New: Ace Romeo – Hyperdrive

The Fighting League are great. Nathan Roche is great. And Ace Romeo is great. All are connected through the solitary Andy Campbell. Except that the latter is just one man. ONE MAN! All by himself! A lone wolf, if you will, fighting the good fight, doing the good deeds. A Samaritan. A hero. A legend. Of the fall.

Ace Romeo released “Best Friend” a little while back, and he’s followed it up with “Hyperdrive”, a patriotic/paranoid track that comes off like if Husker Du did the soundtrack for a movie like Top Gun or Red Dawn. “Hyperdrive” jettisons along on a streamlined drum/bass combo and slow-breathing guitar that’s just waiting to explode like a planet the Death Star has had it’s eyes on for a while. Truly, Ace Romeo has earned his Hasselhoff-esque name. You go, Ace Romeo. You do what you gotta do, to save us all. Operate outside of the law, play by your own rules…just get the job done.

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New: Nathan Roche – Phantom Blues

After far, far too long, the prodigal son of prestige, Mr. Nathan Roche, has returned with a fan-fucking-tastic taster of his upcoming third (and allegedly last) album, “Cathedreal Made Outta Green Cards”.

If you’re feeling down, and you don’t know why, let Roche’s slow, sultry tones tell you why. You might not be able to mouth your own inner fears, and that’s why you’ve got the former man from Marf Loth and Camperdown and out to do it for you.

Via chain-clinking drum beats and depressed guitar jangle, Nathan will teach you the way of the neverending phantom blues. And whilst these blues might stretch on for an undetermined, and possibly infinite, period of time, Roche has the ability to make them all the more catchy, and ironically, enjoyable.

New From France: BCBG + Volage + Excusers

Aaaahhh, France, a country of lurvvvv, where you enter for 5 minutes, and leave a beret-wearing, baguette-toting, “S’il vous plait”-spouting example of indoctrination. Or at least, that’s what American WWII movies have taught me. I honestly know nothing about France, or Paris. But from the few examples of French music that have floated into my inbox as of late, it’s all a little bit of alright.

BCBG – Noces d’Argent 7″

According to old mate Google Translate, “Noces d’Argent” means ‘Silver Wedding’, which is really quite an accurate description of what occurs on this 7″. Only three songs and a remix long, it’s a beautiful, swirling palette of SIMPLY GORGEOUS songs. Put out by the one and only legend Nathan Roche, BCBG pack out their songs with atmosphere, like a Portishead that’s been taken hold of by Bjork. There’s a lot of serene beauty on here, and because of the language barrier (at least for my compatriots that only speak ‘Strayan) it becomes almost guaranteed that you’ll become lost in the music here. If Guillermo Del Toro had the same taste in music as he does with creating extraordinary worlds, as well as some semblance of nuance, BCBG would probably be his favourite band.

Volage – Heart Healing

If you’re a fan of The Growlers, Night Beats, or The Laurels, it’s doubtful that you’ll do anything less than explode with joy at the prospect of Volage. A decent garage-psych band out of everyone’s favourite city with a pointy thing in the middle, Volage love themselves some rollicking piano riffs and chugging guitars. When they adopt the freak-out pose of fellows like King Gizzard, such as “Loner”, that’s when shit gets really fun, and you want to try and bend your limbs into positions our Higher Power did not want you to.

Excusers – No Excusers

Alright, so I’m cheating here, in that Excusers are actually from Italy. However, their label, the always on-top-of-it Beko Disques (who have put out the likes of Day Ravies and Parading) are from France, so it works out. Fuck you, my blog, my rules. Anyway, these guys have created a gorgeous array of soft guitars that you can lie your head into. If this band was a pillow, they’d be of the highest-thread count, and stuffed with Golden Goose feathers. Rare and stunning, with a shining prescence, Excusers take things at a leisurely pace, spreading their sounds around with careful and delicate precision. Best track on here is “Youngest Buddle”, but they’re all bloody tops aren’t they?

Local Legends Records

Local Legends Records is a new record label that you should give a shit about, because they’re awesome.

