Interview: Deaf Wish

I saw Deaf Wish a few weeks back at this great little show in Melbourne. The Stevens, EXEK, New War, Totally Mild, and Sugar Fed Leopards all played as well, but Deaf Wish were fucking standouts. Absolutely brilliant. It was loud, unhinged and magnetic, filed somewhere between The Men and Pissed Jeans – intelligent, desperate and gnashing rock ‘n’ roll.

Deaf Wish have their new album ‘Pain’ coming out August 7th. I’m pretty keen for it, and you should be to. So read the interview, peer into the soul of your new favourite band, and then grab a cup for all your drool to spill into until ‘Pain’ gets released.

R: Having been around for so long, how have you perceived changes in Melbourne’s music scene, and to a wider degree, Australia’s?

DW: Heckling has almost disappeared. Ten years ago I would look around the room and see the big personalities and just make a mental sidenote in preparation. So when they arked up I was ready. Mick’s here- he fucked a tiling job in Werribee on Wednesday, got him covered. Damo’ll probably fire one off, he drove into a parked car last weeeknd. It was part of the pre-game, make sure you go onstage armed up. Nowadays they just clap and whistle. I look at the stage floor and think: “What strange hell is this??”

R: It’s really hard to pinpoint or pigeonhole  you guys, especially on earlier records. Has unpredictability been a constant for Deaf Wish?

DW: Bunch of freaks jammed in a room for no real reason except to see what happens. Did you ever have one of those children’s science kits that have a picture of 8 years in lab coats curiously looking into a test tube? You open them up and just mix everything together trying to make something explode and then it does and you’ve burnt your face off and eaten magnesium? That’s Deaf Wish.

R: You all contribute vocals and songs to Deaf Wish – has that caused tension or has it worked as a positive, making the band multi-limbed?

DW: Multi-limbed like a Voltron! Cats for arms and cats for legs. No tension at all. It’s just the way it’s always been for us. No one is the boss, we all have a go.

R: How has recently reconvening in Melbourne affected the band?

DW: It’s cold here. Winter is long and dark and can make you sad. We love Melbourne. We have trams and footy ovals and no fucking sun for 4 months.

R: The first two songs from ‘Pain’ are super short – what is it about a simple, brutal song that makes you write that way?

DW: Rationing ideas. If a song has 3-4 changes, hey man! That’s 3-4 songs. Break em up.

R: ‘Pain’ is the first album on Sub Pop – how does it feel to be another link in a long line of Aussie bands signed to the label?

DW: Feels good.

R: How has working with Sub Pop differed from self releases and Homeless?

DW: Homeless did a one-off re-issue of our first LP before our last tour, it was handy on the road.  The self-released stuff was to avoid asking for a release when the state of the group was so confusing. I did it.  I was bad at it. Lazy, distracted. I enjoyed driving to all the stores and chatting about music with all the shop owners but then forgot about the money or the emails. On the other hand, having owned our own releases is great on the road, where the sales keep us rolling around.

R: “Eyes Closed” seems like on of the most gritty songs you guys have recorded since “Mum Gets Punched in the Face”. It feels like you’re goading a reaction from the listener, which is rare for a band nowadays, would you agree?

DW: File next to “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Get In The Ring”

 R: Apparently everything on the album was recorded in three takes or less – was that something you specifically set out to do? Why not take more time with the record?

DW: I actually hate that this gets mentioned so much. It’s not important. We basically will go into a session and work ourselves up to a wild-eyed state and try to stay like that for as long as possible. We will do 2-3 takes of a song and move on to the next one. Any more than that, we start to hammer it flat. So if all three takes suck, we’ll come back to it later. It’s important to us not to get stuck when we are ripping them out. Got to keep moving through it, stay in the noise tunnel. That’s what I was trying to say with that. We also love layering harmonies and messing around with overdubs.  We all love Big Star so we are always trying to slot in more vocal layers.  I dont think this process is unusual for a band like us. I’m sure it is quite common, actually.

R: I managed to catch you at a rare show in Melbourne a few weeks back – are there any plans to make it up to Sydney and around Australia?

