New: Tyrannamen – I Can’t Read

From the bowels of Melbourne is a band that have finally figured out how to put Redd Kross (‘Born Innocent-era), Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Dead Moon together. The answer, of course, is a big fucking riff and enough charisma to choke out Jon Hamm. “I Can’t Read” is magnetic a slice of lovesick rock and roll that slides in more comfortably with the “sick” than the “love”.

Released on the only label in the world worth caring about (Cool Death Records), this “Tyrannamen” song is a warbling troubadour snarl, jaw-unhinging belters with a scab-peeling solo that’d make Ron Asheton giggle in his grave.

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Gig Review: Bloods + Scotdrakula

Friday 28th November @ Goodgod Small Club

It feels like there’s way too small a crowd assembled for Scotdrakula – these guys are gut-wrenching, heart-in-your-throat good, blasts of toxic garage fury blaring with the kind of ecstasy you can only find at Defqon. I mean, Scotdrakula don’t get up to Sydney much, and missing out on them is like missing out on the zeitgeist. The last time they were in the land of the Big Bridge was for a support slot with Mac DeMarco – which is far too long to wait for what occurred on stage.  They blast off at Apollo-13 levels of ramshackle brilliance, with ‘O’Clock’. Whilst it took a while for movement to flourish onstage, once tracks like “Shazon” and “I Ain’t Going to Sleep”, off their most recent record ‘Scotdrakula‘, pronounced themselves, the group were as fluid as an inflatable tube man out the front of a used car sales lot.

Frontman Matt Neumann was particularly impressive, as he managed to retain Scotdrakula’s signature howling yelp that makes their recording so much goddamn fun to listen to. He also had a weird shuffle manoeuvre that’s probably going to become the next fad, like the Jay Z “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, or the Soulja Boy “Superman”. The set was just irrepressible energy, steeped in a love of dirty 60’s rock ‘n’ roll, and modern depravity. As the set progressed, things became even more unruly and riveting. The actions on stage were vitriolic and electric, with the final moments on stage being blaring noise, deranged bellowing and guitar thrashing that would make Dimebag Darrell ashamed. It’s almost too easy to headbang and shake ya rump along to Scotdrakula’s songs, and it makes you wonder what kind of deal with the devil these guys initiated to become so damn catchy. It was a mighty shame that the room wasn’t packed to capacity in order to experience one of the better garage bands our fair country has to offer.

Whilst Bloods warm up the stage, Al Grigg and Dion Ford of Palms fame pump a slew of all-female DJ classics (The Breeders, Madonna etc.). The song choices seem appropriate choices considering Bloods are renowned for their anthemic garage anthems led by the vocal powerhouse of Marihuzka Cornelius. Although the beginning of the set suffered through sound issues, Bloods soon had an attentive audience. One of the better aspects of their music is that, unlike most rock/garage/punk music, it doesn’t care to bludgeon, but rather to caress, working with you rather than forcing your attention. In the live setting, this characteristic becomes especially notable, as the bands sweeping melodies fill the room with good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll family values.

The thing about Bloods is that all three members, MC, Sweetie and Dirk, are so in tune and adept with each other, making for an incredibly tight set and well as allowing for each distinct voice to shine through. Sweetie’s bass lines are as thick as the best egg nog you’ve ever eaten too much of, the guitar riffs are as dirty as anything Joan Jett’s ever spat out. And Dirk Jonker’s pretty much re-enacting the Garth “I like to play” scene from Wayne’s World, Metallica t-shirt gradually seeing more sweat, but grin splashed permanently across his mug.

This kind of telepathic communication and simple desire to play loud rock music means that each single hits with a power and passion to rifle Peter Gaza’s feathers. “Penelope”, “Goodnight” and “Into My Arms” are all especially direct shocks of rock ‘n’ roll thrills.

Bloods finish their euphoric set, and the crowd stands with cheers on their tongues, begging for more. The dance floor holds itself with baited breath, pleading to get their boogie on once more. Unfortunately, old mates Bloods are all out of songs to play. We sucked ’em dry, but they tore us apart as well, with all the fun and fury that we love them for. That’s what happens when Bloods play, and here’s to hoping it won’t be too long before we all get to do it again.

Album Review: Mesa Cosa – YaYa Brouhaha

When you open up a record entitled ‘YaYa Brouhaha’, you go into it knowing that you’re probably not going to find the next Bob Dylan. In fact, it’s more likely you’ll find a howling, fuck-eyed Iggy Pop, in the smearing-peanut-butter-over-his-belly phase of career. Yeah, that comparison probably sits right. It’s too fun of a title to be anything as macabre as GG Allin, and it’s too idiotic to be anything that takes itself seriously. So, basically the perfect mix of punk rock and hellfire carelessness.

