New Music

LISTEN: Orion – ‘Execution’

, , No Comment

Orion

Might surprise you to hear this from your ah, oracle of all things new and current, but at my house all we listen to all day and night is this ‘80s playlist that my genius housemate made. Every song on there, from The Chills to deep cut Dexys to Belinda Carlisle is perfect. No matter how many times we listen to it every few songs something will come on that sparks a chorus of THIS SOOOOONNNNG. This. Fucking. SONG.

I get a real similar feeling when I listen to this new single from Sydney 4-piece Orion. The ‘this fucking song’ feeling. It’s that dirty word nostalgia, but without the kind of cheesy theatrics that makes you cringe away from stuff that sounds too openly ’80s in that big shallow shiny chorus kind of way. Not that the big choruses aren’t there, they’re just sold with a defiant gaze rather than a shit-eating grin. And that post punk-y guitar so thick you wanna wallow in it like the fucking Smiths loving pig that you are.

I think one of the biggest skills in in pop music is being able to crib little references and signifiers that already mean something to people and serve them up in a way that resonates immediately, but is also obviously your own thing. It’s difficult and takes a lot of sensitivity and smarts, which Orion definitely have.

Execution is off the band’s debut self-titled LP, coming out on Cool Death Records on Friday (not to rub industry perks in your face, but I listened to it already and that’s some GOOD SHIT). You can preorder the record here. A few of the tracks are re-records off this demo EP that came out a couple of years ago on Paradise Daily too, if you wanna be fully prepped. Also Orion shares members with M.O.B who released that sick tape also on Paradise Daily. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah LINKS.

Soundcloud

Read Post →

WATCH: Chelsea Bleach – ‘Shedding Skin’

, , No Comment

Chelsea Bleach

Chelsea Bleach are B U S Y. They’re writing, recording, mixing, mastering, playing all of the shows, figuring out how they can fit more guitars into the fold (there are three at time of writing). They’ve also made a film clip for ‘Shedding Skin’, the opening track off their debut EP ‘Decent Connections’ which they released at the end of 2016 and you can watch it here on this website so don’t say we never do anything for you!!

If you’ve been consumed furiously making new years resolutions and worshipping jesus and binge drinking over the past few weeks I’ll give you the lowdown on the good thing the kind folks of Chelsea Bleach have gifted us. Their guitar riffs and vocal melodies are heavy on a cool nonchalance that brings to mind the Seattle-based garage rock of Chastity Belt, but with rougher edges. It’s not as hard or fast as Melbourne mates Cable Ties or Wet Lips, and actually the sparser elements call to mind Hobart rock dogs (they said it so it’s fine) Naked.

Decent Connections keeps the take-no-shit lyricism of lead single ‘Public Safety‘, neatly packaging what it’s like to be not-a-white-guy in public: “Watch my back / leave no tracks,” and applying this sentiment to personal growth and relationships, gradually working through the 20-something feeling of not knowing why or what you are doing at any given time. Each track abruptly shifts between pretty different components, flipping the song’s mood back and forth multiple times during the lifespan of each track. ‘Daydreams’ could have been produced by Courtney Barnett with its sunburnt slide guitars and vocals sliding up and down a three note melody, until the switch is flicked to an agitated chorus speeding through wilful indifference: “Everything changes yeah / nothing really matters to me.”

‘Shedding Skin’ carries the same menacing guitar line as ‘Public Safety’ and Chelsea Bleach’s three guitarists (Prani, Bridget and Em) really feel like they’re in sync on this one, working towards six-stringed symbiosis. The overall sound teeters on punk, threatening to topple over into all out mosh but instead channeling all their thrashy energy into sections of tight, virile bar chords. The tension works a dream.

The video for ‘Shedding Skin’ is an assortment of cameras in the direction of the Chelsea Bleach crew, and possibly others. The tangle of limbs makes it hard to discern the exact number of bodies BUT it does look like fun. I think maybe too much of my view of Melbourne comes from DIY music clips but to me the video looks like your average Tuesday arvo in a Melbourne sharehouse? Chelsea Bleach are DIY til they DIE, with guitarist and backup vox Prani the mastermind behind the video and drummer Jay mixed, mastered and recorded the whole heckin’ EP too.

YouTube Preview Image

If you’re in Melbourne go and check Chelsea Bleach launch this thing into the stratosphere with Cable Ties, Palm Springs and kandere @ The Tote on January 20, Facebook event here.

Facebook / Bandcamp

Read Post →

The History of the Avalanches (In Five Deep Cuts)

, , No Comment

The Avalanches

As you may have heard, the Avalanches (along with Spank Rock, HABITS and YOUNG TAPZ) have been parachuted into the 2017 Sugar Mountain lineup in place of Dev Hynes’ lauded Blood Orange project. As the chatter around the group’s much publicised hiatus and ‘triumphant comeback’ fades ahead of the promise of more new music and a run of high profile live shows, it’s easy to overlook the breadth of their discography. After all, the once five (or six… or seven) strong group began releasing music 20 years ago, and as unlikely as it sounds, at one stage in the early noughties, they could almost be considered prolific – especially if you count their fastidiously produced mixtapes and dj sets. So, without further ado, we present the history of the Avalanches in five deep cuts.

‘Thank You Caroline’

This is the B-side to the Avalanches’ first ever 7”, from 1997, and the first release for Melbourne label Trifekta (who would put out heaps of great stuff by artists like Architecture in Helsinki and the Go-Betweens). The A-side, ‘Rock City’, was reworked to appear on the El Producto EP, but ‘Thank You Caroline’ was a live staple performed in much the same form as it appears here. The song’s woozy organs and wistful tone would recur throughout the group’s discography; it’s basically the blueprint for Wildflower’s two closers (and standouts) ‘Stepkids’ and ‘Saturday Night Inside Out’. The song clearly resonated, too, earning a new lease of life with an Andy Votel remix on the ‘Since I left You’ single.

