Album Review: POND – Man, It Feels Like Space Again

541538_10154779206385545_5362456093138615082_n

Fuark, would you look at that album artwork? Ben Montero, you’ve hit it out of the park…looking at the new POND album, without even having heard a song, you can tell that you will enjoy this album. One would have to be a cynical dick on par with a reincarnated Albert Camus who’s decided to become an editor at Pitchfork. And even then it would still be hard to resist the pull of an album cover so brilliantly exuberant. Rockstars and rocket ships combine in a crowded watercolour that would have Monet slashing at his shitty waterlilies. Damn, Montero, you sure know how to do a fucking album cover.

But what lies beneath the album cover. Sure, there’s been plenty of great album covers, and shitty albums. But never fear, because POND know that if they’re gonna have the gonads to hire Ben Montero to do the best album artwork ever, they better come prepared. You mess with the bull, you get the horns, or something to that effect.

Put bluntly, ‘Man, It Feels Like Space Again’ is a triumph. It oozes and pulsates with the sort of fucked up nonchalance that only an act like POND can pull off. There’s so much genuine oddity that unfolds over the course of the album that you’d never doubt for a second that Nick Allbrook, Joe Ryan and and Jay Watson are total freaks, but it’s so goddamn loveable that it feels like you’ve made the best new friends you possibly could. It’s like striking up a conversation with a hobo that offers you acid, and finding out that it’s just a dishevelled Jim McGuinn.

The freak flag flies high on the album, as guitars noodle, basses throb, synths signal the end of the world as we know it, and drums plod along with their eyes closed and grins plastered right across their heads. But then again, they always have, ever since the days of “Psychedelic Mango”. This time around, there is a lot more confidence, coherence and belief between the three that they are doing a really great album. They offer diversity, manoeuvring between surefire soon-to-be POND classics like “Zond” and “Outside Is The Right Side”, to something more experimental, like the acoustic Dylan-esque crooner “Medicine Hat”, and the warmly sci-fi “Waiting Around For Grace”.

The ability to flip between crowd-pleasers and introspection, and never lose the ability to write a really great song – that’s what makes POND the album that we adore. There’s hardly a falter or misstep, and yet each track feels uniquely its own. Put on “Zond”, and those squelchy blasts of flamboyantly-fucked guitar will force your limbs into all sorts of wacky angles. “Outside Is The Right Side” will have you strutting down the street like Stevie Wonder, throwing the moves like Patrick Bateman. And then, you can dissolve into bliss as the theatrics fall behind, and something like the title track takes you on a spiritual journey, the sort they only promise in cults.

POND have outdone themselves. They’ve presented us with something that looks, tastes and smells as organic as someone’s body odour after a week living on mushrooms in the Amazon. But enough exposure to some of the shit that psych can throw at you shows that this is a carefully plotted album. The production is spot on, not as squeeky as a Chilli Peppers album circa-2001, but not dirty enough to play a show in a basement of the local punk club. “Man, It Feels Like Space Again” rips into the stratosphere, on the search for new territories, and thankfully manages to bring along every listener for the ride.

Advertisements

Album Review: Movement-Movement EP

I hardly ever dance anymore. When I do, it means one of two things: I’m drunk, or I really, really, really like the band playing. I don’t know whether the cynical side of me is winning the internal mind war, or if maybe the robot controlling my emotions broke up with his girlfriend, but the last few bands I danced to were Straight Arrows, Palms and Hunx and His Punx, all of which are impossible to not grow obsessively fond of.

However, with the Sydney group Movement, I’ve had no trouble dancing to their shit, and it’s not even within a live setting. Their music, an R&B dusted with silver electronica, is damn near flawless. If they’re EP were a Game of Thrones trophy, it’d be the Iron Throne-strong and grey, but with an intrinsic beauty attached to it.

