Archive for the ‘Ermine Coat’ Category

Review: Ermine Coat — “Parking Lots”

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Down and out on Redfern street, by way of Kenwick: Alex Griffin views the world through a skewed lens. Ever since I met the little guy (full disclosure: the man is obviously a contributor here and via a series of one sentence e-mails got me the gig rambling bullshit nonsense on these very pages) we’ve bonded over shared interests, interests like The Fall and most consistently, alcohol. I’ve seen the best and worst of a person by way of shambolic performances, relationships disintegrating and some wonderful turns of phrase and melodies. When he sings ‘there’s no pretty white girls/wearing lace on the riverbank’ it tears me up inside. Parking Lots is his second album, which had a long production and it shows: this is a confident, fully-formed piece of work. The sheer noise and muffled tones of his previous releases is of course present still, but it is subdued and hardly as intrusive – while LP made us long for the day where he didn’t record things through a goddamned loafer and obscure the gold underneath, these songs breathe and live as if we were in the room with them. If we were in the same room however, discomfort would abound.

Alex still frames his work around irony, like most I suppose: there are tracks ‘about’ telethon, Neil Young’s hearse and Coles prices. Of course, empty irony is the worst thing an artist can do, but Alex is exploring his psyche through these winks and one-liners. One tune in particular will haunt my waking days for a long time to come: ‘Police Academy VII’ recasts Spandau Ballet and that woeful series of guffaws as a chilling tale of what seems to be a relationship that turned sour and grew some mould right on top. It’s a scarily good tune, a perfect match between subject matter and delivery (slow, rumbling samples and a fingerpicked guitar part – technique is not a bad thing if it assists and nurtures). It’s also very well sequenced in the scheme of the record, smack back in the middle, so it creeps up on you and the daze it casts upon you is lifted immediately by ‘(Dropping Out)’ although that is again a nice cheat, for any tune that quotes ‘Suspicious Minds’ for a closing line has some serious delirium working underneath.

This is a complicated dense wave of a work from a guy who has a keen critical ear – where he wants his music to go, what image to present and all that. More than this though, this is a slice of life from a guy in his early 20s – as confused, alienated and lost as the rest of us. These contradictions between the head and the heart make for some frighteningly powerful results. For those in the midst, it’s a welcome tonic and for those who have seen it past, well, be thankful you’ve got a mortgage and a career, because there’s nothing scarier than an artist who knows what path to follow, but has seen the road crumble underfoot. In short: a terrific album.

Eat a Bag of Mix: Alex Griffin

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

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.

Alex Griffin is half of Mining Tax, a varying proportion of Ermine Coat and a writer for Tiny Mix Tapes. The new Ermine Coat album Parking Lots is out in November, and there will be shows in Perth and Melbourne; one is at the Gasometer on the 28th, and any other shows in Melbourne would be great ;) .

Slush — Bonzo Dog Band
Tangled Up In Blue — Half Japanese
Like To See You Again — Lewis/Abide With Me — The Mountain Goats
History Lesson Pt.2 — The Minutemen
On An Unknown Beach — Peter Jefferies
Tattooed Man — Coil
Freak — Smoke
I Go Into Your Mind — R. Stevie Moore
At The River — Charles Ives
River — Joni Mitchell
I Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore — Scott Walker
Marbles — Tindersticks
Cut You With A Linoleum Knife — Mastodon
Six Melodies 1 w/ Six Melodies 2 — Christian Wolff+John Cage
Beacon Hill Six — Desmond Simmons
Look At Me Now — Blanche Blanche Blanche w/ Midnight Sunrise — Ornette Coleman
1 (Venice Dreamway)- Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland w/ Tuning Up — Edgard Varese
Who’s Really Listening? — Mark Lane
We’ll Be — Ermine Coat
Got What I Deserved — Kramer
Hurt — Yung Lean