Album Review: Future of the Left-How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident

ImageFuture of the Left are the kind of band that both crush your mind like a trash compactor, and make you a smarter person for it. Listening to Falco’s lyrics is like reading poetry from an anarchist Shakespeare, or Jim Goad. It’s offensive, obtuse and in case you didn’t get it the first time,really fucking offensive. But at the same time, one feels like they are compelled to agree with Falco, maybe through sheer charisma, maybe through the black comedy, maybe because he’s actually right about all the stuff that he talks about. And he does talk about a lot. In ‘How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident’ alone, Future of the Left take aim at religion, capitalism, record company greed, contemporary culture, superficiality, big business, sexuality, the traditional male stereotype….the list goes on. For some, it might seem like an exhausting task to write down even a few of the things that piss you off, but for Future of the Left, it’s just business as usual. And in case there wasn’t enough irony already, Future of the Left are really fucking good at business.

‘How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident’ is easily Future of the Left’s best record, and that is quite an accomplishment. For a band renowned for creating some of the most ear-shredding material available to man, to go from blistering track to blistering track, and still retain a genuinely diverse sound, Future of the Left surely have outdone themselves. Songs on the record exchange moments like Justin Timberlake exchanges blowjobs for singles, switching from the bitter, to the cynical, to the forlorn and enraged. Moving between tracks feels like falling down a giant funnel, going from a wide open idea previously, and suddenly being shoved through a tight, compressed space that you have to get used to all over again. It’s a disconcerting experience, but it’s unique and unconventional, something Future of the Left have always been, but never to this degree of power.

The first four songs of this album are better than any pop-punk band with a number tacked onto the end of their name could wet-dream of. Individually, these songs are bombastic, but together, they form a bond more powerful than the kids in Captain Planet. ‘Bread, Cheese, Bow & Arrow’ makes like Satan gargling rocks, a determinedly evil song that combines a stop-start belting with Falco’s vocal switching between Hannibal-the-Cannibal-pyschoanalysis and the grunt of a serial killer before he brings an axe down on your head. The follow-up ‘Johhny Borrell Afterlife’ is a thinly-veiled tearing apart of Johnny Borrell and his big head (literally), the frontman from Razorlight who sold an astonishing 594 copies of his debut solo record. However, the song also stands for all the bullshit, private school self-indulgence that most have come to observe as one of the most disdainful things in the universe. ‘Future Child Embarrassment Matrix’ announces itself with little subtlety, a maelstrom of instruments and the screaming of ‘Her cock is so hard! Her aim is true! I hear that when she comes, she comes enough for two!’. Now that, that’s fucking poetry. Oscar Wilde would probably stop his post-death gay orgy to shed a tear or two. The fourth and final song to make your head dissipate all the shit it’s been fed as of late is ‘The Male Gaze’, a song that shifts from Future of the Left beating the listener to an enjoyable death, to a slightly less bash-worthy track. There’s still the intensity there of staring down Mike Tyson from a distance of five metres, but there’s a little less anger, even a couple ooo’s in there. Don’t be confused and think this is a doo-woop, because there’s still a hefty criticism of the traditional male form, but it was nice of the band to slow down the onslaught for just a second right?

Although the first four tracks are on the same level of awesome as having Sid Vicious resurrected for a day and watching him indulge in all the new drugs that have been invented since the 80’s, the shining moment comes in the form of a monologue. Yes, a monologue, like the one’s in plays n shit, but this isn’t your average high school production. And if it was, I would pay endless amounts of money to gain access to such a play. ‘Singing of the Bonesaws’ is  a vicious, cut-throat dissection of popular culture and the music industry, and its a no holds barred cage match of the most brutal proportions. All kinds of weird and fucked up metaphors are put on display here, but hands down the favourite is MTV’s newest show, which is Kim Kardashian being chased by a bear that…I don’t want to ruin it for you, because the execution of it is too awesome, but let’s just say everyone dies a very graphic death.

Hopefully, the scope of how fucking great of an album Future of the Left have made is coming to fruition in your mind, as the rest of the album progresses in the unhinged manner so sophisticatedly barbaric. I won’t go into it, but every song is as demonic and curse’d to fuck with your conception of normality as the previous tracks I have described. ‘How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident’ is the best Future of the Left album because it never slows, never apologises and never regrets a single thing it does, no matter how gruesome, disgusting and politically incorrect one can get. For those that think Arcade Fire deserve to be ruined by hellfire every time they play, and have the smell of shit poison their nostrils every time they speak, this album is for you.

