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: The Drones – Feelin Kinda Free

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Rating8.5On The Drones last album, I See Seeweed (2013), there was a sense that the band had reached terminal velocity with their brand of dense, churning rock music and elegiac, snaking balladry. Where could they go from there without repeating the format they’d seemingly mastered? The answer is Feelin Kinda Free – the title alone signalling a breaking of the creative shackles. Between albums they also welcomed back early (2002-04) drummer Christian Strybosch and formed their own label, the delightfully named Tropical Fuck Storm Records.

The combination of those changes and a reassessment of where Gareth Liddiard and co wanted to take the band has led to an album that feels like a re-birth, a sonic sea change. A definite stepping outside the box yet without sacrificing that febrile intensity and dark, caustic beauty that runs through all of their music. It’s just that now the intensity is more present, focused and contained. In the past Liddiard has railed against historical injustice but here the context is entirely contemporary with references to Indonesian executions, the litany of socio-political references in the pummelling post-punk discordancy of ‘Taman Shud’ and general allusions to state oppression.

Musically, the flailing guitar solos that were so prominent on past albums have been replaced by textural drones, feedback, effects and plenty of synth and drum machine accents. ‘Boredom’ is essentially Liddiard rapping over a dystopian breakbeat and dark staggering funk with Fiona Kitschin’s processed vocal intoning the song’s title. Her voice features more often and is used with greater variation and eclecticism than in the past, reminiscent of the quirkiness of CocoRosie.

Amid the twists and turns the band haven’t forgotten their ability to pen a staggering treatise on love with ‘To Think That I Once Loved You’. It’s a post-relationship tale with Liddiard singing ‘Your heart’s lost its thrust, you’re marooned on the moon’, a pitiless assessment of a failed tryst that still bathes in a beautiful drifting musicality. That contradiction is what defines The Drones. The extremes, the bruises and the honesty. They’ve evolved their sound to a point of singular originality that will alienate some of the more ‘rockist’ fans who won’t cope with the unease and experimentalism on Feelin Kinda Free. That’s the point though – the band are feeling free, who’s prepared to come along for the ride with them.

Chris Familton

2013 MID YEAR FAVOURITE ALBUMS

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Here we are again at list time, halfway through 2013 and already there have been a swathe of great albums released. We’ve been listening to an eclectic mix of stuff as usual including dub electronica, skronking freeform saxophone, abrasive art rock, retro-leaning post punk and heartstring americana. These are the records we’ve loved the most from what we’ve heard this year. There will be others from the last six months that we’ll discover as the rest of the year rolls out but we can at least highly recommend these ones – in no particular order…

  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
  • Protomartyr – No Passion All Technique
  • The Phoenix Foundation – Fandango
  • Kirin J Callinan – Embracism
  • The Drones – I See Seaweed
  • Fat Freddy’s Drop – Blackbird
  • Jason Isbell – Southeastern
  • DJ Koze – Amygdala
  • Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record
  • Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light
  • Zomby – With Love

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

NEWS: ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror Melbourne’ curated by ATP and The Drones

photo by Tony Mott

Last night All Tomorrow’s Parties announced its return to Australia for a Melbourne only event curated by ATP and The Drones. Taking place on February 16th and 17th at Westgate Entertainment Centre and Grand Star Reception in Altona.

Line-up 

Saturday February 16th curated by ATP

  • my bloody valentine
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor
  • Swans
  • The Dead C
  • HTRK
  • Thee Oh Sees
  • Sleepy Sun
  • Standish/Carlyon

Sunday February 17th curated by The Drones 

  • The Drones
  • Beasts Of Bourbon (original line-up)
  • Einstürzende Neubauten
  • Lost Animal
  • Harmony
  • Cam Butler & The Shadows Of Love

– plus more local and international acts to be announced.

A unique aspect of ATP’s I’ll Be Your Mirror is the location, offering both indoor and outdoor space just a stones throw from the CBD. The Westgate Entertainment Centre and Grand Star Receptions – two venues in one complex in Altona – just 13km away from the centre of Melbourne. There will be two stages, a cinema, art exhibition and an amazing food court.

Tickets: Tickets are priced at $250 (+ booking fee) for a two day pass or $135 (+ booking fee) for a single day pass and go on sale this Monday at 9am from HERE

DVD REVIEW: The Drones | A Thousand Mistakes

written by Chris Familton 

The Drones have been one of Australia’s hardest touring bands over the last decade with frequent trips to Europe where they have garnered a healthy following. Now, as they look toward the writing and recording of their next LP in 2012, they have decided it’s about time to release a visual document of some of their most incendiary performances alongside an intimate session recorded in a Fairfield, VIC warehouse in 2010.

This a hefty body of work spread over two discs that only the most devoted fan or long term couch dweller would be able to sit through in one go. Running at a total of four and a half hours they take the tact of starting with their most recent activity in the Fairfield Warehouse Session. It isn’t stripped down in the sense of being purely an acoustic performance (though they do use acoustic guitars at times), more that the electricity has been reduced so the songs can step forward into the spotlight, away from the visceral, gut wrenching form that many of The Drones songs take when played live. The band is accompanied by keyboardist Steve Hesketh who has appeared on two of their earlier records. Here he adds a nice settling touch that rounds off the harsher edges and provides a fantastic counterpoint to Gareth Liddiard and Dan Luscombe’s guitars. The focus of this session is on some of their rarely played songs like the sprightly, country shuffle of Your Acting’s Like The End of the World, the shimmering lushness of Careful As You Go and one of Liddiard’s most impressive Australian history lessons in the harmonica and guitar led Sixteen Straws. The whole session is a masterclass of how to capture a band playing live in a format outside their normal stage frenzy. It is the highlight of A Thousand Mistakes by a country mile and rightfully stands as the central document on the DVD.

From there on the endurance test begins with a full show from the East Brunswick Club in 2010 and then on the second disc a selection of live tracks from Australia, France and Germany. The quality of footage differs wildly but always seems to capture the heady rush and cathartic release of The Drones as a live experience. The black and white shot Brunswick Club show has a barrel of highlights like a swaggering The Minotaur, the still classic sounding Shark Fin Blues and a pulverising version of The Miller’s Daughter that takes nearly ten minutes to torture and intoxicate the crowd like a direct descendant of The Birthday Party. The focus on the extra live footage is nearly always on Liddiard but allows enough of a glance at bassist Fiona Kitchin, Luscombe and drummer Mike Noga to demonstrate the importance of what they bring to the band’s sound. From the 2005 show The Tote we get to see an early incarnation of the band with Rui Pereira on guitar prior to Luscombe joining the band in 2006. Pereira shows on I Looked Down the Line and I Wondered that he was as crucial an element to the development of The Drones’ sounds as any other member that has passed through their ranks.

The chaotic handheld and up close style of the French footage is the closest you’ll get to feeling like you are part of the band and experiencing full immersion in their sound if you haven’t seen them live in a small venue. The band looks like they are in complete control and loving every second of the two sweat-drenched tracks we are witness to. A German festival performance gives us a more restrained set that lacks nothing by exhibiting more control and finesse as the songs are still given a widescreen treatment full of sonic peaks and valleys. River of Tears at Sydney’s State Theatre is beautifully shot with a softness of light that adds a layer of maturity and grace to their sound that doesn’t come across in any other of the live performances.

All in all this is an extremely generous collection of footage that highlights the importance and singularity of The Drones’ music. Their playing is always genuinely exhilarating, defiantly passionate and full of both indulgent rock escapism and literary astuteness. Not just a DVD for the fans this should provide a healthy insight into a truly great rock n roll band.

this review was first published on FasterLouder