New Electronic: NO ZU + World Champion + Movement + XXYYXX

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A bevy of tunes for you to use in your next DJ set to piss off people who just want to hear “Hotline Bling”:

NO ZU – Hi Gloss

NO ZU are going to be returning to Sydney this Saturday for At First Sight Festival, and I’m excited. You should be to, unless you hate fun. Because NO ZU are the definition of fun. They’re more fun that going to Disneyland with a Skip-the-Line pass. They’re more fun than having a wise-cracking talking parrot as your best mate. They’re more fun that travelling back in time to stop the birth of Tony Abbott.

Here, let me prove that fact to you right now, with their new jam “Hi Gloss”, six minutes of exotic, sensual, shoulder-rolling, hip-thrusting, knee-jerking groove. Listening to this makes me want to don a turtleneck/teashade sunnies combo and hop into a convertible on my way to a 1960’s nightclub where the STD’s are flying around like mozzies and no one gives a fuck.

World Champion – Shakes 

Also on the At First Sight bill are relative newcomers World Champion. They’ve been gigging for a fair bit, but “Shakes” is only their second track. Released through Future Classic, World Champion bring the vibes that only a true global winner can wring. With Madchester scrawled all over it, “Shakes” is about as euphoric and uplifting as they come, thudding without being overwhelming, and pop without being plastic. Fuck, it’s just a really fun song, y’know?

MOVEMENT – LACE (Demo)

It has been a long time between drinks for MOVEMENT, Sydney’s future R&B legends who propped up everyone’s ears with their EP last year. BUT IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG! TOO! LONG! To be fair, they’ve been opening up shows all over the world, but COME ON! The lumps in my throat from the last time I listened to “Like Lust” are subsiding!

“LACE” comes just in the knick of time, lightly ruffling those goosebumps that MOVEMENT pressed into our flesh so long ago. They might have left us in the lurch for a little while, but their return is enough to give the drools to anyone within earshot. “LACE” creeps at a depraved pace, as affecting as anything MOVEMENT have done before, breathing heavily until you can feel hot air rustling the hairs on your neck.

Apparently, it’s just a demo, but Jesus Christ, if this is the half-arsed version, I don’t think the world is ready for a fully-fledged reindtion of this. Furthermore, it’s a free download, at least for the time being, so grab it and store it in that iTunes Library playlist entitled “I Am So Lonely, Will Someone Please Touch Me? Please?”. Everyone’s got one of those, right?

xxyyxx – Red

 

The combination of xxyyxx’s age and talent is enough to give every big name producer out there a stroke of doubt followed by a mass existential crisis. If a 19 year old from LA can make beats as dark, brooding and sultry as “Red”, then what fucking hope do we have? Delete that copy of Ableton that you downloaded illegally anyway, push away the decks, and send those half-finished demos to the trash bin. I guess the only consolation prize here is that you can now spend more time listening to xxyyxx, and it’s hard to to find onus with that.

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New: World Champion – Avocado Galaxy

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World Champion have been fluttering around Sydney for a fair while, popping up for support slots here and there, essentially playing the prairie dog role. However, they haven’t yet released a track, choosing instead to let the minions of their live show be sole owners of the World Champion experience (c).

Well here’s a big old fuck you to the culturally elite tastemakers of Shitney, because World Champion just dropped their debut track for THE WORLD to see. No longer may you lord over the plebs of our fair city with the constant musing of “Oh man, World Champion were soon good last night….Oh, you STILL haven’t seen them?” *Cue furious collar pulling*.

If anything, the release of “Avocado Galaxy” is enough to make those in the ‘unseen’ category all the more jealous. Look past the ridiculous title, and sponge in the flared electro pop that puts World Champion up against the likes of Jagwar Ma and Scenic. Not bad company for ya first single!

New: Touch Sensitive – Teen Idols

Taking a note out of Flying Lotus’ “Do The Astral Plane”, Touch Sensitive implements his carefree nature with some expertly chopped vocals and high-pitched snaps ‘n’ crackles with a track sure to dominate every stereo on Bondi Beach this summer. His work as a producer far outshines his work as a bassist in Van She, and Touch Sensitive looks to be pretty damn unstoppable. Listening to “Teen Idols”, you want to break out the shorts, put limes in your Mexican beer and invite everyone you’ve ever met for a huge pool party. Considering I live in black jeans and the only light I bask in comes from the artificial stereo bleeps, as a Yes, I’m Leaving record spins around, getting to feel “DEM FEELS” again is a pretty rare occurence. Damn, Touch Sensitive, I think you’ve cured Loner-itis.

New Electronic Music: Basenji + Thrupence + Karma Kid

Been a while since electronic music got some coverage, so here goes with some of the latest from the country’s greatest, Future Classic!

