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

NEW MUSIC: Bad//Dreems – Feeling Remains

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Bad//Dreems have released the second single from their forthcoming new LP Gutful (out April 21st).

Feeling Remains is reliably and solidly straight from the BD songbook. It has those tension-filled verses they do so well, full of tumbling toms and rolling bass, with Alex Cameron’s guitar clipped and urgent downstrokes carving out a stacatto rhythm that contrasts with a Saints/Sex Pistols descending chord progression. It defines their status as one of the few bands in Australia that can sit comfortably at the nexus of punk, classic rock and indie rock.

When they hit the chorus, and Bad//Dreems are a band with seemingly endless cache of rousing choruses, the rush and the push lifts the song skyward. Interestingly the sense of euphoria that it instils is at odds with the song’s subject matter of mental health and the endless struggle to accept, manage and mitigate the effects of depression in one’s life. “The feeling still remains, and the question stays the same, then I put it into all the things I can do to make a heart strong, but the feeling still remains” sings Ben Marwe in his distinctive angst-ridden howl.

That blend of melancholy and euphoria at the core of the song is an astute representation of the mood swings and divisive extremes of both defiance and helplessness that so many battle on a daily basis. Dig deeper below the surface (and taken in tandem with their first single Mob Rule) of what at first may seem like a bristling 3 minute rock song and it’s clear that the band have taken a wider societal and critical view on the new album.

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NEW MUSIC: Bad//Dreems – Mob Rule

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The Adelaide lads have turned things around pretty quickly following the long awaited release of Dogs At Bay last year. They’ve again worked with producer Mark Optiz and engineer Colin Wynne in their Melbourne studio, recording their upcoming sophomore release.

The first track to come from the new album is the single ‘Mob Rule’ which hits a big gonzo chant of a chorus, sonically taking the piss out of some of the dumb-arse, narrow-minded and ignorant, pack mentality sub-cultures in Australian society. They take a well-aimed swing at bra boys, hashtag heroes, sports clubs and more while Alex Cameron lays down chugging verses and a lacerating solo. Rhythmically it’s one of the heaviest, solid and swinging tracks they’ve laid down.

Bad//Dreems Mob Rule December 2016 Tour

Sat 3 Dec
Howler (18+)
Melbourne, VIC

Tickets available here

Sat 10 Dec
Oxford Art Factory (18+)
Sydney, NSW

Tickets available here

Fri 16 Dec
Fat Controller (18+)
Adelaide, SA

Tickets available here

Sat 17 Dec
The Foundry (18+)
Brisbane, QLD

Tickets available here

ALSO PLAYING AT

Fri 30 Dec
Lost Paradise Festival
(All Ages*)
Glenworth Valley, NSW

Sat 7 Jan 2017
Supporting The Avalanches
Theabarton Theatre (18+)

Adelaide, SA

NEW MUSIC: Bad//Dreems announce Album, Single and Tour

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Finally those Adelaide reprobates Bad//Dreems have gone and announced their album Dogs At Bay is complete and ready to do the business from August 21st. Produced by Mark Opitz (AC/DC, The Angels, INXS, Cold Chisel) it’s been a long time coming but it will no doubt be worth the wait given the superb singles ‘Dumb Ideas’/’My Only Friend’ and ‘Cuffed and Collared’ that have already been released from the record. To coincide with the announcement of the album and a new tour (see below) a new single ‘Hiding To Nothing’ has been released and it’s another gem of bittersweet guitar rock like early INXS on steroids with Bad//Dreems’ trademark laconic vibe.

