Tuesday 30 April 2013

Deacon Presley

As I've made known on countless occasions, I'm not much for remixes. But when the remixee is Peals (Bruce from Double Dagger/Will from Future Islands) and the remixer is Dan Deacon, it's a no-brainer. And so it is. Enjoy. Night night.

The Dub Chieftain Marches Through Stalin Gardens (Metal Postcard Update #3 & 4)

I missed the post I was going to do updating what Metal Postcard Records is involved with of recent months, so I'm jamming two together, starting with Shanghai's Stalin Gardens.

A Chinese band influenced by Swans and the Birthday Party? You better believe it. Shanghai Void plays like the film Jacob's Ladder directed by Gaspar Noe - rooted in the real world, yet a creeping sense of dread pervades throughout, with sudden bursts of feverish noise, intertwining confrontational sexuality and violence with stop/start convulsions. This kind of bowel punk, like Gira and Moore hanging around the basements of Copenhagen, is even more disembodied due to the geography that it screams out of. Even on their Bandcamp the trio fuck with you, charging between $100 and $600 for the download of one song.

Stalin Gardens - Osteosarcoma
Stalin Gardens - Night Apartment

Also recently shot out the birth canal is Skill, Stamina and Luck, the decidedly weird album from Glasgow native Dub Chieftain. This record took me a couple listens to truly get what was going on. Whilst some tracks are immediately penetrable (the 8 minute frenetic instrumental opener 'In Amongst It', 8-bit friendly 'Erraweetrack' and the mewling, geek-hop 'New to Me' come with candy embedded within their sonic DNA), it is the warbled half-speed early-Beck ramblings of 'Increase the Dose' and the dub-centric 'Four Track Mind' that at first seem out of place. The intermittent use of mandolin and banjo throughout further distances Skill... from any sense of reality. Yet its the eclecticism and off-kilter humour in the brogue-inflected vocals that string these aural beads into a gaudy, garish yet palatable sugar-rush whole, like a Lifesaver bracelet.

Dub Chieftain - In Amongst It
Dub Chieftain - Erraweetrack

You can grab both albums here.

Unreal Yucksters

Whilst I have had a love/hate relationship with revisionist slack-dogs Yuck (hated the first two gigs I saw, then they released the album that went supernova, couldn't understand it, decided to listen to it months later, kinda dug it, saw them at Laneway and they killed), I have to admit I was shocked when last week I heard the news that frontman Daniel Blumberg had walked out on them, just as they were beginning the writing and recording of their second LP. The fact that the other band members will continue on as Yuck is bewildering seeing as Blumberg was essentially the anchor, the centrifugal force of the band.

I don't know what happened, but I do know that Blumberg's "passion project" Hebronix sounds like its on the right track. Maybe the complete freedom and control will work wonders - and whilst first taster 'Unreal' doesn't necessarily set the world on fire, it certainly remains a pretty good track. 'Unreal' is set to be the title track of the upcoming LP that'll be out on ATP Recordings in July. If you are in London tonight, Hebronix is airing these tracks and more at the Barbican when he supports slowcore legends Low - talk about a killer venue for it! Get there.

Monday 29 April 2013

The Snails Get There In The End...

Goddamn Baltimore, hey? The musical hellmouth seemingly spawns a rad band every week, so regular that it's hard to keep up and hunt them down before they are wreaking havoc all over the Eastern seaboard and beyond. Yet with a name like The Snails, surely you can't expect too much? Au contraire, mon frere. Fronted by Future Islands sweat machine Samuel T Herring, The Snails seemed to have had the smallest of gestation periods before disappearing off the grid, only to eat a hole through our disdain with their imminent EP Worth The Wait. It certainly is holding up that way too. Out through Friends Records, the EP promises to be a groove palace, a quirky easy-listening sidestep, with Herring's iconic vocals stretching everything out to predictably surreal levels.

