Archive for July, 2014

Fait, Rachel Dease & Childsaint play The Bird this Saturday

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

faitBefore embarking on her first Australian tour, Fait – the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Elise Higgins – will play an intimate show at The Bird this Saturday alongside Childsaint and Rachel Dease. If you haven’t heard of Fait yet, you’ve been […]

DMA’s coming to WA as part of national Tour.

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

DMA'sJust last weekend they were playing to a heaving crowd at Splendour in the Grass and now DMA’S have announced they are spreading more of the love with a national tour. The emerging 3 piece out of Newtown NSW will […]

Album Review: Mind Canary – Mind Canary

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

mindcanaryReview by Rich Moore Mind Canary, a small, melodic blip on the Perth scene, have produced their new EP like a rabbit from a hat. Wild-rooted and psychedelic with a steady rock structure, this self-titled EP stands as a sampler […]

Photos: Pelican at the Rosemount

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

17)Pelican, at The RosmountPelican at the Rosemount Hotel, Perth on Sunday July 27, 2014. Photos by Brodie Cole.

Live Review: Pelican at The Rosemount

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

pelicancoverSunday June 27, 2014 Review by Matthew Tomich It’s a hard task bringing people down to a Sunday show, even it’s for the first ever Perth show for an international act with a pedigree like Pelican. Locals Foxes had their […]

Antennas to Heaven: Hiss Tracts

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Silence the phone, draw the blinds and zone out to some experimental rock delights.

Remember the most haunting, unnerving moments of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s debut F? A? ?? The doomsday opening of ‘The Dead Flag Blues’ and its turgid narrator? Those goddamned bag pipes and the wailing screwdriver guitar tones on ‘East Hastings’? Well, Constellation label mates Hiss Tracts take the eeriest moments of Godspeed’s earlier work and stretch them across a gamut of stunning paranoia-inducing, bliss on their debut Shortwave Nights.

Title track ‘…shortwave nights’ is a maelstrom of mechanical grinds and acid trip-stuck loops, like a descent into chaos where the only respite comes through plaintive guitar melodies that, when combined with accompanying strings, add touches of mournful sobriety.

There are moments here that echo Tim Hecker’s violent masterpiece Virgins like ‘half-speed addict starts with broken wollensak’, where tumbling piano melodies carry throughout before giving way to thick fogs of drone. It’s a fairly minimalist take, finding solace in repetition, but no less enjoyable than more instrumentally rich moments on the album.

For a band so shrouded in bleakness, Hiss Tracts often bear shards of beauty, moments when a solemn string section or warped vocal sample eek through the rubble, serving as brief flickers of light amongst the decay. Closing track ‘beijing bullhorn / dopplered light’ best displays these sentiments with a brief but emotive quiver of gospel like drone, serving as a happy ending to a drab but enthralling journey.

Sounds Like Hell: Volcano Suns

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Sounds Like Hell is an irregular feature on old and new noise rock.

When Volcano Suns re-issued their first two records in 2009, the announcement was accompanied by the following statement:

“People can’t seem to help themselves when describing either a little known band they used to love, or more commonly, a band they were more likely in … as “seminal”. E.G. “The Blake Babies were a seminal early independant group” ect and blah blah blah…any band described as seminal were filled, more than likely, with seminal fluid…
How about a new definition for “seminal”: a musical group that is vastly overrated because of their well deserved underrated-ness…”

It’s hard to disagree, and I’m not going to tell you that Volcano Suns were the most under-appreciated band of the indie rock explosion, but they were pretty fucking good.

After the dissolution of indie rock pioneers Mission of Burma, drummer Peter Prescott poached the members of fellow Boston band Disneyland to form Volcano Suns: a sardonic, proto-grunge outfit with a love of chunky bass lines and guitar fuzz.

There are plenty of aesthetic similarities with Mission of Burma – Prescott performs vocal duties in both bands and his deadpan wail stands out more than most anything, as well as his penchant for anthemic choruses. But whereas Mission of Burma favoured crisp guitars and rapid-fire rhythms, Volcano Suns’ sound is rooted in a kind of contained chaos and bombast, and almost drunken in its delivery.

Bob Weston – who’d later join Shellac in 1993 and follow Prescott into a reunited Mission of Burma in 2004 – jumped on board in 1987 for album number three, the excellent Bumper Crop. In 1988 they jumped to SST for a couple of records before releasing their final album – the Albini-engineered Career in Rock – on Chicago label Quarterstick in 1991.

Despite resurfacing briefly for a reunion in 2005 and the reissues in 2009, Volcano Suns remain largely unknown. (“Even with two lauded reissues, Volcano Suns ducks fame, escaping a certain fate” reads an Indyweek headline.) Some more signs of life came earlier this month, though, as Merge Records just put out a lo-fi live recording from 1986. It’s primitive and messy, but that’s half the fun and I’ll take what I can get.


Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Teitanblood are from Madrid, and they play what the phenomenon of splitting hairs has come to call “blackened death metal”. It’s interesting what distinctions arise when a band chooses to tune down and give their sound a fair bit of back or thrown in the odd lead break, as it is a reasonable argument that the attitude and content of Teitanblood’s work places them smack bang in the middle of pure fucking black metal. In contrast to the shiny polish that many extreme metal releases are given these days, Teitanblood’s production values are comprehensively confrontational. The band shows no interest in anything other than assaulting and alienating the listener with an unrelenting storm of misanthropic noise. Want to know more about NSK and J, the creatures responsible for the explosive cacophony coming from those speakers? A quick visit to the band’s website should give you as good an idea as you’ll be able to find on how interested they are in providing any connection to the human race. You and I listening to their music is just a coincidental event taking place alongside their utterly hateful expression.

