Saturday 23 April 2016

Never Clever

Still don't know how Clever haven't eaten up the Eastern Sea Board of Australia in their attempt to immolate all that is cautious and safe, burning the vanilla tastebuds from the bloated tongues of the elitist tastemakers, performing a Caesarean on the self-congratulatory nonpareil and casting the remains away in disgust. Is that too much? The snarling primordials don't take prisoners, that is fore sure, and their first album Kewdi Udi sandblasts this fact for half a blistering, boiling hour. But like most of the top-tier pigfuck punks, there is as much sneering inanity as there is molten fury, but the acid-in-the face vitriol won't allow you to know the difference. Don't bother trying to decipher Mitch Perkins' vocals - the dead-eyed stare, with the slightest twitch of the jaw signposting a degree of lightness in the dankness, is unrelenting, as is his red-lined vocal disintegration. Harry Byrne eats up Jesus Lizard guttural sludge and vomits it out in a bass slung like a bilge pump. Fred Gooch manages to slay most guitar gods and seem to stand still, deliberately fucking with the dead and the living; Callum Galletly comes over the top, a melodic Juggernaut, both grinding a groove and pummelling souls, a cathartic mortar and pestle.

Buy this piss-stained cyanide punch of a record from Homeless Records (who else?) here. Kewdi Udi slays.

Friday 22 April 2016

Better Late To The Miasma Of Bevis Frond Than Never

I had heard a lot about London psych folk stalwarts The Bevis Frond yet knew nothing about them - a band to have escaped my battered ears. But it wasn't until I spent a night beating the flu out of me with booze at The Mucky Pup here in London that I actually got to hear them (which makes sense - leader Nick Saloman used to do the excellent pub quiz here). Their first album Miasma is on their excellent jukebox, and it blew me away. Was it the cold? Was it the eighth jar of Guinness? There is a warm crossover of Smiths wash, Erickson wow and Pollard panache for me to want to launch myself headlong into their back catalogue. Fire Records have made it much easier for me too, re-releasing Miasma and Inner Marshland on Record Store Day in aqua and purple vinyl respectively. The guys are playing a one-off-for-the-year show in London at Birthdays July 10 - Ill be there, front row.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Slovenly Useless Bazooka On Avenue Z

I dipped into the Slovenly slime earlier this year and managed to drag out the desiccated gems Choke Chains, Wet Ones, Red Mass and Scraper put out into the world - but somehow the latest releases from European bands Avenue Z and Bazooka evaded my grasp. For no longer.

I was yawning my arse off today at the morning weekly meeting, and the thought of an 8 hour day was bearing down on me like a cyclone - and then ‘Machine a Reves’ kicked in, and nothing the shitstains of the world threw at me would stick. The French dirty psychser (featuring members of other great bands such as Catholic Spray – NOW you recognise that synth sidewinder! - and Magnetix) go for bottom-of-the-barrel chugging rock on Azimut, garage of the Underworld, setting fire to the river Styx before setting the controls to the centre of the earth and beyond. Here the fat buzz and Neanderthal roar that underpins ‘Invasio X’ – this is B-grade sci fi prog rock delivered with A-game aggro. It’s heady fun too – that title track is ridiculous! And now the band name makes perfect sense – so familiar yet so far out, this is Gallic garage rock emanating from the last house in the cul-de-sac – probably on the left, too.

Bazooka continue the diseased rock fare, going so far as to call their new album Useless Generation. I can’t remember when I heard a Greek band so pissed off – but look at the state of the nation, where infrastructure crumbles, unemployment skyrockets, and all you can get out of a cash machine is piles of dust. What else is one to do but to bluntly and raucously kick against the pricks? While the requisite revisionist psych synth and wah licks the edges, there is something totemic about the rhythmic plod of the drums, most evident on ‘Othoni’ – it’s inexorable, simple in its relentlessness. There is nothing else to do but to march on the capital, put vexed voice to the feelings of anger and frustration, and burn it all to the ground, rebuilding it all with leather and sweat.

Grab both of these - and plenty of other killer Slovenly records - here.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Never Upset About Deerhoof Magic

Massive news! The inimitable Deerhoof are releasing a new album later this year called The Magic - and it's coming out on one of my favourite gig promoters-slash-lil label that could, Upset The Rhythm! The first track off it is this showstopper, 'Plastic Thrills'. This has made my day (as has the above photo of the band - bloody brilliant all round). You can pre-order The Magic from here in white vinyl and a covers tape (that includes a version of a Twisted Sister song!) - expect a massive London show to launch this bad boy in the summer!

