Posts By Ryan Saar


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Cable Ties

Garage punk is the one type of music that can deliver both dancing and fighting in equal measure, often flicking between the two in less time than it takes the singer to howl a “1,2,3,4!”. But it feels like it’s been a hot minute since those lofty heights have actually been achieved within the genre. Enter Melbourne’s Cable Ties, who have only released some demos and a 7″, but who could confidently pick you up within the first few bars of a song and hurl you across the room, like some mutant combination of the Hulk and Sleater-Kinney.

Their latest release, a self-titled 7″, lights a flame under the arse of even the most flaccid of listeners, as front woman Jenny McKechnie stomps emphatically over her bandmates’ blistering musical assault. Although only two tracks long, there’s a vice-like grip that Cable Ties deploy, shaking your body like a rag doll in the hands of a sadistic tween.

Whatever deal Cable Ties made with the devil, the red-horned one is keeping his end of the bargain. The fact of the matter is, Cable Ties are so early into their careers as punk prodigies, but they’ve already delivered searing belters that are capable of shaking the walls of whatever abode they’re blasted in. Cable Ties are strong and wild, with an energy you feel instantly, and that makes them a very, very exciting prospect.

Cable Ties launch their debut 7″ at the Old Bar in Melbourne on May 6th, w/ support from the Pink Tiles, Synthetics, Karli White and ASPS. Join the FB event here.

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PREMIERE: White Lodge – ‘Bella-Union Creep’ Video

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white lodge

When most folks want some kickass garage rock, they look to whatever the latest Thee Oh Sees or Ty Segall release happens to be gracing the window of the local record store. But the time has come to expand and accept a new prodigy to the ranks: Gold Coast’s White Lodge.

For their latest track, “Bella-Union Creep”, White Lodge pummel their guitars with a newfound passion more evident here than their previous works. The opening “WOOP!” is enough to signify that this song will probably become an immediate favourite for fans of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. And for the rest of the song’s duration –  White Lodge charge ahead with such fury, it’s a wonder they don’t break the sound barrier. They play hard, bending melodies to their fuzzed out extreme, crooked notes crying out under the pressure they’re being put under. Essentially, if you’re after some garage rock that hits its stride within milliseconds and doesn’t stop going until the last droplet of feedback has dried up, you can’t get much better than this.

Accompanying the unrelenting fuzz is a video that informs the viewer that there are worse things one can find in a Gold Coast toilet block than fake tan stains on your seat. DIY gimp masks, discarded supermarket trollies, and animal skulls that have definitely been used for a Satanic ritual all make an appearance in a clip that is just as bent out of shape as the song that soundtracks it.


Folks in Byron Bay and Brisbane can catch White Lodge at these upcoming shows:

March 26th – The Northern, Byron Bay w/ Peach Fur and Draggs 

April 1st – The Outpost, Brisbane


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PREMIERE: Bad Vision – ‘Goons’ video

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bad vision goons

A few weeks back, Melbourne’s Bad Visions released the first single from their upcoming album, Turn Out Your Sockets. At first, it felt like a far cry from their early days of eyeball-gouging album art and music to match. The thrash had been replaced with something that could almost be described as country – closer to bluegrass than torrential garage dissonance. But the fear quickly dissipated. Bad Vision have broadened; changed, but stayed the same where it matters. They’ve still got what it takes to lay a garage rock smack down.

‘Goons’ now features a video to accompany its story of teenage mall terrorists: a tracking shot that features all the foosball, record fondling and band practice on the patio that a young punk could dream of. This is the real life of Bad Vision, and their ode to goons – the type of person with a passion for everyone’s favourite sack of cheap wine. The kind of folk who shove good advice to the curb, just so they can say they did things their own way. A person who can spend an entire day on a street corner, people watching and snickering at what they don’t want to be. ‘Goons’ is a love letter, delivered with jangly guitar lines and a raucous chorus. The kind you can lean into in your leather jacket, knowing only half the words but with the courage to yell them like you wrote the thing.

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LISTEN: Alex Lahey – ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’

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alex lahey

DO! YOURSELVES! A! FAVOUR! Yes, the caps is necessary, and yes, each exclamation mark is justified. Alex Lahey is a gift to Australian music in the same way that a serving of gourmet Italian pizza is a gift to someone who’s been eating Dominos their entire life. Although she’s only released two solo tracks, they’re endlessly listenable – guiding your hand to the repeat button like Darth Vader is Force-choking your index fingers.

Her first single, ‘Air Mail’, was a simple guitar pop number lamenting a long-distance relationship; it was irreverent, light and catchy, like Feist mixed with some Courtney Barnett. Now, for her second single, ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’, Lahey has stepped up the guitar crunch enough to snap the neck of a Bon Iver fan.

But, even with the pedal board lit up like Kings Cross pre-lock out laws, Lahey still maintains her signature wit and earnestness. The song begins with, “All I want to do is drink clean-skin wine and watch Mulholland Drive with you”, a line that’s sure to be grinningly repeated by the legions of Lahey nerds who are bound to pop up over the next few months. Then the chorus come on, catchy but still driving, with Lahey’s familiar openness and that smidgen of real pain which separates her from the pack.

‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ is a hell of a lot louder than Air Mail’, but both songs are like enormous arrows pointing to a future in which Alex Lahey has established herself as one of our country’s best young songwriters. DO! YOURSELVES! A! FAVOUR!

Alex Lahey will be playing some shows soon:

23 March – Old Bar, Melbourne w/ DIET. and Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis

26 March – The Hills Are Alive Festival, Gippsland

1 April – World Bar, Sydney

2 April – Shady Cottage Festival, Trentham

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PREMIERE: Great Earthquake – ‘Thought Broadcasting’ video

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great earthquake

Guys called Noah always seem to be pretty extraordinary. There’s indie director Noah Baumbach, who co-wrote a bunch of Wes Anderson movies, and Noah Taylor, the incredible Australian actor. And then, buried in East Brunswick, between the vintage stores and coffee shops, is Noah Symons – aka Great Earthquake.

Great Earthquake has a full-band sound, with intricate parts emanating from every instrument. This makes it all the more surprising to find out that Noah is the sole contributor. From splattered snares to smoky guitar lines and sprained keys, knowing it’s just him behind every sound makes the end product that more impressive. Play this stuff to a friend, let them soak in the songs, then drop that little golden nugget of information and wait for the inevitable, “Whaddya mean there’s not a team of Mozarts behind this masterpiece?”.

His latest output is a video for the single ‘Thought Broadcasting’, from last year’s EP of the same name. Hazy guitar chords spill from the track, finding ways to gel with the song’s many layers, while a subdued Symons murmurs “We have lost our way”. The video emphasises the track’s collage-like style, blending instruments, hands and colours into one hypnotic audio-visual smorgasbord.

Great Earthquake will play a free show at the Vic on the Park Hotel on 27 February, with support from Alyx Dennison. Details here.


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LISTEN: Waste-a-Life – Bedroom Suck Records 2016

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bedroom suck records

It’s fair to say, and in no way hyperbolic, that Bedroom Suck is well on its way to joining the ranks of classic Australian independent labels like Au Go Go, Waterfront Records or Chapter Music. Although only slightly more than five years old, BSR’s prolificness, and the sheer quality of its releases, make the label stand out at the forefront of the local independent landscape.

Run almost entirely by Joe Alexander (who drums in Terrible Truths, one of the label’s flagship bands), Bedroom Suck has staked its claim through releases sourced from all over this wide continent. From the early days of twisted, experimental Brisbane rock (Per Purpose, Slug Guts, Blank Realm) through to dusty Melbourne jangle pop (Boomgates, Full Ugly, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding) and recent releases from the beloved Totally Mild and Love of Diagrams, Bedroom Suck has got it all. It’s a one-stop shop for the music nerd who thinks they’ve heard everything.

Although most folks would be warranted in taking some time to sit down and enjoy a drink after such an exhaustive 2015, Bedroom Suck show no signs of slowing down. In fact, they’ve just compiled a sampler of in celebration of the year to come. At 11 tracks, there’s the usual swathe of genres and bands – from Grand Salvo’s lulling pop to Terrible Truth’s angular, post-punk – as well as a brand new song from Free Time. Whatever your taste, there’s something to whet the palate; your new favourite band ready to discover.

As if this compilation weren’t news enough, Bedroom Suck will be taking over the North Fitzroy Bowling Club every Sunday for the next three weeks, showcasing bands from the label as well as local favourites. RSVP on Facebook.

Sunday, 24 Jan:

Free Time
Ciggie Witch
Liz Mitchell

Sunday, 31 Jan:

Terrible Truths
Lower Plenty
Hot Topic

Sunday, 7 Feb:
Scott & Charlene’s Wedding
Sweet Whirl


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PREMIERE: The Chills – ‘When the Poor Can Reach the Moon’

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the chills

Image by Jon Thom Moodie

A lot of the time here at Who the Hell, we’re covering bands that are in the larvae stage of their careers: tiny, slobbering creatures who are destined to become some big old butterflies. But in the case of the Chills, it’d be insulting to refer to them as anything but the biggest, grandest, most beautiful bugs in the sky. And yes, I’m aware that butterflies usually only live between one and twelve months, but THIS IS A METAPHOR, SCIENCE DOESN’T BELONG HERE!

Along with the Bats and the Clean, the Chills are one of the bands most closely associated with New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records and their 80s/early 90s heyday. It’d be damn near impossible to find a jangle-pop band in Australia right now (and there are many of them) who don’t cite the Chills as a major inspiration.

Although they’ve been gigging steadily, new material has been scarce. Last month, the band released their first LP in 19 years. It must have been an inspiring bunch of sessions because the Chills have gone right back in and recorded a Christmas single (a tradition that started approximately seconds after people figured out how much money can be made outta these things). Unlike the usual Michael Buble/Mariah Carey drivel, the Chills’ version of a Christmas single is fantastic, living up to the glorious standard of guitar pop that the band have been producing for the last 30 years.

‘When the Poor Can Reach the Moon’ is out on 11 December through the UK’s Fire Records, via Rocket Distribution.

The Chills will be making some rare appearances in Sydney and Melbourne next year, playing the Spiegeltent on 13 January as part of the Sydney Festival, then hitting up Max Watts in Melbourne on Friday, 15 January.

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