Dogs At Bay Tracklisting

  1. New Boys
  2. Cuffed & Collared
  3. Bogan Pride
  4. My Only Friend
  5. Hiding To Nothing
  6. Naden
  7. Hume
  8. Dumb Ideas
  9. Ghost Gums
  10. Paradise
  11. Blood In My Eyes
  12. Sacred Ground

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NEW MUSIC: Bad//Dreems – Cuffed & Collared

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As our favourite Australian band slowly edge closer to releasing their elusive debut LP they’ve gone and done it again – released a killer single. ‘Cuffed & Collared’ possesses all the key ingredients for a Bad//Dreems song… inescapable melody, tangled and chiming guitar lines, super-tight and propulsive rhythm section and surging chorus. Sounding like The Angels if they were still relevant and releasing knife-edge rock n roll Bad//Dreems can do no wrong. This is the first single to come from the forthcoming debut album, produced by Mark Opitz (AC/DC, Cold Chisel, The Angels, INXS).

Cuffed & Collared

LIVE REVIEW: Bad//Dreems @ Black Wire Records, Sydney (23/05/14)

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Jimmy Junk Heart made the trip up from Melbourne and they were tasked with loosening up the atmosphere of the slowly filling record shop that would be full to capacity within the hour. They played an admirable set and there was potential behind their tentative performance. From ‘fresh outta the practice room’ garage rock to a strong Tame Impala influence they still seem to be working out where they want to take their music.

Bloods by contrast were full of life with their bubbly, energetic set. They’re always a fun band with their kinetic take on Ramones/Sleater Kinney rock. They waste little time on musical frills and kept their set tight and full of momentum, MC and Sweetie bouncing vocal lines off one another and the rhythm section keeping things twisting and charging along, bringing the seated punters to their feet.

Bad//Dreems have proved with their step-up to a name producer and new single that they have plenty of great songs up their sleeve and an innate ability to marry melody and dissonance. The were greeted like heroes with the audience jammed up against them, often only centimetres separating the front row and Ben Marwe’s microphone. There were new songs aired, making a debut album an exciting prospect, alongside the already classic ‘Chills’, ‘Hoping For’, ‘Caroline’ and ‘Too Old’. Single ‘Dumb Ideas’ was a lightning in a bottle moment with the restrained tension of the verses and manic anthem of a chorus sounding even more visceral in the live context. In his absence, guitarist Alex Cameron had an able stand-in for the show yet the casual swagger and slash and burn of Cameron’s style was noticeably missing. Bad//Dreems are still one of the finest Australian rock bands going and showing no signs of slacking off anytime soon.

Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music

 

NEW MUSIC: Bad//Dreems | Dumb Ideas

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Bad//Dreems have nailed yet another great single with their new Mark Opitz (Angels, Rose Tattoo, Australian Crawl, Jimmy Barnes,INXS) produced single Dumb Ideas. Quiet/loud dynamics, raw vocals and slashing punk rock guitar abound. See them on their upcoming tour and grab the single on 7″. It’s officially out April 14th.

17th May – Exeter Hotel, Exeter SA
23rd May – Black Wire Records, Annandale NSW
24th May – Music Farmers, Wollongong NSW
31st May – Record Paradise, Brunswick VIC
7th June – Rockinghorse Records, Brisbane QLD

FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2013

DS 2013 faves

2013 was a pretty strong year for music. From the established artists hitting their late-period straps to newcomers breathing new life into old forms, it felt like a year where a whole range of styles rose to the top.

There were plenty of surprises with new albums appearing out of the blue from Bowie and MBV and also irritating marketing campaigns that felt like they were bleeding their albums dry before they were even released. I’m looking at you Daft Punk and Arcade Fire.

As usual here at DS we kept our ears closely tuned into what was going on in Australia and New Zealand with both countries producing a wealth of great albums. Records from this part of the world make up 40% of our favourite records in 2013. Let us know what seduced and moved you this year and let’s do it all again in 2014.

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1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away

A record that perfectly blends rich narrative and darkly cinematic sonic backdrops. One of Cave’s finest works and the moment where his and Warren Ellis’ musical collaboration becomes fully realised.

