NEWS: Ups and Downs Release New EP Another Country

The EP, featuring covers of iconic songs by Wire, XTC, The Comsat Angels, The Korgis and The Passions is out now via Basketcase Records/Redeye Worldwide

Australia’s favourite jangly guitar/paisley popsters Ups and Downs return with this five track EP of covers of much-loved new wave and post punk tunes from the ’80s!

They say the past is ‘another country’, and it is well worth revisiting as Ups and Downs lovingly reclaim alternative classics by XTC, Wire, The Passions and The Comsat Angels.

One of the EP highlights is the band’s gorgeous take on The Korgis hit ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’ (written by James Warren). They perfectly capture the swoon and melancholic sway of the song, treating it with a gentle strum and shimmer. The icing on the cake comes in the form of legendary Australian-expat Rick Springfield who contributes a beautiful and yearning psychedelic guitar solo that adds a classic Beatles-esque feel to the recording.

Elsewhere the group convey the melodic rush of Wire’s infectious classic ‘Outdoor Miner’ with spirited headiness, they make XTC’s ‘Are You Receiving Me’ one of their own, find a tough-edged drive to The Comsat Angels’ ‘Independence Day’ and apply a darker and warmer moodiness to The Passions’ ‘I’m In Love With A German Film Star’, with sublime results.

The EP cover artwork has a fascinating back-story, as Darren Atkinson explains, “The girls on the cover were fans of Ups and Downs back in the late ‘80s and used to follow us around to gigs and send us presents. On one occasion they sent us a package that had photos of them dressed up as us, taking the piss out of various official promo shots,” he laughs.

TRACK LISTING

(1) Are You Receiving Me – (XTC, 1978)
XTC have influenced all of us over the years. Are You Receiving Me is a classic exploration of isolation and breakdown in communication. We kind of slowed it down and twisted it around a bit.” – Alex

(2) Independence Day – (The Comsat Angels, 1983)
It’s one of those touchstone songs that helped the band define its sound in the early days. It’s been part of our repertoire since just about day one. Its dark and angular nature continues to cast its shadow over what we do.” – John

(3) Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime – (The Korgis, 1980)
“It’s a beautifully sad song that continues to haunt me to this day. We’ve even iced the cake by getting a bona fide rock star, Rick Springfield, to play lead guitar on it. Rumour has it that Ups and Downs are Rick’s second favourite band after The Church and I’m OK with that.” – Greg

(4) I’m In Love With A German Film Star –  (The Passions, 1981)
We were early Passions fans and used to play this song live regularly in the 80s. We even used a photo of their album cover in our psychedelic live slide show. It’s a song that still moves me nearly 40 years after first hearing it.“- Peter

(5) Outdoor Miner – (Wire, 1978)
We started playing Outdoor Miner live in the late ’80s. I have no idea what the lyrics are about, yet the song is almost heartbreakingly melancholic. Wire have always been able to find beauty among the noise and chaos.” – Darren

NEW MUSIC: Sprints – Drones

There’e an insistent and completely hypnotic twitch and neck snap to this track from Irish post-punk group Sprints. The tension is briefly alleviated with burst of distorted guitar before the declamatory vocal of Karla Chubb resumes her megaphone stance centre stage. Like New Zealand trio Wax Chattels, Sprints revel and excel in a mix of monolithic precision and sonic chaos theory and it works beautifully.

Speaking of ‘Drones’, she says:

“Drones is very literally about my struggles with imposter syndrome. I think being a female in music, I struggle a lot with feeling like I have something to prove. It’s not okay for me to just be good, I have to be great. I have to prove constantly why I am deserving to be on the stage, or holding that guitar or that microphone. That pressure can be very difficult to deal with, and I think a lot of the times you doubt yourself then, am I actually able to write? Or is this all shit? Drones is about my experiences with dealing with this pressure, but realising that a lot of people have these struggles. The bars fill, the car parks fill, life seems to go on and on, and we can become so focused internally on our issues that you don’t realise that maybe while I was wishing I was someone else, they’re also wishing the same thing.”

There’s an EP coming shortly, hit up Spotify to hear two other singles.

NEW MUSIC: Wax Chattels – Cede

PHOTO CREDIT: Ebru Yildiz

The Aotearoa/New Zealand trio Wax Chattels release the final single from their new album Clot, out September 25 via Flying Nun and Captured Tracks.

The vitriolic choruses of ‘Cede’ are in Amanda Cheng’s (bass/vocals) native language — Taiwanese Hokkien — and are an indignant confrontation about Cross-Strait relations and self-determination.

Amanda Cheng on ‘Cede’ — “I am angry. Saying “you don’t know who I am” in Taiwanese Hokkien is to say “you don’t get to tell me who I am”. You don’t just scream like this to put on an album — you scream like this because it’s the only thing you can do.

