

Rolling Blackouts CF

Someone once called Rolling Blackouts CF “…the best band ever…”, and that someone is me.

Scott and Charlene’s Wedding

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, the third best Neighbours-themed band from Melbourne, hardly make the trek to Sydney anymore, so any opportunity to see them should not be missed. Besides all the classics like “Rejected”, “Lesbian Wife” and “Jackie Boy”, they also do a killer cover of the Go-Betweens’ “Karen”, so make sure you’re front and centre when they tear Brighton Up Bar a new one.

The Harpoons

I’ve sorely missed The Harpoons’ R&B-tinged synth pop – it’s lip-biting, misty eyed stuff, and I’m filled with anticipation at the mere thought of swaying along with hundreds of others to “Unforgettable”.

Summer Flake

Summer Flake’s Hello Friends has been my ‘Album of the Week’ for the past three months – I’m a lazy shit who keeps forgetting to update that section of the website, but there’s also a hint of truth to my mistake. Summer Flake’s disarming honesty, golden guitar and harrowing voice makes her the perfect recipient of such a prestigious award. Can’t wait to catch Steph Crase and co. when they swing through Sydney again!

 

Volumes 2016 takes place on Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th of August, all up and down Oxford St. Once again, tix and full lineup here.

Gig Review: FISHING

Friday, 5th September @ Newtown Social Club

FISHING are a Sydney duo with a fucking impossible name to Google. Read it with me: Fucking. Impossible. However, they are one of the few, few bands that it is worth trekking through result page after result page, looking for their Soundcloud, which is basically the Ark of the Covenant (it will melt your Nazi face off).

They’ve been playing around Sydney for a long time, and a few months back, they dropped their debut record. If that seems like some sort of not that much of a big deal, especially for bands who manage to knock out a record in a weekend, it’s actually kinda flooring especially when you view their work as a single cohesive piece. FISHING are a group that create their music by grabbing influence from every single genre, and then cobble these together with a flair and intoxication that will make you an immediate fan.

It seems reasonable to believe that FISHING sold out their homecoming show at Newtown Social Club on their album tour. People were excited! There was a thrill, and a certain electricity in the air, a community of people all moving with the momentum of FISHING’s success. No one there was a trivial fan, who had nothing better to do on a Friday night. No, these fans were deeply embedded and moved by FISHING, and were keen as fuck to see some Doug v. Russell action.

Doug and Russell took to the stage amid swirling lights that would be enough to bring on an acid flashback, as well as so much smoke that a first-time director of a “gritty” version of Macbeth would say, “Woah, guys, slow down. I’m suffocating here”. They were also one hand down, with Russell’s arm broken, and so they were joined by Alister Wright of Cloud Control, a guest on the album, who joined the duo in prodding buttons and dancing. Ironically, Alister also had a broken arm. If you’re in need of practicality, you really can’t go past FISHING.

But practicality isn’t really the point of FISHING, especially when they’re in their total creative element. The mixture of audio and visual, moulded into something that was some of the most engaging electronic experience (YAY, ALLITERATION) I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending to. The three on stage remained dynamic and happy as anything, their enjoyment laying completely unmasked. They could fuck-up, have to count in intro’s, whatever, but the crowd, instead of judging them, bolstered them, and the flow of good vibes was more obvious than if Godzilla tried to take a shit in the room.

They blared through a set that didn’t seem to last long enough, though it went for nearly an hour. Dancing and swaying to tracks off the record like “Choy Lin”, “Your Mouth”, and “Chi Glow”, with their deep, soul penetrating technical goodness, made time pass like we were on Mercury (it’s science, look it up). And in the live setting, where skulls and 3D models of naked bodies flipped across a glittering projector, tracks that could feel a bit flat on record like “Nineteen/Boy Wunder” and “Nova Current”, took on a new, re-invegorating energy. Things moved into a case of anything being possible, and a good time become an automatic by-product of being in FISHING’s presence.

