New Artist: Bitch Prefect

Have you ever wanted to be that person that knows about a band that’s really good, but no one else knows them, and they’re your own personal secret, and you love them more than sprinkles on ice cream? Well, now you can. Bitch Prefect are one of the best kept secrets in the Sydney scene, and it’s really hard to know why because they’re just plain awesome.The greatest challenge for the members of Bitch Prefect is which cigarette brand to smoke, and that kind of ignorantly-blissful attitude is the secret to their sound.

Bitch Prefect play a style of lo-fi garage, but it’s distinct because you can actually understand the words that they are saying. Also, you don’t have to fight through a bunch of layers of feedback and buzz to distinguish any sort of melody or sound. Bitch Prefect play incredibly soothing acoustic strummed out music, with a soft sprinkle of electricity that runs throughout every song. Simple, but wispy, Bitch Prefect sound like they could float away at any moment.

Bitch Prefect’s sound can be summarised in two words: high school. They just sound like a bunch of guys that had a couple music lessons, picked up a four track recorder from a $2 dollar store, and are jamming a bedroom. They sing about the stupid stuff, teenage relationships, getting a job etc. etc. but they do it well, and with so much earnest. Bitch Prefect encapsulate the sound that so many other, more famous bands laid out before them, like Eric’s Trip or No Age. Bitch Prefect’s debut, Big Time is currently out on Bedroom Suck Records, who have a whole heap of artists that play noise rock, and lo-fi expertly . I would recommend getting the album on vinyl, because they’re such a vinyl band, in the same way Pink Floyd or The Beatles are a vinyl band. Bitch Prefect’s sunny, simple lo-fi is absolutely stunning, and amateur in the best sense of the word, in that it hasn’t been diluted by experience or progress at all. It’s just three friends, making music, without any kind of outside pressure.

‘Marilyn Monroe’ video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXBGK3cU90I

Bandcamp: http://bitchprefect.bandcamp.com/

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Album Review: Chicks Who Love Guns-Moon Eater EP

Picture any 70’s or 80’s B-movie. An action flick, full of gratuitous nudity, blazing guns and muscle cars. Stereotypes running rampant in the no holds barred Wild West. Mustaches adorn every male character. Every girl has breasts at bursting point. The protagonist, a quiet, steely gunslinger faces off against a greasy villain. A tumbleweed rolls between them. Their hands quiver at their sides, poised for action, eyes locked in combat. Suddenly, the protagonist draws and the scene becomes a flrurry of smoke, haze and gunfire. The soundtrack? Sydney five piece Chicks Who Love Guns brand spanking new EP, Moon Eater, of course!

Bullshit-proof, and very old school, Chicks Who Love Guns combine garage rock with an injection of heroin infused, uncaring punk. The atmosphere derived from any single song brings to mind a couple of stoned guys with long hair, howling into a microphone in a basement, and thrashing on guitars and bashing drums. Essentially, that’s exactly what they are. Perfect. That could actually not get any better. That is, personally, my favourite kind of band. Bass heavy, like they are calling up the demons from the bowels of hell, and infused with punk, muddy riffs, the band calls to mind grunge punk heavyweights like Mudhoney and The Melvins. Not a bad comparison for a band that’s been out for only a couple of years.

4 songs. 14 minutes and 9 seconds. Pure, unabashed fury. Unconfined and unleashed upon the unsuspecting world. A snotty, no holds barred fuck you to the music industry, this is Chicks Who Love Guns at their best. The cover gives a pretty good indication of whats to come. It portrays a jubilant girl looking up, with a moon etched into her head. A pink filter goes over the photo. It’s the kind of photo that screams “at heart, we’re pretty. But we’re also very very fucked up, and there’s a very good chance you’re about to be offended”. There is only one choice, but to play the record.

The current single, and opening track is ‘Shin-Okubu’. The track doesn’t really find it’s pacing, but once it does, it knocks the wind out of you. Angry and relentless, it screams the question of how come no-one gets taken seriously any more. The chorus feels like someone is nailing music into your head. Pretty straightforward for a song with such a weird title. The track flows pretty easily into title track ‘Moon Eater’. Once again, very teenage, very dumb, very awesome. These guys seem to parody the stadium rock sound, and satirise it well, producing a dirty, sarcastic, and indie version. There is so much grit, and intensity. The boys question their insanity, however it’s pretty clear they are insane.

