Top 10 Bands of Laneway Festival 2016

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Laneway Festival just announced their lineup for 2016, and fuck me, I’ve shit the bed…twice. Whilst I clean the sheets, old mate WordPress came calling, and now you’ve got a list, ANOTHER BLOODY LIST, telling YOU who to go and begrudgingly see after you inevitably figure out that those caps you bought off the lad in Camperdown Park are duds.

10. Violent Soho

It seems real weird that Violent Soho were booked for Laneway Festival. The festival has always prided itself on booking acts either on the cusp of popularity, or who have only recently tasted that sweet, sweet music career success. Violent Soho easily sell out some of the biggest venues in the country, and already played the festival in 2011. It’s not really a complaint, as the band always put on a hell of a show, but it begs the question as to why the festival didn’t book someone more emerging as opposed to a band so established? Still, if ya feel like showering in other people’s sweat (read: my sweat) in a mosh, your best bet is to head to wherever Soho are playing.

9. Silicon

Kody Nielsen’s got a resume worth having a gag over: The Mint Chicks, Opossum, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and now Silicon. Old mate’s been signed to Domino Records (via Weird World), home to Sebadoh, Jon Hopkins and Dan Deacon. He’s got a record coming out which features the bloody tops “Burning Sugar”, and in a few weeks he’s going to be touring with Tame Impala Only one of those achievements is boring.

8. Majical Cloudz

Jesus Christ, Majical Cloudz are pretty good at making you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing with your life. The voice of Devon Welsh is like a mixture of your parents’ telling you that they’re disappointed in you and being left at the altar. There’s a whole lot of pain there, and it’s shaping up to be that watching Majical Cloudz in the flesh is going to feel like Frosty the Snowman is reaching into our chest cavities and strangling our hearts.

7. HEALTH

These guys are fucked, in the best way possible. Think of the danceable noise of Holy Fuck, but trodden with paranoia and an addiction to unpredictability. Their ‘Get Colour’ record is an incredible experience that, if listened to correctly, should blow out your ear drums. Their new record ‘Death Magic’ is equally visceral, a dark, violent affair well-worth your time. Allegedly, HEALTH’s live shows are surreal events that warrant ear plugs and a clean smock.

6. Thundercat

Look, I’ll be honest, my heart fluttered for a second when I thought that the cult 80’s kids cartoon I watched re-runs of when my parents were asleep was going to make a live-action comeback. I would bite the dick off a gargoyle if that opportunity presented itself. Unfortunately, we’ll have to settle for the other Thundercat, a Flying Lotus collaborator, bass god and master of neo-soul who will make us all want to be better people. #realtalk though, how sick would it be to abuse a pimply kid in a Snarf costume between craft beers and Grimes?

5. The Goon Sax

Let’s be real: it was definitely my article on the best bands of BIGSOUND that got this one over the line. You can be one of the best emerging acts to put jangle-pop on its head, you can pull off an incredibly heartfelt and original set in a packed out bar in Brisbane, and you can warrant a whole lot of tongue wagging with the announcement that you’re joining Chapter Music off the back of a few demos. But you can’t underestimate the power of #localblogs.

In all seriousness, it’ll be interesting to see how The Goon Sax pull off a set at a festival like Laneway. In a pub, they’re on home turf, playing to small, packed crowds of people that adore the music they make; their charm arises from their faults and humbleness displayed on the homely  pub stage. Who knows what might go down in front of gum-chewing punters hanging for Hudson Mohawke. Fingers crossed the rest of Australia gets to see the magic that I saw at Ric’s a few weeks back.

4. METZ

Their second album was a bit of an uneven affair, lacking the succinct and determined power of their debut, but there’s little doubt that METZ have lost the strength of their live show. Their show at GoodGod two years ago remains one of my favourites, and not just because they were joined by TV Colours and Batpiss. There’s an ungodly amount of bite in METZ’s music which is hurled at anyone within a fortunate distance. The Laneway organisers should put these guys and HEALTH together and ensure that NOBODY CAN HEAR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!

3. Vince Staples

Rap is not my strong game. Shit, it’s not even my game. I don’t know the rules, I don’t own the proper paraphernalia, and sometimes I get scared when I listen to an N.W.A song. But Vince Staples swooped in and plastered his ‘Summertime ’06’ record everywhere, and shit, I ain’t even mad. This album is thrilling, a thuggish, brutal hip-hop record that floats between expert production and terrifying lyrics. Live, his exuberance and savagery will produce gulps of fear in the squares of Australia.

2. Blank Realm

The Australian contingent is pretty solid this year, relying less on proven success stories of yore (e.g Dune Rats and Courtney Barnett last year) and more on instinct and intuition. It explains why artists like Ali Barter and High Tension found their way on the lineup. But Blank Realm!?? I assumed this band was doomed to a fate of being adored after their time, like fellow Brisbanites The Saints. But Laneway have made the right choice and picked up the best band in Australia for performance duties. Good. Fucking. Option. Mates.

Seriously, the shunning of mainstream popularity for Blank Realm is criminal. How many masterpieces have you got to release before the floodgates of mass devotion open? The answer is three. Blank Realm have three masterpieces. They just released their latest opus, and fuck me, if you still haven’t checked it out, then do yourself a favour and press repeat until your fingers bleed.

1. SPOD (TBA)

Some dickhead graphic designer completely forgot to put SPOD’s name on the lineup again! Jesus Christ! Two years in a row! That’s a stab in the back, isn’t it! Maybe the contracts still have yet to go through, but c’mon! Pull yourself together! He’s a national icon!

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10 Best Bands of BIGSOUND

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Brisbane – you go alright. Sydney folk have given you a bit of a rough ride throughout the years: “It’s too hot…full of bogans…fucking Maroon wankers” are all pretty common complaints. But after offering up so many fantastic bands over the years, it was awesome to finally experience the whirlwind of your uncomfortably warm embrace. And BIGSOUND! What a treat! Despite an abundance of blokes (always blokes) with incredibly overinflated egos (shoutouts to the guy that threw his pass in a security guard’s face, throwing his arm at the 30 second queue and exclaiming “But I’m a delegate! That’s a punter’s line…THIS IS BULLSHIT!”) BIGSOUND is an opportunity.

Y’see, there’s over 150 bands playingsome incredible, some lame as shit, but all there to hopefully further their careers and find success, whatever that definition might be. And I’m really happy about that – there’s not nearly enough cash being thrown back to the musicians who make our punter lives such a joy. So, even though don’t like it, who gives a shit? I’m happy for any artist, of any genre, to achieve their goal, particularly through a process like BIGSOUND, which is a great way to connect with folks who can help you. For every guy that can’t stop mentioning the fact that he works in the “music industry”, there are a dozen people who genuinely care about checking out as many of the good things on offer. So here’s my two cents on the best bands up at BIGSOUND – and by the way, if you ever fucking make me wait in a queue again, I will sue you.

10. Rainbow Chan

The electronic contingent at BIGSOUND was pretty disappointing this year. Maybe it’s coming from a really ill-informed “band bro” point of view, but watching someone overanalyse a set of decks just really doesn’t seem like that exciting of a thing to watch. It was the acts that went left of centre and made the most of their sets that performed best: Sui Zhen and NULL both pulled off impressive and visually engaging sets that are worth checking out. But it was Rainbow Chan that proved to be the most energetic and lively; she’s criminally underrated, and doesn’t play shows nearly enough. Any chance to catch her bop, groove and twirl onstage is a treat that should be taken advantage of immediately.

9. Tired Lion

If I wasn’t guzzling booze and schmoozing up to the heads of the major labels with all the gusto of Gary Busey on a coke binge, then I probably would’ve made it into the sold-out Gang of Youths gig, and they would’ve been on this list. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen (didn’t even get a fucking corporate sponsorship out of all that sucking up either). However, it did mean that I caught Tired Lion, Perth shredders that feature an absolute powerhouse of a front woman, the unstoppable Sophie Hopes. She latched onto every figure in the packed out room with the ferocity of the band’s namesake tearing open the throat of the slowest gazelle in the Savannah. We are all that gazelle, and all we could do was stare in awe of the show that Tired Lion supplied as they stewed upon our entrails.

