Saturday, 25 April 2015

Wilfully Flat Out

Is there anybody out there this Saturday morning? The Wilful Boys are. The Brooklyn via Oz degenerates are releasing the 7" Anybody There? through Ever/Never Records, and here we have the B-side, 'Flat Out'. It's great to hear this kind of Australian gutter rock riled up and ready on the streets of NYC: loose, unhinged, base, living the only way they can - flat out. Great stuff. The boys are getting some good support shows too, nothing better than the WFMU run Obnox show alongside the excellent Uniform (more about these bastards later). If you are around these traps May 16, you know where you should be. Grab Anybody There? here.

Friday, 24 April 2015

What's Mine Is Yaws

One of the highlights of the first Sonic Masala London show the other weekend was witnessing the first set by noisetronic wunderkind Yaws. His sense of incremental coalescence, whether it be in sinuous percolating undercurrents or more garish buoyancy, manifests into a trancelike euphoria, combining with a vintage television flickering with white noise in that dark room of mirrors that is Power Lunches, provided a magnetic performance that had the crowd in full thrall. Having heard his EP-in-progress, its clear that Yaws (AKA Dom Stephens) is beguiled by synthetic repetition that walks in the shadows as much as the light. The noise and static is measured yet always pregnant with acidic purpose, whether menacing or acerbic. The Coil reference has been coined, but its the word itself is the clearest connection yet, especially in relation to 'Seventh Continent', the infinitesimal additions of hiss and hum that takes you further down the rabbit hole. I can't wait to see what Yaws brings forth next.

Featuring Feature

Another excellent release from Ruined Smile Records is this lil EP from London trio Feature. I got to catch these girls when they opened for Protomartyr in London back in August, and they really held their own. Featuring members of Sauna Youth and Slowcoaches, the band have put together this five-track number to combine their Tie Dye Records cassette Culture Of The Copy from last year, while the last two tracks are about to feature on a split EP with the aforementioned Slowcoaches called Tourists (out soon on Unwork Records). The first three tracks are rawer due to the initial two piece configuration, so there are spaces in the songs that are well and truly blown out in the live arena here. Set staple 'Psalms' is a particular track that has ramped up since this recording, yet there is an undeniable growl and bluster that underpins it all. 'Wisdom Teeth' (which we see the new film clip for below) and 'Tourism Fiction' show the rambunctious new dynamic, but still holds dear the insidious pop melodies that have always been the band's strength. And we are only likely to have more evidence of this burgeoning power with two new releases in the wind (including one through SM fave Soft Power Records) as well as a full length targeted for 2016.

Pre-order Tourists here. The band just played a free gig with Leeds noiseniks Super Luxury last Friday, but there is more fun to be had with these ladies:

Saturday 2nd May - Odd Box Records Weekender, The Shacklewell Arms, London w/ Slowcoaches, Joey Fourr, The Fish Police and more 

Friday 8th May - Gullivers, Manchester w/ Gorgeous Bully 

Monday 11th May - Oslo, Hackney w/ Cheatahs & No Joy 

Friday 29th May - Berlin, Germany w/ DIÄT Saturday 

3rd October - The 9th Annual Nottingham Pop All-dayer, The Maze, Nottingham w/ Witching Waves and more 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Riding High On The Lowtide

This album came out last year, but there is always something that takes a while to take hold. However, Melbourne band Lowtide’s debut album (out through Lost & Lonesome Records) was one that I was really looking forward to, yet in the move to the UK it fell through the cracks. Well since being back in Australia these past three weeks it has copped a hammering, as there is rarely a mood that these 9 songs don’t augment. A beautiful shoegaze chimera, shimmering under the gauze walls of intent and regret, the boy/girl harmonies entwining around your soul. The warm rush of ‘Held’ bleeding into the temporal haze of ‘Autumn’; the melancholy of ‘Blue Movie’ that ebbs and flows with the tide of volume; the 70s swing and slide of ‘Wedding Ring’ that marries into C86 emotions and shoegaze euphoria; the haunting slow-crawl and inevitable swell of ‘Yesterday’; the subtle beauty of ‘Missing History’… Everything is choreographed meticulously – everything is in its right place. Nothing is groundbreaking, because everything is as it should be here – a wash, a cleanse, a reminder, a prop, an anchor, a climax.

