Here's a little Friday cover up to close out the week. Brooklyn rambling rockers Dinowalrus have taken a step away from their normal shtick (if you can call it that - the trio have wavered between Titus Andronicus histrionics and Part & Labor noodlings, and seeing as various members of the band have inhabited said bands at one stage or another, it's no wonder at all). Their take on The Rolling Stones' classic 'No Expectations' is an understated, pastoral amble through the grass-stalks of a burnt field, embers floating in the bruised air, eyes reddened from without and within. Jagger has never sound so elegantly wasted - that's saying something.
Weed. That's is such a weird word. It holds such negative connotations, whether it be in the plant world or in a physical sense, yet is also the label of one of the most loved 'erbs this humble guy here has ever encountered. Another positive is that Weed pops up in awesome bands' names - Weed Diamond, Tumbleweed, and now - just, er, Weed.
The Vancouver dudes marry dissonant noise with deep melodicism, fitting into the mold that ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead burst forth from before their artistry and flights of fantasy led to other sonic realms. Weed are bringing out Deserve on Couple Skate Records (also responsible for delivering M. Women's Faithful onto the world, which we were rather taken by) next month. This is loud, thick scuzz that doesn't sound like it's pissing out of an obliterated ham radio - a very good thing indeed.
I've been listening to the White Walls debut Self-titled for a few months now and it is still right up there as album of the year for me. I have a feeling that the upcoming shows at the Crowbar on Friday, 7 June (next weekend, for those playing at home) and at Tym's guitars (the best goddam guitar shop in the entire world) the following day for a free in-store will be up there on my live list too.
I caught up with Dylan from the band for a chat:
First of all, congratulations on the
album, it’s a fucking fantastic piece of noisy craftsmanship. For me it really captures
the hopeful side of world-weariness; a sunlight through the fringe kind of deal.
you. It's really nice to hear good feedback on the record.
No worries. A lot of people up here
[Brisbane] are really looking forward to hearing those doom guitar swirls live.
It’s a sound that really fits well with the lyrical content: dealing with loss
or regret, but in a way that’s more cathartic than depressing.
I think you have summed up the feeling of the record perfectly.
Going into it did you have any particular
notions about what you wanted to convey?
Although we didn't consciously set out with any particular
notion, there is definitely a familiar feeling that flows throughout.
Can you go into a bit more depth about the
cover art on the album; it’s a very intriguing choice.
The cover art for the album was done by a good friend of
ours; Gus Lord. He was actually working on something else initially, in a
similar vein, but then came across this picture that he accidentally got paint
on and built on that to create the final design. It was perfect! We liked
the fact that it was intriguing and also felt it suited the music well.
I definitely agree with that. As a band
you seem very keen to talk about other people’s stuff that you think is worth
getting in to, between the playing, writing, listening and sharing, it’s pretty obvious music plays quite a big role in your lives.
definitely plays a big role in our lives. The Melbourne music scene is thriving
these days. It’s very exciting to be a part of it.
Yeah, the Melbourne music scene seems to
be really kicking along at the moment. I get a sense of a sort of
cross-pollination making for a vibrant and healthy environment for the bands.
play with friend’s bands regularly and at the Gasometer Hotel more than enough
- It’s almost like a second home. So our social life pretty much revolves
around music, on top of the general listening enjoyment.
are extremely stoked on being asked to play ATP! It's a huge lineup of bands we
like. Can't wait!
Tone and volume are pretty central (even
to the sake of ‘worship’) – when you start a new song do you have a way of irking
out or describing the sounds you want, and how long will you spend finding the
We are rather obsessed with tone, haha, this healthy
obsession has grown since we started this band. We have a good idea of how we
want new material to sound these days. Recently our setups have grown and we
have now perfected the guitar tones we want at this point in time.
Does anyone have any secrets with their setups at the moment? Personally, I’m very keen to hear how you got the epic guitar sound in ‘transmission’. There's
no real tone secrets kept from anyone that has seen us live. Basically comes
down to powerful guitar amps. The transmission guitar tone was a combination of
death by audio fuzz pedals through an orange OR120 and a JCM800. This was
pretty much the setup for this record. The next record will involve new and old
The absence of bass guitar is something
people often note about the band – was it a conscious decision at conception to
leave it out? Does it impact on the song writing process?
lack of bass guitar simply came from Fuj and myself both being guitarists when
we started out and alongside Rory it just felt right. We figured if we could
create a full enough sound then we wouldn't need a bass player. Some of the new
songs have bass parts written in which are played on guitar.
New songs, eh? Can we expect anything anytime
a second record in the works, which we will be recording late July, so lots to
look forward to.
