A Comprehensive List Of Everything I’ve Forgotten To Write About in The Past Three Months: Pt. 2 Guitar Pop

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It took about a month to follow up part one of all the shit I forgot to write about for the past three months, and I was considering throwing the towel in and start covering all the latest goss on the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, but a lot of this stuff is so great that I’ve convinced myself to postpone my Flea think pieces for a few extra days.

 

Ocean Party – Mess + Noise Critics Poll 2015

R.I.P  Mess + Noise, Long Live The Ocean Party! This little mini-album is absolutely fantastic! If you’d like some more in-depth analysis on this album, someone on Bandcamp described it as a collection of “…moist beats…”, and who am I to disagree?

Cool Sounds – In Blue Skies

The only thing better than this beautifully lush, semi-new one from Cool Sounds is the blue-tinted panther that adorns the cover of their single artwork. Fuck yes to the marriage of jungle cats and 10/10 guitar pop!

Crepes – Hidden Star

Another winner courtesy of Deaf Ambitions, this one is a bit more of a psych-laden pool of guitar. It’s a bit of a slower jam than Crepes previous singles, but “Hidden Star” is still a crisp sip of a tinnie in January.

Heart Beach – Counting/Relief 7″

I wish that we lived under the kind but firm rule of a benevolent dictator that forced everyone to own a copy of Heart Beach’s Counting/Relief 7″, and we were forced to play it three times a day, every day, to remind us all how lucky we are that Heart Beach are a band making songs like “Counting” and “Relief”.

Weak Boys – Life Rules

Weak Boys got a shoutout in the liner notes in the new Violent Soho album, and they managed to grab a bloody gig at the most hallowed of Sydney’s venues – the Newtown Social Club (as immortalised on the B-Side of this CD-R single). So yeah, life really does rule, doesn’t it?

SMILE – Rhythm Method

If you’re having a shocker, put on this new album from SMILE. As soon as the frenzy of “Cool. I Need Money” kicks in, the shitkicking you’ve suffered through will start to fade. By the time “BLVD” rolls in, the fact that you work as a Dave Hughes impersonator is a distant memory.

Great Outdoors – I Look Back

I reckon Don Burke should renew Burke’s Backyard, and make “I Look Back” the new theme song – it’s a fucking great song, it keeps with the whole “outdoor” theme, and it would surely see a dip in the ratings for all the other early-arvo lifestyle shows. You’re move Ready, Steady Cook.

Tiny Little Houses –  Milo Tin

Yeah, nah, how great is this band? Every time I steal 2 minute noodles from now on, it has to be soundtracked by this song.

Verge Collection – Class of ’09

This is the best song about high school since Papa Roach’s “Last Resort”.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Write Back

They’ve changed their name but RBCF’s still know how to write the fuck out of a song. “Write Back” makes you want to put down the guitar and notepad because you’ll never be as good these blokes.

Glaciers – Local Hero

“Local Hero” has that same gentle, lilting embrace as Boomgates, Scott and Charlene’s Wedding and Twerps and that’s the highest compliment anyone can give a band.

 

Morning TV – Dive

It’s pretty tough not to swoon at this one – what a bunch of bloody dreamboats! Second song in, and I’m hooked like a tuna that’s happened to pass within a one kilometre radius of a fishing trawler.

 

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New from Melbourne: SMILE + Zone Out + Tourist Dollars + Parking Lot Experiments

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New stuff from Australia’s second best city:

SMILE – Boundless Plains to Share

We’ve got boundless plains to share, but you wouldn’t know it from the way we treat refugees. Every time the word Nauru pops up in a headline, it makes you a little bit ashamed to be Australian, right? Like, fuck, how have we fucked up to this degree?

But if all becomes a bit much, combat that hopelessness and soak yourself in “Boundless Plains to Share” from SMILE. Their debut LP, released a couple years back was a winner, and this new track shows that they haven’t lost any of the charm in their pleasant, bleached guitar pop.

Zone Out – Inside

Combine Dove from Scotdrakula and Ashley from Totally Mild, and you’ve got Zone Out. If you’ve got a few xannies locked in the cupboard, left over from that trip you took to Europe a while back, now would be the time to use ’em. Blissful, cloudy dream pop that works on a nice, basic level. Zone Out don’t reach out and overcomplicate things, they just float along on a dreamy cloud of sighs and clicking production.

Tourist Dollars – End of Times

So you’re a cowboy on a budget, are ya? There’s an innocent town on the outskirts of Juarez, and the cartels are looming. Things are pretty dire, aren’t they? A bit shocking, to say the very least.