Basenji-Heirloom

Basenji has dropped his latest single last night, and it’s fucking weird to think that it’s only his second official single. I mean, the dude’s been pretty much everywhere, and looks to be picking up in the vacuum that Wave Racer has left since he’s been trotting all over the globe. Anyway’s, this new one is about as uplifting as the finale of a Disney movie, just fucking stoked electronic sound getting to the higher reaches of happiness everywhere. It’s a triumphant song, and probably about the most fun future bass is ever going to come close to getting.

Thrupence -Don’t You Mind

Same label, very different sound. The soul comes through super strong here, like listening to The Roots going through a funnel of Flying Lotus. It’s very Brainfeeder-esque, and if you plan on having a wine-‘n’-cheese night tonight, this would be the perfect song to play before bringing out the expensive brie.

Karma Kid – Bird of Prey

This song would be my secret weapon if I were ever asked to DJ a club night. First, I’d bring everything down with some Drake, and Lil Wayne, ensuring that everyone in da club thought I was a shitty DJ with no taste, and was going to bum everyone out with my averageness. And then BOOM! I lock up this dope track, and get everyone dancing so insanely that the club burns down from all the hot fire on the DF. And then I’m sued for damages.

What I’m trying to say is that Karma Kid is so good, they will get you sued, so use this track sparingly.

New: Movement-Like Lust

I recently watched ‘Boyz N The Hood’, so I’m going to review Movement’s new single the way I feel Ice Cube would review it:

Man, this shit is crazy tight. It’s like…yo Cuba, what’s the motherfucking word? Tight as balls! Yeah, Cuba, you a man of words! Motha-fucka you should meet with my boy Dre…Oh, I’m breaking character? How ’bout I break yo mothafucking face?

*Clears throat*

Anyway, this shit is like, the smoothest jam, it gets my panties wet. Soak-a-licious. Mmm, perfect. Makes me bite my upper lip good. These Movement boys would be tight in the ghetto, despite the fact they exist a full two decades after this significant peice of African American cinema was created. Anachronism’s aside, ‘Like Lust’ is wack!*

*My entire knowledge of how Ice Cube actually sounds is compiled from the aforementioned ‘Boyz N Tha Hood’, various soundbites of ‘Fuck The Police’ and ‘Are We There Yet?’.

New: Chet Faker-Talk Is Cheap

 

What….the….fuuccccck? Who expected to wake up this morning to a new Chet Faker track/video? How can pessimism exist when this kind of shit occurs, huh?

Chet Faker, the bearded guy who covered ‘No Diggity’, and proceded to make everyone, including my own, jaws drop spontaneously, has finally announced his debut album. Apparently scrapping it twice and starting over again, third time lucky proved to be successful as a date has been announced (April 11) and the first single has dropped. The question though-is it worth the wait?

Fuck your cliffhanger rhetorics Ryan, you fuckwit, of course it’s good, it’s Chet Faker. How good? Try better than chocolate coated dinosaur pets good. ‘Talk Is Cheap’ manages to be sexier than a George Clooney make-out session. It combines some love-making saxophone that drips with sensuality,  with lush piano chords and a bass/clap combo that literally makes panties drop. I’ve had to pull up my undies involuntarily at least 12 times, and I’m only 40 seconds in.

And, as usual, Chet Faker’s voice is caramel sex incarnate, brimming with a unique and warm spirit that flows into your soul and hands it a hot chocolate and flicks the sex-eyes a couple times, a gesture that you would no doubt cross space and time to meet. The chorus is a swooning, crooning coitus-inducing orgasm. Basically, everything about ‘Talk Is Cheap’ echoes pre-piss R. Kelly, when every girl wanted to be with him, and every guy also wanted to be him. Good on you, Mr. Faker. You’re all right in my books.

New Electronica Music: Oscar Key Sung + SBTRKT + Cashmere Cat

If you listen to all three of these songs in a row, you’ll actually slip into a chillwave coma. So make sure you put on some Slayer between tracks. Safety first.

Oscar Key Sung-Holograms

Oscar Key Sung has been inching towards the release of a new EP, and with each individual snippet of the EP, I salivate just that much more. ‘All I Could Do’ made me jizz buckets, but ‘Holograms’ has made me upgrade to the carcass of a blue whale, as it’s the only thing that could detain my seed.

On ‘Holograms’, OKS proves himself to be like some sort of sensitive R. Kelly. Those floaty vocals charging in front of the wispy synths, and bobbing bass licks? It makes me want to cry, laugh, vomit, and cry with all the emotions of the rainbow. One word description: fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

 

SBTRKT-Hold the Line

BOOOOM! SHAKALAKA! BADOOOSH! MICHAEL BAY! So! many! explosion! sounds! It’s a new one from SBTRKT, you know that electronic dude behind the mask? No, that’s Deadmau5. No, you’re thinking of Daft Punk. The guy who did a bunch of collaborations, with people like Jessie Ware and Little Dragon? He’s really good? Yeah, ‘Wildfire’ guy!

