Friday, August 10, 2012

Surf On, You Crazy Emerald

Back in February we had the fortune of having brilliant Emeralds guitarist Mark McGuire grace us with his parents in what was one of the best gigs of 2012. However it was supposed to be with The Skaters/Monopoly Child Star Searchers wizard Spencer Clark in tow, to champion the collaboration the duo created in the form of Innertube. Incorporating the ethos and mantras of the surf movie, Innertube is a collection of warbling instrumentals that encapsulates the surf movie, casting aside all that has been called surf-rock in response to an honest approach to what made films like Big Wednesday the multimedia wet dreams of the sunny 1970s. Complete with scratchy VHS quality production, Innertube is like finding your favourite tape from when you were a kid, hunkered in the den on Saturday mornings, marooned by land but still smelling the imaginary salt on the breeze. For me? Weirdly - The Coolangatta Gold. Go, Grant Kenny! A time capsule and an ode to childhood climes, McGuire proves that he thrives under any guise.

Innertube can be gleaned here - this is a great record, have at it people. Plus, it might get you psyched for the weekend - if it's Summer, easy pickings; if, like me, you are in chillier realms, it'll ignite the synapses of nostalgia and have you gearing up for the turn of the seasons. Win win.

Innertube - Omeletter Psychosis
Innertube - Faisal's Pad

Have a great weekend people!

Don't Let Caterpillar Hood Evaporate

This has been out a whiles (sorry Danny!), but new local "un-pop" label Lost Race Records has released a cassette from new Cobwebb on the block Caterpillar Hood entitled Evaporate. I tend to be a sucker for these ambient downer sounds, whereby I feel like I'm listening to someone shred A Scanner Darkly, Snow Crash and 1984 into confetti, blend it with ketamine and resin, distill it into an amorphous, gelatinous substance, before forcing it into your ears. it's a fugue state whereby everything and nothing makes sense, and Caterpillar Hood pretty much nails it. The only predictable thing here is its unpredictability, and its immersive to the point that it feels interactive, especially on headphones. It seems to be an incredibly busy album sonically, yet everything is in its right place. I'm a big fan.

Evaporate is available over here.

Caterpillar Hood - I Was Born Then I Was Dead

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Waiting Room Never Saw It Coming From Iowa

Next week Brisbane is going to be invaded by Iowa. Not by the state of the USA; not by Mitt Romney; not by obscure Russian divas; not by fanatical Slipknot acolytes. No, Brisbane is going to be destroyed by the Melbourne trio whose debut LP Never Saw It Coming is a head mixture of all the best alternative/noise rock conventions of the 1990s, including adherence to hook and melody behind all the feedback. They are playing X&Y on the Friday August 17 (with able supports from Tape/Off and Sleepwalks), an afternoon sesh at Tyms Guitars on the Saturday, and then - drumroll - at The Waiting Room as headliners for this month's Sonic Masala Presents. They are bringing their new album in tow (including some on sexy yellow vinyl!) and a new single in the form of 'Love Song'. This is one not to be missed, including as it does support from the resurgent Seaplane, the destructive El Motel (who are promising something special for this show) and the debaucherous Crass Creatures. It's all for a tenner, with BYO, and I PROMISE YOU that this will be one of the strongest shows you will see this year. If not, Ill drink some beer - that'll teach me!

Here's the streamed Iowa album:

...and here is a little mixtape of tracks from the bands...

El Motel - Black RiderCrass Creatures - Cement
El Motel - Carnival Kid
Iowa - Panic Attack
Crass Creatures - Snake Hole
El Motel - Crazy Love
Iowa - Complete Control

...and because I don't have any Seaplane mp3's at work, here is a live version of 'Soiree'.

Get keen!


I was sent the single 'We Are' yesterday by Norwegian band Snøskred, a quintet who all sing (and presumably all dance?) over a enviable brew of benevolent noise. The perfect permutation of dreampop and shoegaze, 'We Are' is at its best a glorious microcosm of interstellar sonics, a sinewave of sinuous sound and; at its worst, its a MBV-lite cast-off. Either way you look at it (and I'm definitely in the former camp), it's an assured track, an ecstatic preamble to what will hopefully provide a stellar debut longplayer.

You can grab 'You Are' on a 7" through Riot Factory Records.

Usain comes up golden and Mitt cries foul.

Let me start this post by saying congrats to my yawdie family for going 1-2-3- in the men's 200 meters earlier today. Usain, you are the truth.

Staying with the Olympics, I have to rip my man Yohan Blake, --the world's second fastest man-- just a little bit.

Yohan, WTF were you doing wearing a $500,000 watch? Do you know how many families in Jamaica that kind of money could feed for a year? Look, I know it was an endorsement, and you probably didn't pay a dime for it, but next time tell Richard Mille and the Tourbillion folks to donate the cost of that watch to a needy charity on the rock.

OK, so let's talk a little politics.

Mitt Romney's camp has been going crazy about an ad. that's set to run which seems to imply that he cost a woman to lose her fight with cancer. The wingnuts have been crying foul, and they claim that this is the lowest of the low. Even dumbocratic turncoat, Lanny Davis, has been critical of the ad.

