Wedged firmly between The Cramps and The Fugs is White Lodge. They are filthy mongrels drenched in fuzz and grime, wreaking havoc with thwarted, deranged psych-garage. Thrashing into their new 7″, which they split with US lawds The Gorlons, White Lodge pummel through just under 6 minutes of heart-clenching, seizure-inducing guitar repulsion. If you like yourself some Los Tones, early King Gizzard, or just plain want to have your world compressed and gassed with acidic garage muck, then shove this into your portable mp3 player.
There’s been a shit-tonne of new Australian music that needs to be covered. Well worth checking out these artists, all hailing from our loins of the earth, ‘Straya.
Tempura Nights – Brainroof
Isn’t the skull more the roof? I don’t know, I’m not a surgeon, but I do recognise that Tempura Nights are fucking sick. Created from a bunch of sick Brisbane bands like Go-Violets and Major Leagues, “Brainroof” opens up like a lost Kim Gordon track, incredibly slick vocals raining down on a morbid guitar sheen. It then devolves into shuddering 90’s guitar pop, both sparkly and dark at the exact same time. “Brainroof” takes what makes both Go-Violets and Major Leagues so pleasent to listen to, and then chucks it into an alternate universe in which the Deal sisters grew up in Brisbane and are miserable. So, basically the average Northern childhood. ZING! BOOM! SYDNEY ROOLZ!
White Lodge -Technicolor Visions EP
Straight off the bat, “Laguna Negra” establishes that White Lodge have been listening to a bit of The Cramps early shit since their last 7″ was released in September last year. It’s a riveting ramshackle ball of saliva that goes on snowballing at a sickeningly giddy pace. The rest of White Lodge’s new EP resounds with a similar sort of black magic, reaching the heights of voodoo exuberance. Listening to songs like “Sands of Graveyard Atoli” and “Switchblade Blues” sounds like you’ve stumbled upon a cult that only listens to The Black Lips and The Growl, and eats their meals from the members of bands who’ve lost their potency. This EP is repulsively awesome.
Birds With Thumbs -Ran
As long as there have been teenagers, there have been snotty teenage bands making rock and roll music. Birds With Thumbs join the long line of bands of mates who know a few chords, love guitar solos and giving the finger. Their new single “Ran” highlights a band that could very easily rise to the top of their pool. They’ve got the same kind of immediate rock catchiness that bands like Chicks Who Love Guns and Horror My Friend have, and they even have the potential to huck a logie in the direction of success sludged out by British India and Children Collide.
Melon Melon Melon – EP
It’s weird to think there’s a band out there with almost nothing to be known about them, and they already have killer tunes like these. Although they’re scrappier than a three-legged Terrier that’s grown up on a dog-fighting circuit, and have a name which turns even the most cunning linguist into a tongue-tied dipshit, Melon Melon Melon’s songs are bloody brilliant. They hold that same suburban cowboy aesthetic as Lower Plenty, Chook Race, and Fully Ugly, dustbowl guitars rebound against awkward 20-something musings. Songs like “Chemist” and “Domestos” are perfect lo-fi jams that could soundtracked any Terry Zwigoff/Zach Braff movie ever.
New songs are like herpes: you can’t get rid of them, and although they might annoy you at times, they make you a better person. Or something like that. None of these songs are annoying. In fact, they’re all awesome.
The Brisbane connection for Tape/Off isn’t too hard to listen out for in their new single ‘Pedestal Fan’. Tape/Off are similar to other Brisbanauts Violent Soho and DZ Deathrays, but slightly more brutal, like an elephant charging through a cymbal shop. The tight snares, semi-bellowed vocals and raucous nature of the song makes people like me tight in the loins. But, despite the noise orgy, there’s a bit of melody shining through, turning your average schizophrenic guitar mess. Although short as fuck, ‘Pedestal Fan’ hits the sweet spot that makes garage and punk fans drool like someone shoved a water balloon down their throats.
