New: Scotdrakula – Skeleton Fever

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A few months ago, a Facebook event popped up that said something along the lines of “FINAL SCOTDRAKULA SHOW…”, and my heart jumped into my mouth. Beads of sweat trailed down my scalp, a burning rash of anxiety shot through my innards – Scotdrakula were breaking up???

Yes, and no – Scotdrakula will continue, but without the spiritual mentorship and bass whizz Dove Bailey, who has left for New York. On the upside, Dove has made his final mark with “Skeleton Fever”, a significantly beautiful song that needs your ears like Mike Baird needs a crack in the head. It follows down the road of Scotdrakula’s more poignant jams like “Break Me Up”, gently unspooling alongside a buzzing organ and toe-tapping guitar melodies. With it’s yearning chorus and hazy charm, there’s something immediately comfortable “Skeleton Fever”, even if you’re only hearing it for the first time.  And although it’s comparatively quieter to the speedy, jilted garage-pop they’ve became known for, it still hits home as hearteningly as anything Scotdrakula have written before.

Scotdrakula are going on the huge ‘Up the Guts’ tour of Australia with Scott and Charlene’s Wedding, Ali E, Ben Wright Smith and more – dates here

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Top 5 Records w/ ScotDrakula

OKAY! THIS IS COOL! GATHER ROUND CHILDREN! The Scotty Draks are coming to town (WITH THE MUTHA FLIPPIN’ MIGHTY BOYS) and they’re playing THIS THURSDAY at GOODGOD SMALL CLUB. Fuck me sideways, and call me Christopher Pyne, this is gonna be a good ‘un.

For those who don’t know, ScotDrakula are one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets. They’re a garage rock tour de-force. If you’re ever in a bad mood, chuck on their new album (which was one of the best records of last year) and feel your problems wash away faster than copping acupuncture treatment from Morgan Freeman.

But if you’re actually a member of ScotDrakula, you can’t just listen to your own record over and over again. So, I asked Matt Neumann, the fiery and elegant ginger frontman of the Scotty Draks to tell me his Top 5 Records to get through a bad mood.

Top 5 Records w/ ScotDrakula

Sonic Youth – Goo

Overall incredible album. Has enough noise to block out exterior sound.

Probably the closest they got to making pop music overall. Sounds like every song is trying to contain a big noisy racket that really, really wants to happen.

Suicide – Suicide

The appropriate volume level for Ghost Rider is insanely-loud. Have another few cups of coffee.

Thrash around your apartment, secretly hoping to bother your neighbors.

JJ DOOM – KEYS TO THE KUFFS

Put on BORIN CONVO and feel like maybe you don’t have ADHD, maybe it’s just that everyone else is real boring.

Iceage – New Brigade

This is a good one for public transport. Something about the frequencies makes it awesome for blocking out strangers having loud, dumb, public conversations. Also, just a really great energetic/awesome record. Put on your headphones and stare directly forward.

Sleep – Dopesmoker

Straight up loud, ugly, heavy, repeat. An hour long song that’s just heavy as fuck. After about 20 minutes, you forget that you’re even listening to it and it becomes a soundtrack to your mean terrible mood. 

SctoDrakula play with Mighty Boys, Claire & the Cops, and Hunch at GoodGod this Thursday, 12th of Feb. Tix here.

Top 10 Australian Albums of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckon is the best of the best this year.

Albums are probably the most important listicle for me, personally, because they are the full form of creative expression for the artist. A single song, video clip or show can take certain things out of context, bolster aspects for the strongest appeal, and add new factors that increase the credibility. But with the album format, the artist has the range and capability to express themselves to their full extent. Sometimes, that leaves bands boring and stuggling for things to say and at other times there are plenty of gems to be found that represent the artist more fully than the ‘singles’ can convey.

If you haven’t heard any of the following albums, I beg you to go forth and purchase a copy. These artists deserve your attention.

