Sunday, 31 August 2014

Broncho's Hip To Be A Woman


Oakland outfit Broncho have just released their new album Just Enough Hip To Be Woman, and it’s eleven slices of slightly-reverbed, massively-addictive guitar rock in the self-effacing, humorous, garage-tinged vein. The staccato delivery of ‘Class Historian’ is instant hookworm material, that also bares some resemblances to The Cars (I goddamn love The Cars). ‘Deena’ stretches further back, taking carbon copies of 60s surf rock and dropping it into the hyperdrive of 80s synthesised synapse-eroding rock. 'Stay Loose' could be a Joan Jett cover done by Unknown Mortal Orchestra at half speed. ‘Taj Mahal’ is a young Finn brothers cast-off. Its this pastiche of rock evolution that permeates Broncho’s song deconstructions that makes their songs both imminently likable and eerily recognisable. It is so indebted to past “glories” at times that a clear personality becomes opaque – as much as I dig ‘Stop Tricking’ and especially ‘Taj Mahal’, I can’t shake the comparisons off. It’s funny then that the last three songs are so intent on blowing the speakers, the groove and growl suddenly at the forefront when most other bands would top-load these tracks. ‘Kurt’, ‘China’ and ‘It’s On’ blast forth with a newfound grit, set in sepia and leather – it’s here, as in the giddiness of ‘Class Historian’, that Broncho become a combustible beast in their own right. A strange ride, then, yet it’s hard to resist their charms.





Just Enough Hip To Be Woman is out soon on Dine Alone Records - buy it here.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

A Sunblasted, Dirge-tastic Big Mess


Let's get on the messy dirge train, with Lowell MA's Big Mess, clear those cobwebs out with doom-sludge instrumentals. I can't believe I haven't heard of these guys before - their new 12" You Are My Sunshine (Out through Midnight Werewolf Records) , besides being a great name for an album mining the depths of the riff underworld, is the kind of guitar-heavy brutality with a sleek underbelly that I always love to smash out. And with names like 'Rat's Ass', 'Grow Some Balls Jake Barnes' and 'Pounding Piss Touch', it is like this album was made exclusively with me in mind. Thanks guys - you shouldn't have! (You totally should have). Grab the 12" (in sunburst orange) here.

Eat Up The Sex Scheme


Sado-masochism is a real turn-on for dirt-scuzzbags that like their rock disintegrating and dire, isn’t it? From Gentlemen and Occults right back to Big Black... Look I can’t say I'm upset, or even surprised. But it can be a bit of a tired trope to gussy your downer punk grinds with. Sex Scheme are no different. The Brooklyn killers have gone the black and white, hogtied and bootheel cover art. And it gives a strong indication of what to expect here. ‘Dog Slut’ is a sub-two minute blur, neither here nor there; but the off-the-wall awfulness of ‘Eat It’ is actually much more effective, with the drawled lyrics of the insane Ben (not far removed from Bird Blobs vocally, although I must say I much preferred those guys) and the rusted guitar whines are held down by a no-nonsense bass chug and heartbeat drum that, whilst played thousands of times before, keep the shit from flowing down the sewer too soon. The harmonica sounds out over ‘Feel Me’ and the drug-fuelled slurs once more feel at home with the dirty recordings and the aluminium-trash can drums at play here. The lysergic nature of the narcotic drag comes full circle on ‘Mexico City’, barely staying upright on its two varicose-veined stumps, flailing broken glass and spitting broken teeth with barely-contained self-knowledge. And that is Sex Scheme (and most of their ilk) to a tee – there is no rhyme and reason, its just the black tar coming from way down and ripped out and flung on the sweat-stained walls. And just like sado-masochism, it’s an acquired taste. Try this at home at your diseased peril.


Buy the Sex Scheme 7" here.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday Cover Up - Holy Sons On The Beach


Emil Amos is a man of many talents, and has spread them through a gamut of incredible bands - Grails, Om, Lilacs & Champagne... Yet Amos pours his heart out into Holy Sons, a solo project that has always pushed towards the emotional depths that the likes of Jim James, Mark Kozelek or Jason Molina regularly mined. He has an album, The Fact Facer, coming out through Thrill Jockey Records, and in preparation Amos has been releasing bonus material in the lead-up and one of the tracks is one of my favourite songs ever made - a cover of Neil Young's 'On The Beach'. But it isn't that simple - because Amos has squished it into another cover, one that also kills it - Black Flag's 'Nervous Breakdown'! I can't even imagine the conception of the idea - but I'm glad the mad alchemy exists.