After inhaling that sentence, here’s why:

1. It’s run by Jack Lee and Mikey Branson. Don’t recognise those names? Get familiar with them, they’re heroes of the local Sydney scene, belonging to the almighty Beef Jerk, as well as a couple of other bands. Jack Lee also put out an amazing tape on Osborne Again, featuring this track, ‘The Last Chiko Roll’

Seriously, this song has the songwriting chops of Nick Cave, and the delivery of Stephen Malkmus, all rolled into the purely ‘Strayan metaphor of being the last Chiko roll in Australia. Must feel tops! I trust this man to deliver good music, and you should to.

2. All their stuff is going to be coming out on cassette tapes, which basically narrows down the audience to people that still give a shit about forgotten mediums. It also means that the music automatically qualifies as a lo-fi DIY project with zero projections of world-wide acclaim, and therefore taking the pretentious dick factor down to a solid nothing. Also, listening to cassettes rules, the fuzzy, warm sound you get from cassettes is second to none.

3. They’ve already released 3 records so far:

3a) The Revisionists-Potts the Point: An anti-supergroup of Sydney’s best muso’s (Nathan Roche, Sam Wilkinson, Lani Crooks, Dean Adam, Jack Lee, and Tristain Price) who’ve gotten together and released a shambling homage to a short-lived Sydney punk band called The Revitalists. Look, I’ve never heard of them either, but this rag-tag team of superheroes make it worth a listen, just for the rambling, sidelong drawls of Roche and the harsh kicks of the guitar. Like a hoof  to the head from a horse this stuff is. Let’s hope they stick around for ‘Doesn’t Cabramatta’.

3b) Bad Guys-J2K#12: A seriously enjoyable concoction of rock n roll that forgot to give a fuck on the way into the Mad Dawgz Club. You know that sound soup makes when you splat it into a bowl, and it smears that perfect white porcelain into something that’s about to be delicious? That’s what every note the Bad Guys make sounds like. It’s sloppy and irreverent, but that’s the charm.

3c) Luke O’Farrell-Unrealised Demos (2005-2009): These will probably go down in history as more collectable than anything, but it’s still something well worth checking out. It’s a bunch of stuff that Luke O’Farrell from The Laurels and Broadcasting Transmitter fame. There are some solid shoegaze highlights on here, especially ‘May God Save Your Soul’, which is like if MBV’s ‘Only Shallow’ was slowed down a million percent. ‘Kaleidoscope’ is also a hefty ball-tripper of a number, wrestling 60’s love with some glorious guitar work. Ramshackle, for sure, but still worth a listen, if only to immerse yourself in the realisation that Luke O’Farrell is a goddamn genius.

That’s pretty much all I have in regards to convincing you, dear reader, to get behind this new label. Sure, it’s a self-described low-risk investment, but unless your a tool, there’s an 80% chance you’ll be getting your moneys worth with these tapes.

Top 10 Australian Albums of 2014 (So Far…)

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There have been an orgy of new Aussie releases this year that have tickled the chin of genius, and caused her many rolls of fat to quake in laughter. But there have been a few that have genuinely succeeded in being goddamn masterpieces. These, are those records:

10. TIED: Nathan Roche-Magnetic Memories + Shrapnel-Tobacco Dreams

I honestly couldn’t decided between these two works of art. One is a laid back bible on whatever happened to come into Nathan Roche’s mind when he strummed the chords, and the other is a deceivingly simple collection of pop songs that make Mac DeMarco look like a rookie. But both Nathan Roche and Shrapnel exceed in making unique statements with their albums that few Sydney bands, indeed Australian bands, could think up over years of training.

9. Rat & Co-Binary

The second album from Rat & Co is a sonic tapestry, something that combines the past with the future extraordinarily easily. Rat & Co cover a million different varieties and spices on this album, from lush synths and haunted child samples in ‘Vocal Insanity’ to the glacial ‘Calculated Movements I, II and III’. But ‘Binary’ remains a solid fixture of the Rat & Co thesis of creating beats that’ll surpass the band. Hopefully, when aliens dig up this civilisation in millions of years, they find this album instead of the new Lana Del Ray record.

