Saturday, 3 December 2011

Slumbering With The Grown Up Sea Lions


Slumberland Records aren't sitting idly as the Christmas month comes lumbering out of the darkness, instead they are intent on adding one more parcel to the bundle. This pressie comes in the form of the (almost) self-titled debut LP by the Californian band Sea Lions - seriously, look at the below piece o wax! It even has Christmas colours!


The album itself is fully of jangly cheek, playful disdain, angsty stiffness - a quivering ball of pop contradictions, basically. but what I really dig about Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask is their propensity to walk the tightrope and not fall into the abyss of tweeness or arrogant hipsterdom - even though there are teetering moments (the Woody Allen reference in the title is a glittering nugget of gold though in my opinion). It's harmless fare, yet its warm, and gets multiple plays with the addition of some real hook-laden fun

You can grab Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask here.

Sea Lions - Grown Up

Friday, 2 December 2011

Friday Cover Up - Eddy Electrifies The Chosen Few


A great way to end out a quiet week here on Planet Masala, which then leads into an almighty month of craziness! Here is a cut of the brilliant Eddy Current Suppression Ring's bits-&-bobs release So Many Things, which is a better album than most other bands' actual albums. This one is a cover of terminally underrated Aussie act of yore The Chosen Few, 'T.A.L.O.I.G.A.' So good. Later kids! If you're in Brisbane this week, you must get to AT LEAST THREE OF THE FOLLOWING SHOWS - Mere Noise Meltdown (Saturday, featuring Guitar Wolf!!), OFF! (Sunday & Tuesday), Mudhoney (Monday), Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Monday), Future Of The Left (Tuesday), Kurt Vile (Thursday) and Fucked Up (Friday)! Jesus tittyfucking Christ, it's good to be here and not there (IE anywhere else) right now!!!

Eddy Current Suppression Ring - T.A.L.O.I.G.A. (The Chosen Few cover)

Kicking Back In With Some Black Tambourine(s)


Wow, a quiet week (IE no posts AT ALL). I apologise. It isn't going to get much better over the next few weeks though, what with the avalanche of international bands bombarding Brisbane and the heady Christmas celebrations going on around here. I had such a handle on December last year too...sigh.

Well, I thought Id give you some good stuff anyway. Here is the EP from Cornish devils The Black Tambourines, Chica. Art Is Hard are putting out this hedonistic slice of dark-corner-of-the-garage fuzz, and it'd make a lovely little Christmas entree. In fact, I will have a multitude of cool Christmas gifts in the forthcoming posts that you could consider for those you truly love. Anyway, listen to Chica below, then take '27-25 Blues' home with you. Go on - you deserve it.



The Black Tambourines - 27-25 Blues

10% Off Rules Rulez!


Guess what? For the next few days (until midnight Monday December 5) that dastardly duo otherwise known as Civil Civic are giving Sonic Masala punters (that's YOU!) the chance to get their debut LP Rules for 10% off the normal price! This is great news, as all of you should own a copy of this fun as hell record and play it till it breaks, thus buying a second one as backup. The catch? Not really - you only have to head over here and add "discountsrule" in the code section, and voila! This incredibly awesome piece of instrumental alchemy is all yours, for a fraction cheaper, meaning that you can still score tonight.* WIN WIN WIN.



* By score, I mean shooting holes. I mean hoops. Yeah, you knew what I meant...

Sleepwaling Robots In The Nite Fields Motel


In October we had our very first sponsored/curate/whatever show, imaginatively called Sonic Masala Presents. It was a graveyard smash. Greg Charles was gloriously shambolic; Psy Ants were awesomely explosive; Nova Scotia were inimitably fun.

Tonight it all happens again for the second instalment. Headlining are the upper crust grungeheads Sleepwalks, whose debut LP The Milk Has Gone Sour (produced by Steve Albini no less!) came out at the crowning of the year. A smash and grab affair, it is a fun piece of work (despite the fact I gave it only three stars for Time Off at the beginning of the year, a fact I may never live down). This is likely to be a fantastically sloppy earblast, and the lineup is rounded out by much-loved husband/wife dream-pop manipulators Do The Robot, garrulous shoegaze explorers Nite Fields, and new kids on the block, rusty blues duo El Motel. All for a tenner (and BYO means it stays a cheap night!) It looks like it could rain again, but don't let that deter you for an awesome night of eclecticism and alcoholism! Should be madness, and it kicks off at 8pm - see you there!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Hits From The Box #42 - Macey Road


Seriously, Lieutenant Pike is the biggest douche. It's Kenny Powers, without a redeemable bone, for real. Yet we can laugh can't we? Ah, 21st century, I love you.

