Album Review: Cull-Bà Nội

artworks-000061835551-4lvt1n-t200x200Well, happiness exists. And it exists in the form of Sydney’s psych-pop stars Cull. Despite the title that you’ll inevitably have to copy-and-paste, Cull’s Bà Nội is a mind-expanding treat of the highest order. Listening to these four songs is like playing Candy Crush with Merlin or sliding down a water slide with a Sasquatch: there’s a simple, innocent pleasure that is immediately increased in awesomeness through the inclusion of a mythical element. And goddamn, if that is not the greatest allegory I have ever written.

The opener to the EP is entitled ‘World Inside Your Head’, a song that grabs from all the great psych-poppers and sketches them into a truly beautiful track. It’s like if ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ was covered from start to finish by MGMT, and then Kevin Parker did a remix. ‘World Inside Your Head’ spins around like a desktop background screensaver, delightfully jumping around at an irreverent pace with jilted keys and faraway drone-y guitar that buries into whatever gland produces total enjoyment,

After that burst of sunshine-filtered-with-drugs opener, the quirk and psych gets upped with ‘The Sacred Burn Urn’, a track that thankfully comes off really well, and not like the most bullshit pysch pretentiousness that a song title like that could have warned of. Instead, the song balances between grinding self-consciousness and lightly-stepping on the cornerstones of Tame Impala, and fearlessly journeying into a deep abysses of sound. You wanted pretentiousness? You came to the right place. Soundly ‘I write with a pencil signed by Hemmingway’ Sounds.

‘Animate’ continues the dual nature of Cull’s song, schizophrenically switching between balls-out crushing noise and wide-eyed and wafting sounds. Rather than being disorientating, the song actually just epitomises all there is to love about psych pop, the nonchalant weirdness that alienates and draws you in. The swaying nature of the track is awesome, and Cull perfect both sides of psychedelic music that ‘Animate’ displays.

Likewise to ‘Animate’, ‘Keep My Star’ spirals between two sides of the same stone, however on their last track, Cull decide to really show how good they are at shoegaze. However, this is more the kind of stuff that made My Bloody Valentine famous, for when Cull get noisy, they get really fucking noisy, peeling layer after layer of guitar into the mix. And when Cull get mellow, by Peter Tosh’s dread-hairs do they get mellow. The vocals that sink and drift in the murky verses of ‘Keep My Star’ are a little bit off-putting, and all the more desirable for it.

For a local band, Cull show that they have a firmer grip on how to manipulate noise and rhythms within a song than most established bands. Their off-kilter presence, and ability to channel pysch-pop into groovy, constantly listenable stuff is fucking awesome to say the least.

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Album Review: MGMT-MGMT

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Well, it’s official-the ‘Electric Feel’ wunderkids have graduated from pop stardom to the kind of freakiness that one can only bow down to in utmost respect. And I’m not talking about the kind of freaky that Die Antwoord and Lady Gaga flog to death, I’m referencing the strange and wonderful world of minds like Wayne Coyne and Bjork. The genuine, well-thought-out and processed quirkiness that comes from the heart and not a board meeting. Since initiating themselves with alternative pop, then sliding into psychedelic madness, MGMT have comfortably found themselves a G-Spot of swarming, always engaging noise-pop psych. And it’s a beautiful fucking thing to hear.

The best thing about this album is how every song is so completely different, and yet manages to capture the unique spirit of MGMT so fully. You’ve got a song like ‘Your Life Is A Lie’ which is naive pop song made from junkyard scraps, which sounds amazing in it’s only little jumbled, schizophrenic way, but it’s straightforward when compared to opener ‘Alien Days’, which takes weird to a whole new height. I’m talking through the ceiling and into the jungles of multi-coloured fuck buttons and byrds of all (micachu) shapes and sizes. Likewise, there’s the smooth tribal freakout of ‘Astro-Mancy’, which somehow logically slides in between the space shuttle dance-floor mind warp of ‘A Good Sadness’ and the star-gazing rattle and hum of ‘I Love You Too, Death’. At this point, the overwhelming majority of you will probably have found some of theses descriptors just plain fucked and will think to themselves, there’s no way these summarisations could correctly convey…I’ll stop you right the fuck there, and advise you to listen to the album right now. If ‘Mystery Disease’s mystery solo doesn’t sound like a spaghetti strainer banging a keyboard in a washing machine, then you’re not loosening your mind enough. And if ‘An Orphan of Fortune’ doesn’t sound like a complete encapsulation of the solar system, or better yet, a five and half minute soundtrack to ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ with its utmost epic but underplayed charisma, then I will eat my words….literally. Yes, I will find a way to break whatever sonic barrier separates my ‘literature’ from the physical realm of eatery. Because MGMT found a way to do it with their music, and if they can do it, then I can damn well try.

MGMT’s self-titled third album is a masterpiece of the wacky. I feel strange using that word, because of the connotations of childishness, but MGMT have taken that innocence, warped it, gutted it, served it, thrown it up, shat it out, marinated it, and presented it again as a five course, star-studded meal. It’s impossible to know exactly where to start on the greatness of this album, because, much like the amazeballs video clip for ‘Your Life Is A Lie’, if you focus on one detail too strongly, you’ll miss the flurry of orgasmic things happening next. Every song is a unique whizzing wonder of magical music, and the best one can do is sit back and enjoy it to the best of our human ability.