8. Cosmic Psychos

Their new album leaves a lot to be desired, as much of a disappointment as my results at uni. But it would be plain ignorant to call Cosmic Psychos as anything less than a heritage act, an influential band that spits in the face of legacy because they’re too busy riding tractors and slamming into dead roos. Their reputation as one of the best pub rockers remains undisputed when it comes to a live show. Sweaty, blood-spurting and beer-soaked faces caked the grey-haired but perpetually young-at-heart performance, as classics “Nice Day to Go the Pub”, “Lost Cause” and “David Lee Roth” all saw air time, both from the stage and the bevy of crowd-surfers.

7. DARTS

DARTS played two sets, and both proved to be overwhelming punches of spectacle. Straight ahead, teeth-bared rock that presents itself as a slew snarling anthems, but is plagued with cutting self-analysis and anguish, which explodes in the live arena. DARTS work well in confined spaces, barrelling through track after track on the stages of Brisbane with loaded sets of staunch, lip-curling grunge.

6. WAAX

On a bill packed with rock acts, WAAX feel like the band destined to inspire more than fair few teenagers to pick up the guitar and thrash around in their bedroom. This band deserves every loud-loving punters full attention, and catching them live should shoot to the top of the list. Ask anyone who was there, and you’re likely to get the same gushing response as entailed here. Front woman Marie De Vita is particularly worthy of praise, an irrepressible emerald-doused firework who dominates the crowd like she’s Joan of Arc and we’re all a bunch of bloody Brits ready for rock slaughter.

5. Tiny Little Houses

This show was absolutely fucking packed. A full 24 hours later, and my lungs still haven’t decompressed themselves. But mate, wasn’t it bloody worth it? I’d kinda given up on folk bands, what with the realisation that Boy & Bear and The Paper Kites both suck…but man, Tiny Little Houses – swoon! They’re lo-fi recordings shine on a stage, and the inclusion of a fair bit of shredding helps bolster their performances into quite the mesmerising spectacle.

4. The Ocean Party

The Ocean Party are easily the hardest working band in Australia, with more live gigs notched under their belts than Ron Jeremy’s got STD’s. Not only that, but they’ve got a fifth record due out in a month AND all seven members deal with their own stellar recording projects in what mythical spare time they have. With all that practice and constant skill-honing, it’s no wonder that The Ocean Party are one of the most charming bands to watch in Aus. Their gigs will suck you in like a bloody typhoon, and you’ll have their incredible brand of guitar-pop stuck in your head for days, weeks, months, years. Truly, this band is the herpes of music…but delightful instead of burning.

3. Dorsal Fins

There’s a fuck-off amount of members in Dorsal Fins, so many that it’s all too easy to lose count. Watching them is like watching that classic gorilla selective attention experiment video – your eyes are bouncing between so many members that a giant ape could walk through the middle and you wouldn’t notice. Not that King Kong antics are a problem here – you’re having way too much fun! Dorsal Fins do pop to its logical, exuberant climax, and the unstoppable Ella Thompson not only possesses one hell of a voice, but the most enthusiastic dance moves that BIGSOUND had to offer. On a bill filled with bright pop musicians, Dorsal Fins were far and away the most brilliant and enticing.

2. The Goon Sax

One song and a handful of demos is apparently enough to fill up a room to a dangerous capacity. If someone coughed, the whole audience would’ve come down with pneumonia the next day. But of course, everyone was excited to check out the new Chapter Music signing. After 20 years, one of the most prestigious and continuously enigmatic labels in Australia went out on a limb and signed their first band based on unsolicited demos. Holy shit did they make the right decision: three high school kids, loaded with shy charm and a love for bands that I wish I could’ve claimed to be into in Year 12 (The Apartments, Go-Betweens, and The Bats) deserved every cheer and clap they got during their slot. I don’t even give a shit if I’ve got whooping cough now – seeing The Goon Sax will be worth every second of my impending plague.

1. DEAFCULT

I am so okay with a band with four guitars. Yeah, you read that right – four. This band has the same amount of guitars as the core cast of Seinfeld has members. And they use these guitars in their entire brutal capacity – nobody was leaving this room without bleeding eardrums and grin planted on their cranium. Fuck, there is so much to love about this band: from the name, to the incredible musicianship on display, to the simple awe generated by the sheer volume of it all. This band is epic, but with all the pretension removed. Watching DEAFCULT is an experience that anyone with even a passing interest in what guitars can do should participate in. Fuck…I think I’ve shit myself just from thinking back to it.

Top 10 International Albums 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.

With part one of the ‘Best of 2014’ thankfully out of the way (musings on the best music videos of 2014 this way), it’s time to turn our attention to the best international releases of 2014. As one ARIA red carpet attendee so accurately put it, Australian music sucks shit, and the only good music comes straight from our brothers n’ sisters of the USA! YEAH! ‘MURICA. And look, whilst The Clean and Cosmic Psychos didn’t release anything new this year, there have been some great releases. From Flying Lotus, to Caribou, to Sharon Van Etten, a wealth of talent was dumped on our ears in 2014. Here’s the best:

Honourable Mentions: Ty Segall (‘Manipulator’), Flying Lotus (‘You’re Dead!’), Schoolboy Q (‘Oxymoron’), Sharon Van Etten (‘Are We There’), The War on Drugs (‘Lost in the Dream’), Mogwai (‘Rave Tapes’), Ex Hex (‘Rips’), Golden Pelicans (‘S/T 12″).

10. Caribou – Our Love

A big toss-up between this record and Ty Segall’s ‘Manipulator’. Both are extensive leaps forward from established artists with near perfect track records. But it was Ty Segall’s inability to self-edit his 17-long tracklist that pushed Caribou into adoration. ‘Our Love’ is swirling, mystifying romance that is impossible to not get caught up in. Plus, “Can’t Do Without You” is a smoothie of Taylor Swift’s pop supreme, Spiritualized’s piercing gaze, and the best production this side of ‘Endtroducing…’.

Caribou is coming to Aus in February for Laneway, and a show at the Sydney Opera House, February 3.

9. The Men – Tomorrow’s Hits

2014 has been the year of The War on Drugs, and whilst ‘Lost in the Dream’ is a superb album, it seems unfairly raised above another working class band. But then again, that’s the curse of The Men. For too long, they have been serving up stone cold cult classics, from ‘Leave Home’, to ‘Open Your Heart’. On ‘Tomorrow’s Hits’, they almost completely erase their sludgy-punk/noisy past, and embrace country and the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that was deemed raunchy, but acceptable in the 1950’s. You can sing the praises of how great the lyrics and progression of “Red Eyes” and “Under the Pressure” are, but in turn, you’d have to say that about “Settle Me Down”, and “Different Days”. As far as Bruce Springsteen-love goes, The War on Drugs take the pain, but The Men preserve the joy. (Album Review)

8. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

Speaking of joy, nothing came even close to the maniacal fun of Todd Terje’s debut album, a perfectly honed magnum opus. ‘It’s Album Fun’ seems like something Dan Aykroyd  and Bill Murray would’ve cooked up in the 80’s, but only if Barry Gibb had possessed their souls.  Deep, sultry cuts of synth-led party jams, Todd Terje never misses a beat. What’s more, he occasionally ramps things up into a sentimental overload, with the Bryan Ferry-assisted tear jerker “Johnny and Mary”. But never fear, Terje’s classic ability to spice things into a frothing paste of swooning, electronic, Cantina-band-esque lushness  is always around the corner, as “Inspector Norse”, “Delorean Dynamite” and “Strandbar” easily attest to.

7. Liars – Mess

Once again, very hard to pick between Liars’ new record and Mogwai’s brilliant ‘Rave Tapes’. Both records had a hard-edged zealot-ness to them, but Liars simply harnessed and appropriated it more. Liars showed they weren’t afraid to plunge into the obtuse, as their insanity and demented nature ramped to new heights. Their music has always bordered on paranoid, but now it became frighteningly so, a schizoid mixture of frightening, alien sounds munching on gnashing lyrics. For sheer animated terror and cartoonish slasher value, Liars’ ‘Mess’ was a helluva album. (Album Review)

6. Die! Die! Die! – SWIM

Hailing from New Zealand, it feels like this shouldn’t be an Internationally Acclaimed Album (TM), but rather one of our own. Alas, New Zealand have different accents and laws, and as such, we can’t claim an act like Die! Die! Die! as one of our own in the same way we can with Russell Crowe.