The record doesn’t take it’s foot off the pedal for the remaining tracks. ‘Quicksand’ is just as fast and bellowing as it’s predecessors, and there is good contrast between the verses and chorus. The bass really takes its toll in this song, and makes it just that little bit more mentally deranged and loose, and just that bit more exciting. The bass is the real unsung hero in the songs, giving a unconditional driving force and power unseen by Chicks Who Love Guns contemporaries.

The closer ‘Leech.’ is prime example of a reason to listen to Chicks Who Love Guns all the time. Although initially pretty simple, after a few listens, you actually begin to realise the song is a bit more complex and intricate than how it first appears. Chicks Who Love Guns aren’t some hipsters who like Nirvana. They’re dirty, drugged out, garage rockstars, and they belong in the top tier of their category. That category of course, is people that should be gods.

Triple J Unearthed Page: http://www.triplejunearthed.com/ChicksWhoLoveGuns

New Artist: The Voltaire Twins

Western Australia has a reputation for being an absolute shit hole. It’s a fly infested, sand ridden wasteland devoid of happiness and incapable of human pleasure. The only people that apparently live in Western Australia are miners, the older generation and people who play AFL. However in recent times, Western Australia have been pumping out quite a few brilliant musical acts. Astonishing, I know. The Western Australian repertoire includes San Cisco, Eskimo Joe, Pond, and the latest band on my radar, electro-pop darlings The Voltaire Twins.

The Voltaire Twins are absolutely glamorous, in a vintage, 60’s kind of way. They strike an image of Marilyn Monroe puffing on a long cigarette, fur draped over her shoulders. Musically wise, think of The xx or M83,with more up-tempo and catchier songs. They provide the casual listener with relaxing, feminine beats to drift along to, but there is so much more, as long as your willing to really listen to them carefully.

The magic of The Voltaire Twins can be split into two factors: the synths and the vocals. Everything else is pretty rudimentary, and plays second fiddle to the rest of their music. Firstly, the synths. Behind trawling electric drum beats that attune to simple pleasures and rhythmic beat, the straightforwardness is sure to keep you head is bopping. Then, the synths show their colours and provide the majority of listening pleasure. They are so clean cut and sparkling, both bass heavy and sprinkled, jumping to and fro from a high key to a low key. They are transcendent, and echo throughout every song, resonating perfectly with her voice.

The ‘her’ in question is Tegan. Not sure of her last name. She combines haunting melody with comforting charm, and builds every word to the tip of her tongue. She is the perfect voice for the band, as their groovy synth pop delightfully compliments her voice and vice versa. She crows, and inflects so quietly, but she annunciates and pronounces every word, and you can understand every phrase she says. You have to understand, I’ve been listening to punk for a long time, and you’d be lucky to entangle an intelligible grunt from any of those bands. The Voltaire Twins are such a brilliant change of pace, and provide smooth, crisp pop for any type of listener.

If you need any more proof, simply watch the video for Young Adult. It completely summarises the vibe. Young and quirky, The Voltaire Twins want to celebrate and expand their outlandishness, and in fact, find comfort in it. They celebrate their diversity and difference, instead of holding it back. Everything in the video and song is highly technically proficient and has flair. Basic in structure, but when put together, flawlessly complicated and brilliant.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of people who will instantly hate The Voltaire Twins after a few bars. But give them a chance. They’ll grow on you.

Triple J Unearthed Page: http://www.triplejunearthed.com/Artists/View.aspx?artistid=15500

New Artist: The Poison Control Center

If I had discovered The Poison Control Center a few years ago, I would have absolutely hated them. Mind you, I was going through my heavy metal phase. Everyone has one, don’t try and deny it. Luckily, they came up on my radar about a year ago, and I’ve absolutely loved them since. They have a unique brand of the same old indie lull. There is a little bit of unusual, peppered swagger and delightful resonance to them, and it shows that they are men, not boys, even if their songs are incredibly childish.

