Friday, 27 April 2012

Video Vacuum - Pink Mountaintops, Depth & Current, Christian Bland & the Revelators, Pontiak, White Hills

Two Video Vacuums in one week? Weird, right? But I'm not feeling terribly work-oriented, so what better way to waste time than to toke up and get psychedelic on everyone's asses? (NB: In case anyone from work reads this (IE slim to nil, but still...) I haven't really toked up. I have just rubbed my eyes really hard because I'm so tired from working outside work hours all night long, and don't want to fall asleep because I love my job sooooooo much...) Plus it's Austin Psych Fest weekend, so in lieu of not being there, here are some images that might denote what it'd be like if we were...

Let's start with Pink Mountaintops, the side project for Black Mountain's Stephen McBean (they toured recently with Dead Meadow - I missed that hot ticket, and am still paying the price...). 'While We Were Dreaming' is not a new track but thanks to the excellent Ongakubaka blog I have reacquainted myself with this great song.

Continuing the vein of epic psych bands with the colour black in their name's side projects, Black Angels axe-grinder Christian Bland has been pumping out tracks off his own bat, backed by The Revelators. Nothing new here - what it is is bloody good though.

It's certainly no secret that I love the shit out of Pontiak, the Carney brothers' ode to all things psych rock. Their latest opus Echo Ono is one of my fave albums of the year thus far, and 'Royal Colours' helps to keep the good times roll. I honestly thing that if I spent a weekend with these guys, I would end up covered in metallic paint with a devilish grin also. Just sayin.

Another SM fave, and also with a rad album under their belt in 2012, White Hills have a couple of vids floating about on the back of tracks from Frying On This Rock. Both 'You Dream You See' and 'Pads of Light' encapsulate the space spazz oddities that Dave W and Ego Sensation are, and are rocking to boot. I am a massive fan of this band, and you need to be too.

Finally I mentioned Depth & Current last year as their debut LP (through Nice People) was pretty solid. Here is this also solid video for the track 'Pick Yourself Up' - this band is a slowburner, but when it does latch hold of you they sizzle. Check it out for yourself. If you are in Norman, Oklahoma this weekend they are playing the Norman Music Festival, alongside some other ace acts like Bloody Knives, Amen Dunes, True Widow and Woods. Nice...


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Gnash With The Ganaschz

Here is a little post about an EP I stumbled across last month. It's a trashy little thing called Jungle Party by Byron Bay duo The Ganaschz, and it is dirty as all get out. Consisting of small tunes that are garagey insofar that they sound like they were performed at midnight in an empty automotive garage, the band come across as deliciously deranged, Kelly in particular with her growls and yelps. This is blues with rabies. I say forget the injection and let the pink foam rise to your gummy, smile-streaked lips, heathens.

Grab Jungle Party here.

The Ganaschz - No Baby Gerl
The Ganaschz - Jack It Up
The Ganaschz - You Ain't Got No Face

Iowa Never Saw It Coming

We have been championing fuzz-drenched wailing rockers Iowa for some time now, so it goes without saying that we would be championing their debut album, Never Saw It Coming. It's exactly what their previous 7"'s and singles 'Complete Control' and Panic Attack' promised - 12 tracks of unabashed 90s glory-hugging, some awe-inspiring guitar solos, and lotsa tension-filled hooks. There are a few missteps - for once it's an instrumental, 'Seretonin', that doesn't connect with me - but overall this record is killer - and loud. Very loud. There is even an opportunity on 'Lights Out' where the Melbourne trio seek out their inner grungemaster (could the title be a direct reference???), and buzzsaw with aplomb.

Never Saw It Coming continues Iowa's sexy attraction to multi-coloured vinyl releases, with the yellow wax making fizzy pants the country over. See it below - I wasn't kidding, was I? Grab it here. They also have a quality T-shirt which you can buy here (what am I, Iowa's merch buddy? Geez!) Apparently live these guys are killing it also. They had their debut launch the other weekend, supported by Brisbane's own Tape/Off who apparently held their own too. Tour dates for Brisbane will be forthcoming shortly.

Iowa - Complete Control

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Lusting After Youth And War

I know I mentioned the incumbent split for Sweden's Lust For Youth and Denmark's War, The Glass House Etiquette, a little while ago. Well, Avant! Records is about to drop that bomb - go get it. Also important though is LFY's new full-length, Growing Seeds. I'm really digging it. I know there is a lot of this diseased synth pop that lurks around in the ether, but there is something about this album and this band (now just the solo outfit for Hannes Norrvide after partner in crime Amanda's departure) that tends to nail it more consistently than others. Maybe it's just me - but there is something sexy and addictive about this record. I reckon its my favourite in this vein this year. It's not ultra surprising, as I was a fan of the Gothic Germanic-wave of their previous release Solar Flare, but this really steps up. 'Cover Their Face' is doing me over and over again - I feel wonderfully violated. Yes, I am a little bit of a whore - Lust For Youth does that to me, every time.

