Video: Chook Race – Hard to Clean

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There’s no band quite as charming as Chook Race – they’re probably the only people who can make fitness look appealing (outside of Olivia Newtown John obviously).

Their new clip features the band testing out the latest and greatest gym equipment, with a whole bunch of snazzy sneakers and bright gym shorts to boot. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that there’s an absolutely delightful new Chook Race tune soundtracking the whole shebang as well. Chiming voices, big splashes of guitar and clanging cymbals – it’s good to have these guys back!

Chook Race’s new album Around the House is out on September 2nd on Tenth Court in Australia and Trouble in Mind in the USA.

Album Review: GL – Touch

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Every now and then, I get asked to DJ. It’s always heaps of fun for me, but it also sucks for everyone else there because they have to suffer through a ginger kid awkwardly fading between The Replacements and Dinosaur Jr. for hours on end, complete with long and arduous gaps of silence between each song as I attempt to figure out how the CD-J’s work.

The saving grace for these poor bastards locked in a room with me has always been GL. When all hope seems lost, and even half-priced rum ‘n’ cokes aren’t enough to enthrall even the most sturdy of boozehounds, I’ll drop some “Won’t You See” or “Grip”. Instantly, the room is a flourishing wetland of dancing figures and people that suddenly don’t hate my guts. They might not know the songs, but fuck me if folks can’t resist cutting shapes to GL. And who can blame ’em? This is boogie music, through and through!

After a few years of EP’s and singles, the duo of Graham Pogson and Ella Thompson have released their debut full-length. Never before have slap-bass, trickling synths and a drop-dead gorgeous voice been combined so effectively before – each song hits like a speeding train of propulsive rhythms and deadly pop.

The instrumentation of Touch sparkles with crystalline production, each synth burbling with a joyful soul and the bass riffs squelching with particular enthusiasm. Every time another bass slap rockets through the speakers, you can’t help but let out a little involuntary ‘Ooo!’!

However, the star of the show has to go to Ella Thompson’s vocals; her voice acts as a beacon amongst the thick production, summoning from the dance floor, a battle cry for the good times you risk missing out on if you ignore the call. Thompson has proved herself one of the best vocalists, doing time with everyone from Dorsal Fins to AXOLOTOL, but with GL, she delves into a well of talent, unleashing a full-blown pop powerhouse on songs like “Grip” and “Number One”.

There’s a reason why the music of GL goes off so well at my otherwise uneventful and uninspired DJ sets – they just know how to make really great pop music. This duo from Melbourne just ‘get’ it, the same way that Cyndi Lauper and Whitney Houston and Prince ‘got’ it. To do anything but allow yourself to become an obsessive disciple of their music is to deprive yourself of the best local pop band going around right now.

Touch is out now through Plastic World and Midnight Feature. Catch GL when they play Newtown Social on September 17th!

New: Sarah Mary Chadwick – Cool It/Makin’ It Work

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It is honestly a really, really tough decision to decide which Sarah Mary Chadwick thing I like better – her art or her music.

On the one hand, her music is some of the most unflinching, unapologetic stabs into the darkest corners of the heart. It’s jagged, minimal and unrelenting, her voice cracking like lips under the full brunt of an Arctic wind, displaying raw and painful and utterly transfixing emotion. Once a Sarah Mary Chadwick song begins, and that Kiwi-tinged mourn begins, it’s tough to do anything else but sit there and listen in wonder.

On the other hand, her artwork is fantastically graphic. Just like her music, it dives headfirst into ugliness – the parts of romance that are unromantic, of exploitation and fear – and rears up something quite beautiful and distinct.

But hey, there’s no reason to choose a favourite; in the words of everyone’s favourite taco spokesperson – por que no los dos? In anticipation of her new record Roses Always Die, Chadwick will be providing a unique screen print for everyone that pre-orders the record! Get it here, or buy it when it comes out on August 5th, through Rice is Nice.

New: Scotdrakula – Skeleton Fever

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A few months ago, a Facebook event popped up that said something along the lines of “FINAL SCOTDRAKULA SHOW…”, and my heart jumped into my mouth. Beads of sweat trailed down my scalp, a burning rash of anxiety shot through my innards – Scotdrakula were breaking up???

