Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Fade’

Parsnip – “Feeling Small” b/w “Winter”

I was definitely a fan of Parsnip’s last 7” and they popped up with a sunny jangler on Anti-Fade’s last label showcase comp that spent some time on the speakers around here. Their latest short format ripper adds another couple of fun tracks to their blossoming catalog. The a-side is pleasantly prim – full of barroom piano and Small Faces-level revelry for gang vocals and peanut gallery chatter. The flip adds a nice edge, with a punk-picked guitar and heavier hitting chorus. “Winter” might well be one of the best things they’ve done yet – hung with organ swells and confident harmonies. Parsnip have been a ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ addition to the Aussie indie scene, but with each new piece of the puzzle they get harder to cast aside. Here’s hoping that there’s an album in the works sometime in 2019, but for now I’m going to go back to putting “Winter” on repeat.






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Civic

Not long after their last crackling EP, Civic returns with a follow-up that hits even harder. Where their debut boiled down porto-punk into its grit and grease components, there’s a cleanliness and clarity to Those Who No. The three originals here are scooped out of the ‘80s alt-pummel that birthed Hüsker Dü and The Wipers, but also indebted to an earlier strain of hard workin’ but melodic rock from the ‘70s. Both issuing labels (Anti-Fade and Famous Class) are billing it as power pop, but that’s just a touch off. There’s far more sneer here than any power pop band worth their salt ever inflicted. The closest they get to that camp might be “Heat,” but even on that one there’s a touch of pub sweat and punk brashness that makes Civic hard to get a beat on.

Once they throw in an Eno cover, there’s some sense that they’re toying with the slight wrap of glam they’re invoking here, but they take a savvy approach in which they nether sound like glam revivalists or power pop acolytes. With two such short and admittedly disparate releases under their belts I’m putting the jury still out on what to expect from Civic. Are they equally undecided, trying on hats or just having a laugh at it all? I’d love to see a full album from these guys that pulls that glam swagger permanently into this ‘80s pummel they’re working. I want to see where they’d go with a full length’s scope and some cohesive planning. However this and its predecessor are well worth the time and pick up.



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Constant Mongrel

Festering beneath the underbelly of Aussie indie, Constant Mongrel has occupied space on RIP Society and Siltbreeze’s roster and now they make a jump to hometown heroes Anti-Fade and Spain’s pounding punk nerve, La Vide Es Un Mus for a joint release. Living In Excellence perches the band at the acerbic edge of post-punk, as one might expect of Siltbreeze alums to say the least. The record’s riddled with a restless twinge that could read as dance-inducing if your idea of dancing swings towards the asymmetrically violent. Taking up the traditions of The Fall and The Screamers, the band prowls through each song with a manic red-eyed intensity that prickles the skin and pummels the base of the skull.

In tandem with their paint-peeler aesthetic, the band’s lyrically lashing into their surroundings. The bulk of Living in Excellence takes on banality’s bite, the rot of religion and the slow slide towards a fascist state in any corner of the world you happen to inhabit. The band’s “Living in Excellence” theme erodes the notion of making anything great at this point, from America to Australia, but the band is weathering it well. They seem fine watching the ship go down, even if it means they get their own shoes wet in the process. They’ll sink with a sneer, taking the piss out of life rafts if it means they get to rankle the rest of the riders.

The band have consistently brought quality grime over the years and they show no signs of letting up now.



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Alien Nosejob

Never one deterred by the constraints of time, Jake Robertson’s packing another band into his repertoire. On top of the already great LP from School Damage this year, not to mention current stints in Hierophants, Ausmuteants, and Drug Sweat, Robertson’s taking the solo approach under the name Alien Nosejob. With a couple of seven-inches under the name already, he’s been honing the sound on the sly, but with Various Fads & Technological Achievements he’s ready to take it wide. The album skews away from his normal niche of wobbly post-punk and nervy flop sweat jitter-punk ala Pere Ubu and MX-80. This time he’s taking a softer approach, or at least a slightly less caustic approach.