Electricity EP

This EP marked the Avalanches’ transition from noisey Melbourne rap brats to the electronic collage thing they’d be celebrated for after Since I Left You. A slightly reworked ‘Electricity’ would appear on that album, keeping Sally Seltmann’s operatic vocals and Daft Punk drum samples, but the fun and experimentalism showcased on the EP’s other tunes signalled an expansion of horizons. The EP was also the band’s first for Modular, heralding a distinct change in direction for the Sydney label. Until this point, Modular’s major releases came from acts like Ben Lee and the Living End. Electricity saw them begin leaning towards a much more electronic roster, and arguably fostering a new Australian scene in the process.

‘Everyday’

The B-side to ‘Since I left You’, this soft house jam coincided with the Avalanches’ stint as some of the most in demand party djs getting around. Presumably an outtake from their debut LP, it’s one of the group’s few productions that betrays their admiration for house producers like Ernest St Laurent and some of the gentler releases from Thomas Bangalter’s (Daft Punk) Roulé label. While their ‘Breezeblock’ dj mixes are still guaranteed crowd pleasers nearly 15 years on, this seven minutes of laid-back house paved the way for producers like Washed Out and Memory Tapes. If all tropical house sounded like this, the world would be a better place.

Belle & Sebastian – ‘I’m a Cuckoo’ (Avalanches Remix)

With the acclaim that followed the release of ‘Since I left You’, the Avalanches became in demand remixers for a number of du jour UK artists of the early 2000s, among them Badly Drawn Boy, Manic Street Preachers and the Concretes. This reworking of Scottish darlings Belle & Sebastian was one of the last remixes they’d do in this uncharacteristically prolific period, and was a clear display of their love affair with Caribbean soca music. At the time, one of the most striking things about this release was that the group had recorded live musicians rather than sampling them – samples having formed the bedrock of much of the band’s recent catalogue. Get the full story on this one via Wired.

‘Stalking to a Stranger’ (Planets Collide remix)

Released in 2013, deep within the band’s dormant period, what’s perhaps most remarkable about this tune is how little fuss anyone made on it’s release. Not only is it a certifiable ball tearer, but it does what any great remix should – reframe and highlight elements of the original material for a new audience. For a generation who only knew Hunters & Collectors from drunken singalongs and footy grand finals, this rework brings out the original’s groove and muscularity, the way it might have sounded live back in 1982.

The Avalanches play Sugar Mountain Festival’s Dodds Street Stage on Saturday, 21 January. Get your tickets here.

Read Post →

The Best of What We Forgot in 2016

, , 1 Comment

goldenplains2016_BecCapp40

Image by Bec Capp

We’re not gonna labour the point about the dog’s breakfast that was 2016. You know. We know. It knows what it’s done.

Life got hectic for all of us this year. While we think of this blog as a year-long ‘best of list’, cuz we only write about the good shit, some of the best stuff still slipped through the cracks. So here are the songs and album’s we’ve loved this year, but didn’t get a chance to write about for whatever reason. Blaming the year seems like the cool thing to do, so please excuse us for being deadshits; it wasn’t our fault.

x WTH

maddy MADELEINE LAING

Sydney 2000 – _

‘Don’t Do Bad Olympics’ is, at this moment, my favourite song of the year. This is all such catchy shit and Steve Rose (who does the Hanibaf mixtape stuff that I wrote up here) really knows how to make singing he’s like having a bad time sound like fun. Rose and Guitarist Tristan Murray both clearly love playing around with how they can fit a whole lot of wacky, difficult melodies in without making it hard to listen to – so you get music that’s immediate and poppy but unlike most stuff you’ve heard before. The drummer on this tape is James Elliott, but since he moved overseas earlier in the hear they’ve been playing with Bent’s Heidi Cutlack who’s replaced his athletic style with a more ragged, joyous sound, making them even more impressive live.

100% – ‘Lost Youth’

When 100% first started there was some jaded bullshit talk floating around like ‘yeah, they take good press shots, but is the music good?’ From day one they’ve been making any doubters shove their words up their arses and then eat them, with some of the sickest darkly sexy synth pop in the country. Where sometimes Melbourne bands doing a similar thing get laboured and over-concerned with sounding scary, 100% have kept a relentless euphoria central to their sound. I love how everything sounds together in the chorus of this song, drums sharp like a thousand tiny pins, shiny and dramatic. ‘Nikita’, the other song you can listen to from this album at the moment is uncompromisingly feminine and emotional – an absolute ‘80s banger that resonates with whole-hearted desire. And fuck yeah, they take good press shots.

(I got the record of this for Christmas so not ruling out writing up the whole record in the new year, but just in case. This song rules.)

Nun – ‘Can’t Chain’

I really liked this as soon as it came out but didn’t write it up then cuz the Noisey premiere mentioned some kind of architectural philosophy concept thing it was based on and I was like, shit man I’m gonna sound really stupid if I try and talk about this. I just like how it goes fast and Jenny Branagan sounds so threatening in the verses and it builds up into the kind of dance music that runs electricity through your body even when you’re sitting down completely sober.

Centre Negative – Emotion is Cringey

When New Zealand band Centre Negative were in Brisbane a while ago they played shows with some friends of mine so I ended up meeting and having a chat to Michael McClealand. By which I mean I mentioned knowing someone from New Zealand and he spoke in a ten minute uninterrupted stream about poetry, New Zealand, a lake near his house, Evangelical Christianity, Noisey, some kind of science shit, his bad feelings, bad writing, good writing, The Internet, other things. And all in a super interesting way – he just wasn’t really concerned with keeping to the accepted structure of ‘a conversation’. This is a super smart record riddled with that mixture of insecurity and self-aggrandisement that is so relatable – a lot of people talk about what it’s like to hate yourself while also thinking you’re a genius, but it’s rarely translated with this kind of skill. It’s jaunty, jarring, ironic, dry experimental guitar and tinny synth music sparsely filled out with snowy drum machines and strangled shouting. At the Brisbane shows everyone walked to the bar after going, ‘what’d you reckon?’ ‘yeah, I liked it! Something different, hey?’

Also the record starts off with a computer voice saying something like ‘If you’re thinking of mentioning the words “Flying Nun” in your review, please send your review to the centre of the sun and then set yourself on fire and die’ – and that’s great stuff!