Anyway, there’s a new song, an instrumental that got world premiered on BBC radio, which means there’s about 40 seconds of bullshit before there’s A NEW SBTRKT SONG! As expected, it’s a glittery, subteranean track that jettisons into all sorts of emotional pathlines. Glory! Happiness! Doubt! Depression! It’s all there, in the song, in the music, man!

 

Cashmere Cat-Wedding Bells

And now, for a triumphant finale! A new one from Cashmere Cat. On a sour side, listening to this makes me swell with regret and melancholy that I didn’t see him at Laneway or his sideshows. Man, imagine listening to this song live! Those thundering drops that elevate into some sort of Amazonian pan-flute magic, with aerodynamic drums collapsing on all sides. It’s like living in an Indiana Jones temple that’s run by the disciples of TLC!

Gig Review: Laneway Festival

One word summarisation of article: Go!

Sunday 2nd of February @ Rozelle College of Arts

Laneway Festival is, without a doubt, the musical event to most look forward to on the Sydney music calendar. Its planned the way a serial killer plans their first murder, with extraneous care and meticulous planning. Every year, the booking of the festival reads like a who’s who of the biggest artists of the moment, and 2014 was no exception. In short, if you didn’t go to Laneway this year, you fucked yourself over.

Besides the music, Laneway surpasses the other big festivals of the calendar because they put in considerable effort to create one of the nicest, most relaxing and beautiful places to enjoy yourself. Set at the Rozelle College of Arts and the park surroundings, you could actually lay down in front of the two main stages and never move, and you’d still have yourself one of the best days of your year. And if you came to the festival but hate music, then you can simply plug in some earplugs, and check out a bunch of other attractions. Thankfully, in this case it doesn’t mean a rollercoaster that’ll put you back $50, but rather some art installations, a vinyl tent, or the food trucks. Yep, the fucking food trucks went off. Best festival food I’ve had in my entire life.

But why the fuck would you scrape a ticket if you hated tunes? What kind of sick, sadistic bastard steals a Laneway ticket from someone else and doesn’t even watch a single act on display? You’d have to be Barry O’Farrell-esque to execute a move that dick-ish. Which is why I got to the festival as early as possible, and clambered to the stage where The Growl were playing. The Growl are another Tame Impala-affiliated project, this time from Cam Avery. However, the music couldn’t be further from psychedelic. They’re a rumbling band, with Avery channeling his inner Tex Perkins to great effect. One word description-swagger. Not swag, swagger.

Although the songs on display were pretty cool (understatement, you can download some of The Growl’s songs here) and a couple of their new tracks really got excitement levels sky high, the band seemed a bit tired on stage. Regardless of the act and amount of hip-thrusts one can shove into a song, opening a festival is fucking hard.

However, on the Red Bull/Future Classic Stage, things were heating up for the few in attendance for Scenic, another Perth act. However, these guys were more akin to Jagwar Ma than Tame Impala. They were effortlessly cool up on stage, pushing out the synth-psych vibes like they were Daddy Warbucks handing out opportunities to orphaned red heads. All their songs contained a sense of danger and cutting edge, and the constant jogging and energy onstage was pretty hard to look away from, or even ironically imitate. Nope, it was way too fucking hot and energetic to try and impersonate. To the guys from Scenic, give up your day jobs and become athletes, you’ve got crazy stamina. Or just keep pumping out tunes like ‘Ride The Thrill’, either is good for me.

After taking on some of the majesty of Scenic, it was off to Drenge, the two-piece garage punks from the UK that would hopefully take my brain to town. However, unfortunately, the two-piece couldn’t catch a break on stage. Undoubtedly, their music is much more suited to an intimate 200-person max show in a dingy basement. On stage, Drenge put out some great vibes, but their equipment was, simply put, fucked. Wind ruined the sound, making their screeches barely audible. And on the topic of screeches, unwanted feedback and a mildly consistent them of pedals cutting out mid song made it hard to appreciate Drenge the way they probably should be appreciated. I mean, ‘Bloodsports’ is such a killer track, and a few other songs alighted comparisons to DZ Deathrays (whom are an obvious choice of band to spend the rest of your life following around). Unfortunately, with the lack of power and conviction, Drenge remained a mild band to watch under the blistering heat.

So, some knob decided that after Drenge, we should go see Autre Ne Veut instead of the brilliant Kirin J Callinan. Obligingly, I followed, only to be met with roughly three minutes of the lamest horse shit this side of a McDonald’s McRib. When you hear the words, up and coming New York producer, there’s an inherent hope that you’re going to witness the next James Murphy. Instead, we were handed a guy that wanted to be Drake so badly, despite not showcasing any of the capabilities that gives the mirage of Drake being good. Instead, there was over-the-top theatrics with absolutely no pay off. Its like the Titanic soundtrack being performed by a white Lil’ Wayne. Autre Ne Veut wants to put so many random brands all into the one performance, whilst holding it under the banner of ‘synergy’. If he were an Office Space character, he’d be the boss. It was time to leave after Autre Ne Veut graduated from kneeling on the floor to standing in a Jesus Christ pose on the PA.