On their fifth record, Die! Die! Die! maintained the ferocity and biting cynicism that would seem appropriate for a band with their name. The friction caused between the power trio that is Andrew Wilson, Michael Logie and Michael Prain is enough to power a town to the same capacity of a nuclear reactor. As soon as someone can figure out how to harness this, the global energy crisis will be over. Until then, let’s just enjoy the beautifully pure punk explosion that is ‘SWIM’. (Album Review)

5. Shellac – Dude Incredible

The almighty Shellac returned this year, and delivered a brutal heap of music that hate-shamed most of the rock music released this year. Powered as always by Bob Weston’s inhumanly powerful bass, Steve Albini’s serrated lyrics and Todd Trainer’s consistently vile drumming, ‘Dude Incredible’ is a bile-spewing, looming work of the Gods of the music industry. You want affirmation in a world full of 5SOS and neutered indie acts that think a fuzz pedal is a nickname for an electric razor? Chuck on ‘Dude Incredible’, and allow yourself to whisper those same words over and over again, as each crushing song belies your idea of awesome. (Album Review)

4. Eagulls – Eagulls

Depressingly good, Eagulls have painted a picture of a visceral England so much more brilliantly than any Arctic Monkeys record ever could. Their debut self-titled is raw power, in the Stooges sense of the word. It pulsates and breathes, each song a punch in the guts whilst a bellowing drill sergeant insists you surge onwards. It is a sensational experience to put on this Eagulls record, a face-melting treatment of pop smudged and bludgeoned by teeth-baring, white-knuckled frenzy. (Album Review)

Eagulls are coming to Aus in February for Laneway Festival, and play a show at OAF on Friday 30th January.

3. King Tuff – Black Moon Spell

Probably the most perfect party rock record since Judas Priest’s ‘British Steel’ (“BREAKING THE LAW, BREAKING THE LAW, DUH DUH”). Coincidentally, “Headbanger” begins with a line that swoons over a girl’s record collection: “You had Sabbath, and Priest and Number of the Beast, it was heavy metal perfection”. Indeed ‘Black Moon Spell’ excels at just being a really fun record to rock out to. From the Marc Bolan-isms to the Slash-levels of gratuitous guitar solos, King Tuff revels in an  unparalleled love of classic rock with a modern flair, laying down the tastiest jams since Ozzy was in Sabbath. (Album Review)

2. Spoon – They Want My Soul

There’s a reason Spoon are the most consistently rated band of all time – they’re really fucking good at being an indie rock band. Believe it or not, being an indie band is hard. People, like me, will hate you for no other reason other than you have a trendy haircut, which means YOU’RE MUSIC SUCKS SHIT! But with Spoon, there’s nothing to hate; Britt Daniel simply aches with great songwriting. Catchy melodies snared by heartbroken lyrics on “Rent I Pay”, “Do You” and “New York Kiss” are too much. (Album Review)

1. Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else

Ahhh, Cloud Nothings. Over the course of four albums, they’ve gone from a solo project of fun, if not particularly memorable, lo-fi pop jams, to throttling, fearsome snaps of exhilaration. When the Steve Albini-produced ‘Attack on Memory’ came out a few years ago, everyone was thinking that there was no way it could be topped. Enter ‘Here and Nowhere Else’, a challenger with balls and a willingness to show them (that sounds fucked up).

The lyrics of ‘Here And Nowhere Else’ are deceptively simple, but nonetheless powerful. They’re bolstered even more so by some of the most brilliantly scathing music of the last few years. But most memorable is the way Dylan Baldi, a bearded and bespectacled fellow of an unassuming nature, belts and inflects his words with whipping fury. There is something in his throat which carries through onto record that is completely unexplainable. Pair that with vicious ability and concentrated aggression that wouldn’t be out-of-place on a  Fugazi record, and you’ve got Cloud Nothings at their jaw-dropping finest. (Album Review)

Top 10 Music Videos 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.

First, music videos. A dead medium. Who even the fuck watches this shit? It’s just a band wearing enough hair gel to freeze over hell, and badly lip-syncing to a song no one liked much in the first place. OR it’s a place where blood and gore thrives, and creativity is king. Here are the Top 10 Music Videos of the 2014, but first, some honourable mentions: White Hex (‘Paradise’), DZ Deathrays (‘Gina Works At Hearts’), SMILE (‘BLVD’), and Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders (‘Come On Back This Way’).

BONUS: Girl Talk & Freeway feat. Waka Flocka Flame

It seems strange to include a Girl Talk track in this blog, especially one that features human shitstain Waka Flocka Flame. I’ve never been a fan of kitschy rap that glorifies bullshit. But the visual ridiculousness of seeing a man like Waka sitting on a throne gesticulating with a recently dismembered arm, as Girl Talk beats up people on the street, is something so gloriously gonzo that it has to be included as one of the greatest audio-visual experiences of 2014.

10. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Cellophane

King Gizzard are the Spoon of garage rock – they just release really consistent, good records. Their two records of 2014, ‘Oddments’ and ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’ were pretty great, but the videos are what remained spectacular. “Hot Wax” was a solid contender, but it was “Cellophane” and its 3D video, that captured the cartoon-ish, Hanna-Barbera lunacy that they portray onstage. And if any song was going to act as the perfect vehicle for such a mindfuck, “Cellophane” would be it.

9. The Peep Tempel – Big Fish

The Peep Tempel are great at pumping out bloodthirsty tunes mopped straight from the floor of the seediest pub in town. They’re the kind of hard-working, sweaty band that plays loud, growling with menace. That’s probably why their clip for “Big Fish” is so great – it shows what the morning after a night out at a Peep Tempel is really like. Stumbling, trying to lit half of a cigarette, and raising eyebrows from every passerby.

8. Broadway Sounds – Something Sensual

Broadway Sounds came from nowhere, and released a fantastic EP of tangy and elastic synth jams. Then they released the video clip for “Something Sensual”, a Tim and Eric-esque sketch that just scrapes under the classification of porn. Strange burlesque folks in masks, Melbournite gymnastics and the ultimate ode to the constellations, “Something Sensual” manages to give you the weirdest boner of all time.

7. Blank Realm – Reach You on the Phone

Not only did Blank Realm unveil a 10/10 perfect album, and bring the keytar back from the furthest point of remembrance, but they also managed to release this fantastic video. The video easily re-creates all the billowing emotion and whirlwind romanticism, via a hued pastiche of purples, greens, pinks and yellows, and an abundance of fans (both the kind that blows air into your face, and the array of colourful characters who appear). There’s also the fantastic claymation that recalls the work of Adam Elliot (Harvey Krumpet). If you’re not sobbing at the end of this, you’re malfunctioning.

6. Bistro – DR NO feat Simo Soo

Straight outta Sydney, some of the best hip-hop you’ll hear all year – not only can Bistro provide music that doesn’t sound like something a lad from the North Shore spat onto a napkin, it also isn’t obviously inspired by American hip-hop either. Instead, it sounds thoroughly of its own time and place.

What’s more, he’s got a film clip that accurately depicts the kind of fucked up pace, flow and themes presented in DR NO. It’s frightening and acidic, worse than anything Walt Disney could come up with, a blend of schizophrenic gonzo-ism. When it hits Simo Soo’s rapid fire verse, your hands should be just blistering, white knuckled stubs of flesh.

5. Liam Finn – Burn Up The Road

One of the more feel-good clips of the year is Liam Finn’s “Burn Up the Road”. Yes, he is the kid of Neil Finn, but his style is defiantly his own. That comes through in the alternate (and infinitely cooler) future in which Liam Finn and Kirin J Callinan are best mates, then enemies on a autobahn motorbike ride to hell and back. It’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with more hockey pads and a liquid cool guitar riff.

4. Multiple Man – Persuasion

A lot of bands adopt the VHS approach these days, and it’s becoming a tad painful to see. It started out cool, but when everyone’s doing it, it sort of fucks up the novelty and greatness of it all. But with Multiple Man, they’ve cannibalised and evolved that CHS concept into something that’s both alluring and scary as hell. I imagine watching the bleached colours burrowing themselves into your eyes as the Campion twins purr along to squelchy beats and trickling synths is the same way sensation people felt after watching The Matrix for the first time. When New Order is getting swallowed by The Soft Moon like that to the fuzzy, white-noise head fuck of the “Persuasion” video, something inside of you says “Hey, probably not going to see some shit like that for a while”

3. Client Liaison – Free of Fear

Client Liaison toe a line that can easily cross into self-parody. They’re fantastic, but when you sound like a Prince and Michael Jackson-crossbreed being fed through a fax machine, and interpreted by Olivia Newton-John, there’s a large chance that there could be a mis-translation. However, these guys just write damn fine pop songs, and their videos are works of art. “Feed the Rhythm” borders on being one of the videos of the year, but it’s the grand randomness revealed with straight faces for the comic ages (try patting an alligator in the desert, and not cracking a smile), that ensures that the elaborate “Free of Fear” clip excels at being the No. 1 lavish homage and extension to the greatest pop era in history.