Which is exactly what a Mesa Cosa show is. If you haven’t caught them before, make a blood pact with yourself to catch them in the flesh. Make a deal with the devil, eat out a porcupine, go for a toilet dive like that scene from  who gives a shit, just make sure that you see these guys unleash hell upon your unprepared soul. Sure, they’ve got a song about getting the hell out of me beloved Sydney, but can you really blame them? Shitney is basically pompousness, a harbour filled with chemically-suffocated fish and a big bridge.

The main issue regarding Mesa Cosa on record, is that converting that amount of insane energy and complete disregard for hygiene would be bloody hard. Shit, that’s not just hard, it’s damn nigh impossible. When you have a band that puts their bodies on the line as enthusiastically as Mesa Cosa, it’s hard to know whether you’re dealing with living, breathing psychotics or a slithering five-headed Hydra that is actually immortal, and therefore has no need for things like “safety” and “personal space”. Therefore, capturing that sort of idea in recorded format seems to be a task about as likely as finding someone/something for George Brandis to mate with (Farmer Wants a Brandis?)

But in ‘YaYa Brouhaha’, Mesa Cosa do a damn fine job of showcasing their revoltingly ecstatic mind frame. Switching between the likely demonic rambles of Cheech Marin in ‘From Dusk ‘Til Dawn’ set to the sound of Armageddon Garage Rock n Roll (“Bad Blood”, “Bruja”) and straight up fucked-up-ness that makes Kevin Smith’s ‘Tusk’ seem like one of the more reasonable releases of 2014. For those who don’t know about it, the guy who made Clerks has gone batshit crazy and released a movie where Justin “I’m A Mac” Long gets turned into a motherfucking Walrus. And Mesa Cosa’s “Inocente” makes that dude look sane.

Whilst the beginning of the record starts off wobbly and unsure, by the time “YaYaYaYa” rolls around, your ears just be but bloody stubs. ‘YaYa Brouhaha’ is a record best played loud, with the expectation of partying to disembowelment. It sounds like early Ty Segall records fleshed out to the size and ferocity of early King Gizzard. It’s Taz the Tasmanian Devil’s favourite band. If the B-52’s hooked up with the Manson family, and had a drug-fuelled orgy, this would be the recorded result. Their rock and roll is absolutely brutal, compelling and twisted, enraged and playful. It’s rock n roll on Mexican opiates – and because the band are having so much fun with the album, it becomes hard not to get sucked up into their hurricane of destruction as well.

Get a load of it at the Mesa Cosa Bandcamp.

Album Review: ScotDrakula – ScotDrakula

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Here’s a few things that we’ve been waiting a while for:

1. Robocop
2. An end to the debate of cats vs. dogs (dogs, duh)
3. The debut album from Melbourne’s ScotDrakula

In a realm in which there’s so much rock ‘n’ roll, overwhelmingly so, it gets to a point where things can become stale and uninventive. Sure, the beauty of garage is that anyone can play it.  But with that acceptance also comes the assumption that you’ll provide a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm, not just a few chords tied together in utter lameness. Seriously, what’s the point? Think of all the great rock ‘n’ rollers, from MC5 to GG Allin to Joey Ramone. The one thing they all shared in common was an irrepressible urge to scream and shout, to enthral all with their energetic presence. And that is precisely what ScotDrakula have captured in their refreshingly ramshackle ode to fuzz and fucking around.

Ya’see, ScotDrakula, besides having a great name in the vein of Reckless Vagina, Chugga & The Fuckheads and Drunk Mums (so dumb, it’s utterly brilliant), are so authentically dedicated to showcasing their vibrancy and passion that cynicism barely enters the equation. Their pulsating flashes of catchy-as-hell guitar bludgeoning is as fun as it comes. Listening to the record, it feels like you’ve just finished high-school/university, and it’s at that point where everyone’s throwing their hats in the air and tearing up their final exams. Best of all, ScotDrakula don’t allow for that crushing defeat of real life to break through and destroy that happiness.

On the topic of how the album is constructed, well, ScotDrakula have always been abundant in their hit-making abilites. How a track like “Burner” or “Ain’t Scared” hasn’t been buried into a Hollywood soundtrack or Skittles advertisement is beyond belief. Or maybe the suits have been pounding down their doors, and the band simply have more resilience and dignity than I do? Regardless, the point here is that their album is filled with songs that would turn any wine-n-cheese muncher into a full-blown Wayne’s World 2 final scene re-enactment. Obviously, lead singles “O’Clock” and “Shazon” are bloody rippers, tearing away at the bad times like they’re a mean-looking scab, and letting the blood of good vybz run as freely as the Nile.

