Tuesday 30 September 2014

Cracking the Veneer Of September Girls

Irish brooders September Girls brought out the beguiling Cursing The Sea at the beginning of the year, but we have something new already, with whispers of an EP not far off. The first taste is 'Veneer', and it's a spike in the arm. There is a dirgey bassline playing as a cursed undercurrent here, lending a dangerousness to the five-piece's sound that has only ever been hinted at before now. I was not only surprised by this new release, but blown away by the sinister confidence that oozes out of every pore here. A great track that still holds the staple harmonies while hardening and baring teeth.

Veneer will be out through Kanine/Fortuna Pop! in November - can't wait.

Hits From The Box #86 - Addicted To Top Eleven

I thought I would use this open medium to launch an intervention on myself. You see, I have an addiction. It's pretty bad - I cannot go a day without my Top Eleven. What is that? It is a football management game on iPhone. I don't even particularly like it. But I can't help checking, training, trading, scouting, playing...managing... I even dream about it sometimes, as if I am being interviewed at a post match conference. It's weird - it even interrupts going to the pub. This compulsion has to end. Even playing Solitaire must be better than this... SO here are six tracks to take me out of the depths of app addict despair...

Raucous Sydneysiders The Nuclear Family have released this great self-titled EP that keeps poking the hornet's nest of malcontent. Seriously, what with Yes I'm Leaving, Narrow Lands, Tanned Christ, Sour Cream - there are a lot of anger and gnashing of teeth in the city (albeit with a heady helping of sardonic wit mixed right in). The six songs here are frenetic, abrasive, and clenched jaw, full-throttle fun. I want moooooooooooore.

'Body Chores' is a track that disconcerts in its passive-aggression and hooded lids. The band - Alpha Maid, a trio out of London - have the off-kilter, discordant brood in check, and the sneered vocals hold things almost together before the noise comes to the fore in the last thirty seconds. But when it does, it isn't in a sordid squall, but an almost funereal moment of release. It's got the Soundgarden sound of darkness to the riffs too - this isn't Thayil wails, but the intent is purposeful and delightfully frightening.

The downward slide continues with the melodic doom of Funeralbloom, an Austin band that toys with the melodic instrumental rock seam that runs so prolifically through its population. This is much heavier fare though - whilst four-track album Petals denotes austerity and beauty, it comes from cathartic brutality and epochal release. The screams and roars come from the shadowed depths, wavering in and out of spoken word and Bauhaus-moans - it's an intriguing and ultimately darkly hypnotic mix.

There has been a bit of a bloom in music filtering out of Tel Aviv over the past twelve months, so it's good to see what music is coming to life there. Memory In Plant is a trio of strong minded musicians, that use the exploration of time and space to create altered states of aural arrest. The result is the epically eclectic An Epic Triumph, which alternates from the Archers of Loaf-esque of 'This Love' to the spiralling grind of...'This Love'...to the stadium heavy metal of...'This Love'...what? There is such a degree of inventive playfulness in just a song, let along the entire album, that has one both energised and scratching their head. Like Menomena after taking the red pill, then... Definitely worth dropping out in this Israeli psychedelic pop nightmare.

Still clawing ourselves to the light here... So we need to pop some of these holy rollers. Colorado trio Gleemer's Holyland USA release plays out like a gauzy drift through Frank Black's more lurid moments - what he might have done with his solo career if he followed a trajectory more similar to that of Lockett Pundt's Lotus Plaza perhaps? 'Weekend Sisters' is particularly great, but the whole release has those warm tones that float through the soul.

Let's finish with Bummer, who actually carry links to last week's HFTB alums Young Jesus. The five piece feature members of that Chicago outfit, and some semblance of their guitar rock echoes through Bummer's self-titled EP (out through Toblerone Sunrise Records). My favourite track off Bummer is the opening gambit 'wayisound', that holds the kind of complicated guitar growl that the likes of Pat Stickles (Titus Andronicus) spews forth in his sleep. It's a killer track, and a good way to kick the habit.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday 29 September 2014