When you left the gig, there was nothing but positive energy buzzing in the atmosphere. Not to get too SPIRITUAL NUT on everyone here, but it was a moment of karma going full circle. These two guys have worked hard, putting out mixtape after mixtape, single after single, of damn enjoyable brilliance, and it paid off with a show of most excellent proportions.

Gig Review: Groovin’ the Moo, Maitland

Why the fuck would a city slicker, who thrives off polluted air and skyscrapers, want to spend a day in the country? Why on earth would I want to go to Maitland? Because of the opening day of the famous regional festival Groovin the Moo, that’s fucking why. It featured some standout sets, some surprising energy and a massive disappointment….ooo, suspense.

After a 2 and a half hour bus ride up to Maitland, population 69, 646, I needed some live music to rest my grumpiness. Luckily, first up for the day was Sydney’s own Fishing. As usual, the offered up a delicacy of live soft electro, like the Aussie SBTRKT, but less serious. The two kids on stage were bopping like Tweedledee and Tweedledum on stage, offering the surprisingly big crowd (for that early a set) a great soothing start to the festival. Some of the highlights, were ‘Choy Lin’ and ‘OOOO’, however, the whole set was a mix of earthy electro goodness, not too intimidating, but not too lowly and boring either.

Following Fishing, was Tuka and Ellesquire, of which I sat through about a minute before faced with the decision to either throw up or leave. So I took my ass to the Udder Stage, where Triple J favourites Last Dinosaurs were about to start their set. After an excellent EP and last year’s ‘In A Million Years’, the band had garnered quite an audience, with frontman Sean Caskey doting ‘it was the biggest audience they’d played since…ever!’. Alas, that quote was perhaps the most excited the band came throughout the entire set. They were stiff and neurotic, the audience lapping up the music with puppy dog excitement, moreover from their Triple J airplay recognition rather than any effort on stage from the band. They were about as exciting as watching someone grate cheese, and their songs lacked emotion and fervour. For an indie-pop band, they were devoid of any pop-ness. In comparison, Hungry Kids of Hungary were a festival highlight. They played rather the exact same sort of music as Last Dinosaurs, and were Triple J favourites, but played it with the expansive joy and energy that their genre warranted. Their set was a tambourine-clad mushy love pit, like a jungle party. It would be fair to say that recent single ‘Sharp Shooter’,  or old favourites ‘Scattered Diamonds’ and ‘Coming Around’ were more indulgent and exciting individually than Last Dinosaurs entire set. Hungry Kids played fantastically, and there wasn’t a fault in their set, definite crowd pleasers. Even when two overt fans climbed one of the supports in the Moolin Rouge tent, and the band were forced to stop their set until they got down, not a moment of pleasure was wasted.

After Hungry Kids of Hungary finished their stellar set, I pushed my way to the front for my personal standout band on the lineup, hardcore punk kings The Bronx. That show involved a lot of firsts for me. I’ve never split (not to be confused with shit) my pants at a show before. I’ve never caressed a lead singers bald, sweaty head with my open palm before. And I’ve never sounded like a 60 year old smoker after a gig before. In other words, it was a fantastically violent gig. Everything about The Bronx is no-bullshit, from the way lead man Matt Caughthran stomped around stage, and his terrifying screams. They blasted through a set of crowd favourites, storming each with a ferocity that is incomparable. ‘Shitty Future’, ‘Knifeman’ and recent hit ‘Ribcage’ were all blasts of pure energy, blowing minds and necks with their headbanging goodness. ‘White Guilt’ was the only point in the set in which things weren’t pushed to the absolute maximum, and that’s because it’s a ‘slow song’, the closest The Bronx have ever come to making a ballad. Finally, ‘Heart Attack American’ was a whole other story, unleashing a hellish nightmare fury that hadn’t been seen since Black Flag fucked shit up in ’81. It was pants splittingly good. Like the bread  sandwiching the beef on a really good burger, DZ Deathrays DJ’d 90’s alternative rock hits side of stage before and after The Bronx’s set, featuring songs from greats like Refused and The Offspring (before they got shit), and not one, but two, Beastie Boys tracks! They also spun a remix of their awesome track ‘Cops Capacity’. Clad in 80’s mullets and sleeveless shirts, the DZ boys were the picture of perfection, and you could see they loved it. Good stuff DZ!