 2. Zanzibar Chanel – Mustn’t Evolve feat. Dungeon Posse

This video was released only mere weeks ago, but when it opens like a soap opera taking place in gangland warfare, and a brutal, eye-popping murder takes place before any music starts, then things look to be pretty amazing. “Mustn’t Evolve” is a torture-cry laden, synth delight, soaked in evil vocals and a cell playground for Melbourne’s finest to rap-squat and jiggle their way into infamy. It’s about as close to a Hunter S. Thompson wet dream as things go.

1. Collarbones – Turning

Not only is “Turning” the motherfucking JAM of 2014, an electronica glitch in the binary code that turns 0’s into Destiny’s Child and 1’s into Aphex Twin, but it has the best video of 2014 as well, for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, it’s got a celebrity cast, including Marcus and Travis of Collarbones, Doug and Russell of FISHING, FBi legend Frances Barrett, Marcus of Siberia Records, and Romi and Matt Banham, the greatest Internet sensations Australia has seen since Steve Irwin. Secondly, it’s directed by SPOD, a name that causes amateur filmmakers to quake in intimidated passion. Obviously, that means the clip is loaded with all sorts of crazy Internet craziness, like Brown Cardigan and Deep Internet Reddit made passionate love on a green screen. And thirdly, it has outfits that make like The Devil Wears Prada moved into a Health Goth store, andn has teh choreography of a ferocious mythological creature being taught to twerk to R Kelly, (I imagine SPOD was the one who taught said beast, via a My Fair Lady “The Rain in Spain” musical number).

Top 10 Australian Albums of 2014 (So Far…)

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There have been an orgy of new Aussie releases this year that have tickled the chin of genius, and caused her many rolls of fat to quake in laughter. But there have been a few that have genuinely succeeded in being goddamn masterpieces. These, are those records:

10. TIED: Nathan Roche-Magnetic Memories + Shrapnel-Tobacco Dreams

I honestly couldn’t decided between these two works of art. One is a laid back bible on whatever happened to come into Nathan Roche’s mind when he strummed the chords, and the other is a deceivingly simple collection of pop songs that make Mac DeMarco look like a rookie. But both Nathan Roche and Shrapnel exceed in making unique statements with their albums that few Sydney bands, indeed Australian bands, could think up over years of training.

9. Rat & Co-Binary

The second album from Rat & Co is a sonic tapestry, something that combines the past with the future extraordinarily easily. Rat & Co cover a million different varieties and spices on this album, from lush synths and haunted child samples in ‘Vocal Insanity’ to the glacial ‘Calculated Movements I, II and III’. But ‘Binary’ remains a solid fixture of the Rat & Co thesis of creating beats that’ll surpass the band. Hopefully, when aliens dig up this civilisation in millions of years, they find this album instead of the new Lana Del Ray record.

8. HTRK-Psychic 9-5 Club

The HTRK story is a tortured one, but that’s probably what helped them to become the strong and identifiable unit they are today. HTRK’s new record moves in honeyed and dance-worthy directions. Although rife with the kind of saddening lyrics that are expected from a HTRK record, ‘Psychic 9-5 Club’ is infinitely less abrasive as previous material, and allows itself to be, dare I say, accessible. Songs such as ‘Blue Sunshine’ ring with an allure that is insanely gorgeous, and create a mystical atmosphere around this record that can’t be overstated.

7. Ernest Ellis-Cold Desire

The first record that introduced me to Ernest Ellis is, by far, also one of the greatest pieces of dramatic indie rock I’ve heard in years. Both intimate and expansive, Ernest Ellis manage to combine the blue collar poeticism of bands like The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile, with the grandness of U2. Akin to their touring mates Shining Bird, Ernest Ellis pull you into their album like your tumbling headfirst down a waterfall of happiness. If only my similes were half as good as the music on this album.But seriously, listen to ‘Black Wire’, your life will change.

6. Dune Rats-Dune Rats

Dune Rats sure did deliver on their debut album. After a couple EP’s and countless cockteasing, the guys who were previously most famous for this have gone n done a full LP. Full of the kind shit that made us fall in love with them in the first place, the album is a singles fest of fun, riotous tunes meant to be shouted back at the band at a show where there’s more joints than people.

5. Bachelor Pad-Dooming Out

Bachelor Pad are literally made of good times. It’s in their blood. If you cut open Huw, you’d get an overdose of fun-fumes and bongwater instead of blood. They’ve packed all that awesomeness into an album ready made to be the go-to party starter. Even if you’re an accountant that works for Telstra, you’ll be able to enjoy this album. Just listen to ‘Fried’, ‘Movin’ On’ or ‘Let Me Go’ and for a few minutes, everything will be centred around total, unobstructed gewd times.

4. White Hex-Gold Nights

Think of a scenario in which Depeche Mode are dipped in a vat of boiling acid, and their steaming carcass’ are used as the bare bones for a revolutionary dark-pop project out of Melbourne, half-headed by one of the guys from noise enthusiasts Slug Guts. White Hex’s second record ‘Gold Nights’ is exactly that, thudding synth work shuddering against shimmering walls of noise and breathless vocals from the amazing Tara Green. The results in this album are simply stunning, the kind of thing Robert Smith wished he’d invented.

3. Straight Arrows-Rising

Although this album hasn’t even officially come out yet, it’s been a steadfast go-to listen for the past month or so. Every time I need something to pick me up before going out, and I’m all Sabbath-ed out, I’m hitting up ‘Rising’ instantly. Packed with tunes that get the blood pumping and the genitals,, you guessed it, rising, the record could not be a better successor of Straight Arrows’ debut.

2. Nun-Nun

Another self-titled debut effort has cracked the Top 10. Man, I’m just fucking crazy, aren’t I? Anyway, the first LP (of hopefully many) from the Melbourne synth-punkers is a shock to the system on par with having Alice Cooper break into your house and throw a toaster in your bathtub. The songs on here range from far-out schizophrenic jams, to tight and ugly lil’ ravers that get up in your face like the most bratty kid imaginable. Overall, the record is unabashedly hectic and unforgettable.

1. Blank Realm-Grassed Inn

So, the best album of this shithole years so far, in my own humble opinion, is Blank Realm’s purple-glazed ‘Grassed Inn’. They created a pop masterpiece, and I will challenge anyone who disagrees to a jelly fight in a bathtub. I say that knowing the full consequences of uttering such a profound statement, but I stand by it. The tracks on this album have been mumbled under my breath on the train so many times, I think they’ve surpassed Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’. Every tune has a poignance and impressionability that surpasses almost every other pop release of the past couple years. The fact that the lyrics are heartbreaking and honest, and Blank Realm come from humble Brisbane beginnings is just a major, major plus. Goddamn, if you have a soul, you will spend the rest of your days listening to this album.

Top 10 International Albums of 2014 (So Far…)

Welcome to the latest episode of ‘My Opinion Is More Valid Than Yours’. For those that don’t know, this is an ongoing series of how my opinion matters more than yours. Pleb. Anyway, in this episode, we will be examining the best albums of yonder that have emerged in the first part of 2014.

10. The Lawrence Arms-Metropole

For a long time, The Lawrence Arms always existed outside of my consciousness. I never paid heaps of attention to them, and the songs I had heard only mildly piqued my interest. But a copy of their new record ‘Metropole’ changed that, and it actually made me believe that pop-punk hadn’t been completely soiled by shitty bands that confused slitting wrists with amazing melodies. On ‘Metropole’, The Lawrence Arms pump out track after track of infectious blue-collar punk tunes, intensely wrapped in headbanger blues. ‘You Are Here’, ‘The YMCA Down the Street From the Clinic’ and ‘Paradise Shitty’ are probably some of the best pop-punk tunes to have existed since the last apocalypse false warning.

9. The Men-Tomorrow’s Hits

It always seemed like The Men were one step ahead of the game. They were releasing visceral, ravaging post-punk and noise music before No Age were even foetus’  (sic). But they always managed to evolve and re-evaluate their position on the musical compass. So for their fifth outing, they went alt-country. Now usually, I’m of the ‘Fuck Alt-Country’ persuasion, but The Men managed to turn the genre into a romper of a good time. Songs like ‘Different Days’ and ‘Pearly Gates’ unfolded with majesty, more blue-collar punk, but this time pushed through a birth canal of harmonica and twinkling guitar.