"Davis says both Romney and Obama, and their supporters, have sponsored ads “that make us all want to take a shower.” But when it comes to the cancer ad, he said the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action has gone too far.
“Bill Burton needs to go back to ethics school,” Davis said of the group’s senior strategist, who is a former Obama White House spokesman. “He knows perfectly well that the ad is misleading and disgusting and he needs to apologize for it.” [Source]

Why should he? Maybe Lanny hasn't been hearing some of the stuff coming from Mitt and his supporters, lately. I have some news for you Lanny, politics is dirty business, so you and the wingnuts crying a river better get used to it.

Anyway, maybe Mitt Romney didn't cause that woman in the ad. to lose her life, but is there any doubt that he did business with people who caused the death of others?

"When Romney struggled to raise funds from other traditional sources, he and his partners started thinking outside the box. Bain executive Harry Strachan suggested that Romney meet with a group of Central American oligarchs who were looking for new investment vehicles as turmoil engulfed their region.
Romney was worried that the oligarchs might be tied to "illegal drug money, right-wing death squads, or left-wing terrorism," Strachan later told a Boston Globe reporter, as quoted in the 2012 book "The Real Romney." But, pressed for capital, Romney pushed his concerns aside and flew to Miami in mid-1984 to meet with the Salvadorans at a local bank.

It was a lucrative trip. The Central Americans provided roughly $9 million -- 40 percent -- of Bain Capital's initial outside funding, the Los Angeles Times reported recently. And they became valued clients.

"Over the years, these Latin American friends have loyally rolled over investments in succeeding funds, actively participated in Bain Capital's May investor meetings, and are still today one of the largest investor groups in Bain Capital," Strachan wrote in his memoir in 2008. Strachan declined to be interviewed for this story.

When Romney launched another venture that needed funding -- his first presidential campaign -- he returned to Miami.

"I owe a great deal to Americans of Latin American descent," he said at a dinner in Miami in 2007. "When I was starting my business, I came to Miami to find partners that would believe in me and that would finance my enterprise. My partners were Ricardo Poma, Miguel Dueñas, Pancho Soler, Frank Kardonski, and Diego Ribadeneira." [Read more.]

Mitt, there is one little problem; your partners were also financing death squads in El Salvador.

Of course you probably won't hear anymore about this story, because the PACS supporting Obama are probably now afraid of folks like Lanny Davis condemning them for playing dirty politics. But is it dirty politics if it's the truth? Shouldn't the American people know everything about Mitt? He won't show us his tax returns, so let's keep digging about his past business practices.

Finally, speaking of dirty politics, I am glad to see that a former republican came out and admitted that they were trying to suppress minority votes down there in Florida. He should know, he was in the room when they were plotting to do it.

Jim Greer was a republican party chairman in Florida and is always the case with these types of situations; he started singing like Aretha Franklin when he found himself in some hot water.

"In the deposition, released to the press yesterday, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He also said party officials discussed how “minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,” according to the AP."

Yes Mitt, politics is a dirty business, but I am sure that you and your peeps already knew that.



I'll Only Get Fresh On This Long Slow Dance

I've mentioned in the past that it took me seeing San Franciscans The Fresh & Onlys live (supporting Deerhunter no less) for me to truly appreciate what they did, as on record I couldn't get past the poppiness of their tracks - it all felt staid to me. I've since become a convert. This year could see me become a zealot though. What with great solo records from Tim Cohen and Wymond Miles, and now their impending LP Long Slow Dance (out September 4 through Mexican Summer), the quartet are doing all they can to "rectify" their past undoings (this last comment is aimed squarely at me, folks, before I get the backlash and death threats - although is any F&O fan straight enough to get that wound up? I know that I'm not...) The album physically looks beautiful, and if the two singles that have been released (which you can get as 7"s) the album will be the aural equivalent.

See what I mean about the beauty of the package? Get in fast and grab any/all of these releases here, here and here.

Hits From The Box #55 - Bolt Of Clarity

OK, so second week of Olympics and I'm still slightly disgruntled about the whole Aussie sore losers thing. Don't get me wrong - I'm loving watching it now - just trying to avoid most of the Aussie coverage. Sally Pearson, Anna Meares, the sailing boys - incredible work! But claiming that our country is a disaster is some of the worst tall poppy rubbish I've heard in a long long time. I love our successes, but I'm finding more solace in our unexpected success stories (IE the 19 year old 400m runner who came 8th in the final, but wasn't expected to figure in the heats), and of course Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and the true champions of the world.

Plus, you can put it on mute and listen to this week's tenuous-at-best Olympics-themed Hits From The Box...

Sheffield, UK's grottiest lo-fi punksters Collider supposedly brought out this cassette through Tye Die Tapes not that long ago, but I can't find it anywhere. The track I have, 'You Didn't Think This Through', is pretty damn ace though, and I'm hoping that the label (that includes the great Slowcoaches amongst their roster) aren't pulling my leg on this one. So despite my obvious failure at navigating Google properly, here is said track. Plus, the title reminds me of Aussie swimmer Emily Seebohm's decision to declare her Twitter obsession as the catalyst for her pool failure. What a gaffe. I'm struggling to see why I should be altruistic about this girl - she is human and therefore fallible, but just accept you have the ability to be the best in the world, but tight at this moment you are second. Ah well. Lesson? At least I'm kicking arse on Google Hurdles and Kayaking...and if that's all you get from this, a free killer track, an aversion to social media addicts and an impulse to play simplistic keyboard-mash games, Collider have won.