8. HTRK-Psychic 9-5 Club

The HTRK story is a tortured one, but that’s probably what helped them to become the strong and identifiable unit they are today. HTRK’s new record moves in honeyed and dance-worthy directions. Although rife with the kind of saddening lyrics that are expected from a HTRK record, ‘Psychic 9-5 Club’ is infinitely less abrasive as previous material, and allows itself to be, dare I say, accessible. Songs such as ‘Blue Sunshine’ ring with an allure that is insanely gorgeous, and create a mystical atmosphere around this record that can’t be overstated.

7. Ernest Ellis-Cold Desire

The first record that introduced me to Ernest Ellis is, by far, also one of the greatest pieces of dramatic indie rock I’ve heard in years. Both intimate and expansive, Ernest Ellis manage to combine the blue collar poeticism of bands like The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile, with the grandness of U2. Akin to their touring mates Shining Bird, Ernest Ellis pull you into their album like your tumbling headfirst down a waterfall of happiness. If only my similes were half as good as the music on this album.But seriously, listen to ‘Black Wire’, your life will change.

6. Dune Rats-Dune Rats

Dune Rats sure did deliver on their debut album. After a couple EP’s and countless cockteasing, the guys who were previously most famous for this have gone n done a full LP. Full of the kind shit that made us fall in love with them in the first place, the album is a singles fest of fun, riotous tunes meant to be shouted back at the band at a show where there’s more joints than people.

5. Bachelor Pad-Dooming Out

Bachelor Pad are literally made of good times. It’s in their blood. If you cut open Huw, you’d get an overdose of fun-fumes and bongwater instead of blood. They’ve packed all that awesomeness into an album ready made to be the go-to party starter. Even if you’re an accountant that works for Telstra, you’ll be able to enjoy this album. Just listen to ‘Fried’, ‘Movin’ On’ or ‘Let Me Go’ and for a few minutes, everything will be centred around total, unobstructed gewd times.

4. White Hex-Gold Nights

Think of a scenario in which Depeche Mode are dipped in a vat of boiling acid, and their steaming carcass’ are used as the bare bones for a revolutionary dark-pop project out of Melbourne, half-headed by one of the guys from noise enthusiasts Slug Guts. White Hex’s second record ‘Gold Nights’ is exactly that, thudding synth work shuddering against shimmering walls of noise and breathless vocals from the amazing Tara Green. The results in this album are simply stunning, the kind of thing Robert Smith wished he’d invented.

3. Straight Arrows-Rising

Although this album hasn’t even officially come out yet, it’s been a steadfast go-to listen for the past month or so. Every time I need something to pick me up before going out, and I’m all Sabbath-ed out, I’m hitting up ‘Rising’ instantly. Packed with tunes that get the blood pumping and the genitals,, you guessed it, rising, the record could not be a better successor of Straight Arrows’ debut.

2. Nun-Nun

Another self-titled debut effort has cracked the Top 10. Man, I’m just fucking crazy, aren’t I? Anyway, the first LP (of hopefully many) from the Melbourne synth-punkers is a shock to the system on par with having Alice Cooper break into your house and throw a toaster in your bathtub. The songs on here range from far-out schizophrenic jams, to tight and ugly lil’ ravers that get up in your face like the most bratty kid imaginable. Overall, the record is unabashedly hectic and unforgettable.

1. Blank Realm-Grassed Inn

So, the best album of this shithole years so far, in my own humble opinion, is Blank Realm’s purple-glazed ‘Grassed Inn’. They created a pop masterpiece, and I will challenge anyone who disagrees to a jelly fight in a bathtub. I say that knowing the full consequences of uttering such a profound statement, but I stand by it. The tracks on this album have been mumbled under my breath on the train so many times, I think they’ve surpassed Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’. Every tune has a poignance and impressionability that surpasses almost every other pop release of the past couple years. The fact that the lyrics are heartbreaking and honest, and Blank Realm come from humble Brisbane beginnings is just a major, major plus. Goddamn, if you have a soul, you will spend the rest of your days listening to this album.