Well, never fear! You’ve got your six-shooter, and a trusty steed. You’re chewing your meanest tobacco, and your sun-beaten brow is furrowed in anticipation. But the token mariachi band is missing! Whoever will score your showdown with the cartel boss?

Nah mate. Just grab an iPod dock, and chuck on the debut Tourist Dollars track. You’ll be sweet. This song was made for Mexican standoffs.

Parking Lot Experiments – I’ll Be Right Here

This song starts with a sparkling organ, and only gets more heartening from there. Flicking between lush, expansive music crafted in the magical moments just before you shut your eyes, and 8-bit sparks, Parking Lot Experiments have created their finest track to date. It’s just so intensely interesting, without being overwhelming or disturbing. It’s just a really fucking great song. Heads up indie film directors, you’ve just found your pivotal scene soundtrack.

Video: Paradise Palms – Old Boys

As I’ve made fairly obvious, I bloody love SMILE. Great band, good vibes, great classic hits, a modern Go-Betweens if there ever were one. As with most great bands, there’s a fantastic frontman (There are exceptions cc: Public Image Ltd.). SMILE’s frontman is the one and only Pete Baxter (in the figurative sense of the phrase, there’s probably another bloke called Pete Baxter out there), and he’s got a solo project called Paradise Palms.

Paradise Palms released a debut video/track the other day, and the instant you hit that little sideways triangle, the flamingo-pink Miami motel font that shows up let’s you know that this is gonna be a good song. The video follows in a Drive-like vein, with a slow, beautiful shot of Pete’s head floating along to the casual scrapings of a guitar. It’s simple, but effective, and in the company of soft, mumbled vocals and scratchy acoustics, “Old Boys” is pretty damn alright.

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.

Video(s)-Flume & Chet Faker (!) + Death Grips + Mesa Cosa + SMILE +Ernest Ellis

Yeah, so I got behind on my work again, and there’s a bunch of videos that escaped my glorious reviewing. You should look and listen to all of them, lest you be cursed by a gypsy witch who’s really into Future Classic signees. Especially check out the Death Grips and SMILE clips; they’re alarmingly different but some of the best shit you’ll see/hear all week/month/year.

Flume & Chet Faker-Drop the Game

Boom! Did you fucking read that shit? Flume! Chet Faker! Boom! Yeah! Cool! Two of the most hyped acts to come from Australia in recent years, along with Tame Impala and POND, have joined forces to deliver a pretty brutal R&B chilltronica jam that would put a R Kelly/Washed Out collaboration to shame. Flume does what he does best, squishy, squelchy beats that reverse into squeals in the most adorably addictive way, but its Chet Faker that shines on this track, his voice singularly taking this track from a fairly average club hit to something you could listen to anywhere and still thoroughly enjoy.

As for the accompanying video, its okay. It depicts a deserted urban street (do those exist anymore?) and a dude  doing some pretty cool dance moves. Nothing happens, and that’s a bit of a let-down for such a fluid and full song, but hey, what are you gonna do?

Death Grips-You Might Think He Loves You For Your Money But I Know What He Really Loves You For It’s Your New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat

On the one hand, I regret posting the video for the new Death Grips track, because the title took me about half an hour to write. On the other hand, holy fucking shit! This song might be the best thing Death Grips have ever done! Its gritting, strung-out, visceral and challenging, but has a noise to it that one can’t help but think….FUCK!

This return to form, musically and lyrically, is accompanied by a pretty fucking great video, out-of-focus shots of MC Ride absolutely losing his shit, something that you should all be doing right about now.

Mesa Cosa-Sydney

Now, although Mesa Cosa are ragging on about my hometown, Sydney aka the greatest place on Earth, because, ‘…The girls from Melbourne will miss me…’, I still fucking love Mesa Cosa, the Melbourne blokes who give garage rock a good name. Featuring the sort of high octane energy that inevitably leads to spewing your guts up on King Street,  nails-down-chalkboard guitar screech a sweaty bass line, ‘Sydney’ is a fucking awesome track, despite the fact it’s all about Sydney taking the band away from their loved ones. However, considering all the footage from Mesa Cosa’ shows at what looks to be Hotel Street and The Factory Theatre, I’d say the boys are lying through their fucking teeth, and at least one of them got laid while they were up here.

