Album Review: Roku Music-Collider

How fucking great is shoegaze music? In all seriousness, wouldn’t you give up all the modern conveniences of life to just go and live on an island that heaved drawn out breaths of guitar rambling? Metaphors aside, shoegaze is one of the greatest musical experiences one can sit through. Ever since My Bloody Valentine popularised the genre back in the early 90’s with their jaw-dropping, nut-busting, expectation-decapitating records ‘Isn’t Anything’ and ‘Loveless’, shoegaze has been one revolutionary album after another, knocking pop’s hard-on for bubblegum and autotune into an abyss of terrible, and replacing the charts with nothing but reverb-soaked genius.

Or at least, that’s the way history should’ve panned out. If I had my way, The X Factor would consist of nothing but Slowdive and Swervedriver covers. Instead, we get some Ke$ha farts and the Killers latest verbal diarrhoea. Meanwhile, shoegaze resigned itself to being another 90’s pocket genre, like grunge or good emo.

However, every now and then, by some fantastic miracle, a band emerges that says, ‘Hey, remember Ride? Well, we tickled their loins and played their records, and now we’re better than them.’ That band in question is Roku Music, from Brisbane. What the fuck is a Roku and why does it have its own genre of music? Who knows (my bet is on a forgotten Dragon Ball Z character) and who cares. All you should focus on is their fantastic debut record, which will be dropping soon via Sonic Masala Records.

The Brisbanauts, well, they take their cues from all the greats. Opener and title track ‘Collider’ is like The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Reid brothers grabbing Beth Gibbons from Portishead, and forcing her to take that drug from the new Dredd movie. What results is an ultimately epic jam, that builds on furiously high guitar notes that bleed through waves of pedal fuzz-the perfect soundtrack to Karl Urban blowing people’s heads off.

It doesn’t stop there. Oh no, Roku bring on some sludgy oblivion on ‘Gold’, Kim Deal-esque un-hindered fun times on ‘Reflector‘ and ‘Come Untrue’, and they cheekily steal a couple of Kevin Shields’ signature pedals on the closer of ‘You’. Fuck time machines-why screw with the space-time continuum when there’s something like ‘Collider’ that can literally (not metaphorically) transport you to a place where flannel was worn by nearly everyone and no-one knew who The Stooges were.

Wait, fuck that! Why would you want to live in the 90’s again? They didn’t even have the Internet remember? How do you think you’d survive shitting on bands in real life as opposed to a comments section? No, 2014 is a much better time and place, where you can recline in your synthetic masturbation chamber, put on your #retro vinyl collection, and kick to the likes of Roku Music, who have somehow channelled all the greats into a perfect encapsulation of what makes shoegaze such an enticing genre to drool over. So curl up, kick back, and let yourself get sucked ┬áinto the perfect, politely unafraid vortex of Roku Music’ ‘Collider’.

Roku Music are bringing a strain of unrefined shoegaze mayhem to Sydney on March 21st at The Square, and March 23rd at Black Wire.

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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.