Top 5 Records w/ Nathan Roche

Nathan Roche. Fucking good bloke. There probably doesn’t exist a guy that is a notorious a good bloke as Nathan Roche. On top of that, he knows how to write a killer pop tune. In the vein of greats like Pavement and Guided By Voices, Roche’s past two solo records have been keen to prop themselves up as fantastic fucking albums, as the below link will advertise:

A couple months back, I was lucky enough to interview the sex symbol known as Nathan Roche. One of the questions I asked him was how he’d like to people to view his album, to which he replied that he viewed it as an album people would enjoy whilst driving. Little did he know that throwaway comment was going to be the theme for a future-penned piece on the greatest website to ever exist, ever.

Theme: Albums to Listen to While Driving

Monks – Black Monk Time

The Monks were a few ex-American army men who started a band post-war in Germany. They were a bunch of lunatics who were well ahead of their time. I don’t have a car or a license but the driving avant-garage rhythms of this album are perfect for someone who does. If only I could fit my vinyl copy into a friends CD player in the car. A song like “Shut Up” sounds a lot angrier and more powerful than anything from 77’ even though this came out ten years earlier in 66’ – they take the best elements of exciting experimental and velvets noise and combine them with 60s garage.

 

Minutemen – Double Nickles On The Dime

From the car engine revving up at the start of track one “Anxious Mo-Fo” and then powering through another 44 tracks of pure energy. There would be no cooler way to crash a car than to the unbelievable bass lines of Mike Watt. It would be a great little mention on a gravestone.
Your uncool music fans who you’ve picked up will call out from the backseat “Wait! Isn’t that the theme song from Jackass” and you’ll bang your head on the steering wheel and say yes. Too many great moments on this record. Worth driving around in circles too until its over.

 

Parliament – Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome

No one knows funk like George Clinton and his acid burnout cult Parliament (or even Funkadelic) this record is a tour-de-force of musical brilliance. People rave about “Maggot Brain” and I will admit that was my first entry into Clinton’s world of funk. I remember coming to the grade 12 formal with a stereo blasting “Can You Get To That” on a razor scooter whilst everyone was in their fancy cars with their beautifully orange tanned North Queensland women. I lost my date at the last minute. But I remained optimistic because you’re never alone when you have FUNK.

 

The Fall – John Peel Boxset (Disc one)

I bought this box set from Sounds Unlimited in Townsville when I was about 16 or 17 and around that time I was taking my parents car around the place blasting it. I think there are eight discs in the boxset but I didn’t make it past the first one and second one for about 3 years. Probably my favourite “band” of all-time.. Mark E. Smith is an innovative genius.. And that old crackling keyboard on tracks like “Mother Sister” and “Futures Past” is sensational. I reckon all the Peel-recorded sessions are the best versions of the songs. “Cruisers Creek” off disc-three is the greatest riff of all time. Smoke On The Water can blow it out its arse!

 

Townes Van Zandt – Sake Of The Song

Ah Townes. This would work for a late night road trip. Maybe this or Alexander “Skip” Spencer’s “Oar” — You could really select any Townes Van Zandt album really but this is a personal favourite. Poetic desolation. He made being miserable something romantic and desirable. Maybe you could drive off a cliff to this one but I wouldn’t advise it.

He makes life worth living and worth driving out to the middle of no where in the dead of night. Because when you do, you can imagine him doing the exact same thing forty years ago. He’d probably be on more codeine than you though.

 

Album Review: Nathan Roche-Magnetic Memories

About a month ago, I went and interviewed Nathan Roche. Why wouldn’t I? The dude’s a staple of Sydney’s music scene, and seeing his galloping hair do at pretty much every show worth going to brings me a sigh of relief. Roche is here. I went to the right gig. Everything’s gonna turn out okay. I’m not going to get hit with a maelstrom of shitty tunes.

Back to the interview, I asked him about how he was etc., and he mentioned he had just finished working on a new album. Immediately, my anticipation boner started heaving. A new Nathan Roche album? As in, the same guy that did ‘Watch It Wharf’? I rushed to the bathroom as fast as my stained jeans would allow.

