New: Tempura Nights – Studville


You know who’s a bloody stud? Tempura Nights. Four studs to be precise that make up some sort of study Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Individually, they’re all legendary, but when brought under the Tempura Nights banner, you’ve got a level of studliness that’s dangerously close to that of David Beckham’s sixpack circa 2006.

Although only fitting in a wee time frame, Tempura Nights prove that you don’t have to write the radio-ready three and half minutes to hit the notes of pop supremacy. Falling on a simple, innocent bass riff that plugs along at a giddy pace, “Studville” is the definition of a ditty – short, sweet and packed with the intention to stay lodged in your brain for a while yet.


New: Tempura Nights – Mr Tone

Opening with a noisy pop squeal that would make The Pixies begin to furiously begin to re-think their entire musical stylings, “Mr Tone” is three and a half minutes of Australia’s answer to the re-emergance of college pop excellence happening in the USA.

With Speedy Ortiz, Radical Dads and PILE all making our Yankee cousins nostalgic for the days of Guided By Voices, The Replacements and Mission of Burma, Tempura Nights adopt an approach that made the Deal sisters such irresistible musical icons. What’s more, they’re Brissy babes through and through, sweltering through the same apocalyptic heat which bore The Saints and The Go-Betweens. It’s early days yet, but when the pop sensibilities are melding with the noise so effortlessly, it makes the case to get behind Tempura Nights too easy.

Top 20 Australian Songs of 2014

It’s that time of year, when I sell my soul, and conform to the expectation that all blogs, no matter how small and shitty (of which Soundly Sounds is both) needs to compile an end of year list, summarising all the great things that have been accomplished by the fair artists of the year. Now, if you’ve ever been on this blog, or heard words out of my mouth, it becomes apparent that I have a habit of hyperbole, and describing everything as “my favourite” or “the best thing ever”. Well, now it’s time to pay up, and show what I, King Deadshit, reckons is the best of the best this year.

Fuck, this shit is really hard. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do. As opposed to the Best Videos of the Year, and the Best International Records,  this list has taken me days to put together, as I’ve been more indecisive than a newspaper editor trying to decided the front page between a story in which David Beckham and Ryan Gosling have constructed the world’s most beautiful baby, or an exclusive interview with Clive Palmer’s fourth chin. A toughie, that’s for sure.

Anyway, here are the picks of the year – Aussie songs that have made people turn their heads, jaws drop in astonishment, and allow for spines to be frozen over in fascinated horror. The list was torturing me, so it’s been lengthened to 20. Also, songs that were just released as singles got preference over stuff that was on albums, simply because those are coming in the next list! OH FUCK, CAN YOU EVEN WAIT THAT LONG, OR ARE YOU GOING TO CRYOGENICALLY FREEZE YOURSELF UNTIL IT COMES OUT, WALT DISNEY STYLE?

Honourable Mentions: Step-Panther (Parallel) Solid Dad (Kewl December), Jack Ladder (Her Hands), Andras & Oscar (Looking Back), Babaganouj (Bluff), Disgusting People (I Wanna Ctrl Alt Delete My Life), The Stevens (Thirsty Eye), GL (Won’t You See), Wives (Buried), Day Ravies (Hickford Whiz) Dead Set Ledger (Buddy’s Kickin’ Screwies on the SCG).

20. Miss Destiny – The One

A lambasting surge of sound from Melbourne’s Miss Destiny, this song is like Courtney Love being thrown in a blender whilst The Donnas and The Darkness throw down.

19. White Hex – Paradise

White Hex released a badass synth record earlier this year, ‘Gold Nights’. Dangerous seduction was the game, the kind that Michael Douglas would engage in, and White Hex won. Jimi Kritzler, former Slug Guts member, also released a fantastic book this year, “Noise In My Head”, but “Paradise” makes a case for being Kritzler’s no. 1 achievement of 2014.

18. Bachelor Pad – Fried

Bachelor Pad’s garage rock enthusiasm is irrepressible – it is actually impossible to stop them. Sounding like the bratty, cone-smoking kid of Ty Segall, “Fried” is as infectious as those warts that have started collecting themselves between your legs.

17. Postblue – Ugly

Poison City Records had a fuckn’ year didn’t they? Between the release of The Smith Street Band, The Bennies and re-releasing old Screamfeeder records, they found time for Postblue’s “Ugly”. On a record that’s full of affable, catchy rock tunes, Postblue especially stuck out on “Ugly”, an early Jebediah track that went through the digestive system of Steve Albini.

16. Total Giovanni – Human Animal

“Human Animal” makes me do weird things with my arms, but I like it.The bastard child between Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem, Total Giovanni have a feverish cult of personality surrounding their music. It’s alluring, funky-as-swinging-leather-pants music that PT Anderson wished was around for the soundtrack of ‘Boogie Nights’.

15. Nun – Evoke the Sleep

Easily the most ferocious synth-punk released this year, Melbourne’s Nun provided a storming debut LP earlier this year. “Evoke the Sleep” makes the case for these guys to be considered amongst the likes of DEVO and Depeche Mode.

