Video: Kirin J Callinan – The Teacher

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It’s taken me a fair while to come around to this new Kirin track, but watching the video has erased the doubts I held. Damn, I could watch Connan Mockasin serenade me for eternity. He leans into the camera, loosens his schoolboy tie, fixes you with those eyes of steel, and from that point on, it’s hard to keep in the fluids.

For those that haven’t heard it yet, “The Teacher” is a graphic description of a relationship between a teacher and student. Led by piano, a pittering hi-hat, and some lush sax, “The Teacher” builds into quite the grandiose musical ballad. Whether deliberately or not, “The Teacher” has got daytime soap all over it, soaked in enough noir melodrama to knock the wind out of The Young & Hopeless.

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Video: Donny Benet & Kirin J Callinan – The Edge

Y’all ready to be bent over by genius, and raw dogged with joy? The highlight from Donny Benet’s ‘Weekend At Donny’s’ has arrived with audio-visual accompaniment, and the result is about as fantastic as anyone could hope for. The Don stands as a sentinel, albeit one adorned in a salmon suit, and surrounded by a trusty Roland and a moustache that would make Tom Selleck bite his lip.

But Kirin is the real star, a figure impossible to look away from. Half-Michael Jackson, half-Prince, half-creepy uncle who was really into Duran Duran, Kirin is an improper fraction of lust and action. Building towards a crescendo of nudity and thrusting drum pads, the video for “The Edge” is essential to your day.

Gig Review: Kirin J Callinan

Thursday 15th January @ The Aurora Spiegeltent

There are some performers who defy a single identity. There are some characters that fiction itself could not have imagined. And there are some people who spit in the face of categorisation. Now, there are very few people in this world that can live up to such a reputation. It’s an unknown feat, something rarer than a intelligent comment from Fred Nile. But last night, Kirin J Callinan delivered a performance, in the truest sense of the word, that will ruin perspective for all in attendance. It’s going to be a long time before anyone, or anything, will be able to match the stage power of Kirin J Callinan.

In the Aurora Spiegltent, as part of Sydney Festival, Kirin J Callinan adorns the stage at a little past midnight. A bewitching hour for a bewitching figure. He’s had a costume change from his earlier jaunt at Alex Cameron’s set (who played fantastically as always – one of the best albums of modern times), moving from a sleeveless, floral blue shirt, blood-orange pants and spectacles, to a commanding but minimalist staunchly-white singlet, and thick, gold chain. It seems like an insignificant change, but it allows for his body to ripple and flex throughout his show, adding to the delight and fright of his performance.

Summarising the performance of Kirin J Callinan is useless. It’s an event built upon contradiction; nuance and spectacle sidle side-by-side. Everything has the haze of improvisation and spontaneity, and yet things are too flawlessly perfect. Each line of stage banter that drips from his mouth is an execution of dark comic genius. Every lyric is loaded with an intention, but these intentions vary from phrase to phrase, schizophrenically jumping around, and rarely aligning with the recorded product.

For this, Kirin J Callinan’s performance is literally one of a kind. His prior show was nothing like the one we are witnessing. The one after will also be nothing like the one occurring. In this current moment, the people are witnessing something incredibly special. An opening act that feels like David Lynch is unleashing a horror movie on our minds, as “Stretch It Out” banshee screams burn their way into our skulls. Kirin is a terrifying presence on stage, a God amongst men, distorting sounds and melodies into some of the most thrilling and pungent songs ever created. His style is a lovebite, achingly beautiful, a template of pleasure and pain.

Like a snake on top of Medusa’s head, the set winds whilst turning everyone into stone. An early exhibition of “Landslide” has folks crying out for, “…dust and dirt…”, and his voice mildly chokes everyone in attendance into total adoration. The pain is splattered elaboratley, broad brushstrokes of heartache as apparent as any bruise. But so swiftly, the performance maintains its uninhibited ride into madness. “Embracism” tears strips from the flesh with its masculine overture, and a new cut, known only as “The Teacher” turns the atmosphere into that of a forlorn prom scene from an unmade John Hughes movie.