Collider - You Didn't Think This Through

These guys are called Sunglasses. This track has been sitting in my inbox for months because I didn't believe that they were actually called Sunglasses. But seeing as the track is called 'Swim', and what with the Olympics and all, I thought it was time to track these pesky dudes down. Seems that the duo, harking from Savannah from all places, put this track out on cassette EP a couple months back. So I grabbed said EP (out through Lefse Records), and it's pretty good. Sweeping glossiness, rose-tinted...ah, I see where this is going! Could have propelled some people along to great heights. 'Swim' is the languid highlight for me though. Check em out below.

Sunglasses - Swim
Sunglasses - Namesake

I thought I'd throw Washington dreampop trio Western Affairs into the Olympic ring because their new album is called 2000, which is clearly not a reference to anything interstellar like 2001: A Space Odyssey and instead focuses on the power and the passion that was the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Kangaroos as BMX bandits? Hills hoists? Victa grass mowers? You better believe it. 2000 is also a nice brush across the likes of more maudlin Flaming Lips, a more synth-led Nada Surf or a dancier Twilight Sad. Very pretty. Very Sydney.

Western Affairs - Iowa
Western Affairs - 1999
Western Affairs - Laura

Now, Portland's resident weirdo (well, one of them) Oxykitten has a few releases out this year that deserve recognition, if only for the whacked-out song titles (the opener to The Cutting Room is called 'Dog Fisting My Unicorn'...). Firstly there is the collaboration with Adderall Canyonly called The Cutting Room, then his/her own release Octagonal Wax (on Field Hymns Records). Its inclusion on this HFTB stems merely from song titles, although this mesh of synth-line instrumentals are much more palatable than seeing a unicorn getting fisted might suggest. Well worth trying (the music, I mean...)

Adderall Canyonly & Oxykitten - Cruising For A Losing (insert disappointment here, I guess...)

Oxykitten - 50 Times Higher Than Any Normal Man (SM dedicates this to Michael Phelps)
Oxykitten - Drowning Inside (to the loving memory of Eric The Eel)

Nose is a noise-rock band based in Scarborough in Western Australia. That's all I really know. And they aren't lying, it is pretty bloody noisy. But their chaotic mess is here because of the ire that so called 'experts' wax lyrical about shit they know nothing about (I can see how such a statement, put in another context, could be fired squarely at me - time to attach the critique-proof Kevlar...). Still seething about the arseholes that Australian media pundits have generally proven themselves to be. They can all go fuck themselves. Hence...

Nose - Intellectual Inbreeding (geddit?)
Nose - Giant Parasitic Worm (this is kind relevant also, come to think of it...)

By now (hopefully for the eagle-eyed of you, from the first sentence of this longwinded post) you will realise that I'm just tying these six bands to the Olympic flag with the flimsiest, frayed piece of string I can find. I'll return to England, the current hotbed of Olympic euphoria and heartbreak, and let Bedfordshire quirksters Grubby Mitts set the standard then with their, 'Standard'. It's off their great Standard 7" (out here), hoping to hear more in the near future. Plus, it would be awesome for a indie Olympics montage don't you think?

Grubby Mitts - Standard

This is the worst post, right? Whatever. Put these bands on and watch Bolt ad nauseum, it'll restore your faith in humankind.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let's Get Shellaced

Hole E Shit. As if I WASN'T going to be excited about Shellac's first Australian appearance since 1993 - I saw these guys only hours before this blog was conceived at the My Bloody Valentine ATP! But of course they (alongside another couple of greats, Lee Ranaldo and Billy Bragg) had been garnered for this year's Melbourne Festival, so assumptions were high that the only way to catch the rambunctious trio was to wing it south. Not so, as all three acts will alight in Brisbane in late October as part of an East Coast tour (not all together, separate tours - I would pay to see Bragg and Albini in some verbal confrontation. Actually, anyone with Albini will find it hard pressed to get on top, he is one opinionated mofo). So get your tix here for Shellac's Tuesday October 23 show at The Zoo, with Pikelet in support. They are 30-odd bucks, incredibly cheap really, so expect these to fly out the door.

White Hills Burn Up The Road

New-ish label Outer Battery has some pretty sweet live LPs coming up that were recorded at Holland's Roadburn Festival last year (co-released by Roadburn Records, of course), none moreso than the current recording of LA's space rock demons White Hills. It's a killer set consisting of 'Three Quarters', 'Under Skin Or By Name', 'Radiate', 'The Condition Of Nothing' and signs off with a blistering 'H-p1'. The CD is sold out, but who cares when you can buy it on green vinyl? I sure don't. Further exciting news from Outer Battery is that they have become the USA arm of Roadburn Records, so expect to see live releases of past years' Roadburn fests from the likes of Neurosis, Wolves In The Throne Room and Yob become much more readily available.

You can get Live at Roadburn 2011 here.

