PREMIERE: The Wedge Tape

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You know you’re the head honcho of a major label when you decide to turn down hot chips for wedges. “No thanks mate, trying to take care of the whole kilojoule intake, hahaha”, you’ll chide at the confused waiter, “I don’t know if you know this, but I’m the head of Strong Look Records, so it’ll be just the wedges for me, thanks”. You’ll take a big juicy bite out of that thick, brown un-chip, coated in sour cream, let a little morsel dribble down your chin, and exclaim, “Man, it’s good to be king”.

Which is why it comes as no surprise that the Strong Look Greatest Hits package is named after a label head’s favourite snack. The Wedge Tape contains a collection of un-released, alternative and live tracks from artists on and associated with Strong Look.

Just like a wedge, there’s a whole lot to sink your teeth into. A few new, or at least unrealeased sunny pop jams from Disgusting People, a live take of a Weak Boys favourite in THE BIGGEST VENUE IN SYDNEY, and an acoustic version of “Dog Farm” that brings out the Galaxie 500 in the band. There’s also the inclusion of the driving gnash of “Kewl December” from the shrouded Solid Dad, the genius chopped electronica of The Seaport and the Airport, and even a live comedy skit from ROMI.

Whatever you’re after, it’s all here, in one convenient location for your listening pleasure. And that’s why Strong Look Records is the best major label a band could be on: they give the b-sides the big budget treatment that others couldn’t begin to fathom.

You can pick up the tape from Strong Look’s Bandcamp here. And while you’re over there, you may as well have a browse through some of their other releases, like Weak Boys ‘Weekdays/Weekends’, which remains one of the best albums to be released in Shitney.

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Video: Weak Boys – That’s Me

Fuck right off. At 1:52 seconds. That’s not…that can’t be…no, fuck off. It’s incredulous. The saviour of the Australian music biz, the shining light of hope in this world of corporate greed, a beacon of unbudging truth and integrity…It’s Weak Boys (and I’m in the shot as well, but that’s not quite as big a deal).

In Late November 2014, #summerdayz, Weak Boys, the band with the second best song and album of 2014, played a launch party at Rav and Steve’s place. Rav’s the drunk lunatic falling out of the window. Steve’s the bloke with the Bedroom Suck t-shirt, and acting cooler than a cucumber on Ambien.

The launch was Good Times Inc. and featured a bunch of legends, and the best songs of 2014, one of which was “That’s Me”. SPOD brought out his fucking long lens and captured the magic in real time, which was including, but not limited to, dogs, guitar solos and, “Chisel Cunt!”.

Weak Boys are playing this Sunday (FOR FREE!) as part of a Rice Is Nice party, at the Vic in Marrickville. Also appearing: Frowning Clouds, Summer Flake, Terrible Truths and Darts.

Video: Weak Boys – Dog Farm

If you’ve run into a crazy, short ginger kid with bad hygiene spewing the praises of “THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM SYDNEY’S WEAK BOYS”, that was probably me. I say probably because the album is that fucking good that there’s a very solid chance that someone else has gotten around to hailing it as one of the albums of the year, just like myself. (If you haven’t read the review of the record, then check out this convenient article right here)

One of the bigger reasons ‘Weekdays/Weekends” is such a success is because of the greatly quotable and tender songs that span the entire 10 song track list. “Dog Farm” is one of the standouts, and not just because it takes a broken relationship, and turns it into about how great dogs are. Seriously, no one needs to be reminded that dogs are great. Even people that get mauled by Dobermans melt whenever they hear the word dog.

The guys got together and shot a lil’ clip for it, featuring, you guessed it, a bunch of amazing dogs licking the face of the Chris Yates. It’s pretty bluddy adorable.

Album Review: Weak Boys – Weekdays/Weekends

Weak Boys are a band that are so fucking unrequited, it’s like all three members were Jeff Daniels, the epitome of underrated-ness. Weak Boys should be poster boys for Australia, and yet they only have a measly 186 likes as of publication time. That statistic right there is proof of a cruel world. What could they be doing wrong? The album cover is a photo of a dog cuter than a baby seal in a band outfit, mini trombone and all. I mean, that alone should have every single member of Cool Dog Group falling over each other in an effort to click that prestigious blue thumbs-up. And they have songs so instantly iconic, they’re like Uluru or that fucking annoying little multicoloured spinny wheel.

For a bit of a reference point, Weak Boys slot in nicely as gruffer version of all the modern legends of Twerps, Full Ugly and Dick Diver, mixed heartily with classic jangle i.e The Clean,The Go-Betweens, The Cannanes. However, the thing that makes Weak Boys stand apart is the ability to be both self-aware, and completely absorbed. “Weekdays/Weekends” is full of songs that’ll make you laugh heartily, golden comedy nuggets that you’d expect nothing less of from THE Matt Banham of Matt Banham’s Jokes Internet Infamy. But it’s also packed with slices of truth that not even Truman Capote himself was capable of worming out of a pen.