Here's a new band from UK's Brighton to kick today's Hits From The Box off, and they aren't mucking about. The UK has a penchant of producing some brilliant left of field instrumental rock bands that flutter along many, mostly noisy, genres, and Cousin is no exception. Their debut four track EP And Other Relations is a crackers. The trio have claimed Pavement, Polvo and Enablers as overt influences, and their warm, intricate math rockers more than adeptly hold true to such inspirations. Much like Avalanche Ammo before them, this EP is inherently exciting, and proves without a doubt that you can noodle away on a guitar with math rock leanings and be the polar opposite of a wanker. Grab the EP here - its a corker.

Cousin - Super Toight
Cousin - Tensions At The Lido


Next up is Spy Island outta Portland, a self-proclaimed ragtag troupe of caffeinated cellar dwellers. Aren't we all? They have finalised their 3rd LP New Milesian Kings, an album the ebbs and flows between languid slapstick drunken shambolism and languid homemade singalong shanties. Its solid, and whilst not without its filler, bookends its entrails with two great little tracks, both of which you can sample below. New Milesian Kings will be out early next year.

Spy Island - The Punchline
Spy Island - Geisha On The Beach


On a previous edition of Hits From The Box, I mentioned a little act by the marbles-in-mouth moniker of Dovie Beams Love Child. The brain behind the act, Juan Torregoza, has more than one feather to his bow, as The Climbing Rose attests. A solo project that lends itself to the flourishes of the flamenco school - an interesting option. It's out on Cactus Killer Records - well worth a listen.

Juan Torregoza - Romance


Philly's Bridge Underwater began in August 2005 as the recording project/one-man band of Patrick Mellon. Since then Bridge Underwater has released more than one hundred songs ranging from simple lo-fi tunes to experimental “noise delights.” At the moment Mellon is working with drummer John Basile and bassist Danny Click. The trio plans on releasing an EP of new music in early 2012. Here's a tasty slice of what to expect.

Bridge Underwater - Be Loved


If you are going to reference the creator of some of the most iconic 60s British pop music, you'd better do it right. Influenced by early electronic music and experimental pop, and has been described as ‘Bizzaro Pop’, Narrow Sparrow are a new band that hail from Chicago, Illinois, are dropping their Synthworks EP on us (the 4-song ep will also be released on 7” vinyl on December 21st - pre-order is here), and the opener, 'Joe Meek's Dream' definitely tickles the excitement bone.

Narrow Sparrow - Joe Meek's Dream


I know very little about Violet Hour outta San Fran's Bay Area, and sometimes that's the way it ought to be. They have released an EP, Cowardly Loins, but I have only heard the below track. Obviously I see the allure. Good times indeed!

Violet Hour - Least I Could Love You

HAPPY WEEKEND!

Fear Of Alice Munro


First turned onto this London via Brighton band through Art Is Hard Records, Fear Of Men recently recorded a set of songs in anticipation of their forthcoming tour with another SM "One To Watch" (I have never said that about another band, at least not given a definitive label - but it's kinda true, we are fans here) Bos Angeles. The avid experimenting with mic placement and an eight-track tape recorder produced some gems, called the Alice Munro demos (to be released December 12), and the best of which is 'Doldrums'. Suitably gloomy and jangly, akin to Brisbane's own Keep On Dancin's that we showcased yesterday, or even another Brissy band Feathers, the track shows a gloss that we haven't associated with the group in the past, and may be a slight glimpse into their beautifully morbid future...

Fear Of Men - Doldrums

VIDEO VACUUM - Copenhagen Sessions


Here is another brilliant guerrilla initiative by maverick crew They Shoot Music Don't They. They have a new series of offstage videos entitled THE COPENHAGEN SESSIONS! For three they intend to meet bands in Copenhagen and film offstage sessions in the autumnal darkness of the Danish capital, inviting international and Danish, upcoming and acclaimed bands to play in front of the lens. The locations are bike sheds, industrial buildings, caf├ęs, parks or just streets - nothing is sacred.

The first release is with the amazing Seattle-based Craft Spells. After being kicked out of a laundry they play two songs ('The Fog Rose High' and 'Your Tomb') in an abandoned shopping mall in the Vesterbro neighbourhood of Copenhagen.





The second episode features Philadelphia-based The War On Drugs playing a semi-acoustic session in the bike shed of a school in Copenhagen's Christianshavn neighbourhood, including performances of 'Brothers' and 'Best Night' from their new album Slave Ambient.





And finally (so far, at least...) we have the 7-piece Danish folk-pop band Cody, recorded in an abandoned building in the abandoned Carlsberg brewery in Valby, Copenhagen.





NOW GET BACK TO WORK!

Roberts Sings Songs With A Dime Of Milk


I only just spoke about the surprise belter that is Luke Roberts' Big Bells & Dime Songs the other week - it's a really good album! Now here is a bonus track that didn't make the album (which is strange, seeing as it bears half of the LP title), 'Dime Song'. Even more surprising is how good it is - although this isn't really a surprise when you find out that the backing band Roberts has used features members of the cult noise merchants Harvey Milk (or maybe it still is - such subtlety isn't really their forte...) Really nice stuff, and the best way to help string out the last Friday of Spring...

