Wednesday 17 February 2016

Aussie Attack - Hoodlum Shouts, Bad Vision, Us The Band, Le Villejuif Underground, Loose Tooth, Velcro, Weak Boys, California Girls

I am always struggling to keep up! So much good stuff to look out for and look forward to. none moreso from my native Southern Land. So here are eight acts that you should keep your ears peeled for over the next few months...

Canberra's always been an interesting place for music, mainly because of how isolated and idiosyncratic the place is in all senses of the word. So when great bands come out of there it is a pleasant surprise. There have been quite a few recently to be fair (Wives, Primary Colours, TV Colours) and today I bookend this post with two more. The first guys are one of the most underrated bands in the country - Hoodlum Shouts. Their gig alongside Tape/Off, Freak Wave and Bad Vision in 2014 at Public Bar really rocked my world, fully confirming their brilliance that is showcased on 2012's stellar LP Young Man Old Man and every other release they have smashed out. 'Heat Island' is the title track, and it is emblematic of the shuddering, heat-soaked post-punk these Australian battlers embody. in fact it makes sense that such a bruised band with a weary-yet-defiant eye on the state of the nation would be born in the nation's capital. Take it down from within, boys. VERY excited for Heat Island.

Bad Vision seem to have toned down the sloppy grime-flecked punk for new track 'Goon'. It is still undeniably BV though - despite the piercing sun rays sparking off the jangly guitars, playing like a rollicking indie-folk stomper, Jerome's laconic vocals and that howled chorus about staring out and about at the detritus of the population floating like flotsam on the shit-creek of life tells us definitively otherwise. It is the first cut from their sophomore record, Turn Out Your Socket, due out in May (pre-order through Adagio 830 Records here).

Us The Band have upped the ante with 'Ghoul' - while they played loose and fast with their DZ Deathrays associations early on, the new track feels more in line with that other killer two-piece, Japandroids. The EP But Where Do They Go looks to be a lung-tearing, ear-bludgeoning calling card - if you are in Sydney pop down to Petersham Bowls Club on Friday for the launch.

Nathan Roche is a true global troubadour - on the lam from landlords, ladies, beer barons and every government linked debt agency he has had the pleasure/pain of crossing, he has crafted out some great records with both Camperdown and Out and under his own name. Back incognito in the Sydney swelter, he has brought some of that Gallic saunter and swagger with him in the form of Le Villejuif Underground. His laconic drawl is the same louche observations, living in a hazy cloud, a unreliable holiday parallel to the real world, never breaking a sweat, even when the wall is racing towards the windscreen. 'On The Seine' is the kind of wonky lounge pop whimsy that only someone as careless, carousing and carefree as Roche can get away with, let alone do well. Just go with it - it might fleece you, but you will be happy for the experience... Watch for a release to come out of Rice Is Nice later in the year.

Out of all the acts on this Antipodean breakdown, Loose Tooth is the only "new band" to me, having only heard 'Bites Will Bleed' yesterday. It's impressive - a scuzz-blasted call to arms, both maudlin and steadfast, brutal and brittle, not reticent, unrepentant. They have been picked up by Milk Records (Courtney Barnett, The Finks) and their debut EP Saturn Returns will be out in April. (And how amazing is that band photo? Bloody amazing, that's what).

Curt from The Ocean Party has his own outlet as Velcro - he played a Sonic Masala show in Brisbane back in 2013 (to all of 30 people, on a $5, 6-band bill - but I sunk $300+ on the bar to make up for the disappointment so I think everyone had a good time. That image above is from the show). He has released a self-titled LP that was recorded around that time, and is finally out in the ether - you can see how his songwriting leads into The Ocean Party meringue. It's about the same laconic worldviews that his band mates' side projects Ciggie Witch and Hobby Farm - being bedridden ('Bed Ridden'), loving Victoria ('Victoria'), visiting Sydney ('Sydney')... Yeah, the name is definitely the game. Especially like 'Whine', but they are all good tracks. Bout bloody time, Curt.

Sydney upstarts Weak Boys continue to rattle the cage. These carefree slacker poptarts don't know how to take things seriously - except when they do. I was going to apologies about not writing about their fun as hell album Weekdays/Weekends, or their new single 'Life Rules'n (death drools). But then they got angry at the shitty situation of their home town and spat it out for all to see - 'Good One Sydney'. Fucking good one. Kings Cross living. Here is a link to their record anyway so you can see how good these goofballs are - and maybe you will see them in Brisbane in August for something or other...

And we sign off with California Girls AKA Gus McGrath (Wives, Primary Colours, Beach Slut). he has been a heavily prolific dude in the past, and you can see why - his latest, Desire, has already sold out in cassette form, with an LP version to be out sometime this month. It's New Wave gothic post-punk caught between a black hole and a vase of rotting roses, not wanting or knowing anything other than to sway to the sounds of anguish and desire. It lives in Australia, but could emanated out of the cold terrain of the European dour, a constant search for passion and longing through a prism of dancefloor disappointment and narcotic necrotism. In short, it is insidiously sensuous in its abject, knowing despair... See California Girls play this Saturday with Hobart legends Naked and locals Wives at the Phoenix, before he hits Melbourne to play at Howler alongside Bent, Hierophants and Waterfall Person.

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