However, it was a theatrical performance of “Victoria M.”, followed by a finale of “Way II War” and “Love Delay”, that stole hearts. What resounded in the small tent that night could have been felt around the world. It felt historic, watching such a diverse array of romanticism, disgust, euphoria and snarling bravado intermingle so organically. Man and machine become one, eyes are fixed upon a triumphant figure holding a guitar aloft, a thrashing crowd falls in love over and over again.

An encore followed, a solo performance of forever-to-be-unreleased, yet crowd-encompassing tune referred to as “The Toddler”, followed by a collaboration between Kirin J Callinan and Alex Cameron called “Big Enough”. Watching two artists, who have dominated and elevated Australian music for the better, intertwine and profess such a profound musical impact, was a moment that softened the blow that this event would be over.

We, the people, did not deserve this. The boisterously drunk crowd who consistently heckled a figure as unique as Mr. Callinan felt inappropriate. But the man wore it, persevering and still putting on one of the best shows many in attendance have undoubtedly seen. The whole thing is visionary, and unprecedentedly fantastic. There are no words to describe the greatness of Kirin J Callinan’s live show that wouldn’t develop as understatements.

All that can be said is this…thank you. For putting up with the distractions, for persisting, for strutting a sinewy frame into oblivion, and back. For the enchanting music, the glorious strobes, the brutally honest and dark revelations that are shared so openly. For the clanging clashes of contradiction that allow something so completely new to be formed. For re-imagining our Australian landscape, in much the same way that The Drones, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Jack Ladder have, and turning an eye onto what we were blind to before. For mixing surreal entertainment, fanatic reverie and pure originality into a cocktail stirred by the gnashing mouth of the beast.

Thanks.

Top 20 Australian Songs of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckons is the best of the best this year.

Fuck, this shit is really hard. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do. As opposed to the Best Videos of the Year, and the Best International Records,  this list has taken me days to put together, as I’ve been more indecisive than a newspaper editor trying to decided the front page between a story in which David Beckham and Ryan Gosling have constructed the world’s most beautiful baby, or an exclusive interview with Clive Palmer’s fourth chin. A toughie, that’s for sure.

Anyway, here are the picks of the year – Aussie songs that have made people turn their heads, jaws drop in astonishment, and allow for spines to be frozen over in fascinated horror. The list was torturing me, so it’s been lengthened to 20. Also, songs that were just released as singles got preference over stuff that was on albums, simply because those are coming in the next list! OH FUCK, CAN YOU EVEN WAIT THAT LONG, OR ARE YOU GOING TO CRYOGENICALLY FREEZE YOURSELF UNTIL IT COMES OUT, WALT DISNEY STYLE?

Honourable Mentions: Step-Panther (Parallel) Solid Dad (Kewl December), Jack Ladder (Her Hands), Andras & Oscar (Looking Back), Babaganouj (Bluff), Disgusting People (I Wanna Ctrl Alt Delete My Life), The Stevens (Thirsty Eye), GL (Won’t You See), Wives (Buried), Day Ravies (Hickford Whiz) Dead Set Ledger (Buddy’s Kickin’ Screwies on the SCG).

20. Miss Destiny – The One

A lambasting surge of sound from Melbourne’s Miss Destiny, this song is like Courtney Love being thrown in a blender whilst The Donnas and The Darkness throw down.

19. White Hex – Paradise

White Hex released a badass synth record earlier this year, ‘Gold Nights’. Dangerous seduction was the game, the kind that Michael Douglas would engage in, and White Hex won. Jimi Kritzler, former Slug Guts member, also released a fantastic book this year, “Noise In My Head”, but “Paradise” makes a case for being Kritzler’s no. 1 achievement of 2014.

18. Bachelor Pad – Fried

Bachelor Pad’s garage rock enthusiasm is irrepressible – it is actually impossible to stop them. Sounding like the bratty, cone-smoking kid of Ty Segall, “Fried” is as infectious as those warts that have started collecting themselves between your legs.

17. Postblue – Ugly

Poison City Records had a fuckn’ year didn’t they? Between the release of The Smith Street Band, The Bennies and re-releasing old Screamfeeder records, they found time for Postblue’s “Ugly”. On a record that’s full of affable, catchy rock tunes, Postblue especially stuck out on “Ugly”, an early Jebediah track that went through the digestive system of Steve Albini.