Mirroring Martyr Privates


There's going to be a nasty rumour going round soon that I am in Martyr Privates, such is the blanket love I have given their debut album of late. Having written the review of it for both The Music in Australia and The Quietus in the UK, suffice to say that I am a fan. Not much else needs to be said that I haven't already written. That said, I thought Id fling a couple sentences together to try and explain why I like it. Because Martyr Privates is in some ways derivative; in other ways wholly unimaginative. Because opinion is so subjective, it seems apt yet also trite for me to say that their influences are fine when I often lambast other bands for wearing their influences so blatantly and carefree. The difference here is the playability factor. When I first listened to the album I thought the Brisbane trio of Cam Hawes, Ashleigh Shipton and Sam Dixon had captured their live persona well, but it was still that heady pastiche of downer rock and shoegaze space oddity that made them familiar and yet innately alien, at least on the Australian music scene. But the more I listened to tracks like 'You Can't Stop Progress' and 'Something To Sell' I realised the influences that came to bear - Kitchens Floor, Spiritualized, The Black Angels, Spacemen 3 - were just as refracted from the worldview of the trio. Martyr Privates is dipped liberally in the shoegaze psych mould, but it isn't a part of such wide-ranging genres either. As elegantly wasted as 'Rope & Tarp' is, this is a Hawes original, not a Pierce cast off; as much as 'Somebody's Head' lurks in the shadows of the Passover of The Black Angels, they aren't squatting at the foot of the table scrounging for scraps. There is a otherworldly vibrancy and dour desperation that always stands at loggerheads within the band - the engine forcing the machine forward yet refusing to make allegiances easy. It won't be the best album of the year; it may not even make the list. But it is the best Martyr Privates album of 2014, which actually says a hell of a lot.

Martyr Privates is out through Bedroom Suck and Fire Records - grab it here and here respectively.

Cool Ghouls

San Fran fools Cool Ghouls have harvested a laidback, echoes and dust garage air for their great new record A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye (out now through Empty Cellar Records). This record may have some bare bones affinity with the garage rock set that are their geographical brethren, but missing is the frenetic energy and in its place a more ruminative, studied approach that can nonetheless be electrifying. There is something intrinsically American about the reverb laden fare that evokes the down home revelry and bonhomie that the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival exulted in. Seeing as CCR have a hell of a lot of stone cold classics up their snakeskin boot, you can understand why I share such a soft spot for this record then.

Buy A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye here.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Cheap Chooks Race On Unity Floors

 Chook Race

Unity Floors

Brand new Australian label Mystic Olympic are opening up their account with Cheap, a split between two of the more interesting and energetic bands circling in these waters, Chook Race from Melbourne and Sydney's Unity Floors. Both of these bands have graced the Sonic Masala walls in the past, and it's great to see these guys joining forces in what is likely to be a powerfully fun release. The two tracks - Chook Race's punch-pop 'Numb' and Unity Floors' louche growl 'Hold Music' - are two sides of the same twisted lovelorn coin (and 7") - the simple lyrics and call-and-response of 'Numb' is sub-two minutes of monosyllables on the beat punk, with almost a surf-like bridge, making for bubblegum lust in the sun rather than the shade; 'Hold Music' cribs from Harry Nilsson and lethargic drawls interspersed with cathartic squalls as only the duo know how (all recorded in Gus Hunt's kitchen no less). Scrap pop at its finest.

Grab Cheap here or here.

Monday 22 September 2014

Mirrors Folding In

London's Gum Takes Tooth was one of the first bands that Paul, the guy who started Sonic Masala with me way back in 2010, introduced me to. I think the first time I saw them play was at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square; the second time the banks of the River Thames. They explore all terrain, not just the sonic; they stretch boundaries both external and internal. Every time I saw them the all-pervasive atmospheres create coalesced into something overtly alien and new. They were a revelation.

The same goes to their recordings also. Mirrors Fold (out through Tigertrap Records) is only their second record, yet it is already leaping through different vectors of sound exploration than the intrinsically heavier debut album Silent Cenotaph rendered, or even the EPs. They have shared stages with bands like Shit and Shine, another of those bands Paul introduced me too. But unlike Shit and Shine, whose moniker is probably the best to ever be committed to a band (the times I have seen them have been in either of those two extremes - when they are good they shine, but when they aren't - Jesus...), there is nothing haphazard on Mirrors Fold. They are more akin to Errors or (and I'm sure this comparison is made a lot) Battles, what with their electronic exuberance that is both dark and febrile, forever pressing percussive beats and cuts into new and claustrophobic realms whilst remaining intrinsically groove-laden. 'This Perfect Surface' is my favourite in this realm. However the groove can suddenly disappear into industrial rabbit hole like 'Bone Weapon', and it's on tracks like this where the live drumming makes a true impact. It's pressure-swelling-in-your-chest/pounding-in-your-head intensity, a carrion call to a dystopian burnt-sky cult, flamed and ingrained. 'Wych Elm' finishes off proceedings, and is some sort of lysergic barbiturate nightmare - a kaleidoscopic downward spiral set at quarter speed.