Woolen Men

The purchases were relentless on RSD, weren’t they? Well I hope they were for you guys. I spent money I didn’t have, and didn’t get everything I wanted – to be honest, most of that existed exclusively in Australia, and even more localised to a lil guitar shop in Brisbane – but what’s a guy to do? Well for one he can buy Temporary Monument, the 2nd LP from Portland’s Woolen Men. They sound kinda like The Wipers doing Parquet Courts doing Husker Du, with a Ramones hangover and extra motorik on the side (see the fun as hell title track). The trio are pretty pissed off at the Portland hipster affluenza that has infiltrated their hometown – pricing people out, closing down musical institutions (a common occurrence – the venues were there first, you moved into a music centric area, what did you think you would hear at night, you entitled fucks?!) And apart from the opener ‘Clean Dreams’ (which is still nicely acerbic), the songs rip along with a lo-fi angularity, a buzz-box fury that at turns feels slanted and disenchanted... Temporary Monument is the band’s testament to this, but also to the complacency of those who are displaced but accept it – it’s time to bristle, to bear arms (in a figurative sense), to fight the smug fugue with white noise – or rough and ready hook laden basement rock, at any rate. The album is out through Woodsist, it’s pretty bloody great, and you can get it here.

Monday 18 April 2016

Adding Up The Statsmen Data

One of the most exciting bands going in Brisbane when I was "growing up" in my 20s was the stupid noise fury of Eat Laser Scumbag! Fast, furious, shouty, colour-coded - they were the ketamine Wiggles for the Ramones kids with ASD and middle ear infections. They tore everything apart, a cyclone of hypercolour decimation. The members of these bands went on to other endeavours (the slacker pop nous brilliance of Nova Scotia, the cartoon punk splurge of Undead Apes, the guttural pub punk of Eyes Ninety etceteraaaaaaaa).

But sometimes you gotta keep the dream alive.

Admittedly Champion Data, the throwaway album from 3/4 of ELS!, called here Statsmen, is decidedly different, more interested in Guided By Voices, Pedro The Lion and infinite other 90s guitar bands, taking the combustible energy of cassette-chewed lo-fi rock to all corners of the canvas (with some 8-bit Numan-highfiving-Devo magic on 'Candy', retrofuturist synth silliness on 'Indestructible Roger' and excellently warped motorik psycher 'Taken Over' thrown in to keep you on your toes). This may have been something to do to fill in time - but seriously, this is a great release that everyone should get into. I for one cannot get enough.

Saturday 16 April 2016

Mugging An Emotional Segall

This has been floating around for a while - and it's true, after my incessant writing about Ty Segall for a couple years, I have been detoxing over the past twelve months - but I bit the bullet and bought Emotional Mugger today. He cuts a more garage rawk trail than his even more prolific buddy John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees), much more likely to blow the speakers than take you into the hyper ether, but he is no less adventurous here. Each song seems to be its own entity, intent to max out the red on every speaker known to humanity, flirting with all of his predilections (glam rock, garage rock, stoner rock, 70s metal, 60s psych) while skewing it all so much to ensure each morsel leaves a tingling sensation to the mouth and an acidic itch in the back of the nose. You gotta hand it to the man, that even when songs seem less focused on pristine songs to stand the test of time, and to develop earworms likely to burrow into your head and eat you from the inside out. That white-noise synth a la Digital Leather; the guttural heaviness, laser effects and 60s pop vocal stylings of  'Diversion'; the cramped horror glam of 'Big Baby Man (I Want A Mommy) - it is all deliberately off the wall and diseased. It isn't really subversive though - Segall knows it's a joke and his self-awareness is passed on to us, we are to be in on the joke - but instead is a macabre noise trip with indelible hooks and a brooding closer in 'The Magazine' that I have incessantly played since stumbling across it - like if TV On The Radio listened to Disappears, then had a hallucinogenic breakdown. Emotional Mugger is a schizophrenic record, but with so many crazy ideas hitting the mark - how the fuck does he do it? Grab it through Drag City here. Ty Segall is bringing his Muggers to London in June, with Aussie synth punk miscreants Ausmuteants in tow - get tickets here, it will be all kinds of awesome.

One Unique Hoopsnake

It's Record Store Day, so I assume most of you are out and about taking in some excellent free music and picking up some bargains and rarities (and avoiding the represses and reissues that the bigwigs put out for no other reason but for financial cynicism, clogging up the narrow vinyl pressing waterways for smaller labels for the rest of the year). I managed to find a relatively cheap copy of Swervedriver's Raise at West Norwood's Book & Record Bar and a couple of other nice little things, and am heading to Greenwich to watch Tess Parks play. But my biggest purchase has been a new one that isn't RSD-exclusive, and which is already one of my favourite albums of the year - One Unique Signal's Hoopsnake. An oscillating demon of a double LP, Hoopsnake sees the droning maestros joined by 20 renowned psych musicians, including Demian Castellanos (The Oscillation) and Steven Lawrie (The Telescopes), who all created a piece of music inspired by a single riff, and are woven together into four immersive songs that swirl, coalesce and lurk, a menacing mantra coated in fuzz and distortion, an apocryphal sarcophagus of noise. It takes the metronome maximalist approach, holding down a singular idea, funnelling the focus down to blue-flame intensity, and allowing the fissures to explode/implode. My favourite track has been '03', starting and ending with bird chatter, but in between corralling an incrementally approaching squall, an electrical storm of pregnant intent that envelops and weighs down yet is nothing short of mesmeric, before suddenly dissipating; '04' an understated synth chamber extension, somewhere between John Carpenter and Mogwai's Les Revenants works. Utterly breathtaking.