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2. Bill Callahan – Dream River

On his exceptional new album, Bill Callahan (formerly Smog) has recorded his most peaceful and meditative set of songs. There is a bucolic, contemplative feel to the eight songs on offer as they weave across percussive landscapes, led by flutes and hypnotic guitars. Sonically the album is rooted in pastoral folk, much of it soaked in dub-heavy reverb and delay. The focus though is firmly on Callahan’s voice, high and focused in the mix as he delivers typically brilliant lines like “All I want to do is make love to you in the fertile dirt with a careless mind”.

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3. Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze

Vile has gone from strength to strength with each album and this is his finest yet. Finely tuned hazily motorik songs that sit in the pocket and keep drawing you in deeper and deeper with each listen.

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4. Jason Isbell – Southeastern

Isbell’s coming of age as a songwriter, though not that he was in any way a slouch in that department prior to Southeastern. He doesn’t waste a word, he builds phrases with economy and poetic grace while encasing them in that rich southern drawl.

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5. Houndmouth – From The Hills Below The City

This was a real surprise record that came out of nowhere for me. It was recommended by a fellow Americana fan and reminded me of the best of what the Felice Brothers do when they blend irresistible melodies with sharp yet not overly polished harmonies and an instrumental mix of country and folk.

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6. Bryan Estepa – Heart vs Mind

A relatively unsung hero amongst Australian songwriters and possessing an angelic voice, Estepa embraced his inner pop and rock obsessions to craft this record that pulls influences from The Jayhawks to Hall & Oates. This is a superb album that excels in effortless, meticulous and timeless songwriting.

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7. Bad/Dreems – Badlands EP

Mix small town pessimism, youthful optimism, suburban nihilism and a lo-fi aesthetic and you have some of the ingredients that make the essential sound of Bad//Dreems. Badlands is another crucial addition to the canon of classic and quintessentially Australian releases.

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8. Wooden Shjips – Back To Land

This is the Shjips doing mainly what they always do, locking into psych drone grooves and riding them into the sunset and/or sunrise. Repetition is the key. They’ve let more light into this one and it opens up their sound into some new areas, rewardingly so.

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9. Ducktails – The Flower Lane

The solo project of Real Estate’s Matt Mondanile, this is an album built on 80s dream pop with sax solos and warm glowing melodies. Easily the best in show for this kind of music.

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10. Kirin J Callinan – Embracism

The agent provocateur of Australian art rock realises his ambition with this wide-ranging album that blends dissonance and a healthy pop heart. Victoria M is one of Embracism’s high points, tempering the intensity with gorgeous, swelling piano and bittersweet baroque pop in the vein of Suede. Elsewhere we get Callinan channeling David Sylvian on Scraps, Bowie on the schizophrenic Chardonnay Sean and Suicide on Way II War. Debut album of the year.

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11. Popstrangers – Antipodes

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12. Austin Lucas – Stay Reckless

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13. Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys – Ready For Boredom

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14. Ooga Boogas – Ooga Boogas

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15. The Drones – I See Seaweed

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16. Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day

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17. Vista Chino – Peace

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18. Civil Civic – Rules

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19. Basko Believes- Melancholic Melodies

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20. Sharpie Crows – 12 Omeros

21. Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In 

22. Iron & Wine – Ghost on Ghost

23. Phosphorescent – Muchacho

24. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II

25. Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record

26. Mark Kozelek & Desertshore – Mark Kozelek & Desertshore

27. Daughn Gibson – Me Moan

28. The Phoenix Foundation – Fandango

29. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas

30. Mark Moldre – An Ear To The Earth

31. Anna Calvi – One Breath

32 .Matthew E. White – Big Inner

33. Califone – Stitches

34. The Haxan Cloak – Extinction

35. DJ Koze – Amygdala

36. Zomby – With Love 

37. Jen Cloher – In Blood Memory

38. Savages – Silence Yourself 

39. Forest Swords – Engravings

40. The Necks – Open