Yes, and no – Scotdrakula will continue, but without the spiritual mentorship and bass whizz Dove Bailey, who has left for New York. On the upside, Dove has made his final mark with “Skeleton Fever”, a significantly beautiful song that needs your ears like Mike Baird needs a crack in the head. It follows down the road of Scotdrakula’s more poignant jams like “Break Me Up”, gently unspooling alongside a buzzing organ and toe-tapping guitar melodies. With it’s yearning chorus and hazy charm, there’s something immediately comfortable “Skeleton Fever”, even if you’re only hearing it for the first time.  And although it’s comparatively quieter to the speedy, jilted garage-pop they’ve became known for, it still hits home as hearteningly as anything Scotdrakula have written before.

Scotdrakula are going on the huge ‘Up the Guts’ tour of Australia with Scott and Charlene’s Wedding, Ali E, Ben Wright Smith and more – dates here

Video: The Ocean Party – Back Bar

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Another year, another Ocean Party record – it’s the stuff that helps folks like myself battle through these freezing winters. When the frostbite sets in, just know that the OP Crew will be personally delivering one of the records of the year any day now. And so, without further ado, take off the gloves and check out their latest, “Back Bar”, from their forthcoming sixth album.

After pumping out album after album, “Back Bar” shows that The Ocean Party have perfected their brand of pop. Close your eyes, and seep into that familiar Ocean Party sound of crisp guitars and honeyed vocals.

Then open those eyes and witness the terror of their new video – it’s David Cronenberg meets jangle-pop! A body horror film brought to you by Melbourne’s favourite sons! I’ve never been so repulsed and turned on in my entire life.

Get lubed up and catch The Ocean Party when they swing through town for a free show at the Union Hotel on the 9th of July, with old mates Cool Sounds.

New: Alex Lahey – Let’s Go Out

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Talking a bunch of shit on this ratty blog pales in comparison to a Best New Music thumbs up from Pitchfork, but hey, here we go. Alex Lahey, a bloody star and a half, is only three tracks deep, but fuck, if you  have even a 30-second geez at what she’s put out, it’s fair to say you’ll be more hooked than a game of Big Buck Hunter that’s broken and accidentally spitting out free games.

Let’s take a proper gander at this bloody recipe for success:

  1. Her latest, “Let’s Go Out” is a song about cutting loose set to a plucky riff, that features a chorus infectious enough to cause pangs of jealousy in Madonna.
  2. The video features a dog.

Seriously, that’s all you need to put together an absolute barnstormer of a single. Good on ya Laz, this one’s a ripper.

New Post Punk: Wives + Masses + Infinite Void + TOL + Mere Women

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Gather round and sulk at the latest, greatest and darkest from around Aus:

Wives – Whipping Boy EP

Canberra’s Wives put out an excellent record on NO PATIENCE last year that felt really unfortunately ignored. It’s phenomenally dark and direct stuff, and if you’ve got a chance, I recommend you give it a go.

However, being the prolific punks they are, Wives have already followed up on last year’s record with another EP of material. It’s twitchy stuff – synths that emerge from nowhere, teeth bared; guitars that scratch and bleed. It’s a simple reminder that Wives are a band that you need in your life.

Plus if that isn’t enough, there are remixes on the EP from ASPS and the forever-intriguing Enderie Nuatal.

Make sure ya catch Wives playing Blackwire Records on the 11th, with support from Diecut, Marcus Whale and Cat Heaven.

Masses – Masses

For those that dug Gold Class but wished they had a bit more crunch need to get familiar with Masses. It’s goth-ridden post-punk that lashes with intensity, a huge scaly beast that singes your hair with every song.

There are delicate moments, sure, but when Masses lean in, they put your attention in a strangehold. Take “Crosses”, “Moloch” or “Paranoid” – these are all songs that drive with the same bloody wrath as Bauhaus – unrelenting and a perfect soundtrack to this week’s excorcism.