Back to Kirin J Callinan on the main stage, and he’s putting on a performance worthy of such a title. He stands defiantly, wearing an Eddy Merckx cyclist jersey, he swarms through his material from his EP’s and debut record ‘Embracism’. Whilst most might know him for his challenging music that puts all genres in a melting pot to come up with something infinetely more progressive than whatever Autre Ne Veut is pushing, the stand outs from the set where his more 80’s tunes. Think of The Boys Next Door, The Triffids, Killing Joke and Echo & The Bunnymen, then fast-forward a few decades, where Tony Abbott rules with an iron, hypocritical fist. Replace Nick Cave with a taught, beady and charisma-reeking frontman, and you’ve got the Kirin J Callinan project. Diverse and entertaining as anything, ‘Landslide’ and ‘W II W’ were particularly testicle-wringingly good. And the fact he’s got the perfect 2GB radio host voice, and an affinity for shirtless-ness makes his performances all that more enthralling.

Here’s something that I’m sure a lot of people would like to know-King Krule has got fucking nothing on Run the Jewels. Whilst my ginger compadre sways with the mediocre, Killer Mike and El-P put on one of the most memorable festival sets I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing bad to say about Run the Jewels, and really, the only thing that can be sad is that you need to go see this group and download their album right now (it can be done for free and legally right here). Watching the group, it was impossible to not get swept up in the hype and joy that they machine-gunned from the stage. They wrought the crowd happily weak with their tracks from their only record and solo albums, with songs like ‘Sea Legs’, 36″ Chain’ and the closer of ‘A Christmas Fucking Miracle’ causing the audience to lose their shit with the most fabulously stupid grins sported on their faces.

As if their hyper-speed music wasn’t enough on record, the flawless verses of Killer Mike, a combination of the old-school Big Boi and new school of Rick Ross, were executed to perfection. El-P more than held his weight, running his own verses around the crowd like he was lassoing them into a hip-hop cult. And the stage banter! Never have I laughed like I laughed at this show. If Killer Mike and El-P ever feel like giving up on hip-hop, then stand up is there fallback. Never has the repeated phrase of ‘SWAG’ sounded so glorious.

Finally, Run the Jewels were so special because there is an intensely strong bond between these two rappers. Although so different fro the outside, they share the characteristics of completely genuine people, both on stage and with each other. The professional and personal courtesy they share is what makes great musical acts, not just in hip-hop, but across all musical genres. If you want to see entertainment at it’s highest order, go to a Run the Jewels show.

After being fantastically bombasted in the first set of the day that forced me to dance and throw up my hands in the fist ‘n’ pistol sign, Dick Diver was scheduled to bring things down to a normal pace. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. Although Dick Diver have released two stellar records, and are now considered one of the forerunners of Australia’s musical scenery, technical issues prevented them from showcasing their talent. Whilst Al Montfort’s bass was considerably fucking up, Steph Hughes tried to keep the dwindling crowd with a bit of banter, and an impromtu ‘Guess That Riff!’, although eventually she resigned that ‘…maybe we should just play something?”. With the blistering heat and the lack of music, Dick Diver unfortunately lost a hefty portion of the crowd.

But those who stayed were infinitely rewarded as the band went through their slacker pop classics like ‘Calender Days’ and ‘Through the D’. Pretty much a perfect cure to being molested by energy from the Run the Jewels set. Dick Diver are definitely a band to cherish, and its a solid bummer that there weren’t more people that had faith enough in the band that they could come back from the technical fuck ups.

Perhaps I got too accustomed to the lack of being crowded at Dick Diver, because xxyyxx became too much. The music itself is almost perfect electronic music. One cannot underestimate how good xxyyxx really is, and live, the man is a soul-train of glitchy, R&B infused ambience. However, the crowd at the performance was too harrowing. There was no room to move or dance, and the stifling nature meant that you either saw xxyyxx or you placed yourself in a position of minor comfort. Eventually, it was a better option to sacrifice the visual element for the audible element, but it would’ve been nice to see how these magnificent tunes unfolded.

On the other hand, Daughter were a band that were able to be enjoyed in a comfortable environment that will be referred to from now on as Laneway-esque. This Laneway-esque environment is one of complete leisure. You know those scenes in movies where people are lying in hammocks in a tropical paradise? Fuck that. Give me a sprawled lawn, and Daughter playing their hazier-than-thou tunes that smother (PUN!) you in smiles, any day over that. Stunning.