8. Damaged Bug-Hubba Bubba

John Dwyer is more famous for his Thee Oh Sees project, who released a pretty fantastic album this year as well. But it was Damaged Bug, his new solo electronic-tinged outing that got my underwear soaked. It’s a morbid fantasy, morose guitars drowning under thick, black synth work. It’s like Dwyer’s voice is being held under a lake of caviar, like in that scene from James Bond. And just like James Bond, Damaged Bug emerges on top of his game with a world class entertainment product, full of explosions, exotic locales and evil incarnate defeated…for now!

7. The Black Lips-Underneath the Rainbow

Finally, The Black Lips, one of my all time favourite groups, released a new record. It’s a lot more cleaned up to say the least, but it’s got just the same amount of unruly ruckus that has stained the legacy of true rock n roll. The Black Lips throw down some Southern Comfort, slaughter a few teenagers and strap down their guitars for a full-blown massacre of garage rock on this album. They blow through 12 songs with the dashing handsomeness of Prince Charming on backyard meth. And the result is an insanely enjoyable record.

6. Future Islands-Singles

It seems like with ‘Singles’, Future Islands are finally going to break the mainstream. I mean, they always hung out on the precipice of global adoration, but this new album is so completely orgasmic, it’s hard to imagine them getting ignored again. Obviously there’s the new ‘Let’s Stay Together’ in ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, a song so readymade to be the new token making love track it’s a surprise it’s not on the soundtrack of every sappy romantic comedy being released this year. But the rest of the album continues on the breathless synth route that worms its way into the heart of everyone with even a semblance of romanticism.

5. Mogwai-Rave Tapes

Mogwai have released another epic album, complete with huge, lengthy songs that manage to be more dangerous than having sex with a pufferfish. The notes are razor sharp, trawling through the mire of Death Star-esxplosion level synth work, and Hiroshima-level devastation. Mogwai have never sounded as huge or as carnivorous as they do on this record.

4. Liars-Mess

Likewise to Mogwai, Liars did a 180 on their previous post-rock/noise sound, and evolved to some kind of tortured disco. Songs like ‘Mess On A Mission’ and ‘Pro Anti-Anti’ sound like the Grim Reaper had too much sugar, and found himself a set of decks. ‘Mess’ makes you want to dance yourself into the apocalypse, both terrifying and completely alluring.

3. Sharon Van Etten-Are We There

Unfortunately never got around to reviewing this one, but it is simply too stunning of a record to ignore. In this album, Sharon Van Etten hits her ultimate stride of marrying beautiful, love-torn lyrics with hypnotising music. She’s done it splendidly before, but whereas before it was all about recognising and sympathising with the listener, this time around she actually causes the heart to crack and break under the brunt of her brutal honesty and sadness. When ‘Break Me’ and ‘Our Love’ ring in, you’ll be swimming in a pool of your tears, whilst the anaconda of ‘Are We There’ slowly strangles you, whilst Jon Voight looks on in sick fascination. Sick 1997 film reference, bro!

2. Eagulls-Eagulls

Whilst the overwhelming majority of buzz bands manage to fail, or at least disappoint, on their debut albums, Eagulls simply raised expectations to ear-shattering levels. They shook off their Killing Joke-rip off comparisons, and made the original look like a copy. That’s some Inception-like shit right there. But ‘Eagulls’ greatest strength is putting together enormous, tidal riffs and clashing them with pop hooks that would make Michael Jackson weep. The result is a explosive and spine-snapping record that has contributed to way too many mosh-pit related hospital visits.

1. Cloud Nothings-Here And Nowhere Else

Easily the best record of 2014 so far, Cloud Nothings shun their indie rock/lo-fi past, and scrape the barrel of intensity for a truly visceral and honestly breathtaking record. It’s eight tracks of pounding fury, each song building a giant demolition machine that’s knocks down jaws and floors expectations. ‘Here And Nowhere Else’ is an album that examines loss, fragility, the unknown, disappointment, and separation, and lays these themes down next to some of the most white-knuckle riffery and jarring music heard. Every song on this album is worthy of your attention, a real no-filler, all killer record. Sorry Sum 41, Cloud Nothings actually came through on that promise.

Top 10 Signs You’re A Self-Hating Hipster

 

The word and definition hipster is as worn out and confused as a twelve year old obsessed with Insane Clown Posse, but lacking the funds for the face paint, and having to make do with house paint he found in the basement, thus subjecting himself to an insane amount of noxious fumes. Who knows what a hipster is anymore. Is it someone that listens to obscure bands? Someone that wears crazy outfits they picked up at a Vinnies? Or has it come down to being a self-centred, attention-seeking cosmic caricature that hates every moment of their life because of the extremities they engage upon themselves, but perpetuate the image of being a hipster because it’s all they know? If you find yourself nodding along to the final categorical definition of hipster, read on:

10. You create a blog, adamantly demand that it’s a domain

So Tumblr gives you hard ons, with all the cute anarchy slogans and pictures of people smoking bongs. So you get one. But don’t let anyone tell you it’s a blog. It ain’t a fucking blog. This is a serious domain. Not a blog, and certainly not a website. This is where serious issues, such as government corruption, asylum seekers, and political hypocrisy are examined and ravaged. On Tumblr.

9. You use Friendster

Man, fuck Facebook. All those annoying ads, and pictures of high school friends enjoying a normal existence. Fuck. That. You don’t give a shit that Kings of Leon are playing a show soon, or that horny, sexy Christian singles are in your area. And the alternatives aren’t much better. Twitter is such an encapsulation of the ADHD generation, and you don’t have the artistic creativity required for Instagram. So you use Friendster, the only social media service that really cares about its patrons: pedophiles that like to cover all the bases. And you.

8. You stop going to see new bands to find out about newer bands

Wanna go see that new band Disgusting People? You keen for that White Hex show? Shit, Multiple Man are coming to town, we gotta go! Nah, you reply, intently focused on the screen of your MacBook Pro. Those guys aren’t new enough. I only want to see a band play their first show. Of course, when it comes time to see a band play their first show, say DMA’s or Fermunted, you’re too busy scrawling through Soundcloud, looking for demos  of the side project that the guy from Deer Tick said he’d post.

7. You slit your wrists with broken shards of vinyl

Did you hear that new Sebadoh record? Jesus Christ. This calls for some of The Cure and The Jesus & Mary Chain. No, not listening to those songs, that would be counterproductive. It’s time for some good ol’ fashioned wrist-slitting. But razor blades are old-fashioned. You want something that has pain and suffering intrinsically written into itself. Cue shards of goth records. ‘The Weeping Song’ never sounded so good, or bloody.

6. You burn issues of Maximum Rock N Roll and The Village Voice for warmth

Living in New York/San Francisco/London/Berlin/Paris is fucking cold. So you’ll take a leaflet out of the book of your ancestors, and burn shit for warmth. Sure, you might burn down you’re overpriced apartment ($800 a week for a one-bedroom), but the way the flames lick those articles about Sonic Youth is just so tantalising. Also, what else are you gonna do? Turn on the heater? That would be way to easy.

5. You drink moonshine

Pabst Blue Ribbon has become a thing of the past, and chucking down VB’s never seemed quaint enough. Hence the moonshine. It’s a great, homegrown alternative that covers all the hipster bases. It’s cheap, it’s definitely local, and best of all, it’s completely impractical. But it tastes so revoltingly disgusting and no one else is doing it! So yeah, not being able to feel your lips for the next three days and alcohol poisoning are pretty much the only negatives.

4. You exclusively listen to (insert ridiculous obscure genre here)

Former ‘niche’ genres like shoegaze are slotted into the iTunes genre section, it’s time for change.  You can’t have a bunch of obscure genres that you pick and choose from-that would be ignorant. No, you need to exclusively listen to something that has about four or five bands attached to it, and is known by only you and those four or five bands. And you can’t listen to anything else. Brazilian post-afrobeat? Sure. Japanese proto-piano-punk? Yeah, that’ll do. Prog-trance with flourishes of big beat, from the late 1980’s Berlin scene? Get fucked, that’s more mainstream than wearing a Joy Division shirt at this point.

