Album Review: You Beauty-Jersey Flegg

You Beauty are the sort of band that can get every true Aussie on board. And by that, I don’t mean some bullshit ‘Nulla Riots definition of ‘True Aussie’ (white, bogan, accent that sounds like a koala being put through a tree-shredder), but rather the things that embody the Australian spirit. To be specific, I’m speaking about footy. Yep, footy. Football, rugby, ruggers, fisting-for-amateurs. Call it what you want, footy is an integral part of Australian culture and life. Indeed, sometimes it seems like people get more vicious about an upset loss than any sort of “democratic’ decisions that get passed.

You Beauty embody the Australian spirit so thoroughly because their songs are almost all based around the aforementioned sport. Like, it’s not even subtle. The songs on their debut album all revolve around the titular game. At first glance, this might seem a bit strange, even limiting. How can you make an album all about footy? Some music fans might even get on their high horse about how footy has no place in music. “Leave it to the Spiderbaits and AC/DC’s!”, they’ll (I’ll) cry, “for footy has no place in the regal realm of indie rock music! How dare thee desecrate such a holy structure!”

But You Beauty have done more than just talk about how everyone gets dirty, and the occasional finger is slipped in your arse during the scrum. Indeed, they Sigmuend Freud the shit out of this genre (footy rock? indie rugby?) and add a bunch of conceptual analysis that elevate You Beauty from a bunch of guys who love to romanticise about their favourite sport into philosophers of urban normality.

Think I’m stretching the truth? Fuck you. But listen to the album for yourself you prick, and try to quit the swooning. Opener and title track ‘Jersey Flegg’ starts off at a crackin’ pace, capturing Sunday afternoon in its most picturesque form. Try to not imagine yourself as a bright-eyed, naive teenager, bouncing out of bed and darting off to play and consequently watch your heroes bounce a ball around on a field, as well as crunch each other into balls of semi-deranged anger. I can actually remember that point in my life, and you probably can too.

There’s also ‘Ann-Maree’, a song about, you guessed it, a girl. Tightly coiled guitar plods along whilst the ‘Strayan accent comes down hard. Longing and lusting, and boasting with the confidence that only playing on a local footy team with your mates can bring. It gives you the balls to send over a dashing waterboy to give your beloved a drink, and silently promise yourself that you won’t let her go home with anyone else  but you.

But things don’t stay so bright and cheery as ‘Jersey Flegg’ and ‘Ann-Maree’ makes it seem. ‘Mennal Mondays’ grunts about the fucking shitty experience that is Monday and the lording, overcast bitch that is a personified work week. Pouring your heart, soul and energy to fund your passions and only having the faint hope of weekend enjoyment keeping you going. And ‘Drop Me Now’ screams our hero’s greatest fears right in his face: you’re getting dropped from the team mate, go fuck yourself.

The point You Beauty are making, through the elaborate and beautiful love of footy, is that life sucks, and it probably won’t get better. And worst of all, it applies to all but the Rupert Murdoch’s and Tony Abbot’s of this world. Unless you’re a raging dickhead, packed with millions and you even narcissism thinks you’re self-obssessed, you’re destined to be the average punter who battles on. There’s no Ann-Maree, work isn’t getting better, and there’s no game to look forward to on the weekend. As the closer of ‘Off the Bench’ puts it: ‘No hunger for a woman, a game, or a fight/It’s a dud feeling, all right.’ And although it stings with the truth of a thousand bluebottles, it’s heartwarming to know that You Beauty pulled it off with such a fantastic album, packed to the brim with amazing songs and squirming with genius.

You can grab ‘Jersey Flegg’ from the link right above this sentence, you drollop. Enjoy it with the passion of a thousand Christ’s.

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New: Mac DeMarco + Damaged Bug + Trust + The War on Drugs + Habibi + Woods

There’s more new songs in this article than there were impoverished orphans in Charles Dickens’ novels. That’s a lotta songs.

Mac DeMarco-Song About Pussy

This song doesn’t actually have a name. Hell, this song probably is just a little fuckaround thing he did between blowing minds at the bunch of sold out shows he did in Australia (I was at the one he did at The Standard, with Twerps. It was awesome, thanks for asking). Anyway, if watching a naked cowboy with an acoustic guitar that just barely covers his pubes, you’re in luck. If you want that to be soundtracked by a sleazy, 80’s throwback track sung by our favourite Canadian, then you’re in double luck. If you want a twist ending, and Mac to randomly pop his frizzy head up at the bottom of the screen by the end of the track, then you have an oddly specific fetish.