The EP starts off with previous single ‘Like Lust’, which you could see as the perfect song to make love to. Not ‘fuck’, or ‘root’, or ‘boink’ or any of that 16 year old shit. No, if Romeo and Juliet were touching gonads today, and Baz Luhrmann were needing the perfect song to accentuate their slow-motion passion, he’d pick ‘Like Lust’. Sure, there’s the irony that the song’s about a booty call. But the way ‘Like Lust’ carries itself with a sheen and glamour, a case of Resch’s says that any figure-man, woman, six-penised alien-would immediately fall to its sensual clutch. It’s so beautiful, even a combination of prolonged eye contact with Brad Pitt and a snuggle in ice cream flavoured happiness couldn’t beat this song to the claim of ‘Most Gorgeous Thing Ever’.

Following ‘Like Lust’ is a slow-burner of the truest sense, ‘Ivory. It starts with vocals that sound like they belong in the higher reaches of an abandoned church (go with me) and there’s these overarching synths that build and whip like those hidden dart traps in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But then these glowing piano droplets come in, and these hand claps are there, and the voices…OH THE VOICES! It’s pure sex recorded to tape, the kind of stuff Drake wished he could record. After that audio-orgasm, ‘5.57’ drops, and I do mean drops. It’s the kind of song that wouldn’t seem out of place connected to a video of two illogically attractive people making out in a Terminator-esque apocalypse. The chorus has these crushing electronic waves, but they’re balanced out by the tranquil ‘ooo’s that smother the piece. Basically, that shit is beauty incarnate.

The EP is finished out with the slow and brooding ‘Control You’, a breathy, harsh track that has all the right amounts of steam and lust to put an episode of True Blood to shame. When you’re commanded to ‘Move your body’, you’ll find that your already grinding whatever object is closest. Doesn’t matter if it’s a lamp post or a grandma, you’ll be grinding away with ‘Control You’, I assure you of that.

Which brings things to a close on this front. Movement made me dance my heart out to every song on their EP, and you’re Satan if you can’t see the value of this group right here. They’re more sexy than Penelope Cruz singing Marvin Gaye, and they have more potential talent and power to unite the 7 kingdoms. Yeah, I’ve only just cottoned onto this Game of Thrones thing. Fuck it’s good. But not as good as Movement.

Movement are gonna be playing Spectrum on Friday 30 May, get amongst it!

Video(s): Cut Copy + Lune + Cheatahs + Pony Time + Bleeding Rainbow

Fuck you man, I don’t need to give you an introduction. What’s an introduction anyway? A bunch of meaningless paragraphs that somehow seamlessly move the reader from watching pornography into becoming concerned and intrigued with the continued article. Nah, I won’t waste your time with such a pathetic epithet.

Cut Copy-We Are Explorers

It’s becoming an expected thing that Cut Copy will unveil some crazy cool shit every time they do something, and all music fans loins grow in longing. In this Internet age, when even our dear Clive Palmer is susceptible to bullshit fads like twerking, and the majority of music festivals will grab any act with over a million views on Youtube (case in point: almost the entire Soundwave and Big Day Out lineups, which are either nostalgia or bullshit based), you can always trust Cut Copy to do something progressive and heartwarmingly zany. This time, it’s in the form of an animated 3D printed music video, whatever the fuck that means. It kinda looks like ET’s jizz became sentient, but hey, no judgement when its Cut Copy.

 

Lune-Made of Steel

This video came out ages ago, but its just getting its Australian premier now. The singer on the inescapable track of 2010 aka ‘Teenage Crime’ has gone out on her own, spreading those good ol’ Swedish vibes to wider audiences for the benefit of everyone alive and dead. The video is bascially a pissed off lady that thought it was going to be really cold outside, and then stepped into a heaps warm room. You’ll understand what I mean when you see those cardigans begin to shed.

 

Cheatahs-Get Tight

I love Cheatahs, especially their song ‘The Swan’, so it was a mad dolla bill shame when their debut record kinda remained placid and unmoving. However, in small and particular doses, the record can be really entertaining. Case in point: ‘Get Tight’. Shoegaze meets sonic punk for a cataclysmic explosion of fuzz and Jesus and Mary Chain fanboy orgasms. The video further accentuates the point by collapsing a bunch of ball-tripping images, overloading the acid factor and regurgitating as much hazy, bright colours as a machine is capable of producing. Whatever you do, don’t watch this whilst under the influence of anything. Or do, I’m not your mum.