Police Force – Formula One

When people ask me what kind of music I like my general answer is ‘I dunno man, I just like shit that gets you revved up’. Police Force’s Formula One does this from beginning to end – all riffs on riffs on riffs and repetition when you dunno where it’s going if anywhere but who gives a fuck and funky bass that does more than just fill out the low end, actually makes you wanna listen over and over again. Sound effects, good beats, echo and distortion build something cool and interesting out of the too-often tedious bones of groovy old rock and roll. Also: do you like bitchy boy vocals as much as me? Then yeah this is gonna be your thing.

Forevr – ‘Petrichor’

These guys are my very good buds, so I never really know if I like their music so much or am blinded by deep love for them as people. But this song is so impressive, so different from anything they’ve done before, and, to my mind, so beautiful that I have to mention it. The first time you hear this track it’s hard to get hold of, to make a reference for. It’s almost trendless – it seems outside of what’s happening, definitely in Brisbane and probably in Australia. This is not the sound of effortless cool, it’s the sound of work, talent, and commitment, and it absolutely goes off.

grace-pashleyGRACE PASHLEY

Friendships – Nullarbor 1988-1989

I love jangly guitars as much as the next Aus music loving asshole, but I’d be happy if ‘Australian music’ becomes synonymous with friendships’ terrifying electronic dystopia rather than another wave of #dolespo. It’s jarring and relentless in almost every track and I haven’t stopped listening to it yet.

Maia – lofi mixtape

Brisbane’s very own downtempo RnB Soundcloud superstar, Maia Francesca followed up a handful of smouldering covers and originals with an eight-track mixtape in March, and it caused everyone who heard it to do a double take. SZA? Baby Badu? In our own city? Surely not. But here she is, and I don’t reckon I’m on my own in hoping desperately there is more from Maia in 2017.

Habits – Ugly Cry

I honestly can’t stop talking about Habits. They can do no wrong. Their debut EP is ferocious and is some of the best music out at the moment guaranteed to whip anyone who hears it into a frenzied, angry-dance. The music is huge and the expression is total, everything I see and hear about the Melbourne duo excites me.

A.B. Original – Reclaim Australia

‘You had to be in their face,’ Archie Roach tells Briggs in the opening track of one of the most deservedly hyped releases of 2016. Everything that I want to say about this album has already been said, mostly by Trials and Briggs themselves on the actual record. Reclaim Australia is meant to smack you in the face, and being heaps white I can only speak to how white Australia might take this album which is predictably entitled so I’ll direct all I have to say in my pasty peers’ direction: it’s not about you, shut up about your feelings and listen to what A.B. Original are saying.

Spike Fuck – The Smackwave EP

Spike Fuck’s four track debut EP is heavy enough to feel like forty. This release is brilliant and distinct because of its post-punk minimalism backing country singer inflections, all working to do her stories justice. Spike Fuck’s recent experience with drug addiction and ailing mental health is the central theme (in case the EP title ‘Smackwave’ didn’t give it away), and the tracks sound like four pillars of triumph after a succession of losses. Maybe not quite triumph as in success, but the triumph of figuring important shit out and starting to move on.

gregGREG STONE

Reuben Ingall – TT002

The second instalment of fledgling label Tandem Tapes’ split-release series paired Indonesian artist Logic Lost with Canberra’s Reuben Ingall. Ingall is certainly one of the most interesting and intriguing artists currently operating in the Australian underground, one who deserves far more praise and recognition. Following his 2015 album Microclimates, Ingall serves up another stunning collection of meditative, experimental pop and ambient electronic oddities, capturing the best parts of his distinct sound.

Hyde – Ox Hill

Under his former guise, Electric Sea Spider, Melbourne producer Jim Sellars came out of the fertile beat scene in the late 00s. As Hyde, Sellars’ music is much harder to classify, which is a good thing. This sound was heralded by his final release as Electric Sea Spider, the restless brain-explosion Ten Hunters.  After the amazing ‘Sacrificed Greyhound’ single, Sellars offers up Ox Hill, his proper debut as Hyde. The music is furiously innovative, warping elements of world music with post-modern beat abstractions that leave you giddy and hungry for more.

Lovely Head – Always

After some great collaborative releases with Teenage Mustache and Pendant, Lovely Head aka Vivian Huynh returns with a new solo effort for Provenance Records, Always. Huynh’s smoky vocals and atmospheric guitar work lay the foundations for an intimate set of dark pop ballads that seep into your consciousness with simmering clarity. Beautiful and haunting in equal measure.

Spartak – I Fought The Style

After shifting away from the improvised sound experiments of their earlier work, ever-evolving Canberra outfit Spartak continue down the path forged on their 2014 EP, Five Points, with another venture into minimal electronic territory with I Fought The Style. Enlisting the vocals of fellow Canberran Becki Whitton (aka Aphir), the sound on IFTS jumps between skewed pop, propulsive techno and glistening ambience with effortless confidence.

annie_toller  ANNIE TOLLER

I’ve heard a lot of great music this year but, for one reason or another, I’ve let most of it pass by without comment. In a lot of cases, my own contribution – in this forum, at least – felt kind of redundant. Our readers already know they should be listening to Spike Fuck’s debased heartland rock, Gregor’s deconstructed schmaltz, Gabriella Cohen’s effortless garage pop, the bubblegum menace of Loose Tooth and cathartic bellowing of Cash Savage & the Last Drinks. Sometimes the music I loved best – Emma Russack, Dag, Heart Beach – was already covered brilliantly by Maddy, our editor since May and a girl, it seems, after my own heart. Often, though, I just didn’t find the time. So I’m really pleased we settled on this theme for our end-of-year post; it gives me a chance to redeem myself. Here are some things I wish I’d written about in 2016:

Katie Dey – ‘Fear o’ the Light’

I would have liked to spend more time with Flood Network, Katie Dey’s second album, which seems to fit together like puzzle pieces. So far I’ve mostly hammered the single – a short, powerful little pop song, fitting somewhere between Shocking Pinks and Jackson Scott. Dey is reclusive, cloaking her voice with a pitch shifter, washing her images with light. She does very little press and doesn’t play live, as far as I’m aware. Sidestepping the local scene, her records have found a home all the way across the Pacific, with the eccentric sentimentalists at Orchid Tapes. I hope we get to see a bit more of her in 2017; so far, secrecy has only increased the allure.

