Posts Tagged ‘Aussie Punk’

Cable Ties

On their sophomore album, and first for US label Merge, Aussies Cable Ties retain the fire in their bellies, but stoke it with a few helpings of melodic pop and a quiet contemplation that may have been missing in the past. Throughout their early singles the band was a sonic jackhammer, tearing through injustice, sexism and classism while spitting in the face of a world that long since turned its back on the youth of today. Their first album refined the point on their knives, and did pretty good job of sharpening the rest of their blades as well. With a wider canvas they spared no one who’d earned their ire, and it quickly became evident that anyone on the receiving end of Jenny McKechnie’s gale force vocal torrents were lucky to get out with only a racing heartbeat and a clutch of psychic scratches. On Far Enough, the band barrels into maturity with the same bile in their throats, but also a good deal of calm contemplation as well. They balance their poles of their personality, and now when McKechnie lays into the full force of her anger, its a payoff that hits the listener with the whiplash force that makes the pummel all that much more powerful.

She picks up the lash from so many punk predecessors, and while there’s definitely a cocktail of Tucker, Hanna, and Styrene as the easy to top notes of the bunch, she and the Ties have taken the full force of progressive punk into their tank and turned out a record that’s much more than the fumes of its fuel. They chum the waters with the brooding calm of “Lani.’ They swallow the constant lump in their throats on the dizzying “Pillow,” — driven by bubbles of bass and vocals that cool to a croon. They’ve even captured the complexity of where we lie in wait at the start of 2020 with “Hope” — a song that brims with doubt and desire. Its a societal push-pull with uncertainty, age, generational distance, and the ideals of activism in the face of mounting evidence that no amount of rivets will stem the tide when the dam bursts.

Woven between these careful shadings lie the paint-peeler anthems that nail the fuckers to the wall, and when we hear the crack of bone on concrete its a satisfying snap indeed. On “Self Made Man,” Sandcastles” and in the titanic swells of “Anger’s Not Enough” the band shows that their fire’s never faded. Where the other songs stoke the coals and let the glow warm the listener, here they prove that those coals can build to a blaze bound to burn. What’s best about Far Enough is that it needs time to settle into the system. Their early singles and debut were instantly gripping, but like the best works this one takes a few runs through before it all locks into place. The builds and crouches become clear, the abrasive progressiveness of “Anger’s Not Enough” snaps into their place on an album that’s not a wild swing at its aggressor, but a patient plan of attack that topples its targets in good time.



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Cold Meat

There’s a time for cool waters and calm heads and there’s a time for the righteous infection of fire-forged punk. Somehow its been time for both in these past couple of weeks, but right about now the latter is feeling pretty apt. Perth scorchers Cold Meat have graduated from their early short-form firestarters to a full length that showcases their pounding, primal, elastic scratch. Built on a foundation of tire-thick rubber riffs, the band kneads and pounds the basics of punk through an emotional and musical ringer. The riffs are meaty and land with enough force to bruise heavily. The bass ricochets around the speaker space with a sinewy menace. While squarely in the mold of punk purveyors like Magazine, X-Ray Spex, or The Adverts, they borrow the alternating current corruption of post-punk terrors — finding common ground with the hot bile invective of The Au Pairs and the writhing discomfort of Pylon.

None of the garments of the past quite fit them, though, and that’s to their credit. They chafe at categorization, but Cold Meat mostly look to take a hammer to the societal mirror and do it with a wicked smile on their face in the process. Doesn’t hurt tat they’ve got the twenty megaton howl of Ashley Ramsey in their corner as well. While the music beneath her squirms in pain, Ramsey rounds up every last inch of sneered and seared animus and hurls it at the listener. I’m a sucker for a voice that packs a versatile volley of grievance, pain, disappointment, and derision and she nails the nuance every time. While I can’t say I levy Andy unsettled scores with ZZ Top and their fanbase as the band seems to, elsewhere Cold Meat seem to bring good reason and welcome harbor to their various picked bones. Its a record of its time — bred on the scraps of the past but fueled with the earned anger of a younger generation left in the cold to fend for itself.



