Recent Posts

LISTEN: Ptwiggs – Purge

, , No Comment

ptwiggs

Sydney producer, Ptwiggs’ Debut EP, Purge, released via exciting new Sydney imprint Deep Seeded Records, is a white-knuckle ride through fierce sonic territory. A neon-lit dystopia where skulking, ambient synth pads are juxtaposed by a relentless rhythmic assault. Where woozy melodies and sampled Japanese vocal snippets collide in nightmarish distress, and it’s all you can do just to hold on.

Twigg’s maximalist approach shares common ground with a new breed of uncompromising bass music experimentalists like WWWINGS, Amnesia Scanner, and fellow Sydney-sider Grasps_ (with whom Ptwiggs and WA?STE recently collaborated on the track ‘Praying Waiting’). The music seems like a response to a sensory overloaded society on a seemingly inexorable march to tipping point.

The EP follows a string of equally impressive singles, ‘Cry for Ikari’, ‘Hypno Game’, and ‘Clarity’, each one adding another layer to the determined aesthetic vision which now reveals itself fully with the arrival of Purge.

These are futuristic dancefloor productions with little regard for the actual dancefloor. Refreshing, ambitious music that bullies you into the passenger seat and locks the door from the outside.

Purge is available digitally and on vinyl via Deep Seeded Records here.

 

Bandcamp / Soundcloud / Facebook

LISTEN: Raven – The night is dark, the night is silent, the night is bright, the night is loud

, , No Comment

raven

Renowned Sydney cellist, Peter Hollo, has built a solid discography over the years. Aside from his work as a member of FourPlay String Quartet and Tangents, he has become somewhat of a go-to player for recording artists when strings are required. This has seen him play and record alongside a countless list of both local and international artists including Oren Ambarchi, Seekae, Holly Throsby, Lisa Gerard, Philippe Petit and many more.

His solo work and collaborations have been consistent over the years; however actual releases have been more sporadic to the point where his latest full-length, the night is dark, the night is silent, the night is bright, the night is loud, feels like his first fully realised album.

Under his Raven guise Peter’s layered cello creations draw from far-reaching influences including neo-classical, ambient, post-rock and various forms of electronic music. At times his playing is intimate and personal, at other times expansive and dramatic. His chops as a cello player will come as no surprise for those familiar with his work, but what is unexpected are the sparse, ambient pieces, peppered with delicate piano and electronic flourishes. These explorations showcase the breadth of Peter’s influence and abilities as a musician.

The epic ‘descent’, is a perfect example, beginning with sprinklings of piano set against scrappy percussive clatter and eerie pads, before a sinister synth growl threatens to swallow the piece entirely. After the turbulence subsides the growl still looms in the periphery. A territorial predator preserving its turf.

I feel it would be almost cliché to call the album cinematic as this word is overused and tends towards the grandiose, however there is an undeniable film score quality to many of the pieces. The clever, understated arrangements evoke imagery perfectly suited to the moving screen, from the anxiety-fuelled horror of ‘infestation’, to the ramshackle convoy of ‘copra’.

The night is dark… is an adventure which invites you to saddle up with it. It’s music to accompany your next expedition, be it across the globe, or across the street.

Peter is playing shows in support of the new album. You can catch him in Sydney this Thursday at Venue 505, then onto Canberra on October 21st at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Bandcamp / Website / Soundcloud

HOT TAKE: Alex Cameron’s ‘Forced Witness’ is good

, , No Comment

Alex Cameron

Junkee is a media company that exists to get clicks, sometimes they post good stuff sometimes they post shit, it’s whatever. But that article about Alex Cameron, Kirin J Callinan and Client Liason being apologist for toxic masculinity kind of seems indicative of the media’s obsession with slowly stamping out of nuance in all kinds of art.

It seems purposely obtuse for anyone to say that by representing a bad man Cameron is benefiting Australia’s problem with toxic masculinity. Firstly, from the very start it’s clear his character doesn’t have power, he’s a loser. He’s a pathetic, creepy guy, and that we can know that and still want to listen to a whole record about him is testament to Cameron’s song writing. But there’s also no Australian references at all really – from Cameron’s upward and outward trajectory you’d guess this was targeted at his new American audience – he’s lived in the states for years.

