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

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New: Day Ravies – Fake Beach

Sydney’s Day Ravies return with some whirring pop that will blast through your skull faster than some of those War Boys can chase down renegade wives. If you don’t get that reference, go and watch Mad Max. I mean, Jesus that movie’s been out for over a week, could you have dropped the ball any harder?

If you don’t have the opportunity to watch the best movie of 2015, then just hunker down with this gem. There’s a lot to digest in the mere two minutes that Day Ravies ahve given us, a slow-build that starts off relatively simple, and ends in an ecstatic marriage of sounds. Buzzing keys, thumping bass, and askew guitar that prods and pushes through the clamour like a blind but ambitious echidna burrows itself out from underneath the dirt.

New Noisy Punk: A Place to Bury Strangers + Terrorista + Gazar Strips

If you’re ears aren’t bleeding, it’s not loud enough.

A Place To Bury Strangers – Straight

Awww yisss! A Place to Bury Strangers have returned with an almighty punk beast that’s not sure if it wants to get jiggy on the dancefloor or slice your body up like some contraption out of Saw. ‘Straight’ almost has pop sensibilities, if it wasn’t for the constant guitar withdrawals that keep feeding into the song. A throbbing bass riff that grinds uncomfortably close to sexual, and enough high-power strut that Guitar Wolf would probably challenge APTBS to a walk-off, Zoolander-style if these forces ever met.

Terrorista – Darren Vs. Bag

Toronto is becoming fast-known for it’s damningly great punk music, RE: The Dirty Nil. Terrorista, as their name alludes to, are a cross between a terrorist attack and a wristy, pleasure and pain colliding over and over again. If Trust Punks and Archers of Loaf were involved in a car wreck, their funeral wake would come across as something like the ferocious “Darren Vs. Bag”, a punk tune so furious it doesn’t give a fuck that it could probably place in a reasonable dimension’s Top 40 countdown.

Gazar Strips – Daylight

A couple weeks back, Brisbane’s Gazar Strips put forward a fantastic track called “Lost Holiday”. They’ve backed it up with the other side of the 7″, a disembowelling terror-soaked track called “Daylight”. If you hate the sunlight, and always wondered what it would sound like if Inkubus Sukkubus and Killing Joke were local heroes rather than far-fetched icons of the 80’s, then look no further than the Gazar Strips’ latest.

 

New: Gazar Strips – Lost Holiday

Gazar Strips, outta Brissy, are probably one of the most stand-offish and instantly enrapturing bands coming from that solemn city right now. They’ve got a brand new one called “Lost Holiday”, which features their usual Jesus And Mary Chain-via-The Cure-being-sucked-through-a-black-hole-by-Satan sound, which is pretty one-of-a-kind thing. It has to be heard/seen to be believed, ja feel?

Gazar Strips are still maintiaining those looming guitar lines, which I’m all for, and they still have that goth poetry being spat out with guttural baritones. “Lost Holiday” is a swirling cavern of depressed noise and, like the eyes of Medusa/Lee Lin Chin, if you stare at it too long, you risk being turned to stone, caught forever in a terrifying gaze. To summarise, I’m all for “Lost Holiday”, and will wait impatiently for Part 2 of the Gazar Strips Single Series to be released in a couple weeks.

New: Dollar Bar – Legside

Like a slap in the face from all of Weezer’s fans post-Pinkerton, Dollar Bar have reinstated themselves in our collective minds as one of Australia’s greatest pub rock bands. Harking back to a time when Screamfeeder records were basically signifiers of how much of a legend you were (nothing’s changed btw), Dollar Bar have again pulled some magic from their guitars. The riffs on here are solid as hell, immediately forcing your fingers into assuming the air guitar position. It’s the kind of track that makes you want to do a scissor-kick in the middle of your debilitated local pub. But then again, you can’t expect anything less from a band that put out one of the songs of the year in 2013.

Video: COBWEBBS – Easy

What the fuck even, mate? How is the human mind meant to comprehend this? It’s like being submerged into the mind of Doc from Back to the Future whilst his brain has a seizure and all his memories from various time frames are collided into each other at the velocity of LHC.