You can get Hoopsnake in sexy white vinyl here - One Unique Signal are playing their new label Fuzz Club's May edition of the Under The Arches on the 7th, with The Entrance Band and The Oscillation - get tickets here.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Useless Fucking Heads Of Charm

A few changes in the Heads of Charm camp. Bassist Sam Whiting has made way for Alijoscha Felber; drummer Lachlan Ewbank has been putting in the hard yards as a touring member of DZ Deathrays. But they sound as brutal as ever on new track 'One Second', with David Gagliardi on scintillating and acerbic form, kicking against the pricks as he screams "useless fucking chitter chatter" and the guitar screeches beyond the red. There is a guttural roar that underpins 'One Second' that has been missing from their recorded form before now - so if this is anything to go by, their 2016 is going to decimate the pack.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Suuns Gamble On Brainwash

Here is a little reconstructed Suuns for you today. The Canadian band's new album Hold/Still is out, and the boys asked techno wunderkind Lee Gamble to play with 'Brainwash' - the result is a subdued subterranean drone wash.

Emma Russack & Friends In A New State

A couple years ago Emma Russack (Hot Palms, Lola Flash) put out a stellar solo album, You Changed Me. She has been a little quiet of late, studying and working and such, but she is ready to enter these sonic waters again with her sophomore record In A New State. 'My Own Friend' is the first cut from it, and immediately it's obvious that she has gone down a decidedly more guitar-centric route here, with a sonorous, crystalline, enveloping production. It also evokes a state of comfortable balance for Russack - that she truly has become her own friend, in more than one way. it's a quietly brooding yet ultimately buoyant song, which bodes well for the album when it comes out in June.

Monday 11 April 2016

Video Vacuum - Shonen Knife, Summer Flake, The Spook School, Cool Sounds

Bloody Hell! Another week, same as the bloody last. May as well waste some time looking at music videos I mean spreadsheets...

Let's all take a note out of Shonen Knife's book then. They have been powering on for 35 years now, look great, and show no sign of losing their mojo or slowing down. Their 19th album Adventure came out last week, it's great, as is this video for 'Jump Into The New World'. The matching clothes, the lead solo, the grins, the laughs - if only you were having this much fun. Which you aren't, and probably never will be. least this song is so infectious you can pretend, right? RIGHT?

Summer Flake continues to kick serious goals. New album Hello Friends is glorious, and really deserves to go gangbusters. Henry Rollins digs it, and you don't wanna fuck with that man. Now we have visuals for 'Wine Won't Wash Away', the most "rock" song on the album. The footage is passing of strange and wonderful signs or images of travelling across the wide land of USA - from wedding chapels of Las Vegas, to alien faces, to wandering ponies and a driveway that looks suspiciously like Walter White's, it manages to capture the innate beauty and incredulity one feels as they travel in an exciting, hitherto unknown land. I felt that rush as I watch this again and again - unhealthy, seeing as it's a looooong way until my holidays...

Another record I am a massive fan of is The Spook School's Try To Be Hopeful. Here, on their video for 'Speak When You're Spoken To', we open in a pet store run by comedian Josie Long, who is trying to guess what the customer wants without letting him say a word. And when he finally gets in what he wants - something a little more "alternative" - he walks out with The Spook School! Afterwards we get the requisite pet things - walking, fetching, hiding, taking photos, running away, getting put in the pound - with a twist in the tail (see what I did there? Awww). The band play with the excellent Paws (where have they been lately?) at London's Moth Club July 2 as part of a long UK tour - very excited about this one!

And then we have the sultry grooves of Cool Sounds...and this bloody weird video, where the members make out with strange inanimate objects. They all approach their love in different ways - Zac comes across as a Lothario with his rock, while Nick seems uber earnest in his affections for his toaster. Of course Snowy would get overly sexual with a hammer, though... 'In Blue Skies' marks the incoming 3rd LP Dance Moves. NOTE: is that a stapler in your pants, or are you just pleased to see the paperweight?

Now get back to work!

Sunday 10 April 2016

Lawrence Rothman ft Kim Gordon

Let's close out the evening (and my last evening away from my "day" job - I am filled with dread and despair) with this collaboration between LA artist Lawrence Rothman and rock goddess Kim Gordon. Well actually it's a much bigger collaboration than that - although Gordon's iconic vocals provides untold strength and hubris, there is the magnificent Angel Olsen with additonal backing vocals, and a backing band that includes Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeah's), M83's Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Warpaint's Stella Mogzawa, and Active Child. It's operatic and ostentatious, but at this time of night it's pretty magical too. Good night, kids.

Hits From The Box #128 - Nottingham Or Bust

Spending the weekend in Nottingham, so have written this in advance. So regardless of whether I have a good or bad time, I have these bands to take solace/rejoice in (I've put 8 through here, because I'll probably need the company on the train back, broken and ruing the start to another drudge of a week tomorrow).