16. Total Giovanni – Human Animal

“Human Animal” makes me do weird things with my arms, but I like it.The bastard child between Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem, Total Giovanni have a feverish cult of personality surrounding their music. It’s alluring, funky-as-swinging-leather-pants music that PT Anderson wished was around for the soundtrack of ‘Boogie Nights’.

15. Nun – Evoke the Sleep

Easily the most ferocious synth-punk released this year, Melbourne’s Nun provided a storming debut LP earlier this year. “Evoke the Sleep” makes the case for these guys to be considered amongst the likes of DEVO and Depeche Mode.

14. Old Mate – Requesting Permission

On the more heart-breaking end of the scale, there’s Old Mate. A member of Bitch Prefect, Pat Telfer’s “Requesting Permission” will make you start jabbering about all the random dust that’s flown in within the last 30 seconds.

13. Hockey Dad – I Need A Woman

South Coast-muzzas Hockey Dad provide a slab of feel-good surf rock that’s lathered affectionately in pop and fuzz, drives school-girls crazy, and is really fucking great. Hockey Dad just need to stop wearing their damn trousers so low, and they’ll be well on their way to success.

12. Dorsal Fins – Monday Tuesday

Pop music so good Madonna would want to rip it off. Beginning with urgent piano and stomping bass, Dorsal Fins turn things into up a dramatic notch for an 80’s singalong straight from the stolen brain of Debbie Harry.

11. Bad//Dreems – Dumb Ideas 

When the opening notes of “Dumb Ideas” ring out, it becomes fairly obvious that Bad//Dreems are going to provide another stomper of a track. A flippant flipping off, “Dumb Ideas” is a confident, surly piece of rock that Angus Young would want to call his own.

10. Liam Kenny – I’m The Ocean 

Fairs fair, when you’re covering Neil Young, you’re headed straight to the top of a best-of list. But when Liam Kenny (Peak Twins, Bitch Prefect, The Friendsters, Roamin’ Catholics) does it, it turns into a squalling guitars, and heart-clutched vocals.

9. Tempura Nights – R.I.P Chix

Brisbane’s on a roll right now, with Velociraptor, DZ Deathrays, Babaganouj and Major Leagues all kicking major goals this year with releases and singles. But Tempura Nights, a lil’ suprgroup, kicked the most amount of ass with “R.I.P Chix” a sweet garage sprinkled with Deal sister guitar and the kind of head noddin’ you’d expect from a Brissy pop band.

8. Peter Bibby – Hates My Boozin’

Peter Bibby is a moper amongst mopers, a bloke who paints his own portrait with a bottle constantly in one hand and an impossibly perfect rolled cigarette in the other, carefree and full of whimsy on the outside, but burning up within.

7. King Single – Restart Newstart Allowance

A certain Bare Grillz/Lenin Lennon member changed things up by providing gorgeous guitar-pop and glassy drum sounds that create only one reaction in all within earshot: *SWOON*.

6. Richard In Your Mind – Hammered

Richard In Your Mind say it best when they swing drunkenly upon the line “Me and my baby get hammered in the daytime”. From their latest record ‘Ponderosa’, it’s a honeyed trip into the tastily warped senses of Richard In Your Mind.

5. The Harpoons – Unforgettable

As far as breaking up goes, no one seems to have hit it on the head harder than The Harpoons. What a bunch of sultry crooners! It’s a jam that’s part Caribou, part TLC, and part doe-eyed wistfulness that feeds upon your heart like a piranha of romantic longing.

4. FLOWERTRUCK – I Wanna Be With You

Speaking of romantic longing, the best band that seemingly came out of nowhere was FLOWERTRUCK. Bursting forth from the same scene that’s brought Big White, High-tails, and New Lovers, FLOWERTRUCK make the descriptor ‘infectious’ cower in fear. They’re Sydney’s own version of Blank Realm. If David Byrne and Bryan Ferry exploded into fit of joyous crooning, amid slashing puffs of synth and guitar, it’d be about as great as this.

3. Donny Benet – The Edge. Feat Kirin J Callinan

Donny Benet. The man. The legend. The myth. There ain’t nobody like this feller in the universe, mainly because there can only be one moustache-weilding, impressively groomed prince of seduction in the world. It’s a Highlander thing. On, “The Edge” Kirin J Callinan and the Don do battle over five minutes of exhausting sexual healing.