‘How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident’ will be available on October 25th, through Remote Control and Prescriptions Music, the band’s own label.

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New: Witch Hats-Fiction

Like a fucked-up ball of heroin swagger comes Witch Hats, marching in with their deranged tunes guaranteed to get you in all sorts of mental trouble. If you plan on listening to a Witch Hats record and maintaining sanity, well then you have an entirely new thing coming.  If Screaming Tribesman ate out the members of Lubricated Goat mid-nudity performance, the resulting cacaphony would probably sound like Witch Hats at their best.

I’ve been a big fan of these guys for some time, but it has been a while since any new material presented itself. Well, the wait is over, as they have released a compilation of sorts to fund a trip to China, including three new tracks. ‘Fiction’ is one such track, and although it doesn’t pack as much of a wallop as songs like ‘Ma Birthday’, it certainly carries over the Cruella Deville meets Nick Cave vibes that everyone adores. ‘Fiction’ wallows deep in a mirky mire, like the creature from the trash compactor in Star Wars, and just like that monster, it’ll occasionally pop up its head to try and take on a fucking Wookie.

Support one of Australia’s greatest bands by checking out ‘A China Selection’, and their other shit, and maybe buying it if you’re so inclined. If you’re down Melbun way, you should definetely go to The Curtin this Saturday to catch Witch Hats in the flesh, along with East Brunswick All Girls Choir and Footy.

 

New: Zombie Psychologist- The Immaculate Collection

There is no fucking way that I will be able to spell Psychologist again correctly, without mistyping once, so from now on Zombie Psychologist will be known as ZP. ZP is the solo project of David Freudenstein, (ZOMBIE! P….logist! GET IT!? COS FREUD’S DEAD) a guy that you probably know in one form or another. He’s been involved with Wizard Oz (<3), Grand Prismatic, Penguins and Big Tobacco. However, in solo form, Mr. Freudenstein is at his most weird and wonderful.

The track posted above, ‘Driving Me Backwards’ is probably the highlight of the album, but that’s only because its fucking Eno man. Dude’s a legend. Unless there was a Zappa cover or something, this song was going to be the highlight. But the rest of the album provides plenty of sweet spots as well. ‘420’ collides a bunch of synths and shit together to form something that could play before an 80’s montage from a romantic comedy (Swayze realises who he’s really meant to be in love with, gets in his pickup and speeds down the freeway to get his girl). There’s also ‘Finger Pulse’ a truly heavenly track that sways like…well Swayze in ‘Dirty Dancing’ (killing it with the Swayze references tonight). Then there’s the genuinely flooring ‘Caught In the Rain’, a beautiful, misty track that gets your eyes all wet. Since we’re going with the Swayze references here, ‘Caught in the Rain’ sees ZP as that scene in ‘Point Break’ where Keanu Reeves lets P. Swayze ride his final wave down in Byron Bay, even though Swayze will, like, totally die.

Overall, mad and rad release from ZP. It jumps all over the place, but ‘The Immaculate Collection’ is centred in delivering good vibes and weird as fuck sounds. It all combines for some delicious listening, like a mango mixed with chocolate cake and fairy floss. What I’m trying to say is this album has a lot of calories (HA HA, ARE YOU LAUGHING AT MY JOKE!?)

‘The Immaculate Collection’ will be available on cassette/digital download tomorrow, October 10th, and if you’re down in Melbourne, you can catch the launch at the Tote that night.

Video: Travis Bretzer-Hurts So Bad

The twisted acoustic pop of Travis Bretzer has never sounded better! The song, ‘Hurts So Bad’ is excellent as it is, but the video is the thing that takes both my breathe away and makes me shit myself with laughter. Only on the ‘Hurts So Bad’ clip will you see indie kids wearing adult diapers threaten each other on retro film. There’s also the abundant motifs of milk, fixies and playgrounds. Yeah, that sounds pretty fucking weird, but it’s done so excellently with an off guard sense of cheeky 80’s B-Grade innocence, that it’s impossible not to fall in love with both this song and this clip.