Every time I listen to Mirrors Fold I hear something new, and can't help but think that this album is a living organism all its own, some HR Geiger body horror writhing beast that will one day jump out of its vinyl skin and morph with my own. Weird. But that is the kind of insidious beauty Gum Takes Tooth have crafted here. It's bloody great. Preorder it here and let it steal your essence. Then double up on the live experience this Saturday as they destroy the Shacklewell Arms.

PREMIERE - Yerevan Tapes Serve Us Up A Psalm'N'Locker

Good morning! Sorry to rattle the cages with such a pun, but Italian drone artist Luca Garino HAS called his solo output Psalm'N'Locker, and is in a band called How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck If A Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood, so...deal with it.

The following are exclusive excerpts from Psalm'N'Locker's forthcoming Op. 1 Music For Dreamachine  out through the always intriguing Yerevan Tapes. If you aren't familiar, you have missed out on some stellar releases such as Heroin In Tahiti, Cannibal Movie and German Army, all releases I have written about and love and  that require instant perusal if you aren't familiar. Psalm'N'Locker's efforts are already at that level for me too - a one track, 28 minute exploration of beats, that idea of when two notes compete on slightly different frequencies. The entire composition has been inspired by the British experimentalist and "prophet" Brion Gysin's Dreamachine - this guy was amazing and truly ahead of his time, read more about him here. Psalm'N'Locker manages to recreate that same trance-like hallucinatory state through searching out the imperfections, whether strong or weak, of a frequency played through two air organs that are not exactly what you would call "tuned". The result is pretty immense - below are two exclusive excerpts. You can get OP.1 Music For Dreamachine here.

Hypnotized By The Dream Police

Sacred Bones have announced the final two releases of 2014, and one of them is new - yet familiar. Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi, two of the founders of The Men, have a new project in the form of Dream Police. Which is a great name when you consider the cover art for the Cheap Trick album of the same name... Where The Men have left behind their hardcore boots to head into a more familiar rock bent, Dream Police brings synth and a bit of hair rock to the mix, if the title track of their upcoming album is anything to go by. It's like distilling Moon Duo, LCD Soundsystem and ZZ Top into a crusty blender. I need to hear the rest of this album for sure - but for now I'm perplexed, amused, and more than a little interested. Pre-order Hypnotized here.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Contracting Cat Aids In The Noise Arcade With Jerk Kerouac

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Hits From The Box #85 - It's Been An Age And A Day...

I said the old columns were making their presence known! The inbox is overflowing, and I won't lie - a lot is going to remain overlooked. Sorry to anyone who posted me stellar sounds from June back. Things got real around here, and I dropped the pie. But onward and upward. Here are some great releases that everyone should be checking out post-haste...

First up we have the newest "discovery" on this list (I came across this this morning), LA-via-Chicago band Young Jesus have just released 'G' which is apparently their first new song in two years. This reminds me of bands like Spook House and Pile - the kind of indie guitar music that did the rounds in the mid to late 90s, but with the 21st century sweaty urgency that pervades those bands' progeny. The five-piece have the literate emotion, the emotive riffs, the slight grit of the teeth, the cathartic grins. 'G' was made for me.

Leading on from the new to the old - William Alexander's Girls' Basketball release has been sitting in this post since I started writing it months ago, and I'm glad to say that this is still a real corker of an album. One of the Juniper Tree crew (AKA bedroom manipulations in the key of pop) and formerly known as The Meanest Boys, this album is actually quite beautiful - a breezy gossamer glide through Alexander's sensibilities. So you can have the guitar pop malaise of 'You Can Take It', the brooding psych grooves of 'Strange Rules', the backwards blues swagger of 'Itneverdies' (which is a killer song - something Beck might have done in the earliest days if he wasn't as much of a nerdish upstart), the spaced out languidity of 'Drones' - there is something for everyone here. Think Kurt Vile lying around in Long Beach covering Ariel Pink covering Gram Parsons . Stupid analogy - but it was the first one that caught like a burr in my mind months ago, and that still stands today.

Sticking to home recordings but heading a little closer to "home". Perth artist Fait (AKA Elise Higgins) has quietly put out this EP Atmosphere - an apt title. The tracks are on the more sonorous side of shoegaze psych, with darker riffs emanating on almost post-rock efforts like 'Slow Glow'. There is piano and strings on 'Halcyon' that seems destined for the typical brooding soundtrack score - but this could easily soundtrack an overcast day with weights pulling down. Atmosphere has been produced by Darren Lawson who has worked with MBV - so that explains that then.