Buy Lowtide now - there aren't many copies left, and with good reason. Get on this!

Some Fraudulent Things

Melbourne instrumental jammers Fraudband are back in the saddle with new 10” record Some Things (out through Kasumuen), and it is just as tightroping juxtapositions of tight and loose kinetics as last year's First Songs. The five track offering charges into rollicking territory from the get-go, the guitar-and-drums duo taking a bare-bones approach to roiling repetition. ‘Find Something’ starts off incrementally, silence giving way to shuffles giving way to rumbles, culminating in a one-note riff and rolling it through the wringer, the loose-wristed drumming stuttering and propelling to a feedback finish line. It’s a track like this that echoes back to the embryonic days of the Dirty Three, when they were less magisterial and more cantankerous and wild. The blues growl that permeates Fraudband’s DNA risibly rears its head in behemoth ‘Starting Over’ (albeit with a two minute feedback missive) and the cleverness in its apparent simplicity – repetition and familiarity is key to much of what’s on offer here, yet delivered with a raw crunch and intelligent sense of adventure and discovery in the miscues and drones. I have always loved Fraudband, but on Some Things it is finally apparent just how fun this all is – instrumental rock is not about dour pretension and hallowed intention (and was never meant to be) but about finding the rhythm and fucking it over and over again. And believe me, you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Multiple Persuasions

(Photo by Grace Stevenson)

While I have spoken about ‘Persuasion’ briefly last year (that squeezed mechanical fart synth line at the beginning? The bombastic nature of the instrumentation? I felt like Gary Numan was channelling early ABC through a Eurythmics filter…which meant I thought it was great), Brisbane’s Siamese twins of soldered synapses Multiple Man have a whole 12” of cyber-synth punk nihilism to extol (out now through Nopatience Records/Burka For Everybody). ‘Labour In Vain’ is closer to the feverish, smoke-filled synthetic detritus we are used to from the duo, while ‘Slave For Love’ is the obvious middle ground. Seeing Sean Campion in a more maniacally camp mode with hardcore rock meltdown Unpeople of recent times had me forgetting about his deep, robotic vocals, and it’s good to get reacquainted with his and brother Chris’ demented wares. Grab it here.

Loving Being Grey

Great instrumental duo The Sea Shall Not Have Them played a wonderfully measured and stately set at this year’s Sonic Masala Fest a couple of weeks back. Since releasing great debut album Mouth a few years ago (I put on their Brisbane launch), they have supported the likes of Om and Russian Circles, while also releasing download-only two-song epic Walking Through Walls. But this post isn’t really about these lovely chaps, but about a band that guitarist Curt Emerton turned me onto – fellow Gold Coast duo Greys. Now there are a number of bands out there that have taken that name on as their own – in fact we have spoken about the Canadian version in the past – but with the release of this Greys’ album Lyre, I now have a new favourite.

The first track to really grab me (and it still slays) was ‘Holy War’ – an incredible maelstrom of emotion, squalling guitar and vocal integrity, reminding me of fellow GC band from the 90s and early 00s, Gaslight Radio – it’s stunning, a homage that didn’t have me clutching for those older classics but rather keen to hear what else Greys had to offer. And procure the goods they do – the slow oscillating melancholy of ‘Data Meta Theta’; the melted pastoral psych drift of ‘SS’ (somewhere in the slipstream of a dreamier Unknown Mortal Orchestra and The Beta Band – and Emerton pops up on guitar); the slow burn ephemera that coalesces into lo-fi solar flare that is the impressive ‘The Golden Years’; the fractured articulate rock of ‘El Eternauta’ that cascades in sparks and cymbal fire; the hushed fadeout of ‘Apollo 8’ with its hushed instrumentation and sampled vocals… Lyre is the kind of album that would have been taking the dark horse route on Triple J back when I used to listen to it (says the old curmudgeon…) – loud, emotive, a little experimental, a little weird, filled with epic swells and euphoric catharsis. Let’s hope we hear a lot more from these talented guys this year and beyond.