San Diego outfit Crocodiles keep spiralling further away from their batshit no-jazz Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower days, as new album Crimes Of Passion attests. Brandon Welchez and his cohorts have been about embracing and eschewing the garage punk-pop mantras of the past few years ever since they dropped Summer Of Hate back in 2009. Yet if 'Cockroach' is anything to go by, it's still a retro-view sound, more akin to early Raveonettes (especially their Pretty In Black era) and a smattering of the genesis of BRMC than anything that is going on now. Both of these reference are bleeding obvious too - especially seeing as Sune Rose Wagner is on production duties here, their last album Endless Flowers felt like a Raveonettes cast-off (in a good way), and Welchez holds an air and a sneer not too far from BRMC's Robert Leven Been, leather jacket and all. I've always been a bit of a fence sitter with Crocodiles - enjoying their output whilst unable to put a pin into why its any better than the myriad other acts that permeated this fetid earth. Maybe its that their overt, obvious touchstones hold a place in the genetics of my musical tastes. Nevertheless, I await the August release of Crimes Of Passion (out through Frenchkiss Records - pre-order here) with anticipation.
I've never been to the Blue Mountains. That sounds ridiculous, I know, but I have seen more of Eastern Europe than I have of the Eastern region of Australia (and absolutely nothing beyond the western borders of Queensland). Still, I imagine the Blue Mountains to be a beautiful place of tranquillity. And probably of hallucinogens.
Wheat Fields doesn't dissuade me of such a premise. The young band have instilled a woozy sentience to the tracks on their Saturnalia EP that feels at once fresh, bent, pastoral and psychedelic. And like most hallucinogens, these songs take a while to hit, then just when you think it isn't working and you've been sold a dud, the melodies make sense and you are irrevocably lost. Can't complain with that.
Saturnalia (fittingly named after a pagan ceremony from Ancient Roman times) can be gleaned through Octopus Pi Records here.
The second Sonic Masala show this weekend takes place on Saturday at the Grand Central Hotel, in conjunction with Trainspotters. It marks the triumphant return of local psych lords Dreamtime, fresh from their US jaunt where they ruled Austin Psych Fest, grace the pages of Impose Magazine, and spent all the hard earned. The trio (sometime foursome) just announced they have snagged the highly coveted local support slot for the legendary Bardo Pond when they come to Brisbane in August too which is further cause for celebration. They are supported by the bucolic excellence of sibling androids Multiple Man, and the cantankerous merchants of phosphorous sneers Gazar Strips. It promises to be another killer showcase of burgeoning talent, plus its free entry, and it's right next to the train station. No excuses then. Check out more on the event here.
Man, I'm looking forward to my holiday. Cramming England and Holland into two weeks, give or take a couple days. Hope to see some bands too (Honeyslide and Scott & Charlene's Wedding to be precise). But more keen for a European summer. One of my favourite summers was spent in Europe in 2009. I kicked it off in Greece for two weeks, spent a week in Manchester (what a weird week that was), then to Bosnia and Germany. Sublime...but I cant help but wonder how much of an improvement Plastic Flowers would have made the experience (especially the ferry from the Greek islands to Athens at night, which I spent drinking the worst vodka ever (read - ethanol) with a stranger who was paying, and strangely enamoured with my clothes...hmmm...). These characters are the dreamiest of popsters, floating in a minimalist ether, dust motes floating and lighting up as it hits opaque sunlight.
'Populists' is off Plastic Flowers' Aftermath EP (out through Manic Pop Records), which you can hear in full below, and buy the red vinyl 7" here. Its a name your price download too, well worth the investment.
Just received an amazing bag o' tricks from the excellent Chicago label Drag City last week. The first one to tickle the pants off me has been She's On Top, a three-track 12" trip from the demented San Franciscans Sic Alps. It's pretty much what you expect from these leery sages - which is to say, the unexpected. The title track licks the heels of psych pop blasted from the garage into a spot on the Sun. Don't worry, it doesn't burn up on impact; continuing to wind and grind on its own skewed sense of self. Backed up by two equally stellar selections, 'Carrie Jean' (the demonic spawn of Billie Jean if Carrie White post-cranial murder implosion copped to being the father - an insidious clodhopper of a grind) and 'Biz Bag' (a sensual Big Bopper, running on twelve cylinders, whiskey breath and too much time on its hands). These three songs sound sown in the sands of the Seventies, yet a monumental drought kept them dormant until Sic Alps willed them into being with their tears. Get on top.
The last couple of Sonic Masala shows to grace the Waiting Room have been niche, minimalist/maximalist affairs - there was the Ladyfest-affiliated show featuring neon coven Shooga, gauzy washouts Ultra Material and human sonic playground X In O; and an intimate affair that heralded the first Brisbane outing for Melbourne's idiosyncratic soundscapers No-Way Sweden, backed by improv beatniks FEET TEETH and the first (and possible only - let's hope not) show from Blank Realm offshoot Financiers. This weekend is changing all that, with some firsts for Sonic Masala. First up, metal Lokis No Anchor are playing a rare show since IKR travelled south of the border, to air some tracks off latest album The Golden Bridge. And seeing as I have already slaved over the presser for this, I'm going to post it relatively verbatim...