14. Old Mate – Requesting Permission

On the more heart-breaking end of the scale, there’s Old Mate. A member of Bitch Prefect, Pat Telfer’s “Requesting Permission” will make you start jabbering about all the random dust that’s flown in within the last 30 seconds.

13. Hockey Dad – I Need A Woman

South Coast-muzzas Hockey Dad provide a slab of feel-good surf rock that’s lathered affectionately in pop and fuzz, drives school-girls crazy, and is really fucking great. Hockey Dad just need to stop wearing their damn trousers so low, and they’ll be well on their way to success.

12. Dorsal Fins – Monday Tuesday

Pop music so good Madonna would want to rip it off. Beginning with urgent piano and stomping bass, Dorsal Fins turn things into up a dramatic notch for an 80’s singalong straight from the stolen brain of Debbie Harry.

11. Bad//Dreems – Dumb Ideas 

When the opening notes of “Dumb Ideas” ring out, it becomes fairly obvious that Bad//Dreems are going to provide another stomper of a track. A flippant flipping off, “Dumb Ideas” is a confident, surly piece of rock that Angus Young would want to call his own.

10. Liam Kenny – I’m The Ocean 

Fairs fair, when you’re covering Neil Young, you’re headed straight to the top of a best-of list. But when Liam Kenny (Peak Twins, Bitch Prefect, The Friendsters, Roamin’ Catholics) does it, it turns into a squalling guitars, and heart-clutched vocals.

9. Tempura Nights – R.I.P Chix

Brisbane’s on a roll right now, with Velociraptor, DZ Deathrays, Babaganouj and Major Leagues all kicking major goals this year with releases and singles. But Tempura Nights, a lil’ suprgroup, kicked the most amount of ass with “R.I.P Chix” a sweet garage sprinkled with Deal sister guitar and the kind of head noddin’ you’d expect from a Brissy pop band.

8. Peter Bibby – Hates My Boozin’

Peter Bibby is a moper amongst mopers, a bloke who paints his own portrait with a bottle constantly in one hand and an impossibly perfect rolled cigarette in the other, carefree and full of whimsy on the outside, but burning up within.

7. King Single – Restart Newstart Allowance

A certain Bare Grillz/Lenin Lennon member changed things up by providing gorgeous guitar-pop and glassy drum sounds that create only one reaction in all within earshot: *SWOON*.

6. Richard In Your Mind – Hammered

Richard In Your Mind say it best when they swing drunkenly upon the line “Me and my baby get hammered in the daytime”. From their latest record ‘Ponderosa’, it’s a honeyed trip into the tastily warped senses of Richard In Your Mind.

5. The Harpoons – Unforgettable

As far as breaking up goes, no one seems to have hit it on the head harder than The Harpoons. What a bunch of sultry crooners! It’s a jam that’s part Caribou, part TLC, and part doe-eyed wistfulness that feeds upon your heart like a piranha of romantic longing.

4. FLOWERTRUCK – I Wanna Be With You

Speaking of romantic longing, the best band that seemingly came out of nowhere was FLOWERTRUCK. Bursting forth from the same scene that’s brought Big White, High-tails, and New Lovers, FLOWERTRUCK make the descriptor ‘infectious’ cower in fear. They’re Sydney’s own version of Blank Realm. If David Byrne and Bryan Ferry exploded into fit of joyous crooning, amid slashing puffs of synth and guitar, it’d be about as great as this.

3. Donny Benet – The Edge. Feat Kirin J Callinan

Donny Benet. The man. The legend. The myth. There ain’t nobody like this feller in the universe, mainly because there can only be one moustache-weilding, impressively groomed prince of seduction in the world. It’s a Highlander thing. On, “The Edge” Kirin J Callinan and the Don do battle over five minutes of exhausting sexual healing.

2. Weak Boys – Hangovers

“Hangovers” sort of set the staple for what my 2014 was, along with many other budding attendees of whatever Inner West domain Weak Boys have been fortunately dominating. I’ve listened to this song more times than I’ve asked for a jug of Resch’s at the Lansdowne. My intimidatingly large beer belly nods in agreement.

1. Constant Mongrel – New Shapes

In 2014, no single came close to the grisly terror imagined on Constant Mongrel’s “New Shapes”. Melbourne’s most ferocious unleash a bass-driven hellscape that indulges primal and carnal desires. As far as finale’s go, Constant Mongrel went for an ending more taut, nail-biting and mentally draining than the conclusion of ‘Heat’. A blood-caked knuckle-duster ride into a starved post-punk oblivion, “New Shapes” is the kind of thing post-apocalyptic hero would throttle in their car as they ravaged a scorned landscape in survival mode.

Album Review: Tempura Nights – Whine EP

I like to think of myself as a pretty thorough music journalist, a man of the quill-cloth, who digs as deep as is necessary in order to pull the best story imaginable, a creative hive from which some of the best hyperbolic nonsense has been spewed forth. That’s all a load of horseshit, obviously, because I’m lazier than a guy who types “metaphors for laziness” into Google to come up something witty to put into an album review on his shitty blog. However, I did at least read the description of Tempura Nights’ Soundcloud page. Apparently, this thing started off as a “joke band”(!) which leads me to reckon that if these guys created a “serious band” then Armageddon would surely follow. Tempura Nights, a joke band, I will remind you, have catchy as hell, bass-driven thrashers soothed out with dreamy vocals more healing that any losenger.

