ALBUM REVIEW: Bad//Dreems – Gutful

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There’s an inauspicious start with the BD-by numbers Johnny Irony but any doubts of a sophomore slump are quickly quashed by first single Mob Rule which utilises gang chants and pub rock bar chords to rail against the narrow-minded, pack mentality sub-cultures in Australian society.

That sentiment permeates much of the album, blatantly and subtly. It’s their statement of sorts and it comes at a timely moment as they’re a band that sits right on the border between underground, rock ‘n’ roll notoriety and cred, and the larger, promotion-driven world of festivals, triple j and the accompanying dumbed down bloke vibe that can sometimes invade that transition.

Elsewhere, Ben, Alex, James and Miles hit some fine melancholic spots like the yearning By Your Side and the woolly strum of Pagan Rage – a distant sonic echo to one of their first singles Chills. They still bear the iconic Aussie rock imprint of producer Mark Opitz but overall this is a less forced and more subtly varied album that even takes in saxophone on A Million Times Alone. Stripped of the bluster and noise it highlights how well the band blends mood and wistful melody alongside lurching rock n roll.

Chris Familton

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NEWS: Thurston Moore announces ‘Rock n Roll Consciousness’ LP

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Thurston Moore has been teasing his new album in interviews over the last few months and today we get the official announcement of Rock n Roll Conciousness, due for release on April 28th via Caroline Australia.

It’s a five track album (track listing below) which features Deb Googe (My Bloody Valentine, Snowpony) bass, James Sedwards (Nøught, Chrome Hoof) guitar and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth, Crucifucks) drums and was produced by Paul Epworth (Adele, Paul McCartney, Glass Animals) at The Church studios in Crouch End, London and mixed by Randall Dunn (Marissa Nadler, Earth).

Here’s the video clip for the second track to appear from the LP, ‘Smoke Of Dreams’.

ALBUM TRACKLISTING:

  1. Exalted
  2. Cusp
  3. Turn On
  4. Smoke of Dreams
  5. Aphrodite

LIVE REVIEW: PIXIES @ Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, 07.03.17

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Returning for their fourth post-reunion Australian tour, Pixies have a new weapon in their arsenal in the form of last year’s album Head Carrier which saw a balanced return to their classic sound with fresh songwriting and a renewed edge.

In support, The Murlocs fulfilled their obligations but a 40 minute opening slot of mid-paced bluesy garage-rock fell flat ahead of the headliners dynamic onslaught. The end of their set was more interesting with a fuller sound courtesy of frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith adding a second guitar but it was too little too late.

Pixies’ defining approach to their current live show is one of economy. With four stick clicks they were straight into Gouge Away from their seminal Doolittle album and from then on there were zero words spoken to the audience, little interplay between band members and just song after song in rapid-fire procession with nary a lull between songs, bar a few guitar changes. The breadth of their catalogue was on full display as they roared through new songs from Head CarrierUm Chagga Lagga and Frank Black’s blistering throat shredder Baal’s Back particular highlights and easily the equal of the band’s older songs.

Four figures, all clad in black and fairly static in their movements, were like an immoveable core in the eye of a storm as strobe lights, smoke and the music created the shapes and sounds around them. Joey Santiago’s guitar was urgent, dissonant and cut through more than ever while drummer David Lovering led from the back, the heartbeat and conductor of the band. Paz Lenchantin is well and truly bedded in as a key member of Pixies 2.0, exuding both confidence and deference to the songs.

Here Comes Your Man, Gigantic, Bone Machine and La La Love You were glaring omissions from the setlist but it was hard to complain on the back of 30-odd songs that demonstrated what a gloriously weird and obtuse band Pixies are. Instilling a mass sing-along to Monkey Gone to Heaven, Where Is My Mind? and Hey and then realigning synapses with the 30 year old frantic dash of Isla de Encanta, the manic schizo-gallop of Vamos and the fractured surf-thrash of Broken Face. Disappearing in a wall of noise, smoke and white light, Pixies remain the perfect example of a re-formed band still creatively alive, committed to their songs and audience.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: The Bug Vs Earth – Snakes Vs Rats from their new LP Concrete Desert

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Dylan Carlson (Earth) has once again teamed up with The Bug’s Kevin Martin (Techno Animal, Ice, God, Razor X, King Midas Sound), this time for a full-length LP called Concrete Desert. The album also features guest vocals from Justin Broadrick from Jesu/Godflesh etc on two tracks. Below you can hear the first taste of the album – ‘Snakes Vs Rats’.