Keeping with the shifting sonic sands of what constitutes a Sonic Masala show, we are seeing out the last night of autumn with a biting brace of brutal noise, searing your aural glands for the winter.
No Anchor – the cantankerous sons-o-bitches with disdain for everything (especially guitars) followed up the acclaimed Real Pain Supernova with more eclectic (and in some places, very amusing) The Golden Bridge, and continue to obliterate the line between metal and other modes of sonic voice. Expect some shredded larynxes, some serrated eardrums, and a whole lot of contemplation of where the world is heading after all this comes to an end.
O – another band defying easy metal categorisation, O melds black metal tropes with more melodic, jangling guitars and brooding, dystopian drone to create something that feels truly emblematic of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. This is the real music that should be pumping out of the stereo of the last of the V8 Interceptors. Abrasive, anarchic, adrenal overload.
Vassals – post-rock for the have-nots. Vassals tramples roughshod over the heaving corpse of the quiet/loud dynamic, cathartic in its wanton hedonism. No rest for the cranial membrane here…
Going crosseyed is the spice of 21st century life. Here are four rectangular boxes with stuff moving in them to expedite that blissful process, hmmm?
Sonic Masala faves Liars have a couple new tracks floating around for those who haven't already joined their mailing list. Because they are good aliens. Strangers with candy and all that. If it tastes this good though, what's the harm in some lost innocence? None, I say. NONE.
San Diego's self-confessed psych party band Wild Wild Wets have just released a 7", Criminal Blue, through Grizzly Records. Its pretty good, keeping things loud, loose, limber and louche. Acid coco pops? Bacardi barbiturates? Helium hallucinogens? Whatever the poison of choice, guaranteed that after a hedonistic night with these guys, you'll wake up in the middle of a deciduous rainforest, naked, cut and bruised, tongue tied, wild eyed, and ready for round two.
What is a peal of laughter anyway? A sudden, abrupt, high-pitched outpouring of mirth. Usually over the top, often inappropriate, always noticed. Put a peal in a plural, and you have a conversation stopper. Baltimore duo William Cashion (Future Islands) and Bruce Willen (Double Dagger)'s collaboration, Peals, also stops the chatter, only because the air in the room has been sucked out by its inordinate beauty. Intrinsic to such elegance is the undercurrent of flippancy. Its a weird mix, likely to cause eyes to close and a grin to crease the lips. And maybe - maybe - a peal of grateful, unfettered joy to bubble through.
I've already proclaimed my love of 'Transit Town', the lo-fi racket Knoxville's Plant Parenthood smashed out earlier this year (check that out here). Here is a suitably lo-fi racket smashed out on celluloid. MTV-of-the-80s worthy - riptastic. Just try to get this serrated hook out of your head.
I have spoken about bizarros Hey Colossus before - my introduction to them was when Descalator supported Pontiak at the Old Blue Last back in 2010. I bought their split release with Hey Colossus was something quite off the wall brutal. The London/Somerset collective have released a new album, Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo, and its suitably twisted. Their eighth longplayer - seriously - is easily the best thing Ive heard them procreate. There is a hedonistic, foaming at the mouth quality to unhinged tracks like 'Hot Grave' that nevertheless sound like one toe is still full submerged in the lakes of irony and sarcasm, even as they self-flagellate with a rhinoceros horn. They are transparent - they love their Melvin-esque dirge quirk dipped liberally in Yow madness and drowning in Part Chimp's acidic tears - but the sheer abandon and maniacal glee these tracks are delivered with supersedes any tips of the hat. And then 'Leather Lake' rears its shorn, bloodied skull, and your bowels will never forgive you. I have to admit I didn't know about this record until my bro-in-law slung it my way last week, and I'm eternally grateful. What can I say - he knows me, sardonic devilry and all.
Grab Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoohere - its out now through MIE Records. Seriously great.
Can you trust a man who says his only album in his collection is Danny Elfman's score of Batman? If you are D.P.Pearce, you can. Pearce may be better known in local circles for being a member of Lion Island and Epithets, but as Kigo he is likely to make the most waves yet. His approach to the shoegaze set has been immediate, prolific (two EPs - Guilt and Closer (Hear My Voice) - and a single out since February), and energised. He has just released his third EP titled Some Other Time, and it continues to be caught in the ghostly purgatory between full-blown shoegaze theatrics and ambient escapism, eschewing anchors in reality to drift weightlessly into the void. This material crawls inside you by increments. You don't have to invest time in it - it just happens to you, not a dawning acceptance so much as an aural symbiosis.
You can grab Some Other Time, and all other Kigo offerings, here. Pearce will be plying Kigo onto the masses as part of an August Sonic Masala lineup celebrating another great band Silver Screens' album launch (Roku Music and a special guest round out that bill) - more to come on that front later. I feel it's a major coup, but for now bask in the glory of Kigo.
