Album Review: Donny Benet – Weekend At Donny’s

_Weekend At Donny's

Can we all just, for one second, take a minute to marvel at the artwork that is the album artwork for ‘Weekend at Donny’s’? Surely, that is a work that will be going in the pool room, or at the very least, be nominated as one of the images that will convey the best parts of humanity to visiting alien races. For those who aren’t as Donny mad as they should be, Donny is old mate in the middle there, with the sunnies and corpse pose. To the right is Jack Ladder with an expression stolen right off McCauley Caulkin’s shit eating Home Alone debut, and SPOD is looking like a cocky bastard. Man, I can’t wait ’til the whole crew finds out that these guys were totally fakin’ it! Then they’ll get sent to jail! And their careers will be in tatters! And they’ll never be able to re-adjust to regular society again due to the inhumane and extravagantly cruel conditions of Australian prisons. HAHAH, what a bunch of idiots!

On a less sadistic note, this album is Donny’s third record, and his first in which he doesn’t take the spotlight. Whereas his other records featured tracks that the producers of Knight Rider and Miami Vice were kicking themselves for not getting as theme songs, ‘Weekend At Donny’s’ instead allows for Donny to take the backseat. It’s almost like he is Kit, and he has a revolving guest-star  of Hasselhoff’s.

The results of ‘Weekend At Donny’s’ are both diverse and riveting, plunging into strange territories that seem like lost goldmines of eras that never existed. There’s this weird anachronism thing going on, like an episode of Quantum Leap that’s been taken over by the embodiment of sex. The guests range from the local to the high-profile: IsabellaManfredi from The Preatures, SPOD, Jack Ladder, Geoffrey O’Connor, Kirin J Callinan and Elana Stone of All Our Exes Live In Texas.

Now, some of these collaborations work better than others. For example, “The Edge”, which features Kirin J Callinan, is a match made in heaven. Or rather, a match made from the greatest porn parody of Star Trek, where the budget was concentrated on the soundtrack. It’s a song where the lyrics “I wanna fill you up with my love” sounds like the greatest thing a partner could whisper in your ear. Add the space-exploration bass riff and panting synths, and you’ve got the perfect hot and heavy song. You can so easily picture this in a live setting, both characters back-to-back, Donny slapping his bass with a wry smile and Kirin J Callinan absentmindedly flicking his mullet, whilst a blinding amount of cameras shoot their beams for what has to be the shot of the century.

Other parts of the record stand incredibly tall and , “Sex Tourist” with Jack Ladder and the SPOD collaborations. The former is the perfect palette for Jack Ladder’s baritone to sink to its most immoral depths, a song packed with humour and loneliness. The latter contributions, “Gentleman’s Choice” and “Fantasies”, are probably the closest thing that resemble old-school Donny, rumbling bass funkadelics, heavy breathing and Donny’s special brand of hedonism (and vocals).

The only issue to be had here is mild, in that some songs on here resemble the guests’ own projects more so than as temporary visitors to Donny Land. Sure, there’s the Benet aesthetic there, of whispered lushness and trickling, unreal bass slaps, but “Endless”, which holds Isabella Manfredi’s vocals, and “Never Alone” come off like Preatures and Geoffrey O’Connor songs that have been Back-to-the-Future’d a few times, and picked up some 80’s sprinkle from all that time warp-age.

However, this is hardly a complaint. When the cast is as arrayed and talented as this, scoring a really good Preatures song on a Donny Benet album is just a bonus treat amongst the gold already there. When you’re submerged in this sensual world of Donny’s, it’s hard, painful even, to pull yourself out. Even though I was born a decade after the fact, the 80’s has that sheen to it, and Donny exploits it for a new and eager audience. And with these guests, he surmounts that problem of novelty wearing off. Now, his supreme talent as instigator and philanthropist of retro-sound can be completely appreciated for the genius that it is.

‘Weekend at Donny’s’ is out on Rice is Nice Records now. Donny’s bringing the touch to Brighton Up Bar on October 10th and 11th, with You Beauty and Food Court respectively. Go to one. Go to both. But go. Because his name is Donny Benet, and he will bring you happiness.

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Video(s): The Preatures + Bad Family + Warm Brains

The next best thing to partying in the Caribbean with the corpse of Lil’ Wayne is watching music videos by yourself.