Native Cats – ‘Soft Chambers’

The Native Cats released ‘Soft Chambers’ as a prelude to their next record, which will be out early in the new year. Vocalist/Game Boy-fiddler Chloe Alison Escott says it’s ‘the most complex thing we’ve ever recorded’, featuring samples, backing vocals and a guest percussionist. The layers soften a regimental rhythm section; the track sounds like Gang of Four by way of Stereolab. Meanwhile, Escott’s elliptical poetry is both defiant and thoughtful: ‘Anywhere I have walked armoured / I will walk again … Anywhere I have spoke cruelly / I will come to speak again’. All proceeds from the single go towards the US-based Trans Lifeline, a decision taken in the wake of the catastrophic November election. Head over to Bandcamp for a name-your-price download.

Ela Stiles – Molten Metal

On the Molten Metal LP, out via Paradise Daily Records, Ela Stiles takes a sharp turn from the delicate acapella of her self-titled debut. Built around analogue electronics, this record blends industrial, house, folk and drone – which sounds like a mess, but it works surprisingly well. In lesser hands, old-style electronics can feel retrograde, with drum machines sucking energy from the mix. Stiles’ work, though, is tactile and inventive: she wrings some new life out of the machine.

Comrad Xero – Comrad Xero

Also on Paradise Daily, Comrad Xero is the new solo offering from Irena Luckus of Brisbane post-punk/no-wave outfit Xero (also Zero/Xiro). White noise and harsh licks wash around Luckus’s chanting and her heavy, primitive beats. The songs skitter and sway like wind-up soldiers, restless but utterly hypnotic.

Pansy

Although he recorded prolifically, Fergus Miller’s last official release as Bored Nothing came out over two years ago now – which makes the recent singles by Pansy, a project with wife Anna Davidson of Major Leagues, rather special. The tracks, ‘It’s All Over Now’ and ‘Cold Enough’, sound like the work of 90s obsessives, lo-fi guitars muffling despondent lyrics clothed in power pop melodies. Miller and Richardson make quietly emotive music; it feels private, like an unmarked eight-track tape discovered at some suburban garage sale.

Sarah Mary Chadwick – ‘Turn On’

It’s hard to listen to Roses Always Die, the latest album from Sarah Mary Chadwick, all the way through; most of the time, I feel I just don’t have the grit. The last track, though – ‘Turn On’ – is different. With her vocals, Chadwick foregrounds despair, but a euphoric undercurrent slips in on that soft, rising synth. Dark as it is, this song lifts me up.

Read Post →

Naked Tour Diary (Part 3)

, , No Comment

naked-5

We’ve reached the end of our journey with Hobart band Naked and their buddy Alex Romano, with this, the final installment of his tour diary. I almost feel like I’ve been on tour with Naked this whole time, don’t you? Nah, cuz you’ve been at work still? You work Christmas retail/ hospo but you’ve been getting blind every night anyway (IT’S CHRISTMAS) and you see death’s approach clearer every day? Yeah, me too.

Ah well, get away from it all with these tales of urine, suggested bestiality, brushes with indie movie stardom, hangin with Whitney Houston’s Crypt ( <3 ) and Peak Tour.

Thanks Naked! Thanks Alex! See youse on the road again soon.

(Part 1 HERE Part 2 HERE)

Day 7 – Sydney is hot 2nite

By Alex Romano

I said the boys are back in town boys are back in town boys are back in towwwwwwwn. Thin Lizzy is rockin out in the Juicy Van I’m sure of it! The boys are in the harbor city, and ready to rock out. I’ve been contemplating snorting cocaine all day in preparation to rock out!

8:15 pm

The Marly Bar is just how I remember it from the night before. A tasty mix of people, high class aussie gastro pub fare and chalk board specials.

9:15 pm

Lenin Lennon are playing their first show for 18 months and a lot of people seem very excited for that. They scream into the mic for a bit and appear to forget how to play a song at one point. This is what music is about people! I also have a chat with the Pillow Pro’ers, can’t wait for their set tomorrow night at the Union!  I make the fateful error of telling them that I missed seeing them multiple times in the past. I don’t think it goes across well, but they are really lovely so hopefully they forgive me if I make it in time tomorrow.

10: 30 pm

By the time Naked starts I’m sweating like a Big Kev. It’s an absolute stinker of a night and the boys play such a hot set that my sweaty pits are showing no signs of slowing down. I get a massive shout out from the LADS and awkwardly wave my hand at the crowd and let them know I’m up for a chat and will sell them a record.

11:15 pm

I just sold 7 records which might not sound a lot to you music industry types but it’s a lot in the scheme of the tour so far. It’s actually the most. So cop that. We end up being pretty rock and roll back at the Lenin Lennon’s Whitney Houston’s Crypt house and we are having a couple of cold tinnies and some joints early in the morning. This is fuckin living, and don’t you dare to try and stop us. I go home because my head is spinning from all of the rock and roll, sweat and drugs.

Sydney version 1.0 at the Marly Bar: 5 out of 5 rockdogs – could not have got more rock if we tried. At one point it was getting so out of hand I thought Jordy was going to purposefully and impractically rearrange the van. Fortunately he didn’t.

Day 8 – Sydney is on an Ultralight Beam

11:30 am

My throat stinks of last night’s VBs and Bond Street Gold’s. I’ve never felt quite as alone as I do this morning, soaked in urine with my housemate’s cat licking my toes so lightly we could be lovers. Images of Paul Walker race through my head. Is this who I have become? Fast and the Furious 7 is playing on my television, I have vague memories of queuing up all 7 films before I went to sleep last night…What time was it?! Shit!!! The boys! The band! I scramble out to the microwave, my only source of time. Where the fuck is my phone? Not to worry, it’s 11:30am. Better chuck that sickie at work, it’s time to turn the volume to 11 and tackle another day on the job with Naked.

