Friday, 24 July 2015

Achieving Next Level Leisure Stress

The inimitable Brisbane outre rock outfit The Stress Of Leisure released their new album Achievement recently, and it is an absolute corker. It isn't the kind of thing you see up here on Sonic Masala that often - probably because Ian Powne and his fellow art apothecaries are such an idiosyncratic proposition. There is no outward impression on or acknowledgement of trends and musical cycles; no desire to slot into a scene or movement. Sure there are whiffs of touchstones - the prickly yet mischievous Graney twirl of 'No Idea Is The New Idea' or the Flying Nun guitar-spangled banner that flutters from 'Goodyear Blimp' - but in the main Achievement slinks along in its own inimitable slipstream, an eternal silent disco that only those embracing the Stress Of Leisure's mode of entertainment can fully appreciate. Powne is a laconic, devilish lyricist, striving to be both self-deprecating and absurd in the same breath, a Pied Piper of abstract angles, taking the edge of accepted norms and living in the wonderful world inside his own head. How often is it that you can chow down on sparkling gems called 'Sylvia Plath' without feeling entitled, overtly literate or dour? Sometimes shirking expectations and enjoying yourself unashamedly is the real achievement of life - and The Stress Of Leisure are here to show us the way.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Totally Mild Time

I stumbled across Totally Mild pretty much by accident in February 2013. The year before I'd asked Melbourne troubadour du jour Lehmann B Smith to come up to Brisbane to play a show for a Lofly gig. I missed it due to an emergency operation, but we kept in touch, and I finally caught him in the flesh when I was in Melbourne to see the MBV & Drones ATP (also playing that night at Bar Open - The Menstrual Cycle AKA Snowy Halliwell Nasdaq et al). He was playing in a friend's band which was - yep - Totally Mild. I really dug it.

It's great to see Elizabeth Mitchell's brainchild not only metamorphose into a larger band concern, or because my memory that night has always been hazy (I raced into Bar Open after two days of drinking at the Altona sweatbox, and had just finished up with 
Einst├╝rzende Neubaten). It is that Mitchell's melodic music is excellent and deserves to be tickling at everyone's spine. Down Time is TM's debut LP (out through Bedroom Suck and Fire), and it is chock full of pop altruisms and melancholic mantras, knitted together with an elegance and a subtle mischievousness that is impossible to ignore. 

A stunning achievement, Down Time can be grabbed here.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Blank Longing

Brisbane's kaleidoscopic pop mavens Blank Realm are keeping their high strike rate with 'River Of Longing', the new single from their upcoming album Illegals In Heaven (which I will review shortly). 'River Of Longing' continues the glossed psychopomp rollercoaster, sped up and shuddering, Sarah Spencer's synth refracting in all directions like a smashed prism, Dan Spencer's vocal stylings extending from last year's 'Reach You On The Phone' as he powers through giddily psychedelic altruisms such meet you on the other side/ and we’ll make up for stolen time. The track mirrors the band's trajectory to be honest - starting out in the outliers of improv noise, slowly compressing into a whirled psych band, while pop machinations ooze through the cracks as the centrifugal forces rise in speed, intensity and insanity... Cracked genius.

You can pre-order Illegals In Heaven from Bedroom Suck and Fire Records. Blank Realm are coming to the UK in September/October:

                                                             14 Sep Paris - Espace B

15 Sep Antwerp - Het Bos
16 Sep Hamburg - Hafenklang
17 Sep Berlin - Monarch
18 Sep Offenbach - Hafen 2
19 Sep Tilburg - Incubate Festival
20 Sep Rotterdam - Roodkapje
22 Sep Amsterdam - Sugarfactory
23 Sep Barcelona - BAM Festival
27 Sep Dublin - Workmans Club
28 Sep Glasgow - The Hug and Pint
29 Sep Brighton - The Prince Albert
30 Sep Bristol - Start The Bus
01 Oct London - The Shacklewell Arms

Monday, 6 July 2015

Never Happier When Diving Bunted

Sorry about the inadvertent "week off"! Just as I was saying how great life outside of work has been - and it has been - work felt its ears burning and kicked my arse.