Album Review: The All Seeing Hand-Mechatronics

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Ahhhh…New Zealand’s The All Seeing Hand! Now here’s a band that will tear you a new arsehole! These guys redefine the word vicious. Their industrial post-punk noise infiltrates the very soul with a devil like capacity. I won’t lie, there were some points on the record in which I had to check to see if I was being rammed by the big red guy himself. This is not music for the light-hearted or easily distressed. No, The All Seeing Hand will reach into your very sphincter with their music and twist your organs into a sign that says ‘OMG TASH ARE SO F’ING GR8’. Because why should Justin Bieber fans be the only ones that get the bastardise the English language in the name of musical fandom.

To give some perspective, The All Seeing Hand play music that decidely insults and entices equally. Either way, when listening to ‘Mechatronics’ you’re going to go through quite a few emotions. Fear. Confusion. Ecstasy. Oblivion. Okay, that last one is more of an apocalyptic concept, but you get the idea. This isn’t trifling pop music. There is no way you could get the average Nova 969 listener to sit through a track on this album without replaying that scene from Scanners. And that’s a good thing.

The All Seeing Hand are most definitely unique. For a frame of reference think Fuck Buttons meets Nine Inch Nails meets Killing Joke meets whatever insane metal band your cousin is listening to this month. However, it extends past that, as the band diversify and horrify with utmost glee. Initially, with the opening track of ‘Surgery’, the weird R2-D2 beeps seem charming. But then, the warped mind of diseased militaristic electronica announces itself. The track regurgitates into ‘Clot’ a five minute ode to Dez Fafara taking a shit whilst playing the didgeridoo. By the way, that’s a compliment, not an insult.

It is truly insane stuff. The band patent this weird and confronting vocal patterns and crushing music, but it really comes to it’s most intense in the middle of the album, during the double whammy of ‘Maximum Capacity’ and title track ‘Mechatronica’. The former sets the scene with blood spurting Atari Teenage Riot gone metal, video games murdering each other in song form until total collapse. Then, ‘Mechatronica’ announces the return; the pulsing lungs of the intro eventually clash into an intense gunshot rhythm. This rhythm builds and builds to prominently menacing proportions until the tension snaps into ‘Grab and Smash’. However, like every good horror movie, I believe its the build up of suspense that really captures the audience member, and not the actual decapitation itself (when I say good horror movie, I mean Texas Chainsaw Massacre, hence the decapitation).

So, a word of warning: The All Seen Hand play fucked up music. It’s fantastic, but it is fucked up. It takes a little while to see the real genius behind the revived industrial horror carcass that is this band.  This stuff could only come from the coked up mind of mid-90’s Trent Reznor, and yet its being blasted out of Wellington! It’s impressive however you look at it, but it is also consumed in horror. I’ll re-iterate, the easily-disturbed might want to leave this one alone. For the rest, dive in head first and don’t come out ’til your spleen is ruptured.

The album comes out on the first of October, but you can hear it here, on The All Seeing Hand’s Bandcamp. This is the kind of music (specifically ‘Geronimo II’) that Pinhead listens to when he is rising from Hell. If that’s not worth listening to, then I don’t know what is. If you want to catch the band, they’re playing in Marrickville at Cosmo’s Rock Lounge on Saturday 12 October, with Broadcasting Transmitter and Milkk.

Video: Night Beats-The Seven Poison Wonders

I guarantee this will be the weirdest and wildest thing yo watch all weekend. Super crazy pyschedelic music that gives weird a new name from the freaks that call themselves Night Beats. Manic laughing and doom shredding guitar populate this track, as a witch beast drugs up our unlikely hero’s, trips balls with them and then tries to eat a guy. Night Beats promptly beat the shit out of him, rip his head off and then go play a show like nothing happened. If you don’t want to watch that, then something is wrong with you. Night Beats are fucking awesome.

New: Death Grips-Birds (free download)

With their recent shenanigans (insulted and left their label, skipped out on a bunch of shows with no warning, replacing themselves with a suicide note, laughed as their fans trash their equipment/set, and called it performance art) some people might have forgotten that Death Grips even make music. Well, yesterday they released a new track, and it seems to reflect that insane sort of persona that Death Grips have recently adopted. On one hand it’s genius, and exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Death Grips camp. It shifts and moves just when you feel like you’re locking into a groove. Half Thom Yorke, half Charles Manson, ‘Birds’ stares intently and menacingly into your soul, and you can’t help but stare back. On the other hand, this track is so fucking weird, and seems to be purposefully disorientating, but not in a good way. The constant changes in pace do more to displace the listener than draw them in.