 

Pony Time-Hippy Shit

How fucking great is a title like ‘Hippy Shit’? Growing your hair long, smoking way too many bongs, dreamily arguing about bullshit politics and contributing absolutely nothing to a social situation…man, it’s good to be a hippie. None of that occurs in the video for the new-ish Pony Time single, which is basically a Super 8 tour diary set to dirty nu-grunge.

 

Bleeding Rainbow-So You Know

Bleeding Rainbow are like A Place to Bury Strangers crossed with Speedy Ortiz, and mastered by Kim Deal. Sweet, barbershop garage music that’s constantly propelled by furious guitars. The video is kind of cool, but the song is way better. I mean, what would you prefer: artsy, vintage materials being filmed in close-up or something that gives your adrenaline a hard on?

New Australian Music: The Preatures + POND + King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard + Pirates Alive + Horror My Friend

In celebration of ‘Straya Day, where everyone in the nation gets drunk and berates the Hottest 100, I compiled a bunch of awesome new tracks by some of this nation’s finest. And then I delayed the shit out of posting it. ‘STRAYA!

The Preatures-Better Than It Ever Could Be

In my own opinion, The Preatures released the best pop song of last year, with their single ‘Is This How You Feel?’ coming in at #9 on the Hottest 100. That’s just one of the many accolades that particular song has received, but because they are by no means a one hit wonder, The Preatures have gone ahead and released another song entitled ‘Better Than It Ever Could Be’.

I feel like this is kind of a reaction to the band’s year in 2013. It was basically the best year a blossoming young band could hope for. And to celebrate, they penned a song that showcases what they do best: a shimmering, loud and happy pop track. It reminds you of a Cocoa Cola advert done by Blondie or something. A giant bottle of coke explodes like a volcano, and Debbie Harry rocks sunglasses and the sun shines, and everyone is impossibly happy. Because ‘Better Than It Ever Could Be’ brings that image to mind, it gets a 10/10.

POND-Colouring the Streets

Motherfucking POND. Is there any other band quite like them. The short answer is no, because they are a shapeshifting group of wizard musicians, and you’d be a fool to fuck with whatever powerful elixir pumps through their veins.

Even though they released a record last year, the jizz-inducing ‘Hobo Rocket’, they’ve released a brand new track for a compilation, the song being ‘Colouring the Streets’. This track tends towards the softer psych side of POND, the Slowdive-counterpart to the balls out Bowie that the band are more well-known for.

Don’t worry, the reverb drenches this bad boy like a squirting porn star, and the jizz-levels are still at an all-time high. So, really, there’s nothing more but to let yourself drop into that coma in the only way a band like POND can.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard-Vegemite

How fucking ‘Strayan is this!? It’s a song that’s chorus goes ‘I liiiiiiiikkkkeeeeee Vege-miiiiiite!’ over a thunderous, psychedelic platter of instruments. And its executed by one of the finest bands this side of Sabbath.

That’s right, the eight-piece monolith King Jizz are at it again, having announced a new record and pushing ‘Vegemite’ into the world to be the first taste of said record.

Despite the ‘Annoying Orange’ set up of the video clip, ‘Vegemite’ rules harder than Uncle Chopper riding a Chopper (motorbike) into a Chopper (helicopter) whilst T-rexes clap politely in the background.

Pirates Alive-Love Drunk

Whilst King Gizz alternate between a whole bunch of styles, Pirates Alive are a go-to garage band for me. If ever I want to hear some back to basics, super-simple surf rock, Pirates Alive are one of my first ports of call. See what I did there? Hueh, hueh, hueh.

Anyway, ‘Love Drunk’ reminds me a fuckload of ScotDrakula, Step-Panther and Dune Rats. There’s  just casual riffing, an emboldened bass line and an Aussie slacker accent tying it together. The chorus of ‘Ah’s is a technique that’s used in pretty much every garage song, but when something remains as fun as it did since the 60’s, why the fuck would you change it?