You can pre-order Worth The Wait here. It's being released as two 7"s, in green and pink vinyl, and with a fan-created cover which is pretty rad (that's it above us there). They are also doing a run of shows throughout May if you are if you keep your peepers peeled (in eastern US that is).

Missing The Mesa Cosa Spangola

As much as I love this wide brown land we call Australia, it isn't always the most accepting of places. Sure, we are pretty multicultural (look at all the sushi joints!), but there are a lot of grey generationers, VB swilling deadheads, happy clapper xenophobes and just plain ignorant pluggers that don't get what that word even means - yet it frightens them, which makes them defensive, which leads to abject aggression. Sigh. If only we could sic Mesa Cosa onto them - a nationwide trailer campaign as the Melbourne-based scuzz rockers rip through their Spanish-drenched garage crashers, get everyone naked and point out the fact that the colour of your skin doesn't matter when everyone looks stupid without clothes on. These Davila 666 clones only know one way to party, and that's all out, all inclusive, all the time.

Now their Infernal Cakewalk album came out some time ago, but it made the march into global waters on the turn of the year, and something this deliciously deranged needs championing no matter what day of the week it is. Mesa Cosa - Or How You Dropped Being A Bigot And Learned To Love The Fuzz. Get it here through French label Casbah Records, otherwise pilfer the party from here.

Lowered Holograms = Higher Expectations

I'm spending my day writing for other publications - and bizarrely it's all on the heavier side - reviews for local punks Fat and resident scuzzbuckets The Melvins, as well as an interview with OM/Sleep's Al Cisneros (and another with OM/Grails drummer Emil Amos in the works). Yet the music I'm looking forward to listening to all afternoon is of a more Scandinavian bent, as two of the greater exports from Copenhagen gear up for new releases.

I've spoken of both Holograms and Lower of recent times (have a read about and listen to their "older" stuff here and here respectively). Combined with the likes of Iceage and Sexdrome, the underground (well, not so underground anymore) music scene there is teeming with parasitic, grimy post-punk nihilism that rattles the teeth and widens the eyes, shortens the breath and quickens the heart. It's exciting times, heightened further with the imminent releases of Lower's debut as-yet-untitled LP through Escho, and Forever, Hologram's longplayer effort (out through Captured Tracks in September). And if this isn't enough, they have both dropped teaser tracks. And lo and behold, they are fucking stellar, particularly Lower's brutal sledgehammer that is 'Another Life'.

Sunday 28 April 2013

Embrace Kirin on the Internet Right Now

Turn, face, Embrace.

I once read this "guide book" about how to hug dudes properly. It didn't really work. If anything it probably made things a little more awkward - hugging whilst knowing I'd read it, hoping the embracee would never find out.

Kirin J Callinan doesn't seem to care what you find out. He sings and moves and sells framed photos of himself at gigs with a striking nonchalance. What is striking about it is that it doesn't seem put on. Australians, especially, have fairly well-tuned bullshit detectors. When Kirin is putting things out there, the needle stays pretty close to zero. The things coming out are the things that are in there. Inside him as he lurches lopsided and semi-naked around his own apartment  - in the clear view of the neighbours in the next building. He is self-aware but not acting.

There is something deeper running through this as well. Something that touches on the reason Australian males might need a "guide book" for hugging other dudes in the first place. There's a murky anxiety in the lyrics, the way they are delivered (listen for the exhalation) and the just-too-fast heartbeat of the bass line.

It may seem awkward at first, but, if you lean into it, Embracism will warm you.

Find out more on the Siberia Records site here.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Hits From The Box #65 - Get Psyched

This weekend marks the 6th Austin Psych Fest, an event that I've wanted to go to since its inception...six years ago (funny, that). The closest I've come though is seeing Brissie band Dreamtime get on the bill this year. There will be a chance in the near future where I will be partaking in a weekend of excellent psych rock from around the globe, but until then, here are six bands that are on the bill, and for whatever reason I haven't posted about them yet (or for a while).