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The Native Cats – “Sanremo”

A short while back I shared the a-side to Tasmanian band The Native Cats’ new single for Rough Skies and now the band has sent over a new video for the flip. Not as bracing as the front side, but no less affecting, “Sanremo” is a gauzy creeper doused in post-punk and just a touch of shoegaze haze. The song buzzes with an incessant energy like raw nerves being slowly dulled by their surroundings. The video is equally narcotic, with singer Chloe Alison Escott being dragged towards a body of water like some sort of baptismal captive, shrouded in a veneer of pinks and purples. She gives a little insight into the clip below.

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Cold Meat – “Bad Mood”

Perth punk hammer Cold Meat graduates from the singles bin to a proper full length stretched across a slew of proper litmus-test labels threaded through the US/UK and their home habitat (Static Shock, Iron Lung, and Helta Skelta). They’ve offered up a couple of cuts from the LP and both flay the skin from the listener immediately, peeling back the bullshit layers from their outer core with a breathless punk assault that’s as snotty as The Dead Boys ever got, but with the added bonus of Ashley Ramsey’s vocals turning the once upon a time sneers of The Saints and Dum Dum Boys into the gnashed teeth yelp you need right now. Every inch of this song reverberates catharsis. If the mood’s this bad, only a proper sore-throated throttle could shake it loose and Cold Meat aim to be the bludgeon to knock ya sideways. The album’s out March 20th.






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Moody Beaches – “Stay Cool”

Aussie trio Moody Beaches are back and they show no sign of tempering their turbulent brand of indie rumble. “Stay Cool” is the first thing I’ve heard since the band’s 2018 EP Weird Friends, and it kicks just as hard as anything on the short, but powerful, predecessor. The band taps into ‘90s alt-tentpole hooks, with a scathing fuzz attack and just the right quiet-loud tension between the bars. With a dark energy swirling around the track, the band pushes their bile and bombast out of the speakers with a turbulent force and its definitely whetting the appetite for their upcoming 2020 debut on Poison City. Ha, as I was looking around for pictures I noticed that the band self-described themselves as “Resting bitch-face, post punk, grunge trio from Melbourne. Australia” and there probably couldn’t be a better description than that. If you missed the EP, get into them here.





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Cable Ties – “Self-Made Man”

Fully excited for America’s embrace of Cable Ties. The Aussies have long been a staple here on the site and their move to Merge only goes to prove they’re the band we need right now. The trio takes on the prosperity gospel of bootstrap billionaires in their latest, “Self-Made Man.” The current political race / everyday reality of our country (and their own) pretty much plays out between the bars of the four-minute firestarter. As always Jenny Mckechnie’s sonorous screeds etch themselves into the consciousness with the ferocity of the best youth anthems. Cable ties are the air raid rabble that ignite the soul. I can’t wait for this one to land on the decks. Play this one louder than you think appropriate wherever you are today.



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Alien Nosejob

Constantly in motion, Jake Robertson has kicked out records with Ausmuteants and School Damage over the last couple of years and is back spinning the genre dials of Alien Nosejob. His solo banner leaves room to explore and, in the past, Alien Nosejob has found footing among disco, electronic rumble and punk. This time the tides turn more to New Wave, with those punk impulses fading into a keyboard quease that’s got love for The Units and Devo, but also knows that the Mongoloid years were weirdcore at their best. Shades of The Clean crop up to give the record more of a close-to-home feel and Robertson manages to stuff all the influences into the grooves with a nice balance.

Alien Nosejob has seemed like its chafed to fit into its last couple of iterations, so its nice to see Jake finding a real comfort zone on this record without letting us feel comfortable. The record relishes the squirm that infected much of the best early New Wave and synth-punk. That feeling of getting saddled with this skin and figuring out how to mold it into a shape that fits comes through each and every note. Night sweat sucrose courses through the veins of the record, keeping it peeled and panicked even when it seems at its most accessible. This is a rock record for the insomniac armada, the ones kept awake by the EMF energies of a throbbing technological hangover. It can’t sit still so why should you? Cheers to Alien Nosejob for keeping the Aussie Underground from getting complacent. Suddenly Everything is Twice As Loud is a gulp of glue for a year that won’t let us ease in slowly. Drink deep.