DW: Yes, I reckon over Summer would be a nice time to visit the beach! See what we can get happening. I love Sydney- nice bread and sea breeze, Triple 8 Chi-town, Wentworth, Cristian Sullivan and Jetta on the wing.

‘Pain’ is out August 7th on Sub Pop Records. Pre-order here.

 

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Video: King Tuff – Headbanger

Fuck, how great is King Tuff? He’s the man with a riff as big as Godzilla’s dick, and can bludgeon bloodlust into even the most stock-standard hippie dipshit. “Headbanger” is basically an ode to going hard in a rock club and making out with the perfect partner, and anyone who doesn’t like it is a terrorist of good taste. Get this live performance feat. Thin Lizzy font into ya.

Album Review: King Tuff – Black Moon Spell

Kyle Thomas is King Tuff. King Tuff is Kyle Thomas. Cool, we’ve got that out of the way? Just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. No judgement, seriously. Pseudonyms are fucked up things. Remember that time JK Rowling sold fuck all books because she was writing under a pseudonym? Yeah, man, faking a name is hard business, and it can really bite you in the ass. Which is why it’s so cool to see King Tuff finally embracing his outrageous side, and not letting previous projects like Witch and associations with Ty Segall get in the way of some solid rocking out.

King Tuff records have alway suffered from being a little too awesome. They almost bland themselves out. It’s like when you eat a whole bucket of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked – once you get about 3/4 of the way down, the only reason you’re continuing is because you feel like you have to finish what you’ve started. You know it’s really, really good, a mini-orgasm giving birth to multiple other orgasms at the same time, but that plateau wears itself thin, and you don’t become bored necessarily, just accustomed. With “Black Moon Spell”, King Tuff has fully incorporated the T. Rex sound into his wild rock ‘n’ roll, and taken chances with his guitar that he never would have shied away from on earlier releases. With previous albums, there was always something just holding back the album from achieving what King Tuff wanted to say.”Was Dead” was almost hippie-infused, like a garage band choking on incense, and his self-titled was a headbanger’s journey cushioned by a safety helmet and an overprotective Mum barking orders from the sidelines.

But ‘Black Moon Spell’ pulls no such punches. It’s cool as fuck, so cool that it kicked calm and collected out on the street, and struts around by itself. The guitar lines are sickeningly sweet and crunchy, like an explosion that’s gone off at the Wonka factory. There’s the ultimate Hunx & His Punx knockoff track “Beautiful Thing”, which might be this year’s best track to stand outside an unrequited love’s house and blast on a loudspeaker (ironically, this insanely catchy firecracker is followed by a bouncy track glorifying the plainer of us, called “I Love You Ugly”). “Black Holes in Stereo” is like that Dasher “Go Rambo” track, only instead of belonging in a hardcore punk dive, it’s been transported to a transvestite karoake night, where you either play David Bowie or you can Get The Fuck Out (GTFO for the acronym lovers). And “Eddie’s Song” takes all the hand-clapping awesomeness of Aerosmith and Van Halen, and crushes it into a toe-tapping sexperience (trust me, the orgasms will come thick and fast on this one, the melody practically moans itself).

But by far, “Headbanger” is the standout here. It might be the finest song King Tuff has composed to date, chock full of guitar breaks, bludgeoning riffs, and mind-melting cymbal crashes. And best of all, KT manages to describe the perfect partner – someone with Judas Priest and Iron Maiden records and who’s not afraid to tear open some skin in pursuit of the ultimate headbang. Every King Tuff record has that one song that continues in the consciousness of the fans, even after the album has receded to background noise. ‘Was Dead’ had “Lazerbeam”, ‘King Tuff’ had “Keep On Movin'” and ‘Black Moon Spell’ has “Headbanger”.

But back to the original point. Cohesiveness was never really the goal of King Tuff, nor was it completely expected. Churn out a record loaded with hits, and we’ll ignore the couple of bung notes in favour of gettin’ turnt. ‘Black Moon Spell’ suffers from this curse in only the mildest of forms (“Sick Mind”, “Staircase of Diamonds”) and better yet, King Tuff’s musical ability has skyrocketed to make every track as gooey and chunky as possible. He’s cut off his fears, and completely let loose, indulging incredibly, and reaping the great rewards that stem from true glam rock. Marc Bolan would be crying tears of joy in celebration of this record, and you should to. The songs on here are excellence, and whereas ‘Black Moon Spell’s predecessors would’ve suited a garage performance or a sticky carpet, this album points towards stadium aspirations that are both achievable and welcome.

Video: J Mascis – Every Morning

How great is this???? Not just the song, which switches up between having J Mascis doing a Bob Dylan impression better than Bob Dylan himself, and an unusually restrained but nonetheless skull-fuckingly good guitar solo. This song has lulled me to sleep every night since its release, and I plan on continuing listening to it every night until my hair is as silver as Mascis’.

But it doesn’t stop there, as there’s a goddamn hilarious music video (sidenote: no one really does good and funny music videos anymore???). Anyway, Mascis is a cult leader, which doesn’t stray to far away from his job in real life as frontman for Dinosaur Jr, only instead of 40 year old guys still wanting to be rock stars, it’s a bunch of flower children holding hands and swaying. Then, Portlandia legend Fred Armisen rocks up and introduces the modern conveniences of…the calculator! Uh oh! Controversy! Awesome song, even greater video.

New: King Tuff-Eyes of the Muse

Fucking shitting a brick right now, because King Tuff has just pulled off the most brilliant guitar solo of 2014.Starting out with some solid channeling of Creedence and a good dosage of KT’s cough syrup-esque tones swishing around in your ear. But the John Fogerty gets switched pretty quickly for some Marc Bolan, which brings us to the aforementioned insane guitar solo. It’s a total gobsmacker, a Southern-fried thing that twirls around on a  colourful drug cocktail, KT’s swinging fingers moving all over the fretboard like a glam rock wizard. Absolutely insane!

Album Review: Dum Dum Girls-Too True

There are a whole bunch of things in this world that are too true, by which I mean hard truths that are undeniable. Those warts on your genitals aren’t going away. You will never win the affection of your father through your amateur post-modern theatre troupe. Things will always taste better when slammed between two slices of bread. These are facts, things that are too true to even begin to deny. Seriously, try to find an exception to these rules of life, and when you’re confined to a hospital from the insanity you’ve been driven to because of this, you can thank me.

Another thing that is ‘too true’ is that the Dum Dum Girls cannot suck. Look at their previous efforts of 2010’s ‘I Will Be’ and 2011’s ‘Only In Dreams’. The super-dooper trooper that is Dee Dee Penny aka Head Honcho at DDG & Co. utilised a blend of 70’s garage and 60’s power-pop charm on those records, and the result was an indefinite sighing of pleasure from the listener.

But with the new album, ‘Too True’ showcases Dee Dee’s affection with the New Wave. After all, where would society be without the records of Blondie, David Bowie and Talking Heads? Smooth, slick and revelling in the post-modern, New Wave represented that shying away from the hyperbolically testosterone scene that was the joke of punk at this point. When every slightly pissed off kid is picking up a guitar, only to sound like a shitty version of Dead Boys, someone had to step in and revert the direction of music.

That’s what the Dum Dum Girls have accomplished. If they’d produced another album of fun and irreverent garage-pop, they probably would’ve burst their own bubble. But by transporting themselves into the scenery and themes of New Wave, The Dum Dum Girls manage to carry on their legacy, as well as show they aren’t the one-trick pony that can only pull off a simple trick.

The result is a super-shiny, slightly dangerous and overtly pop exhibition of refurbished New Wave tunes. Most of the songs are pulled off with a flair and lushness that would make Nico swear off music because Dum Dum Girls were too good. Check-mate occurs early in the album, on the third track ‘Rimbaud Eyes’. If you didn’t believe me when I expressed that Dum Dum Girls had made an album with sheen, then I’m as disappointed as Martin is with Charlie and Emilio. Shame! ‘Rimbaud Eyes’ brings the Debbie Harry hard and fast to the front, that glittering dirty pop becoming a steadfast musical theme of the album.

The attention for the album doesn’t stop at ‘Rimbaud Eyes’. ‘Too True’ provides plenty of other 80’s name drops, from ABBA-meets-The Human League on ‘Too True To Be Good’, Depeche Mode on ‘Lost Boys and Girls Club’ and even a little bit of Patti Smith popping up on ‘Are You OK’.

But still, even with all these major influences rearing their heads, Dum Dum Girls remain defiantly modern. Dee Dee takes her newfound influences of Bowie and Harry, drops off The Zombies in the recycling bin, and then sprinkles all these modern touches of swelling guitar and danger-pop. And her voice! Fuck that voice will make angels cry!

Overall, Dum Dum Girls retain their position at the top of  the new-school weird girl groups. Whilst Vivian Girls passed on and Beach House dulled down, Dum Dum Girls continue to evolve and push their sound, whilst retaining all they hold dear: influences and the ability to write a damn catchy pop song.

Album Review: Mogwai-Rave Tapes

Does…does this album even need to be reviewed? I mean…c’mon people! It’s a brand new Mogwai album! As in the Scottish group that made instrumental music exciting again! How can it be physically possible, humanly even, to not rave about Mogwai? The album is fucking called ‘Rave Tapes’!

Okay, if you must know, this album rules so hard, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The rolling textures, the sharp, knifey melodies, the introduction of more unnerving electricity into their work? Mogwai have always been a moody band, but they usually build up their songs to epic proportions. On ‘Rave Tapes’, things are almost constantly kept subdued, humming at a menacing level, like the world’s most attractive mosquito.

On this album, it feels as though the band haven’t had anything extreme happen to them personally, but they’re reflecting on more worldly issues. The music incorporates more forward, electronic dynamics that push the album in a straight, focused line. Its always buzzing, seething, but never blows up or exasperates itself. Anyone who’s been a teenager can connect with that feeling, of being so mad that you feel like its more effective if you silently pray for your offenders’ demise than directly attack them. If anything, ‘Rave Tapes’ is the ultimate passive-agressive soundtrack. Forget your go-to Metallica/Marilyn Manson/Slipknot loud-fests that are basically torture screams over guitars. You want something that actually broods and speaks to your inner angst? Listen to this album on repeat.

On a more specific level, the songs of ‘Rave Tapes’ are, unsurprisingly, interesting as fuck. Like, more interesting than a chat in an opium den with Einstein, the Dalai Lama and Jim Morrison. The album is unbelievably textured, shifting between a million emotional paradigms. At one point, ‘Hexon Bogon’, which features tumultuous feedback undercutting dilapidating piano strokes, gives a vulnerable side to Mogwai. And then, a couple songs later, ‘Master Card’ provides a re-strengthend, thought-provoking journey with a thrusting, aggressive guitar part whilst synth waves shake the song to its core.

But, as usual for Mogwai albums, the most memorable moments of ‘Rave Tapes’ come from the more epic and sinister parts of the album. It’s just what the band do best. ‘Remurdered’, is the first taste of the album (and most brutal overall) where we get to hear some cynical musical savagery. As if the title wasn’t enough, the song itself plays out like a climactic scene of a gory Cormac McCarthy novel. At the beginning, the lighter key parts hint at some sort of bullshit happy discovery scenario. But as the song delves further into its six and a half minute run-time, the gruesome nature of the track reveals itself bit by bit. Seriously, if someone were to make a remake of Se7en, just have ‘Remurdered’ be the score. The heavy, scrambling notes that appear about halfway through the track are both primal and futuristic, like Blade Runner, if Harrison Ford were played by a Neanderthal.

Likewise, the track ‘Deesh’ stands out for its significantly villainous overtones that, although cut with some hopeful synths, bring the mood to a thoroughly bleak outlook. Even the closer of ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’, a track that was probably inspired in some part by the work of Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized, holds a certain darkness to it. The organ rings and robot-filtered vocals bring the song, and encapsulate the album’s overall vibe, of being the sort of future that is run by a Skynet programmed by the Westboro Baptists Church. Hell, maybe there’s actually a whole Terminator thing going on, and this is the only way the guys from Mogwai know how to warn us simple mortals.

‘Rave Tapes’ is not Mogwai’s best work. That being said, it’s not their worst either. It’s in a beautiful middle ground, very similar to 2003’s ‘Happy Music for Happy People’. Its minimalistic approach (for Mogwai, anyway) is different but for a mostly positive effect. But, despite the connotations of the title, ‘Rave Tapes’ is a pretty shy work. It never wants to point the finger, and rarely retreats out of the framework to give off the signature epic Mogwai blasts of emotion. Nonetheless, ‘Rave Tapes’ is accomplished, well-produced, and is more conceptual and resonating than 9/10 modern albums. And all this from a band that say nearly fuck all.

If you’re keen, (as you very well should be) you can hear an exclusive stream of the album here on The Guardian’s website, right here. ‘Rave Tapes’ comes out on the 17th of January, via Sub Pop/Rock Action/Spunk Records.

New: Thigh Master + Shaking Hell + Petty Things + Dum Dum Girls + Diveliner

So many tunes, so little time. What a shitty, cliched introduction. Fuck it, we’ll do it live.

 

Thigh Master-Goon Punch

Thigh Master are from Brisbane, so you know they’re tough as fucking nails. All is pretty much confirmed when you’ve got a song entitled ‘Goon Punch’, an all too common experience had by every teenage boy soon after sculling four litres of pure demon piss. Musically, Thigh Master are awesome. They sound like a strung-out, tired-of-your-shit Archers of Loaf, hidden behind a couple of layers of badass fuzz.

If you’re free on the 25th of January, make sure you head out to The Clarence Hotel, because Thigh Master are going to play ‘Goon Punch’ and a bunch of other sick tracks. Ruined Fortune (!), Beef Jerk and Video Ezy play support.

 

Shaking Hell-I’m Not Your Friend

Remember that Frenzal Rhomb track ‘You Are Not My Friend’? Well this song from Melbourn’es Shaking Hell is nothing like that. Its way more furious, and it burrows into your brain within a millisecond of the first chords erupting. It’s a friendly sort of evil, like South Park’s version of Satan, and you can’t help but let ‘I’m Not Your Friend’ invade your blood stream, forcing every fibre of your body into a dangerous state of punk overload. Shaking Hell are a band that demand to be moshed to, and who the fuck are you to deny them of that?

Shaking Hell are playing what is guaranteed to be one of the best shows of the year at Blackwire Records on January 18th, with Yes, I’m Leaving (!), Narrows Lands (!) and Palmer Grasp. If that sort of lineup doesn’t make you sopping in the loin areas, you’re fucked mate.

 

Petty Things-Bored

This is a song by a band from Arizona. Cool. The songs about a bunch of kids who are walkin’ down the street and kill a dude for shits and giggles, because they were bored. Now we’re talking!

‘Bored’ reminds me of those fuzz bands that popped up around California around the time Wavves first started getting popular. There’s a definite slacker/punk vibe to these guys. Like, they want to rebel against their parents and go to that White Fang show….but there’s a bong just out of arms reach, and that is definitely the more pressing issue here. Hey, we’ve all been there. Now, go get this fucking song, because it’s rad.

 

Dum Dum Girls-Rimbaud Eyes

Although the first single off the new Dum Dum Girls was pretty meh, but this new one is way more to my liking. It’s so 80’s, you’d think that the Dum Dum Girls was a culmination of the Psychedelic Furs and Debbie Harry. Seriously, the icy waves of New Wave are so prominent here, you’d think that the Dum Dum Girls’ record collections were solely made up of New York synth artists and The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ 12″ single. If Lou Reed were still around right now, I feel that he’d be obsessed with this song, and that’s enough for me.

 

Diveliner-Vìda

Wanna listen to King Krule, but scared that you’re friends will all yell at you for jumping on the hipster bandwagon? All you have to do is listen to Diveliner, the most perfect replication of King Krule’s nu-jazz to date. The song ‘Vìda’ is pure perfection, a slow-moving sex-jam that rolls around the brain like a caramel sundae drizzled in Beyonce’s perfume. Its so goddamn smooth, it’d put an event of Drake songs as sung by Ray Charles to shame. Everything about this song is near perfect, from the glossy guitar strokes, to the computer blips and saxophone love-making horns. Layer that underneath one of the soon-to-be-declared ‘best voices of 2014’ and its a recipe for success.

 

Album Review: Washed Out-Paracosm

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I have a confession. It is really hard for me to say, for I am a proud man, and I do not like to admit when I am wrong. And not only does this confession wholly place me in the realm of wrong, but to use a pride analogy like a boss, my honour has been ripped from the status of Ancient Chinese Emperor to common Roman pleb. Here it goes: I didn’t like the first Washed Out album. Shocking, I know. But, in my defence, my 15 year old tastes were more suited to the likes of Metallica’s ‘St. Anger’ and Marilyn Manson’s ‘Antichrist Superstar’. Long live shitty metal amirite? Right? C’mon guys, Slipknot are still a relevant band! Guys?

However, I HAVE GROWN. My musical taste has expanded beyond Theory of a Deadman, A Day to Remember and Three Days Grace. I’m finally within my wits to accept the forthright genius of chillwave, and it’s youthful master Ernest Green aka Washed Out. And just in time for his second, absolutely delicious sophomore album ‘Paracosm’. (For anyone that gives a shit, the song that really got me into Washed Out was ‘New Theory’, off the ‘Life of Leisure’ EP. That song is straight godly)

Onwards, to victory! ‘Paracosm’ is a beautifully naturalistic album, full of the kinds of hidden wonders and green intricacies of the Amazonian rain forest. It contains plenty of fluid motion and washed gulping refreshment in every song that is plastered across it sweet nine tracks. The whole thing is like a strawberry-pineapple crossbred fruit-vibrant, a little unusual, and fucking delicious. ‘Paracosm’ is one of the best albums of recent hearing memory because it’s a psychedelic, chilled electronic mix that hits every point of awesome on the colour wheel of amazing. Blue, green, red, orange, yellow, pink, mothafuckin’ gamboge…everything is chucked in, mixed well and popped out to sound well beyond orgasmic.

Although not the standout on the record, lead single ‘It All Feels Right’ seems like where I should start when explaining the legendary-ness of ‘Paracosm’. After the godly opening of ‘Entrance’, the listener emerges from Disney’s Tiki Room, and immediately starts tip-toing across step-stones to a chocolate fountain. Sound wonderfully weird? It’s about to get weirder. Green’s voice hazes over the track as strings cascade like a goddamn champagne flute, little taps resounding over and over in the listener’s brain cells, forcing you to fall deeper and deeper in love with the sounds of chill wave. ‘It All Feels Right’ is legit the sound of a flower blossoming. But that’s not enough. Washed Out keeps you hooked, easily transitioning to the chilled-party-with-all-your-best-friends vibe of ‘Don’t Give Up’. Fucking glorious man. Washed Out is like the N.W.A of naturalistic post-dubstep dream electro. Juxtaposition, I KNOW, but what’s literature for if not to be broken. It’s what Ice Cube would have wanted.

The good times, classic hits don’t stop there. Groove into the luscious canopy of ‘All I Know’ to hang out with some pot-smoking folk-rave loving 80’s hippies, or dive into the cool lagoon of ‘Paracosm’ to hang out with mermaids and dolphins. Poseidon’s even at the party, playing the harp whilst simultaneously doing coke off a dugong’s phallus. It’s a sight to behold, but can only be accessed through ‘Paracosm’. And I’m not even touching upon the holy ground of ‘Falling Back’, which illustrates lucid dreaming via harmonious synth, pitter-patter percussion and angelic vocalisation. Holy shit, has a song ever made you cry before? Well, ‘Falling Back’ can help you achieve that.

Going through Washed Out’s ‘Paracosm’ for the first time reminds me of the time I first heard The Avalanches, or Beach House, or even Toro Y Moi to a lesser extent. Just those wholesome, realised sounds of musicians knowing exactly what they are doing, exactly how to do it, and seeing their work come to fruition. Heavenly sounds that transport the listener to an emotional and vivid place, now that’s a rare thing to come across in music. It really cannot be overstated how well this album has been made and performed. ‘Paracosm’ has become one of my favourite albums of the year, along with FIDLAR, POND and Kurt Vile. Yep, it’s that good, and I would stake my phone plan to say that it’s not going to dull in vibrancy any time soon. Go and buy it here at Sub Pop. 

