Archive for March, 2015

Craig’s List: Adesse Versions

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Every fortnight, RTRFM’s Craig Hollywood brings us a little taste of what to expect from Tuesday’s Full Frequency…

You may have caught the track Pride in recent Jackmaster and Spencer sets over the past few months, but it’s now being let out in the wild on the Numbers label out of Glasgow.

The overall simplicity of the elements is the strength here, the creeping discord of the piano, the slow sub rolls, the sheer power of the vocal, baked together with sharp drum boxes, space echoes and Adesse’s arsenal of production wisdom.

Pride is released through Numbers on vinyl on March 31st.

Full Frequency with Craig Hollywood airs every Tuesday at 3PM (GMT+8) on RTRFM 92.1 in Perth, Australia. You can livestream RTRFM right here.

Eat a Bag of Mix: Darrell Sundai (Fait)

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Eat a Bag of Mix is the name of a feature here on life is noise where we get a DJ, musician, producer, industry figure or just someone with good taste in fucked-up and weird music to give us a mix of music that has influenced them, or tunes that are currently rocking their world. This week, our bag-of-mixer is Darrell Sundai, a Perth musician and pocaster who’s been kicking around town in bands for the last ten years, the latest of which is Fait. In his own words:

I have played drums in Fait since early 2014. I have also filled in for quite a few acts in Perth as a session drummer (Hyla, Voltaire Twins) and recorded drums in LA for Husband’s latest album. I love podcasts and the format of podcasting, and I’m obsessed with opening up communication and dialogue between other creatives/artists on my podcast Mission Control. I am also quite open about consuming marijuana (everyone has a ‘party mix’ to get drunk, so why not a smoking mix?) and this is pretty much 11 tracks of what I like to vibe and reflect on.

Eat a Bag of Mix — Darrell Sundai by Lifeisnoiseeditor on Mixcloud

Fait join a stellar line-up of Perth acts of Drowning Horse, Puck, Mt. Mountain, Chris Cobilis and DX Wil Bixler at The Bakery this Thursday, April 2, to celebrate five years of life is noise. Tickets on sale now through lifeisnoise and The Bakery.

Noiseweek: Cobain documentary, OK Computer in the Library of Congress, NYT on Liturgy, new music from Death Grips, Godspeed and more

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


Radiohead’s OK Computer has been selected for preservation at the US Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in recognition of its “cultural, historical or aesthetic significance.” The organisation selects 25 recordings each year, and Radiohead’s seminal 1997 release joins The Doors’ 1967 self-titled album, Steve Martin’s comedy record A Wild and Crazy Guy and 22 other recordings ranging from the 1890 to 1999 to receive the honour this year.


The HBO-produced Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck which did the rounds with its debut trailer a couple of weeks back has been confirmed for a theatrical run in our little island nation. US sources point to an April 10 debut in cinemas before the HBO premiere on May 4, but that’s likely a US date; the only solid information on an Australian release points to June 25.


Earth have struck up a deal with LA-based label / management company Sargent House, joining a stupidly talented roster of the world’s best power trios including Boris, Marriages, Helms Alee, Mutoid Man and Russian Circles. No word yet if this means a severance of Earth’s long-running partnership with Southern Lord.


British book publisher Strange Attractor are taking pre-orders venerable UK mag The Wire’s latest foray into print publishing with Epiphanies: Life Changing Encounters with Music, a collection of the publication’s Epiphanies column which has been running for over 17 years. Contributors include Michael Gira, Jonny Greenwood, Simon Reynolds and Lydia Lunch.


The Ark Work is Liturgy’s Third Album | The New York Times

“In his interviews and writings, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix — Liturgy’s singer and songwriter and one of its guitarists — rejected the common black-metal rhetoric of decay, doom and negative certainty in favor of the opposite: building, liberation and positive indecision. He wrote a manifesto about “transcendental black metal,” which he read aloud at an academic symposium and which was excerpted in a journal of poststructural philosophy. (For all of this he was called pretentious, as if black-metal bands of the early-’90s Norwegian period, with corpse-paint and bullet-belts and inverted crosses, hadn’t ever known pretension.) In any case, Liturgy’s music, and the predictable response to it, seemed based on what it was not — how it stood apart from what it sounded like.”

