New: The Rangoons – A Postcard From Rangoon Island

Hardly anything about this album makes sense – The Rangoons are entirely unpredictable in the truest sense of the word. Absolutely anything can appear, popping up like a gopher to look around quizzically, only to replaced just as quickly with another furry monstrosity. This quality, along with the fact that all three members have put in the hard yards in a few of Sydney’s most unique projects, has made The Rangoons a group worthy of rabid adoration.

Formed between Emma Ramsay (Holy Balm), Ela Stiles (Roamin’ Catholics, Songs, Bushwalking) and Jay Cruikshank (Home Run), The Rangoons resemble something far different than the aforementioned projects. There’s no real ‘thing’ that overlaps the recordings on this tape – it jumps around, a schizophrenic pogostick of ideas being mashed together in a blender of mushy genres.

The opening six minutes of “The Bath of Rangoon Island” utilises spindly guitars, perky flutes and riffs upon a stream-of-conscious that recalls a forgotten TV adventure show from the 60’s, albeit one more in lieu with the delirious strangeness Danger 5 or Saul of the Mole Men.

“Two Minds” and “Crimewave” follow – more traditional rock affairs, although the word ‘traditional’ fits in the same way that ‘family man’ would be used to describe Charles Manson. Throttling disortion, tribal chants, and lyrical ridiculousness are all par for the course. The tape finishes with the two-for-one deal of “Lunatic/Shadow”, which transforms from tickling, ambivalent pop to a speedy, crunchy thwack of amateur adrenaline. Best of all, there’s some truly disturbing words recited here (“Ela said she’d get me a gun/She knows I’m not well/Then I’ll shoot that boy in the leg/When he comes to ring your bell DING DONG!”) but they’re delivered with such joyful ambivalence, it inspires the urge to giggle rather than call a mental health line. For a band who have only been around a short time, and played a handful of shows, The Rangoons debut material is surprisingly well-rounded, exotic, and most importantly, interesting as hell.

Buy the tape from Paradise Daily Bandcamp here

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New: Community Radio – Real Transformation/Puff of Smoke

We’re only halfway through the year, and already old mates Community Radio have put out a second 7″ for the year! Obviously, Community Radio are a bunch of legends, having naming themselves after possibly the greatest musical ally of good music, and they’re tunes aren’t half bad either. They take an old-school guitar pop stance in their jangly tunes, looking closer at the discography of The Clean and The Cannanes than any of the newer explosion of bands talking about their lack of motivation and shitty jobs.

That’s not all that separates Community Radio from the pack either. Their songs are a little more introspective and romantic, showing signs of seasoned lyricists and musicians. Their newest track ‘Real Transformation’ showcases this talent, almost to a fault it is so good. The track runs along a dainty keyboard hum and rattling guitar. It has the slow warmth, that glows itself into your skin.The B-Side is equally delightful, a playful nipper of a track entitled ‘Puff of Smoke’, that lazily winds itself into a harmonious psych-pop gem.

As the chorus to the lead track will attest, you will experience a real transformation, as you move into a world in which you know about, and adore Community Radio, both the amazing band and the platform for amazing bands alike.

Album Review: Bushwalking-No Enter

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Well, Bushwalking have just released their sophomore album ‘No Enter’, and to say it will blow your eyelids off their hinges is an understatement. This is simply a magnificent piece of artwork. From start to finish, ‘No Enter’ retains a enraptured mystic approach that can’t help but seduce you. The inspired minds  of Ela Stiles (Songs), Karl Scullin (Kes Band) and Ninsa Venerosa (Fabulous Diamonds) combine in such a way with their unique and fantastic talents, that the result could be nothing less than exemplary. ‘No Enter’ exceeds the expectations of a bright album from bright people, and enters the rare territory of fuck-that’s-amazing.

Listening to Bushwalking is literally like walking through a jungle. Every twist and turn brings something new and completely baffling. When you first enter the forest, a sparkly fairy tale known as ‘No Men’ is what greets you. A strange, small creature, it twists around your little finger like a small snake, embracing you comfortably. The album then progresses to a sunny glade, acoustic and experimental tones echoing on the next couple tracks, before settling in weirdo pixie guitar territory on ‘Neetneeves Eno’. I should probably mention that I mean pixie as in the mythical creature, similar to a sprite or wood nymph, and not one of the greatest bands of all time.

