New: Sleepy – Hit And Run 7″

Smoulder away, my wayward songs, it’s a new 7″ from Inner West’s best, Sleepy. If you’re a raging insomniac, to the extent of Christian Bale in The Machinist, then make sure you go out and buy yourself a copy of this 7″. Super dreamy, almost gloppy, dream-pop that is like a cross between Smudge, Guided By Voices and pre-pubescent Jebediah, when they were still yawning and less about rawking.

Unfortunately, the 7″ only runs for two songs, which is a huge shame, because these tracks are rip-roaring bed time enhancers. They are just so full of life, a sincere encasement of beautiful pop, like Sir David Attenborough reciting his dulcet tones over a Built to Spill song. From the spindly guitar lines mixing with the overwrought reverb, softly collecting into a pool of fuzz and teenage woo-oahs, Sleepy conquer our hearts for far too brief a time.

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New: Cat Cat – Microwave

Who even bloody knows where Cat Cat are located anymore? They’ve pursued this Where’s Wally approach, in that it seems like no one actually knows where they’re recording from anymore. Is it Canberra? Melbourne? Bloody Cairns?

It doesn’t really matter, because great music is great music, or as I prefer to say “Choon’s a fuarkin’ choon, aye?”. Although those words would get me kicked out of the suburban paradise that is home, it’s worth risking for the sake of the lovely jangle-pop on offer from Cat Cat, the band so nice they named it twice. And whilst I’m definitely not the first deadshit who’s thought they were being funny, originality persists in this track. 10/10 would adopt this song and raise it as my own child.

Album Review: Twerps – Underlay EP

We live in a cruel, cruel world. Intolerable, really. There’s no words to describe the kind of pain and suffering we go through. I mean, what kind of just God puts so many painstaking months between each stunning release from Twerps? A year on from their triumphant ‘Work It Out 7″, we’ve been graced with the perfection that is the ‘Underlay EP’.

Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to become unhealthily obsessed with Twerps. At their sold-out Red Rattler show, a guy stage-dived during ‘Dreamin’, and was trying to start mosh-pits for the majority of the show. Mosh pits!? At a Twerps show!? Bit of a dipshit move, obviously, but it just proves the point that people are being driven to the point of insanity by Twerps’ music.

I mean, it might have all started with that dolewave thing. Man, fuck dolewave. If your band sets out to make a dolewave record, give up, go home, that’s probably the most suicidal way of starting a band I’ve ever heard. Your music will suck, as you’ll constantly be repeating the phrase WWDDD (What Would Dick Diver Do) to yourselves, and crushing any and all hope of originality and creating something good to listen to. Instead, look at Twerps, or Dick Diver, or The Ocean Party. These are not “dolewave” groups, they’re just bands bounded together by amazing lyrics and a knack for strumming a guitar. The ‘Underlay EP’ is a perfect example of how Twerps succeed that bullshit pigeonholing, and prove themselves (as if they hadn’t already) to be one of Australia’s most bonafide lovely bands to listen to.

“Heavy Hands” starts off the record, a thing that almost puts the catchiness of “He’s In Stock” to shame. It’s got a riff as perky as the wind of St Kilda, and a chorus of defeatism that screams relatability to every single shit-kicking nobody on the face of this planet. What kind of rare song has the ability to be catchy as a case of herpes in a porn shoot AND actually speak to disenchanted and maligned? Not since Big Star, right?

The genius doesn’t stop there. There’s the Little Miss Muffet-esque “Conditional Report”, and “Hypocrite”, a lovely love song which is the audible equivalent of an aimless Sunday arvo with a VB in hand, an existential crisis on par with deciding whether to eat a mouldy sausage or not. Twerps manage to remain disarmingly charming, and yet put every shred of heart on their sleeves, and speak with soft passion. Not to remove myself too far from my ocker writing personality (my Mac just brings out the bi-polar in me, fuck you Jobs) but the voices of Marty and Jules are packed with subtlety, and every time something occurs, the enjoyment of the music is slightly marred with a questioning of what they could be talking about. For such simple music, Twerps pack themselves with questions.

Take for example the standout track “Consecutive Seasons”. Under a bubbling jangle guitar/bass line a song which features the lines “I don’t wanna sing Dreamin’/it’s lost every single meaning/I’m so damn sick of it all”. Are you serious? Did Marty just nonchalantly and gorgeously dust off a line about how one of his band’s most famous songs is bullshit? What? Are bands allowed to do that? Are they allowed to shoot themselves in the foot like that? Or are Twerps a bunch of psychics, and foresaw a dipshit nearly derail that same song at the Rattler, by constantly knocking into me with a repeated phrase of “Sorry bro, but hey, you know how it is!”