2. Weak Boys – Hangovers

“Hangovers” sort of set the staple for what my 2014 was, along with many other budding attendees of whatever Inner West domain Weak Boys have been fortunately dominating. I’ve listened to this song more times than I’ve asked for a jug of Resch’s at the Lansdowne. My intimidatingly large beer belly nods in agreement.

1. Constant Mongrel – New Shapes

In 2014, no single came close to the grisly terror imagined on Constant Mongrel’s “New Shapes”. Melbourne’s most ferocious unleash a bass-driven hellscape that indulges primal and carnal desires. As far as finale’s go, Constant Mongrel went for an ending more taut, nail-biting and mentally draining than the conclusion of ‘Heat’. A blood-caked knuckle-duster ride into a starved post-punk oblivion, “New Shapes” is the kind of thing post-apocalyptic hero would throttle in their car as they ravaged a scorned landscape in survival mode.

Album Review: Donny Benet – Weekend At Donny’s

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Can we all just, for one second, take a minute to marvel at the artwork that is the album artwork for ‘Weekend at Donny’s’? Surely, that is a work that will be going in the pool room, or at the very least, be nominated as one of the images that will convey the best parts of humanity to visiting alien races. For those who aren’t as Donny mad as they should be, Donny is old mate in the middle there, with the sunnies and corpse pose. To the right is Jack Ladder with an expression stolen right off McCauley Caulkin’s shit eating Home Alone debut, and SPOD is looking like a cocky bastard. Man, I can’t wait ’til the whole crew finds out that these guys were totally fakin’ it! Then they’ll get sent to jail! And their careers will be in tatters! And they’ll never be able to re-adjust to regular society again due to the inhumane and extravagantly cruel conditions of Australian prisons. HAHAH, what a bunch of idiots!

On a less sadistic note, this album is Donny’s third record, and his first in which he doesn’t take the spotlight. Whereas his other records featured tracks that the producers of Knight Rider and Miami Vice were kicking themselves for not getting as theme songs, ‘Weekend At Donny’s’ instead allows for Donny to take the backseat. It’s almost like he is Kit, and he has a revolving guest-star  of Hasselhoff’s.

The results of ‘Weekend At Donny’s’ are both diverse and riveting, plunging into strange territories that seem like lost goldmines of eras that never existed. There’s this weird anachronism thing going on, like an episode of Quantum Leap that’s been taken over by the embodiment of sex. The guests range from the local to the high-profile: IsabellaManfredi from The Preatures, SPOD, Jack Ladder, Geoffrey O’Connor, Kirin J Callinan and Elana Stone of All Our Exes Live In Texas.

Now, some of these collaborations work better than others. For example, “The Edge”, which features Kirin J Callinan, is a match made in heaven. Or rather, a match made from the greatest porn parody of Star Trek, where the budget was concentrated on the soundtrack. It’s a song where the lyrics “I wanna fill you up with my love” sounds like the greatest thing a partner could whisper in your ear. Add the space-exploration bass riff and panting synths, and you’ve got the perfect hot and heavy song. You can so easily picture this in a live setting, both characters back-to-back, Donny slapping his bass with a wry smile and Kirin J Callinan absentmindedly flicking his mullet, whilst a blinding amount of cameras shoot their beams for what has to be the shot of the century.

Other parts of the record stand incredibly tall and , “Sex Tourist” with Jack Ladder and the SPOD collaborations. The former is the perfect palette for Jack Ladder’s baritone to sink to its most immoral depths, a song packed with humour and loneliness. The latter contributions, “Gentleman’s Choice” and “Fantasies”, are probably the closest thing that resemble old-school Donny, rumbling bass funkadelics, heavy breathing and Donny’s special brand of hedonism (and vocals).

The only issue to be had here is mild, in that some songs on here resemble the guests’ own projects more so than as temporary visitors to Donny Land. Sure, there’s the Benet aesthetic there, of whispered lushness and trickling, unreal bass slaps, but “Endless”, which holds Isabella Manfredi’s vocals, and “Never Alone” come off like Preatures and Geoffrey O’Connor songs that have been Back-to-the-Future’d a few times, and picked up some 80’s sprinkle from all that time warp-age.

