New from The Ocean Party Crew™: Snowy Nasdaq + Ciggie Witch + Cool Sounds

The Ocean Party are easily one of the best bands in Australia, but one of the best aspects of the band is how restless the members are. Not only do they pump out albums faster than a hardcore Christian rabbit pumps out babies, but the individual members also treat the making of music like it’s a resource, churning out as much of the good shit as possible before it all runs out.

Hence, here is a collection of a the recent releases by various solo guises from The Ocean Party that you would do well to feast upon:

SNOWY NASDAQ & SNOWY LIFE – Ironic Life

The Ocean Party’s irrepressible guitarist/internet demi-god Snowy Nasdaq returns under his forever-shifting solo moniker. This time, it’s with a video that’s like Wes Anderson going lo-budget and sadistic. Snowy slaps himself more times than a self-hating henchman who is constantly screwing up, to the background of a forgotten home aerobics video. If that doesn’t sound like something you’d be interested in watching, then fuck you, you’re boring.

 

Ciggie Witch – Look of Pain

I can’t believe I didn’t spot this before – the Melbourne guitar-pop sextet Ciggie Witch sounds exactly like triple j wunderkid “rapper” Allday. Jesus, how did I not fucking SEE THIS! It’s so obvious! If can’t call distinctions this blatant, then what is even the fucking point of any of this? Isn’t that the whole point of writing????

There was serious consideration of giving up everything and getting a real job, and refusing to mention anything about the new Ciggie Witch track, but the Soundly Sounds Board of Directors forced my hand. They roughed me up, Sopranos-style,quoting something like, “Take this incredible song and say something witty, like how Zac is hitting all the big contemporary musical notes, because he’s always known the DJ”. However, my spirits are so low, I don’t think I can muster a terrible pun. Sorry, no hilarity in this post, it’s been sucked dry by lack of will to live, being so out of touch with contemporary music.

Cool Sounds – Control

I don’t believe that Cool Sounds actually contain any actual members of The Ocean Party, but Snowy contributes violin to this track, and my loose morals (read: lying) have always been such a durable part of my life philosophy, and…Jesus Christ, does it matter? This song rules!

“Control” is just under three minutes of lush, plucking dream-pop. More interestingly, it’s a self-analysing trip of torture, with lines like, “I keep dreaming that I’m cheating on you” and “I’m running out of time to come back home” brimming with the kind of self-hatred that seems to only either stem from Melbourne 20-somethings and HBO characters. Beautiful.

 

Do yourself a favour, and steal a glance at these bastards when they travel North for a stunner-deal of a show at The Union in Newtown, on June 26th. Ciggie Witch and Cool Sounds – Just a Couple of Mates.

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New Weird Pop Music: WIVES + You + School Damage + Meat Tray + Snowy Nasdaq

Weird pop music is one of my favourite things to listen to. From Animal Collective to SPOD, weird pop music is my lifeblood. Here’s some fucking sick tracks that make cannibals of the Kylie Minogue’s out there.

WIVES -Buried

Man, naming your song “Buried” is one hell of a way to establish that your really good at bummer tunes. The debut single from Canberra’s WIVES exceeds going past that average gloomy stuff, and genuinely creating a fucked up atmosphere that stretches and looms throughout the song. It’s like if Savages were buried alive in a coffin, and then the bands of the band trying to get out where recorded to tape. “Buried” is sinister as fuck, with what feels like millions of angular guitars spiking off each other. The whirring gears that seem so detached at the start soon morph into a buzzing hive of activity, and listening to it honestly makes it feel like your listening to one of the most dastardly villainous plans unfold in front of your ears.

You-Caprice 7″

It’s taken me far too long to get around to reviewing this new 7″ from a Brisbane project that goes by the name of You. How very inclusive. If Ian Curtis somehow became more depressed and  fronted The Talking Heads, that’d probably come a little close to how You sound. “Caprice” is a song that takes musical sorrow to another level, with cold washes of spindly guitar and crushing cymbals breathing grey life into the absolutely devastating lyrics. The added screeches and drones, as well as the completely lavish and orgamsic saxophone that appears, encourages “Caprice’s” status as one of the best weird pop songs to emerge out of Brisbane in recent memory. For a town that counts Multiple Man and Terrible Truths amongst its names, that’s a hell of a feat.