3. You use scraps of Vonnegut Jr. and David Foster Wallace as tissues

Being a self-hating hipster is hard, what with all the hate and hipsterisms, so there’s a lot of crying involved. But fuck that normal tissue bullshit. You’ll sit in your bathroom, and tear out pages from ‘Cat’s Cradle’ and ‘Brief Interviews with Hideous Men’ to dry your salty emotions. Because strong men also cry. Strong men. Also. Cry.

2. Listening to Nothing aka music that just hasn’t been created yet

You scrawl through the urban jungle, watching your wasteland be populated by chumps that only want to watch/listen to The National, or Schoolboy Q, or Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Not even the sacred realm of old-school hipster safety deposits are safe, as it seems like every twelvie now owns a Soft Boys record. So you’ve taken a leaf out of old mate John Cage’s book, and starting listening to nothing on your headphones. But it’s not really nothing-it’s the sound of music that hasn’t been created yet (TM).

1. You spend all your money on flannels and fake eyewear

Coachella? Meredith? A case of Resch’s? Sorry guys, you’ve spent literally all your money on flannels and fake eyewear. And look, there’s an admitted downside. You’re scrounging around for cents just to make rent, and you’ve had to give up on luxuries like food and utilities. Even your iPhone has become a glorified torch light, because you don’t have the money to pay for the phone bill. But on the plus side, you’ve got a closet bursting with cross-patterned wool shirts and glasses that don’t help your eyesight.

Top 10 Things That Happened in 2013

Okay, just to clarify, this isn’t a list about the best shit that happened in 2013 for music. Although most of it is about some of the really, really great shit that happened, some of it is about some of the bad shit that happened in 2013. That is to be expected, so chin up buddy, dry those tears, and think about the sunny day that Violent Soho brought out their sophomore record, and forget about the time that Miley fucked a teddy bear. 

10. Chapter Music and I Oh You Records (tied)

This has just been such a fantastic year for both these top-notch Aussie record labels. Albeit on opposite ends of the music spectrum, and drastically varying in age (Chapter celebrating their 21st Birthday this year, and I Oh You celebrating their 4th), they have both released some of the best tunes this year, and rightfully won their place in the music community. Chapter Music released a stunning 15 or so records this year alone, with records ranging from the ‘dole-wave’ world-conquerers Dick Diver and The Stevens, to the long-awaited debut album from Primitive Calculators and another new one from The Cannanes. Meanwhile, I Oh You was out there putting on tours for the likes of Earlwolf, Foals (DJ’s) and getting the one and only Neon Love together for a reunion show. If that wasn’t enough, I Oh You also put out another one of my favourite records of the year, Violent Soho’s ‘Hungry Ghost’, and Snakadaktal’s debut record. They also managed to be a bunch of cockteasers and put out tantalising singles for City Calm Down and DZ Deathrays. If these labels can keep the pressure, there’s no telling how 2014 will end up.

9. New Shit From Bands That Haven’t Released Shit In A While

Beware, I’m not talking about bands that reformed, or broke their hiatus. I’m talking about bands that have never broken up, but have been ‘illin on the fringes of musical society, just waiting to return to form with strident singles. The aforementioned DZ Deathrays, Straight Arrows, HTRK, The Avalanches, Royal Headache, Seekae-just a few of the bands that blew us away with stand alone releases that said, “Fuck you, we’ve still got it.” If you haven’t checked out any of these singles…do it, you unintelligible ape!

8. Shitty Albums That People Thought Would Be Way Better Than They Actually Were

Ooooh, the first hot topic! I’m not just talking about Daft Punk here, there were so many built up albums this year that fell flatter than an ad campaign for Vaginal Warts. Arctic Monkeys, Sebadoh, No Age…just a short list of albums I listened to that I wish I hadn’t had, so I could dedicate more time to wistfully thinking about making sweet love to Robert Pollard. But that’s not even scratching the surface of bands like Cloud Control, Cults, Weekend, Soft Metals, Obits and Franz Ferdinand. A lot of bands that I was expecting to deliver stunning results returned with meagre offerings that either cruised along on the strength of predecessors, or worse, fucking sucked.

7. Solo Projects

For me, the term ‘solo project’ is a bit of a dirty word. Most of the time, they’re warning stories for the over-eager frontmen and women. Just ask Johnny Borrell, Johnny Marr or Noel Gallagher…if your album isn’t awesome, you kind of lose all credibility,and come off looking like a wanker. But luckily, there was a whole swag of Australian artists that went out on their own and wandered out as deadset legends. Nathan Roche, Angie, Kirin J Callinan, Geoffrey O’Connor, and Alex Cameron are just a couple names that released some stellar records this year that only get better with repeat listens. No point getting too much into it, just go fucking listen to them yourself. Trust me, these records are more on the Bob Dylan side of the solo spectrum, in terms of awesomeness.

6. Boutique Festivals

In a year where shit is getting fucked up ALL over the place for major music festivals, whether it be the gargantuan amount of drug related arrests, Blur cancelling on Big Day Out, or AJ Maddah telling people that their favourite bands suck tremendous amounts of horseshit, major festivals are becoming more and more fucked. I can’t tell you how pissed I was when I missed the chance to see Massive Attack, Superchunk, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Neutral Milk Hotel all in the same place for Harvest festival, only to see it collapse before my very eyes. And lets not even touch on hip-hop festivals this year, with Rap City, Supafest, Movement all being cancelled.

However, with the absence of ya boiz 50 Cent and T.I, boutique festivals have continually outshone their counterparts. The ‘original’ boutique festival, Laneway, has gone international, and their 2013 edition was fucking awesome. Japandroids, Divine Fits and POND all left massive dents in my brain, right were the pleasure centre is located. Other festivals like OutsideIn, Strawberry Fields and the upcoming, sold-out Secret Garden festival (which frankly has the most amazing lineup I’ve ever seen) continue to dominate. Oh, and Sound Summit was one of the most pleasurable and unique experiences of my entire life, a smorgasbord of musical delights that will probably never be collected in the same period again. Fuck me, if boutique festivals become a thing, how the fuck will yadda yadda capitalism, Soundwave, Nova 969, joke, haha.

5. Reformations-the fucking shit and the not-so-shit

Firstly, let’s talk about Black Flag. Maaaaan, did they fuck that one up. One of the all time greatest punk bands became a petty squablling bitch fit of the highest order, and at the end of it all, once-stoked fans where left with an album called ‘What The…’, which compromised of a bunch of piss-take ‘punk’ songs and an album cover that looked like ClipArt threw up. They fucking fired Ron Reyes onstage! Black Flag aside, bands that also wanted money to buy that brand-new toaster and reformed included Boyzone, The Backstreet Boys and Girls vs. Boys. It reads like a list of who-gives-a-shit.

However, on the plus-side, Jurassic 5, Philadelphia Grand Jury, and Powder Monkeys all put aside differences and got stuck into some gigs. And by some miracle, the mother fucking Replacements got together again! What! That’s amazing! I nearly blew a load when I heard that!

4. Electronic Music???

Electronic music has had a confusing year in 2013. On the one hand, there has been some absolutely froth-worthy local shit that has gotten tails wagging and genitals exploding. Touch Sensitive, Wave Racer, Cosmo’s Midnight and Hayden James have had stellar years, and underrated labels like Future Classic, Silo Arts, and Yes, Please have all shot to national attention, like synth induced erections. And let’s not even bother to touch on Flume-that guy gets enough deserved praise.

But in terms of mainstream music, the result has been mixed like a cocktail served by a squirrel with Parkinsons. Of course, Disclosure released that pretty killer album. But the likes of hardstyle trap from the likes of Baauer and DJ Snake, and the legions of mindless DJ’s that trample our radio waves that release forgettable single after another dilutes a lot of the mainstream appeal of electronic music. Not even new albums from Jon Hopkins, and Boards of Canada, or the embracing of the genre from indie rock icons like Arcade Fire and David Bowie, could distract from the likes of Knife Party destroying decent music. Although it is undeniable that electronica had a killer year on the local front, its better to forget that other shit happened outside of our shores.

3. Debuts

Face it, a lot of debuts came out in 2013, and they all rock me better than a hurricane. International props to the likes of Savages, FIDLAR, Eagulls, HAIM, Jackson Scott, SQURL, HUNTERS and Atoms For Peace. But that doesn’t even come close to the amount of talent that pooped out shining nuggets of debut gold this year in Australia. TV Colours, Gooch Palms, Bad//Dreems, Food Court, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, Zeahorse, Bloods…the list goes on…and on….and on. Batpiss, Clowns, Amateur Drunks, Reckless Vagina! Unity Floors, Day Ravies, The Stevens, SMILE! These are just a couple of my favourites, but you get the idea. There was a fuckload of bands that popped their cherry and the collective music community lost their shit. Blood was everywhere.

