Album Review: Black Stone From the Sun – Death Threats & Cigarettes EP

This is a rock band. Not a rock band in the sense that they play guitars and drums and are kinda loud. Whoop de doo, that’s known as Eskimo Joe. Black Stone From the Sun are a rock band bound for fuck off massive stages. Their loudness demands it – they need to play with bigger speakers than what they supply at the pubs.  They need to be playing to thousands of people, all climbing on top of each other, desperate to get a hand to one of their instruments, which they can then they can later chop off and sell on eBay for thousands. Their music clamours to be blasted from a bedroom stereo, with the remote either controlled by a bunch of teenagers brimming with angst or by a recently divorced dad re-connecting with their youth. It doesn’t matter – this music belongs to anyone who constantly has their arms cocked in an air-guitar position.

On their second EP, Black Stone From the Sun propel themselves with a gnashing appreciation for grunge and garage. The mission statement is to instil tinnitus in the naive passerby, to rip the average Joe’s attention away from what they were previously doing, and immerse them in a riotous din. Although obviously indebted to Nirvana, Mudhoney and JEFF the Brotherhood, Black Stone aren’t ripping off, so much as they are continuing the standard of shredding their vocal chords and blunting fingernails for a listener’s sadistic pleasure.

Through six tracks, BSFTS plunder the grunge textbook, but consistently keep the bar at “Punch-A-Wall” levels. “Post-Stress” opens things up with a straightforward Bruce-Lee kick to the stomach of a riff, and introduces us to the snarl that could level the earthquake-proof apartments of San Francisco. “Pastel Roses” goes for the loud-quiet dynamic, but still manages to rip apart jaws with a chorus that could make the Sub Pop office perk up its ears. Meanwhile, “Tables Turned” showcases a new sense of urgency, and “Monkey” tears strips off with a hook of blistering rock, a finish that leaves you gasping for air, like if you’ve just put down your life savings on The Raiders taking out the Premiership.

Black Stone From the Sun play OAF Gallery Bar this Saturday, with freakin’ WHITE DOG! You can grab the EP from their Bandcamp here.

Advertisements

New: Black Stone From the Sun – Post Stress

Black Stone From the Sun are the peak body of Perth’s very apparent slobbering for recreating 90’s rock. On the one hand, you gotta make the joke about how Perth is, “just so far behind the times, grunge only just hit the airwaves over there”. LOL. GOOD ONE, M9, YOU’RE FUCKING KILLING IT WITH THE WIT THESE DAYS, BRUH. *hi-fives self, rides off into the sunset, damsel nuzzling around the chest, slab of VB tinnies tucked into the shoulder, all-knowing smirk creasing an otherwise godlike face*

But where the crunchy riffs of Black Stone from the Sun are concerned, you can’t help but go – well, shit mate, those 90’s bands were onto something. At the time, every record label had their dick in their hand, signing whatever band with a fuzz pedal their jizz happened to land on. That’s how a band like Stone Temple Pilots exists. Shooting star, the more you know.

Bands like Bleach-era Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Mudhoney inform Black Stone From the Sun’s tried-and-true aesthetic. They’re not re-inventing the wheel, but, to quote the great Danaerys Targaryan, they’re going to break the wheel. Armed with disembowelling riff, a snarling bellow, and the ability to conjure more noise than a 21st set at a bush doof, Black Stone From the Sun score the official seal of “fucking legends”.

Top 10 International Albums of 2013

 

Yes, it has come that time of year where every website dedicated to some form of culture has a round up of all the good shit of the year. Well, because I’m susceptible to trends, I’ve decided to weigh in as well. With the power of hindsight, I’m going to give my Top 10 records of the year, from overseas. Now, believe me, that’s a hard fucking job, more of a curse. There’s been some great records, some average records (Black Angels, Mudhoney, The Strokes) and some very disappointing records (Arctic Monkeys, Sebadoh, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). And now comes the time to rank them.

Special mentions to the records that were awesome but not super, amazing awesome: Ty Segall, FUZZ, Diarrhea Planet, Death Grips, Cage the Elephant, MGMT, My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter, Mikal Cronin, Majical Cloudz.

ALSO: Parquet Courts would have most definitely been included in here, but although it was released locally this year, it was officially released last year.

SUPER SPECIAL ULTRA BONUS METAL INCLUSION: Kvelertak-Meir: 

Kvelertak wouldn’t really fit in anywhere else on the list, but their sophomore record ‘Meir’ needed to be included. Just super thrashy, fucking mental to the bone, and more hair-raising than an orgy with horror movie characters, ‘Meir’ is one hell of a record. Kvelertak certainly do justice to their Norwegian metal roots and blast our minds out of our skull on this record.

10. Thee Oh Sees-Floating Coffin

Sure, Thee Oh Sees didn’t do anything super different on their latest album. There wasn’t the psychedelic smorgasbord of ‘Warm Slime’ or the freaky ecstasy of ‘Help’. But ‘Floating Coffin’ certainly ticked all the boxes for a diverse and entertaining listen. Really, John Dwyer can’t do anything wrong when it comes to music, and ‘Floating Coffin’ is evidence of that.