Things then take a turn for the rest of the album. The next point I’m about to make is what turned ‘No Enter’ from an average album for me, into an album of extraordinary proportions. The album gets really dark, and begins to tear at the fabric of sanity, showing a total slide into decline of the sunny vibes that introduced the album. The second half of ‘No Enter’ starts by easing the listener into the depths, not quite submersing you, but definitely nudging you towards the edge. The album takes a slight upwards direction for the positive on the fantastic ‘High Hogs’, but for the most part, it is all one step closer to Bushwalking’s hell.  ‘Land Lols’ (I’m 90% sure they’re not referencing the acronym Laughing Out Loud….90% sure) is a chanting disorient, and a few tracks later, on title track ‘No Enter’, a bass line seethes, whilst the listener plunges into a headlong spiral towards Bushwalking’s confidently gloomy sound. Couple this subtle but well delivered angst with an absolutely killer finish on ‘Green Light’, and you’ve got an album that commands your attention.

I already knew about Bushwalking from their previous album (Oh, I’m such a silly lil’ hipster!), but ‘No Enter’ sees them progress to a new level of amazing. The tension that the band can hold with their music, whilst allowing Ela Stiles voice to waft and conquer is jaw-dropping. ‘No Enter’ is a feat of the imagination, brushing up fond memories in the beginning of the album, and unlocking dark secrets in the latter. The band are at their best when they unleash their torrents of sound, and build off one another, but any Bushwalking is good Bushwalking. This statement applies both to the band and the activity. Go outside and fucking smell some nature!

*Deadpan voice* ‘No Enter’ is out on Friday, 6th September. There will be a tour to support this release. On Friday, October 11th, Bushwalking will be playing The Red Rattler for $10. It will be better than your usual Friday that revolves around baked beans and masturbating. *End deadpan voice*

New: Bushwalking-High Hogs

The drama and brutal sass is increased to exponential levels on this new Bushwalking track. Think Cloud Control possessed by Evil Oprah Winfrey. Weird and juggulatory sounds explode from the guitar, chewing through razor blade gum with fierce concentration and joy. Distorted and peaceful, Bushwalking play music that is delivered in nutcrushing complexity, but also appeals to even the most simple of minds. The ending of ‘High Hogs’, with the plateau of Antarctic sound is especially amazing. Looking forward to their upcoming album ‘No Enter’ very much.

Gig Review: At First Sight Festival

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Saturday, 20th July @ Carriageworks, Redfern

At First Sight Festival, a festival made up of local talent and co-presented by FBI Radio and the venue, was a good idea on paper, and an even better idea when seen in execution. Equal parts record fair and music festival, set in Redfern’s Carriageworks, it was an absolute awesome spectacle to take part in. It succeeded in an environment that has seen so many festivals fail. In the pst 12 months, OutsideIn Festival and At First Sight Festival are the only debut festivals in the Australian market that haven’t folded or completely fucked up. Movement, Parklife, Supafest-these are just some of the few that have been fucked. But At First Sight completely exceeded expectations and even managed to sell out it’s series of concerts, in it’s debut year nonetheless. It could’ve been the bands, made up of local acts either from Melbourne or Sydney, that gave a very communal and Australian feel to the festival. It could’ve been the relaxed and take-it-as-it-comes vibes that flowed the entire time, turning the crowd into a consistently respectful and appreciative audience. For example, when Marty from Twerps broke a string, a guitar from another band was instantly fed up to him, regardless of the fact that they had a back-up ready. It could’ve been the awesome unearthing atmosphere that surrounded the entire event, as in both the record fair, and festival, music fans of all persuasions dug up incredibly rare treasures. Or it could’ve been a culmination of all these things. Yeah, it was probably a culmination.

