Posts Tagged ‘Al Montfort’

Oscar Perry – “Perry Como”

Got a real dark streak of pop quicksilver here from Aussie Oscar Perry. With a cassette forthcoming on the ever excellent Hobbies Galore, Perry’s first single is delivered in a menacing spoken word screed over percolating ‘80s funk that’s beset with a drug-sweat vibration that makes the track feel like it might induce a panic attack at any moment. The song embodies an envisioned sad desperation of ’50 singer Perry Como. In quite a few ways this song shakes the same nerves as anything in the Darkside ourvre, though not quite as slick. The record centers around Oscar’s intense vocals, but ropes in some nice ringers from the Aussie underground including Jack Farley (Scott & Charlene’s Wedding), Amy Hill (Primo!, Sleeper & Snake), and Al Montfort (Terry, Dick Diver). The Silver Shadow cassette lands next week, but you can check out the twitchy vid for “Perry Como” now.

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Sleeper & Snake

Upset the Rhythm brings another stellar Aussie duo to the forefront of 2020 with the release of Sleeper & Snake’s sophomore LP Fresco Shed. Comprised of Amy Hill (Terry, Primo!) and Al Montfort (Terry, Dick Diver, UV Race) the band gives post-punk a rinse in disjointed folk brambles and flanneled jazz touches. What the band does best is capture an unhurried view, almost ambling at times, but without coddling the record in niceties. While they jangle through the folk breeze of “Rokeby” the saw of fiddle and a muffled bleat of sax keep things from ever becoming comfortable. In similar fashion, the band never let their hooks swim too close to the surface. Every time they feel like they might get brisk and wistful, a curdled tone sets us straight. The record is most certainly not meant to fade into the background. Hill and Montfort create warped pop for those already peeking over the edge and it’s a lovely din that demands your attention.

Keys stumble with harpsichord pomp, horns hide in cotton enclaves, and jangles float by in a static haze. There’s something almost inherently cable-access about the album, as if we’re all party to an uninterrupted transmission from an alternate pop universe, framed in yellowed linoleum and second hand shag. The fluorescent flicker inside the Fresco Shed takes a bit of adjustment but soon it hits like a heartbeat pulse. The pair pick out a homespun, earnest batch of songs that refused to be corralled into any contemptible genre. Even when they start to get close to a breezy jangle on “Lock Up The Loose” an amble of harmonica leads us all astray. Any look over their collective resumes assures you that they have the chops to make things easy, but Sleeper & Snake aren’t interested in easy. Somewhere within the labyrinth of the Fresco Shed we’re all lost in the melted sun sway of the band’s subtle charms. Once your internal temperature is reset to their fevered heat ripple, it all starts to make sense.



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Sleeper & Snake – “Shoot Through”

Getting closer to the release of the sophomore LP from Sleeper & Snake. The project, which pairs Amy Hill (Primo, Terry) with Al Montfort (Total Control, Dick Diver, Terry) for a slinking, pop prod through uneasy pop waters. The latest single drapes itself over the listener, maybe a bit too close. It’s off balance, woozy, and wobbling in the way a friend might after one glass of wine too many. The metronomic beat persists, but the sway of strums and muffled sax give it a cottonmouth pop quality that’s ultimately endearing, as is the rest of the band’s upcoming LP for Upset The Rhythm. Fresco Shed is out October 23rd.

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Sleeper & Snake

With Amy Hill and Al Montfort on the marquee it seems as if their duo Sleeper & Snake should pound out a post-punk tattoo that’s built off of their jangle and jitter with Terry, Dick Diver, and Primo. As with their previous album however, which slunk out into the night last year, the new sounds from S&S are more of a noir dream half remembered through the cracks in the coffin of sleep. The pace crawls as Montfort and Hill sing heat-warbled harmony. Cello saws above a soft snap of drums before a bleat of sax cuts the song into chunks that don’t quite fit into any discernible crate. Unease curdles all around “Flats Falling,” like a nagging memory that won’t resolve or one that’s been pushed to the back of the mind and won’t stay put. Its an itch that refuses to be scratched. Montfort gives a bit of context to the song here as well noting, “Flats Falling is about corrupt, deregulated development in Australian cities producing shoddy housing options. These “investments” are fueled by gentrification and displacement, and they just fall apart. Realestate.com basically, don’t forget it’s all on stolen land in the first place.”