JJUUJJUU is a duo from LA that love their music long, elongated, a little weird, and very astrally inclined. They have just released their debut LP FRST (through Beyond Beyond Is Beyond - you can grab it here) which is a burnt slab of distorted retina burners. Already the band is gleaning shows with the likes of Cosmonauts and some pretty amazing festivals such as Desert Daze and Psych De Mayo, and are worthy of the high praise.


Another impressive duo dirge is Nashville's Ttotals, who have just released Spectrums Of Light 7" yesterday through Twin Lakes Records. The squalling echo that emanates on the periphery should be familiar - the tracks were mastered by Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3/Spectrum). These blue desert wanderers delve elbow deep into the dark stuff before launching forth with a crashing fury. Remember when QOTSA where kinda exciting? 'Tricks Of The Trade' holds much of that Rated R magic in its veins, whilst 'Sometimes You Just Are' plays back like a record in reverse, and is just as menacing. Get it here.

Continuing on with the unintentional trend of psych duos, most of you will be familiar with the swirling psychedelia of Chile's The Holydrug Couple. They brought out Noctuary a couple months ago through Sacred Bones, and it's a cracker. At its core is a golden hue that emanates out of the speakers and cocoons you, a natural high of the highest supply. Everything feels out of sync, at half-pace, ethereal and enraptured in the paisley underground of 60s psych pop (they even have a song called 'Paisley' for Chrissakes!). Its lustrous, its elegant, above all its excellent. Get it here.

Cosa Mesa's favourite junkyard bums The Growlers have just released a new album, Hung At Heart, through Everloving Records. You might remember that one of my favourite songs from the last few years is their 'Graveyard's Full'. And although there hasn't been a song on this album that grabbed me like that one did, it's a solid slice of lo-fi doo-wop skewering, shanties for the disenchanted, ballads for the murderous. I really want to see this band - and if you're in Austin this weekend, you lucky devils, you really should. Dusty Box Social twinkles from Hell. Get Hung At Heart here.

Now I mentioned Brisbane's Dreamtime were in Austin for the APF. Well they aren't the only Aussie reps, as The Black Ryder, The Laurels, and these guys will be blowing all and sundry away. Adelaide's Ride Into The Sun have an added in here - their upcoming album was recorded by none other than Black Angels frontman Alex Maas last year whilst the band toured the Harvest festivals. While we wait for that to drop with sweaty palms, here is the 7" they released to tantalise the third eye.

I bought World Music on Record Store Day for a number of reasons. Firstly, the cover art - of many vibrant colours, with W's and M's cut out of the front - was pretty spectacular. Secondly, it was in 180gm clear vinyl and look delectable. Finally (and most importantly) it's the new album from Swedish psych band Goat. This is hands down one of the best psych records I have heard in years - IN YEARS. Writing only this much is not giving it justice, but trust me, it will be in the reckoning for top honours come year's end. You can get it via Stranded Rekords here.

Goat - Diarabi
Goat - Goatman

And I thought I'd end off with The Black Angels, who themselves have just brought out their latest album Indigo Meadow. Here's the title song from it. I interviewed Alex Maas earlier in the week - more about that to come.

The Black Angels - Indigo Meadow

Happy Saturday!

