Recent Posts

LISTEN: Hi-Tec Emotions – Hard to Handle LP

, , No Comment

copy-of-_eag0433_11200

I’m kinda jealous of the teenage girls who get to see bands like Hi-Tec Emotions in their first gig experiences. To hear a woman be unapologetic about their fears and desires and doubts is powerful. You know, instead of a bunch of dudes singing about how they’re too fucked up to feel love or whatever.

I wish I’d got to hear something like the desperate power of ‘Tears of Love’, or the raucously demanding ‘Look Around’, the first track and early single from their new record Hard to Handle, that kicks you straight into the deep end. That song, in tandem with ‘Beyond the Depths’s radical declaration ’I feel desire / and I want the power’, makes as commanding a statement of intent as you’ll hear. To admit want, or worse, need, as a woman is still something that makes people uncomfortable – but Hi-Tec Emotions do it with such stark clarity and power that you feel like it doesn’t have to be like that.

The music is all about maximum impact – the drums stripped back and frantic, bass nipping at the heels of the rhythm urging you to keep up, new-wave keys careen under Ema Dunstan’s ever-soaring vocals.

I wanna say it gets slightly heavy-handed with lines like ‘And I dream of a world where I can say / all the things I ever felt without debate’ and a couple of the more misty-eyed later tracks. But do I just feel that way cuz I’ve become allergic to sincerity? Because hearing this kind of bald-faced acknowledgment of inequality is still rare in the music I regularly listen to, so it makes me feel weird? Probably.

With Hard to Handle, Hi-Tec Emotions have made something that is utterly convincing in its outrage – the kind of thing I could see people fighting to the front row at shows to belt out those powerfully empathetic choruses as close to the band they can get. And, on top of all of that, a very fun record.

Hard to Handle is out on Listen Records this Friday November 4, when they’ll be launching it at The Tote with Spike Fuck (!!!!), Cable Ties and Suss Cunts. Go have a big shout.

Facebook / Soundcloud

VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: 100%

, , No Comment

Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Illustrations by Lucy Roleff

Brisbane trio 100% make synth-driven post punk brimming with infectious grooves carved from primitive drum machine rhythms and suitably stony vocals.

Their self-titled debut, released via the always on point Moontown records in April last year, is a fully realised declaration, perfectly capturing the group’s musical vision. Their sound is a culmination of their diverse influences, from 80’s pop divas and 90’s house music, to their other musical projects including Rebel Yell, Cannon, and Heavy Breather. All of which makes perfect sense in the final result.

On ‘Lost Youth’, the lead single from their forthcoming EP You are 100%, the trio continue to deliver the goods with their most irresistible offering to date, along with an accompanying film clip which visually captures the mood of the song.

YouTube Preview Image

For the ninth instalment in our Virtual Mixtape series the individual members guide us through some of their favourite movie soundtracks, a suitable theme considering some of the initial influences on the group’s sound were gleaned from synth-heavy film scores.

100%

Grace’s Selection:

HACKERS (1995)

I only watched Hackers about two years ago, stupid!! Fashion, music, the total misrepresentation of what they thought the future would be. The film follows teen hackers who rollerblade everywhere and hack into huge company computers for fun. Angelina Jolie is a total babe and I’m still searching for a mad quicksilver rashie that she reps during the film.

‘Halcyon On and On’ by Orbital (named one of the most inspirational/emotional songs of all time) opens the movie, it starts slow and builds and builds until that beat drops and you’re in the bloody groove 3 mins into the 9 min song (thank god it’s 9 mins). P.S. please also watch the film clip, it is made from BBC planet earth footage.

[Grace also designs and sells great stuff under the name Halcyon On + On]

YouTube Preview Image

‘Cowgirl’ by Underworld, woah. This started me down a whole new path of dark tech. Repetitive, builds, drops, it is just so hypnotising. The little snares and shakers that keep adding one by one to create the hype before the bass drum kicks in is something that helps inspire ideas for the drum beats I create in 100% (obviously not at the pace of this song!).

YouTube Preview Image

Of course ‘Voodoo People’ features in the final hack of the film. Jolie says “alright lets boot up” and then commences The Prodigy’s greatest track (~controversial~). All these songs are insanely captivating for me and possibly due to their repetitive nature, I just love them. Hackers for life.

YouTube Preview Image

DRIVE (2011)

The Drive soundtrack is everything right about the music I love today. Synths, arpeggiators, electric drums, what more can I say. The score by Cliff Martinez drives [ 😉 ] the whole film with added bonuses of songs from College, Kavinsky and The Chromatics. Accompanied by Ryan Gosling’s face in a neo-noir crime thriller.