And for a special bonus, here is another song, 'More Therapy'... You can pre-order The Fact Facer here.

Celebrate The End With Danyl Jesu


Here is a band that will be huge. I guarantee it. Danyl Jesu is an electronic metal outfit comprised of members of Brisbane acts O, Roku Music and The Rational Academy, and whilst it marries some of the dire spirals of darkness that the former band reside in, the four track EP Celebration is a new, blackened beast of a creation altogether. The brutality of 'Abandon' is the epoch of fury, and the synthetic whirr that winds things up to a coiled tension is a bubble that refuses to burst. The tension continues in 'Gathering' where the drums hold a metronomic death-call akin to My Disco's relentless meticulousness, and whilst the sonic squall at the halfway mark lets the air seep into the void for some much need catharsis, the vocals remain tortured and stressed. There are no guitars here - I repeat, no guitars. The distorted wave of noise is an electronic maelstrom, a melange of tapes and effects that inexorably bleed and bash into and through one another, becoming a transmogrified black mess of unadulterated id. Aptly titled closer 'Exhaustion' is a slow grind into the cracked earth, all efforts rendered useless. There is definitely a sense that the duo are still at the fledgling stages of their powers; still toying with the capabilities of the destruction at their disposal. They travel to the US in 2015 to record their album with Phil Elverum (Mt Eerie, The Microphones), a master at sonic tape manipulation - expect Danyl Jesu to fuse solid, liquid and vapour into one after that collaboration bears brutal fruit.

This Won’t Ruin Your Smile


Sometimes things happen that are pretty exciting. I can still remember the time I found five bucks in the sand when we were staying down the Gold Coast with cousins when I was 10 (in what is now basically a casino car park). But this is way better than that. Way better.

I am not sure where Ruined Smile Records came from exactly. But I know they’re from Brisbane. And I’m stoked cause I’m from Brisbane and they’ve just delivered me a goldmine. I am never really a fan of compilations, but this seriously blitzes just about any I’ve ever come across. There is scuzz and sandpaper here. There is thoughtful, playful, heartfelt and frantic. There are a bunch of guitar sounds to warm your heart and fill you with hope. And a bunch of new bands for me to go and see. Seriously, from this goes from Smudge through Blueline Medic. I am sending this to my cousin right now. The one who sold me his Helmet tape for five bucks in a casino car park when I was 10.


The first release proper to come from Ruined Smile appears to be a 12" EP from the Nottingham band The Blue PeriodAnd Suddenly The Days Draw Long Like Light-Years. Here is a song of theirs. Kindred spirits.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Forever Scratching That Existential Itch


Where to start with this one? I was sent a digital copy of Saul Jarvie's solo LP Existential Eczema over a month ago - it was well before I left Australia at any rate - by good dude Chris Yates (Dollar Bar, Bong YZA, The Young Liberals, heaps of other stuff). I was caught straight off the bat by 'Tracks Line Up' and I realised it was the first album in months where the lyrics really mattered to me. I couldn't help but feel like I was being drawn into someone else's worldview in a guitar drawl balladry akin to the darker edges of 90s indie fare - the atmospherics that 21st century bands can very rarely approach without sounding bombastic or overtly emotional, a sense of obviousness attached to their lyrics. But with 'The Other Side of the Firelight', when those very lyrics are sung, my heart quavered. There is almost a rebelliousness to such bare storytelling, in that it resonates both on a personal level for the songwriter and for the listener. Again, I feel that this particular purpose of music has been overlooked by much of this generation's musicians - I'm not even saying that is a bad thing - do we need another Something For Kate or Sandpit? They already existed; you can't better them (the reissue of Sandpit's On Second Thought on vinyl is a glaring example). But Jarvie, member of post-rock acolytes Rival Flight back in the day, has a timbre of voice and intricacy of spirit that makes these bold, atmospheric ruminations at once magnetic and dramatic. No, there aren't many albums like Existential Eczema anymore. But when it is crafted as beautifully as this one is, that is a goddamn crime.