Friday 26 April 2013

Just Vaguely Running

I mentioned in a recent post about Brisbane band Cobwebbs that it pisses me off when people assume that something is cool just because it is inaccessible. I know people who say they like things because they are oblique, obtuse, confrontational, indecipherable, and therein lies the attraction - most people will not attempt to penetrated such barriers, so the people who DO attempt it believe these artists must be geniuses. It may be true for some, but in most cases - such as the Vice review of Cobwebbs' All Around - it's utter bullshit. And totally untrue anyway - I saw a dude buy a copy from Rockinghorse Records on Saturday (I was buying Goat, Natural Child and The Animals LPs, just in case you were wondering).
I stumbled across this Impose article about Chicago band Running. Now, judging them on that name along, they (like Sydney band Songs) are very difficult to look for on Google. The writer of the article made it sound harder to hunt this band down than it truly was. as they had a album on Permanent Records and another on Captcha that came out last year. In fact, back in 2010 we wrote about that Permanent Records album right here. This isn't a "beat them to the pulse" kinda deal, I just don't like people immediately assuming that the inaccessibility of information on the Internet about something or someone means they are necessarily any good, or that they are even hiding from the perceived limelight.
Maybe they just don't own a computer.
That said, the Impose article isn't bad, and Running is fucking awesome, plus they are launching a new album on Castle Face that I believe could be one of the best records of 2013. Vaguely Ethnic is its name, and if 'Controversial PR' is anything to go buy, we are in for some serrated, bare-arse noisemongering, made by drunken degenerates in checked shirts, with bruised kidneys. The trio have going sans vocals on this one, which heightens the Pissed Jeans comparison sonically - breakneck breaking of necks are likely to ensue. 
Vaguely Ethnic isn't out for a couple months yet, but rest assured, expect to hear more about this release as it comes to hand. It will be a completely amazing physical package also - they take great care in their aesthetic, something akin to Double Dagger in that respect, which only helps to heighten the anticipation. I imagine they frequent The Empty Bottle too - and if you live in Chicago and DON'T frequent the Empty Bottle, we don't know each other anymore.

Ladies Night

Poster by Joanne Thies

Tonight Sonic Masala combines with Ladyfest to celebrate the girls - in particular, some female-oriented acts that I think are truly stretching the boundaries of music and the Brisbane music scene. Only three acts tonight...

Shooga, a (currently) five-piece that conjure sonic palpitations of multi-coloured noise, fits and bursts of rayon craziness, and a wash of effervescent grotesquerie...

Ultra Material, an amalgam of Do The Robot and Sunshine State, who offer glacial pop hidden amidst shimmering guitar, an experiment in studied unease held in check...

X In O, a pagan goddess who uses electric eccentricity to communicate across dimensions, warped circuitry to warp your circuits...

All tied together by tunes from DJ Neko. $10 entry, BYO. Doors open at 8pm, with X In O kicking things off at 8.30. This is going to be a true exploration of what some of Brisbane's finest are blissing out on - you'd be a fool to miss this.

Poster by Matt Deasy

Eluvium Washes Nightmares Away

You guys up for chilling out this weekend? Here are a few tracks that should facilitate that. It's been almost four years since Portland native Matthew Cooper dragged out his Eluvium wares in their full glory. The wait is nearly over, with double album Nightmare Ending coming out next month. Three of the tracks have leaked their way onto the interweb over the past couple of months, and their dexterity, intricacy and beauty have been dearly missed. For Eluvium isn't just the type of music you wished they played at your local cafe, although you definitely do wish that (I used to frequent one cafe until they started playing Nelly Furtado because, and I quote, "it's the best music for a hangover"...fuck...). No. I talk about immersive worlds being created by music quite often on Sonic Masala, and Eluvium is one of the few artists that truly embodies that. There is no stasis, or inertia, or ephemeral anger - it is all pulsing along at a calm rate, impressing a peaceful tranquillity through you. It's rare that such relaxation can come from sound without it sounding hokey or coming pre-packaged with incense sticks. Eluvium is worlds apart, yet deserves to be within all of our own.

Nightmare Ending comes out on Temporary Residence May 14. Pre-order the double LP here and receive a limited edition Giclee print. But really, it's all irrelevant - you need this in your life. Listen to the three tracks below, in isolation, on headphones. Let all manner of stresses and responsibilities wash away. There is nothing overtly spiritual about this - it just is.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Australian Noise

Finally let's ride this tsunami of Australia sound out with a cataclysmic tremor of noise, starting with ebullience and ending with apocalyptic destruction.