White Hills Live - Side B

Gabby, Lolo, and black folks coming together.

I am going to ask my white friends to ignore this post. If you happen to be white and you were going to check out what I am writing tonight, please come back tomorrow. ( I am going to delay the comments section because I really don't need to hear from the trolls tonight)

Anyway my brothers and sisters, I am moved to write this post because of some disturbing things coming out of London. (No, not Usain partying with blonds until early in the morning.)

First, some of you Negroes were on twitter ripping Gabby Douglas because of her hair style. Not her actual athletic prowess, but her hair. This is ignorant and wrong on so many levels, and it speaks to some greater issues with many of you: This constant need to focus on the superficial and not what really matters. It's why some of you would rather spend $40,000.00 on a brand new car instead of training towards a college degree or a vocational certificate. It's why some of you (who can't afford it) spend thousands of dollars on a hand bag instead of a nice stroller for your infant child. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Gabby Douglas was over there making it happen because she put in the work in to compete on a world class level in a very difficult sport. The last thing she needed to be worrying about was if her weave is tight. It got so bad that you all got white folks in our business. This is not cool. The last thing that poor child needed was to be worried about her damn hair.

The next troubling development from London was this girl fight which broke out between Lolo Jones, and her hurdling teammates, Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells.

This one is a little more complicated, because it involves what is perceived beauty in this country and how that perception of beauty drives marketing.

On one hand we have Lolo Jones; a woman who America views as beautiful,(I actually think Kellie Wells is cuter) and who has athletic talent and a compelling story to match. She was dubbed the Anna Kournikova of track by the New York Times in an article that seemed to send Jones over the top.

"I think it was crazy just because it was two days before I competed, and then the fact that it was from a U.S. media,'' Jones told Savannah Guthrie before fighting back tears. "They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes and instead they just ripped me to shreds. I just thought that that was crazy because I worked six days a week, every day, for four years for a 12-second race and the fact that they just tore me apart, which is heartbreaking.

"They didn't even do their research, calling me the Anna Kournikova of track. I have the American record. I am the American record holder indoors, I have two world indoor titles. Just because I don't boast about these things, I don't think I should be ripped apart by media. I laid it out there, fought hard for my country and it's just a shame that I have to deal with so much backlash when I'm already so brokenhearted as it is."  

No doubt that Jones works hard, but the truth is that she might not be talented enough to compete for gold on the world's highest stage. And is it really her fault that America has pumped her up because of her looks? You could also argue that the reason the 100 meter hurdles is getting so much shine is because of Jones. Her coming out that she is a virgin only made the press want more of her.

On the other hand we have the aforementioned Wells and Harper. They are probably more talented on the track than Jones, but in the eyes of America, they don't have "the look". And yet, we have been learning that Ms. Harper's story is just as compelling as Lolo the virgin.

"Beadle: You thought you weren't getting enough respect ... Why is that?
Harper: I feel I had a pretty good story -- knee surgery two months before Olympic trials in 2008, to make the team but 0.007, not have a contract ... working three jobs, living in a frat house, trying to make it work. Coming off running in someone else's shoes getting the gold medal. Uhhh, I'd say I was pretty interesting. I just felt as if I worked really hard to represent my country in the best way possible, and to come way with the gold medal, and to honestly seem as if, because their favorite [CLOSE UP ON LOLO JONES FROM TUESDAY NIGHT] didn't win all of sudden it's just like, 'Were going to push your story aside, and still gonna push this one.' That hurt. It did. It hurt my feelings. But I feel as if I showed I can deal with the pressure, I came back, and I think you kinda got to respect it a little bit now.

Beadle [to Harper and Kellie Wells]: You guys kinda hang out together ... Is there fighting amongst the team -- we're talking about Lolo Jones if you can't figure this out -- is there an awkward situation or now that it's over we've all just moved on?

Wells: Well, I think that, on the podium tonight, the three girls that earned their spot and they got their medals and they worked hard and did what they needed to do, prevailed. And that's all that really needs to be said.
Beadle: Wow.

Harper: BOOM! Just like that.

Beadle: You can cut the tension in here with a knife." [Story]

OK fam, so that's the back story, now I want to know why these ladies couldn't get along. Weren't they all over there busting their butts as teammates? What is it about us black folks sometimes that makes it so hard to come together?

Why are these two ladies on NBC trashing Jones instead of enjoying their medals?

Holla at me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Looking In From Outside

A picture from 2006 before becoming president ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"It is often the case that observers from other countries or cultures notice things about our behaviour that we do not because we are so accustomed to the behaviour that we cannot recognise its significance."

Arthur Asa Berger, (2009), What Objects Mean: An Introduction to Material Culture, Walnut Creek, Left Coast Press.
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Gabby wears pink and some folks are seeing red, and Mitt's "loving it".

You know that we have really come to a bad place in this country when commentators on a certain cable news network are making an issue of the outfit that one of our stars from the Olympic games, Gabby Douglas, wore during her routine. They basically said that she isn't "patriotic enough" because she chose to wear pink.

