Playlist: EXXE Records Inhalation Compilation

I’d say that anyone who’s visited this site before would become quickly overwhelmed with how much of it is dedicated to things of the lo-fi and local variety. I fucking love stuff that’s been spawned nearby, whether it come from a sharehouse in Marrickville or a two-up in Melbourne, or an unliveable shack in Brisbane etc. etc. Pretty much any city in Australia with a low-rent living space.

So, it’s with abundant pleasure that I found out that there was a new record label called EXXE Records that have collected a bunch of my favourite bands into a compilation, with a few exclusives and fan favourites involved. On a compilation of 13 tracks, there are twelve (plus one) songs of amazing and diverse sounds from around the country. Not getting around this cassette is a sin only Joe Hockey is capable of.

Before I get stuck into the bands, here’s a lil’ info on how EXXE came to be. Formed by a couple mates living in a share house in Moncur Street, Marrickville, EXXE’s bands are all linked by time spent there, where a lot of the songs on the comp were apparently bred into existence. Their basic mission statement seems to be to release their mate’s bands, all of whom happen to be really fucking good. Shit, they don’t even make a profit from these things, but rather use any money gained to fund more recordings. Fuckn dedication, amirite?

Onto the bands – the artists listed on here is like The Rich List of Australia’s Most Underrated. Sydney garbage-punks Housewives, Ghastly Spats, Drown Under and Snotty Babies, all of which have made scrabbled and scathing noise their purpose of life. There’s a fucked up snarler from the usually docile Beef Jerk, twisted pop smiles from King Tears Mortuary and The Friendsters, and quaint guitars from Mope City. There’s The Gun Club, via Beasts of Bourbon, sounds of Bad Guys, and dark, throbbing post-punk strangulation from Sacred Product. A new one from Kitchen’s Floor opens with tambourine and a gargantuan burp, before switching into their signature strum ‘n’ pine formula. Julia Why?’s contribution is probably the most professionally-produced effort, with limited hiss allowing for some fantastic Breeders-esque rock and roll. Sleep Debt, who haven’t been heard from in ages, also appear with “Day’s End” an instantly catchy and brusque howler that’s half-Dischord, half-Inner West pop.

Did you read those descriptions? Did you see how fucking good those bands sound? Even if you haven’t heard of a single artist on the ‘Inhalation Compilation’, the luscious descriptions of some ginger on the Internet must make you want to pick up music on a format many don’t even know exist. It’s simple – these are some fucking great, if unpolished, bands who champion the amateur aesthetic. You don’t need Rick Rubin to produce your single, or a mountain of coke to help ‘inspire’ you. All you need is a sharehouse, an instrument, maybe a four track, and a future compilation featuring amazing bands like this.

You can splash out and buy the tape here, at the EXXE Rekkids Bandcamp. Because you don’t need groceries for this month, right?

EXXE Records is gonna have a launch at The Chippendale Hotel in, yep you guessed it, Chippendale. Sleep Debt, Julia Why?, King Tears Mortuary, MOB, The Friendsters, Mope City, Destiny 3000 and Ghastly Spats are all gonna play for the cheap, cheap price of $12. Sick, see ya there.

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Album Review: King Tears Mortuary-Asleep At the Wheel of Fortune 7″

Reviewing an EP that goes for 9 minutes is kind of like my love life-fleeting, brief and finished abysmally at an all too quick pace. What’s left when the music finishes its spin is a dark and dismal disappointment that the record won’t keep spinning, and the happy-go-lucky times are finished. But it was a damn good time when it lasted right?

King Tears Mortuary are a Sydney based group who make ‘nice’ rock ‘n’ roll music. There’s some hefty guitar strumming, some dainty drum bashing and sing-song vocals that make Best Coast  sound like a racoon coughing up a lung. Goddamn smokers.

Anyway, although King Tears spin away for an unfortunately short 9 minutes, they make every millisecond count. They dance daintily with more melodies than a Sound of Music marathon, but with the aesthetic of a solid night had in the Inner West of Sydney. These are the sorts of good times soundtracked with Nike/Jeans combos, Tooheys New Longnecks, decks upon decks of cigarettes,  and an abundance of inside jokes being made.