Grab Growing Over here.

Lust For Youth - Behind Curtains

And for you War fans...

War - Somme, Maggio

Set These Bats Aflame

I have to say - Brisbane, you are doing a fine job in razing conventions to the ground, with some excellent doom-laden acts scorching the earth. Of course the leading contender (in my heavily biased opinion) is No Anchor. One you may not be aware of though is Golden Bats, Geordie from Dick Nasty/Teargas' solo project. He has two EPs available on Bandcamp (called I and II), and the plaintive yet evocative cover spells it all out for you. A skull spewing a skull spewing fire? A besaddled rat with some dude sleeping on its back? Its dark, heavy dirgey metal with a sense of humour. You've gotta love that!

Golden Bats - Wooden City

You can get I for free here, plus purchase II there too. Georgie has almost finished the third release and is ready to roll out the fourth - its an assembly line of destruction kids! There are tremblings that Golden Bats will be on an SM show further along in the year (maybe creating a nuclear winter...) but you MUST go see him play next Friday, May 4. He is the opening act at Alhambra Lounge, supporting Hope Drone, No Anchor and Heirs! Holy fucking shit! Take your ear plugs, forget your mind, and lose yourself in the beautiful horror...

Sonic Masala Presents It's A Knockout - Round 2!

It's now time to dissect the last two acts on Friday's 6th Sonic Masala Presents... showcase. In this case we have two acts that are fledgling in terms of who their big brothers are, but are burgeoning talents in their own right

Star Lion is the relatively new project for Ben Thompson, he of the prolifically epic The Rational Academy. Whilst the band are percolating in preparation for their next tilt at global glory, Thompson has unearthed his inner electronic stargazer - and whilst it isn't that far removed from his day job (really, the spaces created in these suites of sound make sense), it has such a brooding intensity that it pervades the senses. That said, it will be interesting to see how his powers battle the sloppy erraticisms of the next act...

Closing out the evening in a waterfall of sawdust and beer suds, Woodboot are yet another arm of garage shambolism that branches from the Velociraptor/Tiny Migrants/Keep On Dancins tree. There are so many bands in this vein (The Quest For Glory is actually yet another one) that it is hard to keep track - and even harder to believe that each spawns its own personality and fanbase. Yet that they do, which is why Brisbane has such a spectacular scene right now. The simplicity of the duo adds to the allure (plus that the recording of their rendition of 'I'm A Genius' on YouTube has a Spaceshits song down the right hand side - THAT is grand!)

So the eclecticism is in full effect. But as they sang on the titular show...


Come down on Friday to The Waiting Room in West End. $10, BYO and slapfights between grungy upstarts and elegant wasters to kickstart the weekend - there is no other reason to live.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Video Vacuum - Liars, Mind Spiders, Birthdays, Charbonneau

It's been some time since I got it on with the visuals, and I've had a few up my sleeve without acting on them. Well, this post is nothing if not to show off the new video for Liars' single 'No. 1 Against The Rush', a incredibly filmed, dark as fuck mood piece that starts solemn, gets fucking twisted, and ends in territory that will haunt my dreams. The Human Centipede 2 should have been this. Angus Andrew's facial expression says it all really. If the track is already whipping you into a frenzy for the upcoming LP WIXIW (it is for me), then this video will seal the deal.

Raging Texans Mind Spiders have just released Meltdown on Dirtnap Records, and 'Wait For Us' is off it. It portrays a guy apparently abandoned on a desolate planet, who calls out for help. Yet when it comes, the "rescuer" gets more than he bargains for... This is a slick video, much like the Liars video, and perfectly complements this killer tune.

Portland synthers Charbonneau have an 80stastic flick to correspond with their 'American Is My Favourite Language' track. Focusing on US billboards and signs, interspersed with some slow-mo spazz dancing, we have something affecting, amusing and addictive. I don't know who this band is, but this video is amazing.