‘Tick of the Clock’ is another one of my slow build favourites. Not much really “happens” in it, but the underlying groove is something I could be absorbed in for hours.

YouTube Preview Image

College & Electric Youth’s ‘A Real Hero’ is easily one of my favourite tracks on the album. It’s sad and beautiful, that’s all I can really say.

YouTube Preview Image

If I had to pick a favourite of Kavinsky’s, I could not go past ‘Night Call’. An absolute groove, slow but punchy drums and a synth line that sticks with you. The vocals change between a distorted robotic male and a soft female vocal right at the point where a new synth sound comes in. It’s a perfect combination.

I never have and don’t think I ever will, get sick of listening to this soundtrack. A+++

YouTube Preview Image

Lena’s Selection:

SUSPIRIA – GOBLIN (1977)

Music like this just becomes embodied by the scenes it’s given to. Goblin are intrinsically linked with filmmaker Dario Argento and the collaboration for the film Suspiria is one of the finest musical-cinematic scores in collaboration. You can get haunted with synesthesia from the sound of the italian technicolour seeping into this track. Its divine and sickly. I would love to see this performed by the Goblins live, but I would probably blindfold myself out of fear. Great original scores fill you with feeling and there is delirium in this opening number, regret and momentum. Drop out of Ballet school or else, become a witch.

YouTube Preview Image

PRETTY IN PINK (1986)

I have an indefensible love for Brat Pack films and this, in conjunction with a desire for the macabre in the likes of Suspiria for example, is something I hope can come through in a project like 100%. Pretty in Pink is absolutely the best one in my opinion, it covers all the necessary ground and has a gorgeous soundtrack. I think that John Hughes would have by the time this film came through, conditioned some sense of responsibility for the taste of an audience who came out to see these films, as well as cutting ground for bands on the edge at that time. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s ‘If You Leave’ was written for the film and is the kind of cheesy bittersweet ambiguous love notes you want for an end credits-roll piece. Take note, we’ve written one for our next release and we’ll do it again.

YouTube Preview Image

Chloe’s Selection:

THE WEDDING SINGER (1998)

I’m not usually one for rom coms, but this Adam Sandler masterpiece pulls my heart strings. The films aesthetic and soundtrack resonates with 100%, it’s cheeky and fun. I highly recommend purchasing the soundtrack – The Wedding Singer volumes one and two, you won’t be disappointed. Adam Sandler plays Robbie Hart, a hopeless romantic wedding singer and he’s never looked better.

The opening of the film features the song ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’ by Dead or Alive, sung by Sandler. This wedding party scene has it all, shoulder pads, mullets, breakdancing, cocktails and an outrageously large wedding cake. Everything I could ever wish for. This song is an upbeat 80’s synth hit, and matches the scene perfectly.

YouTube Preview Image

‘Blue Monday’ by New Order is a personal favourite. It mixes a 70’s disco vibe with dark 80’s synth pop, both genres I am hugely inspired by. It’s a perfect sad dance track, just over 7 minutes long with driving drums and bass. This is a sound that greatly influences my synth playing. The song is heard during the club scene, neon lights and disco balls throughout.

‘White Wedding’ by Billy Idol is another favourite featured in the movie. Billy idol makes a guest appearance as himself in this film, seen sporting his signature biker wear and bleached hair. Hot hot hot.

YouTube Preview Image

And how could I leave out The Boss. I’ve seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live twice now with my dad, both times were inspiring and captivating. Springsteen’s energy and antics on stage is like nothing I’ve ever experience before. He’s a powerful rocker, giving it all. ‘Hungry Heart’ is a neat 80’s rock ballad, with a funky keyboard part to match. Five stars.

YouTube Preview Image

You are 100%, the forthcoming EP from 100% is due out on Moontown Records soon so stay tuned.

Facebook / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

WATCH: Men With Chips – ‘Ardrossan’

, , No Comment

men-with-chips

People say Adelaide is weird like Brisbane used to be but isn’t anymore. I say no one here was ever that weird, just like, hot and cranky. But maybe that’s why I have really strong good feelings about nearly every Adelaide band – seems like they’ve got the same kind of ‘maybe we hate each other but this town’s too small not to try and get along’ *community* thing as Brisbane. Idk I’ve never been.

Men With Chips are an Adelaide band that I have strong good feelings about, and they’ve made a ridiculous, but genuinely kind of unnerving video for their latest single ‘Ardrossan’ that oughta strike fear into a lot of hearts. Two words: jazz cult. Esteemed members of the Adelaide music community are hunted down on an overcast day at the innocuous SA seaside by overall-wearing horn players and killed(?) by bursts of loud random FREE JAZZ.