However, this is hardly a complaint. When the cast is as arrayed and talented as this, scoring a really good Preatures song on a Donny Benet album is just a bonus treat amongst the gold already there. When you’re submerged in this sensual world of Donny’s, it’s hard, painful even, to pull yourself out. Even though I was born a decade after the fact, the 80’s has that sheen to it, and Donny exploits it for a new and eager audience. And with these guests, he surmounts that problem of novelty wearing off. Now, his supreme talent as instigator and philanthropist of retro-sound can be completely appreciated for the genius that it is.

‘Weekend at Donny’s’ is out on Rice is Nice Records now. Donny’s bringing the touch to Brighton Up Bar on October 10th and 11th, with You Beauty and Food Court respectively. Go to one. Go to both. But go. Because his name is Donny Benet, and he will bring you happiness.

Video: Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders – Come On Back This Way (feat Sharon Van Etten)

Songs are a lot like farts. There are those that just kind of pop out, but no one notices them, and they can really only be described as annoying. Then there are bangerz; loud and abrupt, these things draw a lot of attention, and might even cause a bit of an uproar. And then there are the ones that draw themselves out, erupting with grandiose majesty. They linger in the air, and you can taste them on your tongue. They’re unique, and you remember them for years, constantly recalling the first time you smelt that fart that changed your life.

The new Jack Ladder track falls into the last category, immediately sending shivers down your spine as the track rings out with a sincere beauty. “Come On Back This Way” swells with lust and sincerity, and you can’t help but be pulled into it. It’s a whirlpool of excellence, powered by a tiny synth motor that dances next to Ladder’s vocals like a neon ballerina who’s just shelved a pill.

It’s kind of to be expected that Jack Ladder has released this great a song. After all, his backing band, The Dreamlanders, is compiled from Laurence Pike (PVT), Donny Benet (!) and Kirin J Callinan (!), Kim Moyes from The Presets produced the record AND old mate Sharon Van Etten drops some seriously sultry backing vocals. But really, the focus will always be on Ladder, who’s baritone absolutely nails the feels in this emotional cesspool of awesome. In the immortal words of Paul Hogan, “That’s not a breakup song. THIS is a breakup song!”.

New: Donny Benet – The Edge (feat. Kirin J Callinan)

There are many uncertain things in this life. Did I leave the oven on? Is this genital itch temporary? Who am I, and what am I doing on this planet? One thing is for certain: Donny Benet has the Midas Touch, and everything that comes under his gentle swaying nature turns to gold.

You don’t have to look very far into his discography to find something you’ll like. He has a presence that is indescribable, sultry, sexy and dastardly, smoother than a baby jaguar’s fur.

On his latest track, Donny ups the game to near-insurmountable heights. This single is literally the greatest use of a synthesiser since the Miami Vice theme. The song bends and wobbles under the guidance of Donny’s expert touch and feel, and warms to a sweltering heat with the inclusion of the beloved Kirin J Callinan, who provides the hottest vocals since Q Lazzarus.

‘The Edge’ swells, rising like our temperatures and genitals, swaying with incredulous glee, until Callinan’s orgasms are matching the same pitch as Donny’ feverish instrumental work. And then, as everyone, both the musicians and the listener, lay in panting, gasping pleasure, the song ends, and Donny reaches over to light your post-coital cigarette.

 

Fuck, I feel like I just wrote 50 Shades of Grey.

Video: Liam Finn-Burn Up the Road

I swear to God, this is the greatest video clip that has been released all fucking year. No, this thing is the best audio-visual piece of entertainment to have landed on Planet fucking Earth this year. Whatever pact Liam Finn made with Satan to produce a clip this amazing was probably worth it.

Firstly, the song is amazing. ‘Burn Up the Road’ matches pop hooks akin to The Saints and Radio Birdman with a delectable, crunchy guitar line that is the equivalent of finding a needle of honeycomb in the middle of a haystack made of crack.

But not only is this track a winding delicacy with the most memorable riff since ‘Stoned & Starving’, it has a clip that’s going to forcibly burn itself into your retinas. It’s basically Tron, but instead of Jeff Bridges looking confused, you’ve got a bulked up ‘n’ bearded Liam Finn versing off against an angsty Kirin J Callinan who looks a bit too much like Peter Sellers (that’s a good thing). The clip is a cartoonish rivalry filled with shitty graphics, greed and life-threatening motorbike battles. Seriously, what are you doing still reading this?