I've been listening to a few bits of good old scratchy, garage-y, psych-ish stuff of late. That is a wide net for sounds but, hey, it serves to tie the bands together for the sake of an homogeneous post. 'Cause homogeneity is important right? This is stuff to help you hold it together, anyway.
First up is Daily Season by Panther Ray for your afternoon. An enthusiastic little collection of tunes that creeps up on you in a good way. Good like, 'Hey! There's tambourine in this track. Nice...'. I like tambourine. I also like shaker - and there's shaker. And trumpet as well! It's got a throwback element to it and sounds like it could have been recorded next door. If your neighbours were happy-go-lucky buzz-fuelled garage popsters, and they played you joyously into your driveway, that is.
Next 'round is Milezo & the Noize's Milezo which, for me, has been excellent evening music. The cure for losing it to life's anxieties at around 11:47pm.
Useless speculation gets caressed towards the ether. New thoughts from another mouth slide in under the melancholy blankets. The voice is forward but not forceful, the lyrics kind and interesting in their presence. They take you off some place where you sort of remember being and sort of remember enjoying. It's nice.
The guitars mostly lean against the bedpost and look up at the stars. You can feel a bit of their warmth still. And the drums are there too, holding hands, saying 'Let's stay up all night sometime... but not tonight. Tonight, let's stay inside and take it easy.'
UPDATE: They just released a new album here. I'll be giving it a listen tonight.
Full circle is Halasan Bazar giving you hope on the way to work. Hope being the first necessity at such a time. The second necessity? I'm not sure.... These peeps remind you that there's more to it, but this is part of it. And if you make Space Junk a part of it, you'll feel better for it. Everything is space junk, really.
But what is 'it'? And why is 'it'? Well, they are good questions to keep in mind. Mostly they're good because you're alive to ask them. Asking them might even keep you alive - and you shouldn't be blind to that. So drift along and let the indicators and Halasan Bazar blur your drive into a part of your life. Let it get you round for another day.
We meet once again, Mikey Young. Seriously, do you not have a home to go to? Always loitering with ne-er do wells. Making any old racket, as long as it is loud and interesting. Sure, you pal around with your buddies (in this case, Dave West (he of the excellent Rank/Xerox) and Total Control alum James Vinciguerra). Sure, you've parted your hair and brushed the dandruff from your shoulder pads, washed the gunk out of your eyes and brushed your teeth. You even mince around with a genteel presence like Lace Curtain. But we know you, Mikey. You and your brethren are responsible for garage sweat, punk desperation, the itch of abandon. No veneer of hypnotic trance will hide the fact that rock is fused to your soul...
That said, Lace Curtain is enough of an about-turn to irk your purist acolytes, turning from you and your new persona as a personal affront, whilst garnering a fresh set of feverish do-gooders to your cause. Your junkie-centric need to create music is truly something, and with Falling/Running, Lace Curtain's new 12" coming out through Mexican Summer, you and your cronies have chiseled out something that embellishes the kraut rhythmics whilst submerging into glistening pools of synth. Free may you roam, kemo sabe.
This 7" EP (called Topshop - not sure if its after the European clothing chain, but I certainly hope so) from Brighton's Teardrop Factory is pretty special. Four songs of smudged, broken guitar amble, shoegaze for the inebriated and bewildered. Take 'Vanity Unfair' for example - three minutes of distorted wash, dishevelled vocals disappearing down an abandoned well. Or the title track, a wonky pop slouch that sounds drunken, sedated and incredibly addictive. Finding the finely structured songwriting beneath the fuzz isn't hard; getting it out of your head is nigh on impossible.
Topshop comes out on Faux Discx today - you can grab it here. This grabbed me as much as The Growlers EP a couple years back, and those are tracks that have buried themselves into my soul, so...watch out.
From Canberra's Dream Damage stable comes TV Colours. A rather basic nom de plume, to be sure. But with members of The Fighting League, Assassins 88 and Danger Beach involved (all bands Sonic Masala would kill for), the title actually makes sense. Then the crunch of 'Beverly' bursts forth, a morass of speaker-shredding distortion, tight drumming and warehouse yelling, sounding like the 80s guitar thrown through an electronic woodchipper sound that compatriots Civil Civic or DZ Deathrays utilise, and just as much as a raucous, jubilant mantra in the chorus to allow for flailing hair and limbs, beers thrown in to the air, jubilance fuelled by devil-may-care attitude and a flagrant devotion to having fun with substances. Intoxicants for teetotallers; justification for junkies.
'Beverly' comes out on TV Colours' loooooooong-awaited debut LP Purple Skies, Toxic River - more about it as it comes to light, and these suckers tour north of the border.
