Album Review: Ciggie Witch-Rock And Roll Juice

Ciggie Witch have one of the best names in Australia, along with Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, The Gooch Palms and Reckless Vagina. However, whilst the latter bands are disciplined in the ways of punk and rock n roll, Ciggie Witch go for the jangle angle. But this isn’t some bullshit strum machine thing. Considering Ciggie Witch have got members of The Ocean Party, Pencil and Robert bloody McComb from the Triffids in there, I’d say that ‘Rock And Roll Juice’ demands a peruse.

However, it’s way too easy to get lost in this album. Forget window shopping-once you’ve laid down for the first track, ‘Long Weekend’, there’s a strong bloody chance that you’re in it for the long haul. Or rather, short haul, because the album flies by, whisked along by glazed eye guitars, scratchy drums, and twinkling keys.

There’s actually a certain paradox to the way Ciggie Witch approach music-they’re lyrics are filled with motions about how much they hate the world they live in- their jobs, their lack of money, the bullshit people that co-inhabit their space-really, just things that piss off us disciples of normality. If you haven’t put up with at least one douche-fuck at your work, then you’re probably in a coma, dreaming of a non-existent work environment. But these lyrics of woe and sadness are paired with stunning music, that somehow makes you want to move your neck in a lopsided and awkward but enjoyable fashion. It’s an irony of the highest order.

Take for example ‘Part Two’-the lyrics of ‘People seem like they want to talk to me/I don’t know what to say, I freeze up, give short answers and run away’ is a spot on analysis of anyone who feels they could beat out Milhouse in an awkward-off. And yet, the song is paired with indescribably beautiful music, that pours itself into your mind, unavoidably smooth and catchy, with a violin part at the end more relieving than when you get home and see someone else has done the dishes.

‘Rock And Roll Juice’ is full of these kinds of observations tacked together with tired, soft and brutally stunning tunes. ‘Taylor’s Lakes’ features the line, ‘I got a steady job and my uni course, but I’m already feeling kinda bored’, and there’s a solo in there hand-crafted by the Slash of Brunswick. ‘Servo Stride’ and ‘Midday Movie’ are excellent sad tunes, that reek of desperate youth, ‘I am watching lives unfold on TV, I am living through the midday movie’. And ‘The Internet’ personify the bored teenage experience, and really the whole fascination of the WWW, in a swift chorus of ‘I don’t know why I got out of bed, I spent the whole goddamn day on the Internet’.

The thing that gets me with Ciggie Witch’s debut album isn’t so much any particular song, but the entire package that is ‘Rock And Roll Juice’. The album is about how fucking shitty it can be sometimes as a directionless 20-something. Now, don’t take that to mean that this some bullshit LOL SLACKERZ 90’s movie thing starring Steve Zahn and the Dad from Freaks and Geeks. The album stays afloat on the concept that having a shitty job is shitty, going to a shitty uni because people said that’s what’s expected of you is shitty, and hanging out with shitty people all the time is shitty. And sometimes, 20 year olds don’t fall into the coward-punch-loving, EDM-junkie, woman-molesting stereotype that the news loves to portray us as. Ciggie Witch represent the normal folk who have the aforementioned shitty jobs, terrible course work and retarded friends, and they’re bummed about it. But rather than moping around, and being a grumpy barista, they’ve formed an excellent band, and constructed dazzlingly good songs with some damn sharp lyrics.

Look, it’s fairly obvious that this album is going to cop some shit for being on the ‘I’m weird, and I hate my job’ spectrum of things. But look Troy, your trust fund is looking great, and I hear Deadmau5 has a new album out, so you’ll be fine. For the rest of us that live in the bummed-out atmosphere, there’s Ciggie Witch, and although the future looks shit, it’s gotten that much brighter with ‘Rock And Roll Juice’ for brekky.

 

BUY CIGGIE WITCH’S ‘ROCK N ROLL JUICE’ HERE:

And go see ’em this Sunday at the Lansdowne hotel, they’ll be launching the album for free!

Advertisements

Album Review: Jordan Thompson-Bound to Lose EP

a3434953162_10The whole cover of Jordan Thompson’s debut EP looks pretty unassuming. Blonde dude in a traditional Melbourne outfit, chilling out the front of some local architecture. There’s no dragons spitting fire on naked goddesses, and Mackelmore’s smug expression is nowhere to be seen. So, how the fuck does JT think he’s gonna sell records? Does he think he’s better than dragons and Mackelmore? Huh? HUH!?

