New: God K – SUPERFORCE

The second release from new label EXXE Records is a creature dredged from a forgotten swamp where The Cramps and Kyuss spent one fateful night together. On the one hand, God K is as foreboding as anything taken from an EyeHateGod record, but the vocals are lathered in some fritzy camp, half-shouted, half-regurgitated for your ears to try and untangle.

God K work best when they are just completely unleashing their sonic depravity. Tracks like “Bionic Man”, “Copycat Killer” and “Superforce” are classic rock power chords wrapped in enough muscled reverb to kill the average Swervedriver nerd. They exist in a sludgy universe where everything is askew and thuggish, and God K are pretty much the only friend that you have. Hazy and demented, God K are like a version of The Cheshire Cat that’s gotten incredibly into Beat Happening’s “Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive”, and this EP exists as a token of their whirring, snarling brilliance.

God K are playing a kickass show at The Union Hotel in Newtown on March 19th, with Broadcasting Transmitter and Melon  Melon Melon.

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

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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.

Video: POND – Elvis’ Flaming Star

POND have always been a band with a penchant for the theatrical song titles. “Betty Davis (Will Come Down From the Heavens to Save Us” anyone? But this time round, “Elvis’ Flaming Star” is a succinct and powerful name, in the exact same way the song in question is.

Once again POND are stretching themselves into another gooey form, a psychedelic shapeshifter, and this time round, they’re like Saturn’s version of David Bowie. That’s not just because of the alien goggles and barrage of coloured slime in the video either. They’re euphoric and funky, breaking the rules in a glammy and extraordinary way the same way Bowie did way back when. And they’re doing it in this completely alien fashion, dissolved and freaky sounding from the core. Chuck that “Bohemian Rhapsody”-like roller coaster theatrics next to a video of VHS madness consisting of nature beating the shit out of man, and POND’s galavanting return is a welcome one. They make psych music not boring, and that’s a feat a lot harder than it sounds like.

Video: Grinding Eyes – It’s All To Strange

Grinding Eyes are going to be Sydney’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. That’s not meant to mean that these guys are a ripoff, because they aren’t. What I mean is that Grinding Eyes are going to be Sydney’s version of a really fucking awesome garage-infused pysch band. We’ve already come close, but never really perfected it.The Laurels can get a bit too psych-y, and Spirit Valley are too heavy to be garage, but Grinding Eyes are hitting the nail on the head.

On “It’s All To Strange” they infuse droning rhtyhms that Dead Meadow would like to steal, then chuck a bunch of haunting guitars that are basically the audio equivalent to a spirit doing the moonwalk. There’s also this amazing organ line that could’ve come from a Nuggets compilation, but slowed down to devouring purposes. Chuck vocals in there, that are layered with grime, and a flurry of images that include Shaft, car demolitions and a sprinkled orgy of intertwining colours, and Grinding Eyes do themselves proud on their first video.

New: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Cellophane

A heap of people would’ve heard this song on King Gizzard’s most recent sold-out tour of Aus, and a heap of people would’ve had a similar, if not exact, same reaction as I did: ‘Fuck. Me. Sideways’. Because this fucking psychedelic creepy-crawler is probably where King Gizzard have hit another insane sweet spot in their career.

“Cellophane” is like an extensive acid trip taking place in the mind of Fritz the Cat, explicit, deranged and completely intoxicating. In just three minutes (blasphemous by recent Gizzard standards) the band shake, rattle and destroy a cage that they’ve built around expectations. This thing is wild and unleashed, and it’s going to immediately entrap and entrance you.

Album Review: Richard In Your Mind – Ponderosa

RIYM_Ponderosa.165601Richard In Your Mind, well that’s a band right there. Anyone who’s seen them live can tell you that they are an ecstatic, multi-tentacled sensory exploit. They’ll prong your mind, invade your personal space, and slither right up next to you, sitars and other unusual instruments providing a musical experience somewhere both in the past and the future. Like, if The Beatles came from 2170, and used lasers to play their guitars instead of your “average hands ‘n’ fingers”, then they might be a little like what Richard In Your Mind sound like when they step on a stage. BUT CAN THEY TRANSLATE THAT INTO A LAND “N” SEA SCENARIO? DO THEY GRADUATE TO AN AMPHIBIOUS LEVEL? WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY IS CAN RIYM PERFECT THEIR SOUND IN A LIVE SETTING AND ON RECORD??? OOOOO Clickbait!!!!