"Gabby Douglas was the topic du jour for Olympic commentators throughout last week, but over the weekend, she became a centerpiece in another manufactured controversy at Fox News, America’s top outlet for manufactured controversies. Douglas’ pink leotard, Fox host Alisyn Camerota lamented, was emblematic of an Olympic “trend” (one that, Fox wants you to believe, is part of a liberal-left conspiracy to rid the world of red, white, and blue) of athletes wearing colors that don’t appear on the American flag..

“Some folks have noticed that the American athletes’ uniforms don’t carry the stars and stripes look as much as they have in past years,” Camerota complained, without any evidence of who “some folks” might be. “The famous flag-styled outfits worn in year’s past replaced with yellow shirts, gray track suits, pink leotards.” Radio host/Tea Partier David Webb later chimed in with a sad tome about how America has “lost over time that jingoistic feeling” because “a soft anti-American feeling that Americans can’t show their exceptionalism..” [More] 

Maybe the folks at FOX NEWS can start training their own athletes for 2016. But a word of caution; if they turn out to be as bad as their on air talent, I am quite sure that America would be shut out of the medal count.    

In other Olympic news, some dude competing in the Judo competition has been banned from the games for testing positive for a banned substance. His explanation for testing positive for the substance is a bit odd.

"Delpopolo, 23, of Westfield, N.J., said he inadvertently ate baked goods that contained marijuana before he departed for the Olympics last month. U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said the athlete was sent back to the USA on Monday shortly after being notified of the test result.

His disqualification marks the first in-games doping violation announced by the IOC. Four previous offenses involving Olympic athletes resulted from tests conducted prior to the start of Olympic competition.

"I apologize to the U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake," Delpopolo said in a written statement. "I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will rededicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be."

Sandusky said the U.S. committee "absolutely" supports the disqualification."[Source]

Not buying it. They are not checking for the good collie weed. If that was the case why didn't any of the Jamaican athletes test positive? I kid, I kid. (Save your e-mails, I am Jamaican, I can joke about this stuff.) 

Anywhoo, good luck with all your future pursuits Mr. Delpopolo, just stay away from the brownies next time.

Finally, I love how wealthy folks throw around their sense of entitlement while showing disdain for poor people.

Mitt Romney is trying his best to activate a very dormant and skeptical base, and his latest nod to them is a trashing of those lazy welfare recipients who depend on the government for handouts. He is trying so hard to blow this dog whistle that he is actually being disingenuous while doing it.

  "Mitt Romney sought to inject the issue of welfare into the presidential campaign here Tuesday, accusing President Obama of dismantling federal welfare reform and creating a “culture of dependency.”

The presumptive Republican nominee charged that the Obama administration has reversed the popular bipartisan welfare reform that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996 by allowing waivers for states for welfare work requirements.

“That is wrong. If I’m president, I’ll put work back in welfare,” [Source] 

Yes Mitt, because poor people don't deserve anything unless they work for it.   Bu then there is the story you told us about your daddy:

"Mitt Romney has made no secret of his love for fast food—and it appears he inherited that taste from his dad.

Speaking to supporters at a Chicago fundraiser Tuesday, Romney recognized a member of the audience who had worked at McDonald's, based in nearby Des Plaines, for 27 years—including with the chain's founder, Ray Kroc.

That prompted Romney to tell a story about his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, and what he'd found peeking through his father's "top drawer" as a teenager when he was rooting around for spare change.

"I found a little paper card, a little pink card, and it said this entitles George W. Romney to a lifetime of a hamburger, a shake and french fries at McDonald's

"It was signed by the hand of Ray Kroc. My dad had done a little training lesson or whatever for McDonald's when there was just a handful of restaurants, and I saw this thing and was like, 'This is a gold mine, dad! What are you doing?'"
Once he got over the shock, Romney said he had the card laminated for his father.

"My dad, as you know, would go almost every day to a McDonald's restaurant and get either a hamburger or a fish filet sandwich," Romney said. "And he would present this little card and of course the person behind the counter would look and say, 'Well, what is that?' They'd never seen something like that, but he said it was never turned down. They always honored it." [Source]

Free Micky D's for life?! Isn't being rich wonderful? I bet Mitt still has that damn card.


Occupied With An Unspoken Golden Retriever

Occupied With The Unspoken is the new record from Portland duo Jonathan Sielaff (of Au) and Matt Carlson (of Parenthetical Girls) AKA Golden Retriever, and their first through esteemed experimental label Thrill Jockey. The album is both a meditation on and a study of how music can be made, by focusing on the ways in which polyphonic music can be molded from monophonic instruments. The bass clarinet and the analog modular synthesizer are generally both capable of playing only one note at a time. By intertwining electronics into the mixing and layering the results, a tapestry of sonics emerges which feels organic in origin but is anything but. This is the kind of extrapolation of sound that the Inner Islands stable would find inimitably fascinating. Much like contemporaries in these exploratory realm, Golden Retriever wouldn't ever play these concise versions of songs, tended for a 25-to-30 minute interpretation which allows for pondering and feeling out, thus making Occupied With the Unspoken a unique experience all its own. I always surprise myself about which experimental sound installation I will connect with, and which to me doesn't lead anywhere - but Thrill Jockey is a pretty good indicator of where my cards normally fall. Golden Retriever, whilst not a safe bet for some, is a risk worth taking.