2. Miley Cyrus and the Death of the Child Star

Look, I actually don’t hate Miley Cyrus. I think her music sucks, her taste is awful, she acts and sounds like a spoiled brat and is a living cumstain, but she’s actually the perfect pop star that this generation needs. She’s like The Dark Knight of shitty, over-produced music. And good for her for completely shaking off the goodie Hannah Montana image.

But therein lies my point. The Jonas Brothers broke up this year, the Biebs has conveniently spray-painted, prostituted and retired (?) his way into a ‘bad boy’ image, and we all saw Miley nearly fuck Robin Thicke onstage at the VMA’s. Right now, there isn’t really a glistening child-star to sell t-shirts. Even Lorde, the youngest pop star of the moment is more grown up than the majority of twenty year old hipsters that infect her concerts just to say they saw ‘Royals’. She hung out with fucking David Bowie and Tilda Swinton for her birthday party!

Regardless, 2013 saw the Death of the Child Star, a feat that should both cause us to all be thankful, and astonished.

1. Local Garage Rock Hit a Fucking Peak

Garage rock, my favourite genre, has well and truly hit its peak at the moment, and shows no signs of declining. Seriously, attend any bar in any capital city in Australia, and there’s a 1-in-3 chance that there’s a garage rock band giving it 100% and blowing minds.

Not only is the live scene of garage rock well and truly at a high point, but the albums these bands are making are astoundingly good. Palms and The Gooch Palms released underdog debuts that blew everything out of the fucking water like a land mine in a kiddy pool. TV Colours took the usual formula and added dashing synths and samples to create a tale of fucked-up-ness that’ll have you massacring penguins just to get your hands on some more. And Bad//Dreems single handedly resurrected the sound that was left behind where GOD put it.

Outside of debuts, garage bands that have already established themselves continued to push shit further into the realm of amazeballs. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Witch Hats, Ooga Boogas and fuckloads of others continued to do what they do best-ensure that we, the shitstains of musical society, are enjoying their output more than humanly possible.

As if that isn’t enough, there’s new garage bands springing up all over the place, and the sound still hasn’t been tired out. Bands like Doctopus, The Living Eyes, Tiny Migrants and Adults are just a very small handful of the concoction of rock n roll music that is permeating our ears on a local level. If you haven’t done so, check out all of these bands and more.

We are living in a renaissance of the greatest form of amatuer music in all its forms, and the least you can do is contribute in some small way. 2013 was one of the best years for Australian music, garage and rock n roll specifically, because finally, all the years of hard work that these bands have done has started to pay off exponentially in fantastic records and performances. Get along to a show, buy a record, and ensure that 2014 means that local music is better than the last shitstain of a year.

Top 10 International Albums of 2013

 

Yes, it has come that time of year where every website dedicated to some form of culture has a round up of all the good shit of the year. Well, because I’m susceptible to trends, I’ve decided to weigh in as well. With the power of hindsight, I’m going to give my Top 10 records of the year, from overseas. Now, believe me, that’s a hard fucking job, more of a curse. There’s been some great records, some average records (Black Angels, Mudhoney, The Strokes) and some very disappointing records (Arctic Monkeys, Sebadoh, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). And now comes the time to rank them.

Special mentions to the records that were awesome but not super, amazing awesome: Ty Segall, FUZZ, Diarrhea Planet, Death Grips, Cage the Elephant, MGMT, My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter, Mikal Cronin, Majical Cloudz.

ALSO: Parquet Courts would have most definitely been included in here, but although it was released locally this year, it was officially released last year.

SUPER SPECIAL ULTRA BONUS METAL INCLUSION: Kvelertak-Meir: 

Kvelertak wouldn’t really fit in anywhere else on the list, but their sophomore record ‘Meir’ needed to be included. Just super thrashy, fucking mental to the bone, and more hair-raising than an orgy with horror movie characters, ‘Meir’ is one hell of a record. Kvelertak certainly do justice to their Norwegian metal roots and blast our minds out of our skull on this record.

10. Thee Oh Sees-Floating Coffin

Sure, Thee Oh Sees didn’t do anything super different on their latest album. There wasn’t the psychedelic smorgasbord of ‘Warm Slime’ or the freaky ecstasy of ‘Help’. But ‘Floating Coffin’ certainly ticked all the boxes for a diverse and entertaining listen. Really, John Dwyer can’t do anything wrong when it comes to music, and ‘Floating Coffin’ is evidence of that.

9. Deerhunter-Monomania

Deerhunter make nocturnal-pop music, light enough to chat along to, but dark enough to put you in an existential mood if you listen hard enough. Shrouded in voodoo and jangly guitars, ‘Monomania’ is absolutely fucking awesome to listen to, and will probably never cease to be. Who knows what was happening to Bradford Cox when he was making this album, but his pain has become our pleasure. How very schadenfreude.

8. Savages-Silence Yourself

Not since The Slits has there been such a ferocious, dedicated and focused female-led band. Yes, I’m well aware of Sleater-Kinney and L7, and I do love both those bands. But Savages brought a rawness to their post-punk that is rarely seen in any music nowadays, let alone feminist affliction. The vicious and tantalising nature of every song on their debut record is refreshing and brutal, and I am fucking stoked to be able to see them next year at Laneway.

7. Wavves- Afraid of Heights

I was so excited for this album to come out, I actually counted down the days until it was out so that I could feverishly jam pack all the songs into my brain. I was so worried that the album wouldn’t be good, I actually lost sleep over it. Luckily, Wavves didn’t chuck a Rise Against, and made a fucking belter of an album right on the cusp of mainstream appeal. A complete distancing from their noise-rock roots and stoner fuzz, Wavves presented themselves with a new-grunge outlook. Angst-ridden and self-deprecating to the core, as well as being loaded to the brim with catchy as fuck tunes, ‘Afraid of Heights’ is definitely a worthy successor of 2010’s ‘King of the Beach’.

6. Washed Out-Paracosm

For 2013, Washed Out were my pick of the bunch of electro wonders (?) of the year. CHVRCHES? Shit. Disclosure? Pretty shit. Youth Lagoon? His new album is so terrible mediocre. And the rest aren’t really worth mentioning. But Washed Out added a whole new layer to chillwave, adding naturalistic textures to his already spread-eagled tunes. ‘Paracosm’ simply let itself flow, flow and flow some more, barely even trying to give the most relaxing sensations this side of ancient Nicaraguan healing medicine.

5. Bass Drum of Death-Bass Drum of Death

I never understood why bands self-title shit after their first EP or album, but as long as its Bass Drum of Death as opposed to Birds of Tokyo, I couldn’t really give a shit. This album encapsulates awesome rock n roll. Its a scuzz overload, way-over-the-top and totally brain dead. It sounds as though John Barrett went into the studio and created the most deranged but beautiful collection of tracks he could. That being said, the album is chock full of catchy tracks that will have you gleefully headbanging into the sunset, like some sort of leather-jacket snotty cowboy.

4. Kurt Vile-Walking on a Pretty Daze

If you’ve ever listened to Kurt Vile before, you’ll know that he exceeds the description of chilled. The guy is like the most relaxed person on the entire planet, a combination of Ghandi with Mathew McConaughey’s character from Dazed and Confused. On his latest record, which is more like a magnum opus, Vile stretches the limits of his imagination, nailing his forlorn sound and breaking hearts one bar at a time. Fuck, this is such a good record, and Vile doesn’t even have to try.

3. Future of the Left-How to Stop Your Brain in An Accident

Future of the Left and Falco are probably the last real ‘punk’ entities left on the globe. There is no other act with the political rigour and viciousness of this band. In every song on ‘How to Stop Your Brain in An Accident’, Future of the Left are committed to waging war against all factions of contemporary society, whether it be bullshit pop culture, religion, false idols or sexuality. This record will tear your fucking head off, shit in the bloody cavity that remains, and still call you a bitch for not moshing to its glorious tunes.