In short, both yes and no. They’re prevailing weirdness always keeps RIchard In Your Mind. At times, it’s off-kilter cuteness, established and executed with innocent charm like the too-catchy “Hammered”. This right here is a song that will stick in your mind for yonks, and for all the right reasons. It’s simple, fun and plain, doing with a fruit riff and a subtle nod to alcoholism what it took Michael Jackson millions of dollars to do. “Hammered” immediately disarms as the perfect Inner West anthem, something to get jiggy with whilst perusing the racks of CREAM on King, or skipping down the alleyway towards the Newsagency to. Of course, a song this brilliant isn’t limited to simply Sydney; hopefully this badboy takes off worldwide, after being named happiest song ever, and getting chucked onto a Coke commercial. “Hammered” could probably engage world peace, if only we could find a loudspeaker loud enough.

Then, there are the moments of perfect psych-pop. When it comes to songs like “This Is House Music”, “Good Morning” or “Love Grows”, Richard In Your Mind delve into a rare territory that hasn’t been explored successfully since Beck’s ‘ODELAY!’. The closest thing to this kind of successful, no-holds-barred psych-pop walloping is Gerling. These songs, they twist, whirl and throw up on your brain, as if RIYM fed acid to their instruments, and then stood back and watched how their newly ball-tripping musical friends coped under the stress that is psychedelics. I’m pretty sure I heard a hi-hat buckled under the pressure and smeared some sitar shit on himself, in an effort to mask himself from the “Predators”. Acid. It’s a hell of a drug.

However, there are points in the record that, although not bad per se, don’t match the enthusiasm or strangeness that allows for the album to fully blast open  it’s neck flaps, frilled-neck lizard style. Songs like “Four Leaf Clover Salad” can trip and stumble, and whilst you can see what RIYM were going for, it also becomes apparent that they didn’t quite reach the right heights.

However, it’s not important to get bogged down in the muddier parts of the record. When Richard In Your Mind are focused, and have a destination in mind of where they want the song to end up, then it is a sticky-sweet, candy-flipping journey following them down that road. For the majority of the album, hanging out with Richard In Your Mind is like adventuring to the Magical Kingdom of Psych Done Well, and staring in wide-eyed, blissful happiness at all the pink cloud fluff that Richard In Your Mind so easily spurt out of their instruments.

‘Ponderosa’ is out now on Rice Is Nice Records. They’re launching the record in Sydney at The Lansdowne (LANNNNYYY) on October 17th. Sick Juan!

New: Miners-Soft Focus

I first heard about Miners when I was at this house party. How i managed to find myself in the accompaniment of real people at a social occasion, and not embarrass myself will be a question for the Gods. However, I do remember that my jaw was taking a hiatus at my feet whilst Miners played a loud set of shoegaze rippers.

Case in point: their brand new track ‘Soft Focus’, which is a part of Farmer & The Owl’s first record release ‘Beached Friends’. Amongst established legends like Shining Bird, Big Dingo and Hockey Dad, Miners hold their own with a song that drills its way right into your fucking head, and sets up shop there like a compassionate, MBV-loving mole.

The shaky vocals get wafted along at a frenzied pace, as all the instruments lock into this sonic groove as big as the Death Star explosion. And the best thing is that it just grows, and grows, and grows, until not even the most expertly timed ‘Yo Mama so fat…’ joke could circulate around it’s enormity.

Video: The Frowning Clouds-Beetle Bird

The Frowning Clouds are fucking awesome, and anyone who disagrees is simply in the middle of an acid flashback, and should come to their senses shortly.

Seriously, check out the new video for their track ‘Beetle Bird’. It’s got a hippie cult chilling in the desert, a gangster tiger, a cat-affected cross between Elton John and Silence of the Lamb’s Buffalo Bill, and a cute as fuck dog playing the keyboard. WHAT!? That’s so crazy awesome! And there’s a grooving, semi-Eastern ball-tripper of a song propelling the video forward to even greater heights? Holy shit, Ryan, how do I get in contact with this band so I can force them into musical slavery? Quick answer to that is: you can’t, Iggy Pop’s already done it. Man, fuck Iggy Pop.