Honourable Mentions: Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders (‘Playmates’), Ciggie Witch (‘Rock And Roll Juice’), Ernest Ellis (‘Cold Desire’), Pronto (‘When You’re Gone’) Andras & Oscar (‘Cafe Romantica’) Jonathan Boulet (‘Gubba’) Bloods (‘Work It Out’), Nun (‘Nun’), SPOD (‘Taste the Sadness’) Donny Benet (‘Weekend At Donny’s’) Collarbones (‘Return’).

10. Lowtide – Lowtide

Both heartbreaking and riveting, Lowtide unveiled a shoegaze masterpiece with their debut record. Flawless reverb was achieved, a statement that is almost never uttered. What’s more, the band interjected excitable gems like “Wedding Ring” and “Held” to prove they could do more than poignant and mouth-watering dream-pop shudders. (Review Here)

9. Straight Arrows – Rising

There’s something rising alright, and its not just the pulse of this record. A 60’s bonanza of loose Nuggets nods with the breakneck pace that we’ve come to adore from Owen Penglis. “Petrified” will never lose its cooler-than-Kim-Deal aura, “Never Enough” will never not be accompanied by headbanging, and “Make Up Your Mind’ will never make you not sweat like a guy who just popped pills in a rave in the Sahara. (Review Here)

8. Yes, I’m Leaving – Slow Release

Four albums in, and YIL have fully embraced their aggressive and blisteringly amazing potential. The way that three dudes from Sydney managed to make music that completely replicated THAT scene from Total Recall is mindblowing (pun intended, motherfucker). Strangling brutality ensues at an unbelievable rate, and the result is must-hear. Yes, I’m Leaving have made punk exciting again. (Review Here)

7. Scotdrakula – Scotdrakula

Melbourne’s Scotdrakula released an album so heart-stoppingly fun and eccentric, you would swear you’re at a theme park run by Tim & Eric. The record was a singles-fest, from the h8r-proof “O’Clock”, to “Shazon” impractically kicking more ass than a buddy cop film from the 1970’s. The yelps, riffs and good times of this album are as addicting as crack, and 10x more fun. (Review Here)

6. Bearhug – So Gone

Bearhug impressed beyond belief with their sophomore effort, lush pools of guitar gliding gently but effectively. For the duration of their second record, Bearhug never failed to impress, creating deep wells of greatness. What’s more, the songs were so packed that every listen brought on a new subtle technique or riff to bubble with joy over. (Review Here)

5. Ausmuteants – Order of Operation

Hilarious, snarky and brutally underrated, Ausmuteants released their third, and best record, this year. Attacking a variety of subjects, from porn, to unoriginality, to just being angry at fucking everything, like if Devo made ‘Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out The Trash’. Beautifully loud obnoxious, like a Geelong-ised Cartman that loves The Monks, Ausmuteants are the punk band that Australia doesn’t need, but the one it deserves. (Review Here)

4. Step-Panther – Strange, But Nice

Going from a band of shredders that liked to make songs about fat kids getting abducted and teenage romance to something that people wanted to take seriously was always going to be hard, but Step-Panther achieved that with their stupefyingly good second record. As naked as open-heart surgery, Step-Panther laid things bare for a mind-numbingly good album, in the truest sense of the word. There’s a journey here, a quest guided by back-breaking guitar solos, bloody doom riffs and stories as wholesome as The Goonies. (Review Here)

3. The Ocean Party – Soft Focus

The Ocean Party have always been consistent, but on their fourth album, they’ve wrought an album of genius. ‘Soft Focus’ is packed with songs that tug on the ol’ heart, yearning lyrics pushing through walls of sound that recall The Triffids at their best. If you’ve ever wanted to immerse yourself in a record, “Soft Focus” is the easiest, and most likeable, of your options, a straight-up pop album masked in woefully gorgeous jangle. (Review Here)