First up let's listen to some Prism Tats. The voice of South African via LA garage hound Garett van der Spek, Prism Tats has crafted a debut album that is jam-packed full of rollicking, clattering psych’n’roll. He embodies the outsider assimilating the only way he knows how – through the sparse poignancy of 'Death Or Fame', the roiling roll of 'Pacifist Masochist', the garage blues blast of 'Weird Guilt' and the manic heave of 'Creep Out Freak Out'. Swinging from the White Stripes to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, there is space for soul too on the likes of instrumental 'Make The Most Of The Weekend' and the emotive 'Midnight Mountain.'

Don't expect to be able to pin down Red Mass - the Montreal collective is a nebulous creative concern, anchored by the nucleus of Roy "Choyce" Vucino (himself connected to SM faves PyPy). EP Rouge N.2 is a 12" feral Francophone freak blast. Particular excellent is the Gallic sneer on 'Noir de Blanc', the gritty bowel growl amid urban clatter and decay of 'Confession d'un Chacal', and the destructive white heat of 'Infidele'. Red Mass is a masticated punk beast, therefore not to be messed with.

A nice throughline here! From Red Mass we head to Mass Lines who hail from England, and in their EP Personality Cult they have served up a heady dose of in-your-face punk. Like Pissed Jeans? Try 'Charm Offensive'. Miss Eddy Current Suppression Ring? Give 'Box' a whirl. Love your Hives a little bloodied and roughed up by Every Time I Die? Try 'Lapsed Catholics'. It's a muscular firebomb of an EP, this one - quite impressed.

Now to Auckland and The Raw Nerves. The four-piece released an album last year called More Nerves, and it has only come out on vinyl last month. They revel in Dirtbombs-era garage rock, rough and ready rock that is blown out, tongue-in-cheek, blues-ridden and coated in sawdust and spit. Then they can craft a rollicking country jam like 'Oh Girl'. Yep, they are a talented bunch of mad reprobates. You can listen to and grab the album here - listen to 'Oh Girl' below.

The Burning Roaches are a dirty grungy Melbourne 3-piece who seem to straddle the 90s scuzz aesthetic with its 21st century incarnation, most notably Violent Soho. It isn't full grunge though - the guitar on 'Feeling Real Good' refuses to go full distortion, which lends a weird sense of intimacy to the proceedings that makes the song go a lot further than you think it should. The drumming on 'My Only Prize' shows some rough ingenuity; 'Bad Things' take Black Keys and holds them over the hot coals. 'Shivering On Fire' is the track that shows the band are still finding their way - it's out of sorts, a little all over the place, unpredictable with flickering echoes of TV On The Radio with the melody, and therefore much more interesting as a result. You can see The Burning Roaches coalescing into something that unites all four of these songs into a cohesive, mighty whole

Back to Montreal. I had written a singular post about Solids but forgot to post it (that is fairly common around here) and seeing as I have been thrashing Else this past fortnight (and can guarantee I will be listening to this as I wander around Nottingham) it might be worth slipping in here. The duo (although I am led to believe they have expanded to a trio) have clearly benefited from playing 200+ shows since their 2014 debut Blame Confusion - the tracks here are bruising, whether they are arcing a propane torch to the face ('Blank Stare') or inexorably powering through the pain barrier, over the horizon and out of sight ('Wait It Out'). They have supported Pup, Nothing and Pity Sex in the past 18 months. They are ready to usurp these and take centre stage. Which they are - they are relentless touring over the next few months, playing alongside ex-Ovlov Stove and Metz, and play in London at The Old Blue Last with Birdskulls on 6th of June. Fuck yes!

Totally are a pretty brand spanking new band in London, featuring Susan Milanovic (Feathers, Pete Astor band) on drums. They played a show at The Victoria on Saturday with Dignan Porch and released a demo CD, which the below two tracks are on. There are some wonderful melancholic melodies here, especially on 'Moonlit Memory', while the songs have a peculiar reined in quality to them, like they are deliberately holding themselves back, not showing their hand too early, that is also enticing. They are playing their next show in May - best keep an eye out.

And finally we have Journalism, a Brooklyn four-piece who have just released new album Faces. The album sets out to document the difficulties and grind of playing in a band vying for gigs and recognition in one of the most musically overpopulated regions in the world, tied to songs that rip, roar and Krautrock their way through the ether.  When frontman Kegan Zema sings "Playing rock'n'roll, no one hears the words" you feel the anguish and frustrations, but also the necessity of plugging along anyway. And Faces is a pretty good indicator that they won't be "plugging away" for long.