The Preatures-Better Than It Ever Could Be

I’ve already been through the fact that The Preatures can do no wrong, and that their new track is fucking delectable. Well, now they’ve gone and done the high-technological shit with a music video. Is it ironic that someone put in hundreds, if not billions, of man hours perfecting the look of retro-ness. The nods to all the video games of olde is a cool and oft-used concept, and whoever did the work on The Preatures’ new clip can pat themselves on the back for doing an eye-damagingly good job.

Bad Family-Kate and Tony

And now for something infinitely more home-made. Whilst The Preatures’ clip was made to look retro, Bad Family from Melbourne are the real deal, going out-n-out VHS on their debut clip. If you like looking at water rushing by, probably from a fucked up tape copy and not an actual, specifically desired effect, and demonic, empty-eyed plastic animal faces, then this clip aligns with your super strange fetish. If you like watching average blokes fuck around with slacker-pop, something that I feel a lot more people are searching for, then this clip will also do quite fine.

 

Warm Brains-Happy Accidents

An early contender for clip of the year. Whilst the song itself is a pretty dry and humble take on garage-pop music, the clip ensures that you stick around to the end, because it’s possibly the funniest thing you’ve seen since The Benchwarmers feat. Rob Schneider. I don’t want to spoil the majestic brilliance of this clip, but I will say that parental hatred of a ballooned Oompa Loompa/Jersey Shore candidate Mum and sex offender Dad, has never been so strong.

New Australian Music: The Preatures + POND + King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard + Pirates Alive + Horror My Friend

In celebration of ‘Straya Day, where everyone in the nation gets drunk and berates the Hottest 100, I compiled a bunch of awesome new tracks by some of this nation’s finest. And then I delayed the shit out of posting it. ‘STRAYA!

The Preatures-Better Than It Ever Could Be

In my own opinion, The Preatures released the best pop song of last year, with their single ‘Is This How You Feel?’ coming in at #9 on the Hottest 100. That’s just one of the many accolades that particular song has received, but because they are by no means a one hit wonder, The Preatures have gone ahead and released another song entitled ‘Better Than It Ever Could Be’.

I feel like this is kind of a reaction to the band’s year in 2013. It was basically the best year a blossoming young band could hope for. And to celebrate, they penned a song that showcases what they do best: a shimmering, loud and happy pop track. It reminds you of a Cocoa Cola advert done by Blondie or something. A giant bottle of coke explodes like a volcano, and Debbie Harry rocks sunglasses and the sun shines, and everyone is impossibly happy. Because ‘Better Than It Ever Could Be’ brings that image to mind, it gets a 10/10.

POND-Colouring the Streets

Motherfucking POND. Is there any other band quite like them. The short answer is no, because they are a shapeshifting group of wizard musicians, and you’d be a fool to fuck with whatever powerful elixir pumps through their veins.

Even though they released a record last year, the jizz-inducing ‘Hobo Rocket’, they’ve released a brand new track for a compilation, the song being ‘Colouring the Streets’. This track tends towards the softer psych side of POND, the Slowdive-counterpart to the balls out Bowie that the band are more well-known for.

Don’t worry, the reverb drenches this bad boy like a squirting porn star, and the jizz-levels are still at an all-time high. So, really, there’s nothing more but to let yourself drop into that coma in the only way a band like POND can.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard-Vegemite

How fucking ‘Strayan is this!? It’s a song that’s chorus goes ‘I liiiiiiiikkkkeeeeee Vege-miiiiiite!’ over a thunderous, psychedelic platter of instruments. And its executed by one of the finest bands this side of Sabbath.

That’s right, the eight-piece monolith King Jizz are at it again, having announced a new record and pushing ‘Vegemite’ into the world to be the first taste of said record.

Despite the ‘Annoying Orange’ set up of the video clip, ‘Vegemite’ rules harder than Uncle Chopper riding a Chopper (motorbike) into a Chopper (helicopter) whilst T-rexes clap politely in the background.

Pirates Alive-Love Drunk

Whilst King Gizz alternate between a whole bunch of styles, Pirates Alive are a go-to garage band for me. If ever I want to hear some back to basics, super-simple surf rock, Pirates Alive are one of my first ports of call. See what I did there? Hueh, hueh, hueh.

Anyway, ‘Love Drunk’ reminds me a fuckload of ScotDrakula, Step-Panther and Dune Rats. There’s  just casual riffing, an emboldened bass line and an Aussie slacker accent tying it together. The chorus of ‘Ah’s is a technique that’s used in pretty much every garage song, but when something remains as fun as it did since the 60’s, why the fuck would you change it?