Lyre is out through Strange Yonder later this year – get on this.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Brighter Gods Carve Out A Mathematical Future

One of the most intimate and exciting venues to rise up in Brisbane over the last decade, The Waiting Room, sadly closed its doors last year. In a city renowned for closing venues before they really get a chance to flourish, the three years it had been open is something of a miracle – a glorified house party a few nights a week in West End, albeit with a good sound system and PA, a caring and passionate management and staff, BYO sensibilities and communal goodwill permeated every show. And there were some stellar shows – from Mt. Eerie making a pleasantly unexpected visit to many great local and interstate acts getting in on the love. Two of my favourite shows ever that took place in that 80-person venue involved Auckland three-piece God Bows To Math, one of the most underrated bands in the Southern Hemisphere. Their serrated buzzsaw of a self-titled album blew the membranes out of the inner linings of my mind back in 2011 - the engine room of Thomas Morrison (drums) and Sam Cussen (bass) pounding incessantly and Martin Phillips’ barked, acerbic lyrics and dessicated guitar melts.

I have been extremely lucky to have a penultimate master of their follow up Brighter Futures on my laptop for the past few months, and FINALLY I have the final version and the album is hitting the world with a sledgehammer subtlety and cathartic charm. The thing is, it is when there is a measured stasis, a crawl, a breath taken, that the atmosphere and intensity is ratcheted up tenfold – the sample and two minute intro to ‘1999 Doomsday’ and the tempered vocals and skeletal instrumentation that eats its own tail in ‘Moral Prophylaxis’ are anxiety eaters, so that when the impending doom and destruction finally hit it is gargantuan in scope and precision. Even the brutally succinct ‘Munchausen’, which barely cracks a minute in length, opens with a quarter minute of near silence. The Sonic Youth and Shellac comparison I initially held with the trio still holds some weight, but Brighter Futures showcases a rougher hewn angularity, emotional expulsion and exorcism. ‘High Strings’ for some reason reminded me of My Disco, Jakob and a more unwound Unwound simultaneously – the insidious bass, the gravelly vocals that bleed into something more ephemeral, the instrumental groove, pummelling drums… All of which comes to an end on ‘Oil of Vitriol’, a strange track that brings back all these through lines and balls them up into a compacted whole.

Grab Brighter Futures (out through Muzai Records) here. Support these guys, stat.

Steady As She Covers

Tal Wallace, one man Man In Black as pastoral soothsayer of doom The Steady As She Goes, released a great album last year in the form of Dead & Dangerous, meticulously crafting a plodding, mellotron-heavy march through the seven levels of Lovecraftian hell, as scored by a Machiavellian Ennio Morricone. This year he has produced another album in the form of Folklord, a free download on his Bandcamp. It is a idiosyncratic rendition of a bunch of 16 Horsepower songs, and plays out how you might expect – dark and desolate, with Wallace’s baritone front and centre. The forays into, and unabashed embrace of, doo-wop (haha) and country tropes on the likes of ‘Sinnerman’, ‘Beyond The Pale’ and especially ‘Single Girl’ are a delight – imagine Johnny Cash if he played his classics with Neil Young’s Ol’ Black distorted guitar – but its where the songs naturally roll into TSASG staples that are the most impressive. The one two Western Armageddon of ‘Hutterite Mile’ and ‘Outlaw Song’, and the spectral crawl and Ennio haunt of ‘Horse Head Fiddle’, are excellent. My favourite track though is the closer ‘La Rope A Parasol’ – it’s haunting as you would expect, but there is a euphoria imbued within that hints that Wallace might actually be having…fun? God forbid.

It is a download only release, and even so in this squirrelled away corner of the world - have at it. Their second album is on its way...

