Midnight Juggernauts – ‘This New Technology’ (Memory Tapes Remix) (mp3)
Memory Tapes aren’t Australian, so I won’t harp on about how great his output has been lately. He has, however, recently lent his golden hand to labelmates and one of Australia’s leading electro exports at the moment, Midnight Juggernauts.
His remix of the Juggs’ latest single ‘This New Technology’ is incredibly transformative. Gone is the slick production, the booming organs, the cascading arpeggios – even most of the vocals. In fact, the song has basically been completely dismantled, with MT aka Dayve Hawk then using its pieces to construct a surging club track. In a lot of ways, I like this more than the original – the highest compliment for a remix. Hopefully it’ll see the Juggs getting play on more house-based dancefloors as well.
Mother and Father – ‘Ignored’ (mp3)
It took me a while to blog about these, mainly because it took me a while to get over the fact that they have a tendency to sound exactly like Nirvana. There’s some songs on their self-titled debut album that diverge from the early 90s grunge blueprint, but it’s largely characterised by the same musical tropes and straining vocal inflections that made that grunge powerful. ‘Ignored’ is a decent example of their catchier ‘indie songs’ are dressed in the distorted cloak of the opening Nevermind-loving tracks.
Thankfully, the songs are actually okay, which elevates Mother and Father from ‘musical necrophilia’ to ‘musical throwback.’ To my ears, this isn’t a shallow imitation of grunge; it will never be as powerful as those bands back then, no doubt, but it also sounds like an album fueled by love. They’re not doing anything as unique as their heroes, they just want to rock out like them. It’s not subtle, but it has the potential for a cool live show.
The Crayon Fields - ‘Mirrorball’ (mp3)
‘Mirrorball’ sounds like a sixties girl group pop song or something from The Zombies. It’s got a clean, scratchy guitar line, a instantly endearing vocal melody, whimsical vocals and classic harmonies. This is pop music in the pure, retro sense, but it isn’t a superficial genre exploration. With indie music looking back to this aesthetic as its latest sound du jour, it’s comforting to know that The Crayon Fields have explored sixties pop territory for a few years now. And they’re still going it better than most others. These guys just have a knack for writing songs that sound recognisable upon first listen.
A Dead Forest Index – ‘Empty and Dark I Shall Raise My Lantern’ (mp3)
So this is a pretty creepy track. As far as I can tell, there’s just a simple, steady percussive beat and then a heap of vocal tracks and harmonies that chant, among other things, the titular phrase. The song progresseswith a sinister plods, accumulating voices as it goes until the high harmony kicks in at the end and break it apart.
A Dead Forest Index are a Melbourne-based duo consisting of brothers Adam and Sam Sherry and they’ve got a residency at the Workers Club throughout November. I’d be interested to see how they get this onto the live stage; I’m guessing some sort of loop pedal/sampler is involved. The rest of their stuff is more guitar-based if this is too sparse for your liking, but all of it is married by the haunted atmosphere these guys drape over their songs.
Ivy St. – ‘There’s A Whole Lot More That Waits’ (mp3)
This track landed in my inbox trailing a cloud of recent critical acclaim. While this song itself is pretty cool, the sticking point is definitely in the vocals. Thomas Hyland’s idiosyncratic shrieks land somewhere between classic English post-punk and The Drones’ Garreth Liddiard, which is largely a good thing. It’s quite horrible, yes, but in the best way. It makes the rest of the raw track compelling.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews, I’ve not yet heard the rest of their album Picture Machine. I’m thinking I’ll wait until my expectations have subsided a bit. ‘There’s A Whole Lot More That Waits’ makes me look forward to it even more, which is pretty much exactly what a lead/blog-serviced single should do. So good call.
Neon - ‘Hello’ (mp3)
I remember the moment I first heard Neon in ’04. It was the same day my goldfish died, I lost my phone and the boy in the locker above me at school decided it was amusing to fart in my face. But when ‘A Man’ staggered through my radio later that evening, my horrible day was suddenly shot up with a potent mix of sunshine.
Forming in 2001, Neon have strung up whirlwind successes over their time. The Melbourne three piece have traipsed around with Ivy League records, had their first album produced by none other than Steve Mc Donald of Red Kross fame and was even offered an EP release on ex Blur guitarist Graham Coxon’s label. After the release of the EP, Neon went on to rope shining reviews from NME, Kerrang! and BBC Radio 1.
Producing their self titled record in 2005, the band spent the remainder of the year unleashing their intoxicating pop harmonies with punters in the States, the UK and Aus. To the grief of local music aficionados, shortly after the success of their first album, the band fell off the face of the earth. After a two year hangover, thank Zeus the prodigal trio have returned.
For now, fresh label Tangled Beat have put out a limited edition 7”, giving listeners an appetizer of the band’s sophomore album, which is expected to drop at the end of this year. Stapled with mesmerizing pop rock harmonies, the first track Hello is nothing short of beguiling – unhinging melancholic sounds of the days when local bands didn’t have to hurl in synths to get noticed.
Pedestal melodies in the verse offer a lighter sound compared to the band’s back catalogue. But before long, the chorus spills out a barrage of gritty, thundering riffs and it’s back to the sublime sounds of a band that has been truly missed.
Neon, it’s good to have you back.
Hello/Never Again 7” is out through Tangled Beat Records.
Legends of Motorsport – ‘Freedom’ (mp3)
Were it not for their reputation, a name like ‘Legends of Motorsport’ could potentially put off that section of the music crowd that both hate motorsport and people who describe others/themselves as ‘legends.’ I fall into that category, but it’s hard overlook a band whose debut CD-R Parking Like A Fuckhead came out when I was all of nine years old. Something’s kept these guys together and making music for over a decade – but more importantly, something’s kept people listening. Throw awesome label Low Transit Industries into the mix and suddenly I’m pretty excited about the song that’s landed in my inbox. ‘Freedom’ was that song.
Firstly, this is RAWK music. How can one resist the goofy, over-dramatic delivery given to rather banal line “I can’t believe I never / used to like blue cheese”? If that doesn’t hook you in, the intense “NA NA NA’s” will. Singer Richard Fyshwick throws weight and energy behind lines as comically light as that opener, and the hammy passion he injects nearly convinces you that each is a valid “freedom of expression.” The guitar racket beneath his musings match Fyshwick’s energy as shout-along moments punctuate the song.
If you think Jet rock like no one else in Australia then this probably isn’t for you – but you should listen anyway, just to see how far behind they are.