Perennially Contentious: The Return of Faith No More | Pitchfork

“While “alternative rock” was a nebulous descriptor even during the genre’s late-‘80s/early-‘90s heyday, Faith No More were the rare band to truly exemplify both halves of the term. On the surface, the San Francisco quintet resembled the sort of long-haired, ripped-denim hellraisers filling up the dance card on “Headbangers Ball”, but their absurdist take on rock owed as much to Zappa as Zeppelin. And their ubiquitous 1990 breakout hit “Epic” both defined rap-metal and defied it, gilding its atomic funk with progged-out synth fanfares and classical-piano flourishes, like a mosh pit choreographed by Cecil B. DeMille. ”

Why Would A Band of White Dudes Name Themselves Slaves? | The Fader

“From Anal Cunt to Cerebral Ballzy, there have always been bands whose names provoke a reaction, especially in the punk and hardcore scenes. Shock tactics and strong political statements are often at the heart of art—and, more cynically, marketing plans—but lately, several bands have been causing a backlash for the overtones of cultural and political appropriation evoked by their names. Prostitutes, Girl Band, and Viet Cong—who played at FADER FORT last week—all make very different music (techno, noise, and rock respectively) but the one thing they have in common is that they’re all made up of white men. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they’ve been at the centre of the discussion, with Viet Cong even having a recent university show cancelled by a promoter who deemed their name “offensive.” (The Calgary band have since issued a statement claiming they were “naive” in choosing their name and “never meant to trivialize the atrocities or violence that occurred on both sides of the Vietnam war.”)”


Godspeed You! Black Emperor — Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

That happened quick. Godspeed only announced their fifth LP in late February; Asunder… is out on March 31 and was made available for streaming earlier this week. Some of the cuts might sound familiar — I’m almost certain the opening of “Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!” was a live staple on their first Australian tour in early 2013. It’s a track mired in dirge and drudgery, anchored by a beastly symphonic below. In fact, dirge and drudgery abound on this record: after a few listens, it feels like the most apocalyptic record yet, as if the collective have traded in their hope for nihilism.

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving — The Albanian Sleepover

Speaking of dirge, Perth quartet and LIN favourite Tangled Thoughts of Leaving have debuted the first track from their forthcoming sophomore LP. At a second under 10 minutes it’s probably the album’s shortest tracks, but it showcases the band’s darkly melodic tendencies as fields of static rise and fall under a ten-ton-heavy riffage before a brooding interlude, a crashing crescendo and a “to be continued…” until we get to hear part 2. I’ve little doubt this will be one of the best records of the year.

Drowning Horse — Drowning Horse

The most punishing band in Perth are in the midst of work on a new record that, fingers crossed, will be out before the end of the year, and before they play their first show of 2015 at our five year anniversary show at The Bakery on April 2 (tickets here!), they’ve made their debut record for free, or whatever price you may feel like paying.


Inventions — Peregrine

The first video from Inventions’ Maze of Woods is an eerie, home video-style piece of cinema that recalls cultist found footage, Jason Voorhees and Chuckie — an odd mix of aesthetics given the track’s relaxed tone, but it’s a fitting juxtaposition. You can stream more from that album at Inventions’ Bandcamp.

Joy Division + Teletubbies

It’s the film-noir fever dream you’ve always wanted.

LISTEN: Rex Monsoon remixes KU?KA’s Divinity

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Fresh off a successful showing at the WAM Song of the Year Awards which saw last year’s “Unconditional” take out the top prize, we’re happy to present the premiere of KU?KA’s latest track, where venerable Perth DJ Rex Monsoon takes on the dense and sophisticated “Divinity”. Monsoon strips back the track’s lush synthetics, leaving Laura Jane Lowther’s angelic vocals to stand on their own amongst a series of supremely chilled-out beats in an ethereal dreamscape. Dig it.

Divinity Remixed is available now on iTunes.

Anger Management: Chaos Divine

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Every fortnight, we check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

A successful crowdfunding campaign has allowed Chaos Divine to make the album of their career. Four years on from 2011’s awesome The Human Connection, the new album takes all the elements of their past and filters them into a newer, more atmospheric direction.

There are lots of layers of sound here, including some extra keys and vocals. The songs are given a bit more room to breath, embracing some of the more proggy and almost post-rock influences such of Opeth, Porcupine Tree and Devin Townsend.

The highlights come when Chaos Divine hit the accelerator and amp up the heaviness. A return to some more harsh vocals on “Painted With Grey” is appreciated and reigns in some of the occasionally overwrought clean vocals.

Chaos Divine have made their best album so far and I’m sure they will back it up with some of their best live shows too.

Critical Mass airs every Wednesday from 9PM (GMT+8) on RTR FM 92.1 in Perth, Australia.