Monday, 20 April 2015

Flying Blind

Minneapolis bone rattlers The Blind Shake melted my face off with their new album Fly Right (available mid-April through Slovenly Records). The thugabilly in a metal barrel smash-n-grab opener ‘Tar Paper’ is almost a misnomer, as the rest of the album takes some of that vitriol and skewed energy and throws it in a myriad different directions. There is the Spaghetti surf squall of ‘A Clock, A Window, A Pyramid’; the trudge punk assault of ‘Holy Road’; the rollicking phaser march of ‘Ape Lives A Life’; the psych narcolept drawl of ‘Diamond Days’; the JSBX epileptic spiral of ‘More Land’… The titular track takes more deliberate time in flaying your nerves wide open – a desert nightmare dressed in dirt-caked leather and sordid sneers, before ‘Salt’ lifts the mask enough to bring back the silliness. It’s a great blast of a record that is pretty short in duration but long in attitude and weird. I'm a big fan – I'm sure you will be too. 

Pre-order Fly Right here. The Blind Shake are playing here in London on May 9 at Shacklewell Arms - should be a corker.

Wandering Exhaustion

Last year Exhaustion released their second LP Biker, and it was easily one of my favourite releases of the year. So when I saw this drop into my inbox (on my birthday no less) I was immediately excited. But as you may have noticed, Sonic Masala has been fairly quiet the last month and a half, so I haven’t been able to describe the calamity that unfolded once I started playing the damn thing. You see, these psych rock marauders aren’t just whipping out an extension to their work – this is a blown out, visceral collaboration with Dutch-born tenor saxophonist Kris Wanders, strongly versed in the heady days of early free improv in Europe, having smashed holes through convention alongside the likes of Peter Brotzmann (seriously what isn’t this guy doing these days? Must be one of the busiest men on the planet right about now…) However there is a sense of dynamism on this one-sided LP that eschews each participant’s previous outpourings. There are swells of cathartic metal clang and wind, a caterwaul of desperate release; and there are troughs of tetchy silence, interspersed with false starts and tics that underscores the nervous energy each player brings to the proceedings. It wouldn’t surprise me if Endless Melt had infused sweat and blood into the wax as each record was pressed, so evident is the fever that this collaboration captures. Duncan Blatchford doesn’t allow for his guitar to do all the hissing and spewing though – his vocal interjections are guttural, impulsive, primal breaths, grunts and pants, a rebirth borne of exertion, viscera and saliva. Wanders’ punctuations are speed-of-light ripostes through the defences, at once wondrous and debilitating. It all makes for a heady melange of impulses and expulsions, sewn together by sinew and devilish determination. Grab it here.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Hits From The Box #99 - RSD Redaction

Record Store Day was yesterday. I didn't go. I was even a block from Flashback Records on Essex Road. I don't disagree with the day - I'm hoping that stores like Flashback had an amazing day - it's more what major labels have done to the day, and how that negatively influences bands and small independent labels. But I'm not here to give you the breakdown of RSD - I'm gaffer-taping my proverbial mouth before this post gets politicised. Instead I want to revel in the fact it's a Sunday - and time for another Hits From The Box.

I was talking to a mate Graham about Metz yesterday, so it seems fitting to kick things off with London band Crows, who will be supporting the band on their return here in June. The four-piece released the smoky grey 7" Crawling/Pray last month, and it's a goddamn punch to the gut. 'Crawling' plays out firstly like a loud and fairly decent rock track, until things start winding down, the dirge filters through, the riffs bend, the vocals waver - and you feel like you are indeed crawling, over a sea of bleached bones. 'Pray' cranks it up, a dirty blues racket that has been covered in chrome and dropped into a pit of cement, only for the siren wail guitar to call forth the fever in the final third of the track. Great way to get the grit stuck in your teeth.

Let's head to Perth, Australia. There has always been an interesting scene over here - its so isolated from the rest of the continent, let alone the world, that the musicians there just do what they do, without link or lineage, trend or trajectory. So it is always a seething, self-sufficient scene. Lately there seems to be a heavy dose of psych emanating from the West Australian capital, but more importantly, hidden by the Ponds and Tame Impalas, is the return of the riff. Puck are a trio whose grunge-laced rock is all about mood and aggression, and their four-track EP perfectly encapsulates this. The doom riffs on 'Eye Of The Day' are killer. There are moments, like 'Knowing Better', that I'm even reminded of Alice In Chains? That's a good thing.