Fancy drifting off into a dusky, monochrome noir sunset? Let Paper Moon lull you into its husky, sultry embrace. The debut record from Brooklyn's Georgiana Starlington (AKA Julie and Jack Hines of Black Lips/K-Holes infamy), Paper Moon is like listening to the vice and depravity of forbidden desires as voiced by Johnny and June Carter Cash. The fact that these characters have crafted such haunted balladry catches you off guard as much as realising that Hozac Records is responsible for putting this into your sweaty hands. Nothing is as it seems - the tempestuous 'Hard Grave', the maudlin 'Brave Wolf', the echoed sonorous 'The Great Divide' - and is frankly quite brilliant. It's a creeper - you think you've heard it all before, but then you slip down into the murky depth, never to return, and the endless repeats of Paper Moon eternally soothes your shadowy soul.
Pick up Paper Moon here - the soundtrack to those night were fantasy and reality entwine.
Goddamn. Two brilliant shows this weekend - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead performing Source Tags & Codes in its entirety (plus a full second set) on Friday night, then the raucous pop sunniness of Dollar Bar last night. I'm a bit sore and sorry though - its my first weekend without work for what seems like forever, so I went a bit hard. Need to make the most of this freedom though, and Creative Adult has landed to blast the cobwebs well and truly out of the ears. The San Fran outfit eschew the garage psychedelia of many of their hometown counterparts to instead power through brutality, atonal aggression and sonic athleticism - this is hardcore by the no wave set, as breathtakingly unpredictable as it is wantonly abrasive. Bulls In The Yard is a four track Q-tip to the urethra, dipped in liquid PCP and desperate sweat - aural jumper leads to the loins. Plug in, rush, consume, glow.
Man. What to say about this record. Made by ex-pat Rhys O'Loughlin from Shanghai duo Pairs, and his mate Marcus Hobbs (you may remember their band Bang! Bang! Aids!) under the moniker Summer Dick, Blues Dog is nineteen incredibly verbose tales that have been pulled verbatim from the guys' back-and-forth emails. So what you have is out-of-tune warblings about glory holes, travel insurance, Soundwave revellers, pets, record labels, bogans, well dressed Japanese people, being railed for not going to see Iggy Pop - basically two dudes shooting the shit, in audio form. O'Loughlin hinted at these kind of incredibly strange leanings with Pairs' last album Eltham Join, but here has captured the banality and hilarity that often co-exists within the conversations between long-time buddies. And some of it is enthralling - and then there is the song played to the tune of 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' that references concerns of dog shit seeping through old shoes... Blues Dog won't be for everyone - this is something made by mates to amuse themselves - but this experiment is bloody funny, whilst providing a few bona fide lo-fi gems. Check it out.
One of the most underrated Brisbane bands of the past decade, Dollar Bar, have been struggling along with getting a new set of songs recorded and ready to put out - well, the time is now! And they aren't letting geographical constraints hold them back, reconvening at The Waiting Room tonight to belt out some glistening guitar pop rad times. Support comes from the excellent Tiny Spiders, troubadour Matt Banham and Dollar Bar's very own Dale Peachey in solo mode. All for a tenner, and being BYO and all, this is a great night sewn up in a bow! See you there! And to spice things with the sugar coat - here is a new track!
And just because I am really looking forward to this - here is a Matt Banham song too!
I'm pissed off at Craig Dermody. The dude decides to launch his new album Any Port In A Storm in London on Saturday July 6, the night before I will be flying back to Australia. Sure, I could still make it - my fiancee wouldn't be overly happy - but its more the fact that the laconic music Dermody crafts as Scott & Charlene's Wedding makes me want to drink. Usually in a sunny afternoon kinda way too, which doesn't bode well for an 8am flight the next day. I could always postpone it I guess...
Any Port In A Storm (out soon through Fire Records - preorder here) is actually quite an exciting prospect, as these tunes are relatively new - Para Vista Social Club and the Two Weeks EP consist of pretty old tracks, most of which were written before or just after Dermody reached New York. He has been there for a good while now, and his sense of self within the Big Apple, intermingling with further bouts of alienation, pangs of love, the gnashing of teeth over b'ball, and everything other bit of everyday ennui that Dermody dredges up, will come to the fore. Check out the new track 'Fakin' NYC', about scraping by as a doorman at a trendy bar in New York City.
If you are in the UK over the next couple months, you can get your fair share of Scott & Charlene's Wedding, seeing as they are playing everywhere, to the big (Glastonbury, some support slots for Mission of Burma) to small (Flashback Records, as well as a yoghurt shop in Brighton - as you do).