Grab Big Bells & Dime Songs now, it's a slow burner that could force its way to the top of the pops come December 31st...


Luke Roberts - Dime Song (full band)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Keep On Dancin' For A Standing 8 Count

That Meltdown that Mere Noise is promising gets ever closer, so it's high time we threw the limelight on two more local acts that will be brandishing the blowtorch.


First up we have a band we have briefly mentioned here in the past, The Keep On Dancins. Their debut album The End Of Everything came out earlier this year, and it is just another of Brisbane's 2011 Easter eggs of rocking delectability. What's even better though is that in December it's being released on vinyl, so it will be the greatest Christmas gift too! This album is the brooding, maudlin, eyelids-at-half-mast kind of garage rock, less giddy I love the sunshine and more I love twilight (the time of day, not that raping of the vampire genre shtick). you can pre-order it on Bandcamp now if you want to take advantage of a sweet limited edition pack that includes the vinyl (w/ download), a black (of course) tee and a poster, all for $35 + ph. It can be a gift to yourself if you want...


Secondly, it's all about the institutions at the Meltdown, and these guys are elder statesmen of kicking arse. The Standing 8 Counts are the band that pretty much started it all for this label has reformed, with the original lineup getting together just under a month ago at the Crown Hotel in Lutwyche for the first time in over ten years - it was like 2001 all over again! Very exciting.

The Keep On Dancins - Summertime

The Standing 8 Counts - (You Make Me) Stiff

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Burying Strangers Beyond The Wall


We, along with just about everybody, loves A Place To Bury Strangers' 2009 LP Exploding Head. Hell, I played the Dinosaur Hunt light gun arcade game with former bassplayer Jono at ATP the very night this blog came to be! But since then it has been kinda quiet. Now they have announced February's launch of EP Onwards to the Wall, their first release since leaving Mute Records for Dead Oceans. The incredible noisy shoegazers (complete with new bassist Dion, formerly of cool Ramones-obsessed Kiwi band The D4)have done everything behind the scenes in order to bring these new tracks to light, which pretty much ensures it will be loud as fuck and just as exhilarating.

A Place To Bury Strangers - So Far Away

Total Control/Thee Oh Sees Split


What a delightful meeting of minds! San Fran crazy horses Thee Oh Sees are touring the States with Aussies debauched maurauders Total Control in tow, and have this split for you to ascertain how these two acts sound meshed together under one seedy sweat-stained roof. It is the usual spastic exuberance from Dwyer and co, whilst the four tracks from Total Control are embedded with seething disdain, a bizarrely corrosive counterpoint. Why it works I don't know. Maybe that cat that got it on with Paula Abdul is onto something...

And further good news is Thee Oh Sees will be playing in Brisbane at the turn of the New Year. Yes, they will be playing Woodland (after their show this time last year was cancelled due to the floods) on Jan 11. Maybe TC can make the trip northwards too?

Thee Oh Sees - Dead Energy

Total Control - Nervous Harvest

And for the live stuff?

Watch live streaming video from lepoissonrouge at livestream.com

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Embrace A Happy Death


It's taken me a while, but I received this 7" EP from New York-via-Portland band A Happy Death about three weeks ago (and is that an esoteric title I see before me? Camus fans playing short, spiky garage psych? Well, I never...). Like, physically received it. And as the Tympanogram blog states, that is a beautiful thing. However, I hadn't gotten around to even listening to it until last week due to a multitude of tiny factors equalling a massive clusterfuck of issues. But now I have. And whilst it is nothing necessarily new, it is a hell of a lot of fun.

I was a fan as soon as I saw the song title - 'Nazi Zombies'. I have lost many a drunken/stoned early morning hour trying to kill those WWII undead critters... and this track is just as sordid and dirty, yet wearily addictive. You want to stop you really do - but just one more listen... The playfulness continues with 'Surf Rock Band,' suitably scuzzy, noisy, and smart-arsed. 'Mr Rutter' offers the other facet that such an EP needs - a faux ballad that slumps around the dark alleyways spouting the sour tales of a transvestite factory worker (for real). Then 'Ghost House' kicks the final limb out from under you, leaving your prostate and gagging.

The psychedelia that A Happy Death play around with is deeply entrenched in garage rock, like much of today's DIY rock outfits tend to be, but with the right balance of shambolism and anarchism, they have crafted a gritty slice of wanton cheese.

A Happy Death - Nazi Zombies

J Won't Keep You Thinking For Long


J Mascis has been the gift that keeps on giving this year, hasn't he? After the impressive solo album Seven Shades Of Why (through Sub Pop), he is releasing a new 7" single featuring a cover of Edie Brickell's song, "Circle", and the b-side, "I've Been Thinking" - which is yours below! Not only is this an opportunity to listen to new J songs, it's also on purple/green vinyl--it looks a like candy, and sounds just as appealing.