The pulse rises here. Scuzzy punks Mumrunner hail from Tampere in Finland - which I have actually been to, strangely, but never thought I would here this echo out from this Scandinavian outpost. Zit/Rut offers two tracks of squalling power, more in the vein of regional brethren Lower's later stuff, interposed with the harsh distorto drive shoegaze of the likes of Whirr (speaking of, have you heard their new album? Awesome...). This is an incredibly strong opener, enough abrasion to knock the amps into gear, approachable enough to get sucked in by the sinuous grooves and hovering vocals. I'm hooked.

Now for Dilly Dally. This Toronto band have unearthed a type of grungey rock crawl that has those effortless pop stratosphere moments a la Pixies in their prime (listen to the guitar in the "chorus" and hear the ghost of 'Where Is My Mind?' whisper in your ear), but its the nonchalant way Katie Monks delivers her lines, in an almost-throwaway, almost-angsty way, whilst also alluding to earnestness without giving sway to it, that delivers the true goods. And yes, that was all one sentence. Dilly Dally is the kind of band that close friend Liz would have fronted in high school - she even has the blue hair to add some aesthetic credence. There is a power here though that outstrips such teen dalliances - hence Fat Possum showing interest in the four-piece.

Let's finish up with San Franciscans Blood Sister (formed out of the ashes of Night Manager RIP). They have just released the single 'Ghost Twin' off their EP (out soon through Bloodmoss Records), and it's a vibrant mess. Im about to make two Pixies references in the same post, aren't I? See, Frank, there is no need o persist when there are young-uns doing what you did thirty years ago, and in their own way, and better than you are doing it now. This is scuzzed up to the eyeballs, and a lot of dark fun. What's more, Blood Sister launch the EP at Thee Parkside on Friday Sept 26 with Aussie noisy bastards and great dudes Zeahorse as support. If you live in SF, you need to get to this - and buy some Zeahorse merch too, those guys need all the help they can get (plug OK, Morgan??)

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday 20 September 2014

Thrashing The Heart In A Teardrop Factory

Whenever Faux Discx bring out a new release, my ears are suitably pricked. I have come across Teardrop Factory before - their Topshop EP from last year was a lot of fun. They are back with their debut album Thrash In The Heart, and first taster '3AM Coke Dream' is what you would expect from such a title - its hazed, loud, a little brash, hypnotic, suitably roughed up and scuzzy around the edges, high albeit a little seedy, and fun. A LOT of fun. It's got the slow head movements inherent within the melody - it reminds me of a slightly more dour version of Terry Malts' 'Tumble Down'. And seeing as that was one of my favourite songs of 2012, that's a very good thing/

You can preorder Thrash In The Heart now - the 12" is a pink vinyl with white swirls - I'm transfixed...and it MIGHT add further explanation for the name of the single...And while we're at it - here is the video for another track, 'Now We Shatter'...

The Badlands Are Deathly Dangerous, Baby

Here are a couple of psych-inflected releases that have crossed the desk today that make for a good Saturday's listening...

The Dunes are from Adelaide - how did I not know this until I had left the country? Or maybe I did? I feel like I have heard these guys before...anyway their three track EP Badlands is pretty great. Stacie Reeves' vocals are haunting and ballsy in equal measure, which you need if you are going to slide the breadth of the psych rock spectrum. The title track in particular is a highlight, a dark sprawler that at almost nine minutes doesn't feel nearly long enough.

Then there is Prince Rupert's Drops, who I definitely have written about before. They are back, readying to drop (sorry) LP Climbing Lights on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records (out in limited oxblood coloured vinyl - yum - grab that here). This has more of the garage rock juggernaut powering it on 'Dangerous Death Ray' - it actually gives me a bit of a Tumbleweed vibe, which is very appreciated - and feels longer than its four minutes (which is a good thing in this instance) so is the perfect yin to The Dunes' yang this morning.

Friday 19 September 2014

Teleseparating The Woodsman

Woodsman continue their prolific ways, releasing new EP Teleseparation after bringing out their third album Woodsman earlier this year. The four tracks here are typically layered and atmospheric, roiling in Kraut-rock rhythms and the euphoric mode of repetition within repetition. It's a stream-of-consciousness "jam" that the final song off Woodsman was a mere excerpt from - and gives you a strong idea on what this band does when crafting their sound.