Dodheimsgard — A Umbra Omega

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Dodheimsgard first came to broader attention with their debut album on Malicious Records, Kronet Til Konge, in 1995. As a three-piece, including Darkthrone’s Fenriz and the unmistakable vocals of Aldrahn, Dodheimsgard’s first full-length album was fairly straight down the line Norwegian black metal, albeit quite an outstanding effort in that context. The band’s third release was an EP, Satanic Art, which saw an expanded lineup and the beginnings of experimentation that would explode from the gates on the subsequent album, 666 International. DHG broke free from the earlier conventions they had mastered and flung themselves with abandon into a more industrial and progressive approach, developing a sound that would prove distinctive of the many other projects the members were involved with (such as Ved Buens Ende, Virus, and Code). This deviation also heralded much longer stretches of time in between releases. Until last week, it had been eight years since DHG’s last record was produced. In 2015 they have returned, at last, with yet another cerebral avant-garde masterpiece called A Umbra Omega.

To those familiar with DHG’s previous work, perhaps what is most immediately noticeable about the new album is a dramatic difference in production. There is something less primitive and noisy about the overall sound, a spacious dynamic not so reliant upon the midrange as per the Metal Commandments. It is tempting to say there is a cleaner aspect to the mix; yet, this is not to suggest there is an antiseptic or “overproduced” quality. There’s a lot more room and life in the sound than on previous albums. This was undeniably essential; with so much detail present it could all so easily have been lost.

The band’s trajectory towards prog, lined with complex time signatures and a phenomenal density of riffs and movements, is expressed with an even greater unhinged fever than we’ve heard from DHG before. Sinewy attachments to black metal roots remain in terms of the odd blast of violent tempo, but the crisp and clean guitars and vocal styles throughout A Umbra Omega serve to put great distance between the album and even the most recent experimental takes on black metal elsewhere. The restless shifting between musical motifs and demented pace at which this occurs puts both this album and the band itself at the most avant-garde end of the musicians’ other projects.

Demented and haunting chord progressions have long been a signature of guitarist Vicotnik and are, therefore, expected to be plentiful on the new album. The addition of a new guitarist, L.E. Måløy, to the ranks appears to have expanded DHG’s repertoire when they transmute into moments of hypnotic beauty. The dark jazz influences are more prominent and confidently executed. Terghl, the other new member, brings a much different sound and style to the drumming. In this sense, DHG have moved on yet again, leaving behind the industrial elements they experimented with on the previous two albums.

Vocally, A Umbra Omega is a wonderful development. There are still hints of that special tone of Aldrahn’s that made his early works so essential (check out Zyklon-B’s Blood Must Be Shed). Here he has broadened his stylistic range to beef up the experimental feel of the work. His use of effects brings out particularly pleasing results, most notably in some of the more ethereal post-rockish passages in the songs.

To dissect each song here would be overdoing things, as in their great length they swarm with ideas and surprising moments. Expertly and briefly decorated with some unusual instrumental appearances, the high level of detail makes A Umbra Omega something which requires extensive revisitation to appreciate for all of its worth. Dodheimsgard have produced something that reflects stunning creative growth over a vast period of time, suitably epic and twisted in a manner that ensures their uniqueness amongst their peers is preserved.

A Umbra Omega is out now on Peaceville Records.

The Black Captain DJs this week at The Electric Funeral Club on March 25 and Crux on March 28.

Sounds Like Hell: A Film in Color

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Sounds Like Hell is an irregular column on doom, noise and sludge.

Sometimes an artist creates a sound so unto itself, they monopolize an aesthetic. How many post-rock bands are burdened by comparisons to Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed, whether deserving or not? How many noir-influenced acts find themselves permanently linked to Bohren & Der Club of Gore?

Even if New Jersey trio A Film in Color find themselves lumped with those comparisons, they do a tremendous job of marrying those sounds together in their immense eight-minute track “A Study in Terror”. I’ve said it before, but the most powerful bands are almost invariably power trios — think Russian Circles’ vibrant dynamism, Boris’ droning noisescapes, Young Widows’ dissonant meditations or Sleep’s smoke-filled epics. And while “A Study in Terror” opens with a sombre passage that suggests darkened rooms and chiaroscuro lighting, that’s merely a lead-in for the enveloping wave of gargantuan noise that follows. There’s something to be said for bands that play the wrong notes, and here, the bass neither complements nor conflicts with the dreamy guitars or the massive drums, settling somewhere in between for a sound that’s both uplifting and unsettling.

This is the kind of music surround sound was made for: cinematic, immersive and completely all-encompassing.