But even with all the singles in here, there’s still a fair amount of glue, holding court amongst the pill-popping, cone-pumping party starters. Whilst there’s maybe not enough to even out the record with as much diversity as a bloody Radiohead album, a re-recorded “Break Me Up”, fiery romance-jam “Starter Humanism” and head-jammer of “I Ain’t Going to Sleep” allow for enough cleansing of the party palette. And if you somehow become dissatisfied with things being slowed down just that tiny bit, then there’s plenty available for turning your hands into an air guitar, clawing at nothing in your best 80’s thrash-metal impression, and hearing frontman Matt Neuman’s dingo yelps (which are as unique and satisfying as any Iggy Pop howl).

So, here you’ve got an album from ScotDrakula –  it’s uproariously loveable, as much so as any episode of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. If enjoying crunchy, scuzzy and tasty-as-fuck riffs penetrating every inch of your pleasure indicator seems like something you’d want to spend a half hour doing, then join the queue lined up to buy the record. For the other four of you, go see a therapist, and then get them to write you a prescription for the balls-out fun of ScotDrakula.

 

The Scotty-Draks’ album comes out this Friday, 14th of November. They’re accompanying old mates Bloods(!) on their also-debut-album tour, for what is going to be a double-bill for the ages. They stop by Goodgod on November 29th.

Album Review: Los Tones – Psychotropic

It’s no secret that ‘Straya is booming right now on the garage front. Ramshackle mind-obliterating LP’s have been released recently from the likes of The Frowning Clouds, Straight Arrows and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard seem to pop up with a new album every few months (their fifth comes out in a few weeks). But there’s a contendor in the ring, a possible Muhammad Ali to the reigning Sonny Liston’s of the rock n roll scene of Aus. They’re called Los Tones, they’re from Sydney, get around ’em quick smart, because these guys are going to be doing a little bit of alright in the next few years, especially if they can maintain the momentum of their debut album.

‘Psychotropic’ is a record with serious brawl, thudding bass lines intermingling with 60’s guitars at a dangerous pace. It’s surf rock placed in a criminal context. Surely this kind of thing must’ve been going through Dennis Wilson’s mind when he was brandishing a drug habit to rival Charlie Sheen, and hooking up with Charlie Manson. It’s slightly deranged, a little bit psychotic, but very, very fun. It’s like an audio version of your crazy boyfriend/girlfriend who gives you the best sex ever, but then burns down your house to the soundtrack of a Guitar Wolf album.

This record thrives on the freak-outs, of which there are plenty. Like Jellbellys, everyone’s going to have a favourite, and my personal heartbreaker is the melting guitar solos and organ inflections of “Cry”. But, hey, that’s just me. Some of you might like the tingling pelvis swaying in “Buchanan Hammer”, others can live off the rapid-fire boogie  of “Waste of Space”, a track that takes Drunk Mums’ depraved excitement and injects it with the soundtrack from a Quentin Tarantino film.

This is a rock ‘n’ roll record, through and through. Every moment is scorched in blazing hot guitar, the entrails of all other genres laid bare in the wake of this destructive album. Some might say that there could be a lack of diversity, but instead of that, I view it as a lack of spreading the energy. The closest thing that Los Tones get to an “average” pace is the charming and snarling “Ordinary Man”, which is still quite the bombast. However, Los Tones quickfire energetic performance isn’t really much of a critique. I mean, it’s fair better to stay in the loose and reckless part of the meter, rather than risk fucking up the whole thing with some ballad that doesn’t fit in anywhere.

The point of “Psychotropic” is to introduce the world to a very vibrant and completely un-ordinary garage band. They’ve got a love for the old-school that transcends the trap that most rock ‘n’ roll bands fall into, in that they mime too hard, and end up a cliche. Los Tones are too committed to being ruthlessly authentic, that their debut LP is simply too good for any garage fans to pass up. Play this shit loud, and thrash it until you’re record is just flimsy wax. Then buy another one. Repeat until the apocalypse.

 

New: West Thebarton Brothel Party – Glenn McGrath

I’ll be honest, I know fuck all about cricket. Yeah, I get it, it’s meant to be the summer equivalent to footy, an Australian pastime as central to societal wellbeing as shrimps on the barbie. But it’s fucking boring, right! Like, I’d rather allow a constipated bloke try to shit in my mouth than watch a full game of the Ashes. Those two activities aren’t all that dissimilar either – they both involve chowing down on second hand meat pies.