Weaving folk – albeit not the campfire coolout variety, think Carl Simmons’ Honeysuckle Tendrils – with new wave notions and synth-pop propulsion, the LP is gulping a little less lightning than usual for Robertson. That’s not to say this is a tame affair, it’s clear that Alien Nosejob’s MO includes dragging the same strange vein of pop that produced R. Stevie Moore, most of the Dark Entries catalog, and the less commercial output of Game Theory. Throw in a dash of the shoestring ‘Zappa with a rhythm box’ sounds of Geza X and you’re starting to get close to what’s at play here. Now while that’s all a lot of discordant pop to throw in the ol’ blender, the outcome winds up rather smooth. Alien Nosejob goes down straight, but the tics around the eyes give away its twinge of madness.

The other outcome here is that with so much stuffed into the sausage skin of Alien Nosejob, there’s sometimes a bit of whiplash between the neon reflections of “Runaway” and the pastoral peace of “Exothermic Reaction.” It all fits together in its reaching for the pop “other,” but there’s a feeling that this album’s catching up on the odds and sods of what’s been hammering at Jake’s skull outside of his last few records. It’s a great match strike, and it seems like Alien Nosejob’s got a freakish concept album in its future (if its meant to have a future). Taken as singular parts, however, there’s quite enough new wave jitter here to pack yer speakers for weeks.



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New Centre of the Universe, Vol 3

While compilations are sometimes spotty at best and label samplers often just cull up material that’s already worked its way through previous pressings and releases, Aussie label Anti-Fade has had a serious run with their New Centre of the Universe series. The first couple found their way to small press cassettes and rounded up unique tracks from King Gizzard, UV Race, Dick Diver, Chook Race, Living Eyes, Hierophants, Ausmuteants, Super Wild Horses and more. Their newest comp expands its scope and makes the move from spools to wax, topping out the LP at seventeen tracks worth of some AF staples, solidified jangle-pop stalwarts and newcomers with great promise.

Packed in the grooves is new fodder from good ol’ Anti-Fade faves like Parsnip, Alex Macfarlane and Vintage Crop, along with new material from South Hemi dusters like Terry, The Stroppies, School Damage, and Exek. But the release is not content to simply lean on the old, familiar names. “Sky High” from Traffik Island is a jangled gem. Geelong’s Gonzo bring the caustic crust and hometown vibes to the label. Billdozer brings some thick riffs and fire fuzz. It’s as accurate a barometer of burgeoning sounds from across the continent as your likely to hear in one place this year. Anti-Fade has long been a favorite label around here and this collection only proves that they’re still kicking through the right dust to find the new sounds.




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Vintage Crop

Aussie punks Vintage Crop have managed to embrace the same sinewy, elastic brand of rock that endeared their countrymen Eddy Current Suppression Ring to fans the world over. Their first LP for the strikingly consistent Anti-Fade Recs crackles with a sweaty, twitchy, inherently muscular brand of punk that’s aesthetically bumping up against the signposts of post-punk, making this one straddle eras of influence with a vital electricity. They’re still cracking the whip as far as energy, but there’s a supple twang to the guitars here and they weld that to the trampoline bounce of bass and gnashed-teeth gang vocals that feel ripe for the pit.

The record, as with their previous tape, gets some shaping from label-head Billy Gardner (see also: The Living Eyes, Ausmuteants) and official Aussie-quality mastering house Mikey Young. The album bumps elbows and jostles heavily against the more laconic trends down in the South-Hemi way these days, replacing tales of couch life and dead-end jobs with nervy tin-hat assertions about flying saucers and altered reality. Though they do get a good shot in about being too lazy to clean up after themselves (on title track “New Age”), they just give it a jolt of twitchy joints by running the slacker-pop sensibilities through a Mark E. Smith filter.

