New: SPOD – Party of One

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Forget that bloke from Old Spice – SPOD is the man that you wish your man could be. Tall, handsome, makes great beef jerky and music videos. He’s also Australia’s superior answer to Andrew W.K; a one man party extravaganza who’s single-minded mission is to get your hips shaking.

But what happens when the party is over? When last drinks have been called, and not even the sweet, sweet sounds of Madonna can keep feet shuffling on the dance floor. Well, then it’s time for “Party of One”, the latest from SPOD’s camp since his 2014 record Taste the Sadness.

Stacked with a funk that would knock over George Clinton, only occasionally interrupted by SPOD’s classic deadpan “Um, yes please, a party of one, thank you”, this new jam serves as a tactile response to that snooty maitre’d who keeps asking if you’ll be joined by anyone this evening. Jeez, can’t a fella just enjoy an espresso martini by himself anywhere these days?

In case you haven’t heard, SPOD will be 1/3rd of the best lineup in town on the 20th of August, joining The Gooch Palms and Bachelor Pad at the former’s album launch at Oxford Art Factory.

 

New: Sarah Mary Chadwick – Cool It/Makin’ It Work

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It is honestly a really, really tough decision to decide which Sarah Mary Chadwick thing I like better – her art or her music.

On the one hand, her music is some of the most unflinching, unapologetic stabs into the darkest corners of the heart. It’s jagged, minimal and unrelenting, her voice cracking like lips under the full brunt of an Arctic wind, displaying raw and painful and utterly transfixing emotion. Once a Sarah Mary Chadwick song begins, and that Kiwi-tinged mourn begins, it’s tough to do anything else but sit there and listen in wonder.

On the other hand, her artwork is fantastically graphic. Just like her music, it dives headfirst into ugliness – the parts of romance that are unromantic, of exploitation and fear – and rears up something quite beautiful and distinct.

But hey, there’s no reason to choose a favourite; in the words of everyone’s favourite taco spokesperson – por que no los dos? In anticipation of her new record Roses Always Die, Chadwick will be providing a unique screen print for everyone that pre-orders the record! Get it here, or buy it when it comes out on August 5th, through Rice is Nice.

New: Summer Flake + Alex Lahey + Fern

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I’d love to give each of these women their own little post, because god knows they deserve it. But these tracks have gone undocumented for too long, and I’m afraid that if I let it go any longer then I won’t get to lay claim about being into them before they were headlining Coachella. Bragging rights are pretty much the only reason I exist, and it’s taken too long for me to post about these tracks. Look, what I’m saying is that I’m fucking lazy –  give us a break, I’ve been watching the #libspill with my parents, I’ve been doing some real productive shit.

Summer Flake – The Sun Won’t Shine

Summer Flake returns with her trademark stab of evocative songwriting. She’s in full flight with “The Sun Won’t Shine”, a song that’s delivered with all the potent beauty that Steph Crase’s voice is capable of (hint: a fuck tonne). BUT BE WARNED! Listen to the lyrics and prepare to burst into tears. If you want to just go about your life, drinking coffee and ruling at Instagram, then feel free to float along with the clinking guitars and Summer Flake’s gorgeous vocals. Take even the mildest peep into the words coming from her mouth, and you’ll be opened to a world of nihilistic self-criticism. In saying that, Summer Flake is probably the only one who can make you giggle to a line like “You’ve got no chance of ever succeeding”. She’s a real charmer like that

P.S Let’s smile at our insecurities together this weekend when Summer Flake plays at the Small World Festival. Palms, Jack Ladder, DZ Deathrays and the fucking CHURCH are playing as well.

Alex Lahey – Air Mail

Take a look at that photo. Shit, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were looking at a Courtney Barnett Jr. – cool looking lady that you can’t help but want to be best mates with after a glance, wearing a normal sweater and shoulder length brunette hair. Jesus, she’s even standing in front of a homemade nature painting. MILK! OI MILK! I GOT YA NEXT SIGNING! RIGHT BLOODY HERE!