Basically, ‘Love Drunk’ is the summer garage track that’s missing from your life right now.

Horror My Friend-Nothing

And now, for some spidery but striding post-punk from Radelaide. Horror My Friend sound a bit like Die! Die! Die!, which is another way of saying they sound absolutely fucking rad.  It’s also a little bit back-in-the-day emo, circa Taking Back Sunday, without all the cutting yourself imagery.

Their new single ‘Nothing’ combines toe-tapping high-hats with a sludgy bass and climbing guitar riffs. And then that chorus hits, and you have an intuitive feeling that if you’re not moshing, even by yourself on the toilet, then you’re wasting your time, and you should be listening to a Greatest Hits by Michael Buble instead.

Gig Review: FBI Turns 10

Sunday 8th of September @ The Carriageworks, Redfern

FBi Radio has been a stalwart of promoting forward thinking music for approximately the past 10 years. Try to think of another Australian radio station that has it’s finger to the pulse of music more so than FBi. It is impossible. Because FBi is committed to carving out delicious hunks of flesh that the Australian music scene has to offer. If you’re underground and independent, but you have the music that should send you skyrocketing to stardom, FBi can probably help you out. Just ask some of the alumni that have graduated from the grainy speakers of beat up automobiles the country over, to giant stadiums. The Presets, Hermitude, Cloud Control, and Urthboy are just a few of the massive acts that can thank FBi for that helping hand. And on FBi’s 10th Birthday spectacular at the Carriageworks, all of these acts and more were there to give back to the best of their ability. And by fuck-knizzles was it a good show.

A bunch of locals where the first of many amazing musical treasures to be caught that day. Opening with Movement, the recent Future Classic signees, was a pleasure to see. They were warm and receptive of the minimum attention from hungover crowd that had come down early to catch their set. Although not wild in any sense, Movement were still engaging, and their amazeballs cover of ‘Ms Jackson’ by Outkast didn’t just go down a treat…it was a festival highlight. The day then progressed to a bunker, in which some serious noise was gargled forcibly down your throat. Zeahorse played an electrifying set. I didn’t know what to expect from the band, other than that their song ‘Pool’ is badass, but instead I got a truly ferocious feat of punk. The bass lines that this band can muster could go head to head with any Sabbath track, and the unadulterated rage that the band brought to the stage was mind blowing. I came to that show a cautious spectator, and left an undying fan. Straight Arrows had the job of following this belying dumbbell to the kidneys of a show, but they only raised the bar. Owen Penglis proved himself to be the Lux Interior of contemporary society, stalking the stage with retarded glee. He’s both taking the piss of himself and exuding over-the-top enthusiasm for his craft of creating the best garage rock n roll this side of the universe. Not to be outdone, guitarist Alex Grigg was equally captivating, jumping around like a frog on meth. Songs with full on, tidal choruses  like ‘Bad Temper‘ and the new single ‘Never Enough’ went down the best, the crowd frothing to the best of their ability at 2 o clock on a Sunday arvo. Following these two high energy performance was the inimitable Kirin J Callinan. Not about to be overshadowed by a couple punks, watching the weirdo was like a Sydney re-invention of Kraftwerk. Dressed in a zebra meets Doppler Effect jumpsuit, and followed by two similarly robed henchmen, Kirin J Callinan put on a mesmerising and disturbing performace. Guitar feedback, loops and a general fuckery of the senses was the call of duty from the performance. From the get-go, Mr. Callinan indulged the crowd in their most fucked-up desires in only the way a guy that thinks onstage epilepsy is be a good idea could. An overall  electrifying start to the day.

Let it be said that Deep Sea Arcade cannot do a bad show. They are the Australian version of the UK arena rock spectacular bands like Kasabian. They take the crowd into the palm of their hand from the beginning of the show, using the age old tricks of rock n roll (loud guitars, onstage prancing, a sound that allows the crowd to sway with happy detachment from normalcy) to transform their small stage in Bay 20 of the Carriagworks into a full throttle rock show. Showing off songs new and old, Deep Sea Arcade had a thronging, adoring crowd lapping up every second of their performance. ‘Black Cat’, ‘Girls’, and ‘Steam’ were all particularly explosive points of the set, but the band have encapsulated a riotous spirit onstage that would make The Rolling Stones fart storms of dust in jealousy. Unfortunately, Naysayer & Gilsun didn’t make their scheduled appearance. A disappointment permeated my soul like I haven’t felt since earlier that day, when I ran out of drink tokens within half an hour of being at the event. Still, there was a silver lining-I got to catch the end of The Preatures set. After way too much repetitive doof doof in Bay 17, The Preatures afforded some much needed laid-back soul infused rock. ‘Is This How You Feel?’ has warmed up to me exponentially since I first heard it a couple months ago, so hearing it live was like dousing my head in the mythical waters of Babylon.