Finally we have Boston act Birthdays, who threw me their 'Howolding Girls' video the other day (via Mike from Sippy Cup Everything). It has Birthdays (AKA Sam Yager) standing with a black background and various colours and images projected onto his face, the overall effect coming across as B-grade horror, glow-in-the-dark tribalism and Animal Collective eclecticism with the right amount of unease and fascination. The track itself emulates AC in its swathes of synth, yet with slightly more immediately accessible vocals... Good stuff. Birthdays is rocking with Gauntlet Hair in his hometown before winging his way to Japan for a two week jaunt - good luck dude, let us know how it goes!


Sonic Masala Presents It's A Knockout - Round 1!

It's a busy week on Planet Masala. On Sunday we helped send off Auckland noisemakers God Bows To Math (alongside Tiny Spiders and Quiet Steps, both playing their last shows for a while), and whilst it was a disappointing turnout, it was a lively and excellent show. I'm not resting on my or anyone else's laurels however, as this Friday sees the sixth instalment of our monthly showcases down at the Waiting Room. This one promises to be something markedly different than previous shows in that whilst it has always been eclectic, the lineup takes on two sides of the same tawdry coin that is our local music scene.

Today we are focusing on the first two acts playing the bill, squaring off in what I like to call "It's A Knockout!" Kicking us off is an unknown quantity in White Squall, a three-piece of laptop junkies who like mucking around in the bedroom before being coaxed out into the night to play. They have a couple "jams" that they've slammed down on Bandcamp here - below is one of them. Their ambient sample-heavy miasmas are quite impressive - the love of Boards Of Canada/Four Tet/The Weeknd and their ilk stands tall here. They may be a timid bunch, but expect an intense punch on the night.

White Squall - Pushed Pulled Mix

In the opposite corner, with fists cocked and rucksacks packed, are Brisbane's own adventure rockers The Quest For Glory. Embracing GIFs, zaniness, explosions and corny non-sequiters, the quartet don't get out much as a collective - if they did Brisbane would sink into a hole of preposterousness the likes that hasn't been seen since Test Icicles was deemed a good name for a band - so expect them to unleash the woody goodness with both barrels. Grab their "album" Derek Gene and the Gene Scream here - it's free.

The Quest For Glory - Politics
The Quest For Glory - Choose Your Own Adventure

Who will win out? And how will they tap into the ring to aid them in that final sonic piledriver to claim the ultimate accolades? Check back in tomorrow to find out!

A Mixtape That's Not Not Fun

I missed blogging about stuff yesterday, so I thought I'd give you a nice little make up present. I didn't make it though, this comes from the mind of Not Not Fun alumna Cankun, via great French mag/webzine Kiblind. It's pretty ace, with tracks including the wonderfully warped minds of Jim O'Rourke, Animal Collective, Gastr Del Sol, Do Make Say Think and Gang Gang Dance, amongst others.

Tracklist :

1-Bobby Conn & Jim O'Rourke - California
2-Chicago Underground Duo - Hermeto
3-Animal Collective - Safer
4-Gastr del Sol - The Seasons Reverse
5-Do Make Say Think - Goodbye Enemy Airship
6-Gang Gang Dance - Glass Jar
7-Antonio Carlos Jobim – Insensatez

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A Crocodile Bit Me Guts Out!

They're back! And so my love/hate relationship continues...

The hippest band on the planet (at least to themselves) San Diego's Crocodiles have a new single out playing point man to their new LP Endless Flowers. It's a sexy lil 7" (Souterrain Transmissions always put the goods on show), and it is a solid, discordant noise pop number. It doesn't offer anything new, but then again why should it? Hence the swinging pendulum love/hate - their knowing looks and airs irk me, but at times they kinda deserve it! ARGH! is a Sunday song for you! Audio AND visual! Have that with your tea and crumpet!
Crocodiles - Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9)

And finally, as a special gift, the heading's reference comes from this...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Finding Stagnant Consistency In These Cool Pools

I have no idea why this was sitting on my desktop when I got back from holidays. I didn't remember receiving it; I didn't remember downloading it - yet here it is, 'Consistency' by Bloomington Indiana duo Stagnant Pools. But I tell you what - if anything is going to get me through this moribund Saturday, it is this roiler. More please!

NB - it turns out a friend of the band sent it to me, yet I somehow lost the email, only to stumble across this track. Nice job, friend!

