Video: Hideous Towns – Don’t Forget

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I’ve been sick as a dog the last few days – lungs filling up with black fluid, mucus pooling around my nostrils, the hint of death looming closer and closer – that sort of thing. When you’re in a state like that, it helps to have some really beautiful music to hold onto; something slow and warm, brimming with comfort. Essentially, you want the audio equivalent of a nice soup and herbal tea combo.

And this new one from Hideous Towns should sort you right out. Heavy dollops of reverb, a very gentle, purring riff, and some gorgeous vocals that soar over the top. It’s both hugely expansive and intimate, like a Snuggie stitched with shoegaze instead of phenomenal thread count. If you’re under the weather, the electric blanket is missing, and you’re searching for a reason to live in the face of an invasion from the sniffles, look no further.

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New: Miners – Wrings

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Like Teenage Fanclub and Sonic Youth had a kid that grew up on The Brat Pack and crippling self-doubt, “Wrings” announces Miners’ debut EP ‘Pala’. It’s plucky and packed with feedback, not the variety that turns listeners away but the kind that cocoons your head between the expensive headphones you should be listening to this on. Sweeping guitars combat with forlorn vocals, jangly riffs pacing themselves until they tumble into careeening squall.

Likening themselves to mentors Day Ravies (who’s Sam Wilkinson is releasing the EP under his Strange Pursuits label), Miners snap in and out with a swooning and efficient jam that every pedal nerd is going to be salivating over. You can catch ’em when they play The Record Crate on the 3rd of October w/ Draining Pool and Milkk.

Album Review: Day Ravies – Liminal Zones

Day Ravies have been busier this year than Tony Abbott’s publicist. Fresh from releasing a cassette EP on the new label Strange Pursuits, and a 7″ laaate last year, the band with an affinity for Kinks puns have finally released their follow-up to 2013’s ‘Tussle’. And as expected, it’s a weird, askewed take on pop that unveils yet another dimension to Sydney’s finest.

To fully appreciate Day Ravies and their encompassing knowledge of all things noise-related, you’ve gotta take a look at their side-projects. Mope City, Shrapnel, Disgusting People, and stints in Weak Boys, The Cathys, Beef Jerk are among a select few of the guises you can catch members performing under. They’re in high bloody demand is what I’m trying to say, and no genre is inescapable from the hands of Lani, Sam, Nev and Caro.

Whilst their previous record ‘Tussle’ was mostly concerned with sidling alongside shoegaze and twilight shades of pop, the band feel invigorated on ‘Liminal Zones’. There’s a thrust and excitement behind the songs, naive, open-eyed wonder that froths beneath the surface. There’s a bubbling intoxication that oozes into the songs here, and each track buzzes with the sound of a band that’s been inspired.

Well, of course they’re inspired Ryan, ya fuckwit – they’ve released more material in the last twelve months than most bands release in their careers. IS IT ANY FUCKING GOOD? Well, have you checked out their previous singles? The lead up to ‘Liminal Zones’ has seen cuts like “Fake Beach”, “This Side of the Fence” and the former Shrapnel tune “Hickford Whizz”, which has been reinvigorated and Day Ravies-ified. i.e a whole bunch of noise has been smacked down on top. All three point to very different, but all fantastic, factions of the Day Ravies camp. “Fake Beach” sighs and huffs in equal measures, an existential crisis kept whirring in a bottle, whilst the latter two bristle with a bit more oomph than is expected from a usually delicate band.

But the singles are more of an indication of the album as a package – Day Ravies twist through genres like Natalie Portman twists through mental anguish in Black Swan. They’ll spearhead delightful noise with pixie-dust sprinkled pop on “Halfway Up a Hill”, queue up the jangle buttons and sloshy feedback on “Pulse Check”, and lay down strident alternative rock on “Couple Days”. This consistently stirred genre pot makes the whole process feel like eating skewered kebab blindfolded. You never know what you’re going to get, or what flavours will jump out in the next bite. Roasted capsicum and tender beef? Grilled onions and a slice of chicken? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS!

Unpredictability is key to Day Ravies’ sound on ‘Liminal Zones’, but rather than encourage uncertainty, it gives the whole album a flavour than can be sorely missed in other shoegaze/pop releases. Also, the band are having too much fun, and are so assured in each song. They’ve never sounded more confident, and that rubs into whomever happens to be wearing the headphones at the time.