Brisbane's Velociraptor are about to launch into an overseas onslaught that will leave every pundit in their wake feeling sucked dry from over-drinking, over-dancing and over-rejoicing (I have actually heard someone say they "rejoiced" when Velociraptor came on stage...) To get the European hordes well and truly lathered up, they are releasing this cassette through Heart Throb Records. Set out just like a Streetfighter video game - nice. Get your twinkle toes in order, because this twelve-headed beast won't KO you with a flurry of punches, but an overload of cocky swagger. Preorder the cassette here.

Melbourne duo Super Wild Horses have followed up their attention-grabbing debut Fifteen with an even more confident showing in Crosswords. Still showcasing the spiky, effervescent garage rock Amy Franz and Hayley McKee have become renowned for, the album nevertheless takes us to places hitherto unthought of - slower jams, country twangs, boys' germs, and Smokey Robinson. You thought they had arrived before - Crosswords truly heralds their arrival, slightly eschewing the garage they were inadvertently placed in for bigger, comfier, more kick-ass digs. A great live band finally has a truly befitting album to back it up - you can get Crosswords here.

Super Wild Horses - Memphis
Super Wild Horses - West Coast
Super Wild Horses - Alligator

Next up we have the ever evolving instrumental band Making. Initially following in the vein of minimalist angular titans No Disco, Making have added colour and verve to the industrial edges to become an altogether different beast. 'Stay Stil' is the newest example of this evolution - finding a middle ground between the aforementioned band, Whizz-Fizz contortionists Fang Island and the earliest math-rock leanings of Foals before they disappeared into their emo stadium shoes. Making's live shows are incendiary too; make sure you catch them in their volatile element. Listen to the new track below, head here to hear what else they have to offer, and see their version of 'Pascal' that they let loose on revellers at this year's Camp A Low Hum festival in NZ. Amazeballs.

Making - Stay Stil

MAKING / PASCAL / LIVE AT CAMP A LOW HUM 2013 from jackyp on Vimeo.

Back down to Melbourne and some incessantly loud yet drunkenly amenable punk in the form of Bad Vision. Their 112/VISIONS 7" is goddamn killer (you can grab it here), as were the shows they pulled off up in Brisbane late last year. The bassless quartet are carving their way through Europe as we speak, having a blast, and so should you...be (that doesn't sound right, does it?). Suffice to say that this kind of racket is impervious to pain and boredom - it charges on, and leave you with an empty wallet, a sense of wanton abuse and a sloppy grin plastered on your face. Win win.

Bad Vision - 112
Bad Vision - Visions

From the unholy bowels of Wollongong spews forth Bruce!, a four-piece enraptured by beer, weed, souped up cars and rocking out. A heady mix of balls to the wall rock and Josh Homme man love, Bruce! don't cop airs and graces, and will batter such bullshit into the ground with a maniacal quivering tic the only movement on the stony faces, before necking a tallie and screwing your mum. The thing is, you will all laugh about it in the morning. I saw these guys play the Record Store Day show at Tyms Guitars on Saturday - and man, they were fun. Booze very much needed to appreciate this - no dry runs here. Grab Bruce! here for a good time...

Bruce! - Hell Gig
Bruce! - Bottle In A Brown Paper Bag

Getting even dirtier, we head into the demonic depths with Sewers, a diseased squadron of cellar dwellers dishing out acid reflux and refuse, an atonal IV into the core of you're basest instincts. At one time playing every second show, Sewers are being more selective, preferring to slink in the shadows, all the more potent because of it. Their show on Saturday with Living Eyes was as depraved and nihilistic as ever. They've got a few releases out, I only picked up this cassette the other day, and my ear canal developed eczema. Can you smell the human roast? Feedtime.

Sewers - Human Spray
Sewers - Grease My Chain

Dastardly downer improv instrumental misanthropes Die On Planes have a new album called Our Work Matters, and it's free. Yep, all free. You want such brutality as a handout. Such cerebral cleansing. Such follicle annihilation. There is no hatred here - just cold, emotionless being. Feel your fears and anxieties sucked into a black hole at the pit of your even darker soul. Everything will be all right. You are already on the other side. (Seriously though, heavy shit, belting sandpaper noise, good good times).

