New Music

LISTEN: Hollywood Models – ‘Fare Evade’

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hollywood models

It’s the kind of conversation you’ve seen played out hundreds of times over social media or during shit small-talk at parties where you don’t know anybody. Fuckin’ MYKI, mate.

Like the time when you got done for having your feet on the seat, and spent the rest of the day trying to fathom why anyone would make it their job to police that sort of thing. Or when they introduced on-the-spot fines but the bloke that got you before you could jump off at Vic Park to touch on neglected to mention the new system, positively bursting with righteous glee as he slapped your ignorant ass with a $233 fine.

Don’t worry though, Hollywood Models feel your pain; they get it. Melbourne natives all (with some members of punk outfit Chelsea Bleach), they’re a kind of novelty garage pop outfit that’ll remind you of something like the B-52s. On their debut track, ‘Fare Evade’, they extoll the pitfalls of being a poor uni bastard with a written-off car, using up 20 percent of their pay check to even get to work in the first place.

It’s pretty clear from the first mashed organ chords and fumbling bass that Hollywood Models aren’t necessarily trying to be ‘good’ in the same way most other bands working in Melbourne right now – and truth be told, that uniqueness stretches out to virtually every element of the Hollywood Models experience. Just take a look at their Facebook page: FILTH PITT on vocals? GLENN STEFANI on the mysterious ‘guitar twang’? Who the fuck are these people?

‘Fare evade on Christmas, fare evade on Easter, fare evade on New Years Eve,’ sings backing vocalist Svetlana Del Ray, as a sort of catch call holding the whole thing together.

Hollywood Models aren’t the kind of band you’re going to be linking your friends in your *~ V-SERIOUS AND COOL MELB SCENE MUSIC ~* Facebook group, though. They’re clearly more of an exercise in ridiculous aesthetic and stereotype than anything else – the tradie drummer, the beatnik bassist (?), the dorky scientist on keyboards and pads. Plus, they write songs about fare evading, so there’s that, too. Seeing the whole thing explode into life live is the right way to go – and you can, at their single launch on 29 May at the Workers Club.

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PREMIERE: Ciggie Witch – ‘Walking the Tracks’

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Ciggie Witch - Walking The Tracks

‘I’m not gonna try and make everyone happy anymore,’ conclude Ciggie Witch on ‘Walking the Tracks’, the latest single from their forthcoming sophomore effort, Classic Connection.

Ciggie Witch have never really been the kind of band to wrap themselves up in flowery lyrics or attempts at depth via metaphor, and ‘Walking the Tracks’ is no different. It’s a snapshot of a decision: a moment when someone makes the choice between whether they want to live for themselves or everyone else.

While frontman Zac Denton (also of the Ocean Party, mainly) sits most of the actual ‘issues’ he’s facing here (aside from the flu) behind a vague, tried-and-true mantra of getting your shit together, there’s a refreshing willingness to simply follow a meandering trail of thought to its conclusion in his lyricism(‘I should be getting fit from all this walking/have been doing it four times a day/if my parents could see what I’ve been doing/they’d be onto me like vultures to the dead’) – something that often gets swept away in his more grandiose work with the Ocean Party.

The laidback instrumentation – provided by the likes of Ashley Bundang on keys (who you might recognise out from behind the drumset of Totally Mild, as well as her own project, Zone Out) and Joe Foley on lap steel – sways along in the usual Ciggie Witch style, closing out with twinkling keyboard and Denton’s whispered conclusion.

Classic Connection is out 3 June via Lost & Lonesome and Osborne Again.

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LISTEN: Palm Springs, Calamari Girls & Lalic

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palm springs

Erica Dunn debuted Palm Springs just last October, releasing a pair of 7″s that sound like dust-streaked sunlight. Now, the SMB having hung up the fishnet stockings for a little while, Dunn’s been back in the studio, her group rounded out to a trio to record a new cassette. Engineered by the Drones’ Dan Luscombe and mastered by Mikey Young, the Flowers in a Vase EP features an updated version of the sublime ‘Winning & Losing’, a charming Randy Newman cover (with more harmonica than honky tonk, to be sure) and a suite of aching gothic-country numbers, delivered in Dunn’s dusky contralto.

Palm Springs are launching the cassette tomorrow night at the Gasometer Hotel. Calamari Girls will be playing in support (along with Caroline No), so this feels like an excellent opportunity to talk about the Before Darwin Tape.