Well, I dunno about dragons, but JT’s EP is miles in front of whatever outrageously racist costume Mackelmore picked up from a thrift shop. The EP is equivalent to a breezy arvo with friends, the kind of thing you bring up when you’re thinking of the best times of your life on your deathbed. Jordan Thompsan manages to be leisurely, but he’s still got tenfold the presence of Jack Johnson or, God forbid, John Mayer.

For example, there’s the song ‘Bound to Lose’, which is far and away one of the better singles to have been released this year. I’ve only had this EP for two days max, but ‘Bound to Lose’ has racked up an impressive 15 listens, plus the countless times I pressed play on Bandcamp. To put that into perspective, I’ve listened to Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ 54 times, and that was basically the only thing I listened to from the ages 13-15, and I can say that without hyperbole.

What makes this single so amazing? When you’ve got acoustic guitar strumming that you’d find at the back of the pub, combined with what sounds like an organ that’s been dragged from the Yarra River, and lyrics like, ‘Man he really looks like hell/I think he’s losing to his wounds’, that’s when you know you’ve won the lottery. If Jeff Magnum was cooler, he’d probably have come up with something like this.

‘Bound to Lose’ isn’t the only gem on this EP, with ‘Nobody Will Ever Know’ is a sighing pop ditty that sounds like Wolf Parade if they were floating down a canal in Venice. And ‘You Used to Say’ is a sweet barbershop quartet piece covered in intimacy, and a million times less annoying.

The ‘Bound to Lose’ EP is perfect, in that it doesn’t stay to long, or go to an unwanted place. Jordan Thompson is happy to do what he knows, and he does it really fucking well. How this EP is available for free is a gobsmacking twist of awesome, so get it before JT is headlining Lollapalooza, and I become this guy:

Premiere!-Osborne Again Music Sampler feat. Ciggie Witch + Haircut + Jordan Thompson + Jack Lee

Look, as much as I love Sydney, with all of its wonderful rock n roll bands and DJ’s that can force me to dance, Melbourne has got the guitar-pop genre under lock and key. If you want a song with lackadaisical guitars that winds your head around your shoulders, you can’t touch the genius’ of the South. Maybe it’s the colder weather, or the cultured atmosphere. Maybe it’s that Melbourne is just a really nice place with way less dickheads than Sydney, and that breeds really nice music. Who knows?

The point is that there’s all these amazing jangle and guitar-pop bands popping up with these killer tunes, and they need labels to collectively distribute and promote them. That’s how the music industry works, apparently. Of course, you’ve got your bigwigs like Chapter Music, but there’s also a fair few young guns with rosters better than the 1975 lineup of AC/DC.

One such label is OsborneAgainMusic. Run by Lachlan, from The Ocean Party and Ciggie Witch fame, the label looks to be doing some absolutely fucking killer things in the future. How do I know? Because I’ve had a sneak peek at a couple of the releases in store over the coming months, and I’ve decided to share them with you. Aren’t I fucking generous?

Without further ado, here they are:

 

Ciggie Witch-Taylors Lakes

I’ve been a pretty big Ciggie Witch fan for a fair while now, with tracks of theirs like ‘Stuck In A Rut’ and the new one ‘Long Weekend’ becoming staples of my tearful icecream binges. There’s something inherently comforting to the soft guitars and lyrics about being 25 and directionless.

‘Taylors Lakes’ is no different, as tight guitars trickle over each other, multiple melodies more or less telling you that everything’s going to be alright, despite the down-n-out lyrics.

 

Haircut-I Been Dreaming

Deadset, this song is the sort of thing you want in a dream sequence. It’s guitars and vocals drift along like you’re floating down a river of pillow stuffings. It’s so incredibly soft, like a velvet cocoon. You’d be hard pressed not to be forced into thinking about the happiest moments of your life during this one.

 

Jordan Thompson-Nobody Will Ever Know 

Jordan Thompson is a member of one of my favorite bands, The Ocean Party. However, his solo track starts out with some Amazonian pipes or something, tropical guitar slowed down to a mumble, and dazzled synths. It’s like taking a stroll in the stars, just chilling in the nethersphere in a state of complete and utter relaxation. And the voice! This guy’s voice is like Paul Kelly if Paul Kelly had the voice of an angel. It’s fucking vocal silk!

 

Jack Lee-Stories to be Kept Under Lock And Key (The Cannanes Cover)

Jack Lee is the singer from Beef Jerk, an awesome band from Sydney (Yeah! Sydney!). On his solo outing, he takes on a cover from one of Sydney’s indie-rock greats The Cannanes. This is the most indie-rock centred track of the bunch, a shambling, furry song that honeys its way into everyone’s hearts. It’s got an ugly beauty to it, and is one of those tracks that’s key to a hangover recovery. When your heart’s in the gutter, and you feel like an absolute piece of shit, this is the song to play.