YouTube Preview Image

The video was directed by Pat Telfer from Old Mate and Bitch Prefect, who really knows what he’s doing behind the camera; his clips always look great. It’s obviously a funny idea, and they pull it off with a commitment that, coupled with the jittery drumming and low bending bass of the verses, make it also pretty creepy.

The record, called Attention Spent, will be out on November the 4th, (preorder through Homeless here) though we’ve been previously given another taste with longer cut ‘And Counting’. This dankly terrific track coughs up gear grinding guitar and the same commanding vocals that only demand more attention as they get increasingly slurred and nonsensical. Everything Joel Robertson sings sounds simultaneously like a manifesto and a cry for help.

Ignore anywhere that says the record was out October 28th. Homeless Records, never change.

Men With Chips are playing the following dates in support of Attention Spent:

Friday November 11 – The Gunners Arms Tavern, Launceston

Wednesday November 16 – The Old Bar, Melbourne

Thursday November 17 – Dane Certificate’s Magic Tricks, Gags and Theatre, Melbourne

Friday November 18 – Lacklustre Records, Canberra

Saturday November 19 – Black Wire Records, Sydney

Thursday November 24 – The Wooly Mammoth, Brisbane

Saturday November 26 – 4ZZZ Carpark Show, Brisbane

Saturday December 3 – The Exter Hotel, Adelaide

Friday December 9 – The Bird, Perth

Sunday December 11 – Mojo, Fremantle

Facebook

P.S I heard that Dave Blumbergs, the bass player in this band, is working on some kind of Adelaide Underground Rock Opera. If anyone has more information please get in touch. Need this scoop.

LISTEN: EXEK – ‘Biased Advice’

, , No Comment

exek

One of the things music writers do that I hate the most is calling music ‘cinematic’ BECAUSE 1) literally any music can be used to score a film, means nothing and 2) what, it’s dramatic? It’s moving? It easily conjures up a lot of images? Well, say that.

Biased Advice by Melbourne band Exek easily conjures up a lot of images – dark rooms fogs basements faces pressed again cold windows sinister shit.

Biased Advice was released earlier this month so I’m a little late on writing this up. Actually, really really late considering half of the record is made up different versions of songs released in 2014. But these are pretty distinct version, rerecorded with new permanent band members and instruments. Biased Advice is way more fleshed-out, though the sound is far from full. The emptiness of these songs is what makes them creepy and interested.

Distant, echo-y production, clattering percussion, snare hits linger and hiss. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint where the sound is coming from. I listened to it a lot home alone one night and had to get up more than once and check there was no one in the house. Though there’s also an underlying undeniable groove to these songs, the way they’re propelled by simple slow-burn bass lines – and the way ‘A Hedonist’ kind of sounds like a fucked ‘Chick Habit’ – makes the menace intriguing.

Highlight ‘Replicate’ gives us fragments of cynical, disaffected declarations, a searing guitar line and strings that hound the listener into attention. Tossed off lyrics like stick figured/ adolescent/ disinfectant/ replicant/ it reminds me of you’;  That’s not interesting / that’s old news’, are short-hand for cynical disaffected listeners to pick up on and make meaning out of. It’s music based on mood – to spell it out would ruin it.

Side B of the tape is all one sixteen minute song, ‘Baby Giant Squid’, which sounds like the name of a fucking Pond song but the psych touches Exek utilize throughout this record are way more squat than stadium. The final track slow-builds from a dreamy, sci-fi soundscape of screeching guitars and low-key jazzy bass into a cacophony of bells and chimes, before a long spacey fade-out.

Go see Exek at Maggot Fest this weekend if you’re going. And ask them to come back to Brisbane thanks.

Facebook / Bandcamp

LISTEN: Friendships – ‘Nullarbor 1988-1989’ LP

, , 1 Comment

nullarbor

Melbourne based audio/visual duo friendships return with their new album Nullarbor 1988-1989, a tribute to the arid stretch of land that separated the duo in their respective home towns of Jerramungup and Footscray.

This is a truly original work that the duo admits may not appeal to all fans, but as they have stated “it’s exactly what we wanted to create and is exactly what we want to say.”
Gone are the playful, feel good vibes, replaced with pummelling rhythms and sinister, rolling bass lines. This is not dance floor elation. This is dance floor decimation

Nullarbor2

The album wastes no time in making its intentions known. Opener ‘Big Farm in the Sky’ slowly unfurls with an ascending amen break and simmering synth arpeggios which give the track an air of euphoria. But from then on it’s straight down to business, and things don’t let up until the album’s death knell. This comes via the film score sparseness of album closer ‘Keep Smiling At Me Like That And You’ll Be Picking Your Teeth Up Out Of The Gutter’, with its pensive piano chords set against mechanical noises recalling petrol monsters roaring down the highway, or the cold, indifferent steel of the abattoir killing floor.