But other half of Sonic Masala Records (AKA the guy still in Brisbane) Nathan is here and the beer and good times floweth forth once more. So to kick off a week that will be predominantly Aussie based, I've inexplicably chosen 'So Bunted' a raucous stab of fuzz-fried rock from Happy Diving (we really enjoyed their Big World record from the beginning of the year). They still love starting their songs with signal squall - brilliant - and drawling through the white noise. Fits into the mould of distorto pop that raucously littered the 90s and is ecstatically back in fashion, 'So Bunted' is on a 7" coming out through Topshelf Records - pre-order here.

SMR008 - Day Ravies' 2nd LP Liminal Zones

I know it seems we have been fairly quiet on here about our next release, but it is now time to shirk the shackles. Sydney four-piece Day Ravies will be bringing out their second LP Liminal Zones through Sonic Masala and their own Strange Pursuits label. Technically their release is this Friday, July 10 - but with vinyl issues in Europe, we won't have their records on call until September, after which they will be embarking on a national tour. Don't fret though! You can hear the entire album over at Rolling Stone here; you will be able to buy digital downloads and CDs from the Strange Pursuits store on Friday - and we will start taking on pre-orders for the vinyl, which includes a limited number of opaque pink LPs for those quick enough to get in! So have a read; have a listen; slide on through to those Liminial Zones.

Here are the dates of the Liminal Zones tour - supports to be announced soon...

October 9 - Brisbane - Bearded Lady 
October 15 - Canberra - Phoenix 
October 16 - Wollongong - Rad Bar 
October 23 - Melbourne - The Tote
October 24 - Adelaide - The Metro
November 6 - Sydney - The Roxbury Glebe 
November 14 - Hobart - The Grand Poobah

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Hits From The Box #105 - The Thick Of Summer

Not a bad weekend London. Spent Saturday wandering around the joint, drinking in Spitalfields/Shoreditch/on the Thames; spent Sunday lapping up the intermittent sun and vintage sparkle in Crystal Palace. Now at home enjoying copious Doom Bars and fajitas while watching The Iannucci programs, listening to music and revelling in wearing shorts without climate recriminations. Work may be shit, and I still may not get enough time (or definitely money) in the day to focus on Sonic Masala, but when London embraces you it's a mighty fine thing.

Let's get into some new music - and because I have the buzz on, let's look at eight acts out of the inbox!

Kicking off with Boston's Vundabar, yet another amazing off-kilter guitar rock band from Massachusetts (how aren't these guys on Exploding In Sound?). Their record Gawk is something to get excited about - a bubbling, fidgeting, spasming gem, playing like Menomena with a Pile complex (don't we all these days?). Math rock twitches, tropical vocals that belie inherent personal anxieties and anachronisms, melodies destined to burrow into your brain - Gawk has it all. Pick it up here.

With bands like Gazar Strips, Nite Fields and Bat Nouveau, Brisbane has had its fair share of great Gothic post-punk acts over the last few years. Now add Nature Trails. The four-piece manage to traverse time, space, geography - a Matt Beringer croon here, a Simon Gallup bassline there, cold yet entrancing 80s Berlin monochrome wasteland everywhere. Their six EP In Glass is glistening with ethereal yet pervasive promise, and their current strong work ethic will see the four-piece continue to rise.

Staying Down Under we check out the demos of Sydney trio Draining Pool. Barking Out casts a three-sided die of alternate possibility - 'I'm So Low' starts off like a narcoleptic Stephen Malkmus murmur before hiccoughing into a washed out fuzz dream; 'Intelligence' tingles with urgency, an off-key radio transmission that bleeds into the mainstream like a emaciated Antipodean Gaslight Radio relic; and 'Barking Out' takes its time in building its wonky indie patois, taking in a Krautrock hue and hemming it all in with the effect of a broken foyer speaker dribbling forth muzak from another world. These are early days, but Draining Pool really evoke something special. The band play with SM faves Spirit Bunny and Matt Banham this Saturday in Sydney before venturing to the Queensland capital for fellow Sydneysiders Beast & Flood's album launch at the Bearded Lady (alongside SM cronies Ghost Notes and great upstarts Low Season).