Following a set of dripping gorgeousness, it was time for the exact opposite: Parquet Courts. Along with this band came the only clash of the day-see some stoner punks from Brooklyn, the jaw-dropping Kurt Vile or the hyped and mind-blowing Jagwar Ma. Decisions, decisions! However, the correct choice of Parquet Courts was made. After a shaky intro, they launched into what was basically a greatest-hits set of Sonic Youth and Pavement-owing garage rock. ‘Borrowed Time’, ‘You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now’, and of course, ‘Stoned and Starving’, with some lesser-knowns like ‘Donuts Only’, ‘Careers in Combat’ and They blew through song after song, building each two/three minute track into a tiny pedestal of amazing. They attached themselves to their instruments, attacking them with a ferocity that’s hardly ever seen these days.

With their instruments in tow, the members bended and shook the fabrications of garage rock, throwing their tools around the stage, trying to get that perfect squeal of feedback. It’s this sort of mentality that made it seem like every member was completely enthralled in their own thing, yet the magic of Parquet Courts is how they manage to tie it all down. Although each instrument sounds like its cartwheeling off on a mushroom-laden adventure, the effect is a giant Phil Spector wall of sound that contains a million little melodies. It’s like this on record, but that’s more than one could hope for in the flesh, right? But Parquet Courts pulled it off, and they did it with every-man flair, like they just walked from the bong-ozone after doing an eight hour shift at the local deli. It also helps that their guitarist looks a lot like Thurston Moore. Parquet Courts are one of the best guitar bands of the present age, so go see them this Wednesday at The Standard.

So Parquet killed it, and that was almost expected, but the big surprise of the day apart from Run the Jewels, was HAIM. I love HAIM quite a bit, but there wasn’t the mindset that they’d turn out to be the foul-mouthed, crowd-adored bombasters that they were. God, after seeing HAIM, not only was I enthralled with everything about them, but I wanted to be the drummer in their band. I can’t play drums, but you know I’d fucking learn if it meant getting to hang with the three coolest sisters on the planet.

HAIM have basically done what no other artist has been able to do. They signed to a major right off the bat, got a bunch of meaningless press done by Rolling Stone, NME and Spin, and then put out an album that had no choice but to be heralded. However, these are all very behind-the-scenes occurrences, and a bit of my mind was certain that it was all this elaborate studio ruse, and HAIM actually fucking sucked.

I was so, so wrong. On stage, the sisters strike a resemblance to a sassy Led Zeppelin that’s been shrouded in California sunshine and immersed in Kanye West songs. They were flawless, and I’m sorry I ever derided them in passing. There is nothing but good things to be said about the band’s set. From the versatility and expertise executed musically, to the loud confidence that rubs off from the girls, HAIM are probably one of the most proficient bands around. But that’s not all. They’re music was made to be shouted back by thousands of adoring fans, and its not some sort of flavour of the month bullshit. ‘The Wire’, ‘Falling’, and ‘Don’t Save Me’ are just a few of the songs in HAIM’s set that proved that the band are more than worthy of headliner status. In fact, every song HAIM played seem to just cause the crowd, and myself to swoon even more. The plan was to just catch 20 minutes of the set, but they forced me to stay for the majority. Absolutely fabulous and unique band, live and on record.  Everyone should take this as evidence to go and get their album, immediately.

Oh, and for all those wondering about those rumours of Baby Haim having a weird bass face…totally true.

It was weird then, that after an unexpected high from HAIM, Danny Brown put on a strange performance. There was nothing inherently wrong with what Danny did on stage. He was unsurprisingly charismatic, but he seemed a bit tired, as though he was struggling with what he had to do. There were the trademarks of course-KISS tongue, childish giggles and a constantly swishing frizz of hair. And his actual proficiency on a microphone is uncontested. But, although the vibes emanating from the stage were forceful, there wasn’t the complete joyousness in the air that accompanied Run the Jewels.

Regardless of whatever cosmic uncertainty I was feeling,  Danny Brown’s set proved to be an exercise in rap fertility. The crowd were in a completely rambunctious state, crowd surfing becoming a norm, and dead-set moshing occuring. Perhaps it was the propensity for air-horns in Danny Brown’s music, the anthemic structure of his songs (‘Kush Coma’ and ‘Dope Song’ proved to be riotous), or the male dominated crowd. Who knows? But the violence hit an all time high when a fan rushed the stage and got the shit promptly kicked out of him by security, the DJ and Danny Brown’s Samuel L. Jackson look-alike bodyguard. Meanwhile, Danny didn’t miss a beat onstage. In summarisation, it was the abundance of attitude and ego that killed an otherwise glorious performer. After seeing someone get fucking thrashed so nonchalantly, it was hard to enjoy ‘Dip’ with the drugged out glamour it deserved, and not even the forest of blunts could rectify the unease.

After Danny’s personally divisive set, Savages took the stage. Unfortunately, there weren’t a whole lot of people there to experience the greatness that is Savages-on the main stage was the all-conquering Lorde, whilst Earl Sweatshirt apparently dominated the Future Classic stage. That didn’t leave a whole lot of audience open to check out some furious all-female post-punk from London. On the plus side, it meant that only the loyal showed up, and Savages put on a performance that none would soon forget.