Everyone should head here right this minute and pick up a copy, it's bloody great.

Move Your Frown Upside Clouds


Humming; Humming Like dunduddundundun... Like bass and wailing guitar and lyrics about “people” moving places. Places like sideways and your way. Most likely with something to offer you. If this is what happens when you legalise everything - like, if you can blow yourself a joyous kazoo to get through the day and then change whatever you’re doing halfway through just to boogie down – I say legalise it all. Now.


Pre-order the new album from The Frowning Clouds, Legalize Everything (out through the prolific Rice is Nice in Aus, and Saturno Records elsewhere) now and have people move it towards you soon.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Coughing Cool Every Weekend


I'm seeing out the week with some leftover Cough Cool. Well, one half of. Dan Svizeny has gone solo with Every Weekend (out on Forged Artifacts) and its a fuzzed slice of summer slay dipping beyond the far end of the horizon, leaving you with slight sunstroke, a hangover and half-remembered memories that may or may not be rose-tinted underneath the darker tinted Ray Bans. 'Close-Up USA' is a good start ('Always Daytripping' is OK but its bad Eurotrash pout grates on me after a few listens, even though I love the bass, so arrogant haha). It feels like a clinging wetsuit of meditation, floating in the flotsam and jetsam of half-chances and confused daydreams, a drawl that the mind can't really get out of. In all, I'm digging this record. You can grab the chrome Every Weekend cassette here.

Video Vacuum - Trans Am, Catman, Pere Ubu, Lower Spectrum, Whirling Hall Of Knives, Goat, Ghost Wave


I'm moving house today. So I'm not going to be able to do any posts I'm afraid. So here is a lengthy A/V gem that I prepared earlier...


I mentioned earlier this year that I was pretty happy to hear Trans Am were bringing out a new album. In fact I had pangs of sadness when packing my things to move to the UK and found my copy of Futureworld that I hadn't listened to in years - enough for it to soundtrack an afternoon of throwing out clothes and taping up boxes. Here is the film clip for 'Insufficiently Breathless' - a subdued, sonorous affair with film-like breadth, and the ethereal, woodsian music video fits the music perfectly. Hoping to see these guys play once more before 2014's candle burns out.


I spoke very favourably of Catman, the solo outfit for Adam Rogan. His guitar suite The Singapore Demos was a killer example of how to sweep away all semblances of the self in pure music. He is back with a new track, 'Joo Koon', and it continues the amazing vibes - I have listened to this song non-stop all day. Just hearing this reminds me of how much I love Mark McGuire's Living With Yourself - and how good Catman is. So many more people need to indulge in this magic.


Trans Am onto Catman, then swinging back to an older classic band that are continuing their "comeback" in the form of Pere Ubu. A band I never thought I would get to see, but saw them at the Melbourne ATP last year (you know, the Altona one - the good one?) 'Golden Surf II' continues the brooding, bracing rock deathmarch that the avant-noise-weirdniks refuse to let go of, and in the process have crafted one of the most deliciously off-the-wall killers that they have brought out in some time. The beauty of the film clip is that Pere Ubu can sustain a band-filmed-in-a-room clip because of their ubiquity and magnetism, but the flick-card images that hammer throughout add the extra slice of the macabre. Great stuff.


Ned Buckley's climb as Lower Spectrum continues, now with the launch of the film clip for his single 'Khlever'. Another exquisitely shot clip that utilises the austere environs for its own nefarious aims, the alien objects and symbols shown throughout becoming more arcane in the frozen terrain that the young protagonist wanders through. Pagan ritualism based in the ancient future.


Further down the rabbithole we go, into the trancelike noise of Ireland's Whirling Hall of Knives. 'Scrap Assembly' blasts out like a warning siren, a nuclear meltdown of the senses, a groove intent on internal destruction, yet insistent on muscular movement and emotional attachment. The clip again creates this claustrophobic miasma of contracting and expanding, the tension growing just behind the cerebral vortex, the ghost in the machine in the self. Disturbingly simple, destructively seductive.