Continuing down the distorted path we have California X, whose Nights In The Dark LP is a corker. The Massachusetts band deal in melodic raucous punk that has moments of darkness, of blown out noise, but above all else is a glorious series of vignettes about existing in a pre-determined geography, and dreams of breaking out. There are elements of Weezer, Dinosaur Jr (listen to the 'Hadley, MA' solo!) but above all their languid rock efforts are in a driving in the desert in the dark kinda space, a slacker take on prog, a moody yet ear-tearing rumination on place and space.

Coming from all over the shop - Australia, England, Sweden - we have the dreamy soundscapes of Kid Wave whose Gloom EP is a graceful wash of breathy vocals, shimmering instrumentation that bursts forth in a cascading roar of sunny emotion. There is some momentum behind the band - they played a sellout show at the Sebright Arms recently, and are supporting Palma Violets on their norther England tour. Keep an eye on these guys.

Nashville isn't known for its effervescent dreamscapes (is it?), but Devan Kochersperger, the frontman of dream pop outfit Grave Pool, has crafted something special in second LP Mnemonics, somehow straddling the New Romantic past and the neo-glow future. The cover art is incongruous to the music contained within - a watercolour of a cabin at the foot of a snowswept mountain - and therein is the wonder - it's a kaleidoscope of shimmering whimsy in a hyperreal twilight. The video for 'Neon Summers' features clips from The Lost Boys - and suits it. College and Electric Youth worked wonders on their Drive collaboration, and you feel that Grave Pool is next in line to find that new/old visual connection to strike major gold.

And we will finish Death & Vanilla and their new record, To Where The Wild Things Are (out next month on Fire Records). The Swedish trio encapsulate luxuriant velvety psych, as 'California Owls' attests to. This isn't as simple as that though - each song is an intricate tapestry, a latticework of sonic exploration that wavers from garage noir to atmospheric pop that meshes into a wave of euphoria. They launch the album in London at Birthdays Friday May 15 - grab tickets here.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, 17 April 2015

PREMIERE - Sonic Explorer Andrew Tuttle Constructs The Evening With Matmos


It's been six weeks, but Sonic Masala (the blog) is back! We have plenty to speak about, shit on about, brag about and listen to. We haven't been idle - the sixth entry into the Sonic Masala Records stable, Dollar Bar's third LP Hot Ones, is now out and smokin' hot; the second annual (that's right - watch out 2016!) Sonic Masala Fest kicked arse in Brisbane, Australia; and just last Saturday we had our first live showcase right here in London, featuring Giant Swan, Yaws, mnttab and TOOMS - officially an international concern!

So I thought the best way to come back into the written form is with a bang - so here is the premiere of 'Post Meridiem Construction', the new track of Andrew Tuttle's second proper release Slowcation, out on Room40 cassette imprint A Guide To Saints. Featuring Matmos' MC Schmidt, it is a soft melt, the drip filter of whiteout afternoons, where the sun is out but colour drains from the canvas. A netherland of overt emotion, it provides the perfect platform for reflection, rumination and regrowth.

The album itself perfectly encapsulates the fervent yet awestruck fever one gets when in the presence of a positive energy that Tuttle embeds in all of his work. The A side was created while Tuttle toured the States, taking in such diverse outsider fare as the Goldrush Festival in Denver and hanging out with Matmos and Dan Deacon; while the B side was created back on home soil, with the vacation turbines still winding down. Starting with that familiar warm cut up tone of Tuttle's trusty banjo, 'Vernon City Limits' glistens with an eternal shimmer, like solar flares on a slowed-down Super 8 video of a car journey through an innocent past (with the aid of Christopher Fleeger). There is always a percolating sense of innocence and hope in Tuttle's work (dating back to the early days of his Anonymeye guise), yet on Slowcation there is a innate confidence in his efforts to splice and reorder sonic structures entwined with a subversive joy in overlaying bucolic whimsy and happenstance over synthetic currents that sets this above and beyond what he has put to tape in the past. Even the pinging fray that opens 'Wave Triplet' explodes into cascading colour, aural sparks of kaleidoscopic wonder. Tuttle has become an artist in displaying the computer as a expansive palette, a conduit to further realms for more organic instrumentation, and Slowcation is further proof, if any was needed, that programming and hard edits can provide transcendental epiphany.