To begin with, Weak Boys released the stellar song “Hangovers”, which I maintain to be one of the songs of the year, along with Blank Realm’s “Falling Down the Stairs”, Richard in Your Mind’s “Hammered”, and Dorsal Fins’ “Monday Tuesday”. It was a hilarious song delivered in deadpan, about how much waking up on Sunday was, and how shitty kids were. As a fellow kid, I can definitively confirm that 90% of people under the age of 21 are deadshits, including myself. For comparison, the deadshit factor only drops to 10% once over the age of 21, but hey, those are just cold, hard facts. Anyway, “Hangovers” is an awesome song, insanely catchy, great video, it made you want to spew in jealousy it’s so good. But, was it a total indicator of the album?

In a way, both yes, and no. Yes, every song has a little bit of comedy to it, but whilst some are light-hearted pokes set to simple but riveting guitar-pop, like “Jules, Brent & I” and “Fucken Landlords”, others are intensely dark and troubling, black comedy manifestos. Whereas “South Australia” yelps about getting pissy and moving out of our nation’s butt of jokes, all to the tune of some ecstatic guitar solos, “Never Drinking Again” deals with the same themes, but with such a solemn choke that you can’t help but want to reach through the song and give the bloke a hug. Similarly, “Settled” is a doozy of a depressor, a greyscale sigh about the troubles of being in the constantly stressing life that is the modern condition. When the words of, “Grab a butcher’s knife, and settle down/happiness would be rife, if I could settle down”, I automatically cried out a “NO!”, like I’d just seen Mufasa topple off a cliff for the first time. Think about that for a second – when was the last time you had an audible reaction to a song?

I went into this Weak Boys record with high expectations. After all, these three unassuming guys have been in bands as awesome as Little Lovers and Dollar Bar, so why wouldn’t their record be a bunch of bloody fun? But when listening to the thing, you can’t help but think…fuck, this is a masterpiece. A lot of people were obsessed over the Lower Plenty “Nullarbor” record a few years back, and “Weekdays/Weekends” appears to be the updated, Sydney reply to that album – just a strong, honest and genuine album booming with talent, perfect in every way. It’s hard to imagine Weak Boys not becoming iconic in some way or another, it’s just a matter of how big. As one of the most complete and fulfilling albums in recent Australian lore, I strongly urge, nay command thee, to buy this album.

‘Weekdays/Weekends” is out now on Strong Look Records. Grab it at the link.

Album Review: Disgusting People – Disgusting People

Disgusting People are a bunch of bloody charmers, comprised of some of the best talent that Sydney-town has got on offer. You’ve got members of Weak Boys, Day Ravies, Mope City, Nathan Roche and a couple other bands you’ve probably caught a woff of at some point or another. However, just because they can charm you harder than George Clooney hopped up on some horny goat weed, doesn’t mean that they’re not prone to the same primitive impulses that bind you and I to this mortal coil. If these legends of the West want to strap together a few scrappy songs on a four-track and deliver them to our undeserving ears, then so be it.

First and foremost, this is an album that needs to be listened to on cassette. Now, whilst that might come off as some crass hipster-ism, it’s a genuine nod. The buzzing and whirring, the hiss and delvings into random noise make it the perfect thing you want to chuck it on a format that hasn’t been wildly popular since Motley Crue could still sell records.

Anyway, the record is pretty much a loose collection of previously released stuff (“Make You Happy”, “Snail Song”, “2×4”) and new just-as-irreverent tunes. It’s obvious that all members here have contributed songs, as the album swings wildly in all directions, from loose, fuzzy and frantic “Third Wheel”, to introspective hula-meets-depression jams, cc: “Between Mothering and Murdering”.

Whatever you could want in a song, Disgusting People have you covered, a buffet of pop on offer. There’s also a certain order to the randomness. The album begins with bouncy mope-pop tracks, slacker guitar lines wafting lazily next to tracks that make you want to clap your hands in stupid joy (“Snail Song”, Between Mothering and Murdering”, “Make You Happy”). Then things turn a lil’ rockier, with “Third Wheel” sounding like someone spilled an unfinished MC5 record into the mixing desk. I maintain that  “I Wanna Ctrl Delete My Life” is one of the finest songs released this year, and short, snappy song that goes out to all the office squares who wanna rip off their loose-fitting shirts and scream an AC/DC song.

