Album Review: Total Control-Typical System

Nup, you’ve got to be joking. There’s no way Total Control just released another album. Surely blood should be raining from the sky, swarms of locusts should be covering all available crops, and children should be crying. There’s no other way that a band so holy could announce their second masterpiece without a spectacle at least on par with that. Anyway, whilst we wait for Beelzebub to raise from his slumber, you may as well just read this review.

The reason why I use such excited hyperbole when describing ‘Typical System’ is because this album actually succeeds the genius put forth from Total Control’s debut album. They’ve moved in a million new directions, covering so much ground that it makes you want to throw up in jealousy and happiness. There is still the synth-wadded post-punk and insane fury there, but this time it feels like Total Control are adding more, fucking with the formula, and coming up with a potent potion that puts those mud concoctions you made as a kid to shame.

The main thing when venturing into ‘Typical System’ is that not one song acts as a signifier for the whole album, but rather all the songs together form a jigsaw puzzle that you can only solve after listening to the entire thing. Remember the satisfaction of completing a jigsaw puzzle? Well, gorging yourself on ‘Typical System’ multiplies that weird pleasure by a million.

 

However, there is a key to this jigsaw puzzle, and that key lies in the first two singles from the album, ‘Expensive Dog’ and ‘Flesh War’, two songs that couldn’t be more different in sound if they tried. The former is just crushing, epic guitar, like Hans Zimmer on crack, and ‘Flesh War; is a post-punk epiphany. Although I stand by the statement that no two songs on ‘Typical System’ are alike, they do fall into a category of heart-pounding, cynical ball-tearers, or the synth-wrapped post-punkers that are schizophrenically soothing.

For example, the opener ‘Glass’ is a shot, shining and altogether slinking electronic thing that sounds like Gang Of Four is being squeezed through a wormhole, whilst ‘Systematic Fuck’ is a screaming carnivore. As the chorus of ‘You’re the one to blame’ rings out loudly and abusively, it becomes fairly obvious that Total Control aren’t afraid of making enemies. Rather, they take pleasure in tearing down the walls of timidness and banality.

‘Typical System’ is so much more than an album by one of our nation’s greatest treasures-it’s a record that thrives upon the things that most people sweep under the carpet. Modern fears, modern truths and modern lies are all shouted out by Total Control, with the kind of unwavering energy that GG Allin had. Only instead of throwing their shit at the audience, Total Control use thumping music with more crunch than the Captain, and imprint their tunes with a seal of viciousness and whiplash that belies most of The Birthday Party’s work. That jigsaw mentioned before? Fuck that, Total Control have smashed it to pieces, and created their own goddamn puzzle. Dark, foreboding, and looming, not above you, but with you, Total Control act as the heroes of modern day Australia with ‘Typical System’, and you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Advertisements

Playlist: Hand Games #20

Another month, another Hand Games mix, which is again totally free. That’s right, this mixtape of amazing music costs less money than my dignity.

There’s an absolute killer mix of tunes on here this month. Most notably, there’s the new one from Total Control, ‘Flesh War’. This song is the equivalent of a post-punk orgasm. It’s too good to be true, and it exists in a $0 format. There’s also the gobsmacking, riot-inducing ‘Plastic’ from Drunk Mums, and some lovely indie rock pastures courtesy of King Single, a side project of Bare Grillz/Lenin Lennon dude Robert Nedeljkovic. And I can’t forget the haunting murder-esque ‘Drone Transitions’ from Ela Stiles, that song is pure shivers up your spine.

But things would be boring if it was just guitars all the time, no matter how excellent those guitars were. That’s were the electronic and pop spectrum of Hand Games comes in. There’s killer tracks on here by Yon Yonson and Sex On Toast, the latter holding a pure sex vibe that would rival even the great Donny Benet. There’s also a beautifully tumbling shuffler courtesy of Yujen, entitled ‘Try It Over (feat. Chet Faker)’, and Sui Zhen has an adorable song called ‘Pipe Dreams’ that takes its cues from Grimes and Rainbow Chan, which is code for ‘this song is a guaranteed amazing one’.