More cut-throat savagery, this time from Girl Band. The first thing you’ll probably notice about their track ‘Lawman’, is that its really quiet. It starts at a factory-floor pace, chugging along the conveyer belt. All of a sudden, there’s an unloading of squealing, dirty guitar. And it doesn’t stop, just torrents of noise, kind of like what I imagine happens every time Thurston Moore took a shit back in the late 80’s. The song is absolutely beautiful and distorting, taking sudden turns destroying your brain and haphazardly trying putting it back together. When the song finishes, your mind will look like a half-melted candle assembled by a 3 year old with the motor skills of an iguana on crack. Loud, vicious and entirely unpredictable, ‘Lawman’ is fucking rad.
Forests/White Lodge Split 7″
Now, getting slightly more friendly, but not even close to being out of the fuzz zone, its a split 7″ between the glorious White Lodge and a band called Forests. Forests (not to be confused with Forest Swords, or actual forests) are from Taiwan. I know fuck all about Taiwan, so from now on, if anyone asks, I’ll just say that it’s a place in South East Asia where an awesome band called Forests is located. Super-dooper-Koopa-Trooper they are, with a sound that could place nicely in any Ty Segall record. The fuzz overloads on the Forest songs ‘Ego Bender’ and ‘The Fall’ are ripped right from the heart of the current San Fran psych-garage scene, and it could not have been executed better if it were done by John Dwyer himself. The songs are bright, sparkly, and best of all, absolutely keeling over on overdosed acid-tinged guitar freakouts. Fucking brilliant.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the 7″, its Queensland-reppin’ psych lords White Lodge. Interestingly enough, they’ve moved away from the heavy psych, and into the lighter territory of Burnt Ones/Thee Oh Sees styled psych-garage. ‘Her Spell’ hops along at a breakneck pace, the surf-rock verses just a faint illusion that is smashed apart by the grovelling, blood-stained chorus. ‘Flower Eyes’ sees a slight return to the slowed-down badassery, but only at the beginning. It soon divulges to be another fast-paced, speed-laced flower-pop tune like The Black Lips used to make. Regardless, this 7″ needs to be owned by all lovers of anything good.
Francis Lung (former Wu Lyf)-A Selfish Man
I was a massive fan of Wu Lyf, and their self-described ‘Heavy Pop’, and it came as a bit of a blow when they broke up. They were one of the few ‘indie rock’ bands that really challenged the cocoon of sound that most bands had adopted to sell a fuck load of records. Now that the band is a thing of the past, former member Francis Lung has struck out on his own with this debut track ‘A Selfish Man’. There’s a lot going on here, but you wouldn’t know it. Lung manages to compact all the sounds on the song, and weave it into a beautiful little tapestry. And, yeah its smooth as fuck, like Ron Burgundy wearing silk.
The Solicitors-Help Me Forget
Power-pop is a genre that more or less faded after the 80’s. There hasn’t been any heaps, heaps ultra gewd power-pop bands that spring to mind that were around after Replacements’ ‘Pleased to Meet Me’, and in my mind, Weezer doesn’t make the cut as an altogether power-pop band. However, The Solicitors are well-placed in that genre beyond any shade of doubt. The positive-ness that radiates off the negative nature of the songs is so unsubtle, its like a warzone of good times. Like their hero Alex Chilton, The Solicitors make the kind of catchy pop that resonates for a while after the song has finished.
Ernest Ellis-Shine Like Me
It seems like Ernest Ellis is always bringing out new shit for his loyal disciples to froth over. That’s not a bad thing, by the way. That’s a really, really good thing. And it just got better, via the track ‘Shine Like Me’. His beautiful vocals drop over a sharp and delicate guitar pattern, whilst bright keys occasionally dance underneath. And then that chorus hits, and boom, you’re hooked like Dustin Hoffman’s character for the 1991 smash hit Peter Pan sequel. ‘Shine Like Me’ is a gratingly brilliant song, that again shows off the amazing skillz of Ernest Ellis.
If you’re keen for more Ernest Ellis, he’s bringing out a new record in March, and will be playing a show at Brighton Up Bar on February 28. Schweeeeeet!