Stagnant Pools - Consistency

Friday, 20 April 2012

School Knights

Those snotty slackos School Knights have a couple new tunes floating around the ether. After the disappointing news that the fucking rad SK/Night Manager split isn't likely to materialise, it's good to hear these guys are still throwing their shit at their teenage bedroom walls. Take that, MOM! Yeah, these two tracks in particular play the Wavves card, but when the flat-brim cap fits... It's goddamn catchy, a veritable KFC bucketload of fun, plus it's a bit meatier - the duo of Michael Stein and Zack Roif are now a foursome, thanks to Morris Kolontyrsky and Ben Donehower! Radness! And it is honed (as much as this shit can be honed) with some ace tours last year opposite Ty Segall, Black Lips, Cloud Nothings, Vivian Girls and Gauntlet Hair. Yeah, I just came a little too...

School Knights - Present Tense
School Knights - Bender

Screaming Tree Out, Depeche Mode In - All Soulsavers

I thought I'd make a quick mention of this record The Light The Dead See, the newie by Soulsavers. See, it is very Soulsavers - very lush, maudlin, occasional flashes of dark menace - yet it isn't entirely my cup of tea. It isn't bad at all - I even really like some of the tracks - and I do like me a bit of Depeche Mode - but I can't get past the crooning of Gahan because IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE MARK LANEGAN! I know that he was a collaborator in the last two records, but he MADE those records (well, when you have Oldham/Goodwim/Patton/Pierce/Haynes as back-ups, that really adds impetus to a meteoric sound...). So the reason I'm writing this post, is to set you up. It comes out May 22 on Mute, so you have enough time to divorce yourself from the idea that it will be like Mark Lanegan's Soulsavers. This is a different beast altogether. Seeing as Gahan has struggled through so much torment and injury recently, it's a tour de force. BUT IT AIN'T LANEGAN.

Dreams Like Ferns Decay Into Brutal Nothing

Holy fucking shit.

Fern by Seattle's Dreamdecay is my favourite album right now, and it needs to be yours too. This is one inexorably torturous journey for someone slowly and not very subtly spontaneously combusting - and it is pure joy. This is what the Cenobites mean in Hellraiser, not that fucking box and the barb wire and the flaying of flesh!! Dreamdecay has tapped into that early Swans era that is utterly, unforgivably nihilistic, endeavouring to rend all matter asunder. This kind of brutality is not done often enough. Industrial drone doom Jesuscore? Don't quote me on it - but what with The Men and Pop. 1280 also living amongst us, this could be the Second Coming...

Justin of Dreamdecay wants you to embrace his hell! Grab Fern here.

Dreamdecay - 2

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Toby Jumps The Truth And Fails To Fall Far

Toby Goodshank made his high-profile musical debut playing acoustic guitar in The Moldy Peaches. That I already knew. He has touring extensively Stateside and abroad with artists including Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson. Well, yeah, that makes sense. That Goodshank has a prolific solo career, recording 14 albums in a five-year span - that just about blew my mind. Apparently he is prominent in the underground NYC music scene, which I of course wouldn't be privy to, but based on his background and the strength of latest record Truth Jump Fall, Id fully believe it.

Anti-folk is bandied around pretty loosely these days, with many taking on the genre as their flagstaff usually proffering music that is just acoustic weirdness, or in some cases, is just shit. Yet whilst much of Goodshank's oeuvre plays with unconventional storytelling and innuendo, something that has been a staple of this sub-genre (and something that Lewis and Dawson have also carved a craft from), Truth Jump Fall proves to cover darker, more sombre terrain. Something akin to John Darnielle in his personal and verbose lyricism, Goodshank doesn't mince about, often cutting things short before the song can take flight - yet the brevity truly works well in these personal tomes. It's a short album, yet, also like Darnielle's Mountain Goats, the introspection, melancholia and obtuse nature of these mostly stripped back tracks somehow still show off pop nous - these are catchy tunes. Whilst I may not have known Goodshank as a standing voice before now, I'm definitely a fan now.

Truth Jump Fall is out now.

Toby Goodshank - Truth Jump Fall
Toby Goodshank - Baby I Feel Like I Just Got Cut In Half

If you're a fan too, head over to Toby Goodshank's Bandcamp here where there is so much of past and upcoming music there it will fry your brain!

This Waskerley Way Is More Haunted Than Before...

I have been a fan of UK native Waskerley Way since his bedroom project took flight back in the early days of Sonic Masala. His lo-fi mantras and mesmeric noisescapes have always intrigued, and in the case of 'Wind Shear', truly excelled. Now we have a longplayer in our midst, Haunted Tors.

It was not what I was expecting.

