Posts Tagged ‘Aussie Indie’

Rex Wonderful & The Silk Sheets – “Mimosas”

Already spreading the Wireheads family out with the recent announcement of Dom & The Wizards, the Adelaide band has now grown a third arm in the form of Rex Wonderful & The Silk Sheets. The fancifully named side project was formed over a drunk brunch aftermath and brings together Wireheads’ Dom Trimboli, band videographer Alex Gordon-Smith, Liam Kenny (Workhorse, Wireheads) Elena Nees (Alume), and Dana Ashford (Gentleworms). Their first single is an ode to those hazy afternoon origins and it shows the normally acerbic Wireheads members playing things a bit cooler, melting into a ’70s strut that’s at odds with both the nervy cocaine rock of The Stones and the methadone shakes of VU, Iggy and the punks that swam back against their current at the same time. The single, along with five other tracks will be released as a cassette on Tenth Court this week and I’m interested to see where they take this tangent. Check out the Gordon-Smith directed video for “Mimosas” and lay back into the band’s stonewashed groove.



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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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Crepes – “As You Go”

It’s a nice surprise this morning to see that Aussie pop wranglers Crepes are back at it, with a new album scheduled for October 26th. Following on the low-key single “Bicycle Man,” which will appear on the album as well, the band releases the slinking, “As You Go.” The song retains the band’s attention to glossy pop, but this time they’re keeping things much closer to the vest. The track builds slow, not rushing too hard into the sunshine hooks that splattered their previous album, instead flashing a quick bite of pop on the chorus before releasing the song’s tension with a flurry of jazz-flecked guitar. The song, like “Bicycle Man” seems to be slicing some post-disco bass into their repertoire and it falls far from the current crop of Aussie indies that have taken root in the ‘90s. The first single had me pleasantly perplexed, but with “As You Go,” I’m properly excited for this new Crepes album.


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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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Dom & The Wizards – “Ana’s Little City”

One of the most consistently enduring Aussie bands around here has been Adelaide’s Wireheads. The band, lead by Dom Trimboli has worked its way through four increasingly discordant bouts of post-punk squall that have set them outside of much of their South Hemi peers. In a bid for tireless presence Dom’s also started a new offshoot of the band, dubbing them Dom & The Wizards. The tracks began as surplus recordings from Lightning Ears, but grew into much more. The band sees original Wireheads engineer/violinist Tom Spall come back into the fold, along with the guitar pyrotechnics of Caitlyn Lesuik and Wireheads mems Liam Kenny and Dan Heath.

The song is closely aligned with Wireheads’ latter day melodic wrangle – catchy, but curdled and hanging on the delightfully dinged vocals of Trimoboli. It’s a shaggy shaker that will find its way out via 7” and precedes an upcoming album. Of the recordings themselves, Dom chimed in, “I really wanted to make some music with Tom Spall again – Tom is some sort of magical-genius cartoon character. He recorded the first Wireheads cassette tape and he played violin in the band in its infancy. It has been a spectacular reunion. Tom connected two four-track cassette recorders together – an Akai and a Tascam. It helped to be able to bounce things back and forth between the two units – it essentially gives you more tracks to use. We had a Space Echo too. Vic’s basement has vibes for miles! Lots of cool gear and stacks of records to listen to in the down time. It was pretty much recorded and mixed on the fly as we went along.”

Check out a first look at the Alex Gordon-Smith directed video for “Ana’s Little City” above and keep an eye out for more madness from Dom & The Wizards soon.

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The Goon Sax

When The Goon Sax wrote their first album they were still walking the halls of high school, and that album captured the restless stakes of youth in all their impatient, unpolished glory. The record both fit with and jostled against the strain of underground indie that’s pocked the Aussie scene. It was confessional and off the cuff like many of their contemporaries, but without the day job drag and disillusioned squirm of adulthood in their bellies, it betrayed the typically shaggy Aussie brand with a bit of hopefulness and a brash know-it-all-ism that can only be captured at the height of adolescence. As the band approaches their sophomore LP two years down the road – graduated, but not ground down – they’ve had to make the choice between letting responsibilities sway their sound or keeping on with their thread of wide-eyed, emotionally bare exoticisms of pop.

Thankfully they’ve chosen to keep the faith and while they work their loose-knit pop into a bit of a polish aesthetically, they’ve managed to keep the lyrical core raw and trembling and the songwriting tipping towards twee. They’re still caught up in a jumble of jangles, but the band have moved from tripping over them like shoelaces to fencing them in with a renewed purpose. Their new production sees strings swell and horns color in the lines, but its still as human and humble an album as their first. They don’t miss an opportunity to throw in a bedroom recording between the brilliance as well, just to change the shading, but the uneven landscape works as the listener backs away to take in the album in total.

The band has grown a confidence in songwriting and execution and they tie the record together into something that far surpasses their promising debut. Where they once brought sketchbook souls to life, now they’re painting with warm colors and a steadier hand. There’s a sense that the band could tenure track this sound over the next few years into something mature and rich, but for now the immediacy of youth is doing just fine.



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Gregor – “This Heat”

Melbourne’s Gregor hit back with a new single from their upcoming LP Silver Drop. “This Heat,” despite sharing a name with the noise purveyors of yore, is actually smooth and slippery, an air-conditioned escape from the sun baked sidewalks and parched-throat bake of midday. The song melts reggae stabs around an EZ-listening lilt that lands just this side of queasy. The song’s heat-rippled rock is just the thing to stave off the unseasonable heat wave that’s gripping our country, even though their own is probably nice an temperate right about now, lucky bastards.



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ORB – “I Want What I Want”

ORB swings back with another reminder of their crushing psych prowess. Still hung on the halls of Sabbath but starting to weigh nascent Pink Floyd just as heavy, the band’s latest video runs their riffs through a Renn Faire filter. ORB’s always good for a bit of ozone crunch and “I Want What I Want” doesn’t skimp. The choruses are oozin’ evil while the rest of the song floats in a Novocaine haze above the clouds. Feels like this is gonna be another big one for the Flightless alums.



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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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Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – “Social Candy”

While I’ll admit that the name has always set my hackles up, its hard to deny a heavy hitter and the latest from Psychedelic Porn Crumpets is full of outsized riffs and clever twists. The Perth band definitely taps the same wells that drive Tame Impala and Temples and do it with no dose of self-seriousness. “Social Candy” hits as a standalone single to prep for upcoming UK and Aus dates. It follows their recent repackaging of the two-parter albums High Visceral Parts 1&2 as a double set earlier in the year. The Perth band amps up the psychedelic vibes with dayglo paint and some fast paced photography and its hard not to swing the volume up on this one as those guitars crunch down. As I said, I’ve been hesitant on the band in the past but this single is some of the best they’ve offered yet and serves as a nice entry point.



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