You can grab Occupied With The Unspoken here. Check out the song and video 'Canopy' below.

Golden Retriever - Canopy

Video Vacuum - Eagulls, Crime & the City Solution, Opossum, Idles

I'm going to be quick with these, loose with the PR and bios, and just have at it because it's been a long fucking day...I really need to get the band back together...

Straight from the horses' mouths about the Eagulls new video/track 'Moulting' - "The lyrics in this ‘number’ are reflecting my feelings of how I felt I had nothing left. Everything I’d done so far in life just seemed to be worthless. I wrote most of the song in my freezing cold bedroom which is the size of a single bed. I would wake up wet from the damp all night and my feet would be covered in mould off the walls and I’d had enough. It felt like I was dropping to bits like a cat loses its hair or a snake sheds its skin." Life doesn't feel so bad now does it? Eagulls have some cool shows coming up if you are UK bound in the next couple months (although their incredible support score with newly-90s-angst-burst Cloud Nothings is sold out), especially seeing as they are supporting Liars in Norwich before running around with 2012's Scandinavian punk sensations Holograms (if there's a new one of these every year, it will be fucking amazing, everyone else can give up music).

Crime & the City Solution

An Introduction To… is a new series of compilations on Mute of Sydney-via-Melbourne-via-England-via-Berlin post-punk deities Crime & The City Solution, with the tracklisting chosen by the band. For A History Of Crime - Berlin 1987 – 1991, the band has selected tracks from the three Berlin era albums: Shine (1988), The Bride Ship (1989) and Paradise Discotheque (1990). The album also features the band’s swansong, ‘The Adversary’, from the film Until The End Of The World (Wim Wenders, 1991). Simon Bonney is a great writer, and seeing that Mick Harvey (The Bad Seeds) was in the last two true incarnations, and Troy Gregory (bass, The Dirtbombs/Swans/Spiritualised) and the Dirty Three's Jim White is currently playing drums for them, they are an incredible band that were much overlooked, so to see them out and about once more is truly exciting. Listen below, then go back and get everything - Mute are making it easy for you...

Ruban Nielson may have been the first to climb out of the Mint Chick wreck with last year's breakaway warped pop sensations Unknown Mortal Orchestra, but brother Kody (along with bassist Michael Logie and ex-NZ chanteuse Bic Runga on drums) isn't far behind with psych pop mutation Opossom. The debut record Electric Hawaii comes out on Fire Records in August (it's already out here in Australia), and this is the second single (and one of the best tracks). Unfortunately the bastards are playing the same night as my Sonic Masala-endorsed Iowa album launch here in Brisbane (that's Saturday August 18, at the Waiting Room, you should all totz come!!!), but I'm sure they will be back. Plus they are touring the US and Europe in the latter months of 2012 so they will be busy bees...

Finally we have Bristol, UK act Idles with second single off their Welcome EP (which only came out two days ago on Fear Of Fiction Records) called 'Germany'. I wasn't sure if I would dig this, but it's doing the do today, and the vid is weirded out AND has interpretive dance - what's not to like? Get up and cut those weird shapes in a work cubicle that isn't yours, go on!

Have fun? Yeah...NOW GET BACK TO WORK!

Don't Mess With The Midnight Ghost Train

It's funny how a band's name can throw you for a loop. As it was when Karate Body Records sent me Buffalo, the new album from Kansas-based group The Midnight Ghost Train. For whatever reason, I was expecting at best rockabilly blues act, at worst some MOR indie bluster or folk bore. Not the unholy progeny of a menage a trois between Young Widows, Kyuss and Tom Waits. There is probably a better reference here - there's a song that is licking my earlobe, but I can't quite remember it, it's bloody annoying - but where blues, desert stoner rock, riff-tastic solos and some gruff mewling with an evil glint in the eye fuse together, I will surely follow. It's pretty great all round, bottom heavy to hell and back, and the slow chug of 'Tom's Trip' that explodes in the final third is worth the price of admission alone. And possibly the best covers-based about-turn in 2012 is here too in the guise of an acappella rendition of Lead Belly's 'Cotton Fields' as done by a traveling freakshow. I shit you not, Buffalo is white-hot, jampacked full of ferocity, twists and turns, worthy of a face-melting.

You can grab Buffalo here and here. Seriously, you won't find many bands with thicker rock riffs this year.

Thomas and Rebecca Jarvis


Poppies outside St. Aidan's Winery on Lindisfarne.

Weathered Stone

Weathered stones in the wall of St. Mary's Parish Church on Lindisfarne.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Taking Artistic Control

Two Sound of Science releases in two days? Well, I never! Wisconsin instrumental math rockers Control put out this tasty cassette Schulte A little while back, that is now out on all formats (vinyl, digital and CD). The trio have been doing EPs with artists doing screenprints, a great collaborative interest that at $15 each is a deal and a half. I was originally turned on by their influences - Fugazi and The Minutemen, how can you go past that? - and the music fulfils my taking a chance. The music is tight, athletic, energising and a lot of fun. They are worth checking out, and you can get their stuff in any format you want (three guesses which one Ill be championing...) right about here.