Actually, I was impressed with Alex Lahey before I pressed the play button, and it’s got nothing to do with any sort of likeness to another Melbournite. She also plays in Animaux, and makes an appearance in the new Tully on Tully clip; but her solo material moves far away from the electro-pop stylings of the former two. “Air Mail” is a simple, plucky tune, anchored by a steady, honeyed voice – on her debut, Lahey manages to be catchy without relying on any cliched tricks. She simply sings about body parts and love (don’t be fucking gross ya muppet) and wraps the whole thing up in less than three minutes. How’s that for a bloody Cinderella effect? Well produced and buoyant, Lahey has made a spot on pop song and what’s more, she sounds like she’s done it before having the first sip of a morning coffee. Well worth keeping an eye on this one.

Fern – It Comes Slow

This is a slow burner. Like, Sixth Sense levels of slow burner. Nearly running into five minutes, Fern drop a few subtle hints of how awesome its gonna get/the fact that Bruce has been a ghost THIS ENTIRE TIME. We’ve got lush vocals, a nice palette of instrumentation, and tantalising pushes in the chorus that hint at something more. It’s not until the finale were the potential is unlocked: the guitars churn to an impossible rate, Willis collapses to his knees and the audience lets out a collective “OH FUCK, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?”. Just do us a favour Fernies, don’t go the way of M. Night Shyamalan. Nobody needs another bloody Village.

Video: Angie – Out of Age

All the elements were in play for Angie’s sophomore album to kick tremendous amounts of arse. Considering Angie’s storied past in bands like Circle Pit, Straight Arrows et. al., recorded and produced by Owen Penglis, and with the support of Rice is Nice, this album was always going to be a special one.

“Out of Age” simply reinforces that belief, with a Sonic Youth meets Chrome unpredictability, noise clashing with pop at high velocity. Angie’s vocals bleed through the screeching, schizophrenic guitars, and it’s not a huge leap of the imagination to see this as a belying live performance.

Remember the first time you went to a rock show? Like a real rock show, not a Beatles cover band. Remember how loud it was, how thrilling? How your ears nearly burst at the seams as each note pulverised your very being? That’s what the new Angie is. The lo-fi drone places you front and centre of one of her bludgeoningingly noisy shows which have that capability to bring you back to that snotty, earnest kid who thought seeing Rise Against at the Entertainment Centre was the most punk and vitriolic thing since you shaped your hair into a mohawk in the shower.

 

Catch Angie playing with Ela Stiles at a free show at the MCA this Thursday. I fuckn dare ya.

Video: SPOD – Last Dance

It’s 9:30, and there are still two assignments that need to be done. I’ve been caught with a dire case of couldn’t-give-a-fuck-itis, and so I continue to spiral down the well of self-pity and fucking myself over. And yet, I’m not even nearly matching the morose tone of the video for SPOD’s ‘Last Dance’. Coupled with a song that is already in the throes of being  a grown up aka body-wracking depression, the video takes the song to a new realm of sadness. When our favourite party man buries his head in his hands after dancing alone in his suit, that cracking sound you hear is the scream of a thousand hearts shattering. And when his fingers fall from the piano, you better believe that every single person watching is gathering some kind of receptacle to hold their cascading tears. Man, ain’t nothing sadder than a bummed out SPOD, except for a three minute audio-visual experience in which you become suspended in bummed out SPOD-ness. Bloody heart-wrenching, I tell ya.

New: The Frowning Clouds – Move It

Way down in Geelong, there exists a hub of bands that kick unbelievable amounts of ass. The Frowning Clouds are at the premier of that scene, and make rock and roll tunes so sticky you would’ve thought spilled a beer into the recording equipment. Listening to ‘Move It’, with its overwhelming sense of Thee Oh Sees-esque party vibes, you can’t help but want to move your head at a breakneck pace, your neck walloping along like a yo-yo snapping back and forth.

‘Move It’ manages to go through a shitload of phases,each one more jizz-inducing than the next. There’s a triumphant opening riff, that moves sleepy-eyed psych-tinged territory, before…holy shit, is that a kazoo? Whatever point you find yourself at, there’s the kind of wide-eyed wonder that can only be matched by watching Adventure Time on acid.

New: Donny Benet – The Edge (feat. Kirin J Callinan)

There are many uncertain things in this life. Did I leave the oven on? Is this genital itch temporary? Who am I, and what am I doing on this planet? One thing is for certain: Donny Benet has the Midas Touch, and everything that comes under his gentle swaying nature turns to gold.