J Mascis - I've Been Thinking

But that isn't all! The master of rock will be all solo-ed up (and acoustic!) to take on the Brisbane heat as he heads to the sublime environs of the Powerhouse on Thursday January 10! This is incredible news, all the more so due to the fact that Danny Widdicombe has snavvled the support - way to bring in 2012 in style buddy! Grab your ticket here.

Lose Total Control On The Henge Beat


To complete today's triptych of incredible Aussie rock releases, we have Total Control with their Henge Beat. I mentioned seeing Dick Diver last week - well, seeing as Al is from Total Control, it's important for you to see on the strength of the Dick Diver album why Total Control is still his day job. The Henge Beat LP is dark, dank and oh so seductive, a driving synth-punk behemoth that wallows in the flooded basements of Berlin, hiding the remains of the Birthday Party, Ultravox and Wire. You can see a correlation with another white-hot album of this year, Iceage's New Brigade, yet this is a little less brutal. The musical nous of founding member Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, UV Race) may surprise some, but it is clear he not only understands what makes garage rock tick (rather than poseurs), he can also pat Ian Curtis on the nape of the neck before giving him a donkey punch. Henge Beat is rabid, a little perverted, but also another release that seems unaffected by affectedness. This is a sound that pervades the participating members because they believe in this. And that is what makes Total Control a dangerously beautiful (albeit combustible) commodity.

I implore you (like I have with Royal Headache and Witch Hats) - get this now!

Total Control - One More Tonight
Total Control - Carpet Rash

Love Me A Royal Headache


OK, so I kinda blew my wad over Witch Hats' Pleasure Syndrome. Well, I better change my pants AGAIN, because we have another absolute killer jumping out of the gates and totally destroying all preconceptions about what it means to create good music.

Royal Headache, in their debut self-titled longplayer, have done something that revels in its unaffectedness. In fact, it’s hard to imagine in this world today how such a band can exist. Devoutly and intrinsically DIY, these rabblerousers don’t pride themselves in living the music they play or the reputation they may garner; they just are. Now that Pitchfork et al (and to an extent, the glaring spotlight also turns on me, for better or worse) are espousing their brilliance, their progression can only go one of two ways - implosion, deliberate obscurity, or an evolution of sound. As it stands, then, 2011 will be a time capsule for the group, for this point forward their lives aren't likely to be the same unless they wilfully make it so. Therefore thank fuck for Royal Headache, an album chock full of influences, garage tendencies, fundamental mistakes and innate love of what they do that a better template of what it means to be rock and roll may not subsist.

OK, so that sounds like an outrageous declaration. However, after one listen to this album it becomes evident that this kind of lightning cannot be emulated. Each track on Royal Headache brims to overflowing with original wants, demands and expectations – this is fun, dammit. No pretensions, or aloofness, or affectations.

Maybe it comes from the juxtaposition between the frenetic musical interplay and the almost friendly, appeasing vocal stylings of vocalist Shogun (the comparisons to Ted Leo notwithstanding - and more than a little OTT) – his crooning on 'Back And Forth' when offset by the manic garage punk wailings becomes a beast unto itself. Shit, there is a song that sounds like fucking Rod Stewart! But 'Honey Joy', one of the strongest songs on offer, shows exactly who Royal Headache are. A song filled with heart-rending despair with a hint of loving redemption, played without a hint of irony, reference wink-nudges or aspirations.

Like I said, whether this kind of alchemy can be maintained under scrutiny is dubious at best. Let's hope that they find a way.

For the love of God, buy Royal Headache now! Its becoming very difficult to buy this on record, just so's you know...

Royal Headache - Girls
Royal Headache - Down The Lane
Royal Headache - Honey Joy

Friday, 18 November 2011

Friday Cover Up - Bonding With Males Causes Aneurysms


Male Bonding covering Nirvana's 'Aneurysm.' That's all you need to know. Happy weekend people...

ART CONTEST - The Chance To Design School Knights/Night Manager Split!!!


Those crazy folks over at Mind Fortress Records have an awesome competition for y'all - and they have asked Sonic Masala to help distribute the love! Two of our most beloved dirty gems, School Knights and Night Manager, are about to release a split release, something Mind Fortress have being trying to coerce out of them for some time now. This is uber exciting news in and of itself, but this is where you - YES, YOU! - come in!

YOU GET THE CHANCE TO DESIGN THE ART!!!!!

Ahem...

All's you need to do is submit your creative masterpieces to Mind Fortress. Submissions end on January 1st 2012 (yes, astute followers, that IS New Year's Day!), with the winner getting a free copy of the split and the multitudes of accolades and sexual trysts that one can handle. Only condition - use the standard CD dimensions when designing and sending in the art, BOTH SIDES. Track names will be added laterz.

Hells a poppin'! This is great news (I'm looking expressly at you A-Rey...), so get crack a lackin. Send your submissions here. And in case you have forgotten, here are some of our posts of the bands and below lies a taste of the bands' nutty goodness...

School Knights - Out Getting Ribs
School Knights - Bullies

Night Manager - Pizza Pasta

Eliza Remains After The Radio Gaslight Burns Low...


