New: Mope City – Untapped Utility

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How good is free shit, hey? Whether it comes in the form of that extra packet of tomato sauce that the bloke at the tuckshop forgot to charge you for, or the crazy world of entertainment available at our fingertips thanks to torrenting websites on the WWW.INTERNET.COM, free shit is everywhere.

The latest carriage on the free shit train comes from Mope City, and their new single “Untapped Utility”. From their upcoming debut album ‘Petri-Dish’, due out later this year on Tenth Court Records (TENTH COURT RECORDS, YES!), the first morsel is rammed with buzzing guitars clanging against cheap amps, tipping between jangly verses and thriving post-punk choruses that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Circle Pit record.

Mope City launch “Untapped Utility” this Saturday at the Vic in Marrickville this Saturday. It’s free and The Warm Feelings play as well. If ya can’t make that one, then they’ll be playing a free Monday night show at Newtown Social Club, with Brissy’s Tape/Off and Beast & Flood on the 12th of October.

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Album Review: Wireheads – Big Issues

a0242313477_10The album cover for the second Wireheads record features a painting of a horse that looks like it’s been savagely beaten. Waitasecond…are you tryna say what I think what your tryna say? That Wireheads are beating a dead horse? That they’re flogging the same old concept over and over again? Is that what you’re tryna say, is it, HUH PUNK? Well, you’re dead fucking wrong, yeah, because that’s one crime that Wireheads have yet to commit. You can get in a huff about their lo-fi recordings, their inability to play on a stage that can only hold the average sized band, or even their Adelaide origins (why you’d get pissed off about the place where you can find both fuck off giant sharks and WOMADELAIDE is beyond me). But accusing them of rolling out the same tired tricks is simply not something that Wireheads are capable of.

Their debut, ‘The Late Great Wireheads’ was certainly interesting, but ‘Big Issues’ articulates the strangeness and unique abilities of the band far better. First off, getting Calvin Johnson of K Records/Beat Happening fame to record the album was a 10/10 idea. That man is pretty much the reason that oddball lo-fi reached the lounge room stereos of the globe, especially a place as far flung as South Australia, where that label seems to have, at least partially, inspired a similar scene that includes luminaries like Fair Maiden and Bitch Prefect. But back to ‘Big Issues’; getting Johnson to record Wireheads  has allowed more focus, the random intrusions of their unorthodox breathing more easily between the usual battle cries of frontman Dom Trimboli.

From the second track in, the band establish a triple threat avalanche of mope-pop which makes for the first showcasing of the great musical sensibilities of Wireheads. “Boys Home” is a salad days reflection paired with niggly guitar parts and detached percussion; “Glass Jaws” paints a brief, strung-out, harmonica-led Garfield comic come to life. And “Crooked Cults” features a chorus that manages to sling together a Star Trek reference and bullying in a couplet: “Beam me up Scotty/Gimme ya church money/It’s not your fault but I’ve got no one else to blame”. Which leads to a very serious question: what the fuck is church money? Is that a thing that only exists in the City of Churches? Is it a replacement for lunch money? Is that why the kids in Adelaide are so thin – they’ve been giving all their money for sandwiches to the Church? Tracey Grimshaw, you’ve got your work cut out for you on the next episode of A Current Affair.

Wireheads play the cards of diversity, moving from their stringy guitar shredding and onto pleasant country being beaten to death by squalling No Wave (“The Frisco Tracks”), a supremely impressive punk bombing (“Year of the Horse”) and a starry eyed Americana twirl (“Victorious Hermit”). There’s plenty to be sink into here, and all of it is loaded with a ramshackle sandpaper quality.

Wireheads are hilarious, morbid, and an incredible product that could have only been sourced locally. But best of all, they’re interesting; there’s no chance of getting bored with what Wireheads have to offer. They’re a strange breed, an almost octopus that live in a weird town, and produce weirder records, providing a perfectly skewed alternative to the slicker produced popularity of Twerps et. al.  ‘Big Issues’ might have a dead horse on the cover, but Wireheads are far too engaging to fall victim to that, or any, cliche.

‘Big Issues’ is out now on Tenth Court. Melbourne folk can catch ’em at the Tote this Friday, with Old Mate, The Shifters and Great Outdoors. Grab the album over at the Tenth Court Bandcamp here.

Best o’ the Best: Thigh Master + Multiple Man + Prag

Thigh Master – Songs To Wipe Your Mouth To 7″

Tenth Court put the ‘vanity’ in vanity label, amirite? Dude releases stuff by Dag, Mope City, Wireheads and a bunch of others, and has the freakin’ gall to put out his own band? On his own label! Where has the dignity gone?