This has to be one of the most insanely strange and darkly seductive thing to be released in 2014. Pair that with the goth drone of COBWEBBS , chugging weird sci-fi doom in the vein of GLOSS, Multiple Man and Four Door beating itself with a copy of A Clockwork Orange, and you’ve got one four and a half minutes that sound like perfect disturbia.

Album Review: Tape/Off-Chipper

artworks-000079925806-adtf10-t500x500Tape/Off are from Brisbane, but don’t hold it against them. They’re city may be the ‘ugly cousin’ of pristine, not-at-all-shit beacons of culture like Sydney or Melbourne, but that’s primarily what gives the bands of Brisbane the amazing aesthetic that sets them apart from the cleaner sounds you’d get out of the other capital cities of the East Coast. And primarily, that’s what Tape/Off’s album is about. Similar to recent suburban ode to the forgotten city of Brisbane, Violent Soho’s crushing ‘Hungry Ghost’, Tape/Off compress, grind and viciously decapitate anything that will stand in the way of their hometown. They are truly the knights of Brissy.

Tape/Off excel at doing the kind of gritty, lambasting rock n roll that seemed to peak in the 90’s. Acts like Screamfeeder, Archers of Loaf and At the Drive-In can all be heard pretty distinctly, albeit through the howling vocals and droning guitars. Speaking of the guitars, they angle themselves so that it appears like they’re crashing on top of you, wave after wave of obliterating noise and gnarled punk. There are a few moments of thankful relief, wherein Tape/Off stretch their legs, and firmly show they can diversify their noisy brand. But when Tape/Off are going hard, it’s a blissful marriage of happiness and brilliance.

‘Pedestal Fan’ is an absolute gun of  track. It races itself, furiously trying to trip up its various parts, like that dickhead kid you knew in primary school who always stuck his leg out right when you were hitting your peak on the running track. That analogy doesn’t apply to me, because I’ve never run, ever, but the point remains that Tape/Off blitz through this stand out track with the loud, clanging and abusing their instruments like each respective chord is a member of parliament. Joe Hockey-BLAM! Christopher Pyne-SCHING! Tony Abbott-*More torrential raining of fingers on a fretboard than has ever been witnessed before*.

Whilst ‘Pedestal Fan’ is obviously stand out, the other brutal tracks on this record assure Tape/Off of the status they deserve. ‘Peggy’s Lookout’ is an apocalyptic lesson in noise riffs, as if ‘Raining Blood’ was created in a sharehouse in Fortitude Valley, using shitty Sonic Youth guitars. And ‘Climates’ borrows the kind of spitting bravado that made everyone fall in love with Total Control. When the end of every sentence is gargled and forcibly thrown up into the microphone, you can’t help but want to go see this band live, just to see if actual regurgitation will occur when this song goes off.

But, as mentioned before, there are some quieter (emphasis on ‘…er’) that break up the noise and clanging, and bring Tape/Off a sense of ready reailty. Their not a shitty hardcore band that’s never heard of the term ‘melody’ before. Songs like ‘Australia’s Most Liveable City’ and ‘I Believe In You’ give a propulsion and sincerity that is all too rare in bands not afraid of turning it up to 11.

Tape/Off have achieved something that barely ever happens anymore, and hasn’t been done well since the Sebadoh glory days-subversively fusing pop tactics with a messy tangle of noise, until the two become indistinguishable in the maelstrom. ‘Chipper’ is a record and a half, one that delivers, relating and retaliating in equal turns. It unfolds the ugly but much-loved story of Brisbane and the Brisbanauts, and almost makes you want to spend the rest of your life there. ‘Chipper’ is a time capsule, a love story and a brutal head-pounder all rolled into one.

Watch Tape/Off in the flesh this Sunday at 3pm at Black Wire, along with awesome mates Cull and Narrow Lands. Killin’ it

Album Review: Gazar Strips-Sparkling EP

In 2003, Andre 3000 asked society a very important question: ‘What’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold!’ He got that right – goth music is some of the coolest shit to listen to, and the best stuff is submerged in twenty-thousand feet of ice-cold emotional horror. Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend and The Sisters of Mercy are my go to sad-as-fuck bands, when it’s raining and it’s a Sunday, and there’s an assignment due, and I missed that Scott & Charlene’s Wedding show and…fuck man, my problems are the worst kinds of problems.