I know that Sonic Masala mainly talks about either London or Brisbane shows, but here is one that is in Victoria, Australia, that whoever is in the vicinity should make an effort to get to.

I think that Gold Coast indie band Gaslight Radio were one of the most underrated bands of the 90s, not just of Australia but the world. Their output was consistently stellar. Now singer and guitarist Rory Cooke from the band has FINALLY fronted his own project called The Eliza Band, and they are launching the debut album Firework Dogs tonight at the Grace Darling Hotel in Collingwood. You can grab said album here. Seriously, if I wasn't being blessed by another great show here, Id consider travelling south of the border for this. Testify.



And here is one of the lesser greats from GR - fuck they are amazing...

Royal Headache/Dick Diver Gig


just a quickie here. As previously mentioned, Harvest (featuring Portishead, Flaming Lips, Mogwai, The National, Holy Fuck and a host of others) hists Brisbane's Botanical Gardens tomorrow, followed by the amazing iPhone replaying of the Flaming Lips' epic Zaireeka album as orchestrated by Wayne Coyne himself. Also on that night will be Melbourne's great exponents of post rock atmospherics Laura, playing at Woodland. But if you want to start your music overdose early, get to Woodland tonight, as the bands responsible for two of the most exciting albums of 2011 are converging for a night of drunken passion.


Royal Headache (self-titled) and Dick Diver (Now Start Again - listen to the whole thing here) are going to blow everyone away, and this is a promise. Very exciting! Supported by local act Loose Grip, and at just a tenner, this promises to be a stellar show.

(As a side note, my mate (and now brother-in-law) can't get into RH because the vocalist sounds too much like Ted Leo. As I haven't seen them live yet, I cant pass on the definitive verdict - but that summation is fucking funny.)

Royal Headache - Down The Lane

Dick Diver - Through The D from Chapter Music on Vimeo.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Old Origins of A Young Tennis


Those lovely retro kids that make up Denver band Tennis are set to release their hugely anticipated sophomore effort Young and Old on Valentine's Day next year, again through Fat Possum Records. For their forthcoming album guitarist Patrick Riley, vocalist Aliana Moore and drummer James Barone headed to Nashville to work with The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney. These sessions were very successful, with Carney coming out gushing about the band. Yet today we can make up our own minds with first taste 'Origins' streaming below! It will be available on a clear blue 7" through Forest Family Records on December 6. Once again, I cant quite finger the exact ingredient that lifts these guys above most of their contemporaries - but 'Origins' hits the target, and makes Young and Old an early contender for best album of 2012...

Origins by tennisinc

Get Pleasured By Witch Hats


Today heralds in a few days' worth of posts devoted to some fantastic Aussie releases that I have been saving up, including ones by Royal Headache, Straight Arrows, Dead Farmers, and Total Control. Not all of them are this year's news, but are warranted another look in. This one though, is fresh off the presses, and is a veritable delight to boot.

Melbourne's Witch Hats have the guttural firepower and diseased charisma necessary to corrupt the minds of the masses. On their debut release Cellulite Soul the rawness and aggression inherent in their swagger suggested that style and substance weren't independent of each other, instead always wrestling for control. And in Pleasure Syndrome they really nail their MO to the wall. The beauty of this LP though is that the cohesion, the Araldite that grips a band into a fevered vortex of sonic elation and cosmic power, seems to have arrived. By the metric tonne.

Opening track 'The Bounty' is the perfect example of this. Frontman Kris Buscombe still sounds ready to double glass you at the drop of an ill-place syllable, yet there is a comfortable presence behind his lyrics now that suggests that such a glassing wouldn't be a violent outpouring so much as a graceful balletic manoeuvre that you would be in awed fascination by even as pints of blood pulses out of your split forehead. Such reigning in of the bountiful seams of sleazy abandon is what makes Pleasure Syndrome an infinitely better release, and possibly one of the best Aussie releases of the year (neck and neck with another that I will talk about very soon...) 'Mahoney' lends lyrics that sings to their previous incarnations, the S&M rife imagery as disturbing as it is titillating. 'Hear Martin' has taken references to serial shooter Martin Bryant, thrown together some Clash and Doors hubris and percolated it all with a sense of lackadaisical longing - something that shouldn't work, yet offers a slinky number that exudes originality and intensity. Closer Closing out with the suitably heavy 'Ashley', Witch Hats assert the notion that they are well-heeled rabblerousers with hearts of tainted pitch.

Pleasure Syndrome is out now through Longtime Listener.

Witch Hats - Hear Martin

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Return Not So Yucky


2011 has been a Yucky year. The quintet from London have really come into their own, dominating most festival stages, being at the pinnacle of the hip as fuck blogosphere intelligentsia, and raping the slacker rock songbook writ large.

As you can see from the above, I don't have the biggest love.