Look, that can be overlooked, considering that Thigh Master are, I believe the term is, “fuckn’ sick aye”. They’ve just put out a three track 7″ of pop songs in the truest sense of the word. You’re basically tuning in for Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” as its being choked in hiss and fuzz, a pop tune that’s been sunburnt and caked in Brisbane’s dustbowl economy. “Age of Concern” is Yo La Tengo being driven several keys out of tune, “Flat City” is Q And Not U slowed down to a funeral pace, with mopey lyrics to match, and “Red Woons” is just oozing, slushed guitars piercing wrought, dying breath vocals. Spooky stuff.

Thigh Master are coming down Sydney way for a HUUUUUGE show at Blackwire. $10 will get you TM, Bare Grillz, King Tears Mortuary, Clever, Exiles From Clowntown, Roamin’ Catholics, Point Being and Table.

Multiple Man – Persuasion 12″

This one’s for all the freakin’ lovers out there, man! Take your sweet bride, pick her up, throw back that veil, and then engage in some grisly and fucked up coitus ripped straight from a blending of the that rave scene from the second Matrix, and the stuff of Patrick Bateman’s nightmares. Multiple Man can be the soundtrack to that. This shit is dark and irresistible, New Order being slashed by Jack the Ripper, Depeche Mode being force-fed amyl as The Soft Moon watches on in demented glee. Also from Brisbane, this 12″ has been a source of torture for me, as I have waited with baited breath for one of the best songs of 2014 to finally get a wax release.

Don’t like freaky shit? Fuck off, this is for the strange trying to mutilate their minds with the world’s greatest cocktail of gothic synths and drum machines that could kill the Terminator. This 12″ is deadly, and if you’re under the age of 12, I would suggest sticking with a digital copy. The vinyl is probably more razor-edged than Shredder’s claws, and kids shouldn’t play with sharp objects.

PRAG – S/T

PRAG are fucking sick, and I’ll pull some sick telephone pranks on anyone who begs to differ. They are brutal hardcore, music for the deranged generation. It’s Cosmic Psychos in a cage match with Boris, claws out and haunches raised. It’s loud and aggressive, purpose built for destruction. Sludgy, evil riffs pound relentlessly through their veins with whiplash intensity, a source of willpower and insanity. The noise is excruciating, and the guitars careen like they’re the Millennium Falcon dizzily dodging its way through an asteroid field. Going into this album with anything less than the expectation of having your face melted off is folly. PRAG are ugly, creatures of the Black Lagoon that woke up each morning to smash a copy of ‘My War’ over their heads and use the shards to eat their cereal made up of Darkthrone records. PRAG are relentless, pushing with a fiery willpower, a just-got-out-of-bed look that all the punk kids are trying to achieve these days. Don’t fuck with PRAG, or you’ll end up with metal up your ass and four songs of decapitating fury bleeding you dry.

New: Wireheads – Holiday

I’ll wire your head in a second mate, what with all these good choons coming straight from your bloody Soundcloud. What starts as wiry, chiming guitars turns into something actually kind of like the actual late-period Wire.

The band have semi-retracted the ferocity that has permeated previous Wireheads releases, and instead ingested a country-solo being shoved through a trash compactor-vibe, using their seven minutes of prime-time recording space to completely envelop the soul with a whole manner of regurgitating noise. It’s music made on the outskirts of reality, something that Hunter S Thompson would’ve really enjoyed when he was sitting in the desert, neck deep in opiates. So, pretty much modern day Adelaide. No wonder these blokes are keen for a getaway. Postcards, what’ve you got?

New: Workshop + Ali E + Plains Wanderer + Them Bruins

Workshop-Repeat After Me

Another day, another stellar release from Brissy’s own Tenth Court Records. Workshop is a synth-duo that will make your jaw unhinge itself, crawl off your face, and slap you out of sheer bewilderment. This is their debut single, and it already sits on the same tiers as Ela Stiles and Naked Maja. The same paranoid, less-is-more approach remains, but the amount of beauty that Workshop fit into this song is what makes it so unnervingly gorgeous.

Ali E-We Are Strangers

I remember seeing Ali E a little while back, supporting Salad Boys on their recent tour of Aus. Or more specifically, I remember being struck by her voice-it’s the kind of voice that belongs to a girl that your Mum warns you against, and your Dad encourages you to go after. It’s a voice packed with subtleties and one that weaves a billion stories into a single sentence. That’s why her latest single ‘We Are Strangers’ is impossible to waver away from. Also, that guitar solo at the end is the softest but most alluring thing since looking into the eyes of a kitten.