Winter Has Come

Kotaro Takamura
Definitely winter has come.
The evergreen shrub's white flowers have disappeared.
The ginko trees have turned into brooms.

Like a sharp knife piercing, winter has come.
Everyone dislikes winter.
Deserted by grasses and trees, run away from by insects, winter has come.

come to me, come to me.
I have winter's strength, winter is my victim.

Permeate through, penetrate into!
Make fires break out! Bury with snow!
Like a sharp knife, winter has come.

- Kotaro Takamura (1883-1956)

Just another boy next door.

A day after the shooting at that Sikh Temple, America is learning more about Wade Michael Page. Most of us are not surprised to learn who he is or what he represented. When the DOJ spoke about the dangers of "lone wolf" -right wing-  white supremacist taking such actions, their warning was met with derision and scorn from the right. And, as is always the case, they (the right) tried to play down the seriousness of the threat. In fact, they claimed that it was those evil Black Panthers we should fear, not right wing hate groups. (Why anyone would fear Malik Shabazz and the boys is beyond me. The only person who should fear Mr. Shabazz is the FOX NEWS makeup person who puts on the wrong shade of foundation before he goes on the air.)    

Speaking of the DOJ, they were warned to look out for attacks on Sikhs as far back as April. (Memo to Michele Bachmann: Sikhs are not Muslims.) Because, thankfully, there are some folks in America who understand the seriousness of the threats from these hate groups. Unfortunately, you can't monitor every psycho in America; this is a big country with a lot of deranged people. Wade Michael Page was one of them. He was a gun toting Neo- Nazi with marginal musical skills, and he was demoted and kicked out of the military. He was a man who hated his miserable life so much; he did the unthinkable probably knowing that he would lose it.

Anyway, he was a coward. Shooting a peaceful group of people while they worship puts him in the same category with the animals that killed those four little girls in Birmingham back in the day, and the one who killed those little Amish girls right here in Pistolvania a few years ago.

Sadly, there are more like him out there. Many whose hatred for others is just as strong, and a few who will actually act on that hatred when the opportunity presents itself.

The good news is that he seemed to act alone. The bad news is that he had a lot of cheerleaders along the way.   





Creating Stories With Endless Fire

I doubt Ill do this record justice - I've been sitting on this so long, using it whilst I write a existential short story about as boy who finds a Colt revolver in his backyard that speaks to him (it's probably as shit as it sounds), that the lines have been irreversibly blurred. Another great release from Immune Recordings, With Endless Fire is a bit of a mind fuck album from drone/folk/something explorer Ilyas Ahmed. I hadn't heard his stuff before, until I found out that he is one half of Visitor (the other half being Elizabeth Harris AKA Grouper). There is a certain timbre that emanates from Ahmed's croon that, mirrored with the acoustic and electric guitar, the harmonium, the loops, it seems torn between warmth and isolation, an utterly intriguing listening experience. Scoring swirling skies over a scorched earth, a peyote totem search through the desert - or a boy with a gun as the ash starts to fall.

You can get With Endless Fire here - it's a compelling record well worth you time.

Ilyas Ahmed - Stained Sky
Ilyas Ahmed - Now Sleeps

Little Dreamers #4 - Nitzam, Fierce & the Dead, Sleeping In The Aviary, TV Buddhas

Here are some belated releases by bands I've featured in the past that I thought warranted a quick mention...

First up, Brighton psych folk rock hybrid Nitzam put out a self-titled EP last year that I quite liked, and since have pumped out two more - called Nitzam 2 and Nitzam 3. They also opened The Great Escape festival this English summer (not sure if that's even a term anymore...) All three releases are free and can be got here. Get got, good.

Nitzam - High Tide (from Nitzam 2)
Nitzam - Answer Phone (from Nitzam 3)

Another UK band, London-based instrumental quartet The Fierce And The Dead impressed with their long-and-amusing-titled debut If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe. They followed this up earlier this year with EP On VHS (which you can grab here), which they also recorded videos for the four tracks onto VHS tapes for special purchase - nice. The EP has some great moments, and with titles like '666...6', still haven't lost the sense of humour.

The Fierce & The Dead - 666...6

Now across to the US, Minneapolis to be exact, to check in on Sleeping In The Aviary. The five-piece put out a fun LP last year called You And Me, Ghost and last month re-issued their sophomore album Expensive Vomit In A Cheap Motel on vinyl. More lo-fi, steeped in tragedy but run through with hope, the album is a ragged rush at the sun - no lollipops here, just soldiering on with a glint in the eye. Good stuff. You can grab it (and their other stuff) through Sound of Science here.

Sleeping In The Aviary - Write On

Finally we are trekking way over to Tel Aviv via Berlin for post punk gurus TV Buddhas. The latest EP Band In The Modern World (out through Austrian label TROST Records, produced by Steve Fisk) sounds anything BUT modern, like its a lost tape from the 70s London era. I'm really tired, so all Ill say is this is a great release - GREAT release - that you should get right now. RIGHT. NOW. Here. Do it.

TV Buddhas - Don't Tell Me It's Gonna Be OK
TV Buddhas - In The Shadow Of A Wave

Here's the whole thing...