Slowcation comes out at the end of the month - pre-order it here. Tuttle has a series of shows coming up to showcase the release, so make sure you get along to one of the below and say g'day - he will definitely say g'day back and have a beer and talk cricket if you are into that sort of thing:

• 23.04.2015: The Bearded Lady, Brisbane. with No Magic + Feeding Fauna + Blank Realm x Monopoly Child Star Searchers DJs. 138 Boundary St, West End. $10, 8pm.

• 03.05.2015: Pretty Gritty @ 107 Projects, Sydney. with AFXJIM + Monica Brooks + CORIN + Samuel James. 5:30pm-9pm, $10/8. 107 Redfern Street, Redfern.

• 04.05.2015: Mundane Mondays @ The Old Bar, Melbourne. with Carolyn Connors + Brite Fight. 8pm, $5. 74 Johnston St, Fitzroy.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

MUSIC FROM SLOVENIA (a new segment from Ziga Jenko)

(PHOTO - Matthias von Stumberger)

HIIIIIII! It's been a while, I admit. Things happen. Festivals happen. New label releases happen. All of this will be discussed in due time. But let's get on with it. Ziga Jenko plays in Slovenian free improve band oOo - they are pretty damn rad. He also writes for Hrup magazine over there, and he interviewed me for it last year. We are going to swap stories - five bands each from our respective countries. Here is his first batch:

I was surfing around and looking for great music blogs one night. I’ve visited few and mostly they offered generic global music that everybody is writing about. And so my eye caught a great name: Sonic Masala. It promised a great mix of everything. So I clicked the link and couldn’t be happier with the diversity of music and a lot of Australian bands that I had never heard of. I was always a fan of Australian bands such as Cosmic Psychos, Beasts of Bourbon, The Saints, Tame Impala, The Necks, The Birthday Party, X, Dirty Three … Here I am one year later trying to give you a piece of Slovenian music as Brendan will do the same at our web music magazine Hrupmag. So let me pick first five for you. 

Incurabili - Fair Enough (ZaložbaRadiaŠtudent)

Incurabili is a dirty blues duo. Two great vocalists have joined their forces. Bruno Subioto who played before in garage band like The Spoons, Hic etNunc, Matchless Gift and still is in Roger N. Out. Well Roger N. Out was founded on the ashes of band Dicky b. Hardy, former Niko Novak’s band. Niko and Bruno have recorded 4 albums together as Incurabiliand Fair enough is a great album with atmosphere which is greatly represented in the cover photo. They play all instruments also live at the concerts and they do not do any dubbing while recording songs for album. But not on this one, they made a step further and gave to the songs even more power with dubbing their strongest attribute, the voice. Both of them are great interprets so while listening you get drifted into a dark world of alcohol, sex and wild life. 

Moveknowledgement – See (Beton Records) 2014 

See is their fifth album. It has been selected as one of the finest of year 2014 at almost every musical media here in Slovenia. It had really great impact when it came out. I don’t remember for long time that so many folks would wait for promo album concert of home band which is on the edge between underground and mainstream. Even the national TV had recorded this gig. The most known and active band member is singer, who is the best freestyle battle rapper in Slovenia. He works under the name N’toko making some great music with social critical lyrics. His skills with words are obvious also at album See. See is mature album of a band who knows what they want and how to do it. I’m sure you will enjoy it.


Nina Bulatovix - Jate (Kapa Records) 

This is not a conventional trio. It consists of bass, drums and vocals. They play great music that you can dance to while thinking of lyrics that are great reflection of time. They sing in Slovene and they are calling you to wake up and fight against politics without any holding back. They want you to start thinking with your own head! This one is the album of 2014 at Hrumag and is their second album. They started band as an answer to uprising against local government at Maribor which is second largest town in Slovenia. Jate means Flocks in our language as a metaphor for crowds we are gathered around different political ideas. Even if you will not understand anything, this is a great way to meet our quite complicated Slavic Slovenian language. 