It stems from the only time I have seen them play, as a support for another massive band that I don't "get", Real Estate, back in January last year. Real Estate I found to be incredibly boring - I spent most of their set standing at the downstairs bar at the Lexington drinking Jagerbombs and talking shit to my sister and some other person to this day I cannot remember. Yuck and Colours supported, and whilst both acts exploited the Pavement MO, it was actually Colours who came away with the most points in my opinion that night.

Yet the release of Yuck has gone gangbusters for the Londoners, and although im happy for them, I haven't really given them the time of day (except for Mogwai's ace remix of 'Rubber'...). It seemed that they filled out the right questionnaire or application form, for, like Colours, there seemed to be many bands mining the 90s penchant for noodling guitars and haphazard pop hooks yet they remained on the periphery, whilst Yuck conquered the US and jammed with Jools.

Now Fat Possum is re-releasing Yuck as a double LP stacked with B-sdies and rarities. The editor at Time Off magazine in Brisbane implored me to listen, to be more forgiving (as he has seen millions of bands on many different continents, it kills him to know that he hasn't seen Yuck, an employee has, and said employee slags off his favourite new band on regular intervals).

TRACKLISTING

Get Away
The Wall
Shook Down
Holing Out
Suicide Policeman
Georgia
Suck
Stutter
Operation
Sunday
Rose Gives a Lily
Rubber
Milkshake (previously available on limited vinyl only, streamed digitally)
The Base of a Dream is Empty (vinyl and digital B-Side to Rubber)
Cousin Corona (iTunes bonus)
Soothe Me (brand new)
Coconut Bible (B-side to Holing Out)
Doctors In My Bed (vinyl B-side to Get Away, only streamed digitally)

So I have. And it's...pretty good. Im not changing my tune too much - I really don't get hooked on these tracks at all enough to spin the record on frequent occasions - but it's ok. Right place, right time perhaps? 2012 will tell...

Below are two of those "new" cuts. Believe me, there is substance here. 'Soothe Me' has seen a lot of press due to the blatant Kevin Shields stealing, but who doesn't in this day and age? It is also a sound that is stolen precisely because its a style that can go with almost any other genre, and its cool as fuck. And it probably isnt their fault that they have been lauded so hard. AND, as seen by my intermittent Real Estate posts, I will give bands a second chance if it's deemed warranted. And on the strength of these two tracks alone, I may still be bemused at the level of hype and adulation, but it has me soothing the previously held rage. These kids seem ok. Bring on LP #2.





Before the band retreat into the studio however, they are slamming the UK in one final jaunt - although the London show is already sold out (again, THAT confuses me...)



UPCOMING LIVE DATES

November
14 – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
15 – Academy 3, Manchester
16 – Leadmill, Sheffield
18 – Academy 2, Newcastle
19 – Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
20 – King Tuts, Glasgow
21 – 53 Degrees, Preston
22 – Wedgwood Rooms, Portsmouth
23 – Waterfront, Norwich
24 – Electric Ballroom, London
26 – The Button Factory, Dublin
27 – Speakeasy Bar, Belfast

Video Vacuum - Mister Heavenly, Portico Quartet, Lester The Fierce, Crushed Beaks


Well it may still be spring in Australia, but the feel-good temperatures emblematic of the season appear to have fled, allowing summer to beat on down earlier than expected. I'm working in a room made for thirty people - it's currently housing 34, and only one ceiling fan is working. Sure, I should be molding these kids' futures, but screw it, let's watch some flicks!

That veritable supergroup Mr Heavenly have really impressed with their Out Of Love record on Sub Pop, an album that has indie pop on a skewer, slow roasting in a kiln of fun (I'm not getting on any press releases with that one...). Opener 'Bronx Sniper' is one of the more impressive cuts off the album, and it now has a suitably funky yet bizarre video. The band hit London for the first time later this month, and hints are thrown that they will be Down Under quite early on next year - get excited.



I have to say that for a Mercury Prize nominated act, Portico Quartet don't readily ring a bell. The East London-centric act have their 3rd self titled album ready to flaunt, which delves into new sonic territories, drawing on the inspiration of electronica, ambient, classical and dance music as they take their strange, beautiful, cinematic, future music to exciting new vistas. Influences are listed as Burial, Flying Lotus, Max Richter, Steve Reich, Bon Iver...the eclecticism yet musical verbosity bodes well.



Lester The Fierce is the newest project from Anita Lester, the irresistible chanteuse who is set to release her stunning debut EP ‘The Summer Deluge’ this November. The visual artist turned performer describes her music as ‘dark cinematic folk rock,’ her songs bleak but beautiful and full, illustrating her experiences of love and death in a unique and often graphic way. Below is her luscious video for 'Holland'.



Finally we have Crushed Beaks, a London duo that we only just brought to your attention a couple weeks previously. They continue the build up to their debut single release with a brand new video for lead track ‘Close-Ups’. Taking in the band’s shared love of kitsch horror films, the video for ‘Close-Ups’ is a brilliant juxtaposition against the song’s bittersweet melodies. As if being forced through a broken vintage projector, both Poile and Morris seem to be convulsing and morphing into different beasts throughout. Eyes twist and mouths foam as the song nears its effervescent climax.