Basically, ‘Love Drunk’ is the summer garage track that’s missing from your life right now.

Horror My Friend-Nothing

And now, for some spidery but striding post-punk from Radelaide. Horror My Friend sound a bit like Die! Die! Die!, which is another way of saying they sound absolutely fucking rad.  It’s also a little bit back-in-the-day emo, circa Taking Back Sunday, without all the cutting yourself imagery.

Their new single ‘Nothing’ combines toe-tapping high-hats with a sludgy bass and climbing guitar riffs. And then that chorus hits, and you have an intuitive feeling that if you’re not moshing, even by yourself on the toilet, then you’re wasting your time, and you should be listening to a Greatest Hits by Michael Buble instead.

Video(s): King Krule + CEO + The Persian Leaps + Libel

Only a few videos this time around, but they’re all pretty madddddd dawgggg swagga. Enjoy profusely.

King Krule-A Lizard State

Boom! We start off the new King Krule video with a smashing picture of a dude that looks exactly like Hitchcock (or is it actually Hitchcock) fucking with us on a vertical plane. Then, we get into this 20’s heyday roar horn section with Krule’s trademark deep blues voice. Not unusually, his voice gets my loins all slimy-like, a description in keeping with the title of the song. A fantastic track deserves a fantastic clip, and with all the disconcerting camera angle changes, noir themes and plot centred around plaguing mystery, it’d be an understatement to say that King Krule hasn’t delivered on this clip.

King Krule is playing Laneway on Sunday, 2nd February in Sydney. If you missed on tickets to the festival (sucked in) he’s also playing on the 4th of February at Oxford Art Factory.

CEO-Whorehouse

A track called ‘Whorehouse’ is sure to raise a few eyebrows, in the same way a scheduled visit to Las Vegas from Hunter S. Thompson gets drug dealers boners wagging. However, CEO delivers with a video that only strengthens the Standish/Carlyon-in-Bangkok vibes of their music. ‘Whorehouse’ jitters and squeals all over the place, squelching like a mermaid having mutiple orgams whilst under the water. If MIA was caught in a washing machine with Jagwar Ma, you’d get something like ‘Whorehouse’. Meanwhile, the video glows in an artistically gorgeous way, akin to the quietly vibrance that made ‘Drive’ such a glorious smash hit. Enjoy this clip with a heavy dose of acid and/or good companionship.

The Persian Leaps-Sleepless

The Persian Leaps sound like Guided By Voices, which means that I immediately like them a fuck load more than the average slacker rock band. And I adore almost all slacker rock bands. The college rock haze moves into their video clips with ease. Trippy shades of colour infiltrate otherwise pretty poignant scenes. Notice I didn’t say boring, you ignorant wanker. The environments on display in the ‘Sleepless’ clip echo the kinds of places where you’d find yourself at ease automatically-on an escalator, under the power lines, and in a cool band’s practice space. Man, anyone in the Saint Paul, Minnesota area should immediately seek out The Persian Leaps practice space and set up permanent camp there.

Libel-Tomorrow’s Children

I feel that if Mudhoney were about 10 years younger, and Seattle was still the snide, mostly-ignored cesspit of awesome that it was in the 90’s, then they’d sound a lot like Libel. There’s a bitterness there, and I can dig it. There’s a little McLusky-goes-pop vibe to it as well.

The accompanying clip is cutesy, a bunch of animated figures doing stop-start synchronised things, but for the most part, its the song that takes centre stage here.

Top 10 Australian Albums of 2013

Whoomp, there it is! Or, to be more grammatically correct, here it is. Because, y’know, you’re reading this off some sort of screen, which is on front of you, and not somewhere else, which is what the preposition of there implies.