And to finish this gargantuan undertaking, we have the new LP from Sydney's excellent Yes I'm Leaving. Mission Bulb (out on Tenzenmen in May) finally captures how brilliantly unhinged these noiseniks can really be. I only got it yesterday, so I'm still ingesting it. But I'm pretty sure Ive got something insidious growing inside me as a result. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, then I might very well have metamorphosed. Ah well - when it's this delectably ear-shattering and deliciously visceral, scurrying up the walls is the least of my concerns. Or going all Michael Shannon from Bug. You seen that movie? It's damn good I reckon. Small, but good. And it's a William Friedken piece! Precursor to Killer Joe. So you can see what kind of twisted hole we're hurtling down here... These guys played with God Bows To Math and Lennon Lenin the other night in Newcastle. Jesus, what I would have done to be at that show, you don't wanna know. Here's a track from it - you're welcome.

Yes I'm Leaving - Song For You

...and I'm spent. Night.

Australian Nonchalance

Are you as laidback as this character? I hope so. And many of our current crop of killer Aussie bands are too. Let's check some out.

Andre is the band of Andre Vanderwert, who is one of the carousel players in Hot Palms (I wrote warmly of them only last week). Andre isn't alone on this endeavour though, incorporating Jordan Ireland (The Middle East), Marc Requeiro-McKelvie (New Estate, Popolice, Teeth & Tongue), Hot Palm's Alec Marshall and members of The Ocean Part amongst others. The band has put out a helluva a lot recently: Too Much Talk was a cassette that came out in November; the Do Watchya Want CD-r in February; and the Mend b/w Have 7" this month (all out on Why Don't You Believe Me? Records - they are all available here). This shit is golden - more sonorous and accessible than some of their contemporaries, raucous, maudlin, grungy, gritty, funny - it's just damned fine. Get onto it, NOW -  these guys need to be playing much more often.

Speaking of The Ocean Party, one of their members Curtis Wakeling also moonlights as Velcro - his Wagga Wagga EP was one of my fave short-form releases of last year (check that out here). Well he now has a new lineup, and the trio are backing up with 'Bottle Shop' - distinctly Australian in tone and demeanour, with a perfectly calibrated pop composition ensuring this sticks like a burr. So easy, so effortless, so whimsical, so so good. There's promise of a full length later this year - consider all extremities crossed for that one.

Velcro - Bottle Shop

Now I'm cramming three bands in at once here, but they all contain the Ford brothers, Daniel and Matt. These Brissy-based siblings are the nicest, coolest dudes who are also cornering the market up here with excellent bands. The most prominent at this point in time is scratchy dreamers Black Vacation - so much so that they have scored recent supports for Wild Nothing. Their Scarred Glass EP is fantastic, if rough, and their newer material is much stronger - making them a deliciously dangerous proposition indeed. Not to be outdone, there is Kids Cryptic, a stomping, shambolic slice of garage flights of fantasy; and newest incarnation Thigh Master (man, these guys should be band name generators!) which is darker, dirgier, and also filled with sparkling gems (and are on the support bill for King Tuff tomorrow night here at the Primitive Room). If you haven't heard of these bands, or these boys, guaranteed you will have by year's end.

Black Vacation - Scarred Glass
Kids Cryptic - Shore

Here's footage of Black Vacation at the last Sonic Masala show...

And here is some footage of the excellent Thigh Master, filmed at Rics around the same time...