Damaged Bug-Eggs At Night

Oh, shit goddamn, hot salsa orgies on a microwave plate! It’s new John Dwyer material! Although that name might not ring a bell, Thee Oh Sees certainly should, a project that happens to be the brainchild of Mr. Dwyer. The fact that the man is nothing short of a King Midas, turning everything he touches into gold, should come as no surprise.

Anyway, although the sad news of Thee Oh Sees going on hiatus has been confirmed as fact, the man isn’t slowing down by any standard, instead adopting the name Damaged Bug, and deciding to put out an electronic-toned solo LP. ‘Eggs At Night’ is the first taste, and fucking hell, its like he’s shoved a five course meal down our throats! The song is absolutely amazing! Slow, creepy, vaudevillian synths creep the song into existence, like the SOS of a lonely, The Fall/Rowland S. Howard-loving lighthouse keeper, whilst Dwyer’s vocals echo like some sort of post-modern Dracula, dripping with loneliness. It’s like Ian Curtis never died after all! Absolutely fucking beautiful, and I mean every word.

Trust-Rescue, Mister

I really, really enjoyed the first album I heard from Trust. It was dark, gothic and delectable as hell. Then, late last year, I saw a music video that completely turned me off Alfons. There was a pop sheen to it that sounded like they’d been dipped in a bowl of Rihanna jizz. With caution, I pressed play on the new single from the band, and was delighted when it came back to that original sound. Weirdly enough, I can’t seem to find that pop track that turned me off Trust. I’ve spent two hours looking, coming up blank. Maybe it was all a bad dream.

‘Rescue, Mister’ takes on a distinctly sophomore-era Crystal Castles vibe, with the spider web female chorus, and gothic synths reaching to newfound heights.Weird disco penetrates this song like I penetrate the walls of The Red Rattler-bug-eyed and awkward, but having too much fun to care that everyone else thinks that its the most out of place thing imaginable.  If this is what Trust ends up sounding like on the new LP, then please, don’t hold back. Alfons: assault me with that freaky disco carnage.

The War On Drugs-Red Eyes

I feel bad, because I absolutely adore The War on Drugs, and yet I had no clue they had a new track out. AND I was away for their apparently spectacular gig at Oxford Arts a couple of days ago. I’m slightly ashamed of myself. Yet ‘Red Eyes’ takes that all away. Whether they’re referring to the side-effect of a spectacular amount of marijuana injections (that’s how you do pot, right?) or from a shit load of crying, the fact remains that this song could be a comfortable sidekick in both situations. Smoother than George Clooney’s ass cheeks, and more resonating in the pleasure centre than a brain implant of chocolate ice cream, ‘Red Eyes’ simply needs to be adored. And the best thing is that it doesn’t even need to try. It seems that all those years with Kurt Vile paid off for the rest of the band, and now, they can hone their own brand of spiritually-cleansing rock. Damn, this is just such a fine song that everyone on the planet should own.

Habibi-I Got the Moves

The band’s name couldn’t be further from what’s on display on this stunner of a track. Whilst the name evokes a Middle Eastern stereotype store you could find in downtown anywhere, the band is a girl group playing surf rock the way it was meant to be done. Super catchy, super light and super short ‘n’ sweet. Its like these women came right off the set of Gilligan’s Island, where they played sexy surfers that abandoned poor Gilligan at the end of the episode. No surprises, it comes off Burger Records, the home of all good surf rock. Good on ya’ Burger!

Woods-Leaves Like Glass

Its been a while since I was in this neck of the Woods (someone give me a fucking sitcom deal). I’m speaking, of course, about alt-country territory. I’m talking about Blitzen Trapper, Fruit Bats and Deer Tick, that weird gray area between shitty indie folk stuff and shitty country music, where the stories are weird and the music is weirder. Woods have always fit in there snugly, and now more so than ever. ‘Leaves Like Glass’ features a brilliant little organ part, which is tugged along by the acoustic guitars strumming their wares. To put it bluntly, Woods become charming as fuck on ‘Leaves Like Glass’, like some sort of hybrid of The Moondoggies and Brad Pitt.

Gig Review: Mac DeMarco w/ Twerps

After this photo was taken, we made sweet love in a villa in Eastern Jamaica*

Thursday, 12th December @ The Standard

May as well start this bleary review by saying that Mac DeMarco put on a gig worthy of the almighty Top 10 of the year. That’s right, some no-name numbskull, that every blog from Pitchfork to Polaroids of Androids seems to adore, was one of my favourite things to see with my own eyes that was musically related. Put it somewhere between a repeat viewing of Spinal Tap and The Stooges. Yeah, it was pretty fucking great. Here’s why:

FOISTLY, Twerps one of my all-time favourite recent Australian bands (thoroughly confused yet?) were opening the bill for our lovely Canadian compatriot Mac. Actually, Destiny 3000 (one of the best up-n-coming Sydney bands of 2013, check ’em out here) opened up the whole show, but because I live a demised life, I missed their set. By all accounts, they played really great, which is no surprise, because they are better than sex followed by pancakes.