Look, I was trying to make a reference to Tag Team’s 1993 smash hit, and smoothly initiate an article about the best Australian albums of 2013, but it failed in a brutal showing of grammatical error. Anyway, as I clumsily try to regain my poise, let me say that 2013 has been a killer year for Australian records. On the International scene, there haven’t been absolutely tonnes of records that have held people’s gaze for the full year, but in Aussie-land, home of snuggies and the ‘ocker’ stereotype, there have been leaps and bounds in every genre available. Its cruel to pick just ten, but here we are, in a state of despair. Woe is I, for we art doomed to live in a state of existential pit of despair wrought by picking just ten albums for lists. Please….empathise.

Super Dooper Special (as in all tied Equal 11th) mentions go to Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, The Ocean Party, Day Ravies, Unity Floors, and Ooga Boogas.

Special Mentions go to Clowns, Amateur Drunks, Standish/Carlyon, Pikelet, The Living Eyes, Golden Blonde, Ausmuteants, The Drones and The Native Cats.

Super Duper Ultra Special Metal Album: Zeahorse-Pools

The sludge! The intensity! The gruel! Its like Jack Black once said in Tenacious D’s ‘The Metal’, ‘…you can’t kill the metal, the metal will live on’. As it does on Zeahorse’s debut record ‘Pools’. Stagnant marshes of filthy reverb and disgusting bass-lines make this a riveting listen, plunging you head first into a swirling world full of blackness and awesome sludgery.

10. Yes, I’m Leaving-Mission Bulb

Not since Fugazi has a punk band come so blindingly close to marrying the intense anti-establishment message of punk with blindingly good melodies. For Yes, I’m Leaving, a band with both an excellent name, a fantastic live show and even greater songs, its just another day making great fucking songs. Yes, I’m Leaving don’t really make a misstep on ‘Mission Bulb’, just chugging out those razor sharp punk songs like they’re a supergroup made from Patti Smith, Ian McKaye, Keith Morris, and Jello Biafra, and the old guy with a sledge hammer on the cover is replaced by Henry Rollins. Perfection!

9. Primitive Calculators-The World Is Fucked

Never have you heard something as vicious and in-your-face until you’ve witnessed the sheer terror of a Prim Calcs track. Finally, after all this time…the band have gotten around to releasing a debut studio album. Its not like Australia’s been waiting over thirty years for this thing! Thankfully, the album paid off like robbing a bank vault Die Hard 3 style, both a physical and emotional pay-off. Not for a moment do the band let up, blasting our brain cells one super charged synth-punk anthem after another.

8. Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys-Ready For Boredom

Another debut record, another awesome band name. You could say its a combination of the previous two entries, but you’d be wrong because the Bad Boys sound fuck all like the other two bands. Instead, they pick up where The Replacements left off on ‘Pleased to Meet Me’-emotionally charged everyman’s rock n roll. It belongs in a pub, three-schooners-down, with one eye on the rugby game in the corner and one eye on its uncertain future. However, if the band can keep churning out the hit factory and overall nice package that is ‘Ready For Boredom’, they should be sorted for a very long time.

7. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard-Float Along-Fill Your Lungs

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times-King Jizz are the Darwin Evolution theory in practice. Starting out with bare-bones ramshackle rock n roll and slowly developing into the psych rock band we now see a year and a half later. However, they never lost any of the zeal and flavour they had on the ‘Willoughby’s Beach EP’ way back when, and can still manage to excite and boner-ise with their longer stuff as they can with any two minute electric shock.

6. POND-Hobo Rocket

Its a mini-album, deal with it. It was still too awesome to leave off the list. Its over-the-top glam rock, but not as you know it. If David Bowie was gobbled by some sort of psychedelic monster, and laid to waste by a plethora of Wayne Coyne clones, then you might get something as fun, frantic and off the fucking hook as ‘Hobo Rocket’. It dodges, dips, dives, ducks and dodges between all different sorts of vibes and frequencies, a restless creature if you’ve ever heard one. And boy, does it fucking sound amazing.