‘Liminal Zones’ is out now on Sonic Masala/Strange Pursuits, pick it up here. Day Ravies are gonna be playing a few shows pretty soon as well: 24th of July in Manly, 21st of August w/ Wireheads, Weak Boys and Thigh Master, VOLUMES Festival on the 29th , and an album launch on November 9th at the Roxbury in Glebe

Shoegaze Dump: FOREVR + Ultra Material + Maybe

G’day fans of swirling, overblown guitars and incomprehensible vocals, this one’s for you:

FOREVR – DEMONSTRATION

It’s probably the mind-numbing, gonad-expanding, feet-burning heat in Brisbane that has inspired such a gargantuan wave of shoegaze bands. FOREVR are the latest chips off the melting block up North, and they do good, with epic and bold intentions sweltering underneath a crushing amount of instrumentation . If you’ve ever felt like hearing Bjork in suspended animation, bolstered only by thumbing drum machines and sheer noise, FOREVR are your go to. Fucking serene mate – make sure “Heart of Ice” gets added to your bucket list.

Ultra Material – EP

Ultra Material are shoegaze, and also come from Brisbane, but their goal seems more pop-oriented than FOREVR. Like Day Ravies taking a step back and admiring the reflection of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Ultra Material don’t just embrace melody, they strangle it. They bury their muzzles in it, biting until their sharp harpsichord melodies are oozing pus and blood. Then, they thrust and push and shove and fucking throttle until the music is intoxicating, a suffocating blend of styles. The opener, “Crash”, is an unstoppable punch to the guts, and Ultra Material push on from there, ebbing and flowing with some really stunning pedal-thrashing melodramatic pop.

Maybe – DEMO

One of the blokes from Death Bells shared this on his #personalpage, and the guy has only ever emerged with the good stuff, so old mate was inclined to take a look. Maybe (the band) don’t disappoint on their first demo, a forlorn, melancholy lo-fi recording of splintering guitars and vocals battling out to see who’s more depressed. It’s desperate, mournful stuff, with a powerful edge, like Kevin Shields applying his impenetrable wall of noise to a band that’s just witnessed a massacre and has been inspired to write poetry about it.

New: DEAFCULT – DEAFCULT

DEAFCULT have got a name that looks like it could belong to a death metal band, but commit to a sound  that belongs to some intelligent shoegaze melding with a whirring post-punk aesthetic, like Fucked Up meeting Swervedriver in a tumble drier. Their music is built like a hurricane, tidal waves of crushing sound lashing about, but tied neatly together by vocals that form the eye of the storm, an unrelenting, expert calm that thoroughly compliments DEAFCULT’s wilder, more experimental tendencies.

Fuck, they’ve only played one show together, but DEAFCULT’s EP is better than what most band’s manage to put out after years and years. Squalling noise battles it out amongst serene vocals that are backed towards the corners of the mix. Any listener that wants to hear the words that escape from DEAFCULT have to battle through a thronging mosh of instruments to decipher what’s going on. If you can’t be fucked, that’s okay too – just sit back and enjoy the maelstrom.

If you’ve only got thirty seconds because you’re busier than Al Montfort trying to make it to every band practise in Melbourne, then tune into either “B To A”, or “Akira”. It doesn’t matter – as soon as you lose yourself within the first thirty seconds, you’re going to be lulled into listening to this whole EP over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

New: Methyl Ethyl – Twilight Driving

Like PJ Harvey being drowned in fuzz and saxophone, Methyl Ethyl burst in with such a beautiful tune it’s a wonder they’re not having their inbox flooded with requests of marriage. For the record, I can shout a dowry of whatever special Liquor Land have going on at the moment, as well as 2 x Golden Retrievers.

If you feel like a serene and luxurious tune fit for a dream sequence in a David Lynch film, look no further than these Methyl Ethyl folks. This “Twilight Driving” track is beautiful!

Video: Hideous Towns – Um Expression

When the footy soars through the middle posts, and that yellow-lycra bastard pulls up a whistle, and two fat fingers…that’s this song. That’s the glory of this song. Because in case it was not immediately apparent, this is glorious.