And whilst tracks like 'Deadquarters' follows in some of the lo-fi sonic plateaus that WW has traversed in the past, I was shocked when the opening one-two salvo of the title track and 'Sista' - these songs are heavy! There is some crazy shit going on here. 'Sista' in particular reminds me of the much missed Aussie band Snowman in its sonorous vocals married to some toxic noise and off-kilter synth, yet the noise itself when it kicks in is in a quieter corner of Fuck Buttons territory. There is a conceptual theme running throughout the album that pertains to resisting tyrannical governments and honouring family and friends. The lyrics evoke as much - if you can make them out, they are heavily distorted and thrown in the mix. It's all very medieval/fantasy with a darker edge, therefore the lyrics are quite interesting, and it would be a shame that they remain obscure if the music wasn't so great as is.

Waskerley Way (AKA Michael Bridgewater) calls himself a composer and a sonic miscreant. Beforehand, on such works as Energy Legs and Waterfall, I would have said that he still had the training wheels; with La Magie Rouge, a formula had been realised; with 'Wind Shear', some lightning in a bottle. Haunted Tors is the amalgamation of all these teething sessions, and sees a noisenik in full flight. Long may he soar (and no offence, but WW are something other than Washed Out entirely. I read that somewhere. It made me laugh).

Waskerley Way is playing a show in May well worth checking out if you are UK bound:

Saturday 12 May at The Victoria, Mile End, London with Way Through (Upset The Rhythm)

Wear This Birthgiving Toad As A Fruit Hat

Certainly not the most attractive of names, Denmark's Birthgiving Toad nevertheless creates some narcotic, mesmeric tunes. His new album As Fruit Hat is as whacked as ever, but this time he is closer to the nexus of what his powers can truly wield. These stoned out anthems, opened by 'Thought Of Having The Most', are prog rock melting pots without the jazz fusion circle jerks. In fact, this record, much like the previous record For Awkward Company (which I reviewed here), is a blender of sounds, melding everything from trad 80s rock riffs and noise to pop sensibilities and progressive compositions. It sounds quite like, yet unlike, anything you have ever heard before. It's even more impressive in that it doesn't make you work for your money - whatever BT have done, they have done it in a weirdly accessible way. A mainstream headfuck? We can only hope...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Hits From The Box #48 - Holidays Taste Sweeter On A Black Friday

I never thought I'd say this, but...I'm loving being in Sydney right about now. The highlights - lots of crazy boutique bars, good cheap music, good (not so cheap) food, sun, surf, Harbour Bridge... Sadly I'm about to run the red lights and wing my way back to Brisbane. Not sad in that I don't want to go back - just that the holiday is over. Back to the grind, as it were. So let's find some tunes that will help me on that depressing drive back into reality...

Let's ease into things with Red Nightfall. The Toronto quartet released their debut self-titled album late last year, and their self-prescribed "sad bastard indie-rock" can be heavy going, but there is majesty in their austere approach to indie-folk, offering deceptively intricate foundations to their tracks. The genre has had a major resurgence due to the likes of Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver doing their tweaking, and whilst there isn't anything of the latter insofar of inventiveness, it's a solid record well worth a listen. Here is the opening track to Red Nightfall, and you can get the album here.

Red Nightfall - Forever Leaving

Cecilia Spectrum is the new moniker for Germany Germany collaborator Drew Harris. The first major effort is Eclipse, which can be viewed as either a 15-minute 7-part song, or a 15-minute 7-song mixtape. In Harris' words, "it's electronic and ambient and experimental or something." Such modesty will get you nowhere! This is an affecting suite of sound that elevates itself above mere ambient soundscapes and proves to be more of a dreamtych (yep, made that word up) that soundtracks your deepest slumbers. You can grab Eclipse for free here - it is well worth it, the perfect opening salvo.

Cecilia Spectrum - Untitled

Subburbia is an interesting beast. Hailing from Brazil, the foursome have pumped out PENTAGRAMA, a 24 hour expulsion of sound and noise. Describing their new sound as "witty, sexy, and chaotic," Subburbia are getting the inevitable comparisons to fellow Brazilians CSS, and whilst such notions aren't totally disparate, there are elements on the EP that suggest that they may break the mould there. There is definite synth driven numbers, all about getting people to move, yet there's a bit more snarl than bubblegum which I like. They have a new single out in June - will be interesting to see how that pans out.

London-based scuzzy pop/shoegaze three piece Model Railway Exhibition have released a cassette (through Verulamium Records) of their single (yep, a cassingle!!) 'Jennifer's Brother.' Funnily enough, I find the B-sides to be more alluring, yet there is enough moxy in these three songs to have me begging for something more substantial. I know it's in ya, fellas! Plus, for whatever reason, I love the crummy drum machine - almost unheard of in these here parts...