The festival only got better and better from that point, as we made our way to the barrier for the remaining four acts. Seekae were there almost straight away to prove what it meant to be a main contender for the crown of ‘best producers in the history of ever’. These Sydney post-dubstep, ambient heroes showered an adoring crowd with cult favourites from their previous two albums, as well as a couple selections from their upcoming record. The beautiful new song ‘Another’ opened the set, but the transcendental sounds of ‘Blood Bank’, and the major hit ‘Void’ were so good, it felt like the crowd was moving like a singular piece of jelly in a light wind to Seekae’s music. It’s important to note that this third record sees Seekae experimenting with live vocals, a move that can only be lauded. It sounded fucking amazing. The whizzing beats combined with the immersing tonal melodies of Seekae’s music was amazing enough, and with the vocals layering on top of that, I can only imagine that Seekae will become one of Australia’s next big exports. After defying the logic of goodness with Seekae, Midnight Juggernauts took the stage. Initially, I was pretty pissed, because seeing Midnight Juggernauts meant missing Bleeding Knees Club, who are better than a gallon of cough syrup when your not actually sick (PURP DRANK!). Initially, I was committed to not having a good time, and to send a disapproving message to Midnight Juggernauts that they would leave FBi’s 10th Birthday having had to stare at a frowning ginger in their front row for the entire duration of their set. However, I was the fool in this situation. When three guys rock the stage in tribal robes, and jam so theatrically your ears bleed from the carnivorous carnival of fun on display, then it’s kinda hard to remain a cynical dick about the whole thing. The energy on stage was at an overwhelming extreme, and Midnight Juggernauts bigger hits such as ‘Into the Galaxy’ caused near-riotous levels of ecstasy in the audience. Closing the set with a striptease from their ‘Uncanny Valley’ tour buds Kirin j Callinan and his astronaut-in-training accomplices, set to screeching electronica, mental drumming and a jungle bass like only Midnight Juggernauts can deliver was a fucking insane and grin exuding experience that no one could be capable of shying away from.

Next to hit the main stage was Hermitude, and let me confirm that everything you’ve ever heard about them is true. Yes, they are one of the best production teams in recent history. Yes, they blaze up the stage like a Cypress Hill blunt. And yes, you should skip a loved one’s Bar Mitzvah to go see them live. Hermitude are fucking awesome. There’s not much more to say than that. Until you’ve been swept up into a thronging crowd all jumping in unison to ‘Get in My Life’, watched African animals spiral in duality on six different TV screens to ‘HyperParadise’, or watched in awe as Chaos Emerald dances the fuck out of a stage whilst ‘Speak of the Devil’ booms in fiery agreement, you have not lived. Hermitude are performers like no other, and they were the winners of FBi’s 10th Birthday, by a long fucking way. Now, although they didn’t have the advantage of enthusiasm incarnate like their predecessors Hermitude, The Presets closed the absolute fuck out of this festival. With a battalion of party starters at their finger tips, Kim and Julian laid down the gauntlet with a strong mix of new and old. Although they leaned a little too heavily on the newest album ‘Pacifica’, it provided much needed relief for when perennial crowd favourites such as ‘This Boy’s In Love’,My People’ and festival closer ‘Talk Like That‘ turned a dancing crowd into a moshing frenzy. The neon tunes of The Presets are loved the world over, but in that moment of ‘talk-talk-talk, like-like-like, that-that-that *electronic music sounds*’, Sydney showed their passion for these hometown heros through a sea of sweat and smiles.

To say that FBi’s 10th Birthday was a success is an understatement. There was not a single point in time in which there wasn’t a band on that wasn’t worth seeing. I’m still kicking myself for the fact that I missed Fishing, The Laurels, Sampology and Decoder Ring, a few of the amazing acts that went ungraced by my presence. And if you weren’t down for having your earholes pleasured, then there was always the buffet of Sydney delicacies, the artworks and installations, a spectator controlled boxing match (fucking awesome), or even a quick wander around would reveal some of your favourite artists of the day. To leave Redfern unsmiling that day was to lie to yourself. There’s only hope that this festival tries to repeat the overwhelming success next year.