Next up was indie wonders Alpine. Like Last Dinosaurs, they had only released an EP and last years ‘A is for Alpine’, and graced the same left hand side of the Udder Stage, however they kicked absolute ass. They twirled through delicate pieces of masterful pieces of indie, placing slightly more on the folkie side, but still maintaining exuberance and a bold form. ‘Gasoline‘ had the crowd enchanted, and ‘Hands’ was a class act of chanting goddesses, executed by lead singer Phoebe Baker. It was a fantastic set of twinkling delight, Alpine have cemented themselves as masters of live indie music, a genre that is harder to pull off in a live setting than pants when you’re drunk. Definitely recommend getting their EP and LP, both are beautiful and stunning. Next, were Scottish lads Frightened Rabbit, and although they didn’t play to an enormous crowd, they played damn well. Unfortunately, their sound cut off for a few moments twice, but the band persevered and showed to be a well worn. ‘Old Old Fashioned’ is a nice little, Mumford and Sons country crooner, and ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ can only be described as gorgeous. It was an absolute joy to see this band in action, and I only wish I could have been front and centre for the set closer of ‘The Loneliness’. What a bunch of perfect gentlemen. Alas, I had to keep my front row spot for Regurgitator. The Mighty ‘Gurge absolutely killed, with a best -of set spanning their entire career. From the soaring heights of game changing debut ‘Tu-Plang’ and sophomore ‘Unit’, to the highly underrated ‘…Art’, the unashamed rap-rock of their 2000’s mainstay, and finally their latest album and return to form of ‘SuperHappyFuntimesFriends’. You want ‘Bong in My Eye’? No worries. ‘I Wanna Be A Nudist’? ‘I Will Like Your Arsehole’? No dramas. How about the 30 second Bill-Paxton fury ode of ‘Game Over Dude’? Sure. All this was peppered with their biggest self deprecating singles, like ‘Black Bugs’, ‘Kong Foo Sing’, ‘Fat Cop’ (hilariously introduced by ‘Ladies and Gentleman, Val Kilmer’ followed by slow motion shots of Val Kilmer getting shot and Al Pacino running, from ‘Heat’), ‘Blubber Boy’, ‘Polyster Girl’ and of course, ‘! (The Song Formerly Known As) (which was done with live instrumentation, rather than the electronica on the album). Although Regurgitator where almost the perfect live band, energetic, thrilling and electrifying, screaming every lyric into the audience’s face, the front row didn’t seem to be as into it as the small clan of followers in the mosh. It was disappointing that such a great and fundamental Australian band like Regurgitator could only pry such a small following. Imagine if the same thing happened to The Scientists. Fucking blasphemy. ‘All Fake Everything‘ should be this country’s fucking national anthem.

Anyway, the next band I watched was Tame Impala. Their fame is a double edged sword. On one hand, it’s great that such a fantastic band, that have rekindled psych music is getting recognised the world over. However, as GTM proved, their music is perhaps not suited to the absolutely enormous crowd that flocked to see them. I feel sorry for Midnight Juggernauts, who played at the same time as Tame. It seemed as if the whole festival was packed in to see Tame Impala rock out. Regardless of the squished atmosphere, Tame Impala blew off everyone’s chops. It was a great, smooth show. Not as great as their past Enmore shows, but it certainly had vibrancy and seemed fuller and compact, in a good way. ‘Apocalypse Dreams’, ‘Solitude is Bliss’ and ‘Elephant’ were all balls out amazing, masterpieces of the highest class, and sent the crowd into a dancing frenzy. It was a pleasure to be able to experience their live show. Even if Kevin Parker’s voice wasn’t up to it, his ‘impromptu’ idea of getting the crowd to sing the over-the-top falsetto of ‘It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ was blissful. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Tame concert without ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’ as the closer. Everyone in attendance (quite a few had jumped ship to get a better seat at Flume)  where stunned by the obviously amazing jam that has made it’s way as a stable of the Tame Impala set. Extending for a good 10 or so minutes, it was shorter but seemed just as full as when they played it at the Enmore. Very great stuff.

