New: The Drones – Taman Shud

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The Drones are a bunch of bloody legends. And I’m not just talking about them merely being one of the most instrumental Australian bands of the past decade. A few months back, I ran into them just before their show at The Factory Theatre with Batpiss (BATPISS!). I mentioned that ‘Wait Long By the River…’ was an incredible album, and they responded with, “Aw yeah, come along to the show tonight! What’s your name, we’ll put you on the door!”

That motion of kindness is relatively absent in their newest song, “Taman Shud”, the first single from The Drones’ upcoming new album. Ironically, the band are dressed as profound police, despite their song stalking around as a serial killer dedicated to slitting the throats of every right-wing pillar this country holds dear, such as our dearly departed Prime Minister and his policies. Even after all that boxing experience, Tone cops a scorching right-hook from a seething Gareth Liddiard, who also doles out righteous punches to everyone’s favourite pile of shits like Andrew Bolt, and Rupie Murdoch.

Musically, The Drones file in right next to their furious gaze of Liddiard. Prickly guitar cackles shiver over the boiling rant, haunched on a sinewy frame, hackles raised and teeth bared to mirror the fearless leaders scathing, spitting tirade.

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Album Review: Pale Heads – Headless

This is some sort of sick, twisted joke, right? You pull in the naive, gullible punter with a headline like, “Members of Batpiss, The Nation Blue, Pairs, Bang! Bang! Aids!, Harmony, and The Drones team up for a ball-tearer of a record”, and then when the idiot is sitting with a target painted on their dumb head, you hit ’em with the pyramid scheme. If it worked for Bernie Madoff, it can work for any regular attendee of the Tote.

But it’s not a pyramid scheme. It’s not even misleading advertising! What it says in that sentence above is exactly what is delivered. You unsuspecting punter, you; you’re not prepared, nay, worthy, of something of this magnitude! It’s comparable to the time that Wayne and Garth met Alice Cooper – we are just simply not worthy!

‘Headless’ is the Shamwow of albums – not only does it have a flashy byline that forces you to purchase the product, but it actually delivers on all its promises. It will decapitate you – the shorter songs on here are brutal and cut-throat, bloody and savage beasts of noise and metallic punk. Songs like “Pale Head”, “I Can’t Lose You” and “Devotion” detonate, guttural punctures of bass, jackhammering drums and guitars that flay and punish.

They’re straight-forward chargers, galloping down their two-minute time frames like a greyhound at the track gnashing its hungry teeth an inch away from the rabbit. These kinds of songs launch right to the top of the “Go-To Songs to Play When Trying To Impress People Better Than You List”. If there’s a person in your life that looks at your music taste with a sigh of repulsion every time you press play, melt their goddamn face off with something like “Transitioning Out”. If they’re not headbanging within the first five seconds, then they’re a shitstain on the pair of tighty-whities that is your life. They’re not worth keeping around, so reach for the bleach, and rub them out.

 

The latter half of ‘Headless’ is where things get interesting. Whilst hinted at on the earlier “Milk Eyes”, things take a turn for the deliriously noisy. “The Pits” and “Headless” plunging into the sort of hell ride shredders that sound like Career Suicide escaping from a thousand year slumber, and are ready to unleash even more hell than they were already capable of. The result isn’t just ear-bleeding, but down-right sacrilegious to the concept of ‘quiet’.

The one comment to make about this record is that it can feel disjointed. Each member contributes equally with their own unique style – the encompassing brutality of Thomy Sloane, the passion of Xiao Zhong, the towering ferocity of Tom Lyngcoln and the tangled ocker snarl of Rui Periera. However, it’s obvious when each member is taking over and playing “their song” –  rather than a full album, it can occasionally feel as though a collection of singular ideas have been collected under the banner of making something really brutal.

Not that it really damages the overall record – you listen to the album, and you’re still awed by the fact that something like this exists. It’ll destroy your ears and heighten your expectations, leaving you as deaf as you are spellbound. Pale Heads deliver a record only they are capable of delivering – when you get that much talent in a room together, the ensuing product can only be something that will ruin your ability to listen in the same capacity again.