This song is an affront to the near-silent cultural genocide that’s taking place — the censorship, the militant threats — and the international community’s insistence on practicing diplomacy with economics at the front of mind. If it takes a loud song that’s half in an unfamiliar language for people to ask, “what’s that about?”, then so be it.”
 

Amanda Cheng on the video for ‘Cede‘ below — “I set out to make a video that was unenjoyable to watch; unhinging a domestic, ‘safe’ setting. To contrast the blunt lyrics, the thematic statements in the video are more subtle — there’s a geopolitical narrative there, but you’ll miss it.”

The video was directed by Amanda, with the helping hands of Annabel Kean and Callum Devlin of Sports Team.

PRE-ORDER AND SAVE CLOT

NEW MUSIC: Sunny Disposition – Rain On Your Parade

Melbourne band Sunny Disposition have that certain Australian indie rock of the 00s sound in their veins. That mix of jangly guitars, angular shapes on the fretboard, jerky, curious rhythm section explorations and a fine balance between raw emotion and intellectual musings in the lyrics and vocal delivery. ‘Rain On Your Parade‘ twists and sonically wrestles with itself quite wonderfully and brings to mind Antipodean bands such as Purplene, Jebediah and elements of Something For Kate.

Sunny Disposition formed in the early-2000s and actively played regular live shows in Melbourne and Sydney. They released their debut EP ‘Drifting by a Scene” in 2005 and have now reconvened to release their new EP Full Of Reasons, recorded over a decade ago.

NEW MUSIC: Chateau Chateau – I Saw Your Face

Synchronised guitar and vocal melodies are the winning tickets on this new track from Chateau Chateau out of Tucson, AZ. There’s an indie pop sound at play but with just enough melancholy and post-punk depth to the rhythm section to make it stand out above the plethora of other indie pop acts plying their trade in 2020.

This song in particular sounds like a cross between LCD Soundsystem and The National. A catchy song that never overplays its hand.

Chateau Chateau released their debut full-length album, Princess, independently on all streaming services July 31st, 2020.

NEW MUSIC: IDLES – Model Village

IDLES drop another single from their forthcoming new LP Ultra Mono – out Friday 25 September via Partisan Records/Liberator Music.

Frontman Joe Talbot elaborates on the song’s meaning: “I hated growing up in a city that was really a town that was really a fishbowl. I left as soon as I could, only to realise the fishbowl didn’t exist…just the fish, and they’re everywhere.”

 The song is accompanied by an animated music video directed by Michel Gondry (Daft Punk, Radiohead, The White Stripes) and Olivier Gondry.

On the creation of the video, Talbot explains: “Michel’s work is handmade and it’s human and that’s something that our society pushes against: you need to be perfect. You need to look perfect and everything needs to be seamless and strong. But actually, vulnerability and naivety are strengths. To be vulnerable and to be naive is to have empathy. And so, to empathise with your adversaries and allow yourself to be naked on film or on record is a really strong thing to do. It liberates you and it also liberates your audience. That’s something that I hope that IDLES can do, and that Gondry’s been doing for years.”

Produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire) and Adam ‘Atom’ Greenspan (Anna Calvi, Cut Copy), Ultra Mono was sonically constructed to capture the feeling of a hip-hop record. The album also features guest vocals from Jehnny Beth (Savages), and additional guest contributions from Warren Ellis (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), David Yow, and Jamie Cullum.

ALBUM REVIEW: Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today

Protomartyr

Ultimate Success Today

Domino

Once more Protomartyr take the four elements of rock ’n’ roll – guitar bass drums and vocals, and twist, caress and mangle them into a new version of the band’s ever-evolving sound. On their fifth album that sound is more urgent, disillusioned and anxious amid the record’s dystopian assessment of modern America.

There’s a desperate, pleading quality to singer Joe Casey’s words and the band complement and elevate his voice perfectly. With thrilling sonic veracity they lay down high velocity, post-punk textures, with balanced amounts of nuance and noise. 

Jazz legend Jameel Moondoc guests on alto sax as well as other horn and cello players. On ‘June 21’ the female voice of Half Waif is a symbiotic foil to Casey’s wearied mantras as they work up a clanging krautrock noise. ‘Processed By The Boys’ documents the insidious creep of authoritarianism, the brilliant rush of ‘Michigan Hammers’ rails against exploitation for financial gain, while closer ‘Worm In Heaven’ is Casey looking back from the other side, contemplating one’s legacy.

There’s a lot to bum out the listener on this record yet musically it’s full of life and life-affirming creative protest. It’s a band finding new and thrilling ways to channel their music and convey their hopes and fears. It’s a full-blooded state of the nation address from the heart and soul.

Christopher Familton