Look, I could probably just post this song with ‘Heart Beach continue to rule’ and leave it at that. If you know the Tasmanian three-piece you know they make impenetrably solid, understatedly powerful indie rock.
New single ‘Brittle’ continues the trends of much of their debut self-titled record from last year: two guitars playing the same great riff, two low-key and likeable voices working together to drive the kinda nostalgic kinda hopeful lyrics forward. A steady beat, a terrific bass hook. Maybe that sounds like formula but it’s more like direction – Heart Beach make confident music. They know what they wanna say and they say it well every time.
The emotional ‘brittleness’ of this song comes from in the tension of trying to hold it together, to look like you’re fine on the outside while inside shit couldn’t be more wrong. The measured vocals come out like a speech rehearsed in the mirror. There’s a lot going on under the surface of those fuzzy guitars, the drums constant, spare and flat. I’ll rehash the Pixies comparison cause it’s there, but without the over-seriousness that usually plagues those who try to go for the serious Pixies vibe too hard.
The more poppy elements help to offset the cruelty of the phrase ‘I can’t believe that he got over you’, so it takes a few repetitions for it to really sink in. Then by the time it does the song is just about over, and you have to play it again. And again.
Heart Beach have just been signed to Spunk Records, and their next record Kiss Your Face will be out later in the year.
Golden Syrup is the new experimental pop act from songwriter and sound artist Sara Retallick. You might recognise her sweet-toned pipes from Melbourne band Jimmy Tait, whose 2013 AMP-nominated record Golden was a favourite here at WTH.
On debut track ‘Didn’t Go Home’, Retallick takes a sharp turn from her former indie rock project. Woven out of samples, field recordings and tape manipulations, the new material is spare, sinister and oddly ritualistic. Droning bass notes and a work-gang rhythm underpin Retallick’s incantatory vocals, while shards of noise and disembodied laughter unsettle the track’s placid surface.
‘I went to your birthday party/and I didn’t go home again,’ she sings, darkly. Seldom has a song about hooking up sounded quite so creepy.
Golden Syrup’s single launch party is this Friday at the Gasometer. Moon Rituals, Time for Dreams and Superstar side project Various Asses will be supporting, plus Laura Jean will pop in for a DJ set. RSVP on Facebook.
People in Brisbane like to gently make fun of Thigh Master for opening pretty much any given rock show on any given weekend. But I don’t know, I think they’re the kind of band you can pretty happily see heaps of times – their sound is a mix of the familiar , catchy and emotionally affecting that’s at once comforting and exciting.
New single ‘Canned Opening’ is less frantic and furious than previous cut ‘Company’ – it’s kind of introspective but never earnest. Matthew Ford has such downer-boy vocal delivery that if the music was too over-serious it wouldn’t work at all – luckily these guys write hooks that go down easier than domestic beer, with funny little wonky pops of whammy-assisted guitar in-between.
‘Both Company’ and ‘Canned Opening’ will be released on their album, Early Times, out via new label Coolin’ By Sound in October. They’re savvy choices because they capture the Thigh Master vibe pretty perfectly: ‘I don’t like you, I don’t care for myself much either, but that won’t stop us from trying to have a good time’.
Thigh Master will be playing Big Sound next week if you happen to be heading down to that, and probably plenty more times at other places in the future.
Mid-last year TEEF released Imperium In Imperio, a compilation of exclusive tracks from a veritable goldmine of local talent including Collarbones, Setec and Electric Sea Spider amongst many others. While the TEEF roster leans towards bedroom pop and electronica, the extensive list of artists featured on the compilation cover a lot of ground, stylistically speaking, without losing the sense of cohesion needed to make such releases succeed. And to top it off, the profits from the release were given to OXFAM’s Nepal relief fund, after a devastating earthquake struck the South Asian country in May last year.
