Friday, 18 April 2014

Friday Cover Up - Finding Marty's Rockets In Doom Town

I'm a pretty big fan of Martin Phillips. Not the Welsh darts player, although I can understand the confusion. No, the Martin Phillips who fronts peerless Auckland noise rock band God Bows To Math; who writes his own blog, Hell Is Now Love; who is an all round rad dude. He also puts things out under the blog moniker, having been responsible for putting out records from The DHDFDs, Proton Beast and El Alamein. The reason Phillips started the label though was to give a physical release to fellow Auckland band Lost Rockets, and again he is doing them a solid, putting out this 7” single ‘Hundred Year Cough’ to precede their debut LP.

It’s pretty great as you’d imagine – and on this Good Friday, they have an excellent cover on the B-side – none other than Wipers special ‘Doom Town’. I have to say (and this feels sacrilegious, even to me) that the single is stronger than the cover. I don’t know if that means Lost Rockets kill it, or that I'm a bad person. Either way, get into this – can’t wait to hear what the album sounds like later this year… Thanks Martin!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Bring On The Easterfaust

The Easter madness is upon us. But then Easter started back in February. Super rad psychoids The Cosmic Dead have epic album Easterfaust (out through Sound Of Cobra) in their arsenal and aren't afraid to use it. This will fry you. And if you're already fried...cosmic kosmiche awaits.

Grab this stellar record here.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Pining For The Harshest Of Blackouts

Remember No Anchor? The brutalist Brisbane trio who reckon they aren't together much anymore? Donnie Miller records music and is in Sonic Masala-affiliated shoegaze band Roku Music; Alex Gillies cuts wood and is in metal throwbacks Greig; and Ian Rogers elocutes about music and plays in Shaking Hell. But Ian isn't done with flaying his vocal chords or our eardrums, as new side project Black Pines (joined by Rational Academy alum and the Pale Earth duke himself, Ben Thompson) attests. In the most obvious move yet from excellent outre outsider label Wood & Wire will take any risk, they have put out Harsh Out, six tracks of psych - but not as you know it. The duo want to scrape the underbelly of the 60s psychedelic dream with rusty knives, before diving straight in and letting the intestinal truth shower down. With comparisons of Bardo Pond, Boris, Swans and Unsane (circa 89-92) bandied about, you know that this is atonal obliteration of the most delicious kind. The red-eyed tint of a man driven insane by demons both without and within; swastikas etched through the skin, through sinew, through bone; nightmares real in Giallo Technicolour, an ecstatic mess, before spiralling into a pastiche of Korine-helmed dirt and Noe-driven madness. All done without preamble, without compromise, without apology. If you thought The Golden Bridge saw an upswing in Ian's temperament, with tongue embedded in cheek, then Black Pines is here to irradiate those memories beyond reproach.

As always, Wood & Wire are offering Harsh Out as a free download here. Let's hope there is some sort of physical release of this soon, yeah?

Wrecking The City Again

Melbourne's Hotel Wrecking City Traders are back! Well they haven't actually been dormant, but they finally have their new LP Ikiryo (out through the band's Bro Fidelity label) ready to thrash out to the world, a mere six years (?!) after Black Yolk blasted the doors off. Recorded in two days in January, and the tight timeline fits with the leaner, more focused delivery of the five songs on display here. Opener 'Breath' is a power behemoth, holding down some straight-up metal riffs before launching forth like a tightly coiled serpent at the jugular, before dissolving into a doom-lite crawl that shadows Pelican at their most languid. It's these tonal shifts at almost a nanosecond's notice that is the most obvious change up in the duo's arsenal - they are more melodic and in tune with each other's playing due to their tireless touring and shows in Japan. 'Riley' is a sinuous beast that surreptitiously moves into Toby's repetitive groove, the alternations coming from Ben's rolls and fills. 'Dance The Hempen Jig' feels the most like old HWCT (not that anything on Ikiryo is far from the wellspring of the band's oeuvre), albeit in a concise, calibrated form, before the album closes with the darkness of 'Tetryl' and the sprawling title track taking us into the sinister outer spaces. Welcome back, boys.