You don’t have to look very far into his discography to find something you’ll like. He has a presence that is indescribable, sultry, sexy and dastardly, smoother than a baby jaguar’s fur.

On his latest track, Donny ups the game to near-insurmountable heights. This single is literally the greatest use of a synthesiser since the Miami Vice theme. The song bends and wobbles under the guidance of Donny’s expert touch and feel, and warms to a sweltering heat with the inclusion of the beloved Kirin J Callinan, who provides the hottest vocals since Q Lazzarus.

‘The Edge’ swells, rising like our temperatures and genitals, swaying with incredulous glee, until Callinan’s orgasms are matching the same pitch as Donny’ feverish instrumental work. And then, as everyone, both the musicians and the listener, lay in panting, gasping pleasure, the song ends, and Donny reaches over to light your post-coital cigarette.

 

Fuck, I feel like I just wrote 50 Shades of Grey.

Video: Straight Arrows-Petrified

Straight Arrows are fucking back and better than ever, with an album of raucous, debauchery tunes to kill your brain cells and get the fun genes pumping through your veins once again. The song is called ‘Petrified’ and it makes me want to slice open the nutsack of a Sasquatch. Why? Because this shit is insanely rare, and it would be blasphemous to not take advantage of the situation.

On top of this, the accompanying video is a VHS-ish, colour-fucked, opium-inhaling smorgasbord of  weirdness. It features random ass items being manipulated and distorted beyond belief, and the band in an uncharacteristically sedate state….WAIT WHAT THE FUCK, OWEN PENGLIS JUST FUCKING STABBED A GUY! WHAT THE FUCK!

Straight Arrows have announced the show of the century, at Newtown Social Club, Saturday 14th of June. TV Colours (!) are also going to play (!!!). Best leave your dignity at home for this one.

Gig Review: Rice Is Nice Does 5 Years

Sunday 27 April @ The Roller Den

Rice Is Nice is, hands down one of the best Australian labels. Ever. Next to R.I.P Society, Chapter Music, Anti-Fade and Bedroom Suck, Rice Is Nice has one of the best label rosters imaginable. They have not released a bad album. Ever. I can’t even go a day without fucking up on something major, let alone five years of goddamn perfection. Do you want proof of how much I love Rice Is Nice? Here you go:

I’m actually holding a water, I just wanted to look like on of the cool kids

So when they announced they were chucking a 5th Birthday Party, my entire being exploded in excitement. Pretty much the whole  roster, with the notable exceptions of The Laurels, Good Heavens and Seekae, were going to all be in one place, playing the songs they made and recorded and released on an amazing label. How could this not be a better night than the climactic point of any teen ‘comedy’ of the 1990’s?

Unfortunately, I missed the first two bands, Polographics and Shatter Brain because I’ve literally been constructed of dickhead material. I missed this:

You can probably tell that kicking myself in the balls for eternity won’t even scrape the pain I feel about missing these bands.

However, the night had to start somewhere, and it began with Angie, which rules because Angie rules, and she rules fucking hard. She’s a shredder of the highest order, commanding her guitar like she’s Clint Eastwood smacking down justice on some hapless punk. She oozes so much cool, it’s like she ingested the beating heart of Kim Gordon. If Coco Chanel bottled her coolness to make a scent, they’d be selling ‘Cooler Than You’ by Angie for a million bucks a spray. How else do you explain ripper tunes like ‘Stars And Dust’ and ‘Parallels’? These strutting, leather-jacket-clad songs are dripping in swaggering, sweaty cool. I was also drenched in sweat by the end of her set, a cast of awe struck upon my face. Needless to say, I fucking love Angie.

Next was Summer Flake, who travelled all the way from Adelaide to ensure that the party was complete with some interstate flavour. Armed with some of Sydney’s finest musos (Matt Banham, Craig Lyons, Sam Wilkinson, Chris Yates) Steph Crase built herself into a confident force of swelling guitars and frankly beautiful music. Her album is a sonic treat, but in live format, she’s unstoppable.