Another Verulamium Records release is the new mini-album by Palmz (AKA Lexie Corfiatis) called Grow. The rose-covered artwork and the bubbly, 80s high school font are a bit of a misleading notion, as underpinning this soaring sepia-tinged girl guitar pop is the combination of a 50's beach party with hazy, dreamy shoegaze guitars, effortlessly beautiful vocals and some delicious melancholia. The Californian band have released the EP on limited red tape - sweet!.

Palmz - I Only Want Good Things For You
Palmz - I Will Never, Never, EVER, Feel Again

It's been a while since I've skipped across the Tasman for some new talent (although Seth Frightening and God Bows To Math are two great NZ additions Ive been championing lately), so I thought I would shed some light on Christchurch's Hush House. The brainchild of Year 12 student Harry Guy, Hush House shows great maturity, with first single 'Objects' offering a love of psych pop and surf music that goes beyond mere apery, although there is a certain Nathan Williams-esque delivery here. He has been playing some shows recently, and is supposed to be releasing a five track EP also, which is entirely performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by him. For an outlet to relieve boredom, Guy has got something going on here...

Hush House - Objects

And lastly, to get me through the twilight hours and into the metropolis that is Brisbane, I have San Francisco rockers The Midnight Snackers who have just released their Sudden Death EP. Recorded in 72 hours in a one weekend splurge, the "champagne garage rockers" have done an excellent job of expanding their elemental horizons by placing such restraints on themselves. Is that the sound of sleeplessness and rancid liquor coming out of the pores? Quite possibly. "There was a moment, I think it was around hour sixty, when things got real difficult," recalls bassist Aaron Sankin. "I had been pounding my forehead on the baby grand for what felt like a solid 20 minutes pathetically mumbling, 'Is this a song?' at an oddly shaped stain on the wall when I think we all very strongly considered giving up and vowing to never speak of it again." But they stuck to their guns, and Sudden Death is an amazingly cohesive record as a result. I don't know how SF does it, but there is a glut of great rock bands working tirelessly to push themselves to the limit and beyond. Plus they have an LCD Soundsystem reference, and some slower songs that kill just as hard as the high octane burners - all is well in their world. Grab the EP here.

The Midnight Snackers - Thank You James Murphy (For The Fiber-Optic Cowbell That You Gave Me)
The Midnight Snackers - Borrowed Names

Happy Wednesday!

No Cutting Corners For Irish Duo

Irish duo We Cut Corners are about to . On their debut album Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards, they manage to infuse their melodic indie anthems with another fire and brimstone to rip your head off. Its to the band's credit that they can sound almost mainstream, rip songs apart in under three minutes on average, yet still strive to be an iconic sounding band. It's interesting stuff, well worth a listen.

This Miaou Is More Like A Roar

Dan over at local boutique record label Bon Voyage whispered in my ear at the beginning of the year that he had some special releases earmarked for 2012. Well the first one is ripe to drop. French duo Looks Like Miaou have put together a raw and intense self-titled debut, a cacophonous maelstrom that echoes out of a rubbish bin with just the right resonance of anguish, isolation and fetid angst. The guitar lines are warbled, serrated and diseased; the vocals interchange between mumblecore sweetness and light to aggrieved, anguished wails; the electronics hiccuping throughout feel contrived, ad hoc and organic all at once. It's a confronting yet overtly compelling album. Chloe and Constant are apparently part of a life-punk collective living in Marseilles who are at odds with the continental beauty of their environment, gnashing their teeth as they revel in nihilistic oblivion. This LP certainly mirrors such aspersions. It's dark and vicious, yet like most things in this realm it's indelibly seductive.

Put out through Goner Records in the States, Looks Like Miaou hits Aussie shores April 30th thanks to Dan and his Bon Voyage crew. Pre-order this excellent LP here.

Looks Like Miaou - Chevreuil Rodeo
Looks Like Miaou - Canif & Diana Ross

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Where Are They Now? - Little Dreamers #3

It's time to get reacquainted with some bands that I "unearthed" over the past couple years and see what they're up to (wow, I'm feeling all Rumpus Room right now...)

We all loved a bit of scuzziness due to Toronto's The Bats Pajamas' garage shtick. Well here they are again, with their EP Totally, and like its moniker suggests this record totally kicks arse! OK, the EP doesn't suggest kicking arse, just that its totally... But seriously, 'Red Scared' is one hell of a rocking tune, and the rest of the album follows suit accordingly. You can get the EP for free here.