Jehnny Beth is an intimidating character, and as she worked through tracks from Savages’ debut record, she struck a pose that was a cross between a glaring Siouxsie Sioux and Jello Biafra during Dead Kennedy’s most fuck-you period. Whilst hits like ‘No Face’, ‘Husbands’ and ‘I Am Here’ threw themselves at the audience with blistering conviction, swirling mist covered the band, and the witching hour time slot made Savages’ set appear to be some kind of soundtrack to a cult gathering in a Glasgow marsh. If Merlin was a post-punk fan, Savages would be his favourite group.  The intimacy and furiosity offered by the band was second to none, and you really couldn’t help but be completely mesmerised by their dark, strutting majesty.

The most impressive factor of the band however is their ability to warp the dynamics of their songs until it feels like your very existence depends on whether Gemma Thompson can explode that guitar riff over bass players Ayse Hassan’s grumbling, treacle-lined bass lines. Within a few bars, Savages can switch between soaring heights and crushing lows, bringing the crowd into a frenzy they didn’t even know possible, showcased most effectively with the massive and bitter ‘She Will’ and the audience captivating ten-minute closer of ‘Fuckers’. By the end, everyone was so immersed in the music, when Beth asked for the crowd to inhale, and think of one fucker they hated, you could hear the punters thinking of that fucking dipshit that belonged six feet under. Jesus Christ, Savages are both brutal and intelligent, a dichotomy of the highest order. Give yourself to this band, and let them take you on the savage ride that your mind needs.

So, nothing could top Savages right? Well, Cloud Control basically took the viciousness of the previous band, and turned it into the most joyous and enthralling sets of the festival. The musicians, who are younger than Shia La Beouf is in Transformers, put on the most youthfully intoxicating set imagineable. Every track was sung with a belief and authenticity that would make Prince quake in his boots. There was more jumping involved in Cloud Control’s domination of the main stage than a yoga festival invaded by bull-ants.

So Cloud Control were super hyper and amazingly warm on stage? Cool man, but what about the music??? Well, they’ve got an EP and two albums to their name, but their 45 minute set was more greatest hits than collection of singles mixed with other shit. Seriously, not a bad song in the bunch, and because of this, the crowd would have done anything to continue the concert. Even the songs that seem more refined on record exploded on stage, ‘Scream Rave’ becoming an elated gospel track, and ‘Island Living’ literally detonating with Alastair playing his guitar solo with a sparkler attached to his guitar. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!?

So, with the polite tunes ramped up to considerable party levels, it only left the actual party songs to disappear into the heathens of amazing. ‘This Is What I Said’, ‘Meditation Song #2’ and closers ‘Scar’ and ‘There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight’ became staples of happiness amongst a crowd that simply couldn’t stop dancing and smiling, Cloud Control soundtracking the perfect hippie night of innocent debauchery. Oh yeah, did I mention that pulled off a fucking perfect cover of the Butthole Surfers ‘Pepper’ in the middle of ‘Gold Canary’? That thought alone gives me shivers. The fucking Surfers!? With ‘Gold Canary!? Jesus Christ, clean up on Aisle 12.

After one of the most spectacular performances, Unknown Mortal Orchestra finished off the night. Technically, I caught a bit of The Jezabels and Four Tet, but really, the most realistic conclusion point was with Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s flooring set. In terms of technical psychedelic guitar playing, UMO shit all over Tame Impala. Watching Ruban Nielson turn the guitar into whatever he wanted it to be, bending out sounds and then trampling on them within a quaver, was majestic.

On record, UMO come across as a plain-ish band, revelling in their simple fairy psych-pop for critical damage. However, when witnessing that sort of shredding on stage, and pairing it with the wholesome falsetto of Nielson, you’d be forgiven if you shat your pants in amazement. Massive hits like ‘Ffunny Friends’ and ‘So Good At Being In Trouble’ mingled amongst lesser known tracks that wrought awesome on all involved. Generally speaking, the audience was being immersed in the best psychedelic performance to hit Sydney in absolutely ages.

In short, Laneway is the most musically diverse, artistically progressive, and forward-thinking festivals on the music market right now, possibly on a global scale, considering Laneway’s success in Detroit last year. Going to festivals is usually fun, but Laneway take it to another level. They nurture and comfort the average punter in ways that the bigger festivals could never hope for. Not only is Laneway thoroughly enjoyable, but its fucking necessary, an event so enjoyable it leaves a post-festival void of emptiness in your heart.

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!

Top 10 Things That Happened in 2013

Okay, just to clarify, this isn’t a list about the best shit that happened in 2013 for music. Although most of it is about some of the really, really great shit that happened, some of it is about some of the bad shit that happened in 2013. That is to be expected, so chin up buddy, dry those tears, and think about the sunny day that Violent Soho brought out their sophomore record, and forget about the time that Miley fucked a teddy bear. 

