Album Review: Tempura Nights – Whine EP

I like to think of myself as a pretty thorough music journalist, a man of the quill-cloth, who digs as deep as is necessary in order to pull the best story imaginable, a creative hive from which some of the best hyperbolic nonsense has been spewed forth. That’s all a load of horseshit, obviously, because I’m lazier than a guy who types “metaphors for laziness” into Google to come up something witty to put into an album review on his shitty blog. However, I did at least read the description of Tempura Nights’ Soundcloud page. Apparently, this thing started off as a “joke band”(!) which leads me to reckon that if these guys created a “serious band” then Armageddon would surely follow. Tempura Nights, a joke band, I will remind you, have catchy as hell, bass-driven thrashers soothed out with dreamy vocals more healing that any losenger.

Formed within Brisbane’s burgeoning garage-pop scene, with members of both Major Leagues and Go Violets (RIP), Tempura Nights is a trio that distinguishes themselves with the slight edge they push into their songs. Don’t take that to mean they’re edgy – they don’t match up to Eminem in 2002 by any shape or form. But for a band with an infinitely pop sound, there is definitely something boiling beneath the surface.

Take “R.I.P Chix” – it’s a song that would fit in well with bands like Vivian Girls, La Sera, Best Coast and Summer Twins. You can easily picture yourself lounging on some Californian beach, ironically large sunglasses and broad-brimmed hat adorned, cheeky tattoo peeking out from underneath a vintage, yellow shirt. But there’s also a storm there, gnashing in the opening lyric of “All the girls I’d like to meet are dead”, delivered with a headbanging riff and a sweetly snarling sigh.

Tempura Nights manage to be both tumultuous and riveting, a perfect storm of mingling instruments locked into hazy melodies that soak themselves into your ears. As far as pop releases go, the “Whine EP” is perfect, a Breeders-ode that would make Kim Deal herself throw down her guitar in exasperation.

The beauty of Tempura Nights is how insanely easy they seem to make things. From the sickly-sweet “Brainroof” chorus that melts into a hollow, bellowing solo, to “Child Model”, which makes you want to jet to the nearest guitar and learn how to strum a chord and envelope the soul the same way Tempura Nights are able to.

At only four songs long, the “Whine EP” seems far too short, a quick in-n-out introduction to the make-out/fast food/vintage adoring world of Tempura Nights. But I feel as though all Tempura Nights need for the time being, to showcase a few detached, irresistible jams for the world to finally take notice to, and allow for them to pay their dues towards. Tempura Nights – they’re fun, but grounded and varied enough so that boredom doesn’t even broach the equation.

The “Whine EP” is out now on Heath Street Wax, and Tempura Nights are part of the MATES lineup, which also features Palms, Straight Arrows, Bad//Dreems, The Gooch Palms and bunch others (including yours truly playing a Judas Priest/Madonna only DJ set). Lansdowne Hotel, 25th Jan, tix here. See yoiz there

Album Review: Major Leagues-Weird Season EP

Weird Season indeed! These Brisbane gals think they can just…invert and drain the colours of the cover of their debut EP?! What kind of travesty is this? Are we living in Cold War-era East Berlin? Are we under the domineering rule of some sort of tyrannical warlord? You can’t just…just…well, actually it looks pretty good. And the music on the EP is hella awesome. So, I guess Major Leagues get a pass on this one…but if The Lumineers try this shit, there will be hell to pay!

To give some background context, Major Leagues are a surf rock/shoegaze/dream-pop/delectable nearly all-girl band from Brisbane. And guess what? They rule harder than a My Bloody Valentine band having a rock showdown with a Pavement cover band. On a side note, wouldn’t that be great to see? Anyway, onto the topic of conversation that is more awesome than that musical duel to the death, this frankly gorgeous band ahve finally gotten around to releasing their debut EP, a record so chock-full of amazing music, they should just rename it the Ultimate Shoegaze Burger w/ A Side of Greatness EP

Opener ‘Silver Tides’ channels My Bloody Valentine like I channel garage-pop into my brain. Besides the droney guitar, there’s also a cutesy, wide-eyed and head-boppin’ chorus to offset the nauseating guitar lines in the verses. A teen-ballad to the core, its a track that would make both Kevin Shields and Best Coast very proud. After that opener, we’re introduced to ‘Feel’, a song that is Pavement/Guided By Voices-esque in structure. However, with that teenage vibe still going strong, and the feeling that this song was created after a really bad breakup and a really good surf, you lose sight of the influence, and can focus on the greatness of the track.

So far, so good. Onto ‘Endless Drain’, a track you probably know better as ‘Oh…Oh my god! It’s that song, turn it…turn it up, turn it up!’. Catchy like the fish-of-the-day at your local seafood joint, ‘Endless Drain’ rolls around and around in your head like that crush on that girl you’ve known since kindergarten. Next, it’s ‘Teen Mums’, a song title every parent fears and every high school unfortunately owns. Starting out longingly, and only getting more so, this is a track that everyone wishes they could write, but few actually can. That might seem like an overstep considering its basically just a ‘I wish he was my boyfriend’ shtick, but its because so many of those songs go through my head, and this one actually sticks out that ensure that ‘Teen Mums’ is a song to focus on. Last but not least, its ‘Creeper’, the loudest track on the EP, and a splashy, blasty and fun way to end out the EP. Dripping with some cool-as-Kim-Deal feedback and squelching its gumboots in every emotional puddle that the average teen goes through, ‘Creeper’ is the best way Major Leagues could have finished off their debut EP.

Overall, its hard to find any real fault with Major Leagues first major record. It follows in the footsteps that have gone before with the girly guitar pop, but it does it damn well. Besides Go Violets and Bloods, its hard to think of an Australian band doing what Major Leagues do to such a great degree. Awesome stuff!

Major Leagues are playing their last show in Brisbane for ages this weekend, so that’s a total bummer, however, to tide us over, they’ve politely put the last three tracks up on their Triple J Unearthed Page. So, enjoy that shit and wait in unhealthy anticipation for Major Leagues to tour again.

New: Major Leagues-Silver Tides

Well, well, well Major Leagues are back and better than ever, and this time, they’re bringing shoegaze to the fold of their gorgeous, sunshine-pop. Imagine if the sun was bent and flipped into a dangerous wavelength that shimmered like some sort of Pokemon special move-that’s how ‘Silver Tides’ starts off. But as the song progresses and those beautiful vocals and catchy guitar emerges out of the waves of echo, then you know you’re back to classic Major Leagues, and all is right in the world. Seeing the band get a little outside of their usual format is refreshing and it sounds fucking fantastic, so, to quote Stephen Malkmus of Pavement, bring on the Major Leagues.

Major Leagues-Endless Drain (free download)

If you’re any sort of fan of Best Coast, or that chilled out, dreamy female led guitar pop, then Major League’s new single ‘Endless Drain’ is for you. Sugarcoated in turpentine, it’s a cruisy indie-pop track that goes bang when you want it to go pop, because fuck your feelings. It’s seriously infectious, like how a chameleon’s smile is infectious. You can nab it for no money on their Triple J Unearthed page, along with the awesome ‘Teen Mums’ and ‘Creeper’.