The Bats Pajamas - Sarai
The Bats Pajamas - Red Scared

Neil Weir loves his shoegaze, most evident in current band The Chambermaids. Their track 'China Blue' from last year really struck a chord with me, and the follow-up 'Whirlpool' mines this rich vein further. It's a slick, sexy number, released through Guilt Ridden Pop, and marries a windswept coastal vibe with a downward spiral of caterwauling guitars. They have been hard at work recording for a new album, and when the fruits of their labour surfaces Ill be the first person to latch on to it!

The Chambermaids - Whirlpool

Reading quartet Tripwires are cranking up for a big 2012 if 'Emerald' is any indication. These kids have been quiet since the ripples they cleaved with their last single 'Cinnamon', but 'Emerald' ensures and mollifies - the wait has not been in vain. The album will be burning its way across the sky very soon...

Tripwires - Emerald

Finally (and no offence to the other acts here, they are all amazing, but I feel I've left the best to last on this occasion), NY/DC's Drop Electric dropped an electric bomb on us all with Finding Color In The Ashes back in March last year. Er, sorry...tequila hangover induces lacklustre puns... But this is kinda fitting, seeing as the band's new track is called 'Santo Domingo' after the capital of the Dominican Republic (that isn't racist is it? To assume they drink tequila or some similar hard liquor in that country? I don't mean to cause international distress, seriously!) It's been a while since a new instrumental band really knocked me for six, but the brooding menace underpinning the Eastern inflections in this track paints an artful, epic soundscape that is nigh on impossible to escape. This is a good un, people. Stay alert on this one.

Drop Electric - Santo Domingo

Neutral Is Truly Mental

One of the craziest percussive noise acts to have assaulted our senses would have to be LA's Foot Village. Their batshit manic mantras have divided audiences wider than the Red Sea (see that? Total Biblical reference!!) with some proclaiming their noisy rackets as compulsory listening, and others deeming it more inhumane than water torture. My verdict? Foot Village rock all kinds of balls. So when one of their members Brian Miller ventures out on his own, under the moniker True Neutral (I'm guessing in reference to RPGs), then I'm all over it like a venereal rash. Miller himself sees True Neutral as being ideas that don't translate in the chaotic world of Foot Village, as the expansive nature of the compositions benefit from instruments other than drums. Before you start quaking at the idea of Miller doing "real" songs (his work on Back To The Future The Ride, whilst ambient in nature, still swirls around a vortex of nuts), he also describes them as "sci-fi visions". Crisis averted then...

But as if he would leave the percussive nightmares in the closet. One of the tracks, 'A Few Lights On The Wall', is a collaboration with the ever-brilliant Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt/Black Pus).

These tracks are being used as a soundtrack to accompany an audiobook of author Patrick Wensink's Broken Piano For President, and the blurb sounds suitably surreal - "'Broken Piano for President' is read by the author, Patrick Wensink. It is the story of a noise band caught up in a conspiracy involving fast food moguls, international space programs, and of course, their own insane music." The audiobook is abridged and read by the author himself, with side A being the novel and score and side B score only. The theme tune (yes, a theme tune to a book, genius!) is 'Call To The Herd', which is also below. You can grab this incredible piece of literature/music/art from Miller's own Deathbomb Arc label here.

True Neutral - Call To The Herd
True Neutral - A Few Lights On The Wall (ft Brian Chippendale)

Remaining Secular On The Quiet Steps

I wrote a review of the 2nd LP by Brissie post-post-hardcore trio Quiet Steps for Time Off (it comes out tomorrow), but I couldn't wait to put this out into the ether. Secular is available on Bandcamp under a pay-as-you-like system, and you really should invest some of your money crumbs. This may not be the balltearer they intimated after Think Aloud, their last abrasive opus, yet the changes in melodic structure and production has created a sleeker, more beautiful beast. I caught them play most of this live when they supported No Anchor last month, and they are still fiery in action too - they have really grown into themselves.

They are also playing the Sonic Masala-sanctioned God Bows To Math show at The Waiting Room this Sunday, so head here to grab Secular NOW, then come along on Sunday and for a tenner catch em live! Win bloody win!