5. Cut Copy-Free Your Mind

‘Free Your Mind’ can’t really be defined as a return to form because Cut Copy never lost their form (go listen to ‘Zonoscope’ again, and try to feel any inkling of disappointment). Instead, ‘Free Your Mind’ continues the Cut Copy legacy, leaping and bounding into acid-house territory. The Madchester warehouse vibes are certainly there, mingling with the indie pop sensibility that Cut Copy own so hard like I own a massive Sonic Youth poster so hard. You’ll dance, you’ll think, you’ll cry and you’ll dance again, all within the confines of ‘Meet Me in a House of Love’. Isn’t Cut Copy just the greatest invention?

4. Violent Soho-Hungry Ghost

The cover-a skeleton engulfed in flames. Now that’s how you garner some fucking attention. Or, you could just stir up some of the most heart-pounding, adrenaline-inducing, mouth-watering rock songs this side of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Most of the songs on ‘Hungry Ghost’ are anthems, no doubt about it. Try to listen to a chorus of ‘Hell FUCK YEAH!’ without forming some sort of death circle in whatever location you happen to be in. In completely unrelated news, death by moshpits have gone up 215% in nursing homes that play Triple J. But that’s not all there is to ‘Hungry Ghost’, as the team manage to cook up a couple of heart-warming surprises throughout. More delicious than an angel made of bacon.

3. Palms-Step-Brothers

I guess the reason why Palms are such a great band is because they’re doing something that’s been done so many times before, but putting such an original stamp on it, that you can’t help but do a quintuple take. That’s right, your head will spin a minimum of five times as you try to reconsider your life without Palms in it. There’s so much to swallow when listening to ‘Step Brothers’, but not in a bad way. No, going through this, you’ll be gulping through as much musical content as possible to get all that Palm-y goodness in your spirit ASAP.

2. The Gooch Palms-Novo’s

Speaking of Palms, The Gooch Palms came in with one of the strongest musical entities of the year. However, whilst Palms channel Springsteen, Goochies are all about The Ramones. Bratty, snotty punk, farted out into the willing ears of all lucky enough to listen. However, The Gooch Palms show a surprising diversity, and with the mixture of shameless pop ballads, rain-soaked bummer ear-catchers and leather-jacket FUCK YEWWW’s, you can’t feel bored, even for a second. Rock n Roll runs in the veins of Kat and Leroy and to deny them of that would mean to say that this album doesn’t make you immediately want to strip off all your clothes, run down a highway and spread the word of the Almighty Gooch.

P.S The Gooch Palms and Palms are teaming up for a tour called Palmarama, and they’re playing Oxford Arts Factory on Friday, 28th February. Miss this and perish in a pit of regret.

1. TV Colours-Purple Skies, Toxic River

Surprise, fucking surprise. The album that I can never stop blabbering about comes in at No. 1 on my list of the top Australian records of 2013. Bias aside, if you don’t like this album, then seriously, nothing can be done for you. You are a lost cause. A total travesty of a human being. This album is perfection, a lulling, mesmerising concoction of deadly riffs, lo-fi production, cheesy synths and samples, rolled into a bundle of delights that the world has never seen before. Even though Bobby Kill took two years to make this record, it was worth every minute of waiting for this fucking masterpiece. God Bless TV Colours!

New: Electronica Music from Cosmo’s Midnight + City Calm Down + Sable + CEO (free downloads)

So there’s been a bunch of new tunes of the knob-tweaking variety, almost all from Australia, and all very, very gewd. Fuck introductions, let’s hear some music.

Cosmo’s Midnight-Goodnight feat. Polographi

That’s right, a new track from Sydney wunderkids Cosmo’s Midnight. These guys are becoming so buzzworthy right now, its like someone strapped a rocket to their backs and sent them shooting through the blogosphere, smashing taste making website’s expectations left and right.

Their new double A-side is actually abysmally great. I say abysmal, because its doubtful you’ll hear something as good as this for the rest of the year. ‘Goodnight’ is just an onslaught of sounds, moving between a party in zero-gravity and a orgy of sensationalism.