NOW GET BACK TO WORK!

Political Outrage Plays Cat And Mouse With Sacred Animals


Before I had listened to the collaboration between Irish sonic explorers Sacred Animals and Michael Owens aka Owensie, I had high expectations. I am often dubious about concepts in music, but there are moments when a concept really arrests the imagination.

'Cat And Mouse' was written about a Russian family who fell to their death in a housing estate in Glasgow last year. An apparent suicide from high in an old tower block used to house asylum seekers, it is thought they may have jumped for fear of deportation by immigration authorities. The father was also known to have suffered from mental problems. After the family were removed, a vigil was held by other local asylum seekers & many came forward with similar accounts of jumping from buildings in fear of deportation.


The track itself, alongside an amazing video by Brendan Canty, is a piece of wondrous, aching beauty. Sacred Animals is someone we should all be taking notice of. He debuted an EP Welcome Home at the beginning of 2011, but 'Cat & Mouse' promises leaps and bounds on this promising foundation.

Sacred Animals VS Owensie - 'Cat & Mouse' by Type PR

Sacred Animals VS Owensie // Cat & Mouse from Feel Good Lost on Vimeo.

Hits From The Box #41 - Long Time Between Drinks


It's been a tumultuous week behind the scenes on Planet Masala. The sharehouse has lost two members, as they venture out into the home-owning market (suckas). Yet two new people take their place - a natural medicine expert...and Ali all the way from the UK. Its been almost a year since I fled those sorry Isles, and thus it is that long since Ive seen her. So let's just say I'm happy - well, happier than usual, and I'm a pretty happy guy generally speaking. PLUS there are some really exciting tidbits of music info that will end the year with a bang! So let's get into out latest brace of Hits From The Box artistes, shall we?


From the same breeding ground of Portland shoegazers Anne, A389 Records (in essence anyway), comes Pale Creation, a band out of Cleveland that juggle the heady realms of hardcore and metal with steely, doom-laden precision. A389 are releasing the band's 2000 album Twilight Haunt, a much-lauded cult album that has been out of print for a while now, on vinyl for the first time. It is perfect timing too - although Pale Creation have put out various EPs in the decade since, are only now preparing to release their follow-up LP. Going back to where it all began, you can't help but feel energised and itchy for the new material...

Pale Creation - Nightburned


We were pretty enamoured with Deathdream, an artist on cool little New Zealand label Papaiti Records, only a fortnight ago. Here's anotheree. Mammal Airlines are much less concerned with soundscapes and nightmares than their brethren - in fact, their only concern is how loud they should be so that they make your ears rupture without damaging their own. Their album Wounded Lions Crying Iron contains five fuzzy noise pop gems that are reminiscent of Japandroids at their most lo-fi and dissonant. It's great stuff, but hard to track down, seeing as it's their only official release and there were only 25 copies of the CD-R. Still, bug the fuck out of them to put it out in some other format, there is gold in them thar hills...

Mammal Airlines - Swim Team
Mammal Airlines - Grass Cannons


Don't judge a band by it's name, or the title of its album. I'm not saying that this act and release have bad names per se, just that they are somewhat misleading. I have to say that I was very impressed the first time I threw on French band Trunks' album On The Roof - yet I thought it may have been solely due to my expectations being suitably low... On subsequent listens, though, the admiration only grew. I should have known the calibre would have been high due to the mastering prowess of Bob Weston who was behind the wheel - Weston is a heavy genius. There is a certain element of Grails in the jazz-inflected psych groove, that instrumental sinuous grind that drags you into unexpected dark corners where dangerous mores lie in wait. They are pretty special, and you should hunt down this album - it could be the precursor to something very incredible.

Trunks - Hardfiscurry


Expect some glacial trips when hoppin on board with New Brunswick soundmaster Eric Sarmiento. The tracks that garnish his latest album The Friend Is This Animal (out on Alchemist Records) are littered with movements that play with conventions of pace, space and time, and are swirling expressionistic pieces due to this fact. This ambient trickster has done wonders here.

Eric Sarmiento - Bilumsman


And just when we thought that inimitable children's Goliath The Wiggles getting into Australian music's Hall Of Fame was good news enough, along comes a band with a similar moniker and catchy, sugar sweet pop hooks to rival any band worth their infectious salt (I'm not sure I know what I mean either...) The Wiggle Room is a band from New Jersey that sings about small dogs and cotton candy with barbarous intent - possibly the architect is the now MIA original Yellow Wiggle? The album is called The Wiggle Room, I Presume, and has a heavy hitter pitching in the recording studio - Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, The Walkmen, Swans, Real Estate). It's a lot of fun.