12:30 pm

I find the boys in a similarly limber state and before we know it we are off towards the great Pacific Ocean. I’m really hamming it up with em now, yeah boys Mackenzie’s Bay is the place to be, it’s really gonna be a great one! There’s a natural water slide! There’s heaps of dogs! Kieran’s eyes light up like a Christmas tree, Rob and Jordy are similarly enthused, like little elves. Here we are bounding down the rocks to another beautiful day but the waves are way too big for these Hobart kids so we kinda just end up rubbing our faces in the water at Tamarama.

2:00 pm

I completely forgot. We went to Gordon’s Bay – now that was a fucking good one. We ignored the sea lice warnings because tbh wtf is a sea lice anyway? We’re swimming and Rob disappears for a bit so I see an in to tell a funny story to Kieran and Jordy about how people drown at Gordon’s all the time! Then Rob reappears so it becomes a really funny story and almost a bit of a gotcha. ☹

3:30 pm

We have now been having a discussion for around 15 minutes about the most equitable way to split our 6 potato scallops between four. We could cut each scallop into four giving a grand total of 24 slices of scallop and each of us getting 6 healthy bits of scallop. But 24 is too close to 23 which is Rob’s favourite number but also his arch nemesis so we try and figure out a way to change it to 23.

In the end we just end up eating the 6 scallops and nobody really paid much attention to who got what but it was really fun and we are sitting in some nice cushy grass in front of a big old house in the eastern suburbs. Doesn’t get much more live than this.

8:30 pm

Woah! This night is cool. I just ran into a girl that I met through the popular dating app Tinder. It was a bit of an awkward exchange but I think that is probably because she was jealous that I was hanging out with my band mates. I smoked a cigarette and felt cool and my anxiety at seeing her was gone pretty soon thereafter.

After the gig Rob got called a hottie! It drew some awkward and nervous laughter but there was not any further rock dogging to be had there. It’s always nice to receive compliments like that though so I’m sure Rob was really chuffed.

12:00 am

I have to leave the gig and try and find my way home now.

Anyways. Pretty pumped for the road trip to Canberra. I am really looking forward to the seat of power and really want to see Lenore Taylor and/or David Marr and/or Cory Bernardi.

Sydney version 2.0: 5 out of 5 rockdogs – I completely forgot that Rob’s dad turned up to the gig! Apparently he never comes to see the Nakeds in Hobart so that’s pretty rock of his dad. Good work Mr Fisher.

 

Day 9 – Canned bears ahh?

11:15 am

We are in the juicy van, on the way to our nation’s capital. The seat of power! There’s a really noticeable buzz amongst the Nakeds and I’m pretty sure it’s because we are all still riding high from the reception Kieran got from the crowd last night when he mentioned Insiders and the fact that he met Mike Bowers. For those of you who don’t know Mike Bowers does the segment on Insiders called Talking Pictures. He is a political photographer predominantly for the Guardian and seems like an all-around top bloke. Some legends in the crowd last night realised that and made a brief woo.

11:30

The highway to Canberra is a desolate wasteland. Wait, I take that back, it starts to look pretty cool once we are out of Sydney, some nice eucalypts and the occasional rolling hill. Oh wait, what the fuck! A fucking windfarm. How hideous. We all collectively vomit and spend 30 minutes cleaning out the van and trying to exhale as much renewable energy as possible.

Those windfarms really hit us hard so we’ve pulled over to take another breather.

2:30 pm

The funniest thing just happened!

If some of this sounds like I’m taking the piss and you don’t believe me then please just believe that this one thing happened and it was seriously warped. Really funny times.

A 12 year old girl just offered Kieran some completely unsolicited advice on his health. We had stopped to have a quick cigarette and coffee, maybe even a vita weat and some avocado and Kieran wandered off a little way as he usually does before turning back to us and saying, “I wish I could have a cigarette!” From the passenger seat of her parked car, this girl turns to Kieran and with a voice barely above a whisper says, “don’t smoke you’ll die.” I honestly don’t know where her parents were but they’ve really drummed a fascist anti-smoking regime into the mind of that poor girl. She probably doesn’t realise that she’s going to die as well, but it sounds like she’d maybe make a good doctor.

3:30pm

Kieran has just confirmed that his Aunty played a character called John in a movie directed by Noah Baumbach. He thinks it was Mistress America and that John was one of the main characters. I haven’t seen the movie so can’t really question Kieran any further but I have a feeling it’s a gotcha. Feel free to leave a comment below if you can confirm or deny whether Kieran’s aunty plays a character called John in Mistress America.

9:30 pm

Canberra ended with a tremendous bang. For anyone who hasn’t been they have really amazing bus shelters and a real great 70s vibe goin through the burbs which quickly degenerates into a pretty vanilla university student urine soaked town. The Phoenix sounded bloody good though and the boys met a true idol of theirs, THAT bloke from TV Colours. He signed a copy of the Monthly. Not just the cover. Literally every page of the Monthly. From the contents to the back cover. It was really nice of him and kind of awkward at the same time but I think we were all friends by the end of the night. True to form the guys rocked the casbah and Kieran even made a few jokes about Canberra.

Kieran: Canned bear a? – [we’re all vegans, but we’ve decided to start a new merch venture and invest in canned wild meat, we’re thinking of selling Canned Bear, ah? .]  ‘ah’ as in , y’see?

Crowd: [largely dumbfounded but some offended silence]

Kieran: We just played in Sydney and they were pretty wild, but not as wild as here.

Crowd: [generally offended silence, a few people laugh and about 6 people exit the bar in protest, someone mutters “aren’t you from Hobart?”]

12:00 am – 4:00 am

A couple of events after the show left me feeling conflicted about Canberra. Firstly, some complete dickhead started talking to us about how he just had sex with an ugly girl in an alleyway. He was complete sludge. SPOILER ALERT part of the reason Massive Cock was written might be that guy.