There’s no leaving your kids in the car at the RSL here, it’s all motels and superclubs and getting shat on by eagles. If you follow Cameron or his sax player Roy Molloy on facebook or twitter, yeah sure there’s plenty of Aussie as stuff, but from the record alone there’s no reason to think the character is Australian. He’s a faded vegas grifter, the kind of guy who buys nunchucks, watery eyes, too rough handshake. We’ve seen it in movies, always the character who gets killed off in a funny way. It always feel like we’re laughing at that kind of guy with Cameron, his lame faded party fantasies in ‘Hacienda’, the Vaseline-lensed portraits of twisted sheets and fucking raw. It’s like porn, funny and gross and you feel guilty for liking it but almost everyone does.

But, for sure, I won’t tell gay people how to feel about the F word. If someone hears ‘Marlon Brando’ and it makes them feel degraded, regardless of context, that fucking sucks and Cameron should have found some other way to make the character seem even viler then he already is.

I guess the main confusion in that article was that the writer obviously likes at least some of these bands, some of these songs. They call them ‘clever’, ‘well-intentioned’, even ‘jaw-dropping’. They’re constantly second guessing themselves through the whole thing. Maybe they feel weird about liking songs where a guy sings about waiting to fuck his 17 year old girlfriend until her 18th birthday. But that’s what it’s like sometimes, the world’s fucked, got a lot of fucked people in it, and sometimes artists wanna represent those characters and also make really, really good pop songs.

Cuz Forced Witness sounds slick and sexy and cool – and cheesy and bombastic and cringey, it’s all part of the world Cameron invites us into. When you rub off a bit of the grease, ‘In my dreams I miss you / and I wake up to reality’s bliss’, is a fucking romantic line. His gift is one that allows you to dance along to ‘The Chihuahua’ even if it reminds you a bit of your ex who used to always try and touch your vagina in public, and even laugh at that guy while you do it. ‘The Chihuahua’ is full of great lines ‘Chasing pussy online cuz the dog’s feeling fine and he needs it’ – hilarious, ‘love’s a diabetic sweetness, love’s a fistful of bronze jewelry’ – great stuff. There’s also that kinda dance hall feel, the fizz and swing of brass and percussion that makes this song sound light as air while the lyrics stay mucky. It’s a bummer that people think they’re not allowed to enjoy such a fun song cuz the dude says ‘pussy’ a lot in it.

Of course people like Cameron and Callinan and all the dudes in Client Liason have benefited from white male privilege. Every white man has. To put limits on the way they can comment on this privilege seems backwards and pointless. I have benefited from straight white female privilege. You’ve probably got some privilege that you benefit from. From that point we start out, then we decide what to do from there. And what Cameron’s done is a lot better than pretending to be the sad guy who never gets the girl cuz she only chases sleazebags (the kind of cliché that ‘Marlon Brando’ so perfectly skewers), or a right-on warrior for equality getting limbered up for all the dick sucking he’s about to receive.

It’s cool that somewhere with money is publishing long form music journalism with a point. But if you think about it for more than one second, there’s a lot more going on in Forced Witness than fits into this article’s opinion of what art is allowed to say. And boy, it’s GOOD.

LISTEN: Rolling Mass – exclusive mix

, , No Comment

Rolling Mass

Electronic duo, Rolling Mass, is a collaboration between Melbourne artists, Carolyn Schofield and Max Kohane. On paper their respective work appears to have few points of intersection musically, Schofield with her sprawling ambient synth explorations as Fia Fell, and Kohane with his exhaustive discography taking in grindcore, modern composition, sample-based beat music and beyond. Their debut EP, Prime Unity, doesn’t favour either camp but instead uses elements from each artists’ sound to explore something new altogether. The result is an intriguing mix of techno and free-form electronica where bubbling samples meld with pulsating synth in an evolving sound world that is both nostalgic and futuristic.

The video for the title track, created by Errol Green (Exotic Snake, Yolke), perfectly captures this world using feedback generated through a 90’s video mixer.

Despite only containing 3 tracks the EP feels expansive, each piece stretching out beyond its own orbit. Prime Unity will no doubt appeal to fans of Schofield and Kohane’s individual work, and should also pick up some new fans ready to take this unique voyage. The EP is available on vinyl and digitally via Brain Dead Records here.