Unfortunately, I missed the first part of the festival, and although I’m kicking myself about that, I can’t continue without at least mentioning the great contingent of acts that swept past my gaze. Day Ravies, Holy Balm, Client Liaison, and Shining Bird are all awesome acts worthy of checking out, and I’m sure they all put on killer performances. However, I was too busy indulging in being a dickhead and eating brunch/scoring Pussy Galore’s ‘Dial M For Motherfucker’ for $20 to see them, and for that I am sorry, awesome Sydney/Melbourne bands.

So, for the first act of the day, Straight Arrows had to suffice. I say suffice, but in reality, they were a kick-arse, bruised balls start to a festival that no average coffee from a breakfast spot in Redfern could hope to replicate. Although the crowd was slightly sparse, Straight Arrows’ frontman Owen Penglis gave it his absolute all, shouting and screaming his raucous garage-punk with the tenacity of a stubborn Velociraptor, between half-retarded gimmicks to get the attendees to buy their shit…it worked. The set mostly veered towards the material off their debut ‘It’s Happening’, with ‘Bad Temper’, ‘Haunted Out’ and “Something Happens‘ standouts. However, new song ‘Never Enough’ did make an appearance, which was fuggin’ awesome.

Next was Songs, also from Sydney. They’ll be playing Splendour in the Grass next weekend, and one of their members used to be in Youth Group, who had that song/cover ‘Forever Young’ (don’t even fucking pretend you don’t know every word). However, the un-Google-able Songs don’t really play the pop-centric la-di-da of Youth Group (but then again, WHO DOES AMIRITE?). Songs are shoegaze with a cohesive edge, with slurred, rhythmic pulses shooting out from the band constantly. Live, songs like ‘Boy/Girl’ develop personality, with the body of the song shifting into overdriven waves that hit the audience with undeiniable energy. Although Songs hit a few bumps early on, with their opener conking out due to a lack of sound from singer Ela Stiles’ bass, their set steadily built into a highly enjoyable tale of purist sound.

After Songs came Super Wild Horses, from Melbun. Although the members Amy Franz and Hayley McKee started out with the premise of forming a band, and then learning instruments, their bare-bones rock n roll was something that would make Jack White drop his guts. Despite being pretty exposed, and sporting a case of bronchitis, Super Wild Horses were on top of their game. They shifted instruments, they were entertaining and friendly and their stage banter reflected a very down-to-earth band. Musically upbeat, and bluesy in the happiest way possible, recent hit ‘Alligators’ off their 2013 album ‘Crosswords’ proved to be a crowd favourite. Oh yeah, and they had the world’s tightest snare onstage. That thing could shatter glass it was so taught.

When Super WIld Horses finished up, Beaches took the stage. Beaches is a group of five ordinary girls who make amazing reverb-saturated shoegaze. If Songs were the shoegaze band that brought everything together in a body of music, then Beaches were the band that exploded that apart. Every member would shoot off a tendril with their own musical direction, creating a very complex and layered musical experience. Although it took them a while to hit the stage, due to one of the amps being blown, when they did, minds were blown. Beaches set mostly showed off a range of tracks from their recent album ‘She Beats’, including the amaze-balls ‘Send Them Away’ and ‘Distance’, and it was a blasphemously great experience. Although the mix was slightly fucked up, Beaches still delivered a killer performance, that see’s them out savaging Savages. Bonus points are awarded because one of the girls was wearing a Drown Under t-shirt.

After Beaches blistering set came Sydney pysch-garage band The Laurels. Having seen them previously in support of The Black Angels a month or so ago, I knew that we were in for a treat. Still, they brought more than the usual ragamuffin behaviour, with the band being everywhere at once on the small stage. Headbanging, pedals and washed out machinations of sound were the calling cards of the performance, as well as a stellar ‘Changing the Timeline’. It looked pretty fuggin’ brutal and exactly how I imagined a Burnt Ones show might go. Fuck me, I was very proud that a band of such awesome magnitude called Sydney home.