29 June: Glastonbury, UK
30 June: The Garage, London, UK (supporting Mission of Burma)
1 July: The Haunt, Brighton, UK (supporting Mission of Burma)
2 July: Green Door Store, Brighton, London, UK
4 July: Undertone Bar, Cardiff, UK
5 July: Registry, Southsea, UK
6 July: The Victoria, Dalston, London, UK (Album Launch)
13 July: East End Live Festival, London
7 August: Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, UK
8 August: Tye Die Tapes, Sheffield, UK (with Fawn Spots)
9 August: Heart Attack & Vine, Newcastle, UK (with Fawn Spots)
10 August: Rook & Gaskill, York, UK (with Fawn Spots)
12 August: Adelphi, Hull, UK (with Fawn Spots)
13 August: Wharf Chambers, Leeds, UK
14 August: Arts Center, Colchester, UK
15 August: Hungry Dog, Derby, UK (with Fawn Spots)
16 August: Yes Way Festival, London, UK
Scott & Charlene's Wedding will also be doing a series of free promotional
performances at the following places:
27 June: Sound Knowledge, Marlborough, UK
2 July: Lick Yogurt, Brighton, UK
13 July: Independent Label Market, London UK
10 August: Sound It Out Records, Stockton on Tees, UK
11 August: Urban Outfitters, York, UK
16 August: Flashback Records, London, UK
Keith Fullerton Whitman is a key figure in the underground electronica movement, primarily due to his involvement in the evolution of IDM. The Boston experimentalist has never stood idle either, manipulating his own frameworks to craft anything from harsh synthetic noise to more expansive realms. I had the please of interviewing him last year when he was in Brisbane - you can read the article here - and he is a super sweet dude with such an interesting stance on many musical genres, aesthetics and personalities, I could have spoken with him for hours. He is super prolific too, and his latest endeavour is this split LP he has done with Belgium's Floris Vanhoof (out through Shelter Press next week - you can pre-order it here). It shows Whitman at his most playful, and possibly indirectly marking his collage as one of his most accessible also. The linchpin of any Whitman creation is that he builds things from the ground up, and this is augmented here by his insistence on using purely analog synths. Vanhoof complements Whitman opening up by condensing, a droning yin to Whitman's neon electronic yang.
This has been in the wind for about a year now, but excellent local label Lost Race has finally released Loomer's debut LP Ceiling on vinyl! I was lucky enough to be walking past Rockinghorse Records on Monday after Lost Race's Danny Venzin dropped off some preliminary copies (the release date isn't until May 30). Originally out on CD in December 2010, Ceiling showcases the burgeoning talents of the dark shoegaze-driven quartet. I got to see them support Swervedriver in 2011 (which I reviewed here), and looked forward to their imminent explosion as the year went on. Unfortunately that was not to be - the band imploded, with members going on to focus on other sonic efforts such as Per Purpose, Spite House, Slug Guts, Eastlink and Lakes. Thank God for Lost Race then, because Ceiling is a minor masterpiece all atonal bluster and feedback wash corralled by Brea Stanbridge's soothing vocals, a hint of menace barely held in check. This kind of music is a rarity in Australian circles, and almost never done this well. The vinyl sounds incredible too, and fittingly displays a band that could have been so much more.
You can pre-order Ceilinghere (there are only 100 copies, which is Lost Race's MO). You can also get it from Permanent Records here.
Back in 2011 I spoke about a band from Chicago called Locrian. I really dug their The Clearing release from 2011 - still do - but haven't really paid them much mind since. The excellent Bathetic Records have put forth some pretty bloody good releases of late (Lee Noble's Ruiner is also ace - more on that soon), and their latest presser is for the debut LP from Kwaidan, which features Locrian's Andre Foisy. Bathetic and Locrian dragged me in - but Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright is darkly, seductively hypnotic by its own standards.
Firstly, check out the cover art - this is such a rad photo, I would be pressured to listen to this on the image alone. Foisy is joined by Mike Weis (Zelienople) and Neil Jendon, underscoring Kwaidan's penchant for insidious drone. Yet these elements still didn't prepare me for the dense atmospherics that Make All The Hell... unleashes. The pervading sense of oppressive anxieties that the percussive undercurrents push to the surface, an undulating presence intermingling with the slight electronics, percolating guitar and ghostly piano lines to create an ominous beauty - the fog rolling over mountain ranges, licking the heels of the forest floor, or linger in backwater streets as the light seeps up over the horizon.
Make All The Hell... contains all the elements that makes drone music an essential element of the musical landscape; underscore why drone is a necessary byproduct of psych musicality; and how the strained tensions of the loud/quiet dynamic can be endlessly utilised for maximum effect without falling into the familiar tropes that mediocre post-rock aficionados flock to. This is an incredible record.
You can pre-order Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Brighthere - it is quite brilliant.
Ah, Nova Scotia. There is something in the air there that always seems to produce honest musicians. It doesn't matter what genre is being crafted, there is an authenticity grafted into the fibre of the songs that you believe in what is being done, there are no smokescreens or sleights of hand, it is the real deal.
Which leads me to Sam Hill AKA The Everywheres. I haven't heard of him before now, and before last night I only had 'Easy Bells' to riff off - but this track further augments my thoughts on the Canadian region. The heat, speed and vitality that oozes from every pore of 'Easy Bells' further questions the boundaries of psych rock (something that will always appeal to me, psych fiend that I am...), whilst also caressing the elegance and patience that inhabits the best of pastoral pop. It isn't playing games - it just is, and in this line of work that is nigh on impossible to emulate.