Marching Up Arch Hill With Big Sounds From My Transistors

I've been a little neglectful of cool little NZ label Arch Hill of recent months, and I was only made aware of this when I noticed that a band that I wrote about back in 2010, Transistors (now called The Transistors apparently), were on the Brisbane BigSound bill in September this year. So it's catch up time, starting with Beach Pigs.

A ramshackle four-piece outta Auckland, Beach Pigs brought out an electric self-titled EP last year that didn't both to to break ten minutes. They inject as much beat, spunk and junk into their pop ditties that it is impossible to stay still, to not smash stuff, or to not sing along with Tourette's style abandon. The latest track is somewhat longer, sunnier, languid yet still raucous and fun. Pity they aren't hurdling the ditch come September...keep an eye out for these guys for sure.

Beach Pigs - Catch Up In The Sun

Now we have Transistors, who are touring their home country as the special guests of Aussie band King Cannons in a preamble to their BigSound soiree. Their last EP Flux Pentaphile was pretty killer, so I'm expecting them to blow all punters away when they take to Bakery Lane on Wednesday September 12...

Transistors - Abandoned

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sex Hands Are There For You (And All Over You)

Manchester produce some funny folk, don't they? They produce some pretty stellar bands too. Sex Hands is one such group. Three friends from Wales with a Manchunian add-on, the awesome foursome write scuzzy, wonky garage rock about Friends. Not their friends, but everyone's Friends - Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe.

They even have an entire album glued to the obsession, called Season 1. Some of the instrumentation actually reminds me of Royal Headache at times, such a great thing.It's pretty rad, even moreso seeing as they have an amazing cover of The Clean's 'Sad Eyed Lady'. No cover of the Rembrandts' "AMAZING" title tune though, instead naming a song after the band. Small victories. Grab it here.

Sex Hands - Joey
Sex Hands - Sad Eyed Lady (The Clean cover)

But that isn't all, they have been on a couple of excellent splits this year. The first one, a 7" put out by Icecapades, with now-defunct band Daily Life. It's a little clearer in production, but just as awesomely (and gleefully) bent out of shape. He can still grab it here. Here are the four songs put to some film clips:

And in case that isn't enough, here is the other split they did, a cassette on Birthday Tapes with ____ band Golden Grrrls as part of their Zodiac collection. Called Taurus, we get more of the same, but different. But essentially the same. Woo! PLUS, their cover of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's 'Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Eu Gilydd' is just as rad as their Clean cover. These guys cover goooood. you can buy this cassette for 2 squid here.

They also have this 12" 4-way split out through Song, By Toad Records with SM faves Paws, as well as Waiters and Dolfinz. Grab it here (the Sex Hands song is 'Jingle Bitch' off Season 1).

FINALLY! Here is ANOTHER few Friends' related track, including a newie called 'The One Where The Stripper Cries'. Ah, Danny Devito...Dr Romano...Susan...the memories! And why I'm at it, Ross and Rachel, WTF! Don't get me started (*starts humming 'I'll Be There For You'...)

Bolt again, Serena's celebration offends, and another gun related tragedy in America.

Before I start this post I would like to say congrats and big up to my yawdie fam for going one two in the men's 100 meter final in London. Once again a major fail on NBC's part. (This is getting old.)They chose to show us horses and beach volleyball instead of live coverage of the race which is a joke. Yeah I get the whole prime time stuff, but this is Sunday damn it!

And before I leave London I would also like to comment on another fake controversy created by certain people who want to diminish the accomplishments of a truly great American athlete.

Yes, Serena Williams did the crip walk, (Heaven help us, now white folks have something else from black popular culture to obsess over.) get over it, it's a dance. The girl is from Compton, California for crying out loud!

"This was also the extraordinary American tennis star losing control for a moment and Crip-Walking at Wimbledon. Blinded by her joy, she walked all over her crowning moment.

On the podium, the gold medal dangling from her neck as America’s national anthem played, the winds of Wimbledon struck down the American flag from its awning. The crowd gasped. Serena’s eyes got big, and she giggled. The flag fluttered to the ground and was balled up by an Olympic official. Later, Serena joked that the flag was just trying to fly toward her: “It was probably flying to come hug me because the flag was so happy.”

Or maybe it was the Royal Gods of Wimbledon, giving Queen Serena a proper British slap on the wrist for her moment of innocent, though unfortunate, American celebration."

Give me a break! She is a tennis player! The republic will survive. I dare say that we have more serious stuff going on in these divided states of America than a damn tennis player dancing for her sister and sharing a moment from their childhood.   

Finally, speaking of serious things going on in America, I would like to acknowledge the horrific shooting that took place in Wisconsin today in that Sikh temple. (I see you Wayne LaPierre)

I am going to reserve saying what I am thinking until more facts come out, but right now it is being called an act of "domestic terrorism."

I will say this, -because I try to educate on this blog- Sikhs are not Muslims. They are members of a totally different religious sect. They are often Indians and not Middle Eastern, they do not worship Islam, and they are disciples of Guru and not Muhammad.

Sikhs have been targeted for harassment ever since 911 in this country, because most of the people who do such things aren't smart enough to figure out the difference between the two.

But anyway, here we go again, I will probably have more to say about this tomorrow. Probably.