Vid Drašler - Kramljanja (Zavod SPLOH) 

Vid Drašler is a drummer. He learned his skills at Zlatko Kaučič percussion and drums school. Well Zlatko Kaučič is one of the greatest Slovenian artists known internationally as an uncompromising improviser and composer. Vid has been taking his lectures even further. With his imagination he succeeded to create really a great album just with drum kit and few add-ons like hanging wrenches. It was published at SPLOH records, where you can find a lot of great Slovene improvised music. 

Matthias von Stumberger - Rockundrollmusik (self-published) 

This one is a DIY pearl. Mathias is a garage rock enthusiast who recorded all instruments at his living room by himself. He did it out of the boredom and for their friends. He has used his cheap effects which I must say sound like a garage rocket. He wanted to hire a singer but he rather drunk few beers and did it by himself. This music is bursting with energy. He even was discussing it to publish it at Slovenly records but well… beer happened. You don’t need to be only a garage rock fan to love this one.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

PREMIERE - Primary Colours Keep It Basic With Compact Disc (VIDEO)

Today I kiss the ground of Australian soil for the first time in nine months - AND IT FELT SO GOOD. Ill be offline for a few days as I lose myself in the Victorian countryside (and head to Golden Plains too), so let's welcome each other into a warm embrace by premiering the new Primary Colours video, 'Compact Disc'. It's their scrappy post punk nonsense, which gets heady and serrated if suitably loose, but the looped, VHS faded, cartoon cigarettes, smiles and starts-imposed clip is its own streamlined beast.

Primary Colours are about to embark on a tour to launch their Compact Disc/Services Rendered 7" release:

March 14th @ The Phoenix Pub Canberra w/ Bare Grillz 
March 20th @ Black Wire Records w/ Sadfaces + Twin Rover 
March 22nd @ The Grace Darling Hotel for Minimum Wage w/ Orlando Furious.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hits From The Box #98 - Antique Roadshow Blues

You know when it gets into this twilight zone period on Sunday afternoon evening when it suddenly dawns on you that you are back at work the next day and it fills you with dread? My girlfriend calls it the Antique Roadshow blues, because as a kid she would see that come on the TV and it was an instant reminder that the weekend was on the wane. I'm having that right now. Need to liven up the last few hours of freedom...

Diet Cig is a duo intent on dishing out indie bounce and young adult ephemera a la Speedy Ortiz. Their new EP Over Easy is a playful expulsion of overt emotions, whether it be the freedom of being in your first apartment ('Breathless'), the painful expositions of hipsters ('Scene Sick') or the anger at Ivy Leaguer arseholes ('Harvard'). It's all innocuous, bubbly, and as Alex Luciano puts it, it just makes you want to dance.

I spoke recently about San Francisco band Happy Diving. One member of that band, Samuelito Cruz, is also in Never Young, a four-piece that slam into Les Savy Fav territory in their new self-titled EP, imbued as it is with mood, menace and a heady degree of melody. 'Ur A Front' in particular holds up to the LSF comparison, while the rest of the EP keeps the noise evenly calibrated with icy precision. These guys are definitely ones to watch. Race out and grab this 12" now.

This one is super old - 9 months is kinda old, right? - I Im Eye My's 7 Transmissions though is pretty great. Out through Not Not Fun, the Philadelphia duo's release is a blast synth oddysey (emphasis on odd) - feeling both a narcotic drag through perpetual Blade Runner nights, and a narcoleptic heart murmur synthesised psychomania. It's an overblown, overpopulated overriding of the senses. There is such a heady mix of genres, styles, modes and moods that outside of 'Momentum' maintains the heat and cybernetic intensity - when they final track is titled 'She's On A Different Trip', I couldn't agree more.