However, Roche passed it off like it was nothing, a mere trivial matter. Yeah, new album, whatever mate, let’s talk about how much of an asshole Lou Reed was and how Neanderthals are puppets of the Sony Corporation*. Oh Nathan, you trickster, you! You’re the equivalent of Lando Calrissian, supposedly betraying me to the dark forces of The Republic Pty. Ltd., only to chuck a swifty and get me and my crew out of that sticky situation! Hell, you’ve even come to Jabba’s Palace, and unfrozen all the carbonite shit and killed my main enemy Boba Fett! Basically, that extended metaphor is saying that Nathan Roche has delivered a spectacular sophomore product, that’ll have the major labels crawling in his faeces in some sort of attempt to gain his attention.

And how has this come to be? How has a simple, understated man with a guitar and the ability to drawl a yarn better than Banjo Patterson with three whiskeys down him, come to perform such a wonderful piece of music? Because Nathan Roche is a man of the people! Yes, much like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Kid Rock, Roche is a megaphone of the plights, pleas and observations of your average semi-house-broken, Bondi Rescue-watching, permanently-single legends that make Australian culture such a pleasure to be a part of.

However, it extends past the demeanour on his excellent debut ‘Watch It Wharf’. ‘Magnetic Memories’ expands Roche’s musical repertoire and attitudes at the same rate of goth boners spreading when Robert Smith’s says something mildly sassy on Facebook. Don’t fear, there’s the usual gurgling, brash-meets-too-drunk-to-give-a-fuck slacker bangerz on the album. ‘Walsh Bay Waltz/Gordon’s Bay Jig’ contains the usual irreverent slobbering from Roche, pandering lovelorn ‘ooo’s’ to downtrodden landmarks of Sydney next to a plaintive guitar. And ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ has a drunken balladry to it, the sort of swaying feeling implanted into it that one gets from either being on a ship, or five bourbon and cokes to the wind.

But it’s too hard not to notice the wonderful reaching that Roche is chucking into the songs. I guess you could call it experimenting, but that doesn’t quite fit. Lemme digress. ‘Call Back’ has an Alex Cameron-reincarnated-as-Roal-Duke feel to it, blazing down a Nevada freeway on a cocktail of drugs and The Stones kicking it in the back. ‘Down at the Docks’ has something of a battle cry to it, and even a dripping wet guitar solo, and ‘One More Stinking Day’ has a Vaudevillian kick, a bitter narrative slickness that Nathan Roche hasn’t really shown before.

But hands down, it’s the title track that showcases that Roche is on the path to glory. Maybe it’s an increased gelling with serial muso partner Joseph Ireland, but this song is a rum ‘n’ coconut away from being set in the final scene of the ‘Bad Ending’ in Wayne’s World, where Rob Lowe is about to fuck Wayne’s girlfriend in a tropical paradise. It’s the sort of thing you’d unashamedly do a hulu dance to. You wanna know how many other songs fit into that very specific genre? Just one-Nathan Roche’s ‘Magnetic Memories’.

‘Magnetic Memories’ ends up being a completely unique, highly enjoyable and flexibly diverse record. It dips into all sorts of styles and genres with the laidback attitude of Roche himself. It’s a step in the perfectly right direction, away from ‘Watch It Wharf’, but losing none of the charisma and charm that it’s narrator exudes. Fuckin’ A Nathan! Fuckin’ A!

 

*actual conversation topics from interview with Nathan Roche.

New: Nathan Roche-Magnetic Memories (free download)

Nathan Roche-Magnetic Memories

I interviewed Mista Roche about a week ago, and on the topic of his new solo record, he was pretty non-chalant. There was the usual, ‘Ah, just been fucking around’ sort of language. There was no hint that this kind of genius was about to get dropped on us, the unwaveringly dedicated music public. The vibes are pure bogan-Hawaiian-bliss, like a the fumes from a crack pipe made out of the shell of a coconut. This song is like being immersed in a submarine in the Mighty Boosh universe, whilst Sebastian from the Little Mermaid’s stoned cousin serenades you. All your friends have said he’s a sleaze, but the way the words drip out of his mouth, and the guitars wibble-warble along, it’s hard to not want to fuck the shit out of this song.