Quiet Steps - Secular
Quiet Steps - Fire/Water

Monday, 16 April 2012

Shooting Up And Raving On In Copenhagen

Those excellent dudes over at They Shoot Music, Don't They? refuse to let Copenhagen get on with its normal life, as the guerrilla Copenhagen Sessions continue to roll on. There have been a few notable ones in recent months in particular that I have been loving. Firstly, I couldn't go past The Raveonettes, paring it all back in the city where their wild musical ride all began. Their session is in the entrance hall of the Vega - how awesome is the 1950s decor?! Perfectly in tune with the monochrome duo. These guys have left an indelible mark on me ever since their amazing Whip It On EP back in 2002, which still ranks as one of the best records of all time for me (yes, big call, so what, wanna fight about it?) It is a special occasion, and Sharin and Sune don't disappoint, offering a rare song from their 2005 EP A Touch Of Black called 'Railroad Tracks'. Great stuff.

There have been some other great offerings in recent times as I mentioned, from the likes of S.C.U.M, Nada Surf (both in Vienna) and Kaiser Chiefs - yes, it's true, these guys glean the best out of EVERYone - and a snippet from each can be viewed below. All sessions are on their website. Cos I'm so slack, it might be best to head over here on your own so you don't miss out on future sessions as they happen!

Sonic Masala Wasn't Always Cruel, It Was Only Cruel To Jordan Bolton...Until Today

Such a long, convoluted titled is fitting here. Last year a young kid from Manchester sent me a couple of his songs, namely 'City Daze' and 'Duluoz Nights'. Now I was a fan of these ambient pop grooves, especially the latter track - yet for one reason or another, I never got around to talking about it, or him, on Sonic Masala. In fact, I'm not even sure I emailed him back...

But lucky that Jordan Bolton is a persistent so-and-so, as he chased me up with these two tracks below - and how much difference a few months can make! I'm a massive fan of 'Adelay', a track that deserves to be huge. It has all the elements of great "indie-pop", highlighted by the incessant, will-not-get-out-of-your-head hooks. Bolton does everything here too (except drums...slack...), which further shows how freakishly talented this kid is. Furthermore, give him another few months to continue honing the craft, and hopefully his star will shine.

(Sorry about the diss, man!)

Jordan Bolton - Adelay
Jordan Bolton - Love Was Always Cruel, It Just Wasn't Cruel To Me

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Two Sydney Gigs That Will Rock The Casbah

So I have been in Sydney the past week, enjoying some sun, sand, tequila, food - and fucking gust winds! Jesus Bondi, ease up! Anyway, before I trek around Surrey Hills for another cheap hole in the wall, I thought Id throw up two gigs coming up in the next two nights that, if you are in the unofficial Australian capital, you should really get to.

First up is tonight, down at Bondi Beach Hotel, who have started hosting some pretty killer shows, like last week's Royal Headache Easter show - for free - which was something else... It must be said that tonight's bill is also free, and features not one but two of Brisbane's up and coming acts. Bleeding Knees Club are riding high on the release of their debut LP Nothing To Do. The slacker duo, who are still striving to be anything more than a couple of dudes throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks (it's some pretty fun shit though) will be accompanied by another band rich in laissez faire surf rock tunes, Dune Rats. The bill is rounded out by Sydney band March Of The Real Fly. This will be one hell of a fun show, and with no rubles being thrown down at the front door, more booze can fuel the night forward! Bring it on.

Then tomorrow night is another rad showcase, Neighbourhood Watch, this time highlighting some of the best Sydney acts that you are probably yet to hear about. I mentioned only last week the shoegaze wooziness that is Colours AKA Tom Crandles. His rich tapestries of noise are incredible especially coming from one man, and it will be a delight to see it in action. On top of this, we have the excellent Day Ravies offering their shoegaze pop and rapscallion punks Bachelor Pad. Add to that ping-pong, $5 beers, $5 vodkas, all for $5 on the door, and you get a bucketload of holy-shit-this-is-awesome! Ill be at both shows - come and say hey.

Dodging Sick Friends

It has taken me far too long to get around to Sick Friend's album The Draft Dodger, but there are some tracks on this indie pop menagerie that really stays with you. The title track, for instance. Don't take the title at face value - this ain't no political rally/diatribe/condescending middle class rant. Yet these Canadians are more like Russian dolls - the more you get inside them, the more intricate their world becomes. Utilising keyboards and a synth-bass into the more stereotypical indie rock mix, Sick Friend may seem to be without direction, but that is part of the deception. They could be Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, but without the whining vocals; Animal Collective, but without the samples and the warped psychedelics. They still have a bit of soul-searching to find continuity across an entire longplayer, but The Draft Dodger still manages to stay outside the grasp of mediocrity. Definitely worth a listen.

The Draft Dodger is out now on Bird & Flag Records.

Sick Friend - Cottages
Sick Friend - The Draft Dodger