2. Weak Boys – Weekdays/Weekends

Weak Boys, a Sydney supergroup made of Internet Sensations™, Dollar Bar contributors and Craig Lyons, quietly released an Australian classic this year on par with The Castle and Tony Abbott’s budgie smugglers. A diverse smorgasbord of guitar-pop and mope-rock, “Weekdays/Weekends” is fuelled by self-deprecation, glistening humour and a catchiness that rivals Taylor Swift. It is fantastic in so many indescribable ways, an encapsulation of the Australian, or at least Sydney, lifestyle in much the same way The Go-Betweens probably did back before Y2K. From the ode to Rice Is Nice’s Julia Wilson, to the plight of the hungover, Diane Keaton-pining miser (read: everyone), “Weekdays/Weekends” was both the most underrated release of 2014, and one of the best. (Review Here)

1. Blank Realm – Grassed Inn

‘Grassed Inn’ was released in January of 2014, a time when most records are easily forgotten about by the time Year-End Lists roll around. At here we are, December, and Blank Realm still reign supreme. Topping a list on some shitty blog is nowhere near the recognition this album deserves – it is a masterpiece. Off-kilter pop that hurts and burns, burrowing into the emotional conscious with such an ease, you’d think it was a Nicholas Sparks novel. From the droning weirdness of a Spiritualized/New Order hybrid to the embracement of hurt that a Johhny Cash/Robert Smith duet would reveal, a pool of influences are on display, embraced to create something magnificently unique. Wrapped in the keytar-adoring hands of Blank Realm, music is a malleable, smudged and sincerely uplifting creature that restores faith. Superb in every word, ‘Grassed Inn’ is essential for everyone. (Review Here)

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: 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.

Video: Scotdrakula – O’Clock

Beers. If there’s one thing I know, and love, it’s beers. Whilst some of my comrades chose to delegate, and manouvre to other areas such as ‘footy’ or ‘chicks’, I stay, and abide to my real passion.

Scotdrakula, they share my enthusiasm and unwavering loyalty to the almighty tinnie. For their new video “O’Clock’, which I can conveniently describe as a comically spot on impression of Elvis Presley’s yelps after doing, like, the biggest line of coke ever. Loose. Add in some garage riffs that any 60’s band worth their salt would be scrabbling for, and you’ve got the basic audio components of “O’Clock”.

But to include beers and dancing antics is fanatic. Scotdrakula, to quote Leonardo DiCaprio’s most rascist role:  “You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention”.

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!

Mixtape(s): Hand Games + Peking Tapes Summer Mixtape

Today, not one, but TWO brand new mixtapes. If you’re of the ‘Fuck Triple J’ mindset and are in the midst of organising a coup of the Triple J Hottest 100, then get amongst these indie gems.

Hand Games Mix #18 January

The first thing that will strike you about the new, flawless Hand Games mixtape is the cute as fuck cover. Jesus Christ, all other cute things may as well go kill themselves in an orgy of blood. Because there is fucking nothing, repeat fucking nothing, that is goddamn cuter than a pink baby elephant hoarding doughnuts. Seriously, cat videos of the internet, throw in the towel, your reign as ‘Cute Internet Thing’ is over.

But onto the music, the main attraction of this deliciously amazing playlist. Due to this playlist, Blank Realm’s ‘Falling Down the Stairs’ has become my favourite song of the month. And regular bands that appear on Soundly Sounds ScotDrakula, Royal Headache and Snowy Nasdaq are here as well with some truly orgasm-inducing tracks.

As usual, the pop and electronica contingent in Hand Games is very strong, with Elizabeth Rose, Safia, Noah Slee and Hubert Clark Jr. making solid cases as to why the electro-pop format is winning hearts and minds everywhere.

And in terms of the darker, weirder shit that makes my pants bulge there’s The Babe Rainbow (awesome name), Home Travel, Emerse, and the spectacularly strange Romi. Seriously, check out Romi’s shit, it makes a one-eyed-purple people eater look like the squarest piece of shit.

HAND GAMES IS FREE, SO GET ON THAT SHIT!

Peking Tapes-Summer Lovin’ 2013

The next glance through the porthole to majestic perfection comes courtesy of Peking Tapes, and features a shit load of artists you’ve never heard of, but will thoroughly enjoy. The reason you’ll have never heard of these artists is because they’re all more underground than a mole who’s only into Neutral Milk Hotel demo tapes.