Toronto outfit Prom have a pot pourri of influence swirling about in their veins, having taken the National way of constructing propulsive emotive rock and combined it with shoegaze histrionics, heightened post-rock expulsions and elegiac malaise on their Dumb Summer EP. They rightfully describe their music as "bummer jams", so you know this isn't going to be a buoyant bucolic ride into the sun, despite the above band photo. My favourite track on here is 'Park Moods', even though that avoids Daniel Wilson's baleful baritone.

Heading to Australia now - Sydney in fact - and Claire & The Cops. The trio have just brought out Lounge Lovers on cassette, and the EP is a blase exercise in garage surf-scuzz. They manage to marry the laconic spazz of Dune Rats, the glam immediacy of King Tuff and the balls-to-the-wall noise of Straight Arrows. It's not just fun, but there is meat in the sound that really hooks. This is gooooood.

Back in Toronto to finish up with Terrorista. The duo have been putting out a series of colourful tapes since September, and Green Tape is the third in the collection. The band churn out doleful loud rock fare that has slowly refined over the course of these three tapes, right up to second song 'Sean Drums' that holds precariously onto a cracked melody that supersedes the scabrous sonics and ventures into emotive rock territory. To hear the evolution I have put all three releases below for your perusal.

Happy Sunday everyone!


When I mentioned French band Cowbones late last year, I mentioned that I was very excited about their upcoming album, Vox Populi Polux. This anticipation was based on the above photograph and one track only, 'New Cobonnies'. I compared them to Grinderman, Jon Spencer and other rampant psychobilly misanthropes - and that comparison still stands. But Cowbones are a much stranger beast than this acknowledgement. Opening with the staccato drum machine and organ combo with warped vocals of 'No Law', we realise that these punks are unique in their derangement. 'Cramp' seems devoted to The Cramps/The Mummies et al, thus the name, but then there is the sparse, distorted dance-punch of 'Honey' or the syncopated belch of 'My Room'. 'Pink' whips out the Theremin and takes us down into the sordid Underworld. Most of the lyrics whether Gallic or English are delivered from a megaphone made out of rusted aluminium and razor wire. It's a special brand of hell that I for one subscribe to wholeheartedly.

You can grab Vox Populi Polux (out now through Casbah Records) here.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

This Lamentable Au.Ra

Back in 2011-2012 I mentioned an artist from Sydney who went under the name Colours. That guy, Tom Crandles, pointed me in the direction of a lot of Sydney bands (such as Day Ravies, Unity Floors and Bachelor Pad) that I have since become massive fans of. Tom hasn't been sitting idly though - along with Tim Jenkins (Parades), he has transformed into the discombobulated pop of Au.Ra. Launching their debut LP Jane's Lament through felte Records, Au.Ra construct woozy soundscapes that envelop and entrance - the psych laced drift of 'Morning'; the jangle and drift of 'Sun'; the somnambulist float of 'You're On My Mind'. There are echoes of other lo-fi dreamers such as Beach Fossils in some of these tracks, with a lick of electronic sheen sliding in and out of the ether. The cover art is fairly indicative of what the album conveys - a seductive, flowing darkness, delivered with a slickness and vibrancy often found wanting elsewhere. Great stuff.

Grab Jane's Lament here.

LAPD Let The Water And Wine Flow

Another day, another Los Angeles Police Department release it seems. 'Water & Wine' is the flipside to Ryan Pollie's incoming Insecurity 7", and it is a quieter but no less contemplative rumination of the Self, something Pollie is incredibly adept at producing. It drifts on the gentlest of breezes, a soft touch, and its simplistic beauty is alluring. Pre-order the 7" (out next week through Fat Possum) here.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Friday Cover Up - Giving Cattle Anthrax

Just a quick post to finish the week. I have been putting together a lineup for the first Sonic Masala show here in London, so I have been listening to a lot of new stuff for that express purpose - and I happened to stumble across this pretty great, slightly bonkers cover of Gang of Four's seminal rant 'Anthrax' by sludge lords Cattle. This led me to checking out their EP which is pretty amazing too - Leeds truly is one of the best grimy noise dens in the country. Hoping to hear a hell of a lot more out of these clowns this year...