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Saturday 9 April 2016

Lucky Dip #3 - oMMM's Parallel Lines Converge

Now for the third instalment of Lucky Dip, I head to the bargain bin at Flashback Records in Islington back in February. I had just finished a day-long work seminar, and was waiting to head to the Mucky Pup for some beers with good mate Lehmann, in town from Melbourne on a Euro jaunt (as you do). I (some may say stupidly) decided to kill time in Flashback, knowing that a) I had very little funds, and b) can never go into a record store without losing my shit. So I came out with four records - The Living Eyes' Livin' Large, Deaf Wish's St Vincent 7", Wet Blankets, and this. It is different in a few ways from the first two Lucky Dip recipients - firstly the artwork was the singular reason I picked this up (oh, and the five pound pricing), a huge full moon in a star-drenched night sky over a metropolis - with a pink-hued caterpillar slinking among the buildings; secondly I couldn't work out if the band or the album was called oMMM. As it turns out, it's the artist, otherwise known as Edmund Davie. The guy at Flashback pointed out that it was an Alien Jams release though - Chloe Freida's label of the same name as her excellent NTS radio show - so I felt I was in safe hands.

When I first put it on, I thought I might have broken the needle. The first song 'Eyes' - the album title Parallel Lines Converge I later found out - scratches out with a lot of loud hiss. Which of course is the point, even more evident on 'Continuum', which could be the sonic rumble of stratospheric digital interactions, deep space robotic immersion. oMMM holds down this sepulchral noise through cassette manipulation, the experiment pierced and augmented by synth licks and blasts, Casio tone and drum machine stutters. The continual tape hiss gives each track a heightened sense of shortwave travel, being received as a long-dead transmission; I can't help but envision Dark Star, the darker elements of 2001, even Alien with this sonic missives, albeit recorded to scratchy, ropey VHS and beamed through a flickering chunky black box - a internal psychological picking at the thread of madness within an external intergalactic vacuum. There are elements of motorik repetition on tracks like 'Prism of Anarchy' too though that offers a sense of groove to these base sounds - even when losing your synthetic mind, you can do it with a decent rhythm...

Parallel Lines Converge is in some ways a tough listen; I found myself gritting my teeth on more than one occasion. But that wasn't because I was hating it - I would have taken it off the turntable if that was the case. It's more that it is at times quite unnerving - a pervasive sense of alienation, of cryogenic displacement. Very interesting, well worth a listen.

Double Trouble (In Mind)

I got sent a couple of Trouble In Mind records last month and I really dig em, so here is a quick write about em.

Doug Tuttle's It Calls On Me is a rush of 60s/70s pastoral psychedelic pop that shows the artist solidifying his solo stylings. The ex-MMOSSman has lost some of the introspection that permeated his eponymous debut, instead replacing it with more rustic sunburned psych underpinnings. There aren't any psych drone jams though - this isn't a throwback to old times - but there is a greater degree of comfortability in Tuttle's musicianship and lyricism that indicates he has settled into the groove of working on his own. I personally like the pastoral rock intimations of 'Make Good Time', the Kinks-in-space-on-hallucinogens of 'Painted Eye', and the more rooted rock of the title track. But I absolutely love the languid 'Saturday/Sunday' - this song is now a staple jam on the weekend mornings.

And then there is Chuck Johnson. The Oakland guitarist has brought out another album in Velvet Arc, effectively a solo record but with a band in tow, and it is much more dark and muscular as a result, reminiscent of his band Idyll Swords. 'As I Stand Counting' is the perfect opening, a desert-and-dust smoker, a ragged psych shuffle that sees Johnson lead then be consumed by the rumbling rhythm section. I didn't really need anything more after this. But of course the rest is just as good if not better - 'Everything At Once' a beautiful waltz, the rustic charm of the slide guitar towards the end a wonderful touch; 'Anamet' is even more of a surprise, a slow meditation with cello and a synth-driven outro that drifts along the backwater slipstreams. The title track that opens side B sees Johnson's recent fingerpicking journeys come to the fore once more, and shows a countrified swagger enter his step. Although I enjoyed these four songs, they don't quite marry up to the first three, so disoriented me a little bit - I felt like I was listening to two separate EPs, rather than a fluid album. Nevertheless, Johnson is a master craftsman, and Velvet Arc is a master's work.

You can pick up both albums here - both very worthwhile.

Friday 8 April 2016

A Drop Of Phobophobes Adds Flavour

Brixton animals Phobophobes brought out a 7" recently in the form of No Flavour. The cover art - a mouldy, contaminated Petri dish - say it all, really - they are a mouldy, contaminated garage punk beast. That gnarled organ plays into the horror punk of early Horrors and a more curmudgeonly Cramps, and the plodding nature of the track is relentless in how it wallows in its own scum. In other words, bottoms up, and I'll get the next shout in. They launched it in Peckham a couple weeks ago - expect to see even more of them over the coming months.

Friday Cover Up - A Pale Golden Beatle

I knew that when Brisbane artists Pale Earth and Golden Bats spoke about covering some Beatles songs for a split release, almost three years ago, that something special was building - if they could just get their shit together. And they have - finally - and we should all thank our lucky stars that we have By George in our midst. Pale Earth take the Mono riff vibe to his ambient permutations and smothers it in industrial clamour when attacking 'Blue Jay Way'; while Golden Bats' rendition of 'Long, Long, Long' is orchestral, funereal, and borderline between earnest and hilarious. This has made my month.