Excellent French distro label Beko Disques have been promoting a lot of Aussie stuff recently (expect to hear more news about these releases soon...and maybe a few SM related things too...). The main release that I have been listening to the past week though has been from Ukrainian band Blagodat, whose two-track taster is incredible. Taking sinuous post-punk lurkers into a lustrous yet brooding soundscape, Blagodat rattle the cages with gravity and grandeur. As you can see I am loving this kind of sound right now...

The Rauch-Sasseen sisters (Anna, Erin and Katie) make up the centrifugal force of Brooklyn's Hey Anna, whose soon-to-drop album Run Koko is a golden miasma of indie whimsy that manages to offer effervescence through prisms of light melodies and bombastic instrumental bluster. From the propulsive drive and 'Spirit In The Sky' echoes of 'Don't Talk Stop' to the cascading shimmer and shadow of 'Island and the smart punchiness of 'Move Your Body', Hey Anna manage to marry melody with muscle and in the process are crafting some of the most infectious pop of 2015 while maintaining a high degree of integrity. Heavyweight lightness maybe?

Back to Australia now with Kit Convict & Thee Terrible Two, a rough and ready, ramshackle garage rock band that revel as much in adulation of idols The Easybeats as they do with modern garage contemporaries and injecting it all with a strong serum of The Cramps' rusted ridiculousness, the trio's album Watch Your Skull is a breakneck blast of seventeen songs, all delivered with a railyard punch and spat with vim and vigour, 70s Brit punk laid over rattle-and-chains primitivism. It's roughshod, raw, nascent and nihilistic - and a hell of a lot of fun.

Synth punk nihilists Ho99o9 are following in the scum-lined footstops of GG Allin and Death Grips on their EP Horrors of 1999. MC Ride and Zach Hill have blown a hole in the fabric of what to expect of punk and these grotbags stutter out of the same diseased amniotic fluid. These guys are about to be huge. Their VHS horror video below is also incredibly brilliant. I'm in awe of this scabrous descent - the Death Grips comparisons may be inevitable, but Ho99o9 are carving their own nightmare, one inch of flesh at a time.

And to glide into the Sunday summer sunset we have Florida's Sea Cycles who have presented a suite of subterranean dreams in the form of debut album Ground & Air. The band revels in creating intricately unspooling and intense instrumentals interspersed with Lindsey Slante's undulating, soaring-on-the-airstreams vocals. Imagine Explosions In The Sky and The Album Leaf jamming in a secluded woodland clearing - Sea Cycles is the heady, hypnotic result.


Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Cleaning Rifles With Your Cousin

Brighton trio Cousin really impressed us with their intricate wiry debut EP Alternate Tunings For Regular People, filled as it was with “tight, intricate guitarwork, incessant grooves, a rhythm that doesn't know how to quit so beats the shit out of you instead, a melodicism that is infused with equal parts sunshine, narcotics and playful disdain.” (that’s me quoting our review. I don’t think I have ever done it in this way before. Weird.)

Back in March the band released their follow-up EP Music To Polish Your Rifle To (out through Fcking The Night and Barely Regal Records), maintaining their faux-instructional pretences while playing with the wordsmithery, the titles of the 6 songs evoking backwoods sweat-stained inertia and anxieties. Don’t worry, the music has stayed the same – Cousin are clearly infatuated with the Polvo school of atmospheric intricacies. In my opinion the new songs are a little muted – a sense of gravity pervading the compositions, a subtlety that belies the playful nature of the song titles. So the languid nature of ‘Oversized Haulage’ or the freneticism of ‘Dry Steering On A Wet Road’ feels undercut by a rich seam of control, of tempered temperatures, of zen abrasion. I was expecting something more frenetic, more sinuous, yet Music To Polish Your Rifle To instead enthrals through intricate mechanisms designed to entrance, to control. Pick it up here.