9. Deerhunter-Monomania

Deerhunter make nocturnal-pop music, light enough to chat along to, but dark enough to put you in an existential mood if you listen hard enough. Shrouded in voodoo and jangly guitars, ‘Monomania’ is absolutely fucking awesome to listen to, and will probably never cease to be. Who knows what was happening to Bradford Cox when he was making this album, but his pain has become our pleasure. How very schadenfreude.

8. Savages-Silence Yourself

Not since The Slits has there been such a ferocious, dedicated and focused female-led band. Yes, I’m well aware of Sleater-Kinney and L7, and I do love both those bands. But Savages brought a rawness to their post-punk that is rarely seen in any music nowadays, let alone feminist affliction. The vicious and tantalising nature of every song on their debut record is refreshing and brutal, and I am fucking stoked to be able to see them next year at Laneway.

7. Wavves- Afraid of Heights

I was so excited for this album to come out, I actually counted down the days until it was out so that I could feverishly jam pack all the songs into my brain. I was so worried that the album wouldn’t be good, I actually lost sleep over it. Luckily, Wavves didn’t chuck a Rise Against, and made a fucking belter of an album right on the cusp of mainstream appeal. A complete distancing from their noise-rock roots and stoner fuzz, Wavves presented themselves with a new-grunge outlook. Angst-ridden and self-deprecating to the core, as well as being loaded to the brim with catchy as fuck tunes, ‘Afraid of Heights’ is definitely a worthy successor of 2010’s ‘King of the Beach’.

6. Washed Out-Paracosm

For 2013, Washed Out were my pick of the bunch of electro wonders (?) of the year. CHVRCHES? Shit. Disclosure? Pretty shit. Youth Lagoon? His new album is so terrible mediocre. And the rest aren’t really worth mentioning. But Washed Out added a whole new layer to chillwave, adding naturalistic textures to his already spread-eagled tunes. ‘Paracosm’ simply let itself flow, flow and flow some more, barely even trying to give the most relaxing sensations this side of ancient Nicaraguan healing medicine.

5. Bass Drum of Death-Bass Drum of Death

I never understood why bands self-title shit after their first EP or album, but as long as its Bass Drum of Death as opposed to Birds of Tokyo, I couldn’t really give a shit. This album encapsulates awesome rock n roll. Its a scuzz overload, way-over-the-top and totally brain dead. It sounds as though John Barrett went into the studio and created the most deranged but beautiful collection of tracks he could. That being said, the album is chock full of catchy tracks that will have you gleefully headbanging into the sunset, like some sort of leather-jacket snotty cowboy.

4. Kurt Vile-Walking on a Pretty Daze

If you’ve ever listened to Kurt Vile before, you’ll know that he exceeds the description of chilled. The guy is like the most relaxed person on the entire planet, a combination of Ghandi with Mathew McConaughey’s character from Dazed and Confused. On his latest record, which is more like a magnum opus, Vile stretches the limits of his imagination, nailing his forlorn sound and breaking hearts one bar at a time. Fuck, this is such a good record, and Vile doesn’t even have to try.

3. Future of the Left-How to Stop Your Brain in An Accident

Future of the Left and Falco are probably the last real ‘punk’ entities left on the globe. There is no other act with the political rigour and viciousness of this band. In every song on ‘How to Stop Your Brain in An Accident’, Future of the Left are committed to waging war against all factions of contemporary society, whether it be bullshit pop culture, religion, false idols or sexuality. This record will tear your fucking head off, shit in the bloody cavity that remains, and still call you a bitch for not moshing to its glorious tunes.

2. Fuck Buttons-Slow Focus

The double-LP extravaganza of Fuck Buttons’ third record is enough to floor the casual listener. If you walk into its abrasive trappings unprepared on a physical, mental, or existential level, this album will decapitate you and leave you for dead. However, for those that can handle the challenging nature of the tracks, oh, how you will reap its prosperous rewards. Every song swings into a new galaxy of sci-fi, tribal beatings, engaging every sense and making you a better person from it. ‘Slow Focus’ is just one fucking brain-basher of an album, in all the right ways.

1. FIDLAR-FIDLAR

My love affair with FIDLAR is an unhealthy one to say the least. Every time someone asks for an album recommendation, I claw their face, grapple their shoulders and scream, ‘FIDLAR! GET THE FIDLAR RECORD!’ until I can scream no more. Needless to say, I don’t have heaps of friends left. But that’s OK (?) because I have the FIDLAR record. Its a loose and reckless thing, the record that lurks at the back of the skate park, covered in tattoos, drinking something awful, and smoking a cigarette that doesn’t smell like a cigarette at all. The songs are full-paced, thrashing pieces of raw garage rock, inspired from everyone from Black Flag, to The Stooges, to Nirvana. This is a perfect album in every way, and will never die in the hearts of those that enjoy the best garage rock this globe has to offer.