 

 

Gig Review: The Stevens w/ Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys + Day Ravies + Nathan Roche Band

Friday, 17th of January @ The Red Rattler Theatre

Not even 24 hours after arriving back in Sydney after admiring the wonders and delights of Sri Lanka, I was re-admiring the wonders and delights of the best venue in Sydney. The motherfudgin’ Stevens were finally getting around to launching their debut LP in Sydney, and since I missed them at Sound Summit, there was no way that Heaven, Hell or dysentery was going to stop me from getting to this gig.

Arrival + 5 minutes later, and Nathan Roche, one of the best blokes this city has to offer is up on the six inch-high stage, selling his wares, this time with a full band in tow (including Greg from Adults!). Watching a Nathan Roche show always comes with the feeling of being cocooned by a comforting normalcy, but this time there was something more. With the full band, Roche no longer had to hold down the show completely on his own. Similar to fellow solo-artist mindblower Angie, when Roche has his band there to back him up, he can move more freely around stage, and it feels as though the spotlight is less on him. Therefore, those fucking brilliant tracks like ‘Serafina’ and ‘You Are What You Are’ seem to carry that much more oomph. Instead of the shaky everyman, Roche’s band becomes a swaggering train of good vibes and balls-out slacker pop.

After Nathan Roche’s conquering set, Day Ravies hit the stage to impress all in attendance one more time. And look, I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a billion fucking times: Day Ravies rule. On record, they’ve got a whimsical, wistful flair that is rarely executed with such charm. And in the live setting, that charisma gets played out in the form of darling pixie dreaminess.

Every time I watch Day Ravies, one specific member always catches my eye, and in this case it was Lani Crooks, the band’s keys player. She fucking exudes genuine-ness like the reincarnation of Martin Luther King Jr. or Patti Smith. Up on stage, playing her keys and singing, she really embodies the vibe of Day Ravies, the spirit of quiet achievement, of being super humble about songs that frankly are not getting the recognition they deserve (case in point: ‘I Don’t Mind’)

After being whisked away by Day Ravies’ performance, it was time to get bolted to reality with the start of Sydney royalty The Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys. A band as indebted to The Replacements as every shitty pop-punk band is to Blink-182, the Bad Boys completely rocked the stage of The Rattler, in a way that I feel embarrassed to use such a cliche. They four-piece stood there, stoic and brave like the original Tonto, and played their fucking hearts out. Although to be fair, anyone who’s seen the Bed Wetters before knows that these guys don’t fuck around.

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Actually, that last bit’s a lie. There was probably the most audience participatory small talk, courtesy of frontman/RIP Society label owner Nick Warnock. A fucking legend, the guy managed to belt out a slurry of bed-wettin’-worthy hits like ‘Devotion’, ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Any Day Now’. It was all I could do to keep my jaw from completely unhinging itself in the presence of such a great rock band.

After re-attaching my eyes to normalcy, I promptly lost them to the amazeballs of The Stevens performance. The Melbournites may only have songs with an average of two minutes, but fuck do they make every second count. They’re songs are like Twerps tracks filled with a youthful desire to be the biggest smartass possible. And best of all, the tunes cover a wide variety of topics, emotions and styles, never staying in the relatively neutral territory of slacker-pop.

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Oh yeah, and these guys give out charm like they’re the Lucky Charm’s mascot. However, its a very different kind of charming than Day Ravies. Instead, its the kind of charm that you pick up from your mate that’s never been rejected by a girl in his life, and he manages to be incredibly cool without trying. What I’m trying to say is, The Stevens are like the early Fonzi’s of the Melbourne scene. Which makes sense considering how fucking great their songs are. Have you checked out ‘From ‘Puberty to Success’? Or ‘Teenage Satellites’? Or debut album genital-tearing tear jerker ‘Hindsight’? Did you listen to those fucking crazy ass tracks? And did your mind shatter into a thousand pieces of orgasm? And can you imagine how fucking great that shit was live? The reason I’m speaking in rhetorical questions is because its actually impossible to relay how great The Stevens played that night, and if you weren’t there, then it sucks to be you.