Likewise to Tame Impala, Flume was the other act on everyone’s to see list. Tegan and Sara must’ve played to an audience of about ten people. The entire enormous Moolin Rouge tent was completely packed out, and people were easily spilling out into the grass section at the back of the tent. Armed with his armada of tunes from his self-titled debut and his new, very impressive live show, Flume shocked and awed for the better half of an hour. He skilfully swam through a whole shit load of tunes, blowing minds throughout. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in the sweaty mosh of that tent, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the back end, with room to dance (if it could be called that) and express yaself (ya ya Diplo, muthafuckas). Although the Laneway show was more intimate, and I probably enjoyed it more, the GTM show was still fantastic, and everything that his sound relied on, from the subtle but extensive bass, and his warping, spaced out synths, everything was awesome. ‘Insane’, ‘On Top’, and ‘Holdin On’ were all bombastic talents in his near flawless and well received show.

Now, for the next band, I need to clarify something. I fucking hate The Kooks. I hate them. They are awful. Everything they put down on record is disgraceful. I would rather chew off a finger than listen to a whole Kooks record. That being said…great live band. Damn good. They had the crowd in the palms of their hand, and Luke Pritchard was, dare I say it, a rock god. They played the show in tiny Maitland, rural NSW as if it were a stadium, flashing lights and mesmerising backgrounds a backdrop for their relentless energy. Last Dinosaurs could take a few tips from The Kooks. Although their music is da-da-da-derivative as hell (‘Always Where I Need to Be’), The Kooks were a fun band to see, no use lying about it. They played their set well, and set highlights like ‘Seaside’ and ‘Sway’ were sung back to the band by the crowd with overwhelming enthusiams. No wonder they keep coming back to Australia, they have rabid fucking fans, and the destroyed it up there.

To close out the night were Australian favourites The Temper Trap, and by fuck, they were a rapturous bunch. Again, not being a huge fan, and thinking of their music as a little bit ‘soppy’, I didn’t know what to expect. I was completely taken aback, as my neighbours will attest to, with my constant exclamations of ‘fuck man, this is good shit’, and ‘fuck, this is a great band’. Starting the set with the four most well known songs ‘Love Lost‘, ‘Fader’, ‘This Isn’t Happiness’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ they sealed the crowd, but I was left wondering if they could keep the momentum. The sure fucking could, and followed with some lesser-known but equally boggling tracks, and ‘Science of Fear’. Soulful, endearing and permeated, they were a holy other being, elevating themselves to something godly. Their records are quite amazing bodies of work, but the live show takes it to another level, something I didn’t think would translate at all. They also proved their instrumental chops, busting out a psychedelic 15 minute jam, with Dougy Mandagi, the lead vocalist and guitarist, absolutely smashing the shit out a tom tom, whilst bassist Jonathane Aherne pirouetted on stage, probably oblivious to the fact he was playing to a crowd. It was a mesmerising and electrifying performance, complete with dazzling lights and blinding displays. The Temper Trap proved that they are one of Australia’s favourite bands and exports, with a deafening finisher of everyone favourite breakup anthem ‘Sweet Disposition’. God bless them.

This has been over two thousand words, and still has barely covered the sights, sounds and glory of Groovin The Moo. It was a great festival, jam packed with local favourites and international acts that would otherwise never tour the rural district. In summary: The Bronx and Regurgitator rocked, Tame Impala and Flume continue their streak, Hungry Kids of Hungary, The Kooks and Temper Trap pleasantly surprised and Last Dinosaurs need to get their shit together.