Today I have dipped further into The Everywheres' oeuvre - and its impact has filtered everywhere through me. Flickering garage rock segues into sun-blasted waves of sonorous malaise, a warm burst of noise that doesn't come from a moment of nostalgic adulation as it does from a wormhole from the past, undiluted, pristine.
The Everywheres' debut self-titled LP comes out through Father/Daughter Records late June, and you get the feeling that this is the kind of album that will invariably get stuck in the tape player, glued to the turntable, and time will stand still even as it flies on by (especially when it looks this good). It's impossible to truly pinpoint why this resonates as much as it does when there are legions of likeminded acts - but it just does. Honesty, authenticity, simplicity, and an innateness of self - The Everywheres are everywhere, and everything, you could want and/or need. You can pre-order it here.
Those pesky UV Racers don't know how to quit. Nathan gave his view of racism (and Racism) here. They have a 7" coming out soon through No Patience (whose latest releases - 7" singles from Brisbane's Occults and Adelaide's Rule Of Thirds, are commendable purchases also), and if the lurid artwork is anything to go by, it promises to threaten you with physical harm before squeezing your crotch and licking your eyeball. This track off it doesn't play with conventions, nor need it - playing against type is their modus operandi. Look at that title. Ridiculous, right? That's how they lower your guard. Then before you know it your lipstick is smeared, your fishnets are torn, and your hair is askew, bits of straw sticking out like crooked confetti. Yet your mascara stays firmly in place - there will be no tears here, son.
If you are in the US, you can catch The UV Race playing a bunch of shows, the next few under the wing of fellow reprobates Total Control, before they pull up stumps at the Chaos in Tejas festival in Austin.
Losing vowels has been in for a while now. Hamilton, Ontario's WTCHS ensure that you lose your bowels too, scraping metal on metal to create an atonal morass of base emotions and desires that still maintain they are catchy and carefree - the perfect crime. Wet Weapons is a four track EP that thrashes violently in the near darkness, a dark, meticulous dirge that caresses your damaged soul. Merely an acid taster though (Wet Weapons came out in October), as this recent split with fellow Hamilton band Thoughts On Air attests. 'Mr Hands' cuts off your digits, sprinkles PCP in the wounds before cauterising them with a blazing iron, leaving your writhing in pain and harbouring dour, dire demons, both real and imagined. Excellent stuff. Grab the split here.
It's been almost four years since we've heard anything new echo out of the chambers of Perth's Tangled Star. Fair enough, seeing as their front man Craig Hallsworth has been busy over the years with bands like The Bamboos, The Healers and The Slow Beings. Ive never really had a handle on what Tangled Star do - the best I could come up with is through obscure comparisons, so I'm going to avoid that today. Instead, Ill state that 'Head In The Sand' is an elegiac traipse through a sepia-tinged 90s, where indie guitar pop in Australia had a distinct edge (see: Pollyanna, Gaslight Radio, Smudge, Bluebottle Kiss, about 100 others). It's dusty, dreamlike and rustic, loud in the shadows, hushed and sated in the light. Hallsworth's vocals provides that rich timbre that those excellent 90s bands all possessed also, leaving us with a song that sounds pleasantly nostalgic and unabashedly modern also. Perth label Hidden Shoal Recordings have always delved into the hushed, considered echelons of guitar rock (their reissue of San Francisco trio Half Film's two albums last year was a particularly pertinent coup), and have ensured that Tangled Star's new album Let's Adjourn To The Garden (out June 18) is one to monitor closely.
We here at Sonic Masala quite enjoyed New Zealand band Surf City's last album, Kudos. They have another on the way called We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This (genesis for title - a snippet of conversation overheard in a crowded South Korean bar - brilliant). The excellent and Antipodal guardian Fire Records (Blank Realm, Scott & Charlene's Wedding, Lower Plenty) are pushing it, which can only be a very good thing. The first track released off it is 'It's A Common Life'. Now, it's pretty grim today here in Brisbane. I work next to an army barracks, and today they have had army choppers going back and forth over my head, probably innocuous, yet still foreboding. Yet the warm fuzz of 'It's A Common Life' helps to shut the shit out, a swirling guitar pop gem that glimmers defiantly amidst the murk and the muck.
Leader Davin Stoddard has been around the traps since Kudos - holed up in a basement in NYC, teaching English in South Korea, lots of isolated moments both without and within. It really sounds like it's paid off in spades - I'm really looking forward to this one... We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This is due out in August.
To finish up the week, I'm looking at a 7" compilation that isn't exactly a covers release, although it fits tenuously within the mould.
Hear me out.