Get Ikiryo here.

American Football Replay

I have only been a fan of the self-titled debut record from Chicago trio American Football for the past couple of years. The fact that it is the band's only full-length release heightens the appeal; the fact that they barely played any shows before disbanding piques the interest further; the fact that Mike Kinsella went on to play in another band with only one release (up until last month), Owls, and his brother Tim formed Joan Of Arc, makes the short-lived fire that much more fervent. Now fifteen years on from its initial release in 1999, Polyvinyl has seen fit to reissue American Football - and I for one am so excited about the prospect of having this on vinyl for the first time. Never heard of it? Maybe not. But if you are a fan of Explosions In The Sky or other introspective, gossamer-knitted, emotive instrumental bands (see most of Temporary Residence's early roster), then you have tasted their influence. They aren't entirely devoid of lyrics though - yet on tracks like opener 'Never Meant' they perfectly encapsulate the tone and timbre of the music itself, playing out as a true complement rather than a counterpoint or embellishment. But what makes American Football such a great record is the emotional resonance that emanates from its very pores, something that very few bands (excepting the aforementioned Explosions...) can evoke. It for me is a true, deserved holder of the term timeless.

You can pre-order American Football here - it's out May 20. The deluxe edition includes an album's worth of rare live recordings, demos, and practice sessions (in which the group rehearsed material they never recorded elsewhere) to complement the original record. Beautifully expanded packaging incorporates new
photographs from Chris Strong along with lyrics, detailed liner notes written by the band, and never-before-seen band pictures. The below unreleased track is 'The 7s', which comes from a 1997 live recording. IT WAS THE FIRST SONG THEY EVER WROTE. It was the set closer until they wrote my favourite track (neck and neck with 'Honestly'), 'Stay Home'. They discarded this - most bands will never write something this good in their lives. Incredible.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Guilty Of Nothing

We put out Roku Music as our first label release, so you know that Sonic Masala is all about good quality shoegaze. Of course in this day and age there are so many variations that it's hard to discern the good, the bad and the ugly - you get enough of the last one and you are likely to turn off from all the noise (bless me Kevin for my blasphemous tongue...) Philly's Nothing certainly use some of the tropes emblematic of shoegaze, but there is definitely a lot more going on here - this band has their roots as entrenched in early hardcore as they do in 80s English midlands. This is apparent on their excellent record Guilty of Everything.  The vocals remain submerged in the miasmic swirling noise on display, but its the dynamic at play here that makes this a different beast altogether. It comes down to the calm and quiet that nestles amongst the bluster – a sonorous quality permeates tracks like 'Hymn To The Pillory', 'Endlessly' and 'Dig' allowing the noise to seep smoothly into the pores of your being. There’s a familiarity in the wavelength-like undulations of Guilty Of Everything, but that makes it even more arresting. A seriously good release - and if I hadn't put out the best shoegaze album of 2014, then this would surely be it...

Guilty Of Everything is out through Relapse now - get it here.

Howlin' Banana Raises Maddie's Kaviar Special To The Skies...

A French label called Howlin Banana, pushing garage rock? Well, I've heard of weirder things. The record crew have some great releases there, and Ill trawl through them over the next few weeks. The two I've been digging though have been from Parisian garage pop slackers Volage and Loose Rennes natives Kaviar Special.

Volage have crammed a lot of vibrating old-school tunes into one small release with their Maddie 10" EP. Favourite track: 'Many Hopes'. But the psychedelic flower pop with a grungey edge of 'Im A Fool' and 'Heart Healing (Take 1)' is a lot of fun, whilst 'Bob Is Alive' is tub thumping from the darkest recesses of a cartoonish Hell, with Volage stripped of graces, airs and souls as they play the support slot for the Cramps. Love this, even if it proves a little schizophrenic. But that's what EPs are for. Bring on the album.