As for the music itself, they switch between Bloods-ish bubblegeum punk ditties (‘Flippers’, ‘Face Blind’) that stick to the roof of your mouth with sickly sweet infectiousness, and droning guitar pop songs. ‘Grease Trap’ is the stand out, a song that sits there and taunts you into dancing. It’s got a crunch and gravelly sugar-coat that reminds of Vivian Girls. Try and defy the laws of pop on this one-it’s not possible. So don’t you dare try. Seriously, I don’t want to be charged for the hospital bills/existential crisis that’ll follow if you defy the pop genius of this song.

Also, that’s not to say that the other tracks on here aren’t thrashing honeyed masterpieces. ‘Too Many Sam’s’ has a bouncing, energetic riff that comes straight from the ballroom scene in Back to the Future. And ‘False Pregnancy’ is a rushing, breathless garage rock n roll showcase, blasting through fuzzy riffs and mumbled lyrics like KTM were disciples of the 60’s. Which they probably are. So…there’s that.

Basically, King Tears Mortuary have made a damn fun record. And despite my grievances with the short time frame, it works in there favour. They get in, they get out, and boom, you’re left wanting more than Freddie Mercury. Greedy dead bastard.

So, in the sense that King Tears Mortuary pique the interest, they succeed, and a little bit more. They pique the interest, take it out for a nice brunch, and build up it’s expectations to the point where interest thinks there might be a healthy and sustainable relationship to come from it. But alas, ‘False Pregnancy’ finishes, the record stops, and interest waits with baited breathe for the LP.

Album Review: Shrapnel-Tobacco Dreams

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No, Sidney Nolan didn’t come back from the dead. What you’re seeing right there is the artwork for the debut album from Sam ‘I’m In Every Band’ Wilkinson. Besides ‘kickin’ it’ in local stalwarts like Day Ravies, King Tears Mortuary, and Mope City, amongst a bunch of others, you can pretty much catch Sam and his blonde mop at any decent show worth going to. Oh yeah, and he sometimes helps out with his mates The Ocean Party and Summer Flake as well, in case the resume wasn’t disembowelling enough already.

Shrapnel is his latest baby, slowly but steadily making its own name amongst the keener eared of Aussie legends. After previous singles ‘Print & Sign’ and ‘Tobacco Dreams’, he has unleashed upon the world an album that can only be described as jangle-pop rattling in a tin can. The sound is undoubtedly swathed in the aesthetic of bedroom bands, titillating between drum-machine, synth freak outs and sincere, tunnelling ballads.

It’s the fact that Shrapnel switches so easily between the two that’s really interesting. In one moment, you’re grooving down the highway of good vibes with ‘Direct Debt’, a broken kid’s keyboard accompanying a hurtling guitar, and a pop embrace that shuns boredom at the door. This is a fun-times only party, sorry Boredom, you can’t come in. No, you can’t see Julia, she doesn’t want to see you. You really fucked it up this time Boredom. Anyway, she’s making out with Shrapnel in the corner. She’s moved on, Boredom, you should to. *’Direct Debt’ plays in the background, as Boredom sullenly walks away*

But with the space of a single song, the project has moved onto far more introspective territory. For example, ‘Baby Picks Up’ shows a fair hand at trickling guitar work, which in turn creates a super intimate space for the song to bathe in. The little melodies the song does contain manage to cocoon the shit out of the listener. It’s like a micro version of Black Moth Super Rainbow being projected into our skulls at a much more pleasant-to-swallow rate.

And best yet, when these two worlds collide (Powerman 5000 anyone?) with each other, the energetic pop that seems to ooze way too easily from Shrapnel’s veins, and the sullen, introspection that give the band so much character and depth, the results are infectious beds of music that won’t be heading away for long. ‘Tobacco Dream’, ‘Print & Sign’ and ‘Sinker/Stinker’ are the key tracks from this department, and they could really suit any occasion. 3am train ride home after another night of loneliness? Check. Best mate’s in town, and needs a good song to settle into the couch with? No worries. Ran out of VB’s? Mate, you’re fucked, audio entertainment can’t save you.

In Shrapnel, Sydney now has its own Blank Realm-weird pop music from the otherworldly nether regions known as the Western Suburbs. Tobacco Dreams is eclectic, instantly likeable, and norm-centrically gorgeous. It’s music that works on a personal and social level, that can be enjoyed regardless of atmosphere.