Calamari Girls features members of Melbourne garage punks Constant Mongrel and the Shifters. Quietly released in July 2015 via Al Montford’s Hideotic Records, their sole release has flown more or less under the radar. There’s not much press out there on these guys; one of the only leads to follow is a cryptic message left on their Bandcamp page: ‘Long live Takashi Mizutani’. It’s a reference to the frontman of Les Rallizes Dénudés, a Kyoto band that operated in the late 60s, making long-form, DIY noise rock inspired by the Velvet Underground. This actually tells you a lot of what you need to know about Calamari Girls. Scrappy but charming, the Before Darwin Tape combines post-John Cale, pre-Loaded Velvets with the naive pop of the Beat Happening. In short, it rules, and it’s available right now as a free download.

While I’m on the subject of cassettes, I found this one mooching around on Bandcamp:

Lalić is led by Melbourne’s Mladen Lalić Milinkovic, a GNC artist who’s been recording under their mother’s maiden name since high school. Milinkovic has described Bed Tape as ‘an interim release’ before a third LP comes out later in the year, and it does have an ephemeral feel – more a collection of textural experiments than a song-driven album. Its palette drifts somewhere between Animal Collective’s early acoustic recordings and the narcotic teen fantasies of Foxes in Fiction. Milinkovic moves tentatively, testing out a melodic phrase, a synthesiser setting, a sample – adding layers almost haphazardly to the mix. The results are surprisingly lovely, with songs that stumble, frayed, then miraculously coalesce: reaching, collapsing and reforming.

Bed Tape is out now through World News Records.

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VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Dro Carey

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Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Illustrations by Lucy Roleff

Eugene Ward has been carving a path on the electronic music scene for a number of years now. Best known under his Dro Carey alias, Ward’s music has seen him explore grime, UK garage and other forms of bass music, clocking up releases on a slew of international labels including Trilogy Tapes, RAMP Recordings and Greco-Roman.

A restlessly prolific producer, Ward also releases music under a number of other guises: the rugged techno/house-leaning Tuff Sherm, the avant-club experiments of PMM and more recently, under his given name, the Paint En Pointe album, a selection of compositions written in collaboration with choreographer Patric Kuo for a series of performances in late 2014.

On his latest single, ‘Grow Lithe’, Ward melds bubbling acid-synth and rolling garage rhythms with his typically crisp production style. The single is taken from a forthcoming EP for Australian imprint Soothsayer, expected later this year.

 

For the sixth instalment in our Virtual Mixtape series, Eugene has chosen a selection of his favourite German experimental, Neue Deutsche Welle & synth-pop 7”s.

 

drocarey-final

Eugene Ward:

“For my virtual mixtape I knew that I wanted to delve into something forged in those dark and wide-reaching years of teenage taste. I got into dance music somewhat late in the scheme of things, probably only when I was 16. Before that, coming out of a jazz piano background I was generally drawn to improvised, avant-garde and heavy music. Really whatever could shock me – the kind of Internet-aided audio thrill-seeking that is endemic to reclusive or introverted teenagers. So there were a lot of options as far as the areas spanning ‘pre-Dro’ music taste. The reason I chose this somewhat loose category of Neue Deutsche Welle, synth-pop and German experimental seven inches is that it remains particularly relevant and inspiring to what I do now. Hopefully as we go through the tracks you will see that this was a legendary and fertile era for sound design and electronic music arrangement, one that goes far beyond the obvious linear relationship with European techno.”

Endphase – ‘Reise In Den Tod’ from 2 Hemden & 2 Hosen Vol. 1 (2003)

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The interesting thing about this loose classification of seven-inch ‘synth-pop’ music is that since its inception in the late 70s/early 80s it has never really gone away. As such this track is taken from an earnest, dedicated early 2000s pastiche of the form. 2 Hemden & 2 Hosen was a long-running series of compilation seven-inch releases put out by the Kernkrach label, including some tracks that are so stylistically on point that you wonder if they’re actually archival rather than contemporary takes. Not the case here, however, where ‘Reise In Den Tod’ features some decidedly modern and sophisticated oscillations and filters. Yet these synth lines are backed with a genuine motorik chug and ultimately it hits the mark as far as the emotional vibe of this music – part saccharine, part gothic.