This week has been a strange one for me to say the least, but this is one release that I have reached for when the time comes to let the stress leave the body and give mind and soul over to the music. The band is playing at the excellent Incubate festival at Tilburg in the Netherlands today (if you are there - you lucky sucker!), before playing London on Sunday at The Water Rats.

Friday Cover Up - Crass Maltings

This week sees a resurgence in the "staples" here on Sonic Masala - whilst we have been fairly regular with Video Vacuum posts, there haven't been much in the way of the others. First up is a Friday Cover Up - and this is a doozy, Brazilian label Pug Records' brilliant single club Mutt Singles (which brought us one of the best songs EVER, Ciro Madd's 'You and Me') have put out this cover from Terry Malts guitarist Corey. The cover? Nothing other than anarcho-punks Crass' 'Do They Owe Us A Living'. Corey's take is decidedly Terry Maltsian - AKA poppy, bouncy, sunny. I'm not sure the English ruffians would approve... But it's making me smile regardless.

And just because I love it so much, here is 'You and Me'!

Old Mates Is What They Is, Ey?

One band that seemed to both be confined by and outstrip the ill-fated "dolewave" genre pigeonhole was South Australia's Old Mate. It may have been in the name; it may have been in the droll drawl that lead Pat Telfer (Bitch Prefect) delivered his sometimes-weary, sometimes-jacked-up lyrics. But just as many of the bands that were tarred with that brush over the last two to three years have moved on by incorporating stranger tics and tricks to their bag, Old Mate's new album It Is What It Is (out through SDZ Records) explodes, its core aesthetic spreading in every direction like the impact of a paintball on a white wall. Don't let the kangaroos boxing on the cover dissuade you from acknowledging that we are entering a whole new world.

'Medicine Man' is a gargantuan jazz blues number - seriously. Sure, it's used and abused and flung in the corner to dry, but the 12 bars, the solos, the howling space, the husky vocals are all present and accounted for. It's a strange opener - it's a strange choice, considering the band's back catalogue - but then nothing should surprise you with these guys (remember the other half of Bitch Prefect is the chameleonic Liam Kenny...). From then on we are taken to one surrealist vignette to the next, in a battered limousine al Carax's bizarrely brilliant Holy Motors film from 2012, with Telfer the ever-present ringmaster of the macabre. 'Requesting Permission' is back on terra firma, a downer jangle with dour vocals a la Brisbane act Dag, with a melancholy that reminds me of the solo work of Neil Young in his early years - really - or that first recipient of the Grant McLennan Fellowship back in 2007, Charles Curse. But this isn't the needle and the damage done. We step up with 'Something', a vocal that sounds like Macka from The Onyas having a go at an acoustic number. It isn't overtly funny though - the tempo, the backing vocals, the 'hey hey hey hey hey heeeey, hey' lending a desperation to proceedings. 'February' is a lament in a netherworld saloon - the Gothic drawl reminiscent of another dormant Aussie act, Nikko - holding that plodding, maudlin beat for its entirety, and drags you down with it.

Then we hit a sonorous contemplation with 'Stressin'', a lysergic percolation of languid rhythms (for some reason Im tracking back to some of those subterranean grooves the Stone Roses often doled out) in what is generally an instrumental track, except for some growled, rolling-around-the-mouth vocals (and yet another video featuring that post-Soviet kid in the nightclub, which really looks like a sequal to the film Orphan); the sax burbles into the fervour underscoring 'Know What He Wants', a fine addition here; 'Him' re-enters the Young orbit, albeit in a warped fashion, offering layered nuance that promises more than it gives, with lyrics that imply never learning from mistakes; and closer 'Truth Boy' evokes another crooked minstrel of the Australian musical landscape, Nathan Roche, although there are no Sydney references in sight, just some Aussie sardonic sneers...

It Is What It Is is a bizarre and inexplicalby attractive record. The title tells it all, thus making this review, or any really, redundant. Old Mate, Telfer, the music - it is what it is. Deal with it - get it here.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Listening To The Heart Of The Sky Mirrored

