Album Review: Roku Music-Collider

How fucking great is shoegaze music? In all seriousness, wouldn’t you give up all the modern conveniences of life to just go and live on an island that heaved drawn out breaths of guitar rambling? Metaphors aside, shoegaze is one of the greatest musical experiences one can sit through. Ever since My Bloody Valentine popularised the genre back in the early 90’s with their jaw-dropping, nut-busting, expectation-decapitating records ‘Isn’t Anything’ and ‘Loveless’, shoegaze has been one revolutionary album after another, knocking pop’s hard-on for bubblegum and autotune into an abyss of terrible, and replacing the charts with nothing but reverb-soaked genius.

Or at least, that’s the way history should’ve panned out. If I had my way, The X Factor would consist of nothing but Slowdive and Swervedriver covers. Instead, we get some Ke$ha farts and the Killers latest verbal diarrhoea. Meanwhile, shoegaze resigned itself to being another 90’s pocket genre, like grunge or good emo.

However, every now and then, by some fantastic miracle, a band emerges that says, ‘Hey, remember Ride? Well, we tickled their loins and played their records, and now we’re better than them.’ That band in question is Roku Music, from Brisbane. What the fuck is a Roku and why does it have its own genre of music? Who knows (my bet is on a forgotten Dragon Ball Z character) and who cares. All you should focus on is their fantastic debut record, which will be dropping soon via Sonic Masala Records.

The Brisbanauts, well, they take their cues from all the greats. Opener and title track ‘Collider’ is like The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Reid brothers grabbing Beth Gibbons from Portishead, and forcing her to take that drug from the new Dredd movie. What results is an ultimately epic jam, that builds on furiously high guitar notes that bleed through waves of pedal fuzz-the perfect soundtrack to Karl Urban blowing people’s heads off.

It doesn’t stop there. Oh no, Roku bring on some sludgy oblivion on ‘Gold’, Kim Deal-esque un-hindered fun times on ‘Reflector‘ and ‘Come Untrue’, and they cheekily steal a couple of Kevin Shields’ signature pedals on the closer of ‘You’. Fuck time machines-why screw with the space-time continuum when there’s something like ‘Collider’ that can literally (not metaphorically) transport you to a place where flannel was worn by nearly everyone and no-one knew who The Stooges were.

Wait, fuck that! Why would you want to live in the 90’s again? They didn’t even have the Internet remember? How do you think you’d survive shitting on bands in real life as opposed to a comments section? No, 2014 is a much better time and place, where you can recline in your synthetic masturbation chamber, put on your #retro vinyl collection, and kick to the likes of Roku Music, who have somehow channelled all the greats into a perfect encapsulation of what makes shoegaze such an enticing genre to drool over. So curl up, kick back, and let yourself get sucked  into the perfect, politely unafraid vortex of Roku Music’ ‘Collider’.

Roku Music are bringing a strain of unrefined shoegaze mayhem to Sydney on March 21st at The Square, and March 23rd at Black Wire.

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New: Roku Music-Reflector

Imagine if Kim Deal was captured by the Reid brothers, and they were taking her to a top-secret, underground musical base to record a bunch of demos that would never see the light of day. But when navigating that difficult 45 degree reverse park in the base’s parking lot, a drunken Kevin Shields ploughs into them with a semi-trailer. Scientists from Brisbane are able to resurrect a machine of sorts, made from the body parts and musical instruments in the base, half-Terminator, half-Robocop, and a little bit of Weird Science. The result: Roku Music.

If you don’t believe me, then check out the new single ‘Reflector’, a song which happens to be loads better than that other Arcade Fire stuff with the kinda same name.

Because your life won’t be complete after listening to that song, you can see Roku Music at The Square on March 21st, and at Blackwire on the 23rd.

New Alternative Music: The Soft Moon + Roku Music + The Dirty Nil + PILE + Taka Perry

Ermahgerd Erlterhnertive Merzik. Ferk yer!