2. Fuck Buttons-Slow Focus

The double-LP extravaganza of Fuck Buttons’ third record is enough to floor the casual listener. If you walk into its abrasive trappings unprepared on a physical, mental, or existential level, this album will decapitate you and leave you for dead. However, for those that can handle the challenging nature of the tracks, oh, how you will reap its prosperous rewards. Every song swings into a new galaxy of sci-fi, tribal beatings, engaging every sense and making you a better person from it. ‘Slow Focus’ is just one fucking brain-basher of an album, in all the right ways.

1. FIDLAR-FIDLAR

My love affair with FIDLAR is an unhealthy one to say the least. Every time someone asks for an album recommendation, I claw their face, grapple their shoulders and scream, ‘FIDLAR! GET THE FIDLAR RECORD!’ until I can scream no more. Needless to say, I don’t have heaps of friends left. But that’s OK (?) because I have the FIDLAR record. Its a loose and reckless thing, the record that lurks at the back of the skate park, covered in tattoos, drinking something awful, and smoking a cigarette that doesn’t smell like a cigarette at all. The songs are full-paced, thrashing pieces of raw garage rock, inspired from everyone from Black Flag, to The Stooges, to Nirvana. This is a perfect album in every way, and will never die in the hearts of those that enjoy the best garage rock this globe has to offer.

Top 10 Acts That Can Fuck Off

Right now, the music scene is bursting to its brim with talent. Seriously, there is so much good shit right now, I have a hard time knowing where to start when someone asks ‘So, what’s your favourite band right now’. Do I go with FIDLAR, or TV Colours? Yes, I’m Leaving or Swim Deep? Ooga Boogas or The Stevens? And that’s just some of my favourite ‘bands’, in the traditional sense of the word. When you broaden out the spectrum to the very vague definition of ‘acts’, my mind jumps from DJ’s like Hayden James and Touch Sensitive, and instrumental swirlers like Gay Witch Abortion and Mogwai. Usually, I spontaneously combust, and end up foaming at the mouth in a foetal position for a couple of hours. However, there are some things out there that aren’t so good. But a lot of people have a hard time figuring that out. There are just some ‘acts’ out there that the world can do without. To put it in plainer terms, these are the Top 10 acts than can simply fuck off.

10. Mumford & Sons: I’ll admit it-when ‘Little Lion Man’ came out a few years ago, I was frothing at the mouth like every other pre-pubescent faux hipster. I was amongst the legions swarming for a vest and a vintage pipe. Then I grew the fuck up, and saw that Mumford & Sons were simply a fad. Every seems to have realised this except for the fucking band. Still rocking those shitty vests and dumb as fuck banjo, the band strut their scuffed boots across all the major festival stages of the world, including our own Splendour in the Grass. What the actual fuck? You do realise that it’s because of Marcus Mumfords ‘dashing’ (errrr…) looks, and that his James Blunt voice sounds exactly the same as any stupid as fuck acoustic ballad of the last century? You do realise that, don’t you?

9. Empire of the Sun: I used to think Luke Steele was kind of a genius. Then I discovered Steve Albini (don’t worry, this is the last entry that will start with ‘I used to like this, but then duh duh duh’…I realise it’s pretty cliche). Now, I can see that Luke Steele is just a flamboyant dude with a penchant for costumes and semi-catchy tunes. But after the 100th time of listening to Nick Littlemore and Luke Steele adopt a falsetto and prance around, I can say that ‘Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’ did the whole aren’t-men-fabulous schtick a long time ago, and they did it way better. In fact, Priscilla is ten times better than whatever rehashed turd those dudes chucked out earlier this year.

8. MC Riff Raff: Riff Raff sucks. I’m pretty sure people realise that. I’m pretty sure Riff Raff realises that too. He’s like the 21st Century ‘rap’ iteration of GG Allin. Except if we want to hear verbal defecation, we can just go onto any seedy website and watch it from the safety of our home. Riff Raff is a desperately clinging onto relevance, and becoming the equivalent of that annoying kid at the party that cries for attention by doing increasingly stupid shit, like fighting a bear naked, or driving a car blindfolded. It’s kinda funny for the first few seconds, then gets really sad, and the dude’s going to end up in a lot of pain very soon.

7. Arcade Fire: Ahhh! OMG! New Arcade Fire album coming out soon! It’s called ‘Reflektor’! It doesn’t use the correct spelling’ How fukn edgy, like any rapper that shortens Little to Lil’. Arcade Fire have always been pretentious snobs that appeal to pretentious snobs through pretentious snobby music. It sounds shit, and Pitchfork convinced everyone it was OK. Well, it sucks, the new album will almost definitely suck (sorry James Murphy), and the sooner this band disappears the better.

6. Robin Thicke: I only heard of this guy the other day, but apparently this dude has released 6 fucking albums. To put that into perspective, he’s released double the amount of albums than Step-Panther have members. Holy shit! So, is there any good material on there. No. That’s the short answer. The long answer is a 2000 word essay on the disgraceful nature of his ‘music’. To put my beef in summarised terms, Robin Thicke is a shitty misogynistic prick who makes shitty music for shitty people.

5. Imagine Dragons: Besides having a less inspiring band name than We Are A Rock Band That Plays Music, Imagine Dragons don’t just pander to the mainstream; they suckle the teet of the mainstream and then throw up over it. Imagine Dragons is what happens when you combine glam rock with douche bags. For people that liked Lostprophets, The Script or One Republic, you’ll fucking love Imagine Dragons. For everyone else who’s sick and tired of corporate rock and doesn’t give two fucks about ‘Radioactive’, congratulations you passed a basic bill of health.

4. Miley Cyrus: I didn’t mind Miley Cyrus when she was the twee Disney princess. Actually that’s a bit of a lie, I fucking hated her music with a passion, but she was basically a Disney chick, and those things can be ignored. Just don’t watch the Disney channel, you’re fucking sorted. But now, she’s a ‘popular artist’. Both those words in comparison to Miley defy logic. Everything she has done recently is both inescapable and fucking stupid. Her try hard hit of the summer ‘We Can’t Stop’ has actually made me less intelligent as a person. And as for her popularisation of twerking….fuck off. Just fuck off.

3.  Major Lazer: Major Lazer is a concoction of ego and trap music  from the twisted mind of well-known dickhead Diplo. His music is not catchy…it literally sounds like someone just taking a shit. This shit is made up of random yelling, hideous ‘rapping’, sirens and alarms, all conveniantly wrapped up in the label of shit music. If you want to go watch macho shirtless jocks try to make out with obviously underage girls and have your ears bleed, Major Lazer is playing at the Big Day Out. If you’re normal, go see Pearl Jam or some shit.

2. Daft Punk: In case you didn’t know, I don’t like the new Daft Punk very much. I think it sucks. I wrote an essay on its shitness. But let opinions be opinions right? Not this time. Daft Punk are fucking everywhere, getting mentioned in every facet of conversation. You can’t turn on a radio without hearing ‘Get Lucky’, or mention the names Pharrell Williams, Nile Rogers, Julian Casablancas or Panda Bear without some twat screaming ‘YOU MEAN THAT GUY ON THE DAFT PUNK SONG?’. No, you fucking dickhead. Not at all. Besides creating some of the most bland and mediocre music of the year, Daft Punk have tricked people into thinking their music is top shit. It isn’t. Oh, and for the record, two guys not wearing helmets isn’t news, it’s called getting a breath of fresh air. The band should try it sometime in their music.

1. Limp Bizkit: Yes, the majority of these acts on the list can, in my opinion, fuck off. But they’re all, to varying degrees, quite popular. Daft Punk released one of the biggest albums of the year, and got heaps of unnecssary press, but they’re still huge. Imagine Dragons sold out their Sydney show in a matter of minutes. And Mumford and Sons are definitely headliner material, regardless of the fact they’re ‘nice-guys-with-grandad’s-clothes’ schtick is totally stupid. But Limp Bizkit is an act that refuses to die, and drags it’s bloated Fred Durst-infected carcass around like an animal nobody has the decency to shoot dead. But don’t feel sorry for them or anything. Limp Bizkit is one of the worst things to happen to music ever, along with Kurt Cobain’s death and the breakup of Sonic Youth. They’re a hydra: cut off one head, it comes back with two heads to replace it. After ‘Gold Cobra’, you wouldn’t think the shitness could get worse. You would be wrong, as they’ve just come out with a comeback song and video entitled ‘Ready to Go’. It features Lil’ Wayne, because when you’re on hellbent on creating a musical genocide, what’s the difference of one more asshole? This is something that doesn’t just need to fuck off, it needs to be hunted down and publicly executed.