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Clamm – “Keystone Pols”

A new one to knock you off your moorings from Aussie threesome Clamm. The band hits the same volume-fried, hardcore chewed rock action that fellow South Hemi alums Civic and Bench Press seem to be socking at and it sweats as hard as any of their compatriots. Featuring members of Gamjee and Dragoons, the trio engages in a breathless punk pummel that uses its brutality to lift up an anti-violence, anti-consumerism screed that nails the leadership to the door in less than three-minutes of whiplash hit on “Keystone Pols.” Like the bulk of their album, the song feels driven, sealed tight, and set to crush with each new spin ‘round the turntable.

Jack from the band gives a little insight into the push behind the track, “Keystone Pols was a song written from the perspective of a government,” he notes. “It speaks of this ominous and aggressive body that seems to see all but will be quick to forget certain groups of society (or never recognize them at all really). I remember watching these old silent comedy films called the Keystone Kops that show these incompetent policeman running around the place. When we were writing the song I just started shouting Keystone Pols because I thought it was funny that behind this ominous body referenced in the song are just some incompetent politicians.”The band’s new LP Beseech Me is out January 24th. Take a few runs through the track and tell me that doesn’t grab ya.



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Cable Ties – “Sandcastles”

Super happy to have this track in the box today. Cable Ties have long been simmering in the Aussie underground and have positioned themselves as one of the most ferocious bands in the country. I’m pretty sure that RSTB yelled out every single that came through the channels in the last couple of years hoping that everyone would share in the joy, pain, indignation, and invigoration that the band embodied. Seems like someone else was listening.

The band are expanding their reach with a new record, Far Enough, released as a split between their old home at Poison City and Merge here in the States. The first single “Sandcastles” takes on the gatekeepers of activism who are more concerned with language and codes of behavior than inclusion and change. The song, like so many of their others, simmers with a barely contained bile. When singer Jenny McKechnie turns her sonic sweep on a target, there’s no mercy, no restraint. The band are heirs apparent to X-Ray Spex and Au Pairs, a guiding force for a new generation. Damn glad they’re out there steering the rudder of change. Far Enough lands March 23rd on Merge.



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Eddy Current Suppression Ring

Couldn’t have been more surprised to see this one pop up on the radar for 2019. After a lengthy hiatus that saw rise to tributaries like Total Control, the aughts’ most potent punks are back and bashing with a new long player this year. The record would probably daunt lesser souls – a pristine reputation left dangling for a decade is dusted off and the band feel like they’ve made the logical next step in their sound. Still walking the line between the bar fight bruisers of pub rock that crept out of the gutter in the ‘70s to become punk’s nascent form, the band also finds a way to skip over the meat of those very same punk years and add in the wiry wreckage of post-punk fallout to the mix. They’re the alpha and the omega hurtling through the speakers in riot-wracked glory.

Ten-odd years behind the mixing desk and twisting the knobs on a synth set hasn’t dulled Mikey Young’s guitar attack one bit. He’s still bashing out angles that others would overlook – slinging hooks like a tried and true record collector who’s absorbed an era’s worth of wreckage by osmosis. Then there’s the gloved-menace himself, Brendan Huntly, who brings the nasal hammer once again, a punk-poet who doesn’t go for the pretense. He’s Richard Hell if Hell spent less time artfully arranging holes on his shirt and just got straight to the jitters. They update the invective for a new round of political punishment by the worldwide punters of 2019 but through the faces change the burn remains the same. This is a band that pretty much touched off what’s been ripping through the Aussie underground in the interim since they left and its good to see them kick the kids off the throne and casually tip the crown on their heads. A late slip into the 2019 fold, but this one should be on your year’s best for sure.




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