Then things get super fucking weird.There’s the Tim and Eric sketches that the world’s funniest duo forgot to put into their show, in “Cat Song”, “Candy” and “T-GAS”, high pitched homages to all out weirdness. The 19-track opus finishes with a few tracks, including a Yo La Tengo-esque reprise to standout track “2×4”.

Basically, Disgusting People didn’t try too hard on this album. There was no label meddling, no pressure, no harsh times infecting the performances of the band members. It’s just off-kilter pop music played by mates, for mates, and it resounds with a weird and wonderful tang that permeates throughout. The exploitation of the strange is strong on this one, a perfectly preserved encapsulation of the fucked up shit you do when it’s just a few mates. If you’re the kind of person that thinks that SPOD should’ve started a jangle-pop band, then this album is for you. If you’re the kind of person who likes Beavis and Butthead, and wished they’d made an Australian version, this album is for you. And if you’re the kind of person that wished Clive Palmer had a reality TV show, you’d probably enjoy this album as well. And if you’re not that kind of person, I hear Alt-J have a new record out. So, yeah, enjoy that.

Highly recommend picking up this in physical format, which you can do right here, at Strong Look Records Bandcamp. Also, catch Disgusting People launching the album THIS THURSDAY (30 November) at The Mess Up, at the Lansdowne Hotel. Entry is free, and King Tears Mortuary and Carpet are coming along for support.

Premiere: Disgusting People – Snail Song

It’s been a long, long time coming for Disgusting People to finally see the light and get around to releasing a cassette full of irreverent goodies. Their debut is like those goodie bags you received at birthdays celebrating your fifth year of being alive – full of awesome shit that was coated in unimaginable layers of sugar. And that’s why you’re fat.

Anyway, the #leadsingle from the Inner West deli platter that is Disgusting People is guitar-pop done by guys who treat their Yo La Tengo records like a safety blanket. The guitar strums on here are more lackadaisical than trailing your hand in the waters of Venice from the sanctuary of a gondola. Now THAT’S lackadaisical. And there’s enough poppy “Bap-bap’s” to turn Paul McCartney insane. Basically, if you like guitars and guys singing about who knows what, “Snail Song” is your Mecca.

Disgusting People’s debut self-titled is available TODAY through Strong Look Records’ Bandcamp. 19 tracks of pop that’ll give you a weird burning sensation. Get on it mate.

Premiere! Solid Dad – Kewl December

DAD

Times are tough. The bloke who appears on the cover art for Solid Dad’s debut single knows it better than anyone else. Thy mortal enemy December rears its ugly, stinking, sweaty head, and injects direct sunlight into your otherwise glorious day, thusly ruining any chance of happiness or comfort. That’s where a KEWL day makes all the difference between feeling young, spunky and phresher than Drake,  and putting a shotgun in your mouth.

There’s not much known about Solid Dad. Is the name ironic, and #Grinspoon already taken? Is he actually a terrible father? Or are his parenting skills on par with his ability to write awesome, blustery tunes? “Kewl December” reeks of imagination, a stoic number that plants its Doc Martens firmly, with a gravel crunch and a lobbing spit of chewed tobacco. This is a man’s song, y’hear? As inhumane and weathered as the track’s own album cover model/Wizard Doppelganger, “Kewl December” struts with the howling fire of a Beasts of Bourbon bender, and although those vocals point to this tall structure falling down, the warble and delicate strength is all part of the charm.

BUY IT YOU MONGREL: 

Video: Weak Boys-Hangovers

About fucking time! Sydney anti-beatsmiths aka jangle poppers aka Matt Banham x Craig Lyons x Chris Yates aka Weak Boys, have just released their debut single ‘Hangovers’ through new label Strong Look Records. Weak Boys + Strong Look Records = a happy middle ground of average physicality.

The song is, simply put, fucking delightful, the perfect tune you’d want to listen to when reaching for an aspirin and glass of cold water on Sunday. It’s simple strumming and basic drumming, all at tongue-lolling, head-stuck-out-the-car-window pace. Oh, and there’s lyrics about how much harder it is to drink when you hit that mythical +20 age. Mixing beers with lemonade? At this glorious point of 18, that pretty much amounts to blasphemy. However, the song’s so goddamn happy-go-lucky, I’ll let the shandy manoeuvre slide. But seriously, if your head ain’t nodding by the 0.003 second mark, there’s something intrinsically wrong with you.

The video to this is also bloody top notch. It is literally a dramatisation of my Saturday night: ginger with a band t-shirt hits the champers in a park, loses all stability, dances like no one’s watching to same crazy-ass tune, followed by severe regret the following morning. When I say literally, I mean literally. Packets of Cheetohs don’t stand a chance when I’m a few beers in and the munchies start calling.