Here we are a little over 12 months later, and Tommy’s at it once again with Imperium In Imperio II. Keeping with the eclectic nature of the first compilation, the 18-track second instalment features a slew of great artists with equally diverse and engrossing offerings – from the exquisitely squashed hip-hop entry from Sampa the Great, and the hypnotic warmth of Tracy Chen, to the ghostly 2-step groove of IljusWifmo. Once again the proceeds will be donated to OXFAM, this time for the Syrian refugee appeal, helping OXFAM provide food, water and sanitation to some of the 13.5 million people who have fled their homes over the last five years.
Grab this amazing compilation now and not only will you support this great cause, you will also show some much deserved love to your new favourite label, TEEF.
‘Timeliness is for fucking NERDS’ – me to myself justifying writing about this song from Military Position (Harriet Kate Morgan, from Melbourne) weeks after it was released. I’m sure other things have come out that less people have heard of that deserve attention but are they this heavy with tension and danger and that gutsy industrial techno that I can’t get enough of right now? Nah.
There’s hints of Kirin J Callinan in Morgan’s vocals – that authoritative kind of Australian accent most of us nasal creeps will never pull of – but she’s fucking around even less. Everything here is laced with threat.
It’s the feeling of being followed, clenching your fists and standing up tall. Tick tock drum machines in the last minute making everything sound even more ominous. Whatever their counting down to, I don’t know if I want to see it. It’s a tough fucking song that works as a response to, as well as a mirror for, masculine aggression. It’s the blood beating in your ears when you don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into. It’s sick.
‘Made to Fight’ will be out on a forthcoming release called Black Noise C30 on Trapdoor Tapes
“NEVER WILL I EVER KNOW” goes the cry on Shady Nasty’s hellfire post-punk debut single, ‘Upwardsbound’.
You’ll scream it into singer Kevin Stathis’ face sometime soon I reckon, mutual spit flying across the space between band and audience. Reminds me of going through my La Dispute phase, catching them play an under 18s show at Irene’s Warehouse in 2010, where 16 year olds slammed into each other like amateur wrestlers, basking in the cacophony of angst and noise and Jordan Dreyer’s hyper-poeticised versions of heartbreak.
This isn’t to compare those two bands on any musical level though – Shady Nasty are cut from a wholly different cloth. ‘Upwardsbound’ is scattershot in all the different things it tries to achieve, but it succeeds in every area. Stathis’ wry, knowing vocal delivery; that pin-prick guitar, ascending over the verses. It all converges in a stadium-sized tremolo freak out, over which Stathis cries “but I can’t not feel that I’m sick with envy”. While the sounds Shady Nasty are bringing through aren’t untapped, their delivery is something damn original.
The video going along with ‘Upwardsbound’ has its own sinister edge, but somehow it achieves this with fruit abuse, dry ice, and some liberal head wobble. The band tries to keep up appearances in a cute domestic setting, but the instrumentation makes it sound like the world is ending outside.
As someone comments on ‘Upwardsbound’ on the group’s Facebook page: “there’s tunes, and there’s top notch ridgey didge grungey inner west makeyathink classic tunes”.
Check out the video below, directed by Anna Philips and Sam Brumby.
A good low-budget clip should make you think two things: ‘hey that’s cool’ and ‘these guys are cool’. Alex Gordon-Smith’s one shot, one take (yeah, let’s not fuck around) clip for Adelaide band Wireheads’ ‘So Softly Spoken’, off their recent album Arrive Alive (which we liked heaps), does just that.
It starts off inside a share house with an effective mix of the surreal and mundane, matching the haphazard energy of the first half of the track perfectly. This is a song that sounds like it could be coming through the floor into your room while your housemates band practised downstairs – if that band was actually good.
Then the tempo slows, becomes more reflective and romantic, as the camera’s blurry gaze shifts to the world outside, walking down familiar suburban streets, smoking durries and drinking tallies, eating whole heads of lettuce. The clip ends with the members of the band (and other bands – Adelaide mates from Rule of Thirds, The High Beamers, Gentleworms, and more were roped in for the shoot) walking down the street playing guitar, or wearing a stained wedding dress and drinking a bottle of red wine.
It’s a melancholy note to end on – this band house with your mates stuff doesn’t last forever, things change all the time. With that in mind this clip becomes a weird, slightly dark but affectionate document of a specific time and place and people.