Loving Tralala Blip Over The Oceans

Finishing off a week of Tenth Court releases is this percolating beauty from Tralala Blip, the EP Oceans Of Love. The story behind the band might be interesting enough - former Massappeal vocalist Randolf Reimann forming it as a platform and workshop for people with physical and mental disabilities - but the strength of creativity that has flowed out of the end result surely exceeds these, and indeed Reimann's, expectations. They opened this year's Unsound festival in Adelaide, an incredible feat. And Oceans Of Love highlights this - a freeform, free-flowing electronic slipstream that undulates and coalesces in its own energetic, energising way, unable to pinpoint where the journey will take you, but when you get there it all seems so obvious. There are Brisbane antecedents to a degree - the burbling kosmiche of 'To The Moon', for example, isn't far removed from Primitive Motion. There are more insidious loops and tendencies, like the acid reverb haunt of closer 'As The Waves Splash On.'

Thursday 7 April 2016

Video Vacuum - The Body, Velcro Hooks, Giggly Boys, Noveller

I'm struggling. I've been putting off super important work for the past two weeks - and now I am neck deep in it. So while I should continue to knuckle down and just get the job done,

Need your mind scoured? You could always do worse than to embrace The Body. 'The Fall and the Guilt' is one of those noise wormholes that would be considered a pop noir ballad in a different universe - and the film clip, of a couple caressing and kissing each other, complements this idea...except for the constant ambient noise humming underneath, the dip into existential terror at the flip of a pedal, the white static flickering underneath, a constant reminder that this is no erotic high, but a psychological haunt.

Let's stay off-kilter and aggressive. Bristol bastards Velcro Hooks have crafted this video for 'Chinchilla Woman' as they prepare to build their debut LP from the blocks up. The film clip sees two of the band sitting in the street, before sauntering off to knock on a door and take a verbal spray from the woman who answers it. They then saunter off down the street, the scurrilous cheeks. And that's it.

Giggly Boys are rough and ready to explode on 'Darker Shade of Pale', a film clip that shows the band in a container, strobe lights and ultraviolets highlighting a heroin addict's idea of a nightmare gig. It also highlights how bracingly visceral and explosive these guys are - and how everyone needs to be launching themselves into their depraved camp.

With all the angst, let's cool down a bit. Noveller has had two of her earlier albums, Glacial Glow and No Dreams, reissued, and she has released a video for a track from the former.  The neon-lit paint shifting and squirming over people as they walk through a forest, the trees and water lighting up as they come into contact, is the perfect accompaniment to these celestial guitar tapestries.

Now get back to work!

Sydney2000 Every Year

Third chat about a Tenth Court release is __ from Sydney2000. The trio features members of Cannon and Die On Planes, and they carve out some fairly unhinged power-rock that is nevertheless undercut with dirty shambolism and yet a degree of shambolic sunshine. These six songs are played on a razor-wire tightrope that hovers above the fields of  raw ability and devil-may-care flippancy, so songs like 'Sunshine State' and 'Light Left' are imbued with a sunny, guitar pop ebullience, while others like 'Bean Said' and 'Miriam' are more dirty, dank swamp rockers, still all with a loose-jawed slacker insouciance. It's pretty great from a band that does not get half enough credit in their or any town. If it were me, it would be Sydney2000 every year.

Tenzenmen = Global Noise

I've been sitting on some of these international noise rock releases for a while, all of them distributed by Tenzenmen Records - and seeing some are on the verge of selling out, I thought I would help tip them over the edge.

First up we have Italian duo Astolfo Sulla Luna (Astolfo On The Moon) and their album Ψ² (which doesn't stand for candelabra squared). They are a experimental noise outfit that look to explore strange time signatures with lyrical, existential lyrics, albeit ones that at times sound torn from their souls. The songs follow an improv jazz aesthetic, but there is a febrile, muscular undercurrent that infuses everything with a degree of gleeful menace. Cerebral and chaotic.

Next up we have Sports from German trio Buzz Rodeo. This is more angular, guitar dominated noise rock, upholding the muscularity and howls of The Jesus Lizard, Pissed Jeans and Shellac. They are heavily influenced by the Touch & Go/Dischord nihilistic rock, even getting their Fugazi out for closer 'Pretty Lousy Bastard'. It's a killer record - let's get these guys over to London for a show soon, yeah?

I have written about Russian spastic rockers USSSY in the past; now they are back with a self-titled retrospective of all they have put to tape over the past few years. They have carved their own niche in that they have studied and implemented Eastern musical styles and instruments into the maelstrom, which makes for intriguing yet no less bludgeoning listening. This little compilation also helps to show the throughline of this evolution. An amazing band that you should explore immediately.

Finally there is this math-rock band from the Ukraine called Gravitsapa. Their album Radio Free Vulgata is as sparked, spiked and abrasive as you might expect. There are moments of melody, but for me at least I find these elements the least convincing - I usually go for the loud/quiet dynamic when employed effectively, but here it's a little insipid, especially when the bulk musicianship here is a brazen livewire of a connection. Bizarrely they are more inspired by film makers than musicians, citing Jodorowsky, Lynch, Sokurov and the great Bela Tarr amongst their idols. Favourite track: 'Its Unicron. The First Initiation' and 'Ghola Tleilaxu'.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

What's At The End Of The Cosmic Dead?

