Tuesday 1 April 2014

Mega Aussie Video Vacuum Of Death

It's been far too long since I've done one of these. So take an hour off from work, and revel in the beauty of the moving image - coupled with killer songs. Ill try to keep a Sonic Masala thread through this too...

Dollar Bar kick us off with 'Half The Battle'. Love how Pat rides around Tokyo, giving the 'cool' one-finger wave. This is definitely a highlight right now. The band play the Ela Stiles (Songs/Bushwalking) show that Sonic Masala is putting on alongside Bedroom Suck Records in what is an amazing joint venture. Also supported by Primitive Motion and J. Francis, this gig is on at Electric Playground this Friday!!! COME!

I'd be remiss if I didn't have two of my label roster's videos here. First up is Roku Music, who are finishing the first half of their massive national tour tonight in Melbourne (playing Monday Night Mass alongside Bored Nothing, Barbiturates (the great little Brissy band/dude now stationed in Melbourne),Vowel Movement and the J. Arthur Keenes Band from Canada - if you are are around I suggest you head there right now.  Anyway, this is 'Ended', a great shoegaze track with mirrored languorous footage from Helena Papageorg.

Tape/Off will be releasing their first album Chipper on Sonic Masala Records in June. Here is the first single, 'Pedestal Fan'. Sub two minutes of the band smashing the track out in the back of their now sadly departed tour van, it's fun, frenetic and a great taste of what is to come. These guys have a good bunch of shows lined up for that tour too, so stay tuned.

One of the tracks on Tape/Off's upcoming album features vocals from none other than Tom Lyngcoln, the rugged genius behind The Nation Blue and Harmony. It's the latter band that he is pouring everything into 2014 with the brilliant Carpetbombing album, and the clip for 'Water Runs Cold' could also be the best of 2014. Haunting, haunted, heartrending, and rustically beautiful. Harmony play Black Bear Lounge this Thursday with excellent support with Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side and Per Purpose.

Back to Roku Music. When I joined them with their Sydney/Newcastle leg of the tour the other weekend, we agreed that the only record better than their own was Jersey Flegg, the debut album from Sydney band You Beauty. The album is a concept album based on a fictitious rugby league player whose rising star fades as he hovers in NSW metropolitan obscurity. Seriously. But the brilliance of this record isn't just the silliness and brilliant Ocker one-liners ('you could have had Whispering Jack play at your wedding' being a definite watershed lyric), but that the songs themselves are inimitably listenable. The four band members of Roku knew much of these tracks off by heart, and with good reason. Here is 'Healin' Spirit' - if you don't like it, you don't know music.

One of the dirtiest excuses for a garage band, Thee Hugs brought out this little chestnut last month. The demented genius of 'Bashar Al-Assad' is in the blatant ridiculousness of the headdresses and the terrorist overtones, yet it still lending the track the requisite amount of sweat-stained tension. Donnie from Roku recorded this malignant mess - and we should all be proud of this unholy birth.

Yuri Johnson filmed the above film clip, and here he is playing guitar in his band Keep On Dancin's. The four-piece's loooooong-awaited sophomore album Hunter is on its way, and 'Grey Ghost' is the band at their most powerful (albeit measured - nothing is ever thrown to chance here). Yes, this has been out since last year, but I forgot to show it. And I need to extend this tenuous link (other than the Australian connection, which will break too I'm sure). Can't wait for this album guys!!

Local ratbags done good DZ Deathrays get slicker and  louder, and 'Gina Works At Hearts' is the perfect embodiment of that. It isn't their strongest song, but you have to support these rad dudes who continue to do their thing, strongly influenced by DFA79, and continue to slay it. They are also in Velociraptor that includes the Thee Hugs and KOD heathens, so keeping the love alive.

One of the most excellent and eccentric acts that graced the Sonic Masala showcases last year was the last show of the year, when Melbourne "guy" Orlando Furious brought his woozy, crushed percolator pop to Brisbane. It was a captivating performance (and chunky chunky chains) that has stuck with me, even now. His cassette Popular is great. 'Nu Body' is the perfect example of what to expect from this charismatic enigma. i wish he lived up here so I could put him on a whole bunch more shows. Guess Ill have to live with Orlando Furious through his hop-hip cracked muzak.

Possibly my favourite show that I've put on was the second anniversary of Sonic Masala shows last October. We had the debut performance of Landing In The Presence of Enemy Jaguars, Advanced (or just Landpres), the gritty punk stylings of Big Richard Insect (and their Neil Young cover!), and FINALLY getting my favourite Brisbane band EVER Turnpike to play a set. But it was getting Melbourne rustic monsters The Spinning Rooms to play not one but two shows. I cannot stress enough how good this band is, and their two albums are underrated gems of the modern Australian music era. Here is a clip for 'It Can't Not' - seriously brilliant band.

Up here that particular day to play alongside The Nation Blue (there's that Lyngcoln again...) were another excellent, raucous pack of bastards, Batpiss. And whilst this isn't their video, the trio do make a cameo as the druggos in the shitters for King Parrot's "seminal" video clip for 'Dead End' - throwing off at The Shining with enough Melbourne degenerates that prop up the scene there to make this a veritable who's who. But who cares when the track is this bloody great.

A couple weeks ago I put on a little show for Matt Banham (No Through Road). Good friend Stephanie Crase was up here too, playing her Summer Flake material solo at one of the final shows to be played at the Hideaway. Here she is again, playing guitar in her good friend Ellen Carey's outfit Fair Maiden - they shot the video too. It's a great song from what is likely to be a great record (out on Bedroom Suck - see the connections continue to flow!)

Fair Maiden - Lady of Fortune from BSR on Vimeo.

The next few tracks are here because they have or will be supporting Sonic Masala Records bands in the next few months. Doctopus will be playing in Western Australia alongside Roku Music; Milkk will join Gazar Strips in their Sydney shows in May; and Bad Vision and Cull will (hopefully) help Tape/Off launch their record in June. They are great bands in their own right, of course - Doctopus surprise, not being a third-tier NZ dub band instead being a psychy garage mish-mash of gargantuan proportions; Milkk's woozy weirdness is mirrored by this lo-fi tackfest; Bad Vision play their straight-up rock, well, straight up; and Cull conitnue to explore the outer realms of delay-altered realities. Keep marching forward, fellow harbingers of noise!

One of my favourite 00s bands was Melbourne two-piece Sodastream. Here is songsmith Karl Smith and his very cute video for 'Slow Short Story'. You all need to listen to his solo record, Kites, right now.

Slow Short Story - Karl Smith from Karl Smith on Vimeo.

Let's finish up with THE band I'd like to play a Sonic Masala show. Melbourne crackpots Ooga Boogas. Im gonna try, I promise...


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