10. Chapter Music and I Oh You Records (tied)

This has just been such a fantastic year for both these top-notch Aussie record labels. Albeit on opposite ends of the music spectrum, and drastically varying in age (Chapter celebrating their 21st Birthday this year, and I Oh You celebrating their 4th), they have both released some of the best tunes this year, and rightfully won their place in the music community. Chapter Music released a stunning 15 or so records this year alone, with records ranging from the ‘dole-wave’ world-conquerers Dick Diver and The Stevens, to the long-awaited debut album from Primitive Calculators and another new one from The Cannanes. Meanwhile, I Oh You was out there putting on tours for the likes of Earlwolf, Foals (DJ’s) and getting the one and only Neon Love together for a reunion show. If that wasn’t enough, I Oh You also put out another one of my favourite records of the year, Violent Soho’s ‘Hungry Ghost’, and Snakadaktal’s debut record. They also managed to be a bunch of cockteasers and put out tantalising singles for City Calm Down and DZ Deathrays. If these labels can keep the pressure, there’s no telling how 2014 will end up.

9. New Shit From Bands That Haven’t Released Shit In A While

Beware, I’m not talking about bands that reformed, or broke their hiatus. I’m talking about bands that have never broken up, but have been ‘illin on the fringes of musical society, just waiting to return to form with strident singles. The aforementioned DZ Deathrays, Straight Arrows, HTRK, The Avalanches, Royal Headache, Seekae-just a few of the bands that blew us away with stand alone releases that said, “Fuck you, we’ve still got it.” If you haven’t checked out any of these singles…do it, you unintelligible ape!

8. Shitty Albums That People Thought Would Be Way Better Than They Actually Were

Ooooh, the first hot topic! I’m not just talking about Daft Punk here, there were so many built up albums this year that fell flatter than an ad campaign for Vaginal Warts. Arctic Monkeys, Sebadoh, No Age…just a short list of albums I listened to that I wish I hadn’t had, so I could dedicate more time to wistfully thinking about making sweet love to Robert Pollard. But that’s not even scratching the surface of bands like Cloud Control, Cults, Weekend, Soft Metals, Obits and Franz Ferdinand. A lot of bands that I was expecting to deliver stunning results returned with meagre offerings that either cruised along on the strength of predecessors, or worse, fucking sucked.

7. Solo Projects

For me, the term ‘solo project’ is a bit of a dirty word. Most of the time, they’re warning stories for the over-eager frontmen and women. Just ask Johnny Borrell, Johnny Marr or Noel Gallagher…if your album isn’t awesome, you kind of lose all credibility,and come off looking like a wanker. But luckily, there was a whole swag of Australian artists that went out on their own and wandered out as deadset legends. Nathan Roche, Angie, Kirin J Callinan, Geoffrey O’Connor, and Alex Cameron are just a couple names that released some stellar records this year that only get better with repeat listens. No point getting too much into it, just go fucking listen to them yourself. Trust me, these records are more on the Bob Dylan side of the solo spectrum, in terms of awesomeness.

6. Boutique Festivals

In a year where shit is getting fucked up ALL over the place for major music festivals, whether it be the gargantuan amount of drug related arrests, Blur cancelling on Big Day Out, or AJ Maddah telling people that their favourite bands suck tremendous amounts of horseshit, major festivals are becoming more and more fucked. I can’t tell you how pissed I was when I missed the chance to see Massive Attack, Superchunk, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Neutral Milk Hotel all in the same place for Harvest festival, only to see it collapse before my very eyes. And lets not even touch on hip-hop festivals this year, with Rap City, Supafest, Movement all being cancelled.

However, with the absence of ya boiz 50 Cent and T.I, boutique festivals have continually outshone their counterparts. The ‘original’ boutique festival, Laneway, has gone international, and their 2013 edition was fucking awesome. Japandroids, Divine Fits and POND all left massive dents in my brain, right were the pleasure centre is located. Other festivals like OutsideIn, Strawberry Fields and the upcoming, sold-out Secret Garden festival (which frankly has the most amazing lineup I’ve ever seen) continue to dominate. Oh, and Sound Summit was one of the most pleasurable and unique experiences of my entire life, a smorgasbord of musical delights that will probably never be collected in the same period again. Fuck me, if boutique festivals become a thing, how the fuck will yadda yadda capitalism, Soundwave, Nova 969, joke, haha.

5. Reformations-the fucking shit and the not-so-shit

Firstly, let’s talk about Black Flag. Maaaaan, did they fuck that one up. One of the all time greatest punk bands became a petty squablling bitch fit of the highest order, and at the end of it all, once-stoked fans where left with an album called ‘What The…’, which compromised of a bunch of piss-take ‘punk’ songs and an album cover that looked like ClipArt threw up. They fucking fired Ron Reyes onstage! Black Flag aside, bands that also wanted money to buy that brand-new toaster and reformed included Boyzone, The Backstreet Boys and Girls vs. Boys. It reads like a list of who-gives-a-shit.

