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.

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Get Better Summer Playlist

One of my very, very good friends Summer is really sick at the moment. And that sucks. How the fuck am I supposed to enjoy myself at school with the absence of someone named after a season? She’s a great fucking person, and it sucks that she’s in this dilemma. Sure, she has her faults such as a non-ironic love for MTV reality shows, and only the recent realisation that Judaism and Islam are different religions (Yes, really) but she’s a fantastic person. I’ve got infinite amounts of respect for this woman because she was able to outlast almost everyone else in the Death Grips mosh at Big Day Out. This is a playlist for her to make her feel better, but can be applied to anyone in a similar situation of sickness. 

This playlist is made up of mostly happy tunes to get your happy vibes up, and thus ensuring the fight of red blood cells perseveres. That’s actually a load of bullshit, but there’s some jumpy punk (Wavves, Ramones), some slacker pop (Twerps, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding) and some nu-disco (Joy Boys, Wave Racer). And there’s no way you can battle illness without a bit of indie rock, so UMO, Spoon, Cut Copy and Majical Cloudz have got you covered there. Enjoy…

1. Death Grips-Get Got

2. Wavves-King of the Beach

3. The Ramones-Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

4. Peking Duk-The Way You Are

5. Scott & Charlene’s Wedding-Lesbian Wife

6. The M Machine-A King Alone

7. Majical Cloudz-Turns Turns Turns

8. Unknown Mortal Orchestra-How Can U Luv Me

9. Black Lips-New Direction

10. Violent Femmes-Blister in the Sun

11. Spoon-You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

12. Cosmo’s Midnight-The Dofflin

13. Wave Racer-Rock U Tonite

14. The Joy Boys-Pass It On

15. Spiderbait-Calypso

16. Boomgates-Whispering or Singing

17. Dan Deacon-Pink Batman

18. Cut Copy-Lights & Music

19. Twerps-He’s In Stock

20. The Soft Pack-C’Mon

Gig Review: Wavves & Unknown Mortal Orchestra

ImageThursday, 25th April @ The Standard

This review is dedicated to Luke and my mum

In case you’re strapped for time, I’ll make this super quick: Wavves and Unknown Mortal Orchestra was one of the greatest gigs I’ve ever been to. Ever.

However, if you’ve got the time to spare a quick geez, I won’t waste your time with some bullshit introduction, and get stuck right in. I entered The Standard to the voluptuous sounds of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The New Zealand band is the brainchild of former Mint Chick Ruban Nielson. However, unlike his former, but equally amazing band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra play expansive yet tight psychedelic wizard-pop, drawing sounds to a gelatin-like state and then steamrolling them into the ground. On record, this is pure orgasm to the ears, but in a live performance, it’s quite a different beast all together. The songs take on an unknown energy of immortal strength, orchestral grandeur radiating with lo-fi spunk. Did you see what I did there? I described Unknown Mortal Orchestra only using the adjectives provided in the name. I’m a goddamn genius. Somebody stop me!

Although I arrived slightly late to the UMO set, it was impossible to not get immediately swept up in the fervour and intense gaze of the music. A solid drum solo (yes, such a thing exists) was erupting from the stage, whilst Nielson and bassist Jake Portrait duelled with feedback. After what seemed like a perfect amount of time to ‘duel feedback’, the band popped itself back up and exploded into their usual pop sensibilites. However, it’s amazing how UMO tracks, even the slower, melody-centric ones become absolute beasts in the live format. The double slammer of ‘Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)’ and ‘So Good at Being In Trouble’ (watch the video, it’s got McLovin in it!) was a truly awe-inspiring performance, and should strike fear into any budding pysch protege, in the knowledge they will never be able to caress the lofty heights of UMO. 

Another amazing factor of UMO is Nielson’s guitar virtuosity. Owing as much to Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman as Wayne Coyne and Roky Erickson, Nielson’s fingers were a blur on the fretboard, forming a powerful force generator of sound that would make the dudes from Dragon Ball Z jealous. Notes were picked up and dropped in a blur, rapidly shifting from all directions and creating a sonic wall of solo, so fast it made Speedy Gonzalez’ premature ejaculation look weak in comparison. UMO put on a fucking brilliant performance. if you were standing still during ‘Ffunny Ffriends’, you were alone in doing so. The John Lennon look-alike next to me was hopping up and down so much, he was like Bugs Bunny on meth. Yes. Unknown Mortal Orchestra have such a drawing power they brought John Lennon back to life, just so he could watch them live and lose his shit.