A few months ago Teitanblood turned loose their second full-length album, Death, through Norma Evangelium Diaboli and The Ajna Offensive. There is no slow and dramatic build-up through theatrical introduction on Death, with ‘Anteinferno’ explosively tearing the ears off from the very first second of the record. Death does not hold back one iota from this moment. It is concentrated sonic violence, devoid of anything melodic or relieving from its menace.

Unfettered by the chaos, the skillful musicianship of the duo is obvious throughout. The drumming is an astonishing blur of speed, the riffs absolutely superb in the eyes of any honest metal fan and played with precision. ‘Plagues of Forgiveness’ and ‘Burning In Damnation Fires’ are particularly great examples of Teitanblood’s world class hand at writing great metal. This is not alienation through being sloppy and over-the-top beyond the band’s means. Nor is the music without its nuances, just keeping them within the realm of assault. The confrontational nature of the album stems from its deranged intensity, refusal to turn the guitar sound into something pristine and accessible, and a resulting ferocity of volume. In a clear distinction from so many other bands that try their hand at this, Death does not let you off the hook by keeping things brief. There are four tracks out of seven at near ten minutes or more, with the savagery taking over an hour to get through. This is extreme metal sadism, laying down a vicious gauntlet to those dabbling with it over recent years.

The death metal reference is not entirely without cause. There are definitely plenty of reminders of early Sadistik Exekution, and songs like ‘Cadaver Synod’ and the aforementioned ‘Plagues of Forgiveness’ even sound like they could have come from Reek of Putrefaction and Symphonies of Sickness (if Bill Steer was more infantivore than vegan). NSK’s vocal style does drift between the two genres, once again quite reminiscent of the stylistic change-ups Rok spewed out on those 90s classics coming out of New South Wales. From the website, the band does state that their music does come from “the point where death metal and black metal were not differenced [sic].” But if you believe that black metal is about attitude first and foremost (which there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is), then it is pretty clear where Death comes from. Death metal albums ever approaching this level of sonic hostility, without pulling back at least in one aspect or another, are a struggle to find.

Why is it even important? In a genre where there has been such a ridiculous proliferation of bands over the last twenty years, all trying the same increasingly tired tricks, it has become near impossible to stand out when the music is kept stripped down, minimal, and low-fidelity, all qualities antithetical to death metal. And that is where Death is a triumph. It most certainly does stand out, by virtue of its intensity, sincerity, and all out songwriting brilliance. It has deservedly made its way on to quite a few esteemed best of lists this year, not that the band would care. For fans of both death and black metal, this is that rare contradictory thrill of being a refreshing throwback, proof that one can still write music like this and make it a must-have album for your collection. As an old man said a million times before, it’s definitely not for everyone. But that’s exactly the fucking point!

Antennas to Heaven: Slow Dancing Society

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Silence the phone, draw the blinds and zone out to some experimental rock delights.

It’s a hard task negotiating the tropes of ambient music, trying to avoid the ever present threat of boredom while nurturing those moments of solitary intimacy that exist within the genre’s finest work.

On Slow Dancing Society’s sixth album, sole member Drew Sullivan hits a sweet spot of gently gliding musical fantasia, and with the help of non-ambient instruments, finds a real reason to pay attention to the sounds hovering above.

‘By Morning This Will All Seem Like A Dream’ achieves the unenviable task of marrying cheesy 80’s music touchstones of dance floor synths, big ballad guitar leads and Kenny G sax, repackaged and twisted into something genuinely touching. It’s an impressive feat of futuristic musical reimagining and a common theme that emerges throughout the album.

Other moments follow a different course: ‘A Clearing’ channels tripped out methods of alien sound crafting, complete with X-Files styled laser beam synth and the cavernous background echo of a skeletal beat. The result is otherworldly: like the score to a science fiction movie from another dimension.

Sounds Like Hell: Shoppers

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Sounds Like Hell is an irregular feature on old and new noise rock.

Before every taste-maker and alternative-leaning promoter had Perfect Pussy on their lips, there was Shoppers: a DIY, heavily politicized feminist noise rock trio from Syracuse, NY, who buried sophisticated melodies in a sea of feedback, dissonance and straining, half-shouted vocals. In a little over two years, Shoppers released three records and a split 7? and toured the US relentlessly before breaking up ahead of an east coast tour.

Since then, evidence of Shoppers’ existence has been expunged – their website and Facebook were deleted, along with their frequently updated Tumblr, the platform through which vocalist Meredith Graves achieved minor internet celebrity as an alternative style icon.

Thankfully their Bandcamp remains, and those three records serve as a prototype for the raw hardcore aesthetic that birthed Perfect Pussy’s sound. Graves insists that the bands are entirely different entities – and they are, in the sense that she is the only member of both – but there are more similarities than differences between Shoppers and Perfect Pussy, from the naming convention that carried over to the latter’s first demo release (Roman numerals in place of titles) to the vocal delivery to the continuity-via-feedback between songs.

On Silver Year, Shoppers’ final release, Graves delivers her vocals with an unbridled intensity that’s matched by the rhythmic paranoia and squealing distortion of the music that she screams over. It’s a raw document of what was to come, but one that stands on its own with pride and ease.