To be blunt, the magic of Twerps is that they always manage to scrape together songs that are as ramshackle, and dusty as the engine of a rusty ute in Darwin, and yet they’re absolutely flawless pieces of songwriting and pop structure. And when I say flawless, I mean, there is absolutely no holes to be poked in there. Nothing. There’s nothing bad to say about this album, or the band. I mean, some Skrillex-muncher might think they’re boring, and that the lyrics, “have too many words,” and, “not enough sick drops”, but for those who can appreciate a decent grasp of musicianship, as well as honest, humorous and endearing reflections of Australian culture, then there’s nowhere to go but Twerps.

You can buy the ‘Underlay EP’ here through Chapter Music’s Bandcamp. It’s recommended to get on the vinyl/cassettes quickly, as they will vamoose faster than a Cronulla Sharks player getting asked for a drug test.

Album Review: Ciggie Witch-Rock And Roll Juice

Ciggie Witch have one of the best names in Australia, along with Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, The Gooch Palms and Reckless Vagina. However, whilst the latter bands are disciplined in the ways of punk and rock n roll, Ciggie Witch go for the jangle angle. But this isn’t some bullshit strum machine thing. Considering Ciggie Witch have got members of The Ocean Party, Pencil and Robert bloody McComb from the Triffids in there, I’d say that ‘Rock And Roll Juice’ demands a peruse.

However, it’s way too easy to get lost in this album. Forget window shopping-once you’ve laid down for the first track, ‘Long Weekend’, there’s a strong bloody chance that you’re in it for the long haul. Or rather, short haul, because the album flies by, whisked along by glazed eye guitars, scratchy drums, and twinkling keys.

There’s actually a certain paradox to the way Ciggie Witch approach music-they’re lyrics are filled with motions about how much they hate the world they live in- their jobs, their lack of money, the bullshit people that co-inhabit their space-really, just things that piss off us disciples of normality. If you haven’t put up with at least one douche-fuck at your work, then you’re probably in a coma, dreaming of a non-existent work environment. But these lyrics of woe and sadness are paired with stunning music, that somehow makes you want to move your neck in a lopsided and awkward but enjoyable fashion. It’s an irony of the highest order.

Take for example ‘Part Two’-the lyrics of ‘People seem like they want to talk to me/I don’t know what to say, I freeze up, give short answers and run away’ is a spot on analysis of anyone who feels they could beat out Milhouse in an awkward-off. And yet, the song is paired with indescribably beautiful music, that pours itself into your mind, unavoidably smooth and catchy, with a violin part at the end more relieving than when you get home and see someone else has done the dishes.

‘Rock And Roll Juice’ is full of these kinds of observations tacked together with tired, soft and brutally stunning tunes. ‘Taylor’s Lakes’ features the line, ‘I got a steady job and my uni course, but I’m already feeling kinda bored’, and there’s a solo in there hand-crafted by the Slash of Brunswick. ‘Servo Stride’ and ‘Midday Movie’ are excellent sad tunes, that reek of desperate youth, ‘I am watching lives unfold on TV, I am living through the midday movie’. And ‘The Internet’ personify the bored teenage experience, and really the whole fascination of the WWW, in a swift chorus of ‘I don’t know why I got out of bed, I spent the whole goddamn day on the Internet’.

The thing that gets me with Ciggie Witch’s debut album isn’t so much any particular song, but the entire package that is ‘Rock And Roll Juice’. The album is about how fucking shitty it can be sometimes as a directionless 20-something. Now, don’t take that to mean that this some bullshit LOL SLACKERZ 90’s movie thing starring Steve Zahn and the Dad from Freaks and Geeks. The album stays afloat on the concept that having a shitty job is shitty, going to a shitty uni because people said that’s what’s expected of you is shitty, and hanging out with shitty people all the time is shitty. And sometimes, 20 year olds don’t fall into the coward-punch-loving, EDM-junkie, woman-molesting stereotype that the news loves to portray us as. Ciggie Witch represent the normal folk who have the aforementioned shitty jobs, terrible course work and retarded friends, and they’re bummed about it. But rather than moping around, and being a grumpy barista, they’ve formed an excellent band, and constructed dazzlingly good songs with some damn sharp lyrics.

Look, it’s fairly obvious that this album is going to cop some shit for being on the ‘I’m weird, and I hate my job’ spectrum of things. But look Troy, your trust fund is looking great, and I hear Deadmau5 has a new album out, so you’ll be fine. For the rest of us that live in the bummed-out atmosphere, there’s Ciggie Witch, and although the future looks shit, it’s gotten that much brighter with ‘Rock And Roll Juice’ for brekky.

 

BUY CIGGIE WITCH’S ‘ROCK N ROLL JUICE’ HERE:

And go see ’em this Sunday at the Lansdowne hotel, they’ll be launching the album for free!

New: Ciggie Witch-Long Weekend

You don’t need me to tell you that there’s been a shitload of amazing Melbourne jangle music happening in the past couple years. It seems like every dickhead (me) with a blog (me) has written something about “dole-wave” or some other derivative of the awesomeness occurring in our cultural capital of Melbourne (BLASPHEMY!)