Im Namen Des Volkes – ‘Reaktorkern’ from Weisses Rauschen EP (2006)

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Im Namen Des Volkes was an alias for Matthias Schuster, whose work typically resides at the more industrial end of this music. Veteran engineer Christa Brüggemann remastered this EP, drawing on unreleased material that was originally recorded 1979-1981. Brüggemann lends this archival release some amazing heft and crispness, which allows us to appreciate the arrangements and sound design. This release brings me to one of the core reasons for my love of this music: were these not the best snare sounds going in the 1980s?  Substitute them into Yeezus or a TM88 production today and I wouldn’t blink. Drums miles ahead of their time.

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LISTEN: Curse ov Dialect – Twisted Strangers

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Curse Ov Dialect

Melbourne-based outfit Curse Ov Dialect are without a doubt one of the most interesting hip hop acts to emerge from Australia. Their penchant for surreal costumes and onstage theatrics, and their outspoken criticism of Australia’s underlying racism puts them at odds with the endless stream of generic drivel currently being churned out. Instead of weakly mimicking US hip hop, a music intrinsically linked to the culture in which it was born, they instead incorporate their own cultural perspective and experiences into a hip-hop framework.

Over the course of their output the group’s crafted a unique sound. Trawling for samples through psychedelic rock, traditional folk and various electronic oddities, they hold these seemingly disparate elements together with a hip hop backbone courtesy of beat maestro Paso Bionic. The distinctive style of each MC and the interplay between them is another defining element of the Curse, with the rapid-fire delivery of Volk Makedonski, the endearing multiple-personality disorder of Raceless and the ethereal flow of Atarangi all adding to the tapestry.

This formula has struck a chord with local and international audiences alike, with the group’s first two full-length LPs released via Mush Records. At the time, the label was leading the experimental hip-hop charge, repping artists like cLOUDDEAD, Busdriver and Aesop Rock.

Seven years on from last album Crisis Tales, Twisted Strangers finds the group in fine form, picking up where they left off – poignant, politically charged lyrics underpinned by their signature multicultural grooves. Guest spots on the album include Japanese furioso Kaigen and Hemlock Ernst, aka Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands. Herring’s been clocking up notable appearances with a number of indie rap’s finest, including Busdriver and Cavanaugh, and it’s great to count Curse Ov Dialect alongside such luminaries.

Watch the video for the title track below and grab the full album on CD or vinyl via Monotype Records or digitally via Valve Records.

Curse ov Dialect will be launching Twisted Strangers at Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne on Friday, 13 May. Full details here.

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LISTEN: Whitney Houston’s Crypt – Whitney Houston’s Crypt 7″

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whitney houston's crypt

I wish there was some part of my life that gave me an excuse to have a good hard scream. I reckon it’d be healthy. I reckon I’d stop grinding my teeth. There’s just not enough opportunity in our lives to get really fucking dramatic – but on this new self-titled 7”, Newcastle’s Whitney Houston’s Crypt have snatched theirs with both hands.

A thick red mist hangs over these three songs. You gotta just shut your eyes and hold on tight for a lot of it. The wonky guitar on first track ‘Twosome’s Threesomes’ gives you something to grab onto – it’s reassuringly catchy – but then a drum break gives way to a period of even more intense screaming and you’re back in the mire again. They’re mining a rich emotional vein, everything is covered: angry, pissed off, mad as hell, despair, rage, fuck you, etc.

These feelings are never more brutal than on single ‘Hatoful Boyfriend’, which gives short sharp bursts of repetitive guitar and strangled, gasping shouts on a track that is short and sharp and bursting with, well, hate.  Closer ‘Michael Hotchips’ (yeah, they’re also not taking themselves too seriously, thank God) is the most musically hardcore track, with that fast thunderous drumming and bombastic teeth gnashing and wailing vocals to match the guitars sliding out of control like they’re gonna spin right off the planet. But, miraculously, it all holds together until the final shuddering stop.

You can get the Whitney Houston’s Crypt 7″ through Vacant Valley right now. They’re coming to the end of the launch tour for this EP (sorry), but I’ll be seeing them in Brisbane at the last show on 9 April at Trainspotters, with Clever, Twinrova and Rebel Yell. Hope it’s nuts.

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INTRODUCING: Cable Ties

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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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