However, Radelaide’s West Thebarton Brothel Party (a reference I doubt anyone will get unless they’ve been to the City of Churches) have released a high-octane punch in the guts, an ode to one of the best players and activist. Glenn McGrath’s a sweetheart, and it seems only right that a rowdy fastball of a song is dedicated in his honour. “Glenn McGrath” is a rowdy, rambunctious and drunken track to spew your guts out to. Fuck the Ashes, let’s see England try and beat a song like this.

New: Scotdrakula – O’Clock

FUUUUUCKKK MEEE! MOITE, Scotdrakula have just released the banger of the year! Fuck your Top 40 radio, I haven’t been able to stop shaking my shoulders and doing rolls with my hands since this popped up on the Interwebs a mere few hours back.

Does the above (^) make a whole lot of sense? No? Alright, let me bring this down to more serious terms. Scotdrakula have suddenly decided to become stoked on life, and as a result, they’ve busted out something that’s like Bill Haley on crack. Their voices are still as raspy as a piece of sandpaper fronting a heavy metal band for 30 years, but they’ve upped the jangle, turned back time, and created a masterpiece of boogie-shaking rock ‘n’ roll. Fuck, I actually can’t get over this song, it’s gonna be soundtracking parties for a long time now, y’hear!

Video: Bloods – Penelope

Obviously the wonderful trio of Bloods – Sydney’s finest purveyors of bubblegum rock and roll – are scared shitless by either dentists, or celebrities with scarily perfect teeth. Their oft-used moniker of a dripping grin becomes sentient and decides that, even though Bloods birthed this little guy into cult status off the back of their “Goodnight” 7″, it’s going to chomp these guys to bits. Armed with a burning rage and looking like the ghostly remnants of Gary Busey’s canines, this asshole chases old mates around a carpark, devouring them all until they are forced into a ghostly realm wherein they’ll be forced to play the same song over and over again. It’s like Groundhog Day but with a heaps good song.

New Ball-Rippers: WOD + Dead Set Ledger + Truly Holy + MUSK + Vomitface + Pet Sun

As the title would indicate, these are a few songs that will have a similar effect as a kangaroo using your nutsack as a speedball. Also, the kangaroo is on speed. Also, there is no way you can listen to all five of these bands in one sitting and not suffer a heart attack. You’ve been warned.

WOD – Top 5

Out on the fucking legendary label Pissfart Records, who’ve also done shit with Drunk Mums and Dumb Punts, party disembowlers WOD have released an ode to fucking around and being unable to count to 5. “Top 5” is all about Eddy Current Suppression Ring meeting AC/DC at the gloryhole in a dingy Melbourne watering stick carpet venue.The entire song spends its time expelling true rock and roll from both ends of the body. If aliens discovered this track, they’d be falling over their tentacles to be the first to Planet Earth, so they could all hang out with our overlords WOD.

Dead Set Ledger – Buddy’s Kicking Screwies on the SCG

This seems damned appropriate considering the Grand Final is in a few hours (‘CARN SWANNIES!). However, it comes from some old mates out of Melbourne, the legends known as Dead Set Ledger. Utilising old commentary praising the great Buddy Franklin, a chocolate thickshake of a riff and a beautifully macabre yelp, Dead Set Ledger may have just made themselves the best footy ode since “That’s My Team”. And “That’s My Team” sucks. So yeah, just listen to this instead, because it fucking rules.

Truly Holy – Paradise

Truly Holy have a name that might bring to mind a band like Boy & Bear or Father John Misty, or some other bullshit that’s all about connecting your spirit with the earth. But their tunes are so fucking Melbourne and rock ‘n’ roll, it’s easy to throw that gesture away. Their single, which I wish I had gotten onto ages ago, is a looming monologue in the style of Total Control being mixed down. It’s a hard-working existential paradise, and will make you feel as depressed and elated as if you whipped yourself a Nietzsche smoothie.

MUSK – Last Stand/ Rot Soft

MUSK are a band out of Oakland, which is where my entire family lives. I have a strong and heady heart for Oakland, because it always manages to produce some of the most badass music. MUSK are a prime example, a mixture of fire-spitting brutality, and deadly swagger. If Tex Perkins grew up in a city more dangerous than Baltimore in The Wire (see: Oakland) you’d be hard-pressed to see him forming a band other than this delicious stanky MUSK.

Vomitface – Sloppy Joes

First up, how fucking great is the name Vomitface? It’s right up there with Diarrhoea Planet and The Gooch Palms. Their music is just as primal and beautifully revolting as their name, falling in the vein of Eagulls and Hookworms, or that J Mascis/King Tuff side project Witch. They’ve got these super finger-nails on chalkboard vibes running through their crunchy guitars, distortion turning the song into a mushroom-cloud laying motherfucker. The finale is a brutal mix of stoner-rock that would make the members of Kyuss weep.