City Calm Down-Speak to No End (Groundislava Remix)

So, by now, you’ve no doubt heard the most excellent new City Calm Down track. Yeah, it rules, we’ve been over this, fast-forward to the present. Groundislava, aka Jasper Patterson, has done a remix, and it adds squelch over some twinkly production. Its a refreshingly hands off approach, and the man from LA (city of broken dreams and shitty actors) shows that you don’t have to add forty layers of production to a track to take it in a slightly different direction.

Sable-Feels So Good

Well, for a debut release, Pilerats sure haven’t held anything back. You probably know Pilerats as the online magazine, but they’ve literally just started up as a label, and their first birthing is the producer Sable with the track ‘Feels So Good’. The track flutters along at butterfly wing pace, and looks just as good. If Passion Pit were turned into a small furry, forest-bound creature and let loose on a Scarface amount of cocaine, and then allowed to play a bizarrely large amount of synths, you’d get something like ‘Feels So Good’. Awesome stuff Pilerats!

CEO-My Liquor

That Kanye West feller had a pretty popular song called ‘Hold My Liquor’ from his recent ‘Yeezus’ album. That much I know. Anyway, some people have decided that they want to have a crack at covering it. Amongst those people are Lorde (you might know about her) and a producer called CEO, which is the moniker for one of the guy’s from Sweden’s The Tough Alliance . Now, damn, the CEO cover is glorious. Its like a gospel choir was funnelled into DJ mixing equipment for a syrupy Spiritualized meets Underworld meets New York indie rock in a single song originally created by an angry rapper.

Album Review: Cut Copy-Free Your Mind

Basic RGB

Cut Copy are a band like no other. They took the whole void left by The Avalanches, DJ Shadow, Boards of Canada and filled it with disco-tinged tribal beats. Whereas there was a whole ‘new rock’ scene exploding with the likes of Jet, Interpol. The Strokes etc. who’ve gone on to do great things such as break up, or release a series of semi-mediocre records to fund their drug habits, Cut Copy have continued to refine and expand their sound to extraordinary levels of amazing. Every album is consistently better than the one it precedes, with a different sound, and more energetic approach. Dan Whitford and his cohort of electronica superstars are like an ever-changing ball of mysticism, like the crux of the plot of a 70’s low-budget horror film, or the next Indiana Jones movie (R.I.P originality).

The sound that Cut Copy have decided to re-invent themselves with this time round is the deep-house and acid-jazz scene that hit its peak in the mid 90’s. Yep, they’ve done the Amazonian explorations in ‘Zonoscope’, and the disco-tinge is basically a thing of the past, so Mr. Whitford has donned his leopard spandex and tye-dye pom-poms, picked up his glowsticks and paid a visit to the seedier areas of town.  Droplets of Detroit, Bristol and Manchester can be found throughout the record, and it wouldn’t be totally amiss to think of the guys in Cut Copy all dropping a shit load of ecstasy in some dingy-lit cavernous rave.

Listening to ‘Free Your Mind’, its a hard thing to pick the best, or even favourite song of the bunch. They’re all just so fucking fantastic. However, its kinda my job to pick the best of the bunch, and explain why these are the cream of the crop, so here goes, no matter how painful a job it might be. The title track is pure bliss, a tropical cocktail soaked escape to paradise, where parrots serve you Balinese spirits in the skulls of your enemies, and Ketut from the AAMI commercials is an overlord. ‘Let Me Show You Love’ engages that weird, psychedelic mix of going down a rabbit hole after listening to trance for way too long, and ingesting way too many drugs, the result being an unsettling but alluring trippy experience that indulges your more primal sensual senses. Basically, I’m saying ‘Let Me Show You Love’ is porn for your ears.

‘Footsteps’ is another track of mental escapism, however the house is strong with this one, poison tinged female ‘ooos’ infecting the track with a luscious beauty, like if Heather Locklear were to wrap her tongue around your brain whilst the most dangerous concoction of  unhinged electronica played (SCHWING!). And ‘Meet Me In A House of Love’ brings an 80’s cheese vibe to the sex party, however its weirdly acceptable. It would be like if Prince rocked up at your house, and told you he was going to make love to everyone you’ve ever had a crush on…strangely, you’re totally okay with it, and you don’t know why, but it’s secretly sort of awesome.