That trend continues in the form of one of the leaders of the scene, Ciggie Witch. They’ve been kicking it for a couple years, since late 2012, making music of the sighing jizz-worthy variety. Now, after two years of kicking it Beastie Boys style, they’re getting around to releasing their debut record.  Why so long to make a record? Well, if you look at the members of Ciggie Witch, their contributions to other projects reads like a who’s-who of Melbourne’s entire music scene. Jangle or no jangle, the members of Ciggie Witch do not give a fuck-they just want to make music!

So, it comes with great excitement that Ciggie Witch announce their debut long-player, of which the single ‘Long Weekend’ is the first single. As expected, it’s fucking beautiful. I seriously considered taking the profanity out of that description, but then I decided that it wouldn’t do justice to what is a gem in the jangle crown. The way the music caresses you like Grandma’s chocolate-chip cookies, and the lyrics manage to describe the shit out of a quarter life crisis and all the difference of having a long weekend with mates can make. 10/10 would jangle-pop (That’s a euphamism for bang. What I’m saying is that I would bang the shit out of Ciggie Witch)

Album Review: Scott & Charlene’s Wedding-Any Port in a Storm

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AWWWWWWWWWW YISSSSSSSS! Mutha. Fuckin. Jangle. Pop. Jesus Christ, could Scott & Charlene’s Wedding be any more Australian? Firstly, you’ve got the band’s name, which besides being really fucking hard to say, and not sounding anything like a normal band’s name but a rather average event, is an all too subtle reference to  Neigbours. Then there’s the fact that frontman Craig Dermody (who started Scott & Charlene’s wedding all on his lonesome, and has also played participation in Lindsay Low Hand and Spider Vomit) is a beach bum babe. And the vocals are not dissimilar to that of Twerps, Dick Diver, Day Ravies, or Boomgates. All fantastic bands with all fantastic records to their names, but I’m going out on a limb here and claiming ‘Any Port in a Storm’ to be my favourite of the average Aussie narrative albums. It was a tough decision, almost as tough a decision as when Butch debates going  back to his apartment to get his father’s watch that was shoved up his ass, from Pulp Fiction.

‘Any Port in a Storm’ gets it’s bonus points for it’s casual warmth, and wears it’s amateur tendencies on it’s sleeve, displaying them proudly instead of shoving them in the corner like the incest cyclops son in Harold & Kumar. In fact, the opening track ‘Junk Shop’ makes it’s catchy chorus from ‘Yeah, you see my insides/they sing out of tune/ they go WAAAA-AHHH-AHHH-AH, They go WOAAHH-WOAAAHH-WOAAHHH’. Those big swoops of sound towards the end of the phrase are delivered in painful yet unabashedly bad singing, something you can’t help but admire and smile to. ‘Junk Shop’ is just the one-two punch out, followed swiftly by ‘Lesbian Wife’, a song I reviewed a couple of days, or weeks ago (memory of a goldfish). Be careful, as ‘Lesbian Wife’ is dangerously catchy, and you do not want to be caught singing that at the top of your lungs outside a lesbian bar. Just trust me on this one.

Besides the super down-to-earth, dude with a guitar and some pot vibes, another major point of the album is Craig Dermody’s residency in New York City. This comes up on tracks like ‘Fakin’ NYC’, ‘Gammy Leg’ and ‘Spring St’. It’s like Sonic Youth all over again, except completely different, and devoid of any arty 15 minute noise-feedback solos. Anyway, back to the topic of New York songs, ‘Spring St’ in particular inspires a longing and sadness song not felt  in a twee pop since the last Belle & Sebastian. When listening to it for the first time, it’s so subtle and nuanced, it almost seems like filler, but on closer inspection, it’s the standout of the album. It’s heartfelt and swoopingly beautiful and sort of acts as a general map of the entire album. In fact, it’s so goddamn heartbreaking, if you’re not blowing your nose and dabbing your eyes with tissues like the sullen twelvie you are, you are not a human being. And that’s a fact.

Simplicity works in favour in the album. Oh yes, it does. It works in favour of the album like a boner works in favour during a porn shoot. It almost seems like a given, but you’d be surprised at how often the vital element has disappeared. ‘Any Port in a Storm’ is so laidback, it makes Laidback Luke feel like a dickhead for even attempting to utilise the adjective. It’s so normal and average, yet heartfelt and warm, that it’s damn nigh impossible not to fall in love with every song on the album. Every description, every theme, every story, it all seems so random and trivial. However, these are the things that make Scott & Charlene’s Wedding a human and accessible band, a band that’s relatable to every Average Joe that’s had a shit day, wants to get the attention of a special lady, or can’t decide whether to spend the last of their rent money on booze or weed. Scott & Charlene’s Wedding have released such a great album in ‘Any Port in a Storm’, I feel like I might cry with happiness and how saved I feel right now. Wait, too late, Niagra Falls has proceeded in my bedroom, and the Sonic Youth poster is already mildly soaked. I need to stop listening to this fantazeballs album before I’m swimming in a water-protein solution.