Posts Tagged ‘Aussie Indie’

Hierophants – “Limousine”

Very excited to say that Aussie pop-manglers Hierophants are back on the scene this week. The band, which features members of ORB, Frowning Clouds, Ausmuteants and School Damage among others returns with their first album in five years and the first track’s a perfect extension of their warble-pop legacy. Among the ranks of the Geelong punk panel Hierophants have always stuck out for their adherence to a slower, slimier, hot-house vision of post-punk. There are no brittle edges in Hierophants world, but the floor gives way without notice and everything seems to be covered in a pungent gel of pop weirdness. “Limousine” is a slow-motion shuffler with an ode to dubious wealth. There’s a feeling of artifice that crumbles under the band’s used-car slink. The track feels as if its constantly slipping away like new money hustlers trying to impress with style over substance, and ultimately lacking either. Gonna want to keep an eye on this one when it comes out May 24th.



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Pinch Points – “Shibboleth”

Melourne’s Pinch Points fire back this year with another infected, squirming bout of post-punk poison. The first taster of their upcoming Moving Parts LP is an itchy-toothed bite into society that leaves blood on the bite mark. Hammered guitars herald their heavily coiled sound opening into a battery of drums and vocal venom that sees the band trading barbs between themselves shouting along on the chorus. The track ties the band’s tension around the listener like a steel-banded scarf, slowly tightening the pressure as they careen towards the close. The record is out May 31st through Roolette in Australia, Six Tonnes de Chair in France and Burger here in the States. Gonna want to keep an eye out for this one.



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Constant Mongrel – “Experts in Skin”

Melbourne’s post-punk pounders Constant Mongrel follow up their excellent LP from 2018 with a double shot single in advance of their European tour. A-side “Experts in Skin” is a brittle, blistered cut that rolls in on Plasticine guitar needles before kicking over to a full-on hive of buzzing synths, sax and rhythmic rancor. The vocal bile from Tom Ridgewell captures their usual sneering, aloof attack, cutting through consumerism without an ounce of affection. The band’s long been one of the Aussie underground’s secret weapons, wrangling up players from Terry, Woolen Kits, and Nun and this 7” slab for Upset The Rhythm keeps their reputation solid. Nab a listen to the A-side below and look for the single in June or on the road in the EU.



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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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Possible Humans

When the first crack listen off the debut LP from Aussies Possible Humans came rolling into the inbox it was marked by strums that brought to mind old guard South Hemi hitters like The Clean and The Go-Betweens – usual fare for the new crop of Aussie indies popping up all over the coasts. The band even contains a member of recent RSTB faves The Stroppies – and so it seemed all teed and set up for expectations of more of the same – but, this ain’t that record. Not by a long shot. While Possible Humans start their motor in jangle’s wide embrace, they don’t linger in its lot too long. They take a tub of roofing tar to The Clean’s fizz n’ strum dynamics and stick it onto a harder, knottier, more knuckled vision of indie that was spreading across the US. Shades of Dinosaur, before legalities gave them a youthful suffix, are at work here as well as patches that pull from Dino’s fellow Fort Apache alums Volcano Suns.

The band has a real reach, giving the record the kind of dynamic progression that often gets lost in bands who nail their niche with a great tune only to rinse and repeat over the rest of the record. There’s hardly a repeat feeling in the bunch save for a hangover of frustration, but it sticks together like a dingey bouquet picked out the puddle and pasted back together. The toughened skin of “Absent Swimmer” recalls R.E.M. at a time when you weren’t likely spot the whites of Stipe’s eyes on stage. Other places they’re muddying up Feelies riffs or flirting with the noisier nubs of the alternative nation, bending guitar growl through manic swings like a band who watched The Mats once and tried to memorize the stage moves.

The absolute highlight, though, is the lengthy second side workout “Born Stoned” which finds them at their gnarled best, threading repeated riffs through the woodshed and stuffing flannel in all the exits to hotbox their best grim grooves. It’s a hell of a debut, and like their fellow countrymen Mope City (who tackle Galaxie 500 glimmer) they’re branching out from the expectations built up among an underground that’s constantly intriguing, but has also cannibalized its influences a few times over. Though the LP was scant, this one’s worth it in any format. Recommended you get on that.



