Top 10 Bands of Laneway Festival 2016

CPeRQ46VAAABc4w

Laneway Festival just announced their lineup for 2016, and fuck me, I’ve shit the bed…twice. Whilst I clean the sheets, old mate WordPress came calling, and now you’ve got a list, ANOTHER BLOODY LIST, telling YOU who to go and begrudgingly see after you inevitably figure out that those caps you bought off the lad in Camperdown Park are duds.

10. Violent Soho

It seems real weird that Violent Soho were booked for Laneway Festival. The festival has always prided itself on booking acts either on the cusp of popularity, or who have only recently tasted that sweet, sweet music career success. Violent Soho easily sell out some of the biggest venues in the country, and already played the festival in 2011. It’s not really a complaint, as the band always put on a hell of a show, but it begs the question as to why the festival didn’t book someone more emerging as opposed to a band so established? Still, if ya feel like showering in other people’s sweat (read: my sweat) in a mosh, your best bet is to head to wherever Soho are playing.

9. Silicon

Kody Nielsen’s got a resume worth having a gag over: The Mint Chicks, Opossum, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and now Silicon. Old mate’s been signed to Domino Records (via Weird World), home to Sebadoh, Jon Hopkins and Dan Deacon. He’s got a record coming out which features the bloody tops “Burning Sugar”, and in a few weeks he’s going to be touring with Tame Impala Only one of those achievements is boring.

8. Majical Cloudz

Jesus Christ, Majical Cloudz are pretty good at making you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing with your life. The voice of Devon Welsh is like a mixture of your parents’ telling you that they’re disappointed in you and being left at the altar. There’s a whole lot of pain there, and it’s shaping up to be that watching Majical Cloudz in the flesh is going to feel like Frosty the Snowman is reaching into our chest cavities and strangling our hearts.

7. HEALTH

These guys are fucked, in the best way possible. Think of the danceable noise of Holy Fuck, but trodden with paranoia and an addiction to unpredictability. Their ‘Get Colour’ record is an incredible experience that, if listened to correctly, should blow out your ear drums. Their new record ‘Death Magic’ is equally visceral, a dark, violent affair well-worth your time. Allegedly, HEALTH’s live shows are surreal events that warrant ear plugs and a clean smock.

6. Thundercat

Look, I’ll be honest, my heart fluttered for a second when I thought that the cult 80’s kids cartoon I watched re-runs of when my parents were asleep was going to make a live-action comeback. I would bite the dick off a gargoyle if that opportunity presented itself. Unfortunately, we’ll have to settle for the other Thundercat, a Flying Lotus collaborator, bass god and master of neo-soul who will make us all want to be better people. #realtalk though, how sick would it be to abuse a pimply kid in a Snarf costume between craft beers and Grimes?

5. The Goon Sax

Let’s be real: it was definitely my article on the best bands of BIGSOUND that got this one over the line. You can be one of the best emerging acts to put jangle-pop on its head, you can pull off an incredibly heartfelt and original set in a packed out bar in Brisbane, and you can warrant a whole lot of tongue wagging with the announcement that you’re joining Chapter Music off the back of a few demos. But you can’t underestimate the power of #localblogs.

In all seriousness, it’ll be interesting to see how The Goon Sax pull off a set at a festival like Laneway. In a pub, they’re on home turf, playing to small, packed crowds of people that adore the music they make; their charm arises from their faults and humbleness displayed on the homely  pub stage. Who knows what might go down in front of gum-chewing punters hanging for Hudson Mohawke. Fingers crossed the rest of Australia gets to see the magic that I saw at Ric’s a few weeks back.

4. METZ

Their second album was a bit of an uneven affair, lacking the succinct and determined power of their debut, but there’s little doubt that METZ have lost the strength of their live show. Their show at GoodGod two years ago remains one of my favourites, and not just because they were joined by TV Colours and Batpiss. There’s an ungodly amount of bite in METZ’s music which is hurled at anyone within a fortunate distance. The Laneway organisers should put these guys and HEALTH together and ensure that NOBODY CAN HEAR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!