 

Plains Wanderer-Emu War

Holy shit….holy shit. There are no words to describe how amazing this debut effort from Sydney’s Plains Wanderer is. No, but seriously, the album cover features an emu sticking its beak out over an outline of NSW, which is all drawn on a piece of carboard. And there’s song titles like ‘Ode to Mullet’ and ‘Pots & Pints (A Request to the Australian Government for the Standardisation of Beverage Sizes). Did you read that? Did you read those fuckin’ pearler song titles? It’s honestly what dreams are made of.

Besides the fact that you can’t get any more Australian on here, unless you’re Steve Irwin getting in a punch on with Russell Crowe over a pregnant kangaroo who’s holding a VB, ‘Emu War’ is chock full of pretty goddamn amazing poetry and the most lackadaisical accent since Nathan Roche. If you’re any sort of fan of The Stevens, Dick Diver or Boomgates, and always wanted Sydney’s answer to that gorgeous little Southern movement, Plains Wanderer are here to quench your thirst and sing a great song about Al Montfort’s mullet.

Them Bruins-Barrenlands

If you’re a fan of Kingswood or Damn Terran, then you’re going to be over the fucking moon with the new one from Them Bruins. ‘Barrenlands’ is basically just a ferocious riff-fest, a slab of classic rock implanted into the 21st Century conscience, and turned up to 11. This thing is loud, chunky and a little bit brutal, and would surely make the Vasco Era stoked.

 

Album Review: Shrapnel-Tobacco Dreams

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No, Sidney Nolan didn’t come back from the dead. What you’re seeing right there is the artwork for the debut album from Sam ‘I’m In Every Band’ Wilkinson. Besides ‘kickin’ it’ in local stalwarts like Day Ravies, King Tears Mortuary, and Mope City, amongst a bunch of others, you can pretty much catch Sam and his blonde mop at any decent show worth going to. Oh yeah, and he sometimes helps out with his mates The Ocean Party and Summer Flake as well, in case the resume wasn’t disembowelling enough already.

Shrapnel is his latest baby, slowly but steadily making its own name amongst the keener eared of Aussie legends. After previous singles ‘Print & Sign’ and ‘Tobacco Dreams’, he has unleashed upon the world an album that can only be described as jangle-pop rattling in a tin can. The sound is undoubtedly swathed in the aesthetic of bedroom bands, titillating between drum-machine, synth freak outs and sincere, tunnelling ballads.

It’s the fact that Shrapnel switches so easily between the two that’s really interesting. In one moment, you’re grooving down the highway of good vibes with ‘Direct Debt’, a broken kid’s keyboard accompanying a hurtling guitar, and a pop embrace that shuns boredom at the door. This is a fun-times only party, sorry Boredom, you can’t come in. No, you can’t see Julia, she doesn’t want to see you. You really fucked it up this time Boredom. Anyway, she’s making out with Shrapnel in the corner. She’s moved on, Boredom, you should to. *’Direct Debt’ plays in the background, as Boredom sullenly walks away*

But with the space of a single song, the project has moved onto far more introspective territory. For example, ‘Baby Picks Up’ shows a fair hand at trickling guitar work, which in turn creates a super intimate space for the song to bathe in. The little melodies the song does contain manage to cocoon the shit out of the listener. It’s like a micro version of Black Moth Super Rainbow being projected into our skulls at a much more pleasant-to-swallow rate.

And best yet, when these two worlds collide (Powerman 5000 anyone?) with each other, the energetic pop that seems to ooze way too easily from Shrapnel’s veins, and the sullen, introspection that give the band so much character and depth, the results are infectious beds of music that won’t be heading away for long. ‘Tobacco Dream’, ‘Print & Sign’ and ‘Sinker/Stinker’ are the key tracks from this department, and they could really suit any occasion. 3am train ride home after another night of loneliness? Check. Best mate’s in town, and needs a good song to settle into the couch with? No worries. Ran out of VB’s? Mate, you’re fucked, audio entertainment can’t save you.

In Shrapnel, Sydney now has its own Blank Realm-weird pop music from the otherworldly nether regions known as the Western Suburbs. Tobacco Dreams is eclectic, instantly likeable, and norm-centrically gorgeous. It’s music that works on a personal and social level, that can be enjoyed regardless of atmosphere.