Whilst Greg Boring may have been better suited in my first post (and was, in fact, meant to be there), the Brisbane noise mumblers slot into the transient debris and shimmering sweatheaps that make up the Queensland capital's 'burbs. The band is not really a band - it's a happening, an anachronistic algae, an osmosis. It springs out of the cracks, delivers short stabs of melting casiotone combustions and wilting malapropisms before disappearing once more amongst the cigarette butts, vomit stains and saliva sprays. Yet they have also got an album out - Heavy Syrup - and the fact that its received an European release (through the ever excellent Critical Heights - grab it here) is unfathomable - and yet prescient. And while the molasses-paced tracks capture the band in "full swing", it never truly intimates how destitute, how coagulated, how haggard, yet utterly of its moment their live shows are. Fucks me when the next one will be either - I don't think even they know.

Greg Boring - Denuder
Greg Boring - Alvin

Great Earthquake is Melbourne's Noel Symons. The one-man looped-up melody maker has just released his sophomore record, Mind Maps, and its a quivering miasma of sounds, using a wide variety of instruments and samples to augment his own eclectic drumming patterns, and what is left is an album fully in tune with its master's whims and wishes. It swells and crashes in such a diverse fashion, weaving a meshed curtain of pastoral warmth, pagan rhythms and soaring vocal chants. Great Earthquake launches Mind Maps officially in May, starting with a show at the Tote in Melbourne Saturday May 4 and finishing with a show at The Waiting Room Friday May 17 (supported by the equally impressive McKisko and Sadglint) and taking on a supporting role under a Ghost Notes single launch out at Southside Tea Room the following evening.

Great Earthquake - Do. Make

I'm yet to see the wistful quirk of Wonderfuls play the traps yet, but based on the limited output the Brisbane outfit has bled onto tape, it would be a woozy, lysergic mess of an epiphany. Salty Town is a cracked malaise, washed down the sink into the underbelly of desperation and despair, all masked by a gauzy air of sun-damaged hope. Bobby's voice, flat and monotone, is the centrifugal force, and what pushes everything over the crumbling edge into the abyss of confusion and inertia - Harmony Korine via literary touchstones Praise and The Dead Heart for the ears. Can you escape? And if so, will you want to? Salty Town will be coming out on vinyl soon.

Wonderfuls - Freezing Cold
Wonderfuls - Relapse

Let's close this shop up with Pearls. I was shown this band by close mate Wilk, proclaiming their burgeoning talents, and he wasn't wrong. They slipped a self-titled EP out into the ether December last year without many people noticing, which is diabolical because these four tracks are damn fine. People are noticing though - they toured with A Place To Bury Strangers earlier in 2013, and have picked up the support for the muchly anticipated Bardo Pond tour in August. Not bad at all.

Australian Ambiance

Seeing as it is ANZAC Day here in Australia, and seeing as I have the day off, and seeing as there is a lot of great local stuff that has been languishing in the inbox over the past few months, I'm dedicating today to a series of posts that will focus predominantly on great releases that may not have gotten the coverage they rightly deserve. This first one is delving into the more ambient, electronic, experimental side of things - there will be a look at some bands that adhere to the slacker pop ethos (or thereabouts - we're killing it for variants of this "sound") then end off the day with a collection of the rest (read: LOUD).

Starting off we have Angel Eyes, an act that isn't really flying  under the radar (Andrew Cowie's project has been flaunted by Not Not Fun in the past), but nevertheless their Final Fare LP deserves much praise. Out through Bedroom Suck, the synth warbles that emanate from this set of songs epitomises the kind of lysergic manipulated meanderings that seem wayward and opaque, yet steals your heart while you are bewildered and hypnotised; Mega City One and Blade Runner aural clash, all dirty neon and base desires - the perfect crime. Cowie is clearly becoming more comfortable in his own skin, and the results are often breathtaking; miles above most other pretenders in this sonic realm. You really should get this - and you can, from here.

Angel Eyes - A Light Distraction
Angel Eyes - Golden Gleam

Out through Fallopian Tunes Records, Syrup is the second EP from Melbourne's Yolke. The self-proclaimed psych-ambient quartet have spent last month touring the US, pushing their regenerative hypnogenics onto all and sundry, and the strength of the drifting dreamscapes here, augmented by Errol Green's sonorous vocals wavering above and behind the mix, is palpable. Aural Ecstasy with added Tortoise bass warm and fuzzies (listen to 'Tough Times', you'll get it). I'm hoping this floats into the right slipstream, because Syrup is such a great release. Have a listen below, see what you think, and if you like, buy it from here.