Wringing Out The Broken Water

Olympia's Broken Water have always been a pretty exciting band for me - one of the first entries into the Night People label for me, their mix of atonal distorted quicksand and opaque melodic pop evoking Sonic Youth or early days Blonde Redhead with a bit of Widowspeak colouring the edges. New record Wrought certainly upholds this sounds - listen to the sonorous squall of '1984' or the spoken word and no wave guitar squall histrionics of 'Choice' for example - but there is a cleanliness and effortlessness to some of these tracks that suggests the trio may not have waded out of the deep dark waters of distortion, but have at least found cause to don their Raincoats. Opening gambit 'Hi-Lo' is the clearest indicator that sunshine permeates the darkness, even if opaque ('Am I right or am I wrong/All I know is I do not know'). 'Love & Poverty' is a song in the same world - imagine a Fortuna Pop alum covered by Electrelane at their most pop esoteric. 'Close' floats in on a percolating wave of shoegaze fuzz, before Kanako Pooknyw's vocals takes a downturn, things grind to a low rumble, before we amble along to a wistful close. Elsewhere we see Jon Hanna take vocal duties on the likes of 'Wasted' (whose gravel-ripped round-voweled vocals feels like other 90s progenitors of alternative rock (when that was a positive term) Screaming Trees and Social Distortion) and 'Psycho Static' which feels more akin to Thurston Moore having a narcoleptic dream, eyes at half mast, slight left jaw paralysis, simple strumming, late sun dreaming, before the requisite distortion kicks the needle into another direction but still feels like an amble at its feverish height. Hanna's vocals find another sideways slide on 'Set Free', carved out of a Mascis drawl and a Vedder howl. 'Stone' has more in tune with the lo-fi machinations of Veronica Falls coupled with a high, ragged tempo that Vivian Girls often conjured up. These somewhat obvious touchstones may read as lazy observations, but they help assuage the idea that Wrought and Broken Water themselves are steeped in recognition while upholding their subversions - railing against the surveillance police state of '1984', the soul-crushing monotony of low-level jobs on 'Close'.  The elongated closer 'Beach' though gives us the truest sense of where the band has ended up - on the waterline as day starts its transformation into night, at first ethereal, before the cold whips at the edges of your bones, the stars prick holes in the darkness and start to swirl, convex lines of light, before they shatter and fall to the earth in cacophonous glory. A dreamscape? A nightmare? Reality and fantasy, originality and familiarity, fuse together into one main constant - that Broken Water lapping at your feet. Pick up Wrought here.

Friday, 26 June 2015

In Heptagon Heaven

Here's to the weekend, let's get lost in the world government...

I sometimes get sent things in the inbox that I get blindsided by - last week it was Tearjerker that took me by surprise. But occasionally there is something that I listen to and really enjoy - and I don't know how we came to this point. It can come down to a day of listening to submissions that have not done much for me, so the expectations become lower or more desperate - but sometimes it's by total accident. Fate, if you believe in things. There is nothing remarkable about the release that grabs the attention - indeed it might have artwork, listed references or the written press release copy that turns me off the aural content before I have even hit play. However even then somehow the sonics hit the airwaves and my resolve dissolves.

This is what happened with Heptagon Heaven, David Owens' new project (he of AMDISCS band Vial of Sound). The press release stated that HH was for fans of Black Moth Super Rainbow, Daft Punk and Air. Now I have enjoyed some Black Moth Super Rainbow in the past, as I have Daft Punk and Air, but I wouldn't say any of that sound interests me in 2015, and certainly doesn't pique my interest to see what tangential shift such an artist might bring to these ideas. Yet I still hit play on 'World Government'...and the insistent earworm burrowed into my soul. The beats are simple but its the oscillating synthesised roll that plays like a ADHD 8 bit insect, all primary colours and blocked binaries, buzzing in the brain.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Philadelphia Collins Is The Sofa Queen

Man, talk about excited. One of the best labels of the last few years has been Boston's Exploding In Sound - mining the rich depths of discordant guitar rock squalls, quirks and tics, they have brought to the world amazing records from the likes of Pile, Ovlov, Palehound, Disco Doom, Krill, LVL UP, Bad History Month, Grass Is Green, Washer,'s a mighty impressive roll call. So you can understand my unbridled excitement at the unveiling of Philadelphia Collins. You always have to be wary with pun-based bands - although this one isn't as mawkish or obvious as some, and is preceded by the above Trailer Park Boys character - but when the members come from this pedigree (Speedy Ortiz, Ovlov, Grass Is Green) all aspersions are duly cast aside. And when first taster 'Sofa Queen' features the vocals of Palehound's Ellen Kempner - well it's a nobrainer. 'Sofa Queen' is a noisy clusterbomb, imploding on itself in lazy spooling white noise, but it takes its time to unwind, mirroring Kempner's drawled breathy voice nicely before the gnarled edge creeps in...  The track comes off Derp Swervin', where the band employs vocals from other EIS bands such as Two Inch Astronaut and Dirty Dishes. Pre-order it here.