The shit on here is wondrous in so many ways, glorifying the alternative scene in Melbourne to dizzying heights. Every song on here always makes me feel jittery inside, and the fact that I’m only hearing about these artists now makes it all the better. With the exception of Snowy Nasdaq’s subtle ‘Fucking’, Wizard Oz’s stellar cover of TV Colours’ ‘Bad Dreams’ and the chameleonic Zombie Psychologist, I had no clue of any of these bands.

So surprise, fucking surprise, when I go through a compilation from one of the best tape labels in Australia, and discover a bunch of my new favourite artists. From the wholesome Clean-jangle of Big Tobacco, to the organ-driven dream pop of Cat Cat, to the disorientating math rock of  Pioneers of Good Science and the James-Mercer-on-heroin beauty of Coloured Clocks’ ‘Brick’, there is no point in this entire mixtape where the mind isn’t completely absorbed. This sort of musical genius is usually buried under layers and layers of in-the-know, but thanks to Peking Tapes, it has been uncovered for the likes of you and I to feast our greedy ears upon.

GET ON PEKING TAPES SUMMER LOVING, COS ITS BETTER THAN A HANDJOB FROM TOUCH SENSITIVE AND IT’S FREE!

Playlist: Australian Artists to Watch in 2014 (January Playlist)

Alright, two things.

1. I realise I’ve been pretty shitty about getting out the monthly playlists of songs that you don’t give a fuck about. Frankly, I haven’t been listening to all that much new stuff, just old school Mogwai, The Triffids and this band that Guy from Chapter Music was raving about called The Plants (check ’em they’re rad). So, consider this a January playlist.

2. A bunch of musical related things like the NME have been raving about bands they reckon will explode this year. Honestly, I don’t really give a fuck about Temples or Sam Smith or whatever bullshit Justin Vernon rip-off project is occurring. Now, I wanna talk about some homegrown talent that is sure to lay siege to your brains in this new year.

Before I get stuck in, I’d like to prefix this by saying I didn’t include bands that have had stellar years in 2013. No Palms, or Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys or Bad//Dreems, or anything like that. Definitely no Courtney Barnett after the outrageous (but certainly earned) amounts of praise.  The following bands and artists are ones that came on the verge of hitting big in 2013, but saved up their magic for what is sure to be a stellar following year. Get used to these names-some of them will begin to dominate Triple J, or at least your community radio station, some will begin to invade your hometown with shows, and some will break up, and it’ll be like they never existed. However, all are incredibly, incredibly good, and they’re only at a sapling phase. In 2014, watch these bad boys and girls grow into behemoths of the Australian music scene.

1. Go Violets

2. The Stevens

3. ScotDrakula

4. The Clits

5. Blood Plastic

6. Adults

7. Destiny 3000

9. Multiple Man

10. Circular Keys

11. Tincture

12. GUERRE

13. Cull

14. You Beauty

15. The Creases

16. Driffs

17. Bloods

18. Chicks Who Love Guns

19. The Frowning Clouds

20. Mining Boom

New: ScotDrakula-Break Me Up/No Good! (free download)

One of the most enjoyable Australian bands to listen to as of late (just listen to ‘Burner’ for proof) ScotDrakula combine the sort of lazy garage slackerness with an infection of catchiness not seen since Nirvana wrote pop songs.

Such is the way of their latest, free-download single ‘Break Me Up’. The song burns slower than the fire of love, building and building until its a muddled mess of overridden, scuzzed out fuzz.

The b-side ‘No Good!’ sees the band let loose again in the usual ScotDrakula style, just fucking obliterating all in their path with some badass surfer rock. With a smoking bong in one hand and a guitar in the other, ScotDrakula rock and groove like The Beach Boys on an overload of bad acid.

These two singles just prove how awesome ScotDrakula are. They’ll be playing GoodGod on December 17, supporting Mac DeMarco. Go if you want to be cool.