After a mingling break, the main act of Wavves took to the stage, to which the crowd promptly lost their shit. ‘Idiot’, with it’s rollicking, riot inducing chant of ‘Shit! But it wouldn’t mean shit! But it wouldn’t mean shit!’ was instantaneous in its effect of putting the audience in the palm of Nathan Williams and Stephen Pope. Showing that they don’t have the time nor patience to fuck around with stage banter, Wavves then stormed the metaphorical castle with the onslaught of ‘Super Soaker’, ‘Bug’ and ‘King of the Beach’. In the space of four songs spaced over roughly 10 minutes, Wavves could have asked the crowd to recreate a scene from the tales of Roadrunner in full costume, and we would have done it. 

Song after song, hit after hit, the fun-loving, pot-smoking blitzkrieg that is Wavves continued in a whirlwind. Although the set stuck almost exclusively to the final two albums, 2010’s ‘King of the Beach’, and this year’s Nirvana-esque ‘Afraid of Heights’, no one was in a mood or ideal to complain, lapping up every song with consistent and honestly mind-blowing enthusiasm. I mean, how could you, when jams like ‘Sail to the Sun’, ‘Demon to Lean On’, ‘Afraid of Heights’ and ‘Paranoid’ incited the kind of crowd-fervour Stalin dreamed of? Wavves were so good, it made chocolate-coated hookers pale in comparison. That’s hookers that are covered in chocolate. Think about how good that is, just for a second. Yeah, Wavves were better than that. 

However, the tail end of Wavves hour long ode to being amazing was where shit just went to another level. A cover of Sonic Youth’s ‘100%’ delivered in its original biting sarcasm and viciousness? Yes fucking please. The ‘slow song’ ‘Green Eyes’ sending the crowd into feverish singalong mode? Dear God, yes please. Closing the set with distortion a plenty, Nathan Williams jumping from the speakers into a thronging mosh, and Stephen Pope’s shaggy headbanging going into overdrive? (seriously, that was a sight to behold) All my prayers had been answered, and then some.

What I’m trying to say, in the plainest terms possible, is that both Wavves and Unknown Mortal Orchestra kick immeasurable amounts of ass. If Bruce Lee’s badassery could be turned into a musical performance, it would be that double headliner. The amount of spit, sweat, blood and (probably) jizz that abounded in that small, beer soaked, pot-infused room was at dangerous levels. All due to two better than balls bands. It’s still sinking in how great they are. 

Video: Wavves-That’s On Me

Arguably one of the best songs on Wavves’ newest album ‘Afraid of Heights’ now has a video. And it’s so fucking weird/the best thing you’ve ever seen. There’s a fat dude slicing soft drink with a samurai sword, cheerleaders tearing hunks of meat apart, and a goth getting his guitar smashed. Put this all behind a great fucking song, and yeah, shit goes pretty hard.

Best Songs of 2013 So Far

It’s exactly halfway through the year, and within it, we’ve seen some shockingly awesome releases being thrust into our ears like dirty patricians of sound. These molestular devices have slobbered their way onto us in the form of new music from The Strokes, Bad Religion, The xx, Foals, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Bowie, Wire, The Flaming Lips, The Black Angels….the list goes on. We’ve also had a fuckload of local releases from Dune Rats to Yes, I’m Leaving and Willow Beats all holding a torch with awesome new albums and EP’s grating our ears to tinnitus accepters. So, since I can’t be fucked to do albums, these are the best songs from the albums. These are the best songs, in my opinion, of 2013, so far. No surprises, it’s mostly garage-centric.

1. Parquet Courts- Stoned and Starving

2. Grave Babies-Over and Underground

3. Thee Oh Sees-Toe Cutter-Thumb Buster

4. Majical Cloudz-Bugs Don’t Buzz

5. My Bloody Valentine-She Found Now

6. Kurt Vile-Never Run Away

7. Radical Dads-Rapid Reality

8. The Bronx-Ribcage

9. The Men-I Saw Her Face

10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra-So Good At Being In Trouble

11. Atoms for Peace- Before Your Very Eyes…

12. The Drones-How to See Through Fog

13. Palma Violets-Best of Friends

14. Wavves-Afraid of Heights

15. POND-Giant Tortoise

16. Dune Rats-Red Light Green Light

17. Step-Panther-Maybe Later

18. FIDLAR-Cheap Beer

19. Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys-Bite My Tongue

20. Flume-Sleepless 

Clancy: Keepin’ it Real Playlist

It’s my mate’s birthday today, and he has, hands down, one of the most eclectic and beautiful music tastes in the world. Often, I will sit next to him in one of our bullshit classes together, cross my legs in wonder, and stare at him as he triumphantly teaches me the ways of the latest in good music, like Sophacles would teach his pupils Philosophy in Ancient Greece. He is a lover of all things, from Kurt Vile to Lapalux and everything in between. I could not, in good faith, forget his birthday and not make him this. Happy Birthday to the doppelganger of Slender Man. Sorry for the lack of r@p mu-sick.