The Wiggle Room - Been So Long
The Wiggle Room - Song In My Head


And finally we have Vermont rockers The Concrete Rivals. The band formed back in '08 when they learned a set of classic instrumental surf rock and movie theme songs for a one-time gig. One gig led to another, and guitarist Jay Ekis began introducing some of his original instrumental songs. Eat Their Weight in Snakes is a collection of their high-energy rock music that showcases the constant evolution of the trio. When you read their list of influences - from John Williams to Fugazi, from Dick Dale to The Who - it's clear that you will get a set of songs with a certain classical aesthetic that will bend around an unseen corner at the drop of a D. It's surf rock, but not as we know it.



Happy Top O' The Week To Ya!

Monday, 14 November 2011

You'll Have A Lot Of Friends With Some Black Tambourines


UK's "Kings of the Southwest Slackers" The Black Tambourines put out a new track just on the eve of Halloween (yes, about a fortnight ago, I'm so lame and shit...) It's been a while between recording drinks for these guys, but this track is ace of base! Art Is Hard are putting out the EP in December, which is great news and even more exciting considering the quality of this first off-cut.

The Black Tambourines - A Lot Of Friends

Bare Wires Stay Cheap, Smell Golden


Those slackers Bare Wires have pumped out their third album, aptly titled Cheap Perfume, and it shows a continuation down the road of sleazy dispropriety. There is nothing new here, either by Bare Wires' standards nor by the standards of musical history. These dudes do what they do, when they want to do it. The more I listen to this, the more I enjoy the easy shambolism, the heady heavy-lidded promiscuity, the abject fun of it all. Don't talk to me about a revolution - if its as full of charismatic malaise as this, I don't have a problem with that at all.

Bare Wires - Cheap Perfume
Bare Wires - Dirt Beach

P.A.H.B. Spit V.E.N.O.M


I still remember the second time I saw Leeds legends Pulled Apart By Horses, a small show in the cavern that is the 100 Club. They set a blowtorch to my brain and mailed me the remains. Their self-titled debut LP was killer, even if most of the tracks had been floating around in one form or another for years. So its with feverish excitement that I present their new single, 'V.E.N.O.M'. It is out in January through Transgressive Records. It is the first cut of their time with legendary producer Gill Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters etc), ahead of the album’s release in 2012. Tentative title? Tough Love (indeed...) The single will be released on digital and 7” formats and will be backed with two exclusive b-sides. Fuck yeah.

The band are smashing the winter out of the UK in February. Below are the tour dates. Can I smell an Aussie assault? Its all in the wind...for now.


FEBRUARY 2012 live dates//
13 // GLASGOW, King Tuts
14 // ABERDEEN, Tunnels
15 // NEWCASTLE, Digital Other Rooms
16 // SHEFFIELD, Leadmill
17 // MANCHESTER, Club Academy
18 // BRISTOL, Fleece
20 // BIRMINGHAM, Library
21 // NORWICH, Waterfront
22 // SOUTHAMPTON, Talking Heads
23 // LONDON, Electric Ballroom

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Blasted Canyons Live Up To The Name


I posted about Wax Idols the other week, as their guitarist/frontwoman Heather Fedewa/Fortune is one punk rock goddess who slays all and sundry with her barbed hooks. Fedewa created something nasty and delectably palatable there; but I feel that her work on No Future may be underdone, if the self-titled LP from Blasted Canyons is anything to go by.


Hole E SHIT.

This album is pretty fucking incredible. Having taken pride of place on the eclectic and ramshackle Castle Face stable, Blasted Canyons serves as a manifesto that is full of vitriol, is scribed in blood and is wired to tonnes of Semtex. They have been heftily aided in their quest to destroy the world by producer Matt Hartman - yep, he of Sic Alps, whose Napa Asylum was yet another ace record of 2011. Throw Ty Segall into this crowd and you have San Francisco, the cornerstone to the best music made this year. Uh huh - Blasted Canyons is that good. For your sake, get this now.

Blasted Canyons - Blood On The Wall
Blasted Canyons - Death & A Half

Bearded Spaceships From Boston Guided By Voices No Longer...


Last week I gave out a taster from the new Guided By Voices record. I also stated in that post about an interview where fellow Columbus, Ohio band Times New Viking felt that they may have to call it a day as they were "growing up". Well, if that GBV incumbent LP isn't enough to shake the youngsters out of their doldrums, they should look to Robert Pollard's other projects, one of which is Boston Spaceships. They put out an album a month or so ago, Let It Beard, a simple play at the Beatles album. If people doubt the validity of elder statesmen rocking out to original tunes, Let It Beard should cast those aspersions into the fire where they belong. This trio have put out some fine releases in their time, and although this ambitious 2LP affair doesn't always hit the bullseye, the quality ratio is substantially high, and Pollard kills.


Sadly this is said to be the final release, so if you like what you hear (and you bloody well should!) get to buying the back catalogue. Start here, then in my opinion take on Planets Are Blasted first - but they are all ace.

Boston Spaceships - Blind 20-20
Boston Spaceships - Tourist UFO
Boston Spaceships - Let It Beard