And whilst the musical cues come from around the globe the album is undeniably Australian. Whether it’s the thematic elements explored by the duo, the accompanying imagery, or the spoken word passages and their unsettling evocation of violence and menace; this is an unflinching ode to this harsh, at times nightmarish land.

Watch the stunning video for ‘The Roof’ below and grab the full album here.

YouTube Preview Image

Bandcamp / Facebook / YouTube

WATCH: Dag – ‘Staying Up at Night’

, , No Comment

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Photo by Helena Papageorgiou

The first single from Dag’s debut LP The Benefits of Solitude, ‘Staying up at Night’ came out last month. I wanted to write it up then but, honestly, I liked it too much. It’s too breezy and, despite the uneasy melancholy of the lyrics and Dusty Anastassiou’s naturally doleful voice, rolls by so easily. It’s is a pop song from the jaunty acoustic guitar to the warmth and fullness of the chorus to the bow ba-bow bow bow bass line. To try and stop and think about like, ‘why do I like this so much? How can I explain what’s good about it?’ felt like it would ruin something, so I let it pass by.

But here’s a second chance, cause we got the very lucky scoop of premiering the video. It’s the work of Brisbane director and musician Helena Papageorgiou, who’s been responsible for many of the best clips you’ve been seeing coming out of Bris lately. This is a (deceptively) simple but imaginative and lovable version of the ‘we’ll have the band play their song, with green screen stuff also happening’ kind of video.

In it Anastassiou, Sky McNichol (Bent), Josh Watson (Sewers; also mixed and co-produced the record) and Matthew Ford (Thigh Master), who make up the Brisbane contingent of the band (Anastassiou now lives in Melbourne and plays with different members there), play their instruments in a dingy share house-looking room, while out the windows animated illustrations spin and swirl.

The drawings are by Anastassiou himself: colourful fun and freaky pictures of UFOs and weird misshapen people and anthropomorphic houses. There’s a wild world going on outside the concrete walls the band are contained by – though they break out at the end, with some cool shots of those walking down some animated streets and losing their heads in the big city.

YouTube Preview Image

This clip doesn’t rest on a cute idea or one-watch novelty – you see something new and interesting in Anastassiou’s drawings and Papageorgiou’s animation with every repeat watch.

Benefits of Solitude will be out in February on Bedroom Suck

Facebook / Bandcamp

LISTEN: Alex Macfarlane – ‘Cassette 2016’ & Hanibaf – ‘First Time Caller’

, , No Comment

alex-macfarlane sydney-2000

Hello and welcome to the first and possible only instalment of a new feature: mixtapes you may enjoy listening to at work or while relaxing and being low-key.

Here’s two odd ones, one from Melbourne and one from Brisbane, from two dudes who obviously also enjoy being low-key and making stuff in their spare time, and who have put out these releases for their friends and fans with little to no fanfare.

The good thing about doing that kind of thing is you don’t have to bother with album or EP ‘structures’. Hanibaf (Steve Rose, from excellent Brisbane band Sydney 2000)’s mix has about 22 songs and is 25 minutes long. Alex Macfarlane (Twerps, The Stevens)’s tape has four sides, 24 songs and is 40 minutes long. Macfarlane’s tracks run the gamut from sunken ambient music to spacey electronica to the kind of sweet poppy guitar stuff you might readily expect from someone who also plays in Twerps. His voice is naïve in a curious, wondering way and that keeps everything light and listenable even when the music gets weird.

Rose has made a hip-hop electronic record… Kind of? Like the beats and samples are chosen and put together really well and the first few songs are groovy as hell – but he also can’t resist doing a bit of noise and distorted guitar, cutting between low-key old soul record sounding sketches and hip-hop beats, and heavy, repetitive blues-rock guitar intros. It’s distracted and hyper but with so many smart moves that you can tell while Rose is mucking around, he knows what he’s doing (get into Sydney 2000, friends).

A lot of this stuff sounds like it was recorded off an iPhone onto another iPhone onto like a computer’s inbuilt sound recorder. But if you wanna get the full crunchy buzzy ambient effect you gotta listen to it (like me) through the speakers of a 2012 Sony PC laptop. Just, like, a warmer sound, you know?

If you have made a mix that sounds like something I might enjoy listening to at work or while relaxing and being low key you can send an email to editors@whothehell.net. Will help if you’re my personal friend/in Twerps.