This is where Gazar Strips come in handy. They make noisy, gritty goth music in the same vein as the aforementioned artists, only darker. Maybe if Joy Division were drowned in a bathtub of evil? Or if the Reid brothers most devilish, junk-induced nightmares came to light? ‘Sparkling’ is anything but, a lurching, emotionally-wrought ride through cacophony and gutter-gothicism.

The EP starts with ‘Oversight’, a track that reaches out cold hands of bass and screaming, muddy guitar screeches. You can totally hear the ‘Unknown Pleasures’ influence here, but with stacks and stacks of feedback and regurgitating blackness surrounding it. There’s this awesome part where the song breaks down into agonised howls, cackling and a towering solo. The song basically spits out a seething, focused haze of gothic filth (one of the highest of compliments I can give).

The title track continues the trend of ripping open minds with crunching guitars, as experimental sounds that would have a hard time being replicated ricochet on percussion probably performed on a skeleton. ‘Last Days’ continues the killer bass trend, opening with a line that’ll tear you from balls to temple, low-slung and snarling as ever. Give it a few years, you’ll find most house bands that play in death cults chucking up covers of ‘Last Days’, which seems kind of inappropriate given the reputation death cults have got for themselves. Jesus Christ Jim Jones Jr., couldn’t you be a little more sensitive!

Serious props if you understood that really obscure cult leader reference that’s probably one of the darkest things I’ve written, but it’s still not as gloriously tormenting as the final track on the EP, ‘Bee Mantis’. Like its spindly namesake, the track thrives on being the most hair-raising, spine-chilling, mouth-drying creature created, a HTRK track burning on bleeding guitar fumes. This is the shit Stephen King used to write about in his books! It’s terror-fuelled genius, lapping bass and careening guitars carrying hope-shattering lyrics to a final destination of fucking amazing.

Did you read that last sentence? Gazar Strips are probably the best gothic/darkwave group in Australia right now, maybe even the globe. This EP is the kind of thing acid freaks who listen to The Cure wish they could create, but always forget about. This EP shatters all the expectations of what a band must do to cause on to shudder in entranced anticipation. FUCK! I can’t get over it, this EP is simply the shit. Bow down Robert Smith/Rowland S. Howard/Siouxsie Sioux disciples, you have a new master.

Pick up this fucking EP right away for a name your price download (GASP! HOLY FUCK!) at the Sonic Masala Bandcamp.

 

 

Video: Tape/Off-Pedestal Fan

There’s nothing better than some simple, squealing punk music that makes an MC5 performance sound like a Parliamentary meeting in Canada. “No, you made a really good point there, eh”, “Why thankyou, I put a lot of effort into thinking aboot it”.

Maligned stereotypes aside, Tape/Off are doing the former thing mentioned with incredible results. Take ‘Pedestal Fan’-it’s a loud, rowdy bum rush of guitars, thumping bass lines, and cocaine-fed drums, loosened up even more with some bellowing lyrics. It’s an imprecise, amateur, and most importantly, blaring tribute to the bands of old that ensured punk survived long enough for the mainstream to damn near strangle it to death.

In case you were listening to the video on mute, and couldn’t align the music itself with the all-important role that Tape/Off are playing in the Australian punk renaissance, then the black and white shots of the ‘classic’ punk tour van will have to do. They party hard, they fall down, they stand up, and they struggle to play their instruments. Sounds like a punk band to me (even if the catalyst for all this is trying to play in a moving van).

New: Gazar Strips-Bee Mantis

Today, I heard the words, ‘But Muuuummmmmm…’, and then I got home and listened to the new Gazar Strips track. How are these two things even remotely related? Well, the child that bitched to his Mum needs to get an injection of Gazar Strips right into his veins, because it’ll change him for the better and allow him to harden the fuck up real quick. This hard, coarse, disturbed piece of majesty is so tumultuous, it makes a ride on the Millennium Falcon look easy. It’s stark and more horrifying than a trip on City Rail at 1 in the morning. It’s tortured and howling, like the KVB being filtered through Guantanamo Bay torture devices. A cruel and insidious song, ‘Bee Mantis’ is a 1960’s B Movie Horror Monster dressed up for the modern age.