Pale Heads will rock not one, but TWO shows this weekend in Sydney. DO NOT MISS THESE, as not only are Pale Heads going to throw out any feeling between your earholes, but they’ve pulled together a few lineups of Sydney’s finest! On Friday, 12 June, they’ll play The Record Crate in Glebe, with Yes, I’m Leaving, Mr. Sterile Assembly (NZ) and Dead Farmers. Saturday night, they’ll be at Blackwire with Burlap, Roland Major and Dispolar! Pick up ‘Headless’ from one of the shows, or the Poison City Bandcamp here.

Album Review: Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Other times I Just Sit

“Any of you guys hear of this Courtney Barnett character? Apparently, she’s a big deal? Or something. I dunno, I’ve been living under a granite object (aka “a rock”), for the past few years. But that doesn’t matter. I hate hype. Hate it with every inch of my soul. If there’s a blog that’s posting about you that has over 100 likes on the ol’ FB, I don’t want to know about you. If you’ve played a festival that’s isn’t located in a gutter, then I don’t want to hear your music. If, God forbid, you appear on some sort of television show, and bring millions of housewives to tears with a beautiful tune about house hunting, then you are practically Satan.” – Dickhead, 2015

Look, let’s put aside the fact that Courtney Barnett has led to a watershed moment for Australian music. She’s appeared on Jimmy Fallon and Ellen, played huge festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella, and she’s signed a deal with Mom + Pop Records in the US. All this, and she still rocks an East Brunswick All Girls Choir t-shirt. She’s a legend, for sure, straight up and down, representing Australian talent and potential whilst unleashing all her own remarkable talents upon the world. She’s a great songwriter, a fantastic guitarist, and she’s got The Drones’ Dan Luscombe onside. But is that what makes a great record? Like, you’ve got all these ingredients for a great recipe, but does that mean something half decent is gonna pop out of the oven? Fucking oath it does.

The best thing about Courtney Barnett is her ability to keep things exciting and diverse, her originality spread evenly throughout her record. Take “Pedestrian At Best” – call her what you will, but Courtney Barnett is nothing but self-aware. Shit, she’s dedicated her lead single to all the @h8rs out there, and it’s the angriest we’ll probably ever come to seeing her, not to mention one hell of a song. The passion gives her a platform to stand and shout from, to feign mediocrity whilst punching out a gut-busting riffs that rival any thing that Chisel came out with. It’s not the only time Courtney brings up her uncertainty, with “Small Poppies” appearing with fantastic lines like “Oh, the calamity, I wanna go to sleep for an eternity…Oh, the humanity, I wanna disappear into obscurity

Not that her newfound fame has given Courtney reason to move away from her most rewarding aspect, the ability to remark upon modern Australian life with a certain poetry that belies Banjo Patterson channeling Tennessee Williams. She told the small crowd gathered at her album preview that the track “Aqua Profounda” was about a local pool, and album standout “Depreston” is, at least superficially, about the struggling Melbourne suburb of Preston. But it’s all a facade – Courtney Barnett is talking to the average Australian, indeed the average global struggler. She might be plainly talking about the second best city in Australia (FUCK YEAH, SYDNEY!), but the pains of being constantly unsure aren’t reserved to places with shitty coffee. This is the kinda ideology that permeates the record and by the pubes of Brad Pitt, it works out well.

Courtney Barnett was always going to be making a fairly large statement with her debut album, and the pressure was enormous. And when watching her perform recently, there was a certain skepticism as to how the album would turn out. And sure, she hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but she’s done what she does incredibly well, and with the sort of casual intelligence that can only be applauded. Get on this fucking album. Get around it. Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Seek out her billowing guitars in “Elevator Operator” and “Dead Fox”. Cuddle next to her more-soothing-than-a-six-pack-of-Lozengers voice. Get comfortable with her, and settle in. Ironically, the last lines of the record are, “Lover, I’ve got no idea“. Yeah, well, I’ve got an idea Courtney, I’ve got an idea that you’ve kicked it outta the fucking park.

There seemed to be a few folks out there who have begrudgingly laid down their respect for Courtney Barnett, for the attention she’s brought to #realmusicdownunda. But this record gives the last remaining doubters the fuel they need to remove the ‘begrudging’ part of that sentence. We needed a champion, and CB pulled through with flying colours. ‘Sometimes…’ is a fucking great record, and any reservations can be stoically erased. Nup, get fucked, this is sick, fuck you all.

‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit’ comes out on Milk! Records on March 20th.

New: Pale Heads – Transition Out

The best punk comes from the most unexpected places. That’s also a load of absolute fucking bullshit, because Pale Heads were guaranteed to make good music. Formed from members of Pairs, The Nation Blue, Harmony, The Drones and Batpiss, Pale Heads resume reads like a laundry list of things of bands that Tony Abbott’s daughter would listen to if she wanted to piss her dad off.

They live up to the sum of their parts as well, with their first track providing the sort of face-peeling, skull-churning, mind-blitzing fuckup that punk rock needs. It’s real punk rock, thrashing and amateur to the core, and blissfully charged with the single purpose of replacing your (now former) favourite band. If Total Control wanted to go to Pissed Jeans-levels of bombastics, this is what they’d sound like.

Halloween Playlist

Because today is Halloween, and I’m apt to the same themed article bullshit that every website does on holidays, I’ve compiled a list of great fucking Halloween tracks. However, unlike last year, where I just pulled out any old song that had a slightly Hallooween-esque title (which explains the inclusion of Bombay Bicycle Club), this year I’ve gone about compiling some actual decent tracks. These are song that you can play at party-they’re cool and sound good. However, in keeping with the them of this holiday, they’re a bit off kilter, a little bit kooky. Ryan, you’re making me blush you crazy kid! I haven’t gone for the all out abysmal industrial tracks, so there’s no trace of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry or Killing Joke, and I haven’t gone in the other direction either, with Drake and Lil Jon. Its stuff like The Drones, Bushwalking and At The Drive-In. There’s some newer stuff like Blood Plastic and HUNTERS, but this list mostly hangs in the ‘classics’ territory-Boys Next Door, Dead Moon, Kyuss etc. Enjoy! And do something tonight that you’ll regret in the morning, like a naughty hook-up, a tattoo or enslaving a small nation!

1. Blood Plastic-King Blood

2. The Boys Next Door-Shivers

3. Danzig-Evil Thing

4. The Drones-The Minotaur

5. Dead Moon-It’s OK

6. Bushwalking-No Enter

7. Queens of the Stone Age-The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret

8. These New South Whales-Take the Stab

9. Thee Oh Sees-The Dream

10. At the Drive-In-Invalid Litter Dept.

11. Kyuss-One Inch Man

12. Dro Carey-Sanotarium

13. Forces-Overland (In My Mind)

14. The KVB-Dayzed

15. The Horrors-New Ice Age

16. Liars-Plaster Casts of Everything

17. Savages-Flying to Berlin

18. HUNTERS-Narcissist

19. DZ Deathrays-Cops Capacity

20. METZ-Wet Blanket

Video: Courtney Barnett-Avant Gardener

The song title alone is enough to be unhealthily infatuated with Courtney Barnett. But once you click that play button, you’re a Barnieber for life. The lyrics of this song are probably the greatest asset, which is saying a lot because this breathy piece of slacker-wonder is straight-up flooring to listen to. There’s a Pulp Fiction reference, musings on meth labs, and nods of appreciation for the unsung ambo’s. So how do you appropriate an infectious garage-pop song with super casual delivery into a visual medium? You have a tennis match of course! It makes sense- a super chilled atmosphere (Leyton Hewitt doesn’t feature, so the insistent cry of ‘CMOOOOOOOON!’ doesn’t interfere with the casual nature of the clip), something that shouldn’t be overly interesting (tennis vs. slacker-pop) that inevitably becomes mesmerising, and an overall clean, crisp feel to the entire thing.  With ‘Avant Gardener’ Courtney Barnett may have just made the Australian song of the year.

Per Purpose-Isn’t It (free download)

Fuck, this is brilliant as well. If Britpop had balls, was a tad grimier and was Australian, then Per Purpose would be Blur (for those keeping track at home, Baptism of Uzi would be Pulp, and I can’t think of a band I hate enough to compare to Oasis) . It’s got a Drones-y lackadaisical attitude to itself, swinging with purposefully unhinged guitars and weilding caterwauling lyrics. It’s also got just the right amount of ego and gusto to push it past your average noisy cock spar and into a track with enough pelvic thrusting to put Nick Cave to shame. Awesome, awesome track from Per Purpose.