Video: SMILE – BLVD

This is, hands down, one of the most interesting and amazingly simple music videos of all time. In a time when everyone’s either shoving as much nudity into a shoot as possible, or going for some incredibly high concept bullshit, Melbourne’s SMILE have gone and created a music video where the music isn’t the main focus.

Sounds incredulous, I know. What’s the point of having a music video where people are just talking? Well, what SMILE have done is create an entire backstory and aesthetic, a portrait IF YOU WILL, of exactly what their song is trying to say. By placing the music as a soft backdrop for a family conversation about dead dogs, compost bins and the intricacies of the rain hat, there’s an entire new dimension in play. Whilst leaning in to get a glance at the truly beautiful song that is “BLVD” is completely worth it, sitting back and being regaled by a uniquely Australian story. Warm and cozy in the buzzing heat of the car, whilst rain patters against the windows and the radio trails on, old mates are discussing shit that is too funny and amazing to give justice in print. This video just needs to be watched.

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New: Dag-There’s A Power

I’m a dag, and there’s no doubt about it. I’m a loser of the highest order. I like Star Wars way too much, and I will argue Terminator 2’s valuable inclusion to the cultural lexicon to the death. Also, I once caught all 151 Pokemon. And I wear weird shirts that don’t fit my body.

But Dag (band) are here to tell me that it’s alright to be a complete nerd/worthless member of society. Apparently, there’s a power to that, if the bare minimum of information is anything to go by. Well, at least there is when you’ve got a lo-fi Cosmic Psychos mixed with Brisbane suburbia thing going on. Regardless of where the power lies, with the non-contributing associates of social currency, or normal folk, this song is pretty fucking sick.

New: Bruff Superior-Not With You

I’m really shitty that I missed the King Tears Mortuary show the other night, which had Video Ezy, East River and Bruff Superior supporting, especially after hearing this new one. I have a kind of legit excuse (ANZAC Day committed to drinking and losing 2 Up), but I’m still furious that I missed the show.

But Bruff Superior are trying to calm me down to the best of their ability, with the marsh-mellow vibes coming thick and fast, sharing an affinity with Melbournites like Drove Down and Full Ugly, or Adelaide siblings Summer Flake and Bitch Prefect. ‘Not With You’ is just a really beautiful and simple track, a pillow fight of regret wrapped in killer harmonies and guitars. So now I’m in a schizophrenic state of self-hatred and zen-like calm. Sick one BS.

New: Disgusting People-Snail Song/Two By Four

I just came from the Dollar Bar show, which was amazing. Good bands for $10, a romper of a feat that even Greg Inglis would have trouble topping. One of the bands of the night were the amazing Disgusting People. Although they were minus good bloke Roche, Sam ‘Every Band in Sydney’ Wilkinson made up for it with his high-diving guitar shenanigans, and the in-between song banter. Shit, they almost made Silverchair’s ‘Freak’ sound good again.

Anyway, they’re out with two new songs as of today, ‘Snail Song’ and ‘Two By Four’. They’re both romper little guitar songs from the GBV handbook.

They’re straight up-and-down strummers, guitar-pop done with the kind of flair that Stephen Malkmus prays to Satan every day for to accomplish. ‘Snail Song’ is a tad more boppy, like if Brian Wilson grew up in the Inner West. Meanwhile, ‘Two By Four’ features a slacker pop jaw-breaker, and features lyrics about getting touched as a kid. So there’s that.

New: Ciggie Witch-Long Weekend

You don’t need me to tell you that there’s been a shitload of amazing Melbourne jangle music happening in the past couple years. It seems like every dickhead (me) with a blog (me) has written something about “dole-wave” or some other derivative of the awesomeness occurring in our cultural capital of Melbourne (BLASPHEMY!)

That trend continues in the form of one of the leaders of the scene, Ciggie Witch. They’ve been kicking it for a couple years, since late 2012, making music of the sighing jizz-worthy variety. Now, after two years of kicking it Beastie Boys style, they’re getting around to releasing their debut record.  Why so long to make a record? Well, if you look at the members of Ciggie Witch, their contributions to other projects reads like a who’s-who of Melbourne’s entire music scene. Jangle or no jangle, the members of Ciggie Witch do not give a fuck-they just want to make music!

So, it comes with great excitement that Ciggie Witch announce their debut long-player, of which the single ‘Long Weekend’ is the first single. As expected, it’s fucking beautiful. I seriously considered taking the profanity out of that description, but then I decided that it wouldn’t do justice to what is a gem in the jangle crown. The way the music caresses you like Grandma’s chocolate-chip cookies, and the lyrics manage to describe the shit out of a quarter life crisis and all the difference of having a long weekend with mates can make. 10/10 would jangle-pop (That’s a euphamism for bang. What I’m saying is that I would bang the shit out of Ciggie Witch)

Gig Review: The Stevens w/ Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys + Day Ravies + Nathan Roche Band

Friday, 17th of January @ The Red Rattler Theatre

Not even 24 hours after arriving back in Sydney after admiring the wonders and delights of Sri Lanka, I was re-admiring the wonders and delights of the best venue in Sydney. The motherfudgin’ Stevens were finally getting around to launching their debut LP in Sydney, and since I missed them at Sound Summit, there was no way that Heaven, Hell or dysentery was going to stop me from getting to this gig.

Arrival + 5 minutes later, and Nathan Roche, one of the best blokes this city has to offer is up on the six inch-high stage, selling his wares, this time with a full band in tow (including Greg from Adults!). Watching a Nathan Roche show always comes with the feeling of being cocooned by a comforting normalcy, but this time there was something more. With the full band, Roche no longer had to hold down the show completely on his own. Similar to fellow solo-artist mindblower Angie, when Roche has his band there to back him up, he can move more freely around stage, and it feels as though the spotlight is less on him. Therefore, those fucking brilliant tracks like ‘Serafina’ and ‘You Are What You Are’ seem to carry that much more oomph. Instead of the shaky everyman, Roche’s band becomes a swaggering train of good vibes and balls-out slacker pop.