I dunno, living over here in a country disassembled by a real estate con artist and a few hundred or so profiteers, it all sounds a little far-fetched to me, eh? The forthcoming Fresco Shed is out in September from Upset The Rhythm and LuLu.



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Terry – “Spud”

Ah bless ‘em there’s a new Terry tune about this morning. The band, fresh off the fallout from their third stunner I’m Terry, has a new 7,” Who’s Terry? and it bangs right in with their jangle-jerked political pop on first cut “Spud.” The band take their sights, suit up and get a ridicule riot in motion for the video, but underneath the Strangelove-ian clip, the band does what they do best – fizz n’ strum with a wink and a nudge and no small amount of catchy quirk. Damn fine janglin’ if you ask me. The single pops ‘round the turntable on July 19th.

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The UV Race

Aussie unease squad The UV Race made the label rounds in the mid ‘00s and now they roll right back to the imprint that birthed them, pulling no punches a decade later on their newest racket for Aarght. Honestly this one’s a bit of a homecoming for me, as The UV Race’s eponymous debut was one of the records that pulled me into the Aussie underground way back in ’09. Truth be told, it’s been an enjoyable ride ever since. Montfort and crew are still acerbic as ever, wrapping their squelch-punk package in the brittle bristle of noise, repetition, and discomfort. They’ve never been a band bred to make the listener settle into any sort of groove and so it seems there’s a crawling itch that spreads out yet again from under the punk pocked veneer of Made In China.

Jangles are buried in pockets of synth, scratched with the woolen wonders of technology. Sax bleats buzz alongside harmonica and tangled twangs. Michael Reichsteiner continues to use his voice as a blunt instrument second only to maybe Dom Trimboli of Wireheads. Still beholden to the Mark E. Smith school of punk and despair the band continue spewing their atonal attack with the force and farce of an Electric Eels inspired Halloween costume. In the wake of their original run the continent has spawned a legion of post-punk pugilists, jilted janglers and pop invertebrates, but The UV Race taught them all how to spew. Eddy Current may have made the kids sweat. Total Control may have made critical darlings out of the underground, but UV Race still poke at the ear drums with a confidence and irreverence that make them true legends.



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The UV Race – “Mr. Blame”

Up until this week it seemed like UV Race was simply becoming a band that got dropped into bios (feat mems of UV Race, etc). Not counting a few singles comps, the band hasn’t had a release since a smattering of 7”s in 2013 and 2014. Their last album was back in 2012, well before the Aussie underground had solidified its more international hold. The members went on to new pastures in Total Control, Terry, Dick Diver, School of Radiant Living and left behind the acerbic embrace of one of Australia’s most twisted well-springs of post-punk. Thankfully, though, they’re back at it this year with a new LP for Aarght on April 12th dubbed Made in China. The first cut, “Mr. Blame” buzzes with insistent keys, brittle, bashed guitars, sax stabs and gang’s-a-hollerin’ vocals. It’s a perfect return to the band that seems to be the germ of a lot of the loose-slung guitar pop that bubbled up in their wake. Excited to have ‘em back, that’s for sure. Dig into “Mr. Blame” and gird yer loins for the album next month.




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Sleeper & Snake

While Sleeper & Snake pairs up the great Al Montfort and Amy Hill, who’ve both found themselves in league as band mates in Terry, the album isn’t quite the pop pairing that it seems on the surface. The hint lies in the name – Sleeper & Snake. Last year Montfort released a record titled Snake & Friends which shied away from his strums, jangles, and geniality for a record that was steeped in offbeat electronics and free jazz fizz. This is, by many measures, an offshoot of that record and not quite a brand new beginning. Though the two hint at a duo dynamic throughout, crafting some bittersweet janglers like the first single “Sugar and Gold,” which recounts the sordid backstory of Queensland with a breezy beat and the pair’s time-tested askew harmonies.