Pet Sun – Feel Like I’m Going Away

I am super surprised that Pet Sun don’t have a Hozac Records tag on them yet. They seem like exactly the sort of thing that the home of Heavy Times and Radar Eyes would jizz over harder than Gary Busey watching Point Break reruns. It’s jungle-party rock and roll, debased and disgusting, dribbling and hungry guitars chewing the scenery. “Feel Like I’m Going Away” is a relatively simple track, with a basic refrain, badass riff and bootylicious solo, but the legendary-ness comes from The Stooges-like swagger that Pet Sun pull off. They’re rock and roller with ease, like Drunk Mums or Straight Arrows, and pulverise the senses with what seems like little effort. Sexcellent.

Album Review: King Tuff – Black Moon Spell

Kyle Thomas is King Tuff. King Tuff is Kyle Thomas. Cool, we’ve got that out of the way? Just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. No judgement, seriously. Pseudonyms are fucked up things. Remember that time JK Rowling sold fuck all books because she was writing under a pseudonym? Yeah, man, faking a name is hard business, and it can really bite you in the ass. Which is why it’s so cool to see King Tuff finally embracing his outrageous side, and not letting previous projects like Witch and associations with Ty Segall get in the way of some solid rocking out.

King Tuff records have alway suffered from being a little too awesome. They almost bland themselves out. It’s like when you eat a whole bucket of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked – once you get about 3/4 of the way down, the only reason you’re continuing is because you feel like you have to finish what you’ve started. You know it’s really, really good, a mini-orgasm giving birth to multiple other orgasms at the same time, but that plateau wears itself thin, and you don’t become bored necessarily, just accustomed. With “Black Moon Spell”, King Tuff has fully incorporated the T. Rex sound into his wild rock ‘n’ roll, and taken chances with his guitar that he never would have shied away from on earlier releases. With previous albums, there was always something just holding back the album from achieving what King Tuff wanted to say.”Was Dead” was almost hippie-infused, like a garage band choking on incense, and his self-titled was a headbanger’s journey cushioned by a safety helmet and an overprotective Mum barking orders from the sidelines.

But ‘Black Moon Spell’ pulls no such punches. It’s cool as fuck, so cool that it kicked calm and collected out on the street, and struts around by itself. The guitar lines are sickeningly sweet and crunchy, like an explosion that’s gone off at the Wonka factory. There’s the ultimate Hunx & His Punx knockoff track “Beautiful Thing”, which might be this year’s best track to stand outside an unrequited love’s house and blast on a loudspeaker (ironically, this insanely catchy firecracker is followed by a bouncy track glorifying the plainer of us, called “I Love You Ugly”). “Black Holes in Stereo” is like that Dasher “Go Rambo” track, only instead of belonging in a hardcore punk dive, it’s been transported to a transvestite karoake night, where you either play David Bowie or you can Get The Fuck Out (GTFO for the acronym lovers). And “Eddie’s Song” takes all the hand-clapping awesomeness of Aerosmith and Van Halen, and crushes it into a toe-tapping sexperience (trust me, the orgasms will come thick and fast on this one, the melody practically moans itself).

But by far, “Headbanger” is the standout here. It might be the finest song King Tuff has composed to date, chock full of guitar breaks, bludgeoning riffs, and mind-melting cymbal crashes. And best of all, KT manages to describe the perfect partner – someone with Judas Priest and Iron Maiden records and who’s not afraid to tear open some skin in pursuit of the ultimate headbang. Every King Tuff record has that one song that continues in the consciousness of the fans, even after the album has receded to background noise. ‘Was Dead’ had “Lazerbeam”, ‘King Tuff’ had “Keep On Movin'” and ‘Black Moon Spell’ has “Headbanger”.

But back to the original point. Cohesiveness was never really the goal of King Tuff, nor was it completely expected. Churn out a record loaded with hits, and we’ll ignore the couple of bung notes in favour of gettin’ turnt. ‘Black Moon Spell’ suffers from this curse in only the mildest of forms (“Sick Mind”, “Staircase of Diamonds”) and better yet, King Tuff’s musical ability has skyrocketed to make every track as gooey and chunky as possible. He’s cut off his fears, and completely let loose, indulging incredibly, and reaping the great rewards that stem from true glam rock. Marc Bolan would be crying tears of joy in celebration of this record, and you should to. The songs on here are excellence, and whereas ‘Black Moon Spell’s predecessors would’ve suited a garage performance or a sticky carpet, this album points towards stadium aspirations that are both achievable and welcome.