So, what better way to follow The Laurels psychedelic masterpiece than Twerps, the painfully original slacker pop band from Melbourne. Fun Fact: Twerps are Jessica Alba’s favourite band. Does that matter for anything? No, no it does not. Well, maybe it raises Jessica Alba from soul-sucking scum to mildly annoying piece of shit. Anyway, Twerps are a band that everyone who isn’t terrible should love. They sound like they don’t try, but end up up coming up as a better version of Camper van Beethoven, or the Australian Neutral Milk Hotel. Yes, they are better than Jeff Magnum. Maybe it’s because they’re uniquely Australian and it feels good to hear Australians sing about Australian shit, but it goes further than that, as every bit of material Twerps have put out in their very, very short career is absolutely amazing. They proved that straight away with both tracks off their Work It Out 7″ being amongst the first songs they played that night, as well as the closest thing Twerps would call a hit, ‘Dreamin’. All these tracks are supremely different: ‘Work it Out’ is the break-up anthem to end all break-up anthems (Morrissey can shut the hell up), ‘He’s In Stock’ a drug deal ode, and ‘Dreamin’ a modern, morbid Aussie fairytale. However, they all kick considerable butthole. There was even a trio of new songs, most of which remained un-named except for one with a ‘working title’ known as ‘something something something Bondi Junction’ (it was really fucking long, I couldn’t remember most of it). As for the band, well, cheap sweaters and plastic heart necklaces, goofy smiles and goofier cliche rock manoeuvres are all the standard in a Twerps performance. It was an actually an honour to witness the greatness of Twerps in live format, and blew my mind of all expectations, my brain littering the various expanses of the Carriageworks. Their closer of ‘Who Are You’, performed with the help of the ladies of Super Wild Horses and Beaches was a spectacular finish that was completely unexpected and very well received, the 3 bands rocking Sydney like only Melbournites could.

To finish out the night were headliners HTRK (pronounced Haterock, I guarantee you’ll feel like a twat once someone inevitably corrects you). Their doomy ‘n gloomy disco was highly divisive in my mind. Whilst at some points it seemed to muddle and drone on unnecessarily, the rest of HTRK’s set was composed of incredibly intoxicating electronica. There were a few moments, such as the gothy and drained ‘Synthetik’, in which my face involuntarily twisted into a shocked o-face. HTRK’s creepy loops and spine-tingling darkness shrouded their music in intrigue, but as a performance it was mediocre, and I checked the time a couple times extra than usual. Still, a HTRK performance was still a moment of triumph in a day’s worth of extraordinary and diverse music.

I’ll reiterate what I said in the introduction: At First Sight was a crowd-pleaser and was especially awesome at succeeding in the same area that so many others, with arguably much bigger and better lineups, had drastically failed. Then again, who needs Nas or 50 Cent when you’ve got Twerps on the lineup?

Splendour in the Grass Playlist

The 2013 lineup for Splenda has been announced. And by fuck is it great! Sure ATP might have Television playing ‘Marquee Moon’ in full, and Big Day Out might (probably) have Phoenix headlining, (not to forget about Supafest racking T.I and fitty cent, can’t wait for that glorious shitfest), but Spendour have pulled some enormous strings for a thrilling 3 day course of musical goodness. Headlining is Mumford and Sons, TV on the Radio, The National and Frank Ocean. However, my main delight lies in the smaller acts near the bottom of the bill rather than the top names. It’s an all round orgasmic feat, and these are my personal picks from the best toted lineup of the year. Sorry, for the lack of links, somethings fucking up randomly. Also, this isn’t even close to being the full lineup, it’s basically just half or a third. LOL

1. TV on the Radio- Staring at the Sun

2. The Presets-My People

3. Wavves- Afraid of Heights

4. FIDLAR- Cheap Beer

5. Flume- Sleepless feat. Jezzabell Doran

6. James Blake- Retrogade

7. Haim-Falling

8. Deap Valley-Gonna Make My Own Money

9. Dune Rats- Red Light, Green Light

10. The Drones- Baby Squared

11. Portugal. The Man- The Sun

12. Everything Everything- Cough Cough

13. Chet Faker- No Diggity

14. Unknown Mortal Orchestra- Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)

15. Palma Violets-Best of Friends

16. Violent Soho- Neighbour Neighbour

17. Songs- Boy/Girl

18. Surfer Blood- Swim

19. Jake Bugg- Two Fingers

20. MS MR-Hurricane