Secondly, we reached peak tour for a couple of hours when we got back to our friend Kieran’s place (no I knowwwwww what you’re all thinking, not Kieran Sullivan! Another Kieran!). For those of you that aren’t really big on rocking, peak tour is when you reach a point where your brains are kind of fried and think that jokes that make no sense are hilarious; also Powderfinger becomes the best band in the world.

Being on peak tour this night is like being on the set of Rage in the late 90s. I’m so proud to have been involved. It was really the Everest of tour moments and I wish more people could have been there soaking up the rays of good times that soaked us all like a super soaker won during a Cheez TV giveaway.  There is a recording on Kieran’s phone of every song that got sung but here is a rough track list. All acoustic cover versions.

Champagne Supernova

Wonderwall

Black Fingernails, Red Wine

These Days

My Happiness

Funky Monks

Under The Bridge

Canberra: 5 out of 5 rockdogs – we reached peak tour – I felt like Sherpa Tenzing.

Saying goodbye to the guys is like losing my appendix. It really hurts and I have a scar that will last forever but in a good way. It’s 7am and I’m on a Murrays bus really hungover.

After a couple of valiums I am back home, I don’t really know how, so I flop onto my mattress.

All I have to say now is that Naked deserve significantly more recognition than they have currently received but they were named “Triple J Unearthed artist to watch” and that’s a step in the recognition direction.  They’ve also been played on Triple J which means that Naked is one step closer to their dreams of being aussie pop punk starlets. Go Naked good luck on the pitchfork review.

Alex Romano graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts/Law. He lives in Sydney and works as a solicitor. He never wears a suit to work.

Pink Quartz is available now through Tenth Court.

Oh also we got sent this video from Kieran – if you were wondering if they were joking about the Powerderfinger.

 

Read Post →

Naked Tour Diary (Part 1)

, , No Comment

naked-tour-2

Hobart three-piece Naked turn grim irony about the general hopelessness of everything into short, strangled shouts of songs, dredging up all the bad feelings with jagged driving guitar and smartly pointed lyrics.

They’re also extremely funny. There’s something about the crisp air/high unemployment in Tasmania that makes that kind of acidic self-depreciation come as second nature maybe, cuz Hobart tends to bat way above average in likeable ratbag population. So you know a tour diary by the band’s good mate Alex Romano is gonna be worth reading. Alex tagged along for most of the shows on their album tour earlier in the year (following the release of the scathingly wonderful Pink Quartz), to sample the rockdog lifestyle and small-town vegan food.

Naked’s recently released video for the catchy but uncomfortable ‘Blepharitis’, showcases some of the beauty of Australia’s landscape – deep brown earth and rocky bushland, soft winter sun hitting dew-sprinkled leaves. This tour diary does the same – Juicy vans, Grinspoon on the radio, crystal shops, vita wheats.

YouTube Preview Image

 

Alex reckons Naked deserve a Pitchfork review. I’m sorry this isn’t that site, but here goes!

[Long opening paragraph of mostly irrelevant biographical details] [speculation about the band member’s mental state while writing the song/record] [made up genre] [word no one knows, possibly accurate possibly not, who cares?] [backhanded compliment] [7.7 stars].

Naked is a band from Hobart and they deserve a review on Pitchfork

By Alex Romano

On 12 February 2016, Kanye West released his 7th studio album, the Life of Pablo. This will be just a minor footnote in history compared to the fact that the Hobart band, Naked landed in Brisbane to begin a series of dates that rocked the east coast of Australia. Naked is Kieran, Rob and Jordy and I was lucky enough to see most of their shows on tour so I prepared a record of what is probably the greatest Aussie victory since Shane ‘Warnie’ Warne won took a world record breaking 709 Test wickets.

I will be rating each important tour event according to the Rockdog-o-meter. 5 Rockdogs is roughly the equivalent of snorting cocaine off Phil Jamieson’s tummy while Mick Jagger claps gently underneath a blue light, 0 rockdogs is giving a 6 second handshake to Andrew Bolt at a Polo match.

Day 1 – Feb 13 – Brisbane – we met a Go-Between (almost)!!!

4ZZZ Car Park Show

Wandering down the street on an overcast Brisbane day, the whirring of a PA pushed to the limits in the 4ZZZ carpark brings visions of a humid and beer soaked Brisbane that more people should be familiar with. It’s my home and I’m fully stoked there’s a real top notch brizzy welcome for the Naked boys on arrival. When I rock in to the carpark the kings of the Hobart experimental punk scene are already here having a great time, throwing a few fists in the air and crushing some XXXX (beersies) like they were reared up on the banks of the mighty Brisbane River. I hi-five Rob and give a solid embrace to Jordy and Kieran. The band on before them is expressly punk, and called Clever. They live up to their name by starting one of their songs to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas ‘Don’t Funk with My Heart’ but they replaced funk with fuck and heart with shard. Very clever boys. I think what they were saying is that when smoking meth it’s not great to fuck with one’s crystal so it was pretty funny coz also it’s like the crystal is my heart and don’t funk with my heart. They exhibit a force like Cadel Evans on his maiden Tour de France victory and whirlwind their way through a set that basically sends everyone’s jaws to the concrete carpark floor.

Kieran’s pretty visibly shaken. I’m trying to calm him down and soothe his worries that Naked will not be appreciated.

“You’ll be right champion!”

The other guys get in on the act and pretty soon we are all pumping his tyres up. Jordy takes a quick break from pumping Kieran’s tyres to be a self-appointed sound engineer and starts inspecting some wires and shifting the location of the monitors. Kieran’s still a bundle of nerves but before I can blink he’s burned down an interview (at 4:20pm!) and then come out and obliterated the eardrums of all before him. The set was relatively light on jokes, but the crowd was still treated to a stirring rendition of Violent Soho’s Bernard Fanning Stole my Girlfriend. It was a real highlight and almost certainly better than the Violent Soho’s original, everyone around me seems to enjoy it, maybe these Hobart kids have got a future in the alternative mainstream of Australian music!