Almost all fourteen of the tracks on ‘Free Your Mind’ are near, or over five minutes long, and the ones that aren’t are weird little interludes (I’m not dissing the interludes-they give the album a more measured pace, and more feeling and personality. And they’re nothing like those fucking horrible skits you’ll see on hip-hop albums). All the ‘songs’ on the record are incredibly well thought out, and executed to perfection. Each track has a different feel but flows to the next song with an exuberance and ease that you will not see in the majority of albums. Every track dances in front of your eyelids, like when you stare at the sun for too long, and the smooth, not-happy-not-sad vibes of every song make your heart melt down to pure, childish pleasure. All you can think about when listening to the album is how much you love Cut Copy and want to be inside the mind of Dan Whitford and co.

There’s a reason that Cut Copy are one of the most lauded and loved Australian bands of recent memory, and that is because they can’t put a foot wrong. They’re eclectic music tastes that combine into one slippery dip of deliciousness, the constant reinvention and progression of their music, its just too much to handle at times. The concept of freeing ones mind is so well implemented, and received, that you can’t help but let your brain disconnect into the field of Cut Copy’s beautiful music for that short while that the record is playing. On ‘Free Your Mind’, there isn’t a single terrible song-every track glistens and glows with a sticky longing, attracting the listener like a snowball rolling down a hill picking up various sticks and leaves (in this simile, the snowball is the record, and the sticks and leaves are the various steps in your drastically escalating plot to kidnap Cut Copy for personal use).

‘Free Your Mind’ will be out on November 1st, through Modular. You need this record more than you need a beating heart, I’ve never been more serious about anything in my life. This record is total perfection, and it would be a shame to be the only guy on the face of the Earth to not own a copy. So get one, and watch yourself become a better person.

Cut Copy will be coming back to Australia very soon for Future Music Festival, on the 8th of March. However, if a sweaty crowd of fake-tanned, singleted/naked twenty somethings who are trying not to act like they’ve taken way too much ecstasy is not your thing, then Cut Copy will be doing a show at Golden Plains Festival, which goes down March 8th-10th, and features a stellar lineup of Public Enemy, Flying Lotus, Yo La Tengo, and a diverse bunch of other greats.

New: Cut Copy-Free Your Mind (Spiritualized Version)

Obviously, there’s a lot of love for Cut Copy’s new record emanating from this website, from the endless frothing over their recent cult leader video, to the schizophrenic goodness of ‘Let Me Show You’. Now, Jason Pierce, aka the guy who is Spiritualized, has done his own slow-burning, cultish take on the song. It is half-horrifying, with the nails-down-chalkboard guitar drones, half-heavenly with Pierce’s vocals oozing their usual angelic tones. Pierce has managed to take the usual Cut Copy affair of fun, tribal beats meets dance rock brilliance, and turned it into a psychedelic smorgasbord to fuck with even the most messed up of minds. Beautiful stuff, absolutely gorgeous.

Video: Cut Copy-Free Your Mind

Watching the new video from Cut Copy has made me realise how much I need a doting personal assistant to check the consistency and texture of my piss for me. To provide a little more context, Alexander Skarsgård (aka the hunky dude from True Blood, and stereotypical good looking Swede) is a cult leader that learns you can’t always get what you want. Aww, how fucking sweet and…simple for a Cut Copy video? Previous videos have featured Neanderthal’s playing with floating hands, an epilepsy lawsuit waiting to happen and an orgy of sports fans, but ‘Free Your Mind’ is relatively norm-nope, wait there it is. Some seriously weird shit goes down, with imaginary basketball that Alexander somehow wins, a creepy pool where people nearly drown, and a fuck room. Yep, you read that right, there’s a fuck room in this video. Who ever said that cults were bad for you?

Cut Copy’s ‘Free Your Mind’ comes out on November 1st, on Modular.