The record comes out on September 17th, and very luckily, MGMT will be down in Australia for Falls and Southbound Festival, which happens at various locations on New Years Eve. This would be more worthy of going to than a private one-man performance of Game of Thrones by Peter Dinklage.

Video: MGMT-Your Life is a Lie

Heavy doses of San Fran pysch hitting up the brand new single from ‘Electric Feelers’ MGMT. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this one. It’s groovy, and fun-ish, but it hasn’t got a whole shitload of the spark that was one the debut and the potential isn’t overflowing like it did on the sophomore. Then again, it’s just a single, and MGMT tend to work better in albums (‘Congratulations’ is a fucking masterpiece, why don’t people understand that). The vibes I picked up off this were that of a sober Ariel Pink. Some might say that takes all the fun out of it, but I’m going to disagree, and say it’s something to warm into. And that’s not even accounting for the clip which is so fucking great, it’s unexplainable. See wondrous acts like a sledgehammer go through a pyramid of eggs, a man throw up a gecko, and a MILF turn into a crazy Bill Cosby impersonator. Seriously, this is like the mind of a tripping ADHD kid. It’s just awesome visual goodness.

Top 10 Upcoming Albums to Look Forward To

So, the midyear point is past, and it looks like most of the albums that you’d want to buy this year have had their moment in the sun. WRONG! There’s a shitload of new material coming out very, very soon, and throughout the course of this year, you should maintain excitement, because shit is about to go down. There’s something for everyone: if you’re not into good music, then keep an eye out for the latest Chris Brown, Selena Gomez, and The Backstreet Boys. For some shit that will make your loins prickle, read on.

10. Hebronix-Unreal (July 9th): This is the solo project from Daniel Blumberg, the frontman from Yuck. If you’ve heard Yuck’s slacker, super New York sound, then you’ll understand why there is a need to be excited. Check out lead single ‘Unreal’

9. Sebadoh-Defend Yourself (September 17th): The first new album (last year’s Secret EP was cool, but not overly great) means that Sebadoh fanboys, including myself are losing their shit. That lo-fi slacker sound that encapsulates loser-ness? Only Lou Barlow could perfect that sound, and now he’s back for round 2.

8. The Horrors-TBA (Some point in September): The Horrors have slowly developed from bratty snot fuelled 2 minute explosions to expansive sets that weave dreamily as often as they crunch. Should be very exciting, and undoubtedly good, to see what the band churn out this time, their 4th album.

7. MGMT-MGMT (August 20th): MGMT are pretty much exclusively known for being the guys behind the awesome pysch-pop jams ‘Kids’, ‘Time to Pretend’, and ‘Electric Feel’, essentially doing Empire of the Sun before Empire of the Sun was a thing. But did you know they have a criminally underrated second album? And that they’re releasing a third album in August? It’ll probably be cooler than whatever turd Luke Steele shat out recently.

6. Franz Ferdinand-Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (August 26th): Finally, a follow up to 2009’s ‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand’. I actually thought Franz Ferdinand had broken up, but luckily they’re back at it, releasing what will surely be another album jam-packed with ecstatic, floor-filling rock n roll anthems like ‘Take Me Out‘. Check out the album trailer here. 

5. The Black Keys- TBA (TBA) Apparently, there’s going to be another Black Keys album for people to (possibly) enjoy. If it’s anything like the shitfest of ‘El Camino’, then that really fucking sucks. It might transpire like that too, because they’re teaming up with Danger Mouse, the guy who produced ‘El Camino’. However, here’s hoping that it turns out more like ‘Brothers’ or ‘Attack & Release’ than ‘Lonely Boy 2.0’.

4. Ty Segall-Sleeper (August 20th) Regardless of the fact that he pumped out three bodacious albums last year, Ty Segall just does not give two fucks, and is releasing another in August, rounding it out to a total of 7 albums released just under his solo moniker. He’ll also be releasing an album under the Fuzz pseudonym, which sees him behind the drum kit. Wham, Bam, Thankyou man!

3. POND-Hobo Rocket (August 2nd) Fuck yeah, POND are awesome. They finally achieved their mainstream calling with last years ‘Beards, Wives, Denim’ and they’ve wasted no time in following that up with the imaginative ‘Hobo Rocket’. I’ll assume that’s a drug reference. If ‘Giant Tortoise’ is anything to go by, ‘Hobo Rocket’ should decapitate with it’s sounds.

2. The Black Lips-TBA (TBA) I only recently saw this tidbit of news and nearly exploded with excrement. New! Black! Lips! The kings of garage troubadour, these dudes are working a follow-up to 2011’s ‘Arabia Mountain’, with producer Patrick Carney, who just happens to have a job on the side as the motherfucking drummer for The Black Keys. This album WILL be better than pornstars playing pool whilst Jay-Z and Kanye talk about the upsides of STD’s.

1. Fuck Buttons-Slow Focus (July 22nd) Fuck Buttons, the glamourously disgusting project of Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power are going to release a third LP, and from the (edited) first single ‘The Red Wing’, it sounds like it will be traditional Fuck Buttons fare: sardonic, scratchy electronic noise scraping the belly of our minds.