 

New: FUTY-Mentiroso!

There are many beautiful things in this world. Puppies tugging on each other’s fur. Newlyweds crossing their arms and sipping on each other’s cocktails. Jennifer Aniston.

Add FUTY to that list as well. Take the puppies off if you have to, but make sure there’s room for FUTY. It’s the new project from Cull member Chumpy, written, produced, directed and edited by the one man himself, like a modern day Robert Rodriguez. His first single ‘Mentiroso!’ is a looming, blossoming thing featuring lots of dancing guitars and swarming vocals. It builds and builds like a re-incarnation of Black Swan, until you’re on the edge of your seat, gripping the screen and crying, ‘Don’t do it Natalie Portman! Can’t you see you’re only hurting yourself!?’. Only instead of a lesbian scene, there’s awesome darker-leaning shoegaze music from one of Sydney’s finest.

Album Review: Grand Prismatic-Footscray & Fancy Free EP

Fun Fact: Grand Prismatic were one of the first bands I ever downloaded off Triple J Unearthed, along with Them Bruins, Kid Sam and The Hawaiian Islands. Another fun fact is that all of these bands have stood the test of time. Them Bruins Death-Above-like rock is always a shock to the cock, Kid Sam’s ‘Down to the Cemetary’ will never get old, and The Hawaiian Islands do The Smith Street Band better than they do, and with a tropical twist. But how does Grand Prismatic fare? At a time where you really have to stand out as a psychedelic/shoegaze band, when it seems that every kid with a guitar is chucking on a tremolo arm, and feeding his guitar through at least 10 guitars, where do Grand Prismatic stand in the realm of things?

Squarely in the realm of awesome, that’s fucking where! On their new-ish EP ‘Footscray & Fancy Free’, Grand Prismatic are both careening off into the distance like a hobo on payday, and doing majestic things that makes Kate Middleton look like a shit-smeared acid freak.

The EP starts out with ‘God Feeling’, a track that starts off small and fiddling, like a goblin with a coke habit. Then these weird chants introduce themselves over the already hypnotic chord progressions. The song swells and swells, until it’s a looming, angelic figure, plucking its harp (which in this case is an oozing guitar/keyboard combo that are bouncing off each other) and drilling you into a quaint slumber.

After this holy introduction, Grand Prismatic move into something a little more traditional with the frolicking title track. It dances and ditzes along, a little bit Neutral Milk Hotel, if Jeff Magnum had been committed to an LSD asylum juuuuust beforehand.’Oh My Life’ follows, going down a slow-burnin’ Spiritualized path, but then things speed up again in a ditty form for the somewhat ironically titled ‘She’s Lyin’ to You’. Although the bounce is there, this song seems to be the most well-formed, and in a way, it’s the EP’s standout. It really sticks in the mind. Instead of rolling about in the muck and globbing a big fat blob of expressionism shoegaze in the listener’s mind, the clarity of ‘She’s Lyin’ to You’ allows to listener to groove with the melodies of the track and really get a feel for what the band are expressing. The song has the same unreserved pop-meets-The-Drones elements of what bands like Sagamore are going for. It ends up for a fully realised and thoroughly enjoyable peak to a building EP.

After the EP caps off with the warbling King Gizz-ish reverb soaked ‘Swimmin Thru Sand’, which shows Grand Prismatic in top form, executing a dead-on Scientists kinship, you’re left slightly exhausted and a little buzzed, like you’ve just come down from a rollercoaster high, despite the fact you haven’t budged an inch. It’s a weird swaying of the emotions, but Grand Prismatic have captured the soul of shoegaze and psychedelic, and implemented a pop sensibility that they shouldn’t have been able to get away with, but totally did. In the space of a short few songs, Grand Prismatic accomplished what a million yuppies though Tame Impala did with ‘It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’. Only with Grand Prismatic, there’s actually a desire to pay attention to what’s going on.

Head here to pick up ‘Foostscray & Fancy Free’ for a coupla dollars: