Video(s): Superchunk + Blank Realm + Bearhug + Naked Maja + Bo Ningen

Another day, another obese unloading of music videos. This time round, the focus is on stuff that’ll get you fucking fired up. None of that dance muzik stuff that all your cool hipster friends always seem to be talking about. This is just some straight up rock n roll, albeit its going to get a little darker towards the end. Enjoy, or die a lonely death.

Superchunk-Void

Oh look at that, a guitar band featuring on my website. Oh, and it happens to be Superchunk, that band that basically brought back irreverent riffs in the 90’s. This one’s called ‘Void’ off their 2013 record ‘I Hate Music’, and its the usual dosage of headbanging goodness. But the video, now the video is something that you need to see. First thing to strike me was the inclusion of Jon Benjamin and Jon Glaser, two of the most underrated comedians since ever. The scene opens in a decrepit ‘shithole’ which reminds me of an Americanised Red Rattler, and Jon Benjamin saying, ‘support bands suck’. From there it’s a broken-hearted tale of unfulfilled mosh dreams, and dick headed security guards. Fucking excellent!

Blank Realm-Falling Down the Stairs

I’ve always been a mild fan of Brisbane weird-pop band Blank Realm, with their tracks ‘Cleaning Up My Mess’ and ‘Go Easy’ always striking a particular chord. However, this new track and its accompanying video, seems to combine Tom Petty with a twee Bruce Springsteen under a cloud of Echo & the Bunnymen. Lets just say its damn catchy, and that I’m completely underselling this track. Your head will definitely bop back and forth to that cute synth line and the best rhetorical question chorus since ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’. Set to the band just doing their thing in a live setting, (I can tell you from firsthand experience that they are definitely worth seeing live), the adorable and awesome nature of Blank Realm really shines here.

Bearhug-Debris

Maybe its because they share such an affinity with Pavement/Dinosaur Jr., but I’ve always been a little too obsessed with Sydney’s Bearhug. On their new single ‘Debris’, shit gets a little more dreamy than usual, and it sounds amazing. They’ve also attached a video clip to this stunning track, however the clip is more of a baiting game of how long it will take before Youtube take it down. By that, I mean there’s a lot of nudity, lotsa boobies. I guess that’s what you get when you pastiche a bunch of 60’s porn with what appears to be some sort of fantastical plot narrative.

Naked Maja-#59

A couple of days ago, I did a review for Naked Maja’s brand new EP ‘Disillusion’. ‘#59’ is the first track off of it, and it has a video clip so good that it just needed to be shared again. Doomy, post-punk laden vocals and increasingly horrifying instrumentation are set to a backdrop what appears to Lewis Carroll’s acid nightmares. There is so much colour and vibrancy involved, but its so off putting and makes you incredibly queasy inside, like you’re watching an electric chair execution take place in front of you. In front of the squealing guitars, it doesn’t make sense for there to be that abundance of colour, and its this kind of juxtaposition in the clip for ‘#59’ that makes it so hard for you to peel your eyes away.

Bo Ningen-Nichijyou feat. Jehnny Beth (Savages)

Before Bo Ningen came along, I more or less knew of three Japanese bands that ruled the shit out of the genres they lorded over. Boris for metal, The 5678’s for guitar/girl-pop and Guitar Wolf for good old fashioned rock n roll. Well, now a fourth has joined their spiritual ranks, as Bo Ningen viciously prove how they are a band to be reckoned with on the post-punk scene. The video shows furtive, uneasy black and whites of the band and contributor Jehnny Beth from the fucking amazing Savages. The video is crisp and adds that little extra element of starkness that pushes ‘Nichijyou’ into climax-of-the-Shining-level attention grabbing.

Bo Ningen are playing at the Big Day Out next year, so if you’re looking for a band that will probably put on a hell of a show, you should check ’em out.

Advertisements

Gig Review: Neutral Milk Hotel w/ Superchunk & M Ward

Friday 15th November @ The Forum Theatre, Melbourne

Exactly a week ago, there was the biggest collection of happy hipsters that Melbourne has ever seen. ‘Why’s that?’ you mumble to yourself as you scroll through a myriad of hot singles in your area. Well, Neutral Milk Hotel, the cult indie-folk band from the 90’s was finally touring Australia. There have been waiting over 20 years for this moment, and now it was finally within grasping distance. Jeff Magnum was here, and he was here to party in the most alternative way possible.

Along for the ride were fellow Harvest Festival refugees M Ward and Superchunk. M Ward was the first to hit that stage, and to be concise, his music is nice and mild. There’s a chance you’ll become enthralled, but there was definitely the feeling that people in the audience were just politely nodding along to his music. M Ward’s songs just sort of meld together. They’re definetely intriguing because they’re undoubtedly good songs, but they’re too nice and plain to really immerse yourself in or get excited about. It’s like if Ryan Adams was a better guitar player but a little less balls. If Wayne Coyne become suddenly sane, wouldn’t let go of his acoustic guitar and adopted the personality of your childhood friend that is really nice, but you would never call up to hang out with, you would get something like M Ward and his lukewarm performance.

Next up where Superchunk, the 90’s riff band that never grew up. Fuck they were gooooood! Despite being obviously old as fuck, they persisted with a boundless energy that belied their age, and you couldn’t help but be swept up in their MTV golden-age fervour. They jumped around the stage of The Forum Theatre like it was their mum’s garage, bouncing off the walls and each other. If Weezer had an older brother that was way into punk music, then it would’ve been Superchunk. The gale-force riffs, and astounding energy of the band on stage was almost too invigorating, Superchunk just oozed genuine excitement. The set they played was mostly compromised of new stuff from their most recent release, this year’s ‘I Hate Music’ and 2010’s ‘Majesty Shredding’. However, for the fans that had been sticking around for a live Superchunk show for about a decade and a half, the band ended their set with a double whammy of ‘Slack Motherfucker’ and ‘Hyper Enough’. Superchunk proved that despite being old and bald, they can put on a rock show circa when buying CD’s and Guns N Roses were a thing.

Finally, after all these years, I, the Sydney-sider enjoyed the alt-country originator Jeff Magnum, and his assorted crew of acid-trip extras hit the Forum Theatre. As soon as those unmistakeable opening bars of ‘King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1’ broke out, (quickly followed by Parts 2 & 3) you’ve never seen more wide-eyed grins set under ironic moustaches in your entire life. There was a fucking mosh pit! At a Neutral Milk Hotel Show! WHAT!?

Shaggy, half-mumbled phrases of counter-culture poetry that Jeff Magnum warbles underneath a plethora of unconventional instruments (see: a saw, as in, the thing you cut wood with, played with a bow). Almost every song in the band’s catalogue was given equal presence and respect by both those onstage and off, and every person in the room was having the best of times. Although Magnum’s Sasquatchian looking face shrouded any sort of emotion, his multi-instrumentalist buddy (who looked all to similar to Badger from Breaking Bad) was a amoebic ball of energy, not settling down even for a moment.

The instruments and intrigue flew hard and fast: banjo’s, a brass section, a culmination of percussion…they all came and went as rapidly as Magnum could blast through his catalogue. ‘Song Against Sex’, ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea’ and ‘Holland, 1945’ excited the second-greatest reactions from the crowd, possibly because they’re the most upbeat and full songs of the two albums. I say second-greatest, because although the aforementionedhave a beautiful, swelling nature to them that worked so well in the acoustically-formidable Forum Theatre, it was ‘Two-Headed Boy’, and the encore of it’s second part, that were so romantically held by the audience. Performed completely alone by Magnum with his trusty guitar, these songs created a unity to the crowd, as they swayed and moved under Magnum’s spell-bindingly unique shambling voice and strumming.

Although not the best show ever, Neutral Milk Hotel killed it for what they were doing. Half sorrowful, half triumphant, the songs of Neutral Milk Hotel strike a strange dichotomy that few artists could attempt to pull off. However, with a sea of dedicated fans and an inherent musical talent, Neutral Milk Hotel ensured a show that could only be described as enjoyable.

New: Dot Dash-Bloom/Decay (free download)

Fact: a song with a title that gives off a cyclical but vague plot structure using only two words is going to be fan-fucking tastic. At least, that’s the case with Washington D.C based indie rock band Dot Dash. Think Superchunk and Swervedriver, easygoing riffs that force you into a grin, and vocals that aren’t shoving anything down your throat, but simply gravitate in their own little space. And then ending? Fucking 10/10 for that onslaught of amiable sound! Awesome shit!