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Gonzo

Geelong sweat merchants Gonzo offer up a sophomore LP, for Aussie garden of delights Anti-fade and its a twitchy whollop of an album that hits all the sweet spots like a sack of oranges to the face. The record jumps straight back into the battery-acid bash that surged through the synapses of their debut, only more refined and running a newer razor down the face with twisted blasts of guitar. Like US contempo’s in Uranium Club and Lithics or UK chord chewers Sauna Youth, they have a penchant for mixing mangled metal licks with a socially sour attitude that walks through the streets swinging the mic from the neck, begging to be beat, berated, or bested. The record is more than no-frills. It might actually accrue negative frills and owe a debt of audio drapings to the listener by the time the last bars click to a close.

Gonzo doesn’t seem fussed about it in the least, though. The band is comfortable at home scraping the sores for inspiration and they channel every inch of their chafed n’ chapped aesthetic into Do It Better. I for one have welcomed the caustic crush of the new wave of nihilistic rock action figures and Gonzo are a collector’s bunch (grab the four pack to trade with friends). The band spends the bulk of DIB‘s run licking the 9V for just a twinge of feeling. The record fizzes and flails just the right ways. It spends a good five minutes slamming its head into the cinder block basement to get enough blood to slide down the strings. Gonzo will chew wire for you. Gonzo will drive you to the airport, Gonzo will sit your kids and sell them back at market value. Gonzo will notarize your post-it notes. They’re living the mundane and spitting it back into grey lumps so you don’t have to. Its about time you locked in and appreciated it.




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The Murlocs

While the Gizz might be gearing up for another rinse around the tub in April, you don’t have to wait that long for some harp-heckled weirdness outta OZ. Top flight Gizzard offshoot The Murlocs are back with their fourth LP and a more toughened and toned sound than they’ve displayed to date. Led by the sinewy swagger of Ambrose Kenny-Smith and the nimble bass of Cook Craig, they’ve always represented a more soul-drenched side of the equation, turning down the psychedelic splatter that hangs over their ludicrously monikered day job and doing the dirty work of making bodies move to the blues. That soul-glo is even more present on Manic Candid Episode as the band grinds out white-boy hip shakers that stick to the floor with sweat and tears. They’d always been able to hit that manic high, though, what’s interesting here is how tender Kenny-Smith lets himself get and how vulnerability really lends itself a new dimensions to the band’s equation.

The standout single “Comfort Zone” takes a lone-spotlight piano approach to ‘70s songwriting, jumping off from an Elton show-closer and giving it a twist through the band’s own rose gold filter. They continue the buttered slide through more tender territory on “Catch 22” and “Samsara Maya,” but much as they might want to temper, the twinkle in Amrose’s eye can’t help but lead them back to the fire eventually. Those harmonica hijinks return for “What If?,” “Withstand” and the title track to, admittedly, great effect. Its good to see them take the temperature down a few degrees, but its hard to argue that when they aim to singe, they leave an impression. This is the most varied and versed the band has sounded in a long time, feeling like this is the moment when they go from being a sidetrack diversion to headliners in their own right.



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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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Hexdebt – “Loops”

Melbourne four-piecer Hexdebt drops a jagged jolt of post-punk down on us with the second single from their upcoming album Rule of Four. The track is shot through with the anguished guitar and vocal venom of singer/slinger Agnes Whalan. The rhythm section batters the listener until the glass around one’s resolve cracks under pressure. The song’s a short shout, but effective as hell in its mission to bury the bullshit under a wave of amp fury. Much like their Poison City label-mates, the band has a knack for dipping the targets in an acid bath of sound, stripping those who’d cross them down to the bone and coming back for more. As the band have mentioned elsewhere, the album seeks “the evolution and hopeful deconstruction of archaic systems of power, the monetization of personal pleasure and social capital, autonomy over the self and the painful muffling of oppressed voices and the passing of time.” For anyone on the receiving end of their ire, I feel quite sorry. If any album has the sonic might to achieve these goals, Hexdebt are topping the pile.




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Amyl and the Sniffers – “Monsoon Rock”

After a host of EPs, singles and compilations of those EPs, Amyl and the Sniffers are embarking on their debut LP for Flightless Records. The band, whose raucous punk spirit elevates the dual rock prongs of punk and pub to a the kind of snotty, deviant level that brought us The Saints, Dead Boys, and The Weirdos. Monsoon Rock blows the sound out in all directions. It’s bigger than ever, churning the rock n’ roll stew to a whirlpool of leather n’ sweat. Amy Taylor’s vocals are as acidic as ever – sneered, seared and spit out in fits of vocal venom. It’s pretty much everything you could want from an Amyl and the Sniffers track. The accompanying video is, however, absurd. Nothing says hectic punk fury like hand puppets. That’s what I always say. Pretty fun nonetheless. Check the clip out and keep perked for the album on May 24th.

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