It was late last year that a friend of mine in the States claimed to already know what 2016's best album would be. He had caught a whiff of Rainbowhead, the new album from Glaswegians The Cosmic Dead, and guaranteed that it would "melt my face into my asshole". Fair enough. I was a big fan of Easterfaust, and their recent splits with SM faves both old (Mugstar) and new (Girl Sweat) were spectacular also. Yet it's taken me til now to get into it - and wow. The fact that these four pieces are heavily improvised is not a surprise - the band has been doing their thing for over a decade now. The fact that these recordings were committed in a remote cottage in the Scottish Highlands also doesn't come as a surprise - The Cosmic Dead are notorious for their forceful melding of time and space with their incendiary, hypnotic performances, therefore being sequestered in some of the oldest environments in the world only helps to augment their aesthetic. What is surprising is how pleased you are when the first thundering hits of 'Human Sausage' bludgeon their way out of the speakers and everything sounds as they should be. Everything is present and accounted for - riffs that are as mountainous as they are monotonous, a colossal metronome; elemental synth that offers to be both retroactive and far-seeing; a rhythm section intent on marching for infinity into the abyss. 'Skye Burial' gives the requisite respite, some breathing space, before 'Inner C' roughs things up even further. But it's the B-side title track that truly astounds. That scritching metronome slide permeates the song, while basslines squirm, drums chatter and thump, other guitars come in and out with cantankerous, calamitous jagged edges, sometimes dissolving, only to resurrect in an altogether more brutal fashion. This is psych rock at its most base, blasted, bastardized - and brilliant.

Pick up Rainbowhead from Blackest Rainbow here. It's been selling like gangbusters on Norman Records, so expect this one to disappear in short order.

World Wars Are Trash

World War 4 is back! That is, Sam from Cobwebbs and Police Force infamy. The hip-hop beats that he does in his spare time float out in the ether without much recognition - and this needs to change. These blasted compositions HDD warped stabs into the unknown, finding abrasion in the ambiance, finding space amongst the rubble, finding static in the dead air, yet always with a lack of sincerity or alacrity. The whole album is throwaway yet hypnotic, a narcotic wormhole, and WW4 dares you to care, the track list from start to finish is 'Bad', 'Worse', 'urgh', 'Who Cares', 'Awful', 'Horrible', 'Trash', 'Turn This Off', 'This Sucks', 'I Hate This', 'No Good', 'Why Are You Listening?', 'Whatever' and 'I Don't Give A Fuck'. Maybe you should.

Get A Nice Dose Of Deadshred

In what is unofficially becoming Tenth Court week here, here is another Tenth Court release that needs your attention. I have spoken about Deadshred in the past, having them support Roku Music when they launched Collider a couple years ago and their Thousand Yard Staring Competition EP from late 2014. Now they have another EP out called Nice Epidemic. It kicks off with a broken scrawl in '1600', complete with piercing mournful harmonica - it's like early career The Men covering latter career The Men, deliberately badly. The brokenness of this playing style is the point - giving everything a sense of drastic desperation. 'Capsicum Prey' sounds as if INXS were on Siltbreeze; 'XXXOX' is given a playful guitar roll that belies the shattered glass vocals; 'Squat On Wood' is Hank Wood lost in the outback, Rowland S Howard scratching the strings with a nail in a fence post, the bass and drums drunkenly simplistic. 'Odious Dose' does indeed harbour sinister tendencies, a narcotic-riddled stagger throughout the darkened gin and heroin den. 'Can You Taste It?' This acrid twisted metal? Of course I fucking can. Deliciously diseased - you can get Nice Epidemic here.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Wading Through (Un)people

Brisbane's resident arseholes Unpeople have just released this absolutely nuts song, 'Wading Through Cops' Blood', from an upcoming LP that will be coming out through Space Ritual later in the year. Everything about this band is brutal and stupid, which is what makes them brilliant. The sound of the guitar being bastardised, the aggressive falling-over-each-other-to-attack guitar assault, and Sean Campion's snarling, gurning vocals. It's sounds like Pissed Jeans fighting Clockcleaner in Superjail! And look at that brilliant artwork! Cannot bloody wait for this.

No Indignation In The Age Of September

Dublin's Gothic rockers September Girls have come back stronger than ever on new album Age of Indignation. Following in the darker, louder footsteps paved by their Veneer EP of last year, the ten tracks here are not only brimming with confidence but with bristling energy and intent. The opener 'Ghost' is a six minute powerful dirge, elevated in the final third as guitars build on each other and coalesce, a menacing caterwaul. The organ is prevalent here as it is throughout the album, haunting and instilled with lurking insistence, a choral clarion call to the Underworld. The bass growls on 'Jaw On The Floor', underpinning the disdain and sneers, kicking against the literal pricks, adamant that no one will "keep us down/And falling". The lyrics step up further, moving from feminist screeds to a funereal diatribes against religion and church ('Catholic Guilt' and its oscillating chapel organ is the obvious example here, with lines such as "You say this is for our own protection" and "You put us in this vessel/Built from our own fears" a clear swipe at systemic lies, cover ups and abuse). Vocally, again the harmonies are top-rate, and it is interesting to see the girls still alternating lead but tonally assimilating into an overall "September Girls sound". It screams of clarity and cohesion - the quintet are laser-focused here, cutting through the dark to incisively stamp their presence on the world. Their Gothic post-punk take on garage rock has evolved into something more definitive, and done with power and conviction. Age of Indignation can be bought through Fortuna Pop here. The girls hit out in May, playing Islington O2 on the 19th.