1. Kurt Vile-Wakin’ on a Pretty Day

2. The Soft Pack-C’mon

3. Heathers-Teenage Clothes

4. Ooga Boogas-Circle of Trust

5. Shlohmo-Just Us

6. Holy Other-Yr Love

7. Fuck Buttons-Colours Move

8. Death Grips-Culture Shock

9. Marijuana Deathsquads-Same Pizza

10. Nite Jewel-Suburbia

11. Megastick Fanfare-June Strangelets (Seekae Remix)

12. Nicolas Jaar- Why Didn’t You Save Me

13. Nosaj Thing-Snap

14. Cloud Control- There’s Nothing in the Water We Can’t Fight (bretonLABS remix)

15. The Soft Moon- We Are We

16. Sex Beet-I’m In Love With You (So Shut the Fuck Up)

17. Wavves- Post Acid

18. Cloud Nothings-Hey Cool Kid

19. Maus Haus-No More Girls

20. The Fresh & Onlys-Waterfall

Splendour in the Grass Playlist

The 2013 lineup for Splenda has been announced. And by fuck is it great! Sure ATP might have Television playing ‘Marquee Moon’ in full, and Big Day Out might (probably) have Phoenix headlining, (not to forget about Supafest racking T.I and fitty cent, can’t wait for that glorious shitfest), but Spendour have pulled some enormous strings for a thrilling 3 day course of musical goodness. Headlining is Mumford and Sons, TV on the Radio, The National and Frank Ocean. However, my main delight lies in the smaller acts near the bottom of the bill rather than the top names. It’s an all round orgasmic feat, and these are my personal picks from the best toted lineup of the year. Sorry, for the lack of links, somethings fucking up randomly. Also, this isn’t even close to being the full lineup, it’s basically just half or a third. LOL

1. TV on the Radio- Staring at the Sun

2. The Presets-My People

3. Wavves- Afraid of Heights

4. FIDLAR- Cheap Beer

5. Flume- Sleepless feat. Jezzabell Doran

6. James Blake- Retrogade

7. Haim-Falling

8. Deap Valley-Gonna Make My Own Money

9. Dune Rats- Red Light, Green Light

10. The Drones- Baby Squared

11. Portugal. The Man- The Sun

12. Everything Everything- Cough Cough

13. Chet Faker- No Diggity

14. Unknown Mortal Orchestra- Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)

15. Palma Violets-Best of Friends

16. Violent Soho- Neighbour Neighbour

17. Songs- Boy/Girl

18. Surfer Blood- Swim

19. Jake Bugg- Two Fingers

20. MS MR-Hurricane

Video-Bass Drum of Death-Shattered Me

In traditional Bass Drum of Death style, we are presented with a pulsating, shattering, mind blowing track of garage goodness. It’s relaxed but still has enough oomph to melt the brain, and oozing pus will be leaking out of your ears by the time it’s short but fatal time is up. It’s bloody good stuff from the duo who sound like Wavves in a chain gang. The video is a nice little story of ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ and involves making it rain!!!! (albeit with 1 dollar notes). GOD BLESS SIN CITY!

April Playlist

Summer is well and truly over, and shit is kicking in. Year 12 is looking to be an even bigger bitch of a year than every other one combined, especially with the results of my half-yearlys. Also, the weather is not dissimilar to that in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ in that it sucks balls. Jesus Christ Sydney, get your shit together! Anyway, in lieu of the major bummer that is April, this playlist is loaded with a bit more of a gothy, post-punk side. #doilooklikeigiveafuckthroughmyguyliner #TheCure4Lyf. But there’s also shitloads of the usual shitty garage and lo-fi, and a little bit of pop thrown in for good measure. Happy Birthday to Davos and Dasha!

1. Grave Babies-Over and Underground

2. The Ponys-Check the Door

3. The Strokes- All the Time

4. Wavves-That’s On Me

5. The Boys Next Door-Shivers

6. Beat Happening-You Turn Me On

7. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- Hate the Taste

8. Crocodiles- I Wanna Kill

9. Xray Eyeballs-X

10. No Joy-Hare Tarot Lies (<—–Download available)

11. The Men-I Saw Her Face

12. Major Leagues-Teen Mum

13. GRRL Pal-Amazon (<———-THIS IS THE POP MUSIC, IT’S REALLY GOOD)

14. Prissy Clerks-Bruise or Be Bruised

15. Pony Face- Silver Tongue (<—– download available)

16. Bad//Dreems-Caroline

17. Gold Fields-Meet My Friends

18. Tobacco-Fresh Hex feat. Beck 

19. Kurt Vile-Never Run Away

20. Super Minotaur-Locals Only