Video: The Dirty Nil-Nicotine

I’ve been a big fan of The Dirty Nil for quite some time now, ever since that awesome anthem ‘Fuckin’ Up Young’ made itself a resident in my earholes. Well, now, The Dirty Nil are back with another song, and it is quite frankly, pretty fucking great. It’s short, sweet and contains all the angst-filled howls, guitar squal and energetic fervour we’ve come to expect from the band. However, the video takes the cake-its Jerry Springer for the bored hipster audience, the band arguing over banging an alien on National TV. That’s pretty fucking great right? Wrong. It is awesome. Glad we got that sorted out.

New: Claws & Organs-Nothing to Learn EP

Get a load of this shit! Seriously, shovel it in your mouth like it’s the last source of grunge-punk in the world, because this EP from Melbourne’s Claws and Paws is chock full of goodness and rare intensity. The band tread along a fine line between hazed out-slackers and face melting shredding. Although the EP is only four tracks long, brutality doesn’t even begin to describe the in-your-face awesomeness that is Claws & Organs. Starting with the highlight of the EP, ‘Man of the House’ (track posted above), there is a trend initiated that proves that Claws & Organs are enticing as it they abusive. ‘Man of the House’ opens with a rollicking bass and a honeyed over but sweat encased verse structure, progressing to a tutting and strutting chorus that spits phlegm all over you and snarls self appraisement. Same goes for opener ‘Garlon on the Yarra’ with the Nirvana-esque, a thrash/slash/pash fuck you with a chorus that will reach inside of your chest cavity, tear out your bloody, still-beating heart and eat it right in front of you. Not to be outdone, ‘Super Ordinary’ take the average man tune that is being pumped out so consistently well, and gives it the grunge treatment, a fiery bass riff pummelling the track into your brain, and a yelp of ‘Super Ordinary’ smeared across your conscious. Final track ‘Paperback’ ensures that the beast has a fitting end, a fast and furious, no-bullshit sheen encasing this track that would make Vin Diesel’s hairless figure beam with pride. Overall, the ‘Nothing to Learn’ EP is decidedly frowning upon it’s own name-there is plenty of goodness to be gained from this fantastically bombastic EP.

You can grab the EP for absolutely nothing from Claws & Organs’ Bandcamp. Holy Shit! That’s right! You just got the next Mudhoney’s debut EP for fucking nothing! Fuck yeah! If you want to go see Claws & Organs (which you definitely should), they’re playing FBi Social on the 14th of November, and The Spectrum on the 15th.

 

Album Review: Midnight Caller-Particle Dreams

ImageMidnight Caller are a 3 piece rock band from Melbourne. They are amazing. I feel like I could end the review there, because the words I use can in no way do justice to their album ‘Particle Dreams’. No way, Jose. Trying to encapsulate the awesomeness of ‘Particle Dreams’ is like bidding a T-Rex in a fight against Optimus Prime. There is simply too much awesomeness occurring in a single frame to fully condense and explain, without sounding like a complete fucking tool. However, I have no problem with coming off like a giant tool, and as such, I will try my best to describe ‘Particle Dreams’ as accurately and awesomely as the album warrants.

From the opening riff on ‘Starry Moment’ and the yelp of ‘Not a question/No response’, it’s pretty clear that these guys dig on Fugazi and Helmet. No one comes up with a riff like that without suckling the teet of Page Hamilton. From the get go, Midnight Caller are playing vicious, in your face music that grinds and grins with equal menace. Bar the brief respite of the title track, ‘Particle Dreams’ is as cranky as a menstruating velociraptor. It stalks and stomps, toppling skyscrapers of sound with punk rock grace.

Although this whole damn album is a holy mix of pulverised guitar, bass, drums and screaming, the best parts are when the band just fucking lets loose. Letting it all hang out is where you can really hear Midnight Caller develop their own sound. On ‘Change Your Language’, a furious belter that features finger bleeding guitar and an absolutely packed mixture of instruments, the little solo interplays create a punk ambience that will give you a Chelsea Smile if your not careful. ‘Wagon Hours’ provides a strung out, gasping motherfucker of a song, that’s equally Batman punching you in the guts and a demon slobbering on your corpse. And I wouldn’t want to touch the closing track, ‘Habitat’, without wearing at least 10 layers of radiation gear, because that thing could kill a moose just by looking at it. The gravel-stricken bass crunches and banshee flogging of  ‘On your way’ makes it the Medusa of punk songs.

Overall, Midnight Caller absolutely kill it on ‘Particle Dreams’. If you thought The Drones didn’t provide enough skewed feedback and drawl on ‘I See Seaweed’ (that’s a hypothetical; ‘I See Seaweed’ is badass) then this is the album for you. For everyone else, this is the album for you.

Stream the record here on Midnight Caller’s Bandcamp. Better yet, you can download every track for free, here on their Soundcloud. Most excellent.