Posts Tagged ‘Al Montfort’

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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Terry

Third time ‘round the track and Terry show no signs of flagging their penchant for bending twang rifled post-punk into an album of essentials. Fulla strums, that don’t blow too breezy and guitar tones that squeeze uneasy, the band pairs their whip-smart pop with a bleak wink at Aussie life and the drudgery that’s unavoidable. Like many these days they’ve got the income gap and the party politic in mind and its not looking good for any of us. Terry at least know that a stomach sick riff and some creeping ambiance can distract from the anemic self-worth of the powers that be.

With each new album, the band seems to dig further into their own warped groove. Al Montfort and Amy Hill have a drinker’s rapport and their vocal swaps and lyrical gang-ups give the record the same loose-knit feel that have long endeared Terry to listeners. That open accessibility pairs well with their brand of itchy hooks, and its not long before the band gets under your skin in the best of ways. They offset their charms with lyrical bites, and half-hug invitations are met with caustic jabs at this mess we’ve collectively found ourselves in. While Terry might not have the answers, they’re down to commiserate and “roast the rich.”

As with quite a few other of their countrymen, Terry’s play on post-punk’ isn’t overstuffed. The band’s economical use of space makes every nuance count. When they deploy the saw of violin or the gentle jingle of bells, its damn well with purpose. In turn, when they flip the pace from laconic to frazzled, every inch of fuzz rattles the listeners down to the ribosomes. I’m Terry is short, but packs a punch and three for three, I’d wager there’s not a Terry release you should do without.




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Terry – “The Whip”

Not much better news on a Wednesday morning than a new Terry album on the way. Three albums in three years, I’d say the Melbourne band is beginning to make a habit out of it and with their brand of post-punk plonk mining the years when the punks spread their wings through weirder sounds, it’s always interesting to see what the band’s been digging up. “The Whip” kicks the jangles aside, clips a driving punk guitar line to a curdled coif of organ squeal and gives this track an off the rails quality that’s biting harder than usual for the laid-back bunch. While I love the band’s cowpunk preening and clang-hearted dirges its good to see them go for the pop pounce – albeit with enough squirm to make it pure Terry. Its an art-punker kicking the New Wave kids down the stairs for coming on too soft and too slow. If this track doesn’t get you sweaty for a new Terry long player then I can’t fathom what’s eating you.

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Primo! – “A City Stair”

Primo’s “A City Stair” is a buzzing, taut swath of jangle that’s quickly jumping the band up the list of Melbourne bands that should be on your radar. While the group had me at shaggy Melbourne post-punk, add in a crossover members who’ve spent time in Terry and The Shifters and its a sealed and signed deal. The track rumbles along on Amy Hill’s hungry bass line then takes a few zig zags through breathless guitar, trading jangles and jabs in equal measure. Bringing it home, the track melts down with a organ outro that shades the track nicely for a firm finish. The band’s album, recorded by RSTB fave Al Montfort is an absolute gem. My recommendation is to get on this one quickly. On one of the most solidly satisfying labels going, Upset The Rhythm. If you’re around EU/UK catch the band out, including a date with the always excellent Sauna Youth



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The Shifters – “Work, Life, Gym, Etc.”

Excellent crossover between my love of Aussie pop and my love of Trouble in Mind today. The label announces the release of the debut from Melbourne’s The Shifters. The LP was recorded by Total Control/Dick Diver/Terry shambolic pop treasure Al Montfort and it bears a bit of resemblance to the shaggy pop of recent work with Terry with spillover appeal for fans of the shaggy shake of The Stroppies or the discomforting burn of Wireheads and Vintage Crop. Definitely in line with the newer school players of South Hemi slacker pop, but the single also boasts a nice fidelity bump from their previous 7″s via Montfort’s production. All in all, bodes well for an album of similarly shaded jangle nuggets when this one lands in September.

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