School Damage – Break Up 7″

Another one I’ve been laying on for ages is the new 7″ from Melbourne/Geelong band School Damage, featuring members of Ausmuteants and Chook Race. It’s like indie-pop music that’s been choked out by a serial killer, halfway between Nun/Ausmuteants and Duran Duran. There’s weird, chanting synths that put “Break Up Song” in this strange, Psyscho-stabbing motion pathway, highlighting an incredibly melodramatic and over-the-top finale. Weird, but fun.

Meat Tray – Narooma Blue/The Mauler

Meat Tray is a carnivorous slice of gloriously warped  sound from one of the minds out of Yard Duty.  I’ll be the first to admit this might be a little bit further from the pop mantra than others, what with the hellish-barks, and overblown distorted guitars, but hey, even Slayer hit the Bilboard Chart at one point. This track is truly demonic, channeling fury and drum machines equally for some fucked-up noise experiment that would make Wolf Eyes shed a tear. If you’re keen for some ear-bleeding punk material, you can’t go past this.

Snowy Nasdaq feat Orlando Furious – Greyscale

Another month, another free Snowy Nasdaq track, to be compiled in his soon-to-be-released album of 2014. This time, Snowy enlists the help of Orlando Furious, a producer who makes tracks that makes Aphex Twin look like only half the serial killer he actually is. “Greyscale” jumps and jilts with a pulsing sensation, undulating unnaturally. That distubring quality is pretty much what makes this track so goddamn amazing to listen to. When “Greyscale” hits its peak, you can easily envision yourself in a warehouse space in late 80’s Manchester, full of illegal substance and a suddenly overwhelming understanding of how to dance.

New: Snowy Nasdaq-Lopsided Smile

First things first, Snowy Nasdaq has the best goddamn album artwork in Australia. He’s also one of the hardest working guys, working in numerous bands like Mining Boom, Ciggie Witch, The Ocean Party, Pencil, and Jack Lee’s backing band, amongst about a million others. Deal with it.

Besides providing sick beatz for those other bands, Snowy mucks around with his solo project, which is pure, unadulterated pop music for your ears to orgasm to. He’s taken up a pretty goddamn ambitious project of releasing a new single every month for a whole year. The past six months have seen some glorious tunes, but this new one is probably my most thumbs-up worthy (insert Facebook like symbol here).

‘Lopsided Smile’ is the kind of tune that Duran Duran would’ve made if they moved to Berlin, and Giorgio Morodor showered them with coke. Smothered with plenty of those weird synth sounds that only Snowy can make, the man’s sounding pretty damn glorious on this one.

Mixtape: Oz Do It Better!

 

Fuck me with a spatula, and call me Gordon Ramse! There is no way anyone will be able to beat the eye-popping names on the latest mixtape from Peking Tapes.

Let me lay it out for you like this: Do you like Parading? Or Day Ravies? Or Shrapnel? Or Cat Cat? Or Wizard Oz? Or…fuck me, every name on this compilation is like Aus underground royalty, and every second you waste reading this is a second that could be spent buying this tape.

But if you insist on getting the blow-byblow, let’s start at the top: Andre begins things with a squelchy guitar romper called ‘Single Town’, and then Parading double down on that crunchy reverb with an exclusive single entitled ‘Try to Do A Good Thing’. From there, it’s one of my favourites off Shrapnel’s debut, a cool pop song called ‘Baby Picks Up’, followed by a jangly one from Cat Cat that manages to be both sad and relieved at the same time, the perfect song for when you’ve got your back turned on something.