SMILE-Still Waitin’ For My Man

Taking things down a fair bit, but still in the realm of Melbourne, we’ve got SMILE’s clip for their track ‘Still Waitin’ For My Man’. This clip is one of the better things I’ve seen in a while, mainly because it fits the song so fucking well. Easy-going and breezy, the clip features drug dealing, chocolate ice-cream, and the most head-bopping chorus you’ll hear…ever. Man, the Go-Betweens would be so stoked to hear this song.

Ernest Ellis-Black Wire

I always said that a convulsing woman in a black leotard was sexy, and it looks like Ernest Ellis are out to prove me correct. Such a beautiful track, half-macabre synth waves, half-mushy Stone Roses-level forlornness, the clip undoubtedly captures the torture of the vocals. The solemn harmonica that comes in so subtly but strongly at the end-dancing bit just reinforces the harmonious beauty of the clip so hard, it makes me want to burst into a fit of tears. Then the song ends, and I have to play ‘TV Party’ until I feel masculine again. But a little part of me is screaming, ‘play Black Wire again!’

Album Review: SMILE-Life Choices

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Until yesterday, I had never heard of SMILE. Never. Not in a million years. Hell, I didn’t even know what they were named after. What the fuck is a smile? Is that some kind of dinosaur? It seems to be the kind of concept corrupted with positive vibes. It gives me shivers down my Scrooge-like spine just thinking about that. Smile…huh, what a lame name. With more than an inkling of cynicism permeating my close-minded brain, I clicked the little orange play button on that totally mainstream Internet thing called Soundcloud. My permanently smudged scowl was already prepared for disappointment. 

The first track, ‘Still Waiting for My Man’ disappointed me greatly. It disappointed me that it did not disappoint me, but rather the opposite. It was fucking amazing (haha, tricked you, what a prankster art thee!). The ‘ba-ba-bum’s’ and lingering, fishing line guitar recalled the shit out of The Go-Betweens in the best way possible. But SMILE go past being some sort of shitty tribute act, chucking in some of that updated modern slacker-pop spirit that the Go-Betweens didn’t know about back in the day. The constant motif of Sebastian is just a damn cool little hook, and it’ll put a wry little non-frown on your face, no matter what kind of shit the world threw your way today. The washing machine sounds at the end are fucking mint as well.

The rest of the album is a fairly engaging and laid-back affair. There’s memories to be made on ‘Life Choices’, but they’ll be made at their own pace. If there was ever an embodiment of that spirit, it comes out clear and loud in the third track ‘Pascoe Vale’ and album closer ‘Luxury Joint’. Whilst there are tastier tracks on the album (how could you go past ‘Stoned (Get These Fucking Flies Off My Fucking Face/Shut Up And Take My Money’, that thing’s gorgeous), these two songs are true  reflections of what makes a great band great. Allow me to elaborate…

Pascoe Vale’ is simply stunning. It starts ultra dream-pop, not in a glittery Portland way, but with true Aussie grit. Now that’s how you make a fucking statement. You take a genre, tear out its insides and transform it into a pelt that you can take with you on your six month pilgrimage of Mount Kosciuszko (apparently that’s a big mountain or some shit). The sun-dried vocals should be all logic bore the listener with their dusty delivery, but instead they are enticing as fuck, glorious to the point of mind-boggling and undeniably unique. ‘Pascoe Vale’ builds and builds in its own subtle way until its cascading into a fully layered destination of existential welcoming. Although that all sounds like total bullshit, just take a listen and see if you don’t feel at least a little weird and tangled up after that guitar solo. 

‘Luxury Joint’ shows a completely different side to the band, but one just as excellent. This song is a drawn out, pained affair, the music oozing an understood sadness. This is the kind of sadness displays regret for previous fuck ups, but managed to face the harshest of consequences all the same. ‘Luxury Joint’ is the kind of song that you want to, need to, absolutely must play when you’ve fucked up beyond repair. It’s beautiful in an open and honest way, and that is something you really don’t hear everyday. 

I’m not going to pretend that I understand how SMILE work, how they make the sounds that they do. I’m not a musician. I failed my 4th Grade cello exam for fuck’s sake. But I do know that SMILE are an amazing band, as precious a find to the adolescent and young ‘un as Belle and Sebastian. I’m actually feel fortunate that this band got in contact with me. All I can say is that this album is as integral to your collection as ‘Nevermind’ and ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.

You can grab the album digitally or on vinyl (buy the vinyl) at Bandcamp right here. The album came out today, which is incredibly conveniant. The band are playing 26th October at Brighton Up Bar. Go to that show or face my wrath!