At the end of the set, someone lets it out of the bag that Robert Forster’s son has been milling about with a goon sack and it sends the band frantically searching for the DNA of a Go-Between. The boys begin to ask around, gradually descending into uncontainable rage when it looks as though Forster disappeared into the spring rain of the streets of our town. Please stay safe young Forster, do not lose yourself in a Darlinghurst night. Steal a few bachelor kisses with Lee Remick and Karen but just make sure you don’t end up on your arse in the cattle and the cane but I guess love goes on anyway. [ML: guys I see Louis Forster on the bus every day you gotta relax]

The promise of people and alcohol at 116 (pretty trendy little house in the Brizness) drew The Nakeds away for a quick bevy before the night show. At the 116 the boys took the best photo of the tour, unfortunately for Kieran he didn’t actually feature in the photo. Rob and Jordy are now secretly plotting to have Kieran removed from the band and replaced with Matt Kennedy of Kitchen’s Floor. I will try not to tell Kieran, it will be my cross to bear for the rest of the tour.

naked-tour-1

[Best photo of the tour – Naked on the Kitchen Floor – not Metallica]

4ZZZ carpark gig rating: 4 out of 5 Rockdogs (the only thing stopping it from 5 rockdogs was the PA not quite coping with the iphone beats and the sound not quite being the best. Maybe the band should think about employing a drummer like the guy writing their tour diary – Kieran’s banter was also limited.)

While the guys were having a few more long island ice teas, I had a delicious burger and made my way to the scene of the next Naked gig, Trainspotters. It was mc’d by renowned food and life critic, Aaron Gocs! He made a really good joke about his daughter not loving him and generally hosted a really bonza night, the only thing it was missing was some vegan sangas and it really would have been the best night of our lives.

Also, Aaron (or Mr Gocs) if you are reading this could you please send me the text of the joke that you told on tour about your daughter, I laughed really hard and I’d like to retell it to mates as if it were my own. My favourite Aaron moment was when he leaned over and whispered in my ear that Kieran was reading out Grinspoon lyrics during Run At Me, it sent us both giddy and I had to steady myself on the bar. Phil Jamieson is a serious idol of all Australians and was robbed on season three of the X Factor even though he had serious X Factor as he is basically the face of Generation X.

I got a hi-five and a photo with Aaron after we’d calmed down and I’m really glad that he was who I thought he was and that he also liked Grinspoon, he must really have a (Chemical) heart after all.

I should probably also mention the other bands that played tonight. Pillow Pro played early on in the night but I missed them, I heard they sounded really in tune for most of the set [ML: Is this a diss? Pillow Pro are great [Confirmed: Not a diss. Alex also thinks Pillow Pro are great]]. Cannon played before Naked and I reckon they are gonna be a hard act to follow.

Woah! Hang on! Naked lost control! The show was a really big thrill! Rob banged the cymbal with enthusiasm, Kieran also sung in tune and Jordy rocked out with a beaming smile. Jordy always looks pretty happy during the sets so far which is awesome to see, good onya Jordy. Everyone had an absolute blast and I even got a compliment from a real big chiller with taking photos of the gig who was very impressed by the fact that I knew the band. His exact words were, “that’s sick!”

It sure was sick mate!

Trainspotters ratings: 5 out of 5 rockdogs – the only way this one could have been better is if Robert Forster’s son had turned up. Or if Bernard Fanning and Kieran’s ex-girlfriend had turned up.

Day 2 – Feb 14 – Leaving Home by Grinspoon (Fuck Jebediah) – personal joke fyi

I lost track of times in Brisbane sorry Mum but I’ve kept them from now on. Sorry, just be aware that now each event will have a little time stamp but it doesn’t mean that Brisbane was in some kind of time vacuum.

9:00 am [sorry I was too rocked out in Brisbane to keep track of the time and I didn’t wanna just lie and make up times for my thoughts]

The boys pick me up in a Juicy van. I am begging for the abyss to take me, what is there worth living for anymore? A little voice kicks me in the back of the head and says the Naked tour so I’m back on top. There is some significant discussion about an ABN and whether it is worthwhile for the band to acquire one. I could not want to listen to this any fucking less and neither could Kez. We politely begin to nod off as Rob insists that he is –

“not having a go Jordy”

-he just wants to get to the bottom of it. Fair enough but the bottom of what exactly Rob?

“The pros and cons, that sort of stuff of course!”

I don’t know much about business so I don’t interject, I’m also technically not in the band. Jordy raises his voice slightly, not to a level of anger, but there is clearly something I would maybe classify as “irk.” He basically stares through Rob’s soul and tells him,

“No you are wrong Robert, I am right.”

Kieran is asleep solidifying his role as the most important member of the band but also the most useless. We’re all a little bit tired I think but this glam rock lifestyle will do it to you.

11:30 am

Someone has now whacked on Grinspoon. I have a feeling this tour is going to be full of grinners…Even though I’m really hungry, I hope we stop at Dreamworld and take a photo because I haven’t been there in a long while.

11:45 am

We did not stop at Dreamworld. Or Hollywood on the Gold Coast. Instead we are now driving around looking for a carpark in Tweed Heads.

12:10pm

We’ve found a park. We all just got to piss and swim and eat a bit of a single mushroom panini with some very rustic potatoes. If you didn’t know we were on tour you do now.

2:30 pm

Lismore is pretty much how I remember it! Absolutely chocka block of Grinspoon tribute signs, tempeh burgers and people selling crystals. There were also a lot of funny looking people giving funny looks and sideways glances to Rob. I think they were surprised that a man can still wear a dress and look “sexy.” For the tour record, Rob’s floral number is very cute and I think he has definitely left an imprint on Lismore and definitely left an imprint on the bottle shop attendant who couldn’t stop having a look.

The space where the band is playing is a bit smelly and relatively empty, we all nod in approval at the suggestion that we crash anywhere else but in this room tonight. The exterior of the building reminds me of a youth detention centre cell block like the one sung about in Sprinters of the World Unite, or also a school building (woah!). There are some good vibes and a lot of brick, a real sense that not everything is lost, despite the rugged exterior. I’m sure the guys want to just play the show and move on but they will give a good one for the fans.