Songs In The Key Of Bob is the first official release from Charlottesville, Virginia label Hibernator Gigs Records. It features seven original songs from seven bands (a couple, such as Invisible Hand and Naked Gods, having graced these hallowed halls), all written and recorded in the style of DIY legends Guided By Voices. As you would expect from such an approach, the songs vary in fidelity and ambition, yet all achieve the purpose they set out to reach. Te idea stems from a moment when Adam Brock (Borrowed Beams Of Light/Invisible Hand/Weird Mob) started to re imagine the titles of theses and journals (some included Cream of the Jesters and Popular Dogs) he was sorting in a library warehouse into GBV titles. Brock held onto the best titles he found, circulated them to some of his fave bands to pick one and write their best GBV interpretation, and voila, this bizarre ode to the Dayton, Ohio gods was born.
Rather than pick a favourite, I'll let you dive into the entire thing, see what tickles your fancy. I do like Borrowed Beams...'s 'Stone Cutters Journal' though (couldn't help myself). You can pre-order this (on blue vinyl, no less) here.
It's been a while since I've delved in either Surfer Blood or Weird Wives territory. Well, Surfer Blood have new stuff on the way, so there's that I suppose. Weird Wives on the other hand - fucks me. I stumbled across this today though. Some WW members, slave to double consonants and their own desolate gnashing of teeth, have relocated from Florida to Brooklyn and given birth to Slavve, a quivering mess of twitches, yelps and continual angular pain. Seesawing between ephemeral dissections of post-punk noise, shoegaze acid baths and scalpel cuts to the earbuds, Slavve haven't wasted time stamping their intent with bloody-minded conviction. This is a great start to an increasingly volatile relationship.
Cruel Summer could be a reference to the "excellent" Ace of Base album of the same name, or indeed a reference to the Kanye mixtape album he put out last year. And there is indeed something rather clique-ish about this San Francisco quartet - that of the wistful, morose, yet nevertheless airy kind, the beautiful yet aloof kind. Still, this self-titled EP (out next month on 12" vinyl through Mt St Mtn) is abundant in pendulous emotions, swaying from hot and cold and back again, keep you on edge at all times (see the first of the two sample tracks 'Carquinez' to catch this shadowy drift). Its a nice inversion of the summer jangle pop "gems" that tend to burst forth like seasonal weeds this time of year, and is worthy of further attention. These kids aren't cruel, they just have depth.
Ye olde English, what a blast, eh? Thou, thine, thy, thee. That extra E though tends to imbue an added layer of gritty garage looseness that straight-laced bands starting with "The" simply can't hold a candle to. Here are four examples...
The plastic, debauched, twisted fantasy land that is LA is a petri dish of creativity - spewing forth brilliance whilst also harbouring countless parasitic wasters. Thee Commons is an anomaly in that they don't sound anything like an LA band in almost any respect. Warped, strange, yet almost yesteryear-innocent, the four tunes on this EP plunder from 50s & 60s rock'n'roll - there is some of that hybridised brilliance that Buddy Holly had in spades in 'Dr's Visit' for example; wobbly sunburnt spaghetti surf yet with 21st century seediness bleaching in at the sides. Sunburn At Midnight comes in turquoise vinyl 7" - definitely worth the pennies.
Thee Mighty Fevers come from the land of the rising sun, and we all know that Japan have unearthed some of the most depraved garage rock ever witnessed by the ears of man. These Kobe punks are snotty, bile swilling raconteurs, with endless chasms of nauseating energy, visceral nihilism and saliva. Every track starts with the same screamed 1234 count in. EVERY. SINGLE. SONG. Did I mention this is the perfect cocktail for the loosest night out? Ill probably see you there - won't remember it in the morning though. If you love this straight-up reckless garage punk (and my guess is you do), you need to get ahold of Fuck-in Great RnR this minute - I recommend the red wax.
Indiana's Thee Open Sex is the tangential odd band out, weaving deranged versions of psychedelia and punk in and out of each other in lurid form. Their self-titled record is one of the best and depraved things I have heard this year. It has heady sex with your ears, violates your cerebral vortex and impregnates your soul. Live Dead' is surely the soundtrack to the most hedonistic hallucinogenic orgy imaginable, on repeat, all the time. You won't have time to be spent - this is one aural orgasm that just won't quit. Seriously, get this now.
Finishing off with the E that rules them all (and the instigator of this post, seeing as I received this bone-coloured hottie in the mail yesterday), San Fran's hyperactive Rumpelstiltskins Thee Oh Sees. They released possibly their best album to date in Floating Coffin only last month, yet here is an excellent 12" EP made for Record Store Day that furthers their mythic consistency. Moon Sick harbours four blistering yet rather obtuse tracks that didn't make the Floating Coffin sessions - which is understandable, seeing as these songs would probably suit 2011's quirky Castlemania more. I loved that record though, so Moon Sick is still a killer purchase. 'Sewer Fire' is even sung by A-Frames/Intelligence impresario Lars Finberg - how much more power does a band wanna wield? Well worth innumerable spins, you can buy Moon Sick through the band's Castle Face Records here.