James X Boyd & The Boydoids Ride Again

It was so great to see James X Boyd out on the tiles with his Boydoids at the last Sonic Masala show at Power Lunches - they were truly great, and will have some more shows in the future I guarantee. I even named his first two albums, the first self-titled, the second Super Low, as some of my favourites of the year back in 2013. And here are a few tracks they recorded from that set - including personal favourite 'Brunswick St Junkies'. It's iPhone "special" recordings, but gives you a hint of the rusty charms that this wry mastermind has up his sleeves, whilst the last song 'Real Madrid' eases the pain with an altogether different salve, letting out new flesh, a warm, almost cute minimalist Krautrock dream. My love affair, rekindled.

Shoegaze FOREVR

The falling away of Brisbane shoegaze giants Roku Music after only one album (last year's stellar Collider, and Sonic Masala Records' first release) has left a hole in the fabric of the Australian music scene, as their take on the gargantuan sonic wash lifted aloft by sonorous angelic vocals was mesmerising. But despite rumours that the band rumbles on, there are other outlets to embrace. A few weeks ago we were in thrall of the punkgaze esoterics of Deafcult (featuring Roku's Innez Tulloch); and now we have FOREVR, the new project for Donnie Miller. Aiding him in these further expeditions in fuzz-soaked abandon is Sam George-Allen, and their four-track taster Demonstration is incredible. Her vocals on the woozy submerged-sun-trip 'Yucatan' for example lends an air of ethereal distance, a Syren held aloft, out of touch, much desired. FOREVR takes a stronger electronic/metallic harshness to 'Heart Of Ice', yet the kinetic energy that bounces refracted off the synthetic/organic hybrid adds a luminous halo to the deeper acrid tones on display. The decadent imagery continues on sinuous creeper 'Midas At Night', while Miller's guitar bends and dips in his inimitable style, both an affront and an embrace. They finish off with the cascading cacophony 'Forgive', which despite its name holds an aura of aggression under the seam of white sparks that shower down from the heavens. Demonstration is a cheeky title, as FOREVR launch forth fully formed, their powers for all to see.

Demonstration is out now on shiny garish gold cassette. FOREVR launch it with an instore at Tyms Guitars in Brisbane on Friday July 10.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Sleep In Richter

Back in 2013 Heinz Riegler made a tape for A Guide To Saints, the cassette offshoot of Room40, called Sleep Health. It was designed conceptually as a sleep mechanism – Riegler was hoping that the rhythms would act as a therapeutic salve for his own insomnia and for a family member who was also struggling to find respite in the blissful arms of slumber. It isn’t the first time someone has composed music in order to aid or be heard during our sleep cycles - Cage, Terry Riley, LaMonte Young - even bloody Jeff Bridges has done an ambient spoken word recording designed to lull people into hibernation.

Now we can add to this rather obtuse sub-genre another work – SLEEP by British composer Max Richter – and it might be the big daddy of them all. SLEEP is thought to be the longest single piece of music ever to be recorded, at eight hours in length. Sound boring? That is kinda the point – Richter has designed the piece to render people unconscious – that is, to send listeners to sleep, “an eight-hour lullaby”. Richter describes it as a “manifesto for a slower pace of existence.” How it works is is an exploration of music, consciousness and human connectivity...

Now I can tell you I REALLY WANT TO GO TO THIS PREMIERE (anyone out there listening???). SLEEP will receive its world premiere this September in Berlin, in a concert performance lasting from 12 midnight to 8am at which the audience will be given beds instead of seats and programmes. For real. This is actually happening.

Now the full version will be released as a digital piece, with a one-hour rendition to be released through Deutsche Grammophon (pre-order here). And I'm sure the truncated piece will be great too – but who gives a shit? I want to go to this exhibition/performance piece and see if I can fall asleep to music and wake up a different person. Hang on – I DO THIS EVERY DAY. I think this is an incredibly interesting idea – but how do you gauge its success? If it bores you to sleep? What if you are genuinely tired? Will the music really have an effect? Will everyone have the same dream, or fall asleep at the same time? Will there be people placed in the crowd on meth, to see if it is a universal aural sedative? So many variables. At any rate, I want to see the result – but I can imagine tickets/beds to this thing will fly out the freaking door, so you better be quick.