Anyway, back to Twerps.  They don’t come up to Sydney all that often, which is a total bummer and a money-saver, because I would see them every time they came. It seemed that not a whole lot of people in the audience knew who Twerps were, or at least the punters I was surrounded by, but by the end of the set, everyone in the crowd was fucking enthralled.

I say fucking enthralled because Twerps put on just the greatest of sets. The set was mostly leaning on new material, a whole slew of stuff coming from their upcoming sophomore record making appearances. Judging by the mixed expressions of awe, shock and the sudden realisation that the only way to spiritual one-ness is to follow this band to the ends of the earth that adorned most attendees’ faces, the new material worked a charm.

Not that the established stuff didn’t hit the mark either, far from it. Opener ‘Dreamin’ captured everyone’s attention immediately and set the performance at a cracking pace (a paradox because of the songs’ silkier-than-a-waterborne-sealion nature, but you get the point). And newer hits off their triple A-side single that came out last year, ‘Work It Out’ and ‘He’s In Stock’ were so thoroughly charming, you’d swear Marty was a goddamn Disney prince.

So, Twerps have walked off stage, and I’m at a crossroads, because in my mind, in absolutely no way have they played long enough. No, my body craves Twerps like teenage pop idols crave tabloid attention. Mac DeMarco could have bailed on the show right then, and I would’ve gone home happy. But no! He had to rock up with his band, ALLLL the way from fucking Canada and make sure I had one of the best nights of my year.

DeMarco gets on stage with the band and starts acting like he’s been in the country for his entire life, with the quick ease and intimacy that would put any comedian to shame. Did I mention this guy’s fucking funny? Throughout the night, he spat beer into the audience (in good humour), spouted about Einstein and how ‘…everything’s relative…’, and there was kind of an extended part about fucking various band members’ mums. Oh yeah, and he has the greatest radio voice of our generation. Someone get Alan Jones to fuck off and replace him with Mac DeMarco.

If it had just been the comedy and word jousting, I probably would’ve left a very happy man. But these dudes added music on top of it! And it was really, really good music! Like, really, really good! Think an amalgamation of The Idiot/Lust for Life-era Iggy Pop crossed with The Rolling Stones in their drug fucked Exile On Main Street days, and then sprinkle some Screamadelica-level Primal Scream over that already mouth-watering delicacy. You do realise I’ve just rattled off three prominent artists at their artist peaks, and this fucking dude goes and combines all that shit into an orgasm inducing bender? You do realise I’ve just done that, right?

Anyway, you may have heard a couple of his tracks getting bounced around, stuff like ‘Ode to Viceroy’, ‘My Kind of Woman’, and of course, ‘Freaking Out the Neighbourhood’. All of these were above and beyond good, making the crowd shake and our lungs work overtime to try and reciprocate the lust vibes emanating from DeMarco.

However, the most interesting aspect of the music was how it became so alive on stage. When listening to it on record, you sort of get this weirdly awesome haze hanging over it, but in the flesh, the haze is replaced with a full-blown sleaze rock accent. Everything becomes a little more corrupted and amazing to witness. People even were moshing and crowd surfing, to music that sounds as though it was made as bong smoke filled every corner of the recording studio. Thats an amazing sort of reaction to garner, and DeMarco responded thusly, even stage diving into the crowd during ‘I’m A Man’, and inviting Marty from Twerps to do the same.

But DeMarco sure know how to save the best for last, a medley of unrelated by stunning covers. There was ‘Taking Care of Business’, ‘Rollercoaster of Lover’, ‘Enter Sandman’, and a back to back of Back in Black’ and ‘Thunderstruck’, all played with the shambolic and fun attitude that made Mac DeMarco a unique and fucking invigorating thing to watch.

So, to summarise, Twerps were awesome and Mac DeMarco waas really awesome. There was simply just too much awesome in a single room for a night. It was not good, I had awesome in my clothes, I smelled of it for days after. I fucking hate awesome stuff. Goddamit Mac DeMarco and Twerps, why you gotta ruin my pessimistic existence?

*This sentence is in absolutely no way, shape or form a representation of anything resembling truth 😦