I'm pretty sure this record came out ages ago - I THINK it scraped into 2014, but it could have been put out last year - but I only stumbled across Listening Mirror's ambient drone work The Heart Of The Sky last night and was immediately cocooned by these percolating suites of nebulous sound. It's surprising I haven't stumbled across Jeff Stonehouse's work before, seeing that one of my closet obsessions is abandoned architecture, in particular the sound mirrors of Denge in England. And just like those hulking structures, this album pervades the senses, their now lost cause for being superseding the imposing figure they cut, the uneasy impulses that permeates the soul when encountering it - this is not of this world. Particularly the opening track 'Midnight At Teques, Storm Approaching' - I played this song four times before I let the album play out. The field recordings that bleed into the sonorous melange of languid sounds are impressive and help with the teleportation into other worlds, but the tonal shifts that occur here do often denote that idea of an archaic computer bleeping in a funereal, empty warehouse, monitoring a world and a war that no longer, and maybe never did exist. Abandoned, out-of-date, doing nothing - yet its very existence holds a great deal of power due to its alienness, and its propensity to expand and come to life. The Heart Of The Sky does that to me - the fear of the unknown exists, yet is overridden by extreme titillation as I step into the abyss. Get The Heart of the Sky here.

Ausmuteant Growths

The growth of Ausmuteants continues like a fluid-filling canker. The treble-troubling twerps love courting straight up garage rock, acerbic synth punk, trashy rock tropes and scuzzy flailings of noise, but settle on their own inimitable course, wrapping it all together with a slacker coyness and irreverence that becomes more palatable by the day. And I don't mean they are softening the blows or sweetening the edges - just that their delicacies are becoming addictive. Take Stale White Boys Playing Stale Black Music, the band's latest release. The cover digs into Eric Clapton, blanking out the eyes in a faux attempt to give him is dignity; the vocals for 'Who's The Narc?'are more up front and therefore the serrated lyrics bite deeper; the rollicking nature of the "chorus" is both an addictive melody and a conceited ripoff of 80s chugging stadium rock.

The Ah...What An Ugly Face Every Face Is 7" out through Heinous Ass Records scuzzes up the formula and puts the dancing shoes on, albeit ones with bloodstained steep caps. Each song dives headlong into a different genre and comes up covered in shit and shit eating grins.

I don't know why, but these elements all give Ausmuteants an indelibly unique take on any genre. You have heard all this before - but not quite like this - and that is what makes them one of the biggest bands in Australia right now. Don't believe me? See them one night at the Tote and then try to explain your indifference away. And if you are in the States later this month you might catch them roaming the streets - catch em while you can.

UPDATE: Details for Ausmuteants' new album on Goner Records Order Of Operation and sample track 'Boiling Point' appeared overnight on Stereogum - go see what you think.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Video Vacuum - Multiple Man, Drug Sweat, Whirling Hall Of Knives, Club Sound Witches

I've been waiting for the plumber to come around to the new flat for three hours now. The kitchen is full of water. The washing machine is pretty much dead, hemorrhaging water by the litre. Ive sandbagged it all off with the last of my towels - but how long until the levee breaks? Ah well, let's watch some videos while this domestic race-against-time irons itself out...

Those faux-irascible twins Multiple Man are at it again, this time with decidedly cleaner bass. 'Persuasion' is still a MM black mass, yet with a decidedly New Wave production style. I felt like I was watching archival footage here, although the lack of makeup perturbed me... And that little synth fart noise. Incredible. Then at the three minute mark we get serious. Alex Dunlop (Roku Music, Cobwebbs, HITS, et al) has done a killer job on this clip - the best one yet.

On to the next Aussie dirge sensation then. Drug Sweat formed in Melbourne earlier this year in response to Primitive Calculators curating the "comeback" of Little Bands, where bands are created for this one-off event and just go for it. Formed of Jake Robertson (Ausmuteants, The Frowning Clouds, Leather Towel), Richard Stanley (Aarght! Records), Angus Bell (Pageants, The Galaxy Folk), Marc Dean (Ausmuteants) and Roland Hlavka (Cobwebbs, Barbiturates, Gold Shade), Drug Sweat was too good a name to give up, and the band have been playing shows since. This is one of their slapdash efforts. I think it's brilliant, and hope they get around to recording an album's worth of stuff.  Sonic Masala is interested ...

Clubsound Witches "Uprok" from nicola morton on Vimeo.

Delving into the deepest currents of Brisbane's electronic experimentation you will find Club Sound Witches, the amalgamation of noise wizards Nicola Morton and Matt Earle (the lifeblood of Real Bad Music). This ten minute exploration is excellent, a mind burner that melds with Nicola's footage of a paper boat at a lake in Jakarta on a sunny day to disorienting effect. There is word that more recordings are on their way - on the strength of 'Uprok' we can only hope.

Whirling Hall Of Knives - Comminute from Trensmat Records on Vimeo.