Noiseweek: Pajo on recovery, John Doran’s new book, Space Bong, Inventions and more

Friday, March 20th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


John Doran — the veteran UK music journalist who currently steers the ship at The Quietus — is set to publish his first book, Jolly Lad, a memoir that delves into his alcoholism, music writing, mental illness and breakdown. From the description: “Jolly Lad is about gentrification; being diagnosed bipolar; attending Alcoholics Anonymous; living in a block of flats on a housing estate in London; the psychological damage done by psychedelic drugs; depression; DJing; factory work; friendship; growing old; hallucinations; street violence and obsessive behaviour – especially regarding music and art.” Pre-orders are available now from Strange Attractor.


RTRFM have finalised their line-up for this year’s edition of In The Pines. Felicity Groom, Thee Glold Blooms, Grim Fandango, SpaceManAntics, Eduardo Cossio Quartet and a reunited Rosemary Beads joining a lineup that already includes Husband, Lanark, Rachel Dease, Methyl Ethyl and a slew of other amazing Perth acts. It all takes place at the Somerville Auditorium at UWA on Sunday, April 19. More details over at


The Road to Recovery with Slint’s David Pajo | The Thin Air

“I mentioned that it’s important to beware the ‘dangerous and completely untrue thoughts’ above. But there are quite a few things you can do. Don’t internalize your darkness: pull them out of your head and dump them on every person you can trust with your feelings! Yes, just drop it on them. When you’re bummed, you don’t want to burden anyone with your darkness so you keep it all inside. Fuck that. If they love you, it’s not a burden. Dump it out, lay your cards on the table with people who will react with compassion and not hold it against you. Do this all the time. If it’s in your head, let it out. It’s like releasing a valve, all that pressure starts releasing. Every little bit helps. Don’t hold back.”

Cvlt Nation interviews Emma Ruth Rundle | Cvlt Nation

“I love heavy music. The ways bands and scenes connect is something someone could write a paper about, or draw up a big family tree to illustrate the intricacies of connectivity between musicians. I can see how the association works in this case. I have NEVER once felt sexism present in the scene. The world of “heavy music” is one of the friendliest and most loyal I have experienced. The musicians and the listeners are (in my experience) the best people… and I often have the best times when we get paired up with a “heavy” band – Russian Circles for example. The only sexism I tend to experience in my musical life comes unexpectedly, and almost never from a fan or fellow musician. I once feared the “for a girl” mentality I know exists, but I never think of it anymore. I never feel it. There are many incredible women in and out of the heavy music world who can play technical and creative circles around some dudes – not to swoon too much (and I don’t want to play into any sex-based bullshit), but Helms Alee are one of the heaviest and most unique bands I’ve ever heard, two thirds of which are women. Good music is good. Who is playing it doesn’t seem to matter to me or to anyone else watching or listening.”

Meaningless Pain: An Interview With Full of Hell | The Quietus

“I just wanted things to be as extreme as possible, I didn’t want any middle ground at all, so bands like Discordance Axis and artists like Merzbow were just the greatest things I’d ever heard in my life because there was just no compromise at all, it was just seriously, seriously over the top. And it still felt like there was some kind of artistic expression involved, and that’s always been really important to me. And y’know, just in general I always felt that Hydra Head as a whole was offering real top quality; I knew I could trust anything they’d release even if I didn’t really know the band or artist. And it was totally my dream, ever since I had my first band, to someday put out a record on Hydra Head — unfortunately that will never happen though. Although, I kind of feel that Profound Lore — they label we’re with now — have sort of taken up the Hydra Head mantle. Which is great, they’ve put out some amazing records.”


Relapse Sampler

Relapse Records turns 25 this year, and they’ve been celebrating for the past month with a series of retrospectives features and releases, the pinnacle of which is this free, ridiculously extensive 184-track sampler. Highlights include cuts from Nothing, Neurosis, True Widow, Harvey Milk, Minsk… fuck, the whole thing’s full of highlights.

Space Bong — Deadwood to Worms

Speaking of heavy, Adelaide doom sextet Space Bong just released “Deadwood to Worms”, the first single on their new full-length due in September this year. At 14-and-a-half minutes, it’s a rollicking chunk of ugly, bottom-feeding doom with the perfect amount of riff idolatry.

Inventions — Maze of Woods

The always excellent Temporary Residence Ltd. label — whose catalog includes releases from Young Widows, Mono, My Disco and Watter — have just put out the latest effort from Inventions, the collaboration between Eluvium’s Matthew Cooper and Explosions in the Sky’s Mark T. Smith. Only half of the record is available for free streaming on Bandcamp, but the album’s first three tracks boast a wondrous array of sounds as Smith and Cooper play with trip-hop beats, ghostly textures and otherworldly ambience. Highly recommended.