3. Vince Staples

Rap is not my strong game. Shit, it’s not even my game. I don’t know the rules, I don’t own the proper paraphernalia, and sometimes I get scared when I listen to an N.W.A song. But Vince Staples swooped in and plastered his ‘Summertime ’06’ record everywhere, and shit, I ain’t even mad. This album is thrilling, a thuggish, brutal hip-hop record that floats between expert production and terrifying lyrics. Live, his exuberance and savagery will produce gulps of fear in the squares of Australia.

2. Blank Realm

The Australian contingent is pretty solid this year, relying less on proven success stories of yore (e.g Dune Rats and Courtney Barnett last year) and more on instinct and intuition. It explains why artists like Ali Barter and High Tension found their way on the lineup. But Blank Realm!?? I assumed this band was doomed to a fate of being adored after their time, like fellow Brisbanites The Saints. But Laneway have made the right choice and picked up the best band in Australia for performance duties. Good. Fucking. Option. Mates.

Seriously, the shunning of mainstream popularity for Blank Realm is criminal. How many masterpieces have you got to release before the floodgates of mass devotion open? The answer is three. Blank Realm have three masterpieces. They just released their latest opus, and fuck me, if you still haven’t checked it out, then do yourself a favour and press repeat until your fingers bleed.

1. SPOD (TBA)

Some dickhead graphic designer completely forgot to put SPOD’s name on the lineup again! Jesus Christ! Two years in a row! That’s a stab in the back, isn’t it! Maybe the contracts still have yet to go through, but c’mon! Pull yourself together! He’s a national icon!

Advertisements

Video: Majical Cloudz-Bugs Don’t Buzz

You may/probably don’t remember me reviewing Majical Cloudz debut album ‘Impersonator’ a couple of weeks ago. To summarise, it was emotional as it was awesome.

Anyway, the duo have released a clip for one of the highlights of the album ‘Bugs Don’t Buzz’. It’s as confusing as it is dense, and captures the grotesquely beautiful nature of the track. Also, it’s got a dude that looks like a black version of the alien from Promotheus. I hope the cockroaches in this clip eat Ridley Scott’s brains for making such a shitcoaster.

Best Songs of 2013 So Far

It’s exactly halfway through the year, and within it, we’ve seen some shockingly awesome releases being thrust into our ears like dirty patricians of sound. These molestular devices have slobbered their way onto us in the form of new music from The Strokes, Bad Religion, The xx, Foals, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Bowie, Wire, The Flaming Lips, The Black Angels….the list goes on. We’ve also had a fuckload of local releases from Dune Rats to Yes, I’m Leaving and Willow Beats all holding a torch with awesome new albums and EP’s grating our ears to tinnitus accepters. So, since I can’t be fucked to do albums, these are the best songs from the albums. These are the best songs, in my opinion, of 2013, so far. No surprises, it’s mostly garage-centric.

1. Parquet Courts- Stoned and Starving

2. Grave Babies-Over and Underground

3. Thee Oh Sees-Toe Cutter-Thumb Buster

4. Majical Cloudz-Bugs Don’t Buzz

5. My Bloody Valentine-She Found Now

6. Kurt Vile-Never Run Away

7. Radical Dads-Rapid Reality

8. The Bronx-Ribcage

9. The Men-I Saw Her Face

10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra-So Good At Being In Trouble

11. Atoms for Peace- Before Your Very Eyes…

12. The Drones-How to See Through Fog

13. Palma Violets-Best of Friends

14. Wavves-Afraid of Heights

15. POND-Giant Tortoise

16. Dune Rats-Red Light Green Light

17. Step-Panther-Maybe Later

18. FIDLAR-Cheap Beer

19. Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys-Bite My Tongue

20. Flume-Sleepless 

Album Review: Majical Cloudz-Impersonator

Majical Cloudz are currently my new favourite minimalist project. They are just so incredibly interesting, like Fugazi if they decided to go chill-step, or chill-wave or whatever the fuck that genre is called nowadays. You know, the super down played stuff that people like James Blake, Nosaj Thing and Gem Club are popularising. Well, Majical Cloudz are my personal favourite artist in that sort of style of music, and it’s not just because they have an awesome, awesome name. Who knew that replacing the actual letter with the phonetic sounding letter could create such a great band name?