After Nathan Roche’s conquering set, Day Ravies hit the stage to impress all in attendance one more time. And look, I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a billion fucking times: Day Ravies rule. On record, they’ve got a whimsical, wistful flair that is rarely executed with such charm. And in the live setting, that charisma gets played out in the form of darling pixie dreaminess.

Every time I watch Day Ravies, one specific member always catches my eye, and in this case it was Lani Crooks, the band’s keys player. She fucking exudes genuine-ness like the reincarnation of Martin Luther King Jr. or Patti Smith. Up on stage, playing her keys and singing, she really embodies the vibe of Day Ravies, the spirit of quiet achievement, of being super humble about songs that frankly are not getting the recognition they deserve (case in point: ‘I Don’t Mind’)

After being whisked away by Day Ravies’ performance, it was time to get bolted to reality with the start of Sydney royalty The Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys. A band as indebted to The Replacements as every shitty pop-punk band is to Blink-182, the Bad Boys completely rocked the stage of The Rattler, in a way that I feel embarrassed to use such a cliche. They four-piece stood there, stoic and brave like the original Tonto, and played their fucking hearts out. Although to be fair, anyone who’s seen the Bed Wetters before knows that these guys don’t fuck around.

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Actually, that last bit’s a lie. There was probably the most audience participatory small talk, courtesy of frontman/RIP Society label owner Nick Warnock. A fucking legend, the guy managed to belt out a slurry of bed-wettin’-worthy hits like ‘Devotion’, ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Any Day Now’. It was all I could do to keep my jaw from completely unhinging itself in the presence of such a great rock band.

After re-attaching my eyes to normalcy, I promptly lost them to the amazeballs of The Stevens performance. The Melbournites may only have songs with an average of two minutes, but fuck do they make every second count. They’re songs are like Twerps tracks filled with a youthful desire to be the biggest smartass possible. And best of all, the tunes cover a wide variety of topics, emotions and styles, never staying in the relatively neutral territory of slacker-pop.

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Oh yeah, and these guys give out charm like they’re the Lucky Charm’s mascot. However, its a very different kind of charming than Day Ravies. Instead, its the kind of charm that you pick up from your mate that’s never been rejected by a girl in his life, and he manages to be incredibly cool without trying. What I’m trying to say is, The Stevens are like the early Fonzi’s of the Melbourne scene. Which makes sense considering how fucking great their songs are. Have you checked out ‘From ‘Puberty to Success’? Or ‘Teenage Satellites’? Or debut album genital-tearing tear jerker ‘Hindsight’? Did you listen to those fucking crazy ass tracks? And did your mind shatter into a thousand pieces of orgasm? And can you imagine how fucking great that shit was live? The reason I’m speaking in rhetorical questions is because its actually impossible to relay how great The Stevens played that night, and if you weren’t there, then it sucks to be you.

This gig was fucking awesome *drops mic, walks off stage, Eminem song begins to fade in*

New: Blank Realm-Falling Down The Stairs

Oh well, this is just a re-interpretation of ‘greatest thing in the world’. Blank Realm, a weird pop band from Brisvegas, have just released a new track from their upcoming record ‘Grassed In’. There’s a whole smorgasbord of shit going down on this song, and the rare combination makes it a contender for most glorious song of the year.

There’s some David Bowie vibes, circa Ziggy Stardust, there’s some off kilter, chewed up organ key sounds like Of Montreal or Handsome Furs, and there’s the Australian slacker-pop sound that’s so in vogue right now. The acoustic guitar strums ring only second to the off-key yelps in the chorus of ‘Who’s falling? Who’s falling? Who’s falling down the stairs tonight?’. Yeah, this song is fucking fantastic, and if you want to continue a cool, trendy existence, then Blank Realm are an integral part of that plan.

New: Nathan Roche-Serafina

Nathan Roche is back with another single from his upcoming solo record. There’s not much to say about this single other than that its a slackers paradise. The slow, lumbering vocals, the tic-tac percussion, the drawling acoustic guitar…is there anything better to listen to as you wake up at 3 in the afternoon on a Wednesday and immediately reach for a bong?

New: School of Radiant Living-Radiant Living

Okay, so to garner the reader’s interest straight off the bat, as a good story is want to do, I will begin by telling you that School of Radiant Living contains members from The UV Race and Constant Mongrel, Australian punk bands that put GG Allin to shame (that’s a lie-GG Allin had no shame). However, this band, School of Radiant Living are more on the sighing slacker-pop kind of thing, like any of those dope Chapter Music bands (Twerps, Dick Diver, The Stevens). Beautiful amateur vocals, jangled strumming, a ‘guitar solo’ that’s cooler than your aunt’s tattoo…’Radiant Living’ has got it all.

Video: The Ancients-Hey Now

Awesome video for The Ancients’ new single ‘Hey Now’ that captures the whole vibe of the song and the band. The song itself is like a sullen Australian version of The Strokes, mixed up with some rainbow guitars and keys that shoot across the sky at the end. Just think Julian Casablnacas riding Rainbow Road in Mario Kart. That’s called imagery, motherfuckers. The video effectively transmits that *sigh* nature of the song, with the band playing super casually, and not really trying. However, there are two features that stick out massively: choreography that’s lit up like the Second Coming, and the world’s coolest drummer, rocking the world’s coolest sweater. Man, that drummer is badass!