Goat have a new record out soon called Commune. I loved World Music. I really dig these krautrock demons from Sweden. And whilst 'Words' could have had a much more visceral film clip than this one, there is something foreboding and hypnotising about the triangles here. The band has always enjoyed angular design with their artwork, as well as multicoloured splashes, so the film clip still fits into the Goatosphere... Still, I want the masks and faux-camp darkness. This is an electric taste of what is to come though, so I'm not complaining.



OK, so let's try and pull out of this existential nosedive with one last clip. New Zealand band Ghost Wave have in 'Who's Doin' The Talkin'' crafted a languid psyc-out that is hazed and easy on the soul. Unabashed love of the motorik beat - as am I. Let's take a load off and unwiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind...

NOW GET BACK TO WORK!

Step Panther to the Jugular

(Post by Fred Savage Beasts)

The guitars in this new Step Panther single are so shiny. SO shiny. They sound a bit like they came from outer space, or, at least, got reflected back from some satellite picking up stray laments pouring out of a drive through speaker box somewhere near your place. Metallic beams, straight from the heart. There is a mention of some kind of swamp thing, but there’s no swamp here. Apart from the swamp in your home town - the one you  get caught in when the person you love moves somewhere far away and you’re left ordering fast food for the third night in a row.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

EXEKUTIVE DUB

A deliberately sparse and haunting siren call of leather steampunk caught in the dub excess of William Gibson's less lucid moments, Melbourne nightcrawlers Exek really have hit a nerve with their new release. The ex-Slug Guts and Martyr Privates vehicle is the closest thing yet to a Melbourne band actually living on the outer regions of all parallel universes. 'A Hedonist' feels like Ennio Morricone on a space-age Rastafarian bent, with instruments frayed and blasted from time and neglect. The experimentation with instruments (glockenspiel, saxophone, violin, triangle, glasses) to create an ephemeral bedrock for Adrian Wolski's disembodied warbles creates a languid wasteland with which the songs float, in a green room of wavering consciousness and emotions. It's a brooding beast of a release, but Exek proves there is life on other much, much more distant planets than this one.


Buy Exek from TIME /\ SPACE Record Co. here. They have played shows recently with the likes of Cobwebbs and White Walls, but have gone underground for a while. In between the lines and minds. But stay intuned...

Aussie Electronic Wash

OK, let's start today on some sepulchral electronics from the sunburnt netherworld, shall we?


First up is Andy Citawarman, most notably recognised as the crazy man that wasn't Joe McKee from hugely underrated Western Australian outfit Snowman. They put together some of the most deliciously claustrophobic and dark performances I've ever seen - true mental catharsis through self-flagellation. Third album Absence saw the band come to its (sadly) logical conclusion, with the gnashing of teeth gone but that sense of encroachment and paranoia still fervently in place. Citawarman has not been completely quiet though - he has been crafting gossamer wash electronic theatrics for a few years now. 'For Velvet Rain' is supposedly written for his niece, but it's hard to tell - opening with operatic piano and soaring melancholic ghostly effects before dissolving into a white-noise trance, repetition through obliteration. The Fuck Buttons comparison here isn't just fair but obligatory - this is a journey through the blurred outer realms. Extremely exciting, and waiting anxiously for the next instalment.




Andrew McLellan and Joel Stern are two other Australian artists who have a lot of musical outlets. The thing is, they are all beguiling creatures unto themselves. Stern's improvised instrument experiment Sky Needle is probably the most obvious one, whilst McLellan's Cured Pink is an ever-evolving melange of worldly noise in a manicured teacup, stewing restlessly for the new niche yet never finding it (and never truly wanting to). The two of them have joined forces before of course through the busted sonic whirr in Greg Boring, a band that revels more in what doesn't work than what does. When making music together as Soft Power though, we see the melding of some truly mesmeric minds (joining the duo is Josh Watson (Sewers) and Sophia Brous). It is Brous though that steals the proverbial show - her discombobulated vocals drift in and out of the nebulous mix like an otherworldly swami with hiccups, creating an ethereal dialogue between the real and the self that I'm not even sure she understands. But it is the rocking-chair analogous monotony of the music that combines with Brous' vocals to provide a hypnotic mantra, all pastel hallucinogens and out-of-focus pop paradigms. Soft Power has released an album through All Day Breakfasts, If You Come Around - a white-noise technicolour tune-out wonderland - buy it here.




Also based in Queensland is Kurt Eckardt AKA Astral Skulls. The combination of guitar and synth here creates a 16-bit platform for monotone vocals to create an interesting cross section of New Wave marching nihilism and post-millennial hypercolour movement and beats. The end result? An anarchic drumbeat of post-punk that bubbles more than boils, made for cassettes to jam into your Commodore 64. More, please.




The crew from Feral Media are a great collective that hold the pulse on weird electronic beats, and the last two artists for today are from their "stable". I know I have mentioned Setec previously - 'For Concrete Or Water' is still a burr in my sonic side - and he has finally released the album Brittle As Bones, so definitely warrants a mention here. The Cornelius and The Books comparisons can be picked up on in various spaces throughout the album, but above all Setec's palette seems to be a warmth, knitting together found sound, samples and sonorous vocals to create a personal work of heartbreaking beauty. Worthy of a review on its own (sorry Josh!), suffice to say that Brittle As Bones is a fantastic debut release.



But to finish off is the wonderful Clean Dirt, the new album from Melbourne weirdnik Bob Streckfuss AKA 0point1. The amalgamation of pop compositions and found sound electronic is used here in a intricate yet uncluttered Jenga tower, coalescing to emotions thought untouchable (see tracks like 'Radio Edit' and 'Wormchild Singalong'). Above all else there is a restless creativity here that belies childlike enthusiasm, straddling the industrial and the naturalistic. You can get Clean Dirt here on USB, coming with a bunch of fresh material.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Zooming Through with Voiceless oOo's


I have received a few emails from the band oOo. At first I thought it was that witchgaze dude oOoOO (or whatever that bloody "genre" Salem supposedly started) and whilst always intrigued I've always managed to put it on the backburner (turns out he's nothing really like Salem, and pretty good - more to come on that). Plus there has been another band that has come into my aural periphery of recent weeks, the Boredoms offshoot of OOIOO.

Yesterday I finally opened one of the emails and realised it wasn't that guy but a trio from Slovenia who are into improvised guitar music (complete with improvised lyrics) who are pretty bloody prolific. They have a great album from the tail end of last year called Zoom Yourself, and only last week released new jam 'How Can You Be Quiet?' I listened to these ambling, rambling, unhinged pieces all day today whilst doing a job application in the middle of torrential rain - the combined total effect being one of disorientation, slight psychosis and manic glee. Discordent, disembodied, delirious and about as far from witchgaze can be whilst still casting a pall over your senses. I could imagine the nooks and crannies of Ljubljana these guys create this music in - church naves, hollowed trees, graveyards, the kitchen... Nothing and everything is left to chance. Intriguing stuff.







Huffing Til I'm Blue

I was listening to the new Sleep song 'The Clarity' last night. Wow, what a...well, a stoner rock song? I wasn't all that enthused by it - sacrilege and all that, right? Instead I have been thinking about Huffer. No they don't do doom - but this LA duo embrace unease in a nebulous fashion that 'The Clarity' is unable to harness. The reason? Huffer's song 'Blue' is incredibly unhinged - for some reason I feel that this is the kind of glimpse you would have gotten into Harmony Korine's head around the time of Gummo (although it could be biased towards the fact I saw Kids in the cinema for the first time on Thursday). It squalls, it crawls, it lurks, it leers, it rolls its eyes into the back of its head and spit yellow flecked spit. It isn't overly evil though - Huffer are instead in tune with unleashing the deranged thoughts that hover just under the surface, an exfoliating purge that oozes rather than explodes. Consider me hooked.

Nothing Boring About Ice-Cream Dreams


Let's start off the week with a laconic bunch of ice-cream dreams. Melbourne's Bored Nothing has taken to a lysergic sugar-rush take on the slow burn narcoleptic guitar pop that Kurt Vile has been making his own of late - except without the stoned extended wigouts. Fergus Miller doesn't exude cool as much as excrete dreams - a drifting melange of half-remembered fantasies, eyelids at half-mast, always on the border of waking life and the subconscious.

Bored Nothing's Some Songs comes out in October on Spunk.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Glish


Good night kids. Here is my end of the weekend trip. New Orleans five-piece Glish have crafted a particularly intense brand of shoegaze, equal parts frenetic and hazy, emotional and visceral. It's pretty great, and based on the brilliance of 'Stu Hunkington' I think this could be the year that these guys finally burst forth. Their self-titled album is out at the tail end of the year through Texas Is Funny Records, and I for one am waiting feverishly for this one.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Brain Drugs Ooze From The Wound


As you are reading this, I am in Braintree. That is a little town in Essex. A killer, pagan-horror name for what is essentially a quaint little town. I am off to a wedding. I'm sure I will have a good time at said wedding. But it is a themed wedding - no not Game Of Thrones or something as dreadful (although I do enjoy the show), but possibly something infinitely worse - "festival chic." Jesus. Further investigation brought about the dress code for men as being checked shirts, decent coloured trousers, BOW TIES AND BRACES.

This had me physically trying not to retch. If EVER I dress like a member of the fucking Mumford & Sons you have the express wishes and gratitude of yours truly to beat me to death with my own braces and brogues.

So here is my antidote, to get me through the day. Oozing Wound is a band from Chicago that deal out thrashy metal in garish floods. Their influences (as labelled on Facebook, so you know they are true) stand as High On Fire, Black Sabbath, and the Beach Boys. I'm gonna take them on face value and agree wholeheartedly. And fuck it - I'm gonna need everything I can to get over the line here, so 'Drug Reference' - with its thrashing drums, lacerating vocals, and exact 4:20 minute runtime - is the kind of thing that will help elevate things above mere pretension and allow me to drink this free bar dry. In my Roku Music shirt at a twee wedding. DONE.

Oozing Wound - Drug Reference

Friday, 22 August 2014

School Break Ups

(NOT a pic of the band - but you get the idea)

Australian musicians are the fidgetiest bunch. Most are in a multitude of bands, with one the focus but a myriad of half-cooked ideas floating about spilling out in weirder and wilder realms. School Damage is no different - and yet definitely IS different, in that this relatively new four-piece seem fully formed. Formed by Jake Robertson (Ausmuteants, The Hierophants, The Frowning Clouds, Drug Sweat etc) and Carolyn Hawkins (Chook Race) with Danni Damage and Jeff Raty bringing in the rhythms, School Damage is the perfect amalgamation of all these exterior pursuits - synth silliness, mewling guitars, loose-limbed garage rock bluster, B52s-esque garishness run through the rusted grinder of grit-in-the-wound punk, monotone vocals...it all adds up to a night with a beer-stained shirt and a shit-eating grin, loving life even while vomit flows down the slides at the local children's playground at three in the morning. They put out a cassette, Deep Net, on Moontown Tapes, and now have the impending 7" Break Up coming out of Detonic Recordings (Multiple Man, Diesel Dudes). All elements are present and accounted for on these three tracks, especially on the title track, which plays like a slow-swaying synth number of doo-wop-less pop before crashing into a guitar wash meltdown.


Grab your copy of Break Up here. School Damage launch this puppy on Friday August 29 at The Grace Darling alongside The Clits and Waterfall Person.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

(N)ever Halt The Limits Of The Body


Melbourne's Halt Ever surreptitiously brought out a new EP last month, Body Limits (out through Unwound Records). The 6-track 10" covers the gauntlet of raucous post-punk narcissism stretched and contorted, taut and strained, a razorwire enclosed case of tunnel vision.

Cuts and bruise prevail.

It's about thrashing the demons before the demons thrash you, in a vacuum of space, time and mind. The guitars in 'Growing Pains' for example build and build like pressure in your chest; your breath catches; sweat stains your upper lip; you threaten to drown in your own uneasy anticipation. It's an incredibly frantic and brutal instrumental display. The vocals though are equal parts Tom Lyngcoln-esque in their ocker banality/ferocity, and bottom-of-the-well-esque in the reverbed anguish and self-deprecation to the point of self-flagellation.

Cuts and bruises prevail, all right, and trust me, you will love how the sting lingers.




Body Limits can be picked up here. A full length album will be out in 2015 on the suddenly out of hibernation (and ever excellent) Lost Race Records. Halt Ever play alongside Bloodhounds On My Trail, Old Love and Midnight Bloom at Melbourne haunt The Public Bar this Friday night.