5:00 pm

They gave a good one. An angry guy in a Bunnings hat and T-shirt has other ideas though so I asked him for his thoughts.

An interview with “name withheld” regarding the band Naked at See Space in Lismore

Q: What do you think of See space?

I’m pretty much a regular down at See Space, it’s one of the few joints in Lismore that you can really let your hair down.

Q: Cool! What brought you to the gig?

I was a bit sweaty after having gone to Bunnings earlier in the day [points to shirt and hat with toothy grin]. I just think they have a very well curated selection of useful equipment, much more so than Masters, it’s probably why Masters went broke. Fuck Woolworths! Or Coles. I mean fuck em both but yeah especially fuck whichever one of them does Masters.

Q: What did you think about the song Massive Cock?

Yeah sure they have a song called Massive Cock but that sure as hell isn’t about a dick. It’s about some kind of male guilt. I wasn’t particularly interested.

Q: Was there any part of the gig you enjoyed?

Yeah, when I went outside about halfway through the set to finish my glass of Pinot Grigio.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

I think the last song they played was called Critical Arseholes. That one was ok. And so was one at the start that had a pretty punchy rhythm. It had some stupid long jokey kind of title that those guys think must be funny or ironic probably. The youth of today are lost, that’s what just kept going round in my head over and over and it was driving me mental so I had to step outside. The vocals were too out of key as well and I think the singer was trying on some kind of Smith Street Band type of thing. I don’t really know how I feel about them.

5:30 pm

As we drive out of the town there are endless signs essentially saying the same thing “coal seam gas, 96% of people in X town don’t want you.” A wave of disappointment floods over me, why didn’t Kieran make a joke about the previous Naked ep being titled Coal Seam Jazz? Should I have mentioned this connection earlier? Maybe then old mate would have liked the band more. You can’t pander to everyone though. Sorry.

Thanks for having us Lismore. We are going to Bunnings now because Jordy wants coffee in the morning. Apprently Bunnings sells gas for coffee but not sleeping bags? Go figure. I am excited for the coffee though.

6:05 pm

We need a wind down after Bunnings so it’s off to a little slice of heaven known as “Minion Falls.” The only Minions we saw were stuck to the back of a Toyota Tarago though which was a bit of a bum out! The water in the falls was very chill and we got some great piccies courtesy of a couple of lovers who were getting ready to make their own little army of minion loving monsters heh. Anyway, cheers for the photos guys, here is one of them. Strong recommend. Happy Valentines Day.

naked-tour-2

8:30 pm

We’re on the road to Lennox Heads now to camp under the stars. One Love.

Lismore: 2 out of 5 rockdogs – smelly, not enough Grinspoon and too much Bunnings not enough Masters.

Alex Romano graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts/Law. He lives in Sydney and works as a solicitor. He never wears a suit to work.

Part 2 Tomorrow

Pink Quartz is available now through Tenth Court

Facebook / Bandcamp

Read Post →

LABEL PROFILE: Provenance Records

, , No Comment

provenance

Stu Buchanan has been a staple of the Australian music community since emigrating from Scotland in 2003. He wasted no time in immersing himself in the local Sydney scene, launching the lauded Fat Planet program on FBi Radio later that year. According to Stu, his time at FBi gave him ‘a quick education in terms of what was going on’ and allowed him to become heavily invested in the scene.

The award-winning and far-reaching New Weird Australia project followed in 2009. A multi-faceted endeavour, it produced compilations, live shows and a long-running radio program on FBi. NWA highlighted Stu’s ear for interesting and unconventional music across all genres, as he scoured the country for emerging talent and provided a platform for their music to be heard. The project also birthed the netlabel Wood & Wire, which focussed on releases from individual artists. It clocked up some 37 releases in total, from the likes of Kučka, Pollen Trio, Setec and Fatti Frances, to name just a few.

After such a successful and prolific period, Stu made the decision to retire the NWA and Wood & Wire projects – firstly due to the energy and focus required to maintain such high levels of output. And secondly, he felt there were more ‘great writers, radio shows, websites and gig series, all promoting similar artists,’ which gave him the peace of mind to bring these platforms to a close.

Never one to rest on his laurels, though, Stu recently launched brand new label Provenance Records. When asked about the origin of the label, Stu notes that first signing, Medicine Voice (aka Sar Friedman), was in some ways responsible for him setting up the label. ‘Sar sent me the album I And Thou a couple of years ago and asked if I wanted to release it. I adored it, to me it sounded like Bat For Lashes backed by Sunn O))) – a beautiful combination. But I had already wound down NWA and didn’t have a record label, so I declined. Another year went by, and Sar asked me again. I thought, “If no one else is going to release this, I’ll just need to start a label and release it myself.” And here we are.’

Although Stu cites the huge output of his previous projects as a reason for their ultimate conclusion, Provenance has certainly picked up the mantle, already responsible for 8 releases in 2016 alone. Working with both new and familiar artists, the Provenance catalogue is forging its own eclectic and challenging path – from the lo-fi psych-folk of outsider artist Paneye and the dark pop balladry of Lovely head, to the electronic abstractions of Canberra’s Spartak.

Due to the idiosyncratic world which Provenance inhabits, Stu admits that ‘sometimes you can feel like you’re pushing shit uphill and getting nowhere, but then sometimes people surprise you. Some places that I thought would be into it have been unresponsive, but the converse is also true. Which is frustrating and validating in equal measure. So it’s been a process of recalibrating my own expectations. It’s a weird fucking time to be releasing music. People don’t “buy” music the same way they did even a year or two ago, so every release involves some kind of adjustment.’

In addition to new albums from Aphir, Kris Keogh, KAIA, and Sensaround due in 2017, Stu is also considering hosting live shows again. This time around he wants to go beyond the conventional ‘gig’, instead looking to combine multiple artistic mediums in interesting and unpredictable ways. Reminiscing about the first event he ever staged, Stu says, ‘I miss those kind of unexpected happenings – where the audience doesn’t necessarily know what’s going to occur next, where no one feels safe. That’s the kind of shit I want to do next.’

Website / Bandcamp / Facebook

Read Post →