Finally, the new Midnight Juggernauts side-project Turkish Prison features with the track ‘Ancient City Rebuilt’, Klo gets the slow jam hearts pounding, and Milwaukee Banks has a heavy flow and dark synth thing going on that’ll get fans of FISHING overtly excited. Overall, pretty fucking amazing mixtape.

 

New: Total Control-Flesh War

Total Control are basically an underground institution, and it’s not hard to see why. Their debut LP ‘Henge Beat’ tossed, turned and regurgitated a filthy mix of post-punk goodness.

There’s a new one from them that just came out, and if that’s not reason enough to get excited, then you’re fucked, mate. But listening to it, that excitement gets taken to a whole new level. Think of the excitement levels starting at a ‘Oh wow, I got a free pass to Coachella festival ‘ and moving into ‘My real dad is Thurston Moore!’

‘Flesh War’ begins with a grotesque bass line, which is pretty standard protocol for Total Control. But then it moves into a smooth 80’s vibe, that’s less pure noise ejaculation, and more of a ‘Just Like Honey’ or Triffids/Go-Betweens thing minus the sappiness. Total Control crush the grooving 80’s vibe with the nuanced synth and rolling wave vocals. Knowing there’s amazing songs like this out there makes me want to throw up, cry, emit more bodily fluids and plan a band kidnapping all at the same time.

Hand Games November Mixtape (free download)

 

Ohhh, yeahhhh! Do you feel that? A warm burn between your thighs? A dizzying spell penetrating your mind? An engulfing of your body in giddying excitement? That’s the bubbly need to party! But what the fuck are you going to soundtrack your days on the dance floor with? Well, luckily for you, there’s a new Hand Games mix, and it’s better than watching whatever shenanigans Kim and Kanye are up to now.

The new playlist is fucking killer, chock-full of tracks that will make your eyeballs pop out of your skull. Firstly, one of the best tracks of one of the best Australian releases of the year, TV Colours’ ‘Bad Dreams’. Try not to dance/headbang to this one. You’ll go Clockwork Orange, post-lobotmy levels insane. After that, there’s ‘Paranoid Video’ from Total Control. Yep, you read that write…the Total Control. Y’know, one of the best Aussie bands to surface in recent history. Disturbing and mind-fucking, it’s impossible not to enjoy this one.

Now after the assault of the brain, one needs to slow down and make way for the next couple tracks. Some shuffling electronica from the likes of Alba, seductive minimalism from Circular Keys and R&B sex soundtracking from Tincture/Hazel Brown are all eye-opening. Then, you need to prepare yourself for the greatness of Oscar Key Sung, and the track ‘All I Could Do’, as well as Nakagin’s ‘Bloom’, a sultry, natural beauty.

Halfway through the playlist, and no signs of slowing down, as Primitive Motion announce they’re post-punk ways with ‘Home of the Lone Coast’, a really fucking tortured track that has a subdued Sisters of Mercy/Rowland S Howard vibe. Slightly more upbeat, but no less twisted is You Beauty’s new track ‘Menal Mondays’, a song that twists with a heart-attack drum beat, gnarled guitar splashes and foreshadowing bass.

After those gloomy pearls, we head into the slacker rock territory, with two bands that regularly get mentioned here: Bitch Prefect and Food Court. BP’s ‘Shipped It’ actually has a bit of a Dischord vibe, like Fugazi got re-worked in Adelaide. Meanwhile, ‘By Your Side’, which I’ve posted about quite a bit before, rocks like a hurricane, fuzzy feel-good punk that is the cure for any melancholic work day.

Finally, we end this gem of a playlist with two tracks that take their queues from the recent downtempo electronica scenes that have been popping up all over the globe. Slum Sociable pout with a snaky, hissing track called ‘Watch Me Turn Colourful’, whilst Phondupe gets slinky and irresistible with the dripping-with-lust ‘Proxy’.

That’s all from this session of Hand Games Mixtapes. I’ve been your host, Ryan the Wanker. Enjoy this awesome Australian music with a complimentary side of Free Download. That’s right! This playlist can be all yours for nothing! FUCK YEAH!