And finally we are travelling back to Ireland for the second Whirling Hall Of Knives video in a month. This dystopian duo are bringing out a 12" EP and this is the title track, 'Comminute'. The kind of techno noise that swallows you whole - nightmarish beats and squalls that nonetheless draw you inexorably to your oblivion. It's songs like this that blur the lines between fear and sexuality to a scarily indiscernible degree. Long live the new flesh.



(Post written by Fred Savage Beasts)

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but this might just be the best single I’ve heard this year. Not since I listened to 'Re-murdered' about seventeen times in a row have I plugged a song through my speakers over and over again like this. Seriously, it’s to the point where my housemates have started yelling, “What kind of fucked up video games are you playing in there?”

With ‘Disco Horseride Montage’ Spirit Bunny have lived up to the toy-destroyed, line-bending, heart-break-beat promise that they previewed on ‘Gold and Brown’. It sounds at once like something overheard in a Japanese arcade and someone reading their sociology thesis aloud to a lover. That’s a compliment, in case you were wondering. It means that it is bloody interesting!
'Disco Horseride Montage' comes with two remixes of 'Gold & Brown' by Pale Earth and Bong YZA, also worth a tonne of plays.


(Post written by Fred Savage Beasts)

Adelaide - home of the severely underrated genius. Right where Australia balances between the currents from the Antarctic and the wide, brown desert. Wide streets, trams, Jamie Siddons, Crows and now this… The Metro School Reunion. This is the reason you’ve been looking for to take your beat up VK Holden on its final legendary drive.

Get a load of the bands on the list, dammit! TV Colours alone would make this worthwhile. Like the Crows say, “FAAARK…” All these bands should be in the test team.


On at the city's stalwart Hotel Metropolitan on October 5. Wind down the windows, rubber band your teas towels round your frozen water bottles and get yourself there. Any way you can.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Scrabbled Sewers Are Virtually Cool

Virtual Cool is a new label out of Brisbane that, whilst staying predominantly cassette based, should really reach a lot of people. Why? Because they are intent on putting out records that would otherwise languish in the tinnitus and vagrant memories of hazy booze and drug fuelled nights, a jigsaw puzzle of a sound never to be fully remembered or repeated. The first two releases are cases in point.

An unheralded amalgam of some of Brisbane's best fringe dwellers (members of Dag, Clag, Gravel Samwidge, Extrafoxx and X Wave litter their numbers, among others), Scrabbled's Welcome To Pig City is revving on narcoleptic fumes of disdain at the state of affairs in the Sunshine State and desperation. Everything is slanted and disenchanted - a dissertation to punk politicism in Can-Do Campbell Newman's backwards-leaning regime. Queensland has always had a hard run of it when it comes to forward-leaning politics, hence why the world recognises Brisbane for its punk music of the late 70s and early 80s than any other genre and era. But Scrabbled aren't interested in tapping into old vibes or digging at old scabs - no, these wounds are fresh. The music itself is loose, warped, awkward, defiantly out of step. This isn't a detriment though - Scrabbled have a voice and energy all their own; a purging of pent-up exasperation spilling into abject aggression. You need bands like this - you really do. Get angry and have some fun.

The other release is something altogether different - diseased and snarling, more malevolent, and much less serious. Sewers and Rat King split the shit right down the middle on Leather. The Brisbane contingent stomp the fuck out of any nuance anyone thought they might have had on new cut 'Chinese Tommy', a short shotgun blast to the gut. Their dirge-drivel take on Grong Grong's 'Japanese Train Driver' sounds like the best Sewers song they never wrote - the irascible energy is finally unleashed in a more rampant speed, and the whole thing falls apart in a rust-hollowed heap. Brilliant. Newcastle's Rat King don't offer the yin to Sewer's yang though - 'Sick Pills' and 'Browood' somehow slow things down with embalmer treacle yet up the ante with their seething vitriol. The feedback on the former track is still ear-splitting even in recording, a harsh reminder that the imperfections are deliberated, serrated and antagonistic; whilst 'Browood' is a pitch-dark march into the nether regions of listlessness leading to evil transgressions. Hanging out with these clowns will get you killed - if they don't kill you first.

You can get both of these here. There is more to come from Virtual Cool, including a release from Bent, so you will be hearing more from me too.


(Post by Fred Savage Beasts)

What do you need? A to the red fuzzy pop song with unapologetically honest lyrics? Alcohol and aspirin? Love? Well, now you can have all three at once – which, for my liking is probably the best way to have these things. And while you’re at it, and with whoever you’re at it with, dig down for the harmonies in this new Pity Sex track and you’ll come up with a comfort of sorts.