Can't Take It When It's Sextile

Really digging this track from LA synthetic doomsayers Sextile. 'Can't Take It' plays a few cards - squalling, screeching monochrome guitars; menacing gothic synth; a brooding yet barely controlled vocal delivery; a simple metronomic rhythm to hold you hogtied in the velvet darkness. Even the imagery plays on multiple levels. This is the kind of goth punk that embraces the power of pain, rather than succumbs morosely to it, and projects it back tenfold. A force to be reckoned with, Sextile bring out their debut album A Thousand Hands in August through Felte Records - pre-order it here - and have a few dates around the States later this month with Au.Ra.

No Clouds Over This Zen Summer

Cloud is Tyler Taormina of Long Island and is fresh behind the ears - not that you would guess it’s the one young dude with how huge and fun his second album Zen Summer (out now through Paper Trail Records) comes across. ‘Sunshine Psych’ has the summer psych euphoria that Woods espouses. There is an easy inherent groove in the likes of ‘Mantra One’ that evokes early Broken Social Scene -  in fact there are a number of moments on Zen Summer that remind me of that band’s second album You See It In People. There is a bucolic bubbling that underpins the album too, something that infuses naturalistic freak-folk shamans like Devendra Banhart or pastel-freak-popsters Animal Collective (‘Luana’). It is this constant sense of colourful inventiveness and verve that makes Zen Summer such an appetising prospect. The album supposedly comes from a dark place, a deliberate attempt to suppress anxieties and trepidations about the outside world and Taormina’s place in it, and songs like the atmospheric ‘Melting Cassatt’ and chaotic cascading ‘Sleepy Giant Speak’ certainly hint at these internal misgivings. Whether the creation of Zen Summer works for him is unsure, but he easily succeeds at setting the listener at ease at the very least, which is a great effort.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sometimes, But Not Always Caged

Just like Trupa Trupa’s Headache coming out on Blue Tapes, I was not expecting an album like Sometimes Always Never to come out on experimental label Pan y Rosas. It’s not a complete surprise – Cagey House has put two albums out through them in the past, and the staccato drums and breezy interplay evokes someone well versed in free jazz improvisation. But it is the plaintive space and dare I say dainty compositions here, with so much space within a soft soundscape, that threw me. It is the contemplative score of infanthood; of discovering how to crawl, to walk, to run; to laugh at something of your own creation, not just weird sounds and faces; to recognise the warmth of the sun on your face as a positive force for the first time. For me, the title Sometimes Always Never is the notion that these moments, these first, are sometimes (always) never truly experienced again. Even the freedom and adrenal rush of running, laughing, enjoying life, feels like a construct, a shadow of the pure form of enjoyment and happiness. The child’s voice on ‘Mother Life’ almost accentuates this – the words, like life, light, share, today, fish, enough, all evoke the first realisation of what these words encapsulate – and the mystery of the words become lost through knowledge. It’s a slight sound collage, in eight vaguely song-based pieces, but as a celebration of life and the melancholy of its passing, it’s a striking work.

Blue Trupa's Double Headache

This one blindsided me. I had never heard of Polish band Trupa Trupa before, true; but more for the fact that it came from Blue Tapes, a label that is admittedly eclectic in sonic output but is generally more to the abstract noise/ambient outliers of the musical spectrum (Tashi Dorji, Henry Plotnick, Father Murphy). Headache, Trupa Trupa’s third album, is not like this – more akin to noisy indie rock meltdowns than overtly electronic  or jazz-inflected experimental fare. Their listed reference points include Swans, Sonic Youth and Slint. But then it isn’t as brazenly atonal as you may think based on these signifiers. 