However, on the plus-side, Jurassic 5, Philadelphia Grand Jury, and Powder Monkeys all put aside differences and got stuck into some gigs. And by some miracle, the mother fucking Replacements got together again! What! That’s amazing! I nearly blew a load when I heard that!

4. Electronic Music???

Electronic music has had a confusing year in 2013. On the one hand, there has been some absolutely froth-worthy local shit that has gotten tails wagging and genitals exploding. Touch Sensitive, Wave Racer, Cosmo’s Midnight and Hayden James have had stellar years, and underrated labels like Future Classic, Silo Arts, and Yes, Please have all shot to national attention, like synth induced erections. And let’s not even bother to touch on Flume-that guy gets enough deserved praise.

But in terms of mainstream music, the result has been mixed like a cocktail served by a squirrel with Parkinsons. Of course, Disclosure released that pretty killer album. But the likes of hardstyle trap from the likes of Baauer and DJ Snake, and the legions of mindless DJ’s that trample our radio waves that release forgettable single after another dilutes a lot of the mainstream appeal of electronic music. Not even new albums from Jon Hopkins, and Boards of Canada, or the embracing of the genre from indie rock icons like Arcade Fire and David Bowie, could distract from the likes of Knife Party destroying decent music. Although it is undeniable that electronica had a killer year on the local front, its better to forget that other shit happened outside of our shores.

3. Debuts

Face it, a lot of debuts came out in 2013, and they all rock me better than a hurricane. International props to the likes of Savages, FIDLAR, Eagulls, HAIM, Jackson Scott, SQURL, HUNTERS and Atoms For Peace. But that doesn’t even come close to the amount of talent that pooped out shining nuggets of debut gold this year in Australia. TV Colours, Gooch Palms, Bad//Dreems, Food Court, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, Zeahorse, Bloods…the list goes on…and on….and on. Batpiss, Clowns, Amateur Drunks, Reckless Vagina! Unity Floors, Day Ravies, The Stevens, SMILE! These are just a couple of my favourites, but you get the idea. There was a fuckload of bands that popped their cherry and the collective music community lost their shit. Blood was everywhere.

2. Miley Cyrus and the Death of the Child Star

Look, I actually don’t hate Miley Cyrus. I think her music sucks, her taste is awful, she acts and sounds like a spoiled brat and is a living cumstain, but she’s actually the perfect pop star that this generation needs. She’s like The Dark Knight of shitty, over-produced music. And good for her for completely shaking off the goodie Hannah Montana image.

But therein lies my point. The Jonas Brothers broke up this year, the Biebs has conveniently spray-painted, prostituted and retired (?) his way into a ‘bad boy’ image, and we all saw Miley nearly fuck Robin Thicke onstage at the VMA’s. Right now, there isn’t really a glistening child-star to sell t-shirts. Even Lorde, the youngest pop star of the moment is more grown up than the majority of twenty year old hipsters that infect her concerts just to say they saw ‘Royals’. She hung out with fucking David Bowie and Tilda Swinton for her birthday party!

Regardless, 2013 saw the Death of the Child Star, a feat that should both cause us to all be thankful, and astonished.

1. Local Garage Rock Hit a Fucking Peak

Garage rock, my favourite genre, has well and truly hit its peak at the moment, and shows no signs of declining. Seriously, attend any bar in any capital city in Australia, and there’s a 1-in-3 chance that there’s a garage rock band giving it 100% and blowing minds.

Not only is the live scene of garage rock well and truly at a high point, but the albums these bands are making are astoundingly good. Palms and The Gooch Palms released underdog debuts that blew everything out of the fucking water like a land mine in a kiddy pool. TV Colours took the usual formula and added dashing synths and samples to create a tale of fucked-up-ness that’ll have you massacring penguins just to get your hands on some more. And Bad//Dreems single handedly resurrected the sound that was left behind where GOD put it.

Outside of debuts, garage bands that have already established themselves continued to push shit further into the realm of amazeballs. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Witch Hats, Ooga Boogas and fuckloads of others continued to do what they do best-ensure that we, the shitstains of musical society, are enjoying their output more than humanly possible.

As if that isn’t enough, there’s new garage bands springing up all over the place, and the sound still hasn’t been tired out. Bands like Doctopus, The Living Eyes, Tiny Migrants and Adults are just a very small handful of the concoction of rock n roll music that is permeating our ears on a local level. If you haven’t done so, check out all of these bands and more.

We are living in a renaissance of the greatest form of amatuer music in all its forms, and the least you can do is contribute in some small way. 2013 was one of the best years for Australian music, garage and rock n roll specifically, because finally, all the years of hard work that these bands have done has started to pay off exponentially in fantastic records and performances. Get along to a show, buy a record, and ensure that 2014 means that local music is better than the last shitstain of a year.