Formed within Brisbane’s burgeoning garage-pop scene, with members of both Major Leagues and Go Violets (RIP), Tempura Nights is a trio that distinguishes themselves with the slight edge they push into their songs. Don’t take that to mean they’re edgy – they don’t match up to Eminem in 2002 by any shape or form. But for a band with an infinitely pop sound, there is definitely something boiling beneath the surface.

Take “R.I.P Chix” – it’s a song that would fit in well with bands like Vivian Girls, La Sera, Best Coast and Summer Twins. You can easily picture yourself lounging on some Californian beach, ironically large sunglasses and broad-brimmed hat adorned, cheeky tattoo peeking out from underneath a vintage, yellow shirt. But there’s also a storm there, gnashing in the opening lyric of “All the girls I’d like to meet are dead”, delivered with a headbanging riff and a sweetly snarling sigh.

Tempura Nights manage to be both tumultuous and riveting, a perfect storm of mingling instruments locked into hazy melodies that soak themselves into your ears. As far as pop releases go, the “Whine EP” is perfect, a Breeders-ode that would make Kim Deal herself throw down her guitar in exasperation.

The beauty of Tempura Nights is how insanely easy they seem to make things. From the sickly-sweet “Brainroof” chorus that melts into a hollow, bellowing solo, to “Child Model”, which makes you want to jet to the nearest guitar and learn how to strum a chord and envelope the soul the same way Tempura Nights are able to.

At only four songs long, the “Whine EP” seems far too short, a quick in-n-out introduction to the make-out/fast food/vintage adoring world of Tempura Nights. But I feel as though all Tempura Nights need for the time being, to showcase a few detached, irresistible jams for the world to finally take notice to, and allow for them to pay their dues towards. Tempura Nights – they’re fun, but grounded and varied enough so that boredom doesn’t even broach the equation.

The “Whine EP” is out now on Heath Street Wax, and Tempura Nights are part of the MATES lineup, which also features Palms, Straight Arrows, Bad//Dreems, The Gooch Palms and bunch others (including yours truly playing a Judas Priest/Madonna only DJ set). Lansdowne Hotel, 25th Jan, tix here. See yoiz there

New Australian Music: Tempura Nights + White Lodge + Birds With Thumbs + Melon Melon Melon

There’s been a shit-tonne of new Australian music that needs to be covered. Well worth checking out these artists, all hailing from our loins of the earth, ‘Straya.

Tempura Nights – Brainroof

Isn’t the skull more the roof? I don’t know, I’m not a surgeon, but I do recognise that Tempura Nights are fucking sick. Created from a bunch of sick Brisbane bands like Go-Violets and Major Leagues, “Brainroof” opens up like a lost Kim Gordon track, incredibly slick vocals raining down on a morbid guitar sheen. It then devolves into shuddering 90’s guitar pop, both sparkly and dark at the exact same time. “Brainroof” takes what makes both Go-Violets and Major Leagues so pleasent to listen to, and then chucks it into an alternate universe in which the Deal sisters grew up in Brisbane and are miserable. So, basically the average Northern childhood. ZING! BOOM! SYDNEY ROOLZ!

White Lodge -Technicolor Visions EP

Straight off the bat, “Laguna Negra” establishes that White Lodge have been listening to a bit of The Cramps early shit since their last 7″ was released in September last year. It’s a riveting ramshackle ball of saliva that goes on snowballing at a sickeningly giddy pace. The rest of White Lodge’s new EP resounds with a similar sort of black magic, reaching the heights of voodoo exuberance. Listening to songs like “Sands of Graveyard Atoli” and “Switchblade Blues” sounds like you’ve stumbled upon a cult that only listens to The Black Lips and The Growl, and eats their meals from the members of bands who’ve lost their potency. This EP is repulsively awesome.

Birds With Thumbs -Ran

As long as there have been teenagers, there have been snotty teenage bands making rock and roll music. Birds With Thumbs join the long line of bands of mates who know a few chords, love guitar solos and giving the finger. Their new single “Ran” highlights a band that could very easily rise to the top of their pool. They’ve got the same kind of immediate rock catchiness that bands like Chicks Who Love Guns and Horror My Friend have, and they even have the potential to huck a logie in the direction of success sludged out by British India and Children Collide.

Melon Melon Melon – EP

It’s weird to think there’s a band out there with almost nothing to be known about them, and they already have killer tunes like these. Although they’re scrappier than a three-legged Terrier that’s grown up on a dog-fighting circuit, and have a name which turns even the most cunning linguist into a tongue-tied dipshit, Melon Melon Melon’s songs are bloody brilliant. They hold that same suburban cowboy aesthetic as Lower Plenty, Chook Race, and Fully Ugly, dustbowl guitars rebound against awkward 20-something musings. Songs like “Chemist” and “Domestos” are perfect lo-fi jams that could soundtracked any Terry Zwigoff/Zach Braff movie ever.