‘Snow’ is a rambling unruly maudlin pop song with blown-out guitars, reminding me of 90s guitar bands like Australia’s Gaslight Radio. ‘The Sky Is Falling’ feels like a later-era Beatles track with a Soundtrack Of Our Lives vintage/homage aftertaste that explodes in the mouth with a cathartic rally of arms. ‘Wasteland’ has a chaotic musical middle third not far removed from the orgiastic, sumptuous noise tapestries that Blonde Redhead have become experts at weaving. In fact, Headache is simply a great record, regardless of the perceived influences – the minimal brooding and hushed vocals of ‘Halleyesonme’, the twisted shuffle leading into an inexorable organ-led miasmic meltdown on ‘Getting Older’; the liberating rise and fall of ‘Rise And Fall’; the motorik tension of the title track. Most of the songs dish out crescendos, but not in the cheap cop-out mould – every build up and release is poles apart, plumbing a different emotional depth and offering a respite, sonic acupuncture. 

By the time we get to the post-punk sworl of closer ‘Picture Yourself’, you will be begging to get to Gdansk and see these guys in person, rope them into being your theme music band, and have them follow you around every day in real time, scoring your failures, triumphs and ennui. Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of Headache here.

Pained Murray On A Ciggie Break

Zac Denton and his not-so-merry men (and wo-man) Ciggie Witch are back with 'Look of Pain' (out through Lost & Lonesome and Osborne Again - although no longer on Osborne St RIP *sigh*), a sonorous yet maudlin jaunt, the juxtaposition between sunny composition and wryly morose exposition, continuing to make the same mistakes, only at the expense of himself. The last lines, "Don't even worry yourself/It's my groundhog day" are bittersweet - a hangdog expression, woe-is-me, right? But we all know that Bill Murray came out of it smelling of roses, stopped being shit and became a better man with a film that still gets good Nielsen hits even though Channel 10 play it once a quarter. Who knows - maybe Denton will finally get his Andie MacDowall? We can dream and hope. Fave CW song yet.

Ciggie Witch are cruisin around being ciggie witches with Cool Sounds - catch them here and there:

June 25 — Canberra @ Phoenix w/ Cool Sounds + California Girls
June 26 — Sydney @ The Union w/ Cool Sounds + Staunch Nation
June 27 — Ballarat @ The Eastern w/ Cool Sounds + Crepes + Bleach Boys

July 24 — Castlemaine @ The Bridge w/ Cool Sounds
July 25 — Melbourne @ The Shadow Electric — Lost And Lonesome Leaps & Bounds Festival Party w/ The Zebras + Milk Teddy + Footy + Tim Richmond + Monnone Alone

Monday, 22 June 2015

Cosmic Comet Ritual

Here is some late night light psych from stalwarts Comet Gain. Their four-track EP Fingerprint Ritual opens with a twelve minute ‘Breaking Open The Head Pt 2’ (a continuation and tangent from the part 1 found on their seventh LP Paperback Ghosts), using a slow, soft oscillation and backwards guitars to build a mist-like mantra that envelops and engrosses. ‘That Lucifer Summer’ feels more garage-lite, taking the psych into the basement, draped with velvet curtains and amber lights, lounging around and jamming. Something that continues into ‘To The City’s Core’, which purportedly features the abnd’s first funky break and a farfisa organ played through a mangled fuzz pedal. Its insidious insinuation of the city as a virus belies a late 60s Blue jam vibe. ‘The Insignificant Dignified’ ends it all, a hushed protest that plays along with the Animals/Troggs rousing template, getting properly fuzzed out and jammed to the edges and beyond. Feeling vintage and straight from the source, Fingerprint Ritual sees the veterans remaining on course for the sun. 
Get it (in red vinyl) here.

Holding On To The Briggs

Jackson Briggs used to tear up the guitar in Brisbane's unique Outback Gothics Nikko. He is now out on his own, chucking his middle name in there and has an equally ramshackle band behind him as Jackson Reid Briggs & the Heaters, and is preparing to release 7" Holding On. It's loose, rambunctious, rough around the edges rock and roll, tired yet desperate to dispel the demons, or drown in amber trying. It's the kind of singalong that has a whiff of hope come from the cracked lips of a broken man that refuses to lie down. Holding On is coming out through Kasumuen Records (home to SM faves Fraudband) - get it here. Jackson is a bit of a restless shaggy soul, traipsing all over Australia and Japan in the past, and he is coming to Europe in July. He will be playing the next Sonic Masala showcase here in London alongside Hygiene, Primetime and Tense Men. Splash some amber sods and let him know that he's holding on - he will get there.