I have neglected the excellent digital releases from Wood & Wire (AGAIN...) but here are two that I particularly enjoy, Solace by Gillian Lever AKA The Vainglories, and Sarah Phelan (TANTRUMS)'s pseudonym as solo production maniac Drill Folly's No Love Lost. The former is a darker sojourn into the depths of isolation, yet the murkier undercurrents are highlighted by space and the occasional bright melody, alluding to the search for solace as a positive retreat, not just a forced ostracision. Think of some of the work from Crow and The Dirty Three on the Praise soundtrack, and you are in the same early-morning park. It's stark, elegiac, and often quite beautiful. In contrast, Drill Folly is all about machinery - manipulation, combustion, morphology, dependence, therapy. No Love Lost is not an easy listen, but then again it was made with isolation and headphones in mind. Give yourself into the stilted industrial sounds, though, and a warmer, existential focus comes to the fore. Extremely interesting stuff.

The Vainglories - I Am The Only
Drill Folly - Bittersweet Escape
Drill Folly - Third Movement

Sydney's The Knechts defies easy categorisation. Delving in improvisation and electronica, every genre is grabbed, throttled and spliced. Divination, their latest release through Etch_Music, straddles some desert drone and garage rock before breaking ranks in a free-jazz downward spiral, all greasy sweat and cotton tongue, before the headache comes back in force and you know you are still alive. It's a schizophrenic listen, one that rewards from different quarters from each protracted listen. Give it a shot, straight into your earhole.

The Knechts - Crosshair Delivery
The Knechts - Rotating Jazz Detectives

When a band called Footy fell into the inbox, I was prepared to throw it into the bin sight unseen (sound unheard). But I saw it was from Lost & Lonesome, responsible for putting out gear by the likes of Deerhoof, Great Earthquake and Milk Teddy, so I spun Mobile Cemetery and was most pleasantly surprised. Footy are an experimental electric piano duo from Melbourne, and this debut LP showcases the duo's listless meandering drives through the industrial fringe suburbs of the Victorian capital - yet could be through the broken-down urban wastelands of anywhere. It's beautifully haunting, occasionally funny (not sure if it's intentional, but it also isn't derogatory - the humorous shifts in tone such as on the title track are welcomed) and wholly immersive. It's out May 3 - I suggest you pre-order it here.

Footy - Sea Home

Nonsemble is a chamber pop experiment led by Chris Perren (Mr Maps) to explore compositional positions within certain genres. As part of tertiary studies (doctorates and the such), Practical Mechanics is the result of much of this analysis, and sees Perren adhering the ideas of the likes of Yann Tiersen and Michael Nyman to more materialist, "commercial" fare. Its a noble and often very rewarding result, and toys with emotions and pace, ambiguity and listener interaction. Above all, it's great. you can listen to it here. No plans to release it in a physical context...yet. So hassle them here to make it happen.

Nonsemble - Constructional Details Of A Novel and Fascinating Machine

Finally I was trying to get a headlining act for a show I put on back in February (I ended up sticking with video game revisionists Boss Fight, and it was damn killer) and I stumbled across Nimble Animal. This comes around full circle, because although Dumb Dirge came out last year, it was on Fallopian Tunes, same as Yolke, and bears some passing resemblance to Angel Eyes' wares. The moniker for Dom Stephens (who also works under the Outerwaves nom de plume and used to front Oh Ye Denver Birds), nimble Animal utilises tape machine processing and manipulation, circuit bending, analogue drum machines and intentionally distorted instruments to create a warm bed of bristling synth and dense musical wizardry. In short, it's fucking rad. So have the entire album to chew on.

Man, I need a break. See you in a few hours with a metric shit tonne more sounds!