Kaviar Special are up to that stage, bringing out their self-titled LP (also on Azbin Records), and it's some raucous, stupid garage rock fun. I really enjoy this kind of music when out on the booze, and these guys could easily fuel my night. It's pretty straight up in its offerings - songs don't tend to stick out as much, so when one does (like 'Ptit Cul') it feels like it's something probably less special than you think. That sounds like a diss, and it isn't meant to be - these is consistent breakneck fare that is young, dumb and full of...poison cake? The LP is sold out as far as I can tell, which is very unfortunate for most - but I have one, so that's all that matters...

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Hits From The Box #83 - Still Kickin'

It was my Dad's 60th on Thursday. I'm currently at Hervey Bay in an apartment overlooking the ocean, drinking a beer. Seems weird that I'm benefiting from Dad's birthday - but then again I guess I am every day (awwww...) He's having a lie down now, so I'm here with a cool brew and an hour to kill. Sounds like it's time to trawl through the ever expanding inbox...

Canada's Geyser have a tasty 12" EP out which starts out with a killer angular garage rock track ('Feel It All Day'), pare it back with a slightly darker meander through the paint cans and charlatans ('Copper Wish') before launch into a lecherous lurch through the B-side ('Jocko', 'Junkie'). The bottom end bass is the true centrifugal force here, propelling everything forward with a cocky jaunt that feels almost comical in the quieter moments, yet is totally vindicated when everything explodes/implodes. And the vocals go from crooning, to maniacal screaming, to carnivalesque chanting of "junkies" like they are a sideshow attraction -which they pretty much are. Good stuff.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I threw on Two, the new album from Chicago band Owls. The cover art is all kinds of ridiculous (a battered, blood smeared Noel Gallagher is kinda funny though). But as soon as the chugging guitar and hypnotic trance combine on killer opening track 'Four Weeks Of Art...' (all songs end with ellipses...), I knew I was a winner. I had no idea that Owls were a band some ten years or more ago, let alone that it included Tim Kinsella of Joan Of Arc. Makes sense though - Two is an album of constant contradiction - its an angular rock album that refuses to rock out; its an amiable pop record that refuses to be anything by cryptic; it's an accessible guitar band that continues to confound with hiccupping breaks and half-turns; Kinsella's lyrics are at once personable and impenetrable. Basically, it's Two. And I'm happy with that.

Pittsburgh lurkers Shaky Shrines have this five track EP Hocus Bogus coming out very soon, and it's a slick piece o work, wavering between organ-fuelled garage punk, Rocket From The Crypt style ('Shower Curtain'), to more windows-down-driving-through-the-night-with-a-sultry-mistress-and-blazed-on-high-quality-stimulants grooves ('Hypnotic Eyes', 'Beyond The Door') and something that brings them together in the rocking, psych tinged 'Black SUV' and 'White Work Van'. Nice.

Shaky Shrines - Hypnotic Eyes Visualizer from Justin A Nixon on Vimeo.

Back to Canada now (Toronto to be exact) to dirty everything right up with Soupcans. These degenerates wail about in crude oil and caviar, spit firewater into baby's eyes, tear the habits of nuns and choke strippers with them - its real bottom of the barrel kind of misanthropism. And as Parasite Brain attests, it's also fucking amazing. This is too hardcore to be hardcore - it's the theme tune of a disintegrating serial sodomizer. And again, I'm totally fine with that. Ill even pick up the cheque. Great, evil stuff.

Here's a nice swatch of dream pop from Melbourne courtesy of Vulpix. His Swarms Ep is a sonorous sweep of reverb stasis, ebbing and flowing from one languid memory to another in an opaque fog. It's like a lot of other dreampop bedroom wanderers then? No - the sound is crystalline, there is personality climbing out from behind the subconscious curtain of warbled guitar, there is even a little bit of humour. A confident tip of the hat to his forebears - now let's see what Vulpix brings us next.

Let's finish back in Chicago tonight with the swirling squall of The Thons. This band kinda remind me of The Thermals, if they were actually The Intelligence. Which means they are so so rad. I only have Real Raw Rock, but their newer record Thirty Foot Snake is also out - and I can't imagine it straying far from the path of this killer record. This has been a stellar Hits From The Box, but I think I'm ending with the high here. Slightly unhinged, slightly relentless, totally addictive. Get it here. Listen to BOTH ALBUMS below!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Warming A Widow With(out) Child

Let's finish the evening with some squalling post-punk from Manchester, shall we? Warm Widow's sophomore LP Childless is, in my mind at least, somewhat scruffier, louder, more unhinged than their scruffy, loud, unhinged debut Widower. That doesn't make sense I hear you shout - Widower had much lower production values, and you could just about taste the powder of ground calcium as they gnashed their teeth! And I do love that about any release - but it takes a certain level of ingenuity to instill all of that into a glossier product, like infusing a red velvet cupcake with anthrax (who eats cupcakes anyway???) Its that insidious, coruscating guitar that mines deep into your cerebral vortex. The rhythm section hold everything together with nailed-down tenacity - its an exercise in meticulous aggravation, only letting the leash go when all hope is lost. Childless is made to be played louder than your speakers can go.

Childless is out now - get it here.

Circular Songs

(Song by Dave Kan)
This time last week Sonic Masala combined with Bedroom Suck Records to present the first solo show in Brisbane for Ela Stiles (Songs, Bushwalking) - the above photo is from that performance. Stiles has an incredible presence which comes down to her haunting, commanding voice. It filled out the venue (formerly The Healer, currently Electric Playground, soon to be The Brightside) and, although she was accompanied with her guitar for most songs, it was this that marked the performance as something special.

This is ever more evident from the genetics of her debut solo record, out soon on Bedroom Suck. The album is an a cappela tour de force, drawing together her looped voice to become a haunting choral mantra, taking in Eastern stylings and drone aesthetics to form a soundscape of undulating melodicism, the soundtrack of a atmospheric meditation into the Self, channelling the losses of the world. The first half of the record is filled with songs that barely reach one minute in length (in fact only two, 'kumbh Mela' and 'Untitled Man', of the six tracks on the A side reach that milestone); whilst the B side is a ten minute drone transition based solely, again, on Stiles' voice, the sound of howling wind nearby immediately evoking a frozen arctic tundra, lost in the whiteout. It's a bewitching release from a woman who continue to beguile with each successive musical experimentation.

Pre-order Ela Stiles here.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Gentlemen Prefer Sex Tapes

(Photo by Glen Schenau)
Boy oh boy. I feel aggrieved, embarrassed, dirty and fucking excited whenever I put on Sex Tape, the record that Melbourne miscreants Gentlemen put out through Homeless Records. I've only had it since Sunday - it's just about sold out (there were two copies left at Collectors Corner in the Melbourne CBD, not sure if there are many more). Its the sort of atonal noise rock that the term pigfuck was invented for. Sure, there isn't inherent melodicism being skewered or insanely tight engine room in the muck and the mire here, but there is plenty of abrasive yowls, riffs, smashed drums and stalker-with-dead-eyes basslines here to give a corpse an erection. Matt Korvette over at Yellow Green Red took umbrage to the BDSM imagery the band take on with the cover art - and I get his point - but this is the kind of noise that is destined to dwell in the seventh level of Satan's bowel (and what his band Pissed Jeans are basically known to do). 'Military Style Massage' - now if you are resistant to that bludgeoning, we ain't friends, pure and simple. And to be honest there are some serious Melbourne bands that are fist deep in this corrosive sound - personally, I think it's brilliant. Listen to 'Perry' and bring on the pig.

On Barbiturates Like A Boss

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sad that Barbiturates aren't based in Brisbane anymore. Roland Hlavka, guitarist of another great local band Cobwebbs, has manhandled his bedroom project from a warped space noodling odyssey into an even more warped benzo trip to the dark side of the adenoidal from the bottom of the ocean. With each release Barbiturates becomes a more fitting moniker. Case in point: Boss, his latest cassette through Long Gone Records. Hlavka hides his drawl under enough reverb and distortion to shred all words from his lips, and the insidious insistence that opener 'Weight To Touch' emanates makes it sound like disturbed black-clad synth mavens Multiple Man are strapping guitars. But Boss is decidedly weirder than that - take the warbling, plodding leviathan that is 'Oxygen Free', or the turbulent nightmare that is 'Beware'. Barbiturates takes an idea and seeps into the earth with it; a parallel universe beyond the snow of the dead television, happily trapped within lysergic coffins, a boss of his own domain.

You can get Boss here. If you live in Melbourne you can catch Barbiturates play with Spermaids at the Catfish in Fitzroy on Monday. I walked past there on Sunday. That's all I know about the place.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Friday Cover Up - Thanking Courtney For Bein' Around

Had to end the week off with this - my "love" Courtney Barnett, covering some Dando. ENJOY!

Redeeming The Stickmen

The Tasmanian music scene has always mirrored the way us mainland Aussies treat the Apple Islers – as outsiders, bereft of this country in most respects, left to their own devices. I love Tasmania – its possibly the most beautiful place in Australia. This geographical ostracism is what allows this beauty to remain untouched – but is also why those persistent inter-family rumours also persist. Its nasty and untrue (I assume).

But being ostracised and forced into inbreeding does bring about great dividends (stay with me…) Because of this ostracism, both geographically and musically, the Tasmanian musical community was left to fester and ferment, scrounging together the smallest scraps of sonic alleviation and epiphany to carve out whatever they could. Thus the music that came out of Hobart in the late 90s and early 2000s is acrid, warped, coruscated – and utterly mesmeric. Most people will know about The Nation Blue and their rise from this bastion of musical barbarity, but there were many bands strangling instruments and concepts with blue-veined glee. (If you haven’t listened to Sea Scouts, for example, do yourself a favour and sort that out RIGHT NOW).

Another of these young bands doing incredible things within this nebulous musical landscape was The Stickmen. Their music was instantly recognisable yet deliberately obfuscated the accepted norm – taking the supposed trappings of post-punk and hewing out of them a nervy, chaotic dynamism that was instantly recognisable. Plenty of likeminded bands exist now that mirror this aesthetic, but the Stickmen were one of a unique few bands that truly challenged any form of sonic norm. And the inclusion of turntables is probably the only time I can think of where it belongs in rock music. It’s a bizarre concept, but when you hear the skittish scratches on songs like the excellent ‘Who Said’, it is a stroke of ardent genius. And on songs like ‘Night’, Aldous Kelly could stand up alongside the greats of the post-punk beginners, his wail as impassioned, as cathartic, as confronting.

 The Stickmen brought out two albums only – 1998’s self-titled debut, and Man Made Stars the following year. And that was it – this combustible ball finally imploded. But they never truly left the ether of the aggravated Australian musical fringes, and when The Drones convinced the band to reform for last year’s ATP Melbourne, they were an unbelievable surprise package for most – myself included. Tom Lyngcoln of The Nation Blue insisted I catch their set – and I am forever in his debt. Whilst the Per Purposes and indeed The Drones’ of the world are a breathtaking menagerie of energy and unease, it was somehow more engrossing to see The Stickmen easily in command of their raw, rancid realm.

Now the great Melbourne imprint Homeless Records have released both of these “lost” albums on 12” vinyl. If you don’t partake in this frontier freneticism, you have no right walking this earth. Tap in to something inherently visceral, a fission of collective fidgeting energies, and enjoy.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Sunbathing With Animals On The Courts

I don't have much time, I'm heading into the city to eat Thai, see Harmony, and drink with Harmony et al on my back deck - rough life. Made so much sweeter when I hear the new Parquet Courts song. It's goddamn brilliant. Listen to that drum kit - he is playing the same beat like his life depends on it. Riffs, rants, rad. Sunbathing Animal the album is out in June - can not WAIT.


I have made no bones about my immense for the fried psych squalls that inventive brothers Carney develop as Pontiak. Yet even I was surprised by the brevity of the tracks that litter Innocence, their latest album on Thrill Jockey. I'm not complaining - one of my all-time favourite tracks of last year was the title track, all two minutes and 17 seconds of it, and it came out at the tail end of the year. Every time I hear the crunch, the scree, the wails, the moans, the groove - fuck everything else, I'm out the door and gone to lose myself. The rest of the album doesn't entirely live up to such a balltearer of an opening, but with the sludgy groove of 'Lake Lustre Rush', the insistent crunch driving forth 'Ghosts', the fat 'Sabotage' bass and fuzzed out and deep Black Sabbath riffs of 'Surrounded By Diamonds' - there is just so much blasted rock here to enjoy.

There has been a bit of stick thrown at Innocence though, mainly reserved for a triptych of songs in the middle third - 'It's The Greatest', 'Noble Heads' and 'Wildfires'. I must say that having these slower tracks after the hectic opening is a bit strange - on first listen. But after a while it's like John Cusack says on High Fidelity - you have to take it down a notch, you don't want to blow your wad too early. And these tracks are great - an organ-fuelled malaise floods the first track here, before becoming an arms outstretched ode to Jason Molina at his most Neil Young/Crazy Horse; 'Noble Heads' is actually a sonorous country ballad that resonates the more it gets played. 'Wildfires' is quite sedate, and this is where I think this is my love of the band that allows me to rise above the lull. Those crashing cymbals and brotherly harmonies, though!

Pontiak - Wildfires from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

Innocence roars out of town after this on a brace of pretty killer tracks, especially closer 'We've Got It Wrong', what I can't help but think that I've actually experience the truest example of an album that displays the band's personalities. There is a ruggedness, a playfulness, an innocence that comes from being in a close-knit group, heightened all the more by the fact that the trio are kin. And whilst the next album might see them back to their brilliantly experimental full-bore psych ways, Innocence stands as an album that shows that Pontiak can do pretty much whatever they want and turn it into gold.

This goes without saying - y'all should be picking up Innocence right this minute.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Getting Paired Up Briefly With A Lesbian

Oh the hilarity that such a situational comedy could have with that premise! Hmmm...

Cantankerous, ridiculous and excellent ne’er do wells Pairs are breaking up in a couple months. Basically due to Aussie ex-pat Rhys leaving Shanghai for Melbourne once more – it’s a shame, as it is due to him that much of Shanghai’s current music scene exists, let alone is accessible outside Chinese borders. But they aren’t leaving us empty handed, releasing not one but TWO albums before that imminent parting of ways comes about. The first cab off the rank is free download album Brief Lesbian, recorded with another ex-pat, this time Canadian Adam McCrae (Reykjavictim), and its a typically rambunctious, long winded, caustic affair, with ridiculous song titles and fits of deconstructed sonic mewling throughout. The highlight is 'Bloodshot' which features the familiar blood-curdling wails of flannel-shirted despair that only Tom Lyngcoln (The Nation Blue/Harmony) can muster, and East Brunswick All Girls Choir's Marcus Hobbs doing FOURTEEN guitar solos over each other. But truth be told, the whole thing is a demented form of imploding genius, with McCrae's synths bringing another cracked element to an already battered aesthetic...

Brief Lesbian is available now. It's pretty great - go and get it now. Can't wait to see what their finale will look/sound like...

A Warm Soda For A Young Reckless, Ageless Heart

For better or worse, I'm a massive fan of Warm Soda. The band. Warm soda is all kinds of awful. In fact, it’s not soda, it’s soft drink. Or pop. But let’s not digress too much…

Matthew Melton has a way of crafting and recording simple jangly garage rock compositions that are shone through a sepia, nostalgic prism – and I don’t mean Instagram selfie do a quick alteration and everything is groovy either. Like fellow Californian Mikal Cronin, Melton’s Warm Soda feels displaced, as if unearthed cryofrozen from a time capsule from a sunnier, sappier era of which history shows no sign of, like a decade . Something For You is a constant for me when I want to just relax with a goofy grin, and whilst newie Young Reckless Hearts (also out through ever-excellent Castle Face Records) pares things back a dash, the lack of a roaring rock track is compensated by unadulterated love and superfluous melodies flowing forth like bathing honey. Is it old? New? From a kid’s perspective looking forward? An ageing hippy looking back? Any of these things? None? It's a space-age contraption that came from ancient times...or something. I'm sleep deprived. All I know is, Young Reckless Hearts traverses time, space and sensibilities to nestle in the cockles of the (melted) heart.

Young Reckless Hearts is out now. These may be gone, but as always Castle Face are dabbling in weird colour vinyl schemes, and this version is called Pentacolor AND the first 69 bought receive a fridge magnet from the cluttered cover from Melton himself. Don't worry if you miss out though - the next batch is a milky clear vinyl with grape splatter. Seriously enough to give anyone the horn.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Mega Aussie Video Vacuum Of Death

It's been far too long since I've done one of these. So take an hour off from work, and revel in the beauty of the moving image - coupled with killer songs. Ill try to keep a Sonic Masala thread through this too...

Dollar Bar kick us off with 'Half The Battle'. Love how Pat rides around Tokyo, giving the 'cool' one-finger wave. This is definitely a highlight right now. The band play the Ela Stiles (Songs/Bushwalking) show that Sonic Masala is putting on alongside Bedroom Suck Records in what is an amazing joint venture. Also supported by Primitive Motion and J. Francis, this gig is on at Electric Playground this Friday!!! COME!

I'd be remiss if I didn't have two of my label roster's videos here. First up is Roku Music, who are finishing the first half of their massive national tour tonight in Melbourne (playing Monday Night Mass alongside Bored Nothing, Barbiturates (the great little Brissy band/dude now stationed in Melbourne),Vowel Movement and the J. Arthur Keenes Band from Canada - if you are are around I suggest you head there right now.  Anyway, this is 'Ended', a great shoegaze track with mirrored languorous footage from Helena Papageorg.

Tape/Off will be releasing their first album Chipper on Sonic Masala Records in June. Here is the first single, 'Pedestal Fan'. Sub two minutes of the band smashing the track out in the back of their now sadly departed tour van, it's fun, frenetic and a great taste of what is to come. These guys have a good bunch of shows lined up for that tour too, so stay tuned.

One of the tracks on Tape/Off's upcoming album features vocals from none other than Tom Lyngcoln, the rugged genius behind The Nation Blue and Harmony. It's the latter band that he is pouring everything into 2014 with the brilliant Carpetbombing album, and the clip for 'Water Runs Cold' could also be the best of 2014. Haunting, haunted, heartrending, and rustically beautiful. Harmony play Black Bear Lounge this Thursday with excellent support with Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side and Per Purpose.

Back to Roku Music. When I joined them with their Sydney/Newcastle leg of the tour the other weekend, we agreed that the only record better than their own was Jersey Flegg, the debut album from Sydney band You Beauty. The album is a concept album based on a fictitious rugby league player whose rising star fades as he hovers in NSW metropolitan obscurity. Seriously. But the brilliance of this record isn't just the silliness and brilliant Ocker one-liners ('you could have had Whispering Jack play at your wedding' being a definite watershed lyric), but that the songs themselves are inimitably listenable. The four band members of Roku knew much of these tracks off by heart, and with good reason. Here is 'Healin' Spirit' - if you don't like it, you don't know music.

One of the dirtiest excuses for a garage band, Thee Hugs brought out this little chestnut last month. The demented genius of 'Bashar Al-Assad' is in the blatant ridiculousness of the headdresses and the terrorist overtones, yet it still lending the track the requisite amount of sweat-stained tension. Donnie from Roku recorded this malignant mess - and we should all be proud of this unholy birth.

Yuri Johnson filmed the above film clip, and here he is playing guitar in his band Keep On Dancin's. The four-piece's loooooong-awaited sophomore album Hunter is on its way, and 'Grey Ghost' is the band at their most powerful (albeit measured - nothing is ever thrown to chance here). Yes, this has been out since last year, but I forgot to show it. And I need to extend this tenuous link (other than the Australian connection, which will break too I'm sure). Can't wait for this album guys!!

Local ratbags done good DZ Deathrays get slicker and  louder, and 'Gina Works At Hearts' is the perfect embodiment of that. It isn't their strongest song, but you have to support these rad dudes who continue to do their thing, strongly influenced by DFA79, and continue to slay it. They are also in Velociraptor that includes the Thee Hugs and KOD heathens, so keeping the love alive.

One of the most excellent and eccentric acts that graced the Sonic Masala showcases last year was the last show of the year, when Melbourne "guy" Orlando Furious brought his woozy, crushed percolator pop to Brisbane. It was a captivating performance (and chunky chunky chains) that has stuck with me, even now. His cassette Popular is great. 'Nu Body' is the perfect example of what to expect from this charismatic enigma. i wish he lived up here so I could put him on a whole bunch more shows. Guess Ill have to live with Orlando Furious through his hop-hip cracked muzak.

Possibly my favourite show that I've put on was the second anniversary of Sonic Masala shows last October. We had the debut performance of Landing In The Presence of Enemy Jaguars, Advanced (or just Landpres), the gritty punk stylings of Big Richard Insect (and their Neil Young cover!), and FINALLY getting my favourite Brisbane band EVER Turnpike to play a set. But it was getting Melbourne rustic monsters The Spinning Rooms to play not one but two shows. I cannot stress enough how good this band is, and their two albums are underrated gems of the modern Australian music era. Here is a clip for 'It Can't Not' - seriously brilliant band.

Up here that particular day to play alongside The Nation Blue (there's that Lyngcoln again...) were another excellent, raucous pack of bastards, Batpiss. And whilst this isn't their video, the trio do make a cameo as the druggos in the shitters for King Parrot's "seminal" video clip for 'Dead End' - throwing off at The Shining with enough Melbourne degenerates that prop up the scene there to make this a veritable who's who. But who cares when the track is this bloody great.

A couple weeks ago I put on a little show for Matt Banham (No Through Road). Good friend Stephanie Crase was up here too, playing her Summer Flake material solo at one of the final shows to be played at the Hideaway. Here she is again, playing guitar in her good friend Ellen Carey's outfit Fair Maiden - they shot the video too. It's a great song from what is likely to be a great record (out on Bedroom Suck - see the connections continue to flow!)

Fair Maiden - Lady of Fortune from BSR on Vimeo.

The next few tracks are here because they have or will be supporting Sonic Masala Records bands in the next few months. Doctopus will be playing in Western Australia alongside Roku Music; Milkk will join Gazar Strips in their Sydney shows in May; and Bad Vision and Cull will (hopefully) help Tape/Off launch their record in June. They are great bands in their own right, of course - Doctopus surprise, not being a third-tier NZ dub band instead being a psychy garage mish-mash of gargantuan proportions; Milkk's woozy weirdness is mirrored by this lo-fi tackfest; Bad Vision play their straight-up rock, well, straight up; and Cull conitnue to explore the outer realms of delay-altered realities. Keep marching forward, fellow harbingers of noise!

One of my favourite 00s bands was Melbourne two-piece Sodastream. Here is songsmith Karl Smith and his very cute video for 'Slow Short Story'. You all need to listen to his solo record, Kites, right now.

Slow Short Story - Karl Smith from Karl Smith on Vimeo.

Let's finish up with THE band I'd like to play a Sonic Masala show. Melbourne crackpots Ooga Boogas. Im gonna try, I promise...


Monday, 31 March 2014

Multiple Men

I mentioned earlier today that I think Brainbeau is one of the best bands in Brisbane. Well, I think Multiple Man are right up there, the nihilist yin to Brainbeau's hypercoloured yang. The Brothers Campion brought out one of my favourite 7"s of last year with Body Double (out through the great Major Crimes label), and have a new 7" in the form of Guilt Culture. It's more dissonance, more disdain, more cerebral crucifixion and flagellation. It's a seductive, leering, dominant future punk secretion that floods the synapses and renders them (and you) obsolete. It's Multiple Man, and they're coming to get you (lovely dudes, but).

Guilt Culture is out on Detonic Recordings.