I first heard about Majical Cloudz when I saw the name pop up as a collaboration on Grimes’ album from last year, on the glitchy, J-pop sounding ‘Nightmusic’. Although I heartily enjoyed it, and delved into the ‘Turns Turns Turns’ EP, I kind of lost track of them until I spotted the brand new album, ‘Impersonator’. And by jolly fuck nuzzles is it great. A great slice of immersing white man R&B, ‘Impersonator’ purrs and slants in all directions, a sifting delicacy that is absolutely chilling and frighteningly good.

The title track, and opener,  ‘Impersonator’ is a good example of the depth and texture of the album. It’s not an album that you warm into. You start right in the deep end of the blue lagoon of reverberating sound, submerged in holy disconcerting washes of silently bellowed vocals. Following ‘Impersonator’, is ‘This is Magic’ and ‘Childhood’s End’, both songs about symbolising the crashing of innocence, done with heart-wrenchingly perfect execution. It’s really hard to describe the cold grasp that clutches in ‘Childhood’s End’ when the lyrics sob ‘Our fate/ it is sealed…I don’t cry/ Oh God tell me why’ against a sullen portrait of grey strings and electronic whirs and taps, like the most depressing Nicolas Jaar song you’ve never heard.

The tantalising sorrow doesn’t stop at the forefront of the album. No, it continues in a hypnotising organic fashion, like at the midway point of ‘Mister’, the song that initially stopped me in my tracks ‘Turns Turns Turns’, and the excruciatingly good ‘Silver Rings’. The former is charged forward by the raindrop-pattering percussion, set up against otherworldly soaring organ and tortured whispers. ‘Turns Turns Turns’ comes in to revamp the record. This is a track that manages to be infinitely more intriguing than whatever Rudimental or Calvin Harris is blasting obnoxiously right now, with sullenly repeated vocals, some quaint female chanting, ice-cold claps and distant instrumentation. It churns with a desperate avante-garde spirit, but shows nothing on the clasper of ‘Silver Rings’. The poignant rippling of squeaks in that song, building with the ‘ooo-ing’ and delicately soft string section is to die for, and comes off as totally natural, and not at all douchey, which defies logic. Usually string-sections in popular music are reserved for bands that are out of bravado ideas (cough, Daft Punk, cough), but the effect is incredibly mesmerising and even dizzying.

Of course, the highlight, and ‘single’ of the album is ‘Bugs Don’t Buzz’. With the opening of disenchanting piano chords, coughing a disturbingly sad vibe throughout the track, the vocals only build on that. You can practically see the tears spilling out of the track. Then, once you think things are at a crystallised depression, bass-synths and white noise electro effects waft into the track, and crease the whole piece into a distorted bleak landscape.  This song was made for a long, grey drive through the country-side after a funeral. It’s just that powerful and engrossing. Lyrically and musically, it’s unstoppable.

The reason ‘single’ is presented in italics above is because of the way the album is constructed. It needs to be listened to in full. It begs it, because most tracks on ‘Impersonator’ can not give off the full wrangling effect that the album conveys so well. It’s an album of material that dips and dives in freezing capacities, indulgent in the most subtle of ways, cascading towards oblivion; but only when appreciated in it’s fullest context. If tracks are listened to singularly, the only effect you will gain is one of soft off-putting, as the songs are far too slow to engage at a cast-away glance. This isn’t flashy pop music made to satisfy in a shallow sense, but highly emotive and deeply personal art, and by far one of the most together and well-spoken  releases out of Canada since Japandroids ‘Celebration Rock’.