The Soft Moon-Feel

Seriously, new Soft Moon material is to me what a new Doctor in Dr Who is to people that have too much time on their hands. I’m unbelievably stoked that this guy has decided to put out some more stuff, and, spoiler alert, it is pretty amazeballs.

It starts out like a cross between New Order and The Residents in a dingy S&M club in the suburbs, highly strung out and a little sinister. Then the lyrics of ‘I feel like I’m dying inside, I feel so shallow inside’, and it’s right back to the normal Soft Moon territory. If you’re a fan of Cold Cave or The KVB, you should have no problem with the super-nihilism and screeching bass grooves. However, if you’re uninitiated in the ways of darkwave, then let this be a fantastic introduction.

Roku Music-Collider

The first we heard from Sonic Masala Records (probably the greatest thing that has happened for Brisbane since Violent Soho) was a fucking orgasm-laden tune from Gazar Strips. For their second release, the label have gone with the decidedly 90’s shoegaze-revivalists Roku Music.

Slow-burning doesn’t even begin to describe Roku Music. If you had a single flame that slowly grew into a blaze that covered the entire galaxy, powered solely by Kevin Shields, then you’d have something along the lines of ‘Collider’. It just gets bigger and more epic, sliding into your brain in the only way those buxom shoegaze songs can. For a point of reference, think Day Ravies crossed with a reverb drenched Pixies. If that doesn’t get you tingling in strange places, then you are not a functioning human.

The Dirty Nil-Wrestle Yü to Husker Dü

There are only two bands out there who have pulled off the umlaut successfully: Motörhead and Husker Dü. That’s it. No other bands can pull off the umlaut, because they simply do not have the badass potential to do so.

Luckily, The Dirty Nil have released the lack of hope there is in trying to place an umlaut in your band name, and have instead gone with referencing one of the greats. They’ve also managed to work in a great song title. Man, I wish there was someone out there that would wrestle with me to Zen Arcade.

As if all this wasn’t enough, they’ve topped everything off with a fucking awesome song that makes the term ‘angst-ridden’ pack up its emo-makeup and walk home to listen to Black Veil Brides until 10:30 pm, when the internet connection gets turned off.

A heavy, brooding bass-line, simple riff and bombastic drum part all smash together, tied down by a fucking amazing chorus of ‘I don’t care!’. ‘Wrestle Yü to Husker Dü’ pretty much the ultimate alternative rock song. If this had been released in the 90’s, The Dirty Nil would have been spending more time washing their hands from all the grubby meet ‘n’ greets with turdy major label execs than actually making this music that is balls deep in awesome.

PILE-Special Snowflakes

If you want to get a crash course in Boston’s current music scene, then you need to know about three bands: Speedy Ortiz, Fat History Month and PILE. The latter have just released a new 7″, the title track of which is pretty fucking great.

The song itself is seven minutes long, so its basically guaranteed that there’s going to be a musical journey of sorts, because PILE aren’t a group who’s songs exist on a single bullshit loop that goes for fucking forever. Instead, you’ve got a quiet, meandering intro that slowly raises itself into a shredder masterpiece. It’s like an alternative version of an At The Drive-In song, with the same pounding urgency and genius lyrics. Although a long song, its hard not to let your hands slam down on whatever flat surface you happen to be near whenever the snares kick in with the alertness of a college student that’s just taken 15 Ritalin to ‘prepare’ for the upcoming exams.

Taka Perry-LIFEFORMS

Fucking ages ago now, when I was but a wee fuckhead, I heard about this 14 year old kid from Canberra making some decent-sized instrumental stuff. Safe to say, I haven’t grown up, but just taking a geez at his new single, and it becomes blatantly obvious that this guy is going places.

He’s moved away from the slower, proggy stuff that he first established himself with, and instead has gone a little more of the way of ‘THE METAL’. There is some serious shredding taking place here. Who knows what made young Mr. Perry want to obliterate guitar strings with such ferocity. Although there are some moments of brief respite, the Godspeed!-like action on display is what elevates this song to severe levels of interest.