Giving The Company Fool A Thigh Master

I was meaning to post this on Friday. Thigh Master, the "flagship" band from excellent Brisbane label Tenth Court, released the "single" 'Company' in preparation of their album launching in September. So you can imagine how stoked I was. Then I listened to it - and I am 1000% more excited. Even if this song is unlikely to be the real deal, what with its 45rpm @ 33rpm pacing and the last five seconds a skipping lyric, this is precisely why it should be on the album. They have always been able to take scrappy garage punk elements and fuck with them to their own delirious measures, so putting out a narcoleptic slow jam that echoes the vapours of a corporate yacht rock staple from rural AM radio is a brilliant move. Plus, I moved into double figures the amount of times I have listened to 'Company'. Who's the fool now, huh?

Monday 4 April 2016

Mermaidens In The Undergrowth

Another New Zealand band to finish off the day is Mermaidens, a Wellington trio whose debut album Undergrowth is a dark psych delight. I have heard a few people refer to them as being like Warpaint (and a track like 'Haz Song' does follow a similar trajectory). Now I can see certain familiarities throughout this album, but this seems to come from the atmosphere generated by the music with breathy female vocals piercing the mist. Undergrowth shows something more - a band who aren't afraid to get dirty. The guitar growl that punctuates 'Seed', or the overt Black Angels psych-blues groove of excellent opener 'Under The Mountain II'. The songs all evoke garish otherworldly images of nature, the percolating, fermenting growth of organisms in their myriad organic forms, yet the muscularity of the bass and the metronome surety of the drums manages to keep things more on the sinister side. The mood is built on and maintained throughout, so that by the time the ambitious 'Splinter' arrives, the band at its most sonorous even as they fade out in disintegration, you are not only fully invested in Undergrowth, you have become a part of it. Mermaidens launch the album this Friday alongside Kane Strang (more on him shortly) in Auckland; you can pick up Undergrowth here.

Video Vacuum - King Gizzard, Green Buzzard, October Drift, Chesta Hedron, Decorum

Who has a Monday death march hangover? Hopefully these tracks can help you get through the pain...

Multi-limbed garage nuts King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have yet another record out in the form of Nonagon Infinity - and goddamn if it doesn't sound like it'll kick all kinds of goals. 'Gamma Knife' is a great song in and of itself - possibly my favourite Gizzard single! - and this circular amphitheatre pagan occultist 70s metal throwback imagery and madness is brilliant. Gamma.

Now onto Sydney band Green Buzzard. They piqued a lot of people's interest when they were signed to I Oh You (Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays) before having even played a show. They are taking a Strokes swipe at throwback guitar pop that is glossed enough to really get under the skin, but with much more irreverence. The film clip sees the five-piece dressed in white, talking on landline Telecom keypad phones, wearing aviators and exaggerating their best crooning faces. They released their debut EP Eazy Queezy Squeezy on Friday - should be a good'un - and have announced they are touring Australia supporting DMA's. 2016 looks like a big one for these boys.

This song got a hell of a lot of airplay last week on Planet Masala. Somerset rockers October Drift have burst forth with a killer building track on 'Losing My Touch' - the shoegaze drop around the 2:45 minute mark may be done in hundreds of songs, but goddamn if it doesn't help to push things to another level here - and an excellent film clip to go along with it. Old guys filling in for the band, in between drinking Irn Bru and eating dirt chicken with the rest of us. A seriously good song, this one.

Back to Australia now - specifically Byron Bay - and another new band in instrumental psych warriors Chesta Hedron. They have some pedigree - one of the band used to play in Berlin-based dudes Strange Forces - so it shouldn't come as any surprise that 'Hash Monster' is a surf-rock surge, a stoner rock dirge, a psych rock purge... The film clip is shot in a landscape that looks otherworldly, desolate and barren, as a four-faced acolyte dances, drags and divines, a tantric groove within and without.  Then the animation and the ball of light hits, and things get deliciously stranger...Looking forward to seeing where these guys roll out to - they just supported Richard In Your Mind, so I'm expecting a lot to happen there.

And let's finish off with the post-punk stutter and menace of Brooklyn band Decorum. The film clip for 'High Order' is simple yet effective - black and white footage of a hooded figure being chased, at night, with torchlight following her every move. All from your point of view too - it is the viewer who does the majority of the chasing here. The two bass attack heightens the shadows, the heart murmur, the livewire tension.

Now get back to work!