The Poison Control Center play indie rock-pop songs, and they’re from small town Iowa. Formed in 2003, they’ve pumped out album after non-changing album, so there isn’t any real danger of picking up one of their records and getting something completely unexpected. All you shall receive is some relaxing, naive songs by adults stuck in kids bodies, and mourning the loss of their youth, in the most euphemistic way possible, of course. The Poison Control Center  play music in the vein of the Airborne Toxic Event, Dinosaur Jr., Coconut Records and Wolf Parade.

The Poison Control Center don’t really stray from the formula they have. That is, chilled, touching and melody-centric indie pop tunes. Heartbreak and desperation are constant themes, but The Poison Control Center always have a way of making the songs upbeat in tempo, and happy in style. Although the sound doesn’t shift dramatically, in fact, rarely at at all, every song is different in it’s general appeal. That is, every song is a happy, strummed version of the one before, but it is so gorgeous that you can’t help but not mind.

The sound rarely crescendos, delves in experimentalism or breaks the 4/4 signature. But The Poison Control Centre will definitely capture your heart because they’re too innocent not to love. All you have to do is listen to ‘Being Gone’ from their album Sad Sour Future. Deliciously crafted, it holds a somber tone, but not one that is self-appreciating, which is a good thing to note. The band is self-deprecating and very aware of their status and role. They are simply an indie band trying to play upbeat indie songs for an unappreciative indie crowd. Nothing more, nothing less. Except they do it better than your shitty band.

Bandcamp: http://thepoisoncontrolcenter.bandcamp.com/

New Artist: Violent Soho

Violent Soho are one of the most straightforward Australian bands on the scene right now. They play no holds barred, bombastic grunge-tinged rock. Every song hits you like a hurricane to the brain, and they’re germ ridden masterpieces.

Washed over with a thick bass line, and nauseating guitar, the greatest feature is perhaps Luke Boerdam’s vocals. Dripping with sarcasm and growling with hatred, there is probably no-one since Kurt Cobain that can thrust such enthusiasm into a chorus as he can. This is not an exaggeration. A mighty force such as his voice should have it’s own metre, ranging at a 0 in the acoustic ballad in Outsider, to an absolute bellowing 10 in the chorus of Jesus Stole My Girlfriend.

Catchy, and in lieu of artist such as Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, and Foo Fighters, Violent Soho strike a line between pounding, muddy riffs and a unique, brutal voice. Their head banging groovy music is also matched by the excellent, self aware and snide lyrics. Their angry rants are the perfect soundtrack for any angsty person, teenager or otherwise. For example, the fantastic sample from Muscle Junkie “…Fuck you, fuck you, I can’t trust you!”. Violent Soho are outcasts, singing awesome outcast songs. It really wouldn’t surprise me if they cracked a mainstream audience, and apparently their a huge hit in America, and have signed to Thurston Moore’s label (Thurston Moore? he’s this little known guy from a random indie band… I think their called Sonic Foo’s? Platonic Youth? Something like that).

All their material thus far is completely stunning, and will take the wind out of you upon first listening. So far they only have two (excellent) EP’s and a (fan-fucking-tastic) album. are the perfect soundtrack for an angsty teen, and they’ll be releasing a new 7″ on I OH YOU pretty soon. I literally pissed myself at that thought.

Violent Soho Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/violentsoho

New Artist: Youth Lagoon

Youth Lagoon is the beautifully tranquil project of Trevor Powers. It’s hard not to praise his work, as beautiful is the only way to describe it. His minimalist, hypnotic sounds echo throughout his debut, The Year of Hibernation, and are some of the most relaxing, enveloping sounds to blossom all year. Blossom is a good description, as every song is a flower that slowly sprouts, expands and then blossoms.

Trevor Powers has the unique ability to inspire emotions through his music, using various instruments, but still keeping his style very minimalistic and basic. There is a textured sound to most of his songs, however, it is not a strained sound, and every song seems to have the perfect amount of effort put into it. Every song is crafted and given a smooth texture, so his recordings come out as a good mix of enlightening and soul-searching.

Youth Lagoon is so enraptured in the adolescent spirit, and the immaturity of growing up without any sort of success. It is blissful tune that whistles along carefree, but is wise beyond it’s years.