Don’t get me wrong, Death Grips are amazing, but ‘Birds’ is probably a bit too weird for most people to handle. I guess, we can just be thankful there isn;t a giant dick on the front cover like the last single.

Album Review: LOVE COP-2 True/2 Real

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LOVE COP is a ‘band’ compromised of the individuals Duffy Rongiiland and Phil Salina. They’re a weird as fuck band from Portland. And they’re uniqueness doesn’t stop at the All Caps band name (#ruthlezz) or the fact they release their music on cassettes. Nah, this music extends past normal garage tendency and wanders right smack bang into the middle of what-the-fuck-am-I-listening-to-this-is-better-than-liquid-nitrogen-puppies territory. Yeah, LOVE COP make music that is better than puppies made from liquid nitrogen. Make from that what you will, if that doesn’t intrigue you in the least, you’re a ___________ (insert derogatory name that kids are calling their parents nowadays).

LOVE COP change shape like an ADHD game of Tetris, morphing and bouncing, mellowing and hyper-extending, doing whatever the fuck they want to do whenever the fuck they want to do it. Each song is solidly in a realm of it’s own, but LOVE COP manage to make each track flow right into the next one like nothing is out of the ordinary, and that YOU are the one that’s fucked up, not them. Woah, man. Trippy.

Look at the downer Soft Moon meets No Age of ‘Hologram Pt. II’, Donkey Kong barrels of synth rumbling down a sparse terrain of doom garage. Then compare that shit to opener ‘True Believer’, a track with a super happy bounce riff that recalls Dum Dum Girls or Smith Westerns. Then watch in wonder as everything shape shifts the gaping and Beelzebub love-making sounds of ‘2 True 4 U’. It’s a horrifying thing that would make HTRK shit their pants. But don’t freak out to bad, the acid trip comes to a sprightly regain on ‘So Long‘ a longing lovers track that makes the Grease soundtrack look totally uninspired in conjunction.

I’m only touching the tip of the iceberg here. ‘2 True/2 Real’ is constantly mutating and gucky thing that takes the listener on an emotional journey you probably haven’t experienced since you tried to sync The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon. Speaking of Dorothy, to sum up this album, all I can say is that we’re not in Kansas anymore. No, where in the mind of Calvin Johnson during Beat Happening’s experimental period. And it’s sweeter than scoring free drugs off Amanda Bynes.

‘2 True/2 Real’ is out right now on Burger Records and Gnar Tapes. You probably already know my feelings on Burger Records (to summarise: downright scary amounts of unsafe love) but Gnar Tapes, a relatively new label for me, has proved to be damn awesome in its own right. You can grab it for $7 digitally on LOVE COP’s Bandcamp here, or get the cassette like the retro purist you know you are, on Burger Records and Gnar Tapes. Considering LOVE COP are a Portland-based cassette band, I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for a tour in Australia. But it would be great to see this band live. Start a social media petition to get them down here, or something. I don’t know. Be pro-active.

Album Review: Fuck Buttons-Slow Focus

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Fuck Buttons have the kind of band name that attracts attention. They also have the music to back it up. Listening to Fuck Buttons for the first time was a polarising thing in my life, like the first time I played Crash Bandicoot, or watched South Park. And whilst those things have faded in my personal popularity, (to be replaced by Bubble Trouble 2: Rebubbled and Workaholics, respectively) Fuck Buttons are still at the forefront of my mind. ‘Slow Focus’ was one of my most looked forward to albums, and it certainly has not disappointed. The grotesque and deliciously disturbing melancholic sounds of Fuck Buttons is one that might take a while to get used to for some listeners, and others might not even have the will to stand it. However, those that can bluster through some truly sweltering distortion-oriented disturbia will be glad they did so.