To celebrate the release of their EP the duo have compiled an exclusive mix for whothehell. Featuring tracks from heavy weights like Carter Tutti Void and Jan Jelinek alongside more obscure artists such as Tourist Kid and Body of Adonis, the mix provides great insight into some of the music they enjoy and the music they create.

Tracklist:

Heldon – Moebius
Danny Wolfers – Fantasy Or Dream I’ll Take Anything
Suzanne Ciani – Concert At WBAI Free Music Store
Convextion – Distant Transmission
Beatrice Dillon – Poisson
Carter Tutti Void – V 3
Helm – Olympic Mess (N1L Remix)
Helm – Olympic Mess
N1L – Jaget Och Maskerna
Sleezy D. – Trust Track
Suzanne Ciani – Concert At Phil Niblock’s Loft
Home Listening – mixmixmix (excerpt)
Body of Adonis – Gossip/Grooming
Phuture – Acid Tracks
Jan Jelinek – Do Dekor
Tourist Kid – Under Armour Suite
Lukid – Riquelme
Panasonic – Vaihe (Fön)
Giuseppe Ielasi & Andrew Pekler – Yallingup
(N1L – Jaget Och Maskerna)
Helm – Olympic Mess (N1L Remix)

 

Bandcamp / Facebook / Soundcloud

LABEL PROFILE: Moontown Records

, , No Comment

moontown

Founded by multi-disciplinary artist and musician Danny Wild in 2012, Moontown Records has become the home for a plethora of boundary-pushing artists with little regard for specific music scenes or communities. And while the origins of the label were humble to say the least, the far-reaching roster now counts artists such as 100%, Thhomas, Lalić and School Damage, among many others in its fold.

On why he decided to start the label Danny says there was no real plan or ambitions, but instead was a platform for him to introduce people to the music of outsider artist, Turtlenecjk, whose prolific output is a story in itself. The label organically perpetuated from there as a number of Danny’s friends were making music, which to him was “engaged, fresh and inspiring”.

YouTube Preview Image

On the artist selection process Danny notes “there is no formula, it might be a friend sending a demo, an anonymous email, or me obsessing over someone/something I have chanced upon. I really don’t think it’s ever been the same over the 50 odd releases I have done so far. I generally steer away from any demos sent to me from a third party, whether it be an agent or manager.” He finds that the style or genre of an artist’s music is less important than their approach, choosing to work with people who are “passionate and dedicated, but not serious”.

The label has always had a strong emphasis on physical formats, mainly cassettes but more recently vinyl. When asked about this approach Danny explains it stemmed from his own fascination with collecting, starting with “skate VHS tapes then into zines, cassettes and records”. Aside from that he also prefers the texture and sound of these medium and that he “never really saw a digital release as ‘real’”. His thoughts on this are however changing with the current state of “hyper consumption and waste”. As any music fan still drawn to the tactile beauty of a physical release will attest, there is something gratifying and ultimately more rewarding about a tangible object. A feeling which only affects a certain type of person. And as the way in which people consume music continues to evolve, Danny’s view is somewhat romantic reflecting “I am a nostalgic person…Musicians agonise over their music and by the time it comes to release day it might be a year or more old, people then consume it in a flash and are done with it. At least with physical media it exists in the world, a chance encounter could happen at a record store or elsewhere – and that is exciting to me. Mystery is exciting!”

With 2 releases already under his belt for 2017 – a 12” by Brisbane post-punk trio, Bent, and a tape of electronic and ambient experiments from Perth’s Leafy Suburbs – Danny is planning on 2 more 12” releases before the end of the year. He doesn’t want to give too much away on the releases but says its “very exciting and influential music”.

So stay tuned for more intriguing music from this great label and in the meantime navigate your way through the wealth of amazing material in the existing catalogue.

Website / Facebook / Soundcloud

LISTEN: Mere Women – Big Skies LP

, , No Comment

mere women

If there was any justice in the world Mere Women would be like, as huge as Smith Street Band but with the critical respect of like, Total Control. I reckon they could have been The Jezabels three years ago if your average Triple J listener liked things that are good instead of things that are bad. I reckon they’re so amazing.