Mac DeMarco on crack gets channeled excessively in the track, ‘You Were Mine’, from Colours, as lazy guitar mingles with clashing noise. The middle of this is a brilliant mind-fuck, moving between twinkling emptiness and a feeding frenzy of feedback. Day Ravies continue down this road of overblown noise in their contribution ‘Drink the Ocean’, a track that starts quaint and Pavement-esque, and then bombards the listener with squirming noise towards the end.

Wizard Oz dilute the waters with a frowning track called ‘Go Home’, a song swarming with warm synth work and lyrics that are more desperate than the Socceroos attempts at a World Cup.

Now, after a mixture of noisy and down-tempo tracks, Australia’s garage/slacker scene gets a chance to shine, with contributions from Cool Sounds, The Ocean Party, Thigh Master, Disgusting People and The Grease Arrestor. Each of these songs is warmer than a dole cheque, and they’ve got more heart than those lab-rats with organs grown on them.

The best mixtape ever ends with two amazing pop tunes from Snowy Nasdaq and Moondice, both providing tracks that could easily fit into the ‘Sexy Time’ playlist (that you’ve never used before).

To summarise, the title of this playlist doesn’t even remotely do the contents justice. Oz does music so good, they should outlaw other countries music, and just have this playlist on repeat globally. The songs on here are more or less the pinnacle of human achievement. Sure, there may be a bit of gratuitous hyperbole in that last statement, but until the other continents catch up and release a mixtape as good as this, then Australia wins the award for best underground music in the world. Take that, Brooklyn!

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!

New: Snowy Nasdaq-Periods

Because I’m a well-reknown wanker, I kind of forgot to tell everyone about Snowy Nasdaq’s solo stuff. However, it suddenly hit me and I remembered that his work is definitely worth posting about. Which is how we come to the crux of the story, Snow Nasdaq’s ‘Periods’.

You probably know Snowy from one of his many incarnations-member of The Ocean Party, member of Mining Boom, member of Velcro, member of Pencil, member of…fuck he’s in a lot of stuff, and his name seems to pop up just about everywhere as a ‘contributor’. Basically, the guy is like the Bill Murray of Melbourne music-if he’s involved, its going to be fucking good.

That sentiment can be applied SO hard to Snowy’s solo output. It seems that there’s always a new EP on his Bandcamp page, which is why I’ll just review one of them, my personal favourite ‘Periods’. Four tracks long, and it still packs a Mike Tyson-punch of entertainment.

The first track ‘Limited Stock’ might initially set you up for a shuffling, Nicolas Jaar sort of thing, but it soon evolves into a full-blown indie-pop ballad. There’s so much shit going down on this song that it’s hard to know where to exactly start describing how great this song is. I guess if someone drowned Vampire Weekend in the Tasman Sea, then their bloated corpse was dragged back to shore and turned into a puppet by James Murphy, it might be a bit like what you get on ‘Limited Stock’.

Next, there’s ‘I Like Being Forgotten’, another track which is a little DFA records, but Snowy’s quiet, slightly nervous musing contradicts the jumpy, deep-sea exploration instrumentation that’s going down on the song. Again, there’s a lot of shit happening in every which direction, but its nonetheless a beautiful track.

After a short, slightly disturbing instrumental in the form of ‘Pension’, there comes the shimmery, funk-erific ‘Primality’. I’ve said it a couple times, but listening to this and trying to analyse what’s going on is like trying to convince Hulk Hogan to become transexual. There’s a great juxtaposition going on of flurrying, diamond-tinged synths with straight up indie rock n roll, and again, Snowy’s vocals are damn delectable.

I’ve only reviewed one four-track EP, but Snowy’s Bandcamp page is full of consistently jaw-dropping stuff. I’m really bummed I forgot to review it earlier, but I’ll take this opportunity to tell you that you need Snowy in your life like you need a liver for a big night out. Relaxing yet exciting, his solo stuff would make even the most hipster of indie rockers blush in jealousy.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the best part-All (repeat: ALL) of his stuff is completely, 100% totally free. You can grab it from his Bandcamp here.