Montfort peppers the album with plenty of his Snake-style freeform dropout fare, buzzing against the cloudy charms of the opener and fellow janglers “Wisdom Vermin” and “The Lucknow Sound.” At times they threaten to overwhelm the album, but there’s more here than just sound collage sandwiched between a couple of singles. The pair push the pop envelope on the triptych on side one, “Junction and High” (pts 1, 2, & 3). They ease in strumming, but less palatable than they’d offered on the opener – a moth-eaten pop song that’s only letting the chaos consume it as it works its way through the second and third movements. In this portion of the album they show the heavy influence of Elephant Sixers like Olivia Tremor Control and Circulatory System – holding a similar glee in letting their gold peek through the din for those willing to walk the maze.

For a debut it holds a lot of promise, though I know that both artists have so much on their plate this may be a one off, which would be too bad. Its got a lot of promise as a premise, though I’d think they should embrace that E6 mafia mentality full bore. If you whittle down the noisemakers under the 1:30 mark and stretch it out with a few more high concept pop like “Jangle and High” this could work its way towards jangle-psych bliss. Still, its by no means a miss for two Aussie pop smiths at the top of their game. Though for many their hand will be seeking the skip button or nabbing the needle, this is an ambitious swing with a lot to love.



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Sleeper and Snake – “Sugar and Gold”

The hits never stop from Al Montfort and Amy Hill. After a busy year for both with Terry, Primo, and Al’s low-key Snake & Friends release, the duo have a homespun record coming out together on Aarght. Guess that makes Amy the Sleeper in this case, but however you scratch it, the first track has a humble charm about it – sounding like stripped back Dick Diver with Terry’s sensibility for slightly off-kilter harmonies. The song tackles the sordid underbelly of Queensland, tackling its history of as the band notes “kidnapping, slave trade, colonial wealth and the illusion of a fair go,” proving that we Americans have no lock on the exploitation market. The accompanying video is full of helpful drawings to illustrate the points and the pair doing their deadpan best not to crack a smile. At this point I’m a sucker for anything either of these two have coming down the pike, but this is a humable hit nonetheless.

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The Shifters

Melbourne’s Shifters embody the shaky, shaggy core of the current crop of Aussie indie. Over short format offerings they’ve been cranking out scrappy, striped-down songs that dip into the same wells as Terry, School Damage, The Stroppies, and Boomgates. Not to stay content with merely snagging influence from Terry and the ‘Gates though, when it came time to lay down a debut the band connected with the hardest working man in OZ, Al Montfort, to record the LP. They convened at his home studio to bang Have A Cunning Plan into its ragtag shape. Seems they picked up a few tricks from Al beyond just sticking this to tape. There’s a loose twang, hung on the same squeamish nail of post-punk that holds up Terry’s tattered charms and they’re proving to be just as efficient at working out maximum impact from an economical setup.

That’s not to say they wind up b-team turnouts or boy wonders to Al’s considerable talents, though. The band’s taking that shaggy, low-key sound and sneaking digs on corporate standards, mundanity, colonialism and toxic politics. Singer/lyricist Miles Jansen’s got the nasal nuance to duck down in the pit with the best of the new class rising up the ranks in Melbourne. Songs like “Straight Lines” work anxiety into tumultuous earworms- jittered by unpredictable jangles and stumbling through keyboard lines intoxicated with irreverent glee. While surface appearances leave the album looking off the cuff and trading in casual clamor, the truth is it takes some planning to feel this effortless.

By layering their loose-knit clatter, the band weaves songs that reveal great overlapping details when run through the speakers multiple times. They’re all about the little details, just not about buffing them to shine for the listener. Pick through the grit the band reveals a bright talent for knotty melodies like fellow 2018 standouts The Goon Sax. They’re proving that they’ve got a great handle on the aimlessness, restlessness, and anxiousness of youth and can pin it to a memorable jangle better than most. Have a Cunning Plan leaves the band in a great position to hook ‘em in for the long haul with a debut that’s rewarding listen after listen.



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