Get ‘Acid Reflex’ here (out on a split 7” with Adventure through Run For Cover Records).

Sunday 14 September 2014

Weird Ovaries In The Rain

Man, I love me a straight up moniker. And whilst Lux Ovarye's Weird Time isn't exactly an easy mouthful, it sure is a weird time. Playing out like a paisley Thee Oh Sees offcut with Ariel Pink taking the reins whilst asking all and sundry where he can score some MDMA, 'In The Rain' is a beautiful jangle with a soaring melody that nevertheless feels sketchy, flaky, borderline psychotic. But the band keep it together, enough where you drop your guard and start to really enjoy yourself. Then you open yourself to it properly, and the rain spears into your being - it's like being out of yourself on the side of a highway that you have no reason to be on, with someone who you DEFINITELY shouldn't be with, yet knowing that the walls are coming down... Spinning around, arms outstretched as the sun rises over the industrial complexes... Not really knowing where you are, and not caring. That's what 'In The Rain' does to you, be it real or imagined. And that makes it a dangerously good song.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Smashing Raindeer With Quasi Rock And/Or Roll

Here is a little brainworm. Raindeer out of Baltimore (obviously) have taken the creative mushrooms that must grow all over that city and followed it with a blazed pill of Animal Collective energy. it's a weird one because effectively 'This Is Rock N' Roll' is a straight up song, not much in way of structure that can proclaim it as doing anything innate "different". But it is the hypercolour kaleidoscopic layers that are infused here. The high pitched vocals, the glockenspiel pings, the wormholes that dive from Alice In Wonderland-style cutesiness to a Speed Racer-style mind melt of candy-covered sounds, with a bass line that underpins it all, blasting out with an almost aggressive thrust. It ends suddenly after two and three quarter minutes, spitting you back out into your mono-coloured world, bemused, bewildered, and besmirched - what was that? how can you subject me to such sugar rushes without my consent? - before you blink and there you are again, in line, buying another ticket. This ISN'T rock and roll, but it sure is addictive, whatever it is.

Raindeer have an impending album, You Look Smashing. They seem like the polite, self-deprecating types. They also seem like the treacly Woodland Creatures from South Park who turn out to be cannibals. Let's see where this heads...

Friday 12 September 2014

Daughters Of The Legendary Hearts

A failure to communicate saw my final two Not Not Fun write-ups for last week fail to materialise - that and some awful work-related meltdowns and the lack of Internet-inal attachment. So here they are, jammed into the one...

What I love about Ride To Die, Minneapolis band Daughters of the Sun's fourth album, is how it simultaneously feels like an extraneous entry to the Not Not Fun roster and yet an indelibly intrinsic totem. The trio are effectively a kraut-psych wet dream, filtered through the VHS gloss of early 80s Viacom cyber-sci-fi genre hybrid films. And it's this later part that comes to pass on tracks such as 'Fly By', a lysergic trance mantra that besmirches the more gargantuan psych numbers that bookend it. Don't get me wrong, the psych numbers are what get me humming here - yet even the titular 'Ride To Die', a blasted hallucinogenic bomb with its phasers set to kill, starts with warbled tetravision synth. Meanwhile 'Sater's Ghost' feels like stepping into a Kraftwerk bad dream, marionetting around a circular black hole, the strings manned by Gary Numan.  And the flayed sworl of 'Reigns Of Iron' mirrors the Robedoor black drift spirit, yet with more metallurgic pulse. But it's the inexorable pull to the damned unknown that really hooks you in, and the majority of that power must go to Collin Gorman Weiland's synth wasteland. Check out his and percussionist Bennett Johnson's Dreamweapon too while you are at it. Grab Ride To Die here - it's killer.

And it's nice to end Not Not Fun week with something Australian too. Melbourne duo Legendary Hearts have just released Aerial Views, and it's a swirling hyperventilation under an cloud of opium dreams. The vapours drift effortlessly, whether it be the nebulous guitar lines on 'Vanishing Point', the waveforms that drift over the pastel sunset tones of a romantic comedown that is 'Distance & Desire' or the warped amalgamation of 80s backlit ballads and being caught in a lava lamp that percolates throughout 'Acceleration'. These narcotic inducing songs all pulse with an energy and drive that is often missing from music of this ilk: it's fun yet purposeful; sensuous yet playful. With a dash of sadism in there for that exotic taste of the wild side. Aerial Views is in fact a very sexual record in that regard, and is probably soundtracking the entire spectrum of the Kinsey scale as we speak. Grab it here.