Forever 21 legend and SPOD followed swiftly, ensuring that the ‘party’ portion of the night was well and truly taken care of. A self-decribed ‘…national treasure…’, SPOD makes dance music which you don’t know whether to laugh at or contort your entire existence to. Dressed in a cap and a tucked in grey polo, SPOD prowled around the stage, wetting ears with a variety of songs, including his heavily acclaimed decade-old debut’Taste the Radness’ , (I use this phrase all the time, please don’t sue me SPOD, I love you). Basically, SPOD takes the best parts of Regurgitator and Andrew W.K, and then makes really good music around it. Case in point: opening the set with a song called ‘Deadshits’.  He’s also got a self-deprecating charisma blast that provides more knee-slappers and tummy ticklers than an episode of  How I Met Your Mother. Because setting the bar high in similes is what I do best.

Side-note of regret No. 2: I missed Donny Benet’s set. Sacrilege, I know, the man is a god, and no one makes panty-soaking music quite like he. But I’ve seen him enough times to give a rough estimate of what his show was probably like. His gorgeous, paisley-suit clad figure makes his way on stage, he pumps through synth-wave after synth-wave, and electrocutes the audience with a love making aura not seen or heard since the first time Morgan Freeman narrated something. Instantly, women want him, and men want to be him. ‘Sophisticated Lover’ comes on, and tsunamis of love juice erupt from every crotch in the nearby vicinity. At least, that’s been my experience the last few times I’ve caught him, and I can’t see how he would disappoint this time round. If you have the chance, don’t follow my stead, and go see Donny Benet.

Richard in Your Mind then took the ‘Happy Birthday’ bannered stage to wreak psych-pop havok. They are such a fun band to watch live, simply because their songs are so intrinsically weird, and they pull them off with flair and love. If garden gnomes found a batch of mushrooms growing in the ‘special’ part of the garden,  and happened upon a storage bin of instruments, they would create something like Richard in Your Mind. There’s a shitload of things happening on stage, from Eastern instruments to electronic shenanigans, even a tambourine makes an appearance. The last band to successfully pull of the tambourine was late 90’s era Brian Jonestown Massacre. Overall, Richard in Your Mind got in my mind, twirled and twisted it apart, and then took it o an acid-tinged trip down Happy Street, with occasional stops off at Awesome Street, and Stoked Avenue.

The last act of the night was Straight Arrows, which is around the same level of awesome as getting to have a personal sit down with Han Solo to talk about how badass he is. A few songs in, and the entire set fell into debauchery. Actually, as soon as the first chords of opener ‘Never Enough’ cracked the skulls of the front row, pandemonium reigned supreme. The songs became vehicles for thriving energy, Owen Penglis casting an impossible-to-match enthusiasm and recklessness that made a night on the town with Charlie Sheen look like a Senate meeting. Al Grigg was his partner in crime, screaming and shouting along every lyric and pointing his sparkly red guitar at the crowd and thrusting like he was trying to literally fuck us with his music.

Around the halfway point, things took a turn for the truly memorable. Out came an abundance of party-poppers, streamers and toilet paper, around the ‘It Happens Again’ mark. Soon the stage, band and crowd alike were covered in more coloured paper than a Mardis Gras ejaculation. Owen looked like he  had been draped in the finale of a Sesame Street porno.

Yet Straight Arrows persevered in turning the Roller Den into a broiling mass of throwback 60’s pop funded by a modern partying ethos. The band went so fucking hard on stage, it was like watching a tornado of garage rock brilliance, each track an atomic bomb of awesome. ‘Running Wild’, ‘Something Happens’, and ‘Bad Temper’ were all exceptional standouts, but  in saying that, picking a favourite Straight Arrows track is like trying to pick your favourite Ninja Turtle-they’re all amazing.

After a sweaty rendition of ‘Make Up Your Mind’, the Imperial Hotel will now forever be ingrained in my mind as the time when Straight Arrows completely fucked up my perceptions of what a good performance should entail. But really, every band that night ruled the stage, albeit in their own way. Angie with her confident shredding, Summer Flake with her alluring shoegaze, SPOD with his prowling, addictive personality, and Richard in Your Mind with their psych-pop extravaganza. It was a fantastically diverse lineup, but really that’s just a testament to Rice Is Nice. May Rice Is Nice continue for another 5000 years, and may its firstborn be a healthy child.