Melbourne’s Hideous Towns – incredible. Equally inspired by, reflecting of and building upon some of the best gothic and shoegaze music going around right now. A Place to Bury Strangers, Cold Cave, HTRK, Love of Diagrams, Buzz Kull…all legends in their own right, and Hideous Towns have earned their place with “Um Expression”. Droning, then greatly melodic, chaotic noise, then intimate. Pretty special stuff.

Fuck. Buy their EP.

New: Day Ravies – Under the Lamp EP

Is there anything sweeter in the world than hearing new Day Ravies stuff? Like, anything at all? I’d rather get new Day Ravies stuff in my earholes than get a signed cast photo of Fast and the Furious7. You know how much that photo would be? Like, heaps. Heapz!

Day Ravies is four people from Sydney that have record collections as vast as their talent to make fucking good songs. They put out a record in 2013 that was pretty top notch, as well as a 7″ on France’s Beko Disques, home to Parading, Wizard Oz, and PILLS. But now it’s Sam’s time to shine! Sam Wilkinson, aka that dude that you’ll see at every show in Sydney (usually sporting a Cool Sounds T-shirt) has taken time away from working in all of his bands (Shrapnel, King Tears Mortuary, Mope City, Beef Jerk, Disgusting People, etc.) to help record and release four songs of pop brilliance onto his cassette label Strange Pursuits.

No seriously, these four tracks stand up there with the best that Day Ravies have done. It’s a particularly strong EP; diverse, but still packed. It opens with “Sleepwalk”, a buzzing, Slowdive-meets-K Records twee aesthetic, tumultuous onslaughts of chugging guitar battered down with ethereal intertwining vocals and synths.

Move onto “Under the Lamp”, and nod along to careening guitars soar for minutes on end, then head into “Perennial”, which is the Jesus And Mary Chain trying to mimic the pop sensibilities of The Psychedelic Furs, done in a way that makes you forget that both bands have been around for longer than Day Ravies have been alive. Then ooze into “Prior Hour”, a jam that’s like if PJ Harvey had gotten into Ride instead of Steve Albini.

Going through this EP is a blur of wonder, and then it strikes you that these songs were recorded in the sessions for the upcoming sophomore album from Day Ravies. I’ve been assured that this material was stuff that just couldn’t make it onto the album, but by the same token….holy shit, there’s more were this came from???

Do yourself a favour, and pick up a freakin’ cassette from the Strange Pursuits Bandcamp. And come to the Day Ravies show on the 28th at the Union Hotel. Weak Boys and Bearhug are also playing and it’s free. Jesus Christ, do you need any more convincing?

New: White Walls – Lightbulb

White Walls are more criminally underrated than Michael Fucking Keaton. But just like Michael Keaton, 2015 is the year in which White Walls are gonna score a fucking Oscar. And don’t worry, they aren’t going to be choking back tears as they put away their acceptance speech, they’re going to be slam dancing their way onto the stage.

“Lightbulb” is the first thing that’s emerged from the White Walls camp in a fair while, but it’s just as glassy and piercing as their previous work. There’s a serated edge to their onslaught, a furious mixture of shoegaze and punk. It’s like Swervedriver swerving into a bloody care accident, or Love of Diagrams being injected with razor-edged fuzz pedals. Wait for the crescendo, when the sound turns into a bursting wall of filthy feedback and gnashing drums. Fuck that’s venomous!

New: Blonde Tongues – Hey Good Lookin’

Here’s a small romance tip from your old mate Rye Rye: if you’re gonna hit on someone, screaming “Hey Good Lookin’!” at the top of your lungs in a horny banshee squeal is about as attractive as Hitler doing the splits whilst puckering his lips and staring you down. I’m pretty sure THAT video has made this all abundantly clear.

But Brissy’s Blonde Tongues (also, probably not something to accentuate on a date – if they see a pale white when you open your mouth, instead of the usual pink, prepare to be a government guinea pig for the rest of your life) make themselves crazy compatible with this gushing new song. “Hey Good Lookin'” combines sweeping guitars, with bone-crunching reverb, the kind that those new Velociraptor’s from the latest Jurassic Park trailer would be capable of. I want to marry this band, regardless of the cheesy one liners they might use to introduce themselves.