New Electronic Music Pt. 1: Rat & Co + Thomas William + Air Max ’97 + Thhomas

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Part 1 of 2 – make sure you tune in for the epic finale:

Rat & Co – Crumar3b

I have no idea what “Crumar3b” is meant to say, but honestly, I don’t even really give a shit. Rat & Co can be as mysterious and incomprehensible as they want, because when they’re making trip-hop like this, I don’t even care. They can put all the random numbers and letters they want in their title – as long as they keep up this standard of Brainfeeder-meets-Majical Cloudz style electronica, I’ll keep trying to figure out the Rubik’s cube that is this song title. P.S. it’s a free download!

Thomas William – Sleepwalk

Whilst “Tuition” offered an experimental introduction into what Thomas William had planned for his upcoming EP , it’s “Sleepwalk” that gets me actually excited. Lurching, sticky, haunted – that’s what comes to mind when listening to this. It’s like the intro music to The X-Files if that episode had been directed by David Cronenberg. There’s something intrinsically unsettling about this whole track, and it keeps you on edge throughout its entire run time. You could drop this in a set, and you’d have the whole floor enthusiastically grooving, but also constantly looking over their shoulder for the imminent appearance of Jason Voorhees.

Air Max ’97 – Core Work

Hands down, the greatest DJ name that has scorched Australian soil in the last few years. Fuck. Yes. Just look at that name. Look at that glorious title. Fuck. Look at it!!!!!!

Anyway, Air Max 97’s drill is pretty similar to that of Eugene Ward’s solo stuff (he of Dro Carey/Tuff Sherm fame). Scintillating clicks that sound like splatters of blood dripping down a well, booming echoes , and a near-constant whirr that’s not too dissimilar to those droning sounds you always hear in movies just before someone’s head gets sliced off. Very experimental, very dark, very great.

Thhomas – Clams Pt. II

I keep on forgetting to check in with Moontown Records – they’re easily the most productive label in Australia right now, and almost everything they’ve released has been awesome. They release stuff so quickly, and by the time I realise something’s out, they’ve already got something new on the horizon

The latest artist they’ve sucked into their vortex of productivity is Thhomas, a Melbourne producer who came out with that incredible “Heat Wave” song a while back. Anyway, he’s now got this track, “Clams Pt. II” out, and it’s definitely worth your seven minutes and fifty-four seconds. But it’s only three minutes and fifty-seven seconds???? Yes, but you’ll be playing it twice, won’t you? Because it’s that fucking good.

 

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New: Milwaukee Banks x Rat & Co – Monitor

In a collaboration that feels so organic, it seems painful to think that it took this long to organise, Melbourne kings Rat & Co and Milwaukee Banks have teamed up for a thrilling track entitled “Monitor”. It has the immediacy and edge of anything Action Bronson and Freddie Gibbs have ever done, which, for a few white guys out of gentrified Melbourne, is insane! They have a flow and creativity that surpasses any sort of preconceived bias you might have about Australian hip-hop. The brags are heart-stopping, the production is a mixture of sudden-ness and alert bass, and the chorus proves that not only can Milwaukee Banks actually rap, but they also have some breath-taking pipes as well.

New: Hoodlem – Firing Line (Rat & Co Remix)

Rat &  Co released one of the finest electronic albums of the year earlier on, a mixture of Fly-Lo and Boards of Canada. Now, they’ve done an amazing remix for Hoodlem’s “Firing Line”, taking a song that has caught itself alongside Banks, AlunaGeorge and FKA Twigs, and moved it into a glacial, intergalactic freeze. Listening in here is immediately transfixing, immediately cold and intriguing. It’s like putting a summer jam in a cryogenic freeze, cooling something down so that it’s just a pale jilting beacon of technological prowess. Upon listening to the finale, I feel like this is how people felt the first time they watched ‘Blade Runner’.

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.

Video: Rat & Co-Vocal Insanity

When I was a young ‘un, I watched The Ring, and it scared the absolute shit out of me. No seriously, I actually shat myself. And like a Vietnam Vet suffering PTSD, the new (amazing) video for Rat & Co’s ‘Vocal Insanity’ has given me third degree flashback burns to the membrane.

The black and white moving pictures that paint subconsciously horrific portraits. There’s something inherently creepy about a spider preparing its meal in quality HD filming. Whatever, this is David Lynch-esque levels of genius in audio-visual format, despite the fact that I will definitely have nightmares.

New: Rat & Co-Vocal Insanity

Rat & Co are an electronic group from Melbourne, which is a very vague and in-differential sentence, because it’s Melbourne, and there’s culture everywhere, and holy shit, it’s fucking Melbourne. But what sets Rat & Co apart is the fact that they have some of the most mesmerising music out there. There’s a little bit of hip-hop beats being splattered Jackson Pollock-style onto a warm serving of ambience. It’s like if Boards of Canada got remixed by Flying Lotus. Basically, if you’re friends are namedropping I’lls and Seekae, hurl ‘Vocal Insanity’ at them, and watch their agape jaws spew forth congratulations and adoration.