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.

Gig Review: FBI Turns 10

Sunday 8th of September @ The Carriageworks, Redfern

FBi Radio has been a stalwart of promoting forward thinking music for approximately the past 10 years. Try to think of another Australian radio station that has it’s finger to the pulse of music more so than FBi. It is impossible. Because FBi is committed to carving out delicious hunks of flesh that the Australian music scene has to offer. If you’re underground and independent, but you have the music that should send you skyrocketing to stardom, FBi can probably help you out. Just ask some of the alumni that have graduated from the grainy speakers of beat up automobiles the country over, to giant stadiums. The Presets, Hermitude, Cloud Control, and Urthboy are just a few of the massive acts that can thank FBi for that helping hand. And on FBi’s 10th Birthday spectacular at the Carriageworks, all of these acts and more were there to give back to the best of their ability. And by fuck-knizzles was it a good show.

A bunch of locals where the first of many amazing musical treasures to be caught that day. Opening with Movement, the recent Future Classic signees, was a pleasure to see. They were warm and receptive of the minimum attention from hungover crowd that had come down early to catch their set. Although not wild in any sense, Movement were still engaging, and their amazeballs cover of ‘Ms Jackson’ by Outkast didn’t just go down a treat…it was a festival highlight. The day then progressed to a bunker, in which some serious noise was gargled forcibly down your throat. Zeahorse played an electrifying set. I didn’t know what to expect from the band, other than that their song ‘Pool’ is badass, but instead I got a truly ferocious feat of punk. The bass lines that this band can muster could go head to head with any Sabbath track, and the unadulterated rage that the band brought to the stage was mind blowing. I came to that show a cautious spectator, and left an undying fan. Straight Arrows had the job of following this belying dumbbell to the kidneys of a show, but they only raised the bar. Owen Penglis proved himself to be the Lux Interior of contemporary society, stalking the stage with retarded glee. He’s both taking the piss of himself and exuding over-the-top enthusiasm for his craft of creating the best garage rock n roll this side of the universe. Not to be outdone, guitarist Alex Grigg was equally captivating, jumping around like a frog on meth. Songs with full on, tidal choruses  like ‘Bad Temper‘ and the new single ‘Never Enough’ went down the best, the crowd frothing to the best of their ability at 2 o clock on a Sunday arvo. Following these two high energy performance was the inimitable Kirin J Callinan. Not about to be overshadowed by a couple punks, watching the weirdo was like a Sydney re-invention of Kraftwerk. Dressed in a zebra meets Doppler Effect jumpsuit, and followed by two similarly robed henchmen, Kirin J Callinan put on a mesmerising and disturbing performace. Guitar feedback, loops and a general fuckery of the senses was the call of duty from the performance. From the get-go, Mr. Callinan indulged the crowd in their most fucked-up desires in only the way a guy that thinks onstage epilepsy is be a good idea could. An overall  electrifying start to the day.

Let it be said that Deep Sea Arcade cannot do a bad show. They are the Australian version of the UK arena rock spectacular bands like Kasabian. They take the crowd into the palm of their hand from the beginning of the show, using the age old tricks of rock n roll (loud guitars, onstage prancing, a sound that allows the crowd to sway with happy detachment from normalcy) to transform their small stage in Bay 20 of the Carriagworks into a full throttle rock show. Showing off songs new and old, Deep Sea Arcade had a thronging, adoring crowd lapping up every second of their performance. ‘Black Cat’, ‘Girls’, and ‘Steam’ were all particularly explosive points of the set, but the band have encapsulated a riotous spirit onstage that would make The Rolling Stones fart storms of dust in jealousy. Unfortunately, Naysayer & Gilsun didn’t make their scheduled appearance. A disappointment permeated my soul like I haven’t felt since earlier that day, when I ran out of drink tokens within half an hour of being at the event. Still, there was a silver lining-I got to catch the end of The Preatures set. After way too much repetitive doof doof in Bay 17, The Preatures afforded some much needed laid-back soul infused rock. ‘Is This How You Feel?’ has warmed up to me exponentially since I first heard it a couple months ago, so hearing it live was like dousing my head in the mythical waters of Babylon.

The festival only got better and better from that point, as we made our way to the barrier for the remaining four acts. Seekae were there almost straight away to prove what it meant to be a main contender for the crown of ‘best producers in the history of ever’. These Sydney post-dubstep, ambient heroes showered an adoring crowd with cult favourites from their previous two albums, as well as a couple selections from their upcoming record. The beautiful new song ‘Another’ opened the set, but the transcendental sounds of ‘Blood Bank’, and the major hit ‘Void’ were so good, it felt like the crowd was moving like a singular piece of jelly in a light wind to Seekae’s music. It’s important to note that this third record sees Seekae experimenting with live vocals, a move that can only be lauded. It sounded fucking amazing. The whizzing beats combined with the immersing tonal melodies of Seekae’s music was amazing enough, and with the vocals layering on top of that, I can only imagine that Seekae will become one of Australia’s next big exports. After defying the logic of goodness with Seekae, Midnight Juggernauts took the stage. Initially, I was pretty pissed, because seeing Midnight Juggernauts meant missing Bleeding Knees Club, who are better than a gallon of cough syrup when your not actually sick (PURP DRANK!). Initially, I was committed to not having a good time, and to send a disapproving message to Midnight Juggernauts that they would leave FBi’s 10th Birthday having had to stare at a frowning ginger in their front row for the entire duration of their set. However, I was the fool in this situation. When three guys rock the stage in tribal robes, and jam so theatrically your ears bleed from the carnivorous carnival of fun on display, then it’s kinda hard to remain a cynical dick about the whole thing. The energy on stage was at an overwhelming extreme, and Midnight Juggernauts bigger hits such as ‘Into the Galaxy’ caused near-riotous levels of ecstasy in the audience. Closing the set with a striptease from their ‘Uncanny Valley’ tour buds Kirin j Callinan and his astronaut-in-training accomplices, set to screeching electronica, mental drumming and a jungle bass like only Midnight Juggernauts can deliver was a fucking insane and grin exuding experience that no one could be capable of shying away from.

Next to hit the main stage was Hermitude, and let me confirm that everything you’ve ever heard about them is true. Yes, they are one of the best production teams in recent history. Yes, they blaze up the stage like a Cypress Hill blunt. And yes, you should skip a loved one’s Bar Mitzvah to go see them live. Hermitude are fucking awesome. There’s not much more to say than that. Until you’ve been swept up into a thronging crowd all jumping in unison to ‘Get in My Life’, watched African animals spiral in duality on six different TV screens to ‘HyperParadise’, or watched in awe as Chaos Emerald dances the fuck out of a stage whilst ‘Speak of the Devil’ booms in fiery agreement, you have not lived. Hermitude are performers like no other, and they were the winners of FBi’s 10th Birthday, by a long fucking way. Now, although they didn’t have the advantage of enthusiasm incarnate like their predecessors Hermitude, The Presets closed the absolute fuck out of this festival. With a battalion of party starters at their finger tips, Kim and Julian laid down the gauntlet with a strong mix of new and old. Although they leaned a little too heavily on the newest album ‘Pacifica’, it provided much needed relief for when perennial crowd favourites such as ‘This Boy’s In Love’,My People’ and festival closer ‘Talk Like That‘ turned a dancing crowd into a moshing frenzy. The neon tunes of The Presets are loved the world over, but in that moment of ‘talk-talk-talk, like-like-like, that-that-that *electronic music sounds*’, Sydney showed their passion for these hometown heros through a sea of sweat and smiles.

To say that FBi’s 10th Birthday was a success is an understatement. There was not a single point in time in which there wasn’t a band on that wasn’t worth seeing. I’m still kicking myself for the fact that I missed Fishing, The Laurels, Sampology and Decoder Ring, a few of the amazing acts that went ungraced by my presence. And if you weren’t down for having your earholes pleasured, then there was always the buffet of Sydney delicacies, the artworks and installations, a spectator controlled boxing match (fucking awesome), or even a quick wander around would reveal some of your favourite artists of the day. To leave Redfern unsmiling that day was to lie to yourself. There’s only hope that this festival tries to repeat the overwhelming success next year.

If you like any or all of the artists, you should really think about becoming a sponsor of FBi. They are probably one of the best things to happen to Australian music since The Scientists formed.