This gig was fucking awesome *drops mic, walks off stage, Eminem song begins to fade in*

Album Review: Nathan Roche-Watch It Wharf

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Listen up, you crazed minstrels of madness, as Nathan Roche has a solo record out that will rock your balls off. ‘Who the fuck is Nathan Roche?’, I hear you whisper to yourself in gobsmacked awe. Nathan Roche is a bloke that you would’ve seen somewhere. He’s hard to miss. Not only did he front the fuck out of Marf Loth (R.I.P), but he’s also been involved in the anti-supergroup Camperdown & Out, as well as Disgusting People, and a plethora of other projects I’ve no doubt forgotten. And if you haven’t seen any of those acts, (firstly, what the fuck is wrong with you?) then you may have seen him at every gig worth going to. He’s tall, skinny and got a mane like a lion that enjoys chomping durries. Oh yeah, and he’s more friendly than Big Bird dealing out samples of his latest crack recipe.

Anyway, after stints in pretty much everything, Nathan Roche has had a go at doing the old solo-project thing. And fuck me timbers is it great! It’s like a Sydney-based, 2013 adaptation of Kevin Smith’s magnum opus ‘Clerks’. If you haven’t seen it, go to this link, and consider yourself a better person. But why does a bloke from Sydney in a bunch of awesome bands, who’s released a slacker rock solo album deserve to be compared to one of the best films of all time?

Well, firstly, both ‘Clerks’ and ‘Watch It Wharf’ are snide, slacker masterpieces that stick out in the mind, even when surrounded by a whole bunch of other great contemporaries. Besides Nathan Roche’s own projects, (seriously, check out Marf Loth, they are fucking great) there’s more going on in the slacker rock scene of our abounding suburbs and states than there ever has been. Think about our good mates Unity Floors and Chook Race (and by good mates, I mean bands that I live through to an unhealthy and jealous degree. Is that creepy?). However, Nathan Roche’s songs and deep, lumbering voice are just too good to simply let slide by.

Secondly, like ‘Clerks’, the piece starts off as a light-hearted bunch of sketches, that gives the term ‘entertaining’ a whole new meaning. Try not to bounce your head and curl your lips into a blissful grin to songs like ‘Serafina’(free download), ‘Come On’, ‘Mines & Chess’. However, like the film, ‘Watch It Wharf’ turns these skits into actual, totally-applicable life advice. In ‘Clerks’, there’s a bunch of monologues, and I guess the same can be said for what Nathan Roche does in ‘You Are What You Are’. The song in question tells the tale of a drunken Roche that tried to get into the historical part of Finger Wharf, and was rejected for being a sloppy mess. With a catchy, rollicking guitar part and Roche’s signature drawl, the chorus of ‘You are what you are, ooo la la la, you are what you are’ rings true in the only way the ninth track of a ten track album can. In all seriousness, and when you get down to actually listening to the lyrics of the song, it becomes apparent that Nathan Roche is actually departing some hard-hitting truths disguised as a slacker-pop track. You can’t fucking help what you are, so accept that shit and move on.

Thirdly and finally, there’s Roche’s voice. That thing is more unique than a sober, un-preachy speech from John Lennon post-Beatles. It’s a tangled, lively drone, that wrings out an addictive nature like Patrick Bateman wrings the blood from his sheets (American Psycho, another great film/novel). Listening to Nathan Roche half-mumble, half-gargle his words into long, poetic sentences in front of sliding, bogan guitars, you’d have to be a total dickweed not to let yourself be swept up in the whole distinctive fun of it all.

Drifting along to ‘Watch It Wharf’, you’ll realise how much of a smart bloke Nathan Roche is, and how he’s able to construct that intelligence into a speech that the everyday dole-bludger can appreciate. Lackadaisical, loose and  more fun than doing lines of coke with Jack Nicholson and Humphrey Bogart, ‘Watch It Wharf’ is a fucking great album that makes up another part of the NR collection.

Nathan Roche seems to play just about fucking everywhere, all the time, so it shouldn’t be that hard to catch him live. However, the Sydney launch for ‘Watch It Wharf’ will be occurring at The Square on December 13. It’s a double launch (oh my!) with Angie and her recent solo effort (it’s a killer record, and you might know her from Straight Arrows and Circle Pit). Red Belly Black Snake and The Friendsters are playing support.

Oh yeah, and ‘Watch It Wharf’ is out now on Fartpound Records.