If you like any or all of the artists, you should really think about becoming a sponsor of FBi. They are probably one of the best things to happen to Australian music since The Scientists formed.

Video: The Preatures-Manic Baby

Fuark, this is the 4th video I’ve posted within, like, half an hour. I’m good. Some would say too good. But those people are non-existant, figures of my depraved imagination. On the topic of insanity, check the new retro-as-fuck video from The Preatures for ‘Manic Baby’. It’s like something from the conjoined minds of Beyonce and Duran Duran mid coke binge. It’s a sultry minx of a clip, and ‘Manic Baby’ is a fucking great tune as well.

Album Review: The Preatures-Is This How You Feel EP

THE-PREATURES-IS-THIS-HOW-YOU-FEEL-EP-COVER

In case you didn’t know, The Preatures are one of Australia’s most prominent up-and-coming bands. And this isn’t just my opinion. These guys sell out shows left and right, and their music is a gorgeous combination of rock n roll, garage, soul and old school blues, which puts them right in contention for ‘Original Music of the Year Award’. Goddamn, if ‘Is This How You Feel’ doesn’t go down a treat like scotch and a lollipop, then you are obviously not of this world. Begone alien fiend! Allow young-ish Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to show you the fuck out of our planet!

We start with a 1960’s groove ballet, the title track ‘Is This How You Feel?’. Everything about this song is damn near perfect, something I actually would not mind to hear on the radio. However, they can’t put it on the radio, because of the amount of fatal dance-related car crashes that would cause. It’s a seriously infectious bonafide boogie, trickling with a sunburst guitar line, tinkling light keys, and hands down the best female vocal duties on a pop song since Cher was kicking around. Try not to swing your hands and hips when ‘Is This How You Feel?’ comes on; go on, just fucking try. Make my day, punk. That’s right, even the most GG Allin of you will relent to the genuinely brilliant sounds of The Preatures living up the 60’s. The Mama’s and Papa’s revival is finally here! You can celebrate!

Next, there is ‘Manic Baby’. No, it’s not the sound version of an insane B-Movie of a baby that goes insane and goes on a killing rampage in Chicago, but its almost as good as there. Mafia-esque shootings of sound jut from the guitars and bass, showering a cool gaze of Prohibition on the track. It’s something right out of a 1950’s Berlin nightclub, which is far king awesome. After the super cool ‘Manic Baby’, things take a turn for the slow on ‘Revelation (So Young)’, which is guaranteed to be a hit, but didn’t do all too much for me. It’s too minimal and reaching, whereas I prefer The Preatures when they’re a compact unit, as shown on the first two tracks. Personally, I don’t want a Bond film score from the 80’s, I want The Preatures. But that’s just me and my dumb opinion

The next track ‘All My Love’ sees a combination of the melodramatic with the funeral blues, and for the most part it works. Sure, a bit of a slow start, but once it warms up, hits the chorus, and Isabella Manfredi gets her verse, shit just gets unreal. When the peak hits, and Manfredi is building off Gideon Benson’s baritone, well, it’s like Jefferson Airplane meets Nancy Sinatra, and it is just too sweet for words. The return to form is cemented in the final track ‘Dark Times’, which is The Cramps minus the heroin. It’s bright and sparkly, a 70’s variety TV show in modern Australia. It’s house band material in a seedy Detroit nightclub, the band doing their best to keep things upright whilst Al Capone shoots his way out of Alcatraz (that sentence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because Alcatraz is in San Fran, but just roll with it. It’s what The Preatures would have wanted). Jangly and powerful, with a full blown chorus, ‘Dark Times’ is such a fucking fantastic way to end the album, not even a cameo from Stevie Wonder could’ve polished it off better.

The Preatures are one of those rare bands you come across that you think maybe you’ll like them, maybe you won’t. Well, I can tell you right now, you will love this band. Start off with ‘Is This How You Feel?’, and then make your way through their back catalogue, I guarantee you’ll have more of a blast than Bonnie and Clyde, pre-graphic shoot out.

‘Is This How You Feel?’ came out yesterday, so go buy it chump. The Preatures are on tour in October, playing OAF on the 6th, so go see it….chump (I don’t know I’m running out of insults). I’ve seen them before, it’s well worth the cash, holla. And if you want some instant gratification, here’s a link to The Preatures Triple J Unearthed Page, with a couple great tracks including the amazing ‘Take A Card’.