Martin says that the album is in some ways a Los Angeles-set companion piece to London Zoo. The record’s beautiful, chiming melodies are like shards of sonic light, glowing in currents of heavy bass darkness. There are pulsing soundscapes, ambient pinks and whites, and irresistible grooves. This is music that grips you entirely, and catches you in its lava-flow – an astonishing, primal album of vast depth.

Inspired by J.G. Ballard’s urban dystopias, Concrete Desert could be understood as reflecting a “mistrust of “Hollywoodisms”, the shadow of Hollywood fantasy that looms large over life in LA, and the USA in general. “Dylan’s a master at amplifying the flavour of America,” Martin says, “but not the side we see in this Trump climate.” For Martin, the “American dream is like a nightmare under Trump” but Dylan captures the “best side of that dream, a utopian openess…I hear the writing of Cormac McCarthy in his music. His playing conjures deserts, and wide open spaces.”

Concrete Desert is out 24th March via Ninja Tune. Preorders available HERE

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NEW MUSIC: Mac DeMarco Announces New LP ‘This Old Dog’

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Mac DeMarco recently upped and relocated to LA from Queens, NY and the transition to a new city had a slowing effect on his writing and recording process this time around. He sat with the songs a while and then stripped them back to acoustic guitar, drum machine and synth, giving the new album much more of a laidback (is that possible) and skeletal sound.

This Old Dog is out on May 5th via Captured Tracks/Remote Control Records. Check out the first two singles below.

  1. Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

    1. My Old Man
    2. This Old Dog
    3. Baby You’re Out
    4. For the First Time
    5. One Another
    6. Still Beating
    7. Sister
    8. Dreams From Yesterday
    9. A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes
    10. One More Love Song
    11. On the Level
    12. Moonlight on the River
    13. Watching Him Fade Away

NEW MUSIC: Father John Misty Announces New LP ‘Pure Comedy’.

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Father John Misty (Josh Tillman) is back with the follow-up to his acclaimed album I Love You, Honeybear. Titled Pure Comedy, the album is due out on April 7th via Sub Pop and Inertia Music and features co-production with Jonathan Wilson, string arrangements by Gavin Bryars and other contributions from Nico Muhly and Thomas Bartlett. The mastering was done by the legendary Bob Ludwig.

Tracklisting:

1. Pure Comedy
2. Total Entertainment Forever
3. Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before The Revolution
4. Ballad of the Dying Man
5. Birdie
6. Leaving LA
7. A Bigger Paper Bag
8. When The God of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell to Pay
9. Smoochie
10. Two Wildly Different Perspectives
11. The Memo
12. So I’m Growing old on Magic Mountain
13. In Twenty Years or So

Pure Comedy is available for pre-order now, in the following formats:

  • A Deluxe 2xLP version on aluminum & copper vinyl, a die-cut customisable jacket with 4 interactive “Background” sleeves (so you can have whatever sky you damn will feel like as the cover), all encased in a clear clipcase. Includes a fold-out poster and an exclusive holographic tarot card by Ed Steed.
  • A 2xLP gatefold version also available in 4 cover variations on black vinyl
  • A CD gatefold digipak with slipcase available in 4 cover variations
  • As digital album

Cover variations for the standard LP and CD will be randomly distributed. Collect them all!

Pre-orders through select retailers will receive a limited 7” single, featuring physical release of fan favourite ‘Real Love Baby’ on the A-side and the as yet unreleased track, ‘Rejected Generic Pop Song, March ‘15#3’ on the B-side (while supplies last).

Tillman and Grant James (‘Funtimes in Babylon’, ‘I Love You, Honeybear’) also co-directed Pure Comedy: The Film.  Pure Comedy is a gorgeously rendered black & white document of the live tracking, as well as a surreal look into Tillman’s writing process.  A six person crew, complete with cranes in the tracking rooms, captured every moment of the recording, giving the viewer intimate audience to actual album takes, including the one and only 2:00am performance of the 13-minute ‘Leaving LA’.  It also features the only known recording of Tillman’s love ballad to his sound engineer Trevor Spencer.