Album Review: King Tuff-Was Dead

If you don’t know Burger Records, you are seriously missing out on life. Not just the awesome records that the label puts out, but life itself. Let that heavy statement sink in for a second. Then go out and buy some Burger Records. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether you purchase some Nobunny, Summer Twins, The Go, Gap Dream… whatever it is, I guarantee it will be good. If you’ve never heard of those bands, perhaps some Burger alumni will alight your pubes with tantalising interest…The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Lips, Ty Segall, OFF!, Thee Oh Sees, Red Kross…any of these garage rock royalty names sound familiar to you? The dudes and dudettes and Burger simply cannot go wrong. So of course, one of their first releases, (their 16th, to be precise) was going to be King Tuff’s debut ‘Was Dead’, recently re-issued so chumps like me could salivate and possibly combust to it’s gloriously sulphuric sounds.

‘Was Dead’ indulges itself in low-key, simple arrangements that spruce the listener’s interest. None of the songs pelt ahead at a breakneck pace, they don’t claw for your attention, they simple wallow in a stoned stupor that is surprisingly captivating. The songs recall a 60’s hippie vibe, updated with all the modern bells and whistles of 21st Century life. Indeed the album themes of falling in lust, waning after girls out of your league, and having the most fun a youngster can have are so suited to the sound that King Tuff drawls out with ease. That nasally, half-stoned, cowboy meets Jay Reatard drone that King Tuff possesses is a major part of the fascination that surrounds the enthralling of ‘Was Dead’, that and the guitar, but more on that later. King Tuff’s voice is so purely reminiscent of all the rock n roll greats, it’s hard to believe that this record originally came out in 2006 instead of 1968. Then again, there’d be some serious paradox, amirite?

Anyway, the songs on ‘Was Dead’ are awesomely done, and endearingly cohesive. They are simple, down played in their rock n roll spirit, but nonetheless uplifting. They bounce and jig, the aim being to make you ‘<3 Dance Until You Feel Like A Frog <3’ as the back cover puts it. Well mission accomplished King Tuff! It’s hard to point to a definitive point in the album where shit hits a peak, because the whole thing is simply too good. However, in keeping with my usual style, I’ll point out some songs that are slightly more excruciatingly awesome than all the others. ‘Lazerbeam’ is a quick, jumping snap of jaws, shooting and darting around in a ‘Grease Lightning’ sort of anthemic way, mixing a feel-good chorus with whiplash guitar and an excitable drum beat. ‘Ruthie Ruthie‘ is a sporadic, recklessly endangered rock n roll howler, running so far ahead of itself that the melody only just keeps up, the whole thing gloriously unhinged. ‘Kind of Guy’ is a beautiful narrative garage bumper, the most Disney a Burger Records song has ever gotten. Yes, ‘Kind of Guy’ is more romantic than any Hunx and his Punx song. Achievement unlocked, or whatever the fuckin’ XBox reference is. ‘Connection’ wheels and deals with a organ rhythm strung out against a woo-oo and psychedelic guitar part. Remember, these are only, like half the songs on the album that I’ve described. Literally, all of it is fantastic.

If there was a record this week that I could recommend, it would be King Tuff’s ‘Was Dead’ re-issue. It’s a sun-drenched, fun-soaked bathtub of hazy, stoned goodness, a dude with a couple instruments and mates who made one of the greatest lost treasures. It’d be like if Kurt Cobain decided to not be depressed all the time, and decided to make awesome slacker lo-fi garage instead of awesome emotive grungey punk. But hey, you win some, you lose some. This album’s awesome, spend your dolla-dolla-billz on it. Also, if you don’t have it, you should grab King Tuff’s other, more popular album ‘King Tuff’, that came out on Sub Pop and Burger last year. According to Wikipedia, it knocked Jack White off the charts. If this were a highschool football movie starring Gene Hackman, King Tuff would be the sloppy loser team that came back in the final quarter (is that how football works?) and beat the Jack White Jocks! Underdog story yeah!