Infinite Void – Face in the Window

As soon as the bass riff kicks in for this, it becomes immediately obvious that this is gonna be a gud ‘un. Infinite Void are essentially the White Walkers of Melbourne – terrifying, beautiful and absolutely freezing. “Face in the Window” is liquid nitrogen that builds into a torrential downpour of icy sheets of guitar, hurtling with the singular vision of outdoing the Ice Age. If you feel like sinking into the equivalent of a sink hole in the Arctic, do yourself a favour and chuck this on.

TOL – Survive

TOL fall towards the latter half of the post-punk equation, armed with the kind of seething, sharp riffs that Steen Spielberg wishes he could’ve used to line the cavernous face hole of Jaws. Buried under a caked layer of feedback, TOL plunge and dive with abandon, as ferocious as they are loud. Put this into your ears and feel your head go through a similar transformation as the bald guy with glasses in Scanners.

Plus, this came out on NOPATIENCE and the band features members of LAKES, Spite House and ZOND – surely that’s enough of an indication that TOL are an essential band.

Mere Women – Numb

This song came out fucking ages ago and I never got around to having a yarn about it. Better late than never, right?

Anyway, “Numb” is another gem from one of Sydney’s finest and most underrated. Mere Women are one of the most interesting bands going around this shitty town at the moment, and if ever the opportunity arises for you to go and see them, DO NOT FUCKING HESITATE!

 

 

New: Witch Hats – Deliverence

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THEY’RE BACK! They said it couldn’t be done, but new Witch Hats has landed in our laps, and fuck me, doesn’t it sound great? Although they’ve mellowed since their earlier noise offerings like “Ma Birthday”, this new stuff still has plenty of kick and snarl to beckon your attention.

“Deliverance” pulsates with power, starting small before unleashing the fireworks at the end. It’s got an irrepressable swagger, the kind that you’d find adorned on the blemished, bruised but never beaten bloke at the back of the pub who’s obviously got a few stories under his belt. Every time that chorus comes round, there’s another blow to the chest, a flick behind the ears, an electrical shock to the pleasure centres in the brain. When that final boom is heard in the last few moments of “Deliverance”, aided by the usual Witch Hats cacophony, you can’t help but want to detach your jaw so you can sing just that little bit louder and bawdier.

Deliverance will be coming out on July 1st on Behind the Beat Records.

New: No Local – Thinking the Wrong Things

12977220_1549345078693189_582633036424664137_oI’ve had the severe displeasure of growing up in suburb that doesn’t have a decent pub for km’s. You have to drive for twenty minutes before a schnitty special even crops up, and even then, you’re looking at a price that would make the average punter balk. So, when a band that comes around with a name like No Local – a two word phrase that sums up the existensial dread felt by every Australian lacking their home away from home – you’ve gotta dive in head first.

On top of having the most spot-on band name in recent memory, No Local is also the new vehicle for Zac and Snowy from The Ocean Party, which means that even though “Thinking the Wrong Things” is their first song, it’s a bloody good one. Lush pop that features whirring synths, a grumbling bass line and Snowy’s instantly recognizable breezy voice.

No Local are playing a few shows at the Tote this week: Thursday night as part of Shining Bird’s “Helluva Lot” single launch (also w/  Lowtide and Glaciers) and on Friday as part of the Zone Out album launch.

Video: Hideous Towns – Don’t Forget

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I’ve been sick as a dog the last few days – lungs filling up with black fluid, mucus pooling around my nostrils, the hint of death looming closer and closer – that sort of thing. When you’re in a state like that, it helps to have some really beautiful music to hold onto; something slow and warm, brimming with comfort. Essentially, you want the audio equivalent of a nice soup and herbal tea combo.

And this new one from Hideous Towns should sort you right out. Heavy dollops of reverb, a very gentle, purring riff, and some gorgeous vocals that soar over the top. It’s both hugely expansive and intimate, like a Snuggie stitched with shoegaze instead of phenomenal thread count. If you’re under the weather, the electric blanket is missing, and you’re searching for a reason to live in the face of an invasion from the sniffles, look no further.