The Monochrome Set — Spaces Everywhere

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Somewhere out there in an alternate universe, The Monochrome Set are filling stadiums. Critically acclaimed but mostly unknown outside of Britain, the band began in the post-punk scene of the late 1970’s and have been going more or less ever since. Shades of their legacy can be heard across the history of British alternative music from Pulp to The Smiths, but the band themselves have somehow avoided almost any kind of lasting fame or notoriety. Most people only seem to remember them for producing a set of three fairly good post-punk LP’s in the early 1980’s, which were less interesting than the more experimental output of their contemporaries. But they’ve been writing songs and playing shows for almost 35 years now show no signs of stopping anytime soon. The twelfth full-length release for the third incarnation of the band came out this month. Will it finally bring them the recognition they so obviously deserve?

The short answer, sadly, is probably not. This is one of the most well-composed, quirky and intelligent releases of the year thus far. It represents a significant improvement in musical style compared to their 2013 album Super Plastic City and boasts a layered sound reminiscent of a combination of 60’s rock, 70’s punk, and 90’s britpop. At its best, it sounds a bit like Morrissey fronting a new wave band. At its worst: a slightly condescending parody of the Moody Blues. It’s a very meta sort of album, engaging with the history of pop music in subtle ways to add emotional weight to a series of twee, satirical narratives about life in modern Britain, shown most vibrantly in the seventh track “The Z-Train”, where a driving, bluesy bassline and horror show guitar riffs back the singer’s observations of the people on his train. “Bleary mammal in blue cotton, smelling like a prune / The lyrics he has all forgotten, so he just whistles the tune.” It really paints a vivid picture, and the listless tone of the vocalist coupled with the snark behind his lyrics makes for an entertaining, almost cinematic sort of an experience. Second track “Avenue” does a similar sort of thing, with harpsichord and a kind of Beatles-esque psychedelic vibe adding a feeling of nostalgia to the singer’s recollections of a street he used to know in London, now unsafe to walk along at night. The lyrics complement the music beautifully, creating a sense of bewilderment at a well-remembered place now completely lost in time.

It’s difficult to imagine a lot of new fans being attracted to this release. The majority of the musical and cultural references end at around the 1970’s, and even the sound of the music is dated. People of a demographic old enough to appreciate The Monochrome Set have probably already formed a strong opinion on the band, and this new album won’t change their minds one way or the other. It is the one of the most musically innovative albums the band has ever made, but it isn’t different enough from any of their previous material to persuade anyone who’s disregarded them in the past. Younger people more familiar with Morrissey or Jarvis Cocker will find them harder to relate to, and because the band is so obscure, they won’t have the nostalgia required to pull them through. And the saddest part of all is that it really is a wonderful album. It doesn’t pretend the last thirty years never happened, like the newest from The Pop Group, and it doesn’t disregard everything that made the original band so great, like the latest one from Gang of Four. It’s done so much right that it almost seems like a tragedy it hasn’t tried to be a little more inclusive. This is why it will probably still be overlooked.

It would be wonderful to see The Monochrome Set get the recognition they deserve within their lifetimes, but while they continue along without making any kind of effort to engage with modern music or relate to the changing world, it’s hard to see that happening. But maybe that’s the way they like it; the sleeping giants of the British indie scene, playing detailed, intricate and funny music that speaks to the experiences of an aging fanbase who has followed them since the very beginning. If you’re not already part of that fanbase, you will struggle to appreciate the album. It isn’t necessarily a damning critique, but it’s a sad one. It could have been so much more than this. All they had to do was let us in.

Spaces Everywhere is out now on Tapete Records.

Craig’s List: Perth Drug Legend

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Every fortnight, RTRFM’s Craig Hollywood brings us a little taste of what to expect from Tuesday’s Full Frequency…

The Resin imprint kicks off 2015 in monstrous style by introducing Perth Drug Legend to the front line, the demented project of Liam Robertson and one half of the mighty Clouds outfit out of Scotland.

With the Broxden Burners EP on West End Communications and a remix on Canada’s Turbo Recordings, Resin introduces Clubbers Guide to Craigie, a session of dark sludgy techno.

Full Frequency with Craig Hollywood airs every Tuesday at 3PM (GMT+8) on RTRFM 92.1 in Perth, Australia. You can livestream RTRFM right here.