The opening track of ‘Slow Focus’ is traditional Fuck Buttons. Giant, hammering drums that thunder across the sky of ‘Brainfreeze’, whilst shimmering synths, and animalistic escapades echo to create a howling masterpiece. So far, orgasmic. I can’t believe there was an ounce of doubt in my mind. Sure, eight and a half minutes might be pushing it, but do you think Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power give a solitary fuck about your feelings? I’ll leave you with that existential debate, and continue onto the next track, ‘Year of the Dog’ which is a brilliant, goopy mess, slimy to it’s core. After horror-movie string sliding and futuristic spaceship travels across the galaxy, ‘Year of the Dog’ sounds a shitload better than the year of the pig, or the year that I was born and represent. Unlike the lazy and satisfied pig-like nature of myself, ‘Year of the Dog’ is a transcendent, horrifying piece that sounds like Blade Runner banging Alien (both Ridley Scott movies-the more you know). 

After a while of getting the living shit scared out of me, it’s onto ‘The Red Wing’, of which the radio edit came out a while ago. The full version is that much more intense, which is really saying something. Starting with a gentle, trip-hop beat, we move into space n time format again, grooving placidly through the muck of dizzying electronica. It’s a glitch-ridden and buzz-saw laden track of techno that will both jolt you awake with frequent electric pulses, and lull you into a deep sense of insecurity. When ‘The Red Wing’ climatically finishes, ‘Sentients’ comes on and lives up to it’s name. Lasers shoot through a galactic inter-war battle, and giant robots do destruction with each other, all in the name of electronic music. In the most avant-garde way possible, the destruction of the Death Star is put on in a slow motion, audio-centric format, and it’s goddamn mind-blowing, and definitively enormous. You can never prepare yourself enough for the inter-plantary apocalypse speech that interrupts the closest thing to a reverie that Fuck Buttons can come to. The warm down and after effects of this is seen in ‘Prince’s Prize’, a shimmering Pac-Man interpretation that transforms into a breakbeat, entrancing hypnotism of the senses. Holy Fuck Buttons Batman, I think I just experienced Tron through the power of music! Take me back to a point in Jeff Bridges’ career where he isn’t at that low of a point in his life (I am, of course, referring to, The Big Lebowski)

The final end of the album comes in the two, huge 10 minute slabs of ‘Stalker’ and ‘Hidden X’s’. The former is a towering and intimidating figure, the other a succulent and entrancing track that swims with the grace of Derek Zoolander in his Merman commercial. Although ‘Hidden X’s’ is a damn beautiful track, it’s ‘Stalker’ that leaves the bigger impression, mainly because it seems to follow in the format of ‘Slow Focus’ more solidly. ‘Stalker’ is fucking huge, booming and throwing it’s weight around, not just shoving but actively defying anything to get in it’s way. It’s like an evil Optimus Prime, mechanic, whirring and death-defying in the most belied sense of every adjective. The way it jilts and heaves, just when you think the menace might be over, it amps to another level, blasting away your faith in humanity with that giant fucking laser sword thing that Optimus Prime has. 

Overall, Fuck Buttons have created a powerful force of technology. Yes, that’s right, this isn’t just an album of electronic music, it’s a fucking piece of technology, like the iPod you’ll listen to it on. I would say that ‘Slow Focus’ was so powerful and layered that it could hypnotise Megatron, but that would be portraying a hypothetical, and we haven’t been attacked by any inter-galactic space robots in the recent past, have we? ‘Slow Focus’ is fucking sick, and if you’re a fan of having your head chewed off and spat back out in a crumbled mess in front of you through the glory of sound, then you should get this album. It’s glorious in every sense of the word. It’s the kind of shit that Skrillex goes all corporal mortification in an effort to create (that’s the crazy whipping stuff that the albino monk from The Da Vinci Code does). ‘Slow Focus’ is everything I hoped it would be and more.

For those wondering, the vagrant slangshot of ‘Fuck’ was used only 14 times. I’m really sorry. I’ll try better next time. 

Video: Jaill-Pointy Fingers

New school freaky jams from Sub Pop’s Jaill. The band who perfected weird pop on their album ‘That’s How We Burn’ are back with a clip that brings the strange, but not a whole lot of substance. Whilst the clip is worth watching simply because of it’s playful absurdity. However the sing shifts too quickly from warp speed to super-happy-fun-times-yeah! and loses momentum pretty quick. However, Jaill are a very good band, and they’re on one of my favourite labels, so it’ll be good to see what ELSE they come out with soon.