The record pushes the impulses that pounded out their previous tape to their logical ends, feeling all the more vital and for the extra angles and Mapplethorpe lighting they’ve splashed over the top of New Age. The record feels like the start of something great for the Geelong boys. Hopefully they’ll keep pushing the boundaries further towards post-punk’s creep. Either that or they’ll leave an excellent watershed for us to all to enjoy on its own merits.




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Vintage Crop – “Gerald Part 2”

Feel like I’m leaning hard on Anti-Fade lately, but I’ll be damned if they aren’t kicking out some choice gems from their stable of upcoming cuts for 2018. Vintage Crop, like labelmates Civic, are full of brutal punk slap, but they knot it up with the kind of muscular precision that made Eddy Current Suppression Ring perennial favorites here, and well, everywhere. “Gerald Part 2” sweats it out with the best South-hemi stranglers but veers to the frantically weird, which is always something I’ve found heartening about bands hanging in Ausmuteants’ orbit (the band’s Billy Gardner produces). Gonna want to keep the ears peeled for this one when it hits in April. Maybe stash away some lunch money until then to put this one on the table proper.




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CIVIC – “New Vietnam”

New crust out of Geelong, Aus from the always reputable Anti-Fade Records. CIVIC pounds with a dirt black howl that’s culling liberally from The Stooges/MC5 Motor City contingent of proto-punk sounds. The first cut from their upcoming 12″, “New Vietnam” is a breathless grind, choked out with exhaust fumes and powered by ragged denim and blood. Recorded by Billy Gardner (Ausmuteants, The Living Eyes), the song embraces the kind of toughened edge that his own works have often tapped into. The nation has long been a pocket of bristling punk, from The Saints to The Scientists and CIVIC jump in to the lineup with their own brutal blow to the thorax with this one. They’re proving that along with Ausmuteants, The Living Eyes, Wet Blankets and Hierophants, Geelong’s got grit.



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The Living Eyes

One of the most consistent exports from the Aussie underground comes via Anti-Fade Records’ agit-punks The Living Eyes. On their third LP for the imprint they continue to sneer ‘n shred their way through a dozen compact punk nuggets that feel like they’re handed down from the conglomerate schools of The Saints, Richard Hell, Pere Ubu and Toy Love. While keeping things distinctly Aussie (and sharing a searing similarity to labelmates Ausmuteants) they’re kindred spirits to the kind of itchy, agitated, raw-nerve of punk that festered in the American Mid-West some 40-odd years prior.

The difference is that while they seem to carry the outsider jitters in their very DNA, they’ve also found a way to inject an incredible amount of catchiness into the core of their songs, much like South-Hemi heroes Eddy Current Suppression Ring before them. That band’s Mikey Young pops up in the supply chain here on mixing and mastering duties, so you know things are kept brittle and pushing well into the red. The band has always been a fave around here but I have to admit they’ve outdone themselves on this one. They’ve never sounded more vital, electric or combustible as they do on Modern Living.

At the risk of beating the drum too hard in their praise, this is one of the rawest, most delightfully jagged pieces of punk to roll down the belt this year. Its been a good year for unrest and a bad year for everything else, but this one jolts like a car battery to the tongue. It’s chomping tinfoil like breath mints and dusting any contenders that are hoping to paddle through their wake. I know we’re all looking for a salve these days, and it’s nice to sink back into a malted hazed of indie stupor sometimes, but Modern Living is a good reminder to stay agitated and jolt a few others on your way out of the room.




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Parsnip – “Health”

There’s been a bit of a decline in girl-group punk swagger since the heydays of lo-fi faded into the background, but Parsnip brings the sound rushing back in full color for their debut single on Anti-Fade. The track is swooning with ’60s vocal harmonies but rooted in the Paisley-punk of bands like The Pandoras, doubling down on twangin’ guitars and squirming organ. The song is caffeinated cool, careening around hooks with a sugar buzz that’s pretty damn hard to ignore. Why would you possibly want to, though? This is a top-down stoplight dance party from start to finish and I’m keeping it on repeat.




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