ALBUM REVIEW: Tropical Fuck Storm – A Laughing Death In Meat Space

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Gareth Liddiard has been the most important Australian songwriter of the last 15 years, certainly within the world of chart-swerving guitar music. His strengths lie in literary lyrical astuteness, willingness to explore the sprawl and corners of his songs and the raw, unhinged and visceral quality of his performances. The Drones always seemed like the cross between Neil Young, Dirty Three and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds but by the time they hit Feelin Kinda Free (2016) their restless inventiveness had branched out into new experimental territory, the precursor to Tropical Fuck Storm.

With new members around Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin, Tropical Fuck Storm have thrown away any rule book they may have had and taken an ‘anything goes’ approach, embracing dark electronic undercurrents, heavy funk and a wider palette of voices. Liddiard is verbose and incoherently eloquent as ever, this time railing against popular culture, the rise of intelligent machines, the despair of modern politics and the fear and paranoia of modern living with an apocalyptic backdrop. 

‘You Let My Tyres Down’ is pure Drones with it’s quiet/loud dynamic and beautifully weary chorus. ‘Shellfsh Toxin’ is an instrumental comprised of queasy unease, the title track is optimism short-lived, ‘Two Afternoons’ is a coruscating death disco and ‘Rubber Bullies’ suggests Liddiard has been immersing himself in Saharan desert rock. Tropical Fuck Storm are a glorious detour into deconstructed rock music, reflective of societal malaise and unafraid to tell it like it is. Qualities desperately needed in the current musical climate.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Tropical Fuck Storm – You Let My Tyres Down

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Tropical Fuck Storm (TFS) have released the video clip for their splendid new single ‘You Let My Tyres Down’, complete with red wine, robes, rivers and spaghetti. The B-side is a cover of ‘Back To The Wall’ by The Divinyls, sung by Fiona Kitschin and Erica Dunn.

‘You Let My Tyres Down’ is a mutant swamp-pop blazer, surveying Melbourne’s suburban underbelly with a free flow of hair-raising imagery (“I grew up around her family / And they were such a bunch of losers / Anchored only to each other / On a sea of vodka cruisers”).
As Gareth Liddiard explains, “You Let My Tyres Down is basically about the real word; ordinary life, and how drab and featureless it seems until you write it down, and then you see it’s pretty wild. They say that good books make shit movies and shit books make good movies. So if you’re depressed and you feel like your life resembles a shit book, congratulations.”



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Also announced is their debut LP, A Laughing Death In Meatspace which will be released on May 4th on Mistletone / TFS Records.

NEW MUSIC: Tropical Fuck Storm – Chameleon Paint

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Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin (The Drones), Lauren Hammel (High Tension) on drums and Erica Dunn (Harmony, Palm Springs) have unveiled the sound of their new band Tropical Fuck Storm. It’s a jerky, catchy post-punk song that swaggers and slithers along, sounding like it could collapse at any moment. It’s a glorious collision of chaos and euphoric rock.

The debut TFS 7″ single, “Chameleon Paint” b/w “Mansion Family”, will be released on September 22 as a label collab between TFS Records and Mistletone Records. This limited edition 7” is the first of a series; each 7” featuring an original Liddiard A-side and a B-side cover of “songs we love and wish we had written”. The “Mansion Family” B-side is lifted from Melbourne band The Nation Blue, who released the original less than a year ago. Each 7” will feature phantasmagoric cover art by Montréal artist Joe Becker.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Spencer P. Jones & The Nothing Butts

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Spencer P. Jones has a knack of surrounding himself with superb collaborators whether it be in The Beasts of Bourbon, The Johnnys, or with the likes of Paul Kelly, Chris Bailey and Kim Salmon. Now he has teamed up with James Baker (The Scientists/Hoodoo Gurus) and Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin from The Drones and recorded a fantastic collection of visceral rock songs as The Nothing Butts.

Jones’ guitar is given both a solid backbone and space to breathe by the other musicians and they show they are just adept at ripping out a primitive Stooges-sounding slab of rock like the opener Only A Matter of Time as they are at dialing back all the bluster on the gorgeous haze of (She Walks) Between The Raindrops, a song that possesses a measured aching beauty. Jones’ songs sound like mature dispatches from a man who has been playing for decades. Mature in the sense of knowing exactly what they require sonically and in their construction. There are strains of classic songwriters like Cohen, Young and Dylan echoing across the album but Jones’s scorched earth guitar tones and battered voice ground the songs in a raw and earthy place that works to strip them of any scholarly pretension.

Jones must surely be a big musical influence on Gareth Liddiard which makes it hard to pick where the contribution of The Drones is most felt. There is a stylistic overlap and blurring of musical personalities yet that’s what makes the album such a harmonious collaboration, proving that unfettered and glorious rock n roll from a well-worn template can still sound real and enlivening.

Chris Familton