New Artist: The Joy Formidable

Every so often, there’s a band that flies under the radar, and picks up fans in handfuls. Usually, you need to dig round quite a bit to fid one of these bands, and there will be a small review of their debut in Rolling Stone or NME, before they fade into obscurity, and only their most loyal legions of fans stick by them. The Joy Formidable is one such band.

They released they’re debut in January last year, and although they drummed up quite a bit of press, they’ve kind of gone off the map. Which is a real shame as they’ve become one of my new favourite bands.

The Joy Formidable distinguish themselves from other bands by the sheer talent they uphold themselves by. They produce so much sound for such a simple 3 piece, and they’re complicated riffs are to die for. They’re heavy handed when they need to be, and then they can switch to light, toe tapping melodies, and then switch back into a heavily distorted masterpiece all within a breath. They make it sound good as well.

Although the songs typically deal with love lost or gained, Ritzy Brian’s vocals are gorgeously raw, as well as diverse, as she can go from shouting into a mic (The Magnifying Glass), to a dainty, naive tone for The Cradle. Her range is amazing, and the fact she plays an amazing, fuzzy guitar over the top of it is amazing as well. 

The Joy Formidable are surely a band to look forward to, and they’re live show is amazing (look on Youtube for evidence). Until they’re next record pops out, The Big Roar will do for your dose of garage heavy melodies.

New Artist: March of the Real Fly

The jangly, fun times pop of March of the Real Fly are non stop on all of their songs. There is not a negative or downtempo beat to be found on any song, which is truly one of their strengths. One of their many strengths I should add, as March of the Real Fly play nothing but teenage related witty pop. It is self aware and so supremely happy, it’s hard not to get caught up in their songs, and bop your head side to side with every stroke of the guitar.

Another extremely important dynamic is the strong sense of friendship and fun had among the band. It gives their sound a much more plaintive yet accessible energy that feeds off the music. The duo of singing duties shared by male and female vocalists is also a very strong point for the band as they give even more of the fun loving vibe. Choice of instruments fro rhythm section is beautiful, the ukulele and harmonical synths playing off each other in an absolutely beautiful, youthful way. It’s hard to keep the smile off your face when listening to March of the Real Fly, and their a great live band with just as much energy to boot. 

Triple J Unearthed: http://www.triplejunearthed.com/Artists/View.aspx?artistid=27049

New Artist: The Rubens

Laid back Aussie Cowboy, blues-rock. The slow drawl is both enticing and relaxing to listen to. Go no further than a current single of theirs, My Gun. The song drifts along at a windy pace, with no real aim in sight, only the soft lullaby and melody of the song, and crooning of the Margin Brothers vocals to punctuate the dreaminess. 

The real gift of this band is the way the convey normally boring songs, and re-imagine them with that Western theme, and it brings a whole new life to them. The vibrance flows out from every chord, every twang and every sharp resounding snare. The band is Australia’s answer to the Black Keys and will surely explode within the next few months, especially after their intense performance at Splendour in The Grass

New Artist: Drunk Mums

Bratty, snotty, gritty garage punk has never returned to it’s roots harder and spewed forth yesterday’s lunch with such gusto. It’s the 70’s surf-punk mentality mixed with fuzzed out stoner riffs of Drunk Mums that really give the song power. The four/five piece out of Cairns is releasing their debut album soon, and if the single “Rubbing Your Gums” is anything to go off, it’ll be a rip roaring ride of nostalgia and throwbacks. The choruses are shouted, the guitars cranked up to ten, and the reverb pedal is straining at breaking point. Jake Doyle’s vocals are picture perfect for a garage band. Hoarse, out of tune, yet howling-ly catchy. His vocals echo through your brain like a bad acid trip, leaving bits of grit and sand trailing behind. 

Don’t think of this band as just another garage band. Think of them as the next garage band. They have the ethic of a punk band and a sound similar to the Black Lips or Thee Oh Shees. There is fun to be had amongst these simplistic songs, as long as you can kick back and enjoy them for the simple masterpieces they are.

Triple J Unearthed: http://www.triplejunearthed.com/DrunkMums