It’s hard to overstate how important Mere Women’s  last record Your Town was to me in 2014 as a hyper-dramatic, desperate 21 year old. To hear something with so much fire and fury and power in its naked desire. Made me feel more and more terrifically crazy at the same time. Three years later and there’s another Mere Women album. And it sounds a bit different. And for one second I felt that knee jerk reaction to whine ‘oh but I liked it befooooore’. But just for one second, because Big Skies delivers something broader in scope and sound, that still crackles with the same intense dis-ease as the best of anything they’ve done before.

There’s less of those catch-in-your-throat, defiant guitar melodies that cut all other post-punk aping guitar bands into ribbons. But you already knew they could do that. Did you know they could write huge-sounding rock songs with depth and texture that still sound whip-sharp and lean? Or two in a row, like they’ve given us in ‘Birthday’ and ‘Big Skies’?

The three elements that have always made up the base of their sound remain unchanged; the interplay between strident, aching vocals, white-hot guitar and powerful, eccentrically technical drumming. There’s just more and more sound filling up the space, rounding everything out and making it something less easy to categorise.

‘Drive’, with it’s ‘I give up I give up / pick me up pick me up’ crazed muttering repetition brings some of their old recklessness and desperation. The vocals, roll over each other, the changes in pace and melody building to tense frantic verses into choruses that almost give the closure of a huge release but hold something just back. There’s a lot of disparate, busy and fast-moving parts across this record that could have made a mess out of lesser songwriters. Instead it all sounds – not easy, there’s nothing really easy about the sound of this record – but natural. They even made an echoing piano ballad like ‘Curse’ fit in a way that doesn’t feel shoehorned in.

It feels weird to say that this is a darker album than Your Town, because that was some heavy shit. But I think Big Skiesencompasses more than the kind of obsessive love and desire that drove the older record. They’ve combined personal and political into a generalise feeling of discontent, anger and fear. That all this darkness never drags just shows how fucking good these guys are at writing songs – they move with pace and purpose, beautiful and terrible.

You can purchase Big Skies from Poison City Records right NOW

Facebook / Bandcamp

Mere Women are playing some shows supporting this record with some real hot shit supports:

CANBERRA Thursday June 22 w/Wives & Little Lunch at The Transit Bar

SYDNEYFriday June 23 w/ Marcus Whale & TAFEWRM at The Red Rattler

SYDNEYSunday June 25 w/ Oslow & Carb on Carb & White Dog & The Kirks at Urge Records

MELBOURNEFriday June 30 w/Terrible Truths & Spit at The Curtain

BRISBANESaturday July 8 w/100% & Ultra Material

LISTEN: Leafy Suburbs – Honda Jazz

, , No Comment

Leafy suburbs

When you work in retail and get to play your own music, you’re always looking for the holy grail: stuff that won’t piss of customers but also won’t make you want to attempt in vain to suffocate yourself with a paper gift bag. I thought this record from Leafy Suburbs was gonna be something like this – interesting enough but ambient enough to fade into the background. It isn’t really that. It’s a strange, surreal thing that I’m sure is making me a little weird to customers for the forty or so minutes of it’s run time.

There’s elements of a ‘nice’ kind of ambient jazziness, but it always gives in to it’s electro heart. Like the way the stuttering piano of (my favourite) ‘Useless Loop’ makes way rhythms that start muted but soon take center stage, or the clattering, droning build of ‘Trumpet Interchange’ (…yeah, I don’t know why I thought this was gonna be easy-listening).

A current of sweetness and optimism runs through this record – starting a couple of tracks in with more opening pop track ‘Complete’. This feeling sets Leafy Suburbs apart from a lot of what’s happening in local electronic music lately. Maybe it’s cuz they’re originally from Perth – who knows what the hell is going on over there. A few years ago we could have happily plonked it into the ‘glitchy’ category to waste away with all the other bedroom producers. But there’s definitely more dancefloor influence here – you get the feeling it was made by someone who’s been out of their house in the last few months. The jazz elements are central to the sound and never gimmicky; saxophone provides a melancholy wondering kind of melody behind the sharp drum machine of ‘Battery Acid’ – the album’s danciest track.

Honda Jazz is out now with a limited run of tapes through Moontown Records. Moontown is a label that releases music they like infrequently, and without to much shallow self-promotion. That’s a vibe we can get behind, especially when it gives us odd little gems like this one

Facebook / Bandcamp