Posts Tagged ‘Cable Ties’

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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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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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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Mixtape: This Is Aus

Ok please allow one more year-end indulgence here in the form of a recap mixtape. It should no longer be a surprise that I have a sweet spot for Aussie indie, and as the genre has made up so much of the site’s direction in the last year, I’ve decided to round up some of my favorites into a massive mixtape that should keep you busy for a few hours and serve as a primer to those looking to break the seal on their Aussie pop habit. Plenty of usual suspects arise in the label department here with representation from RSTB favorites Bedroom Suck, Anti-Fade, Lost and Lonesome, Poison City, Hobbies Galore, Milk! Records, Flightless, and Tenth Court alongside internationally friendly harbors like Trouble in Mind, Upset The Rhythm, Share It, Kanine, and Emotional Response. There were plenty of offerings to love this year from the South Hemi, so get cracking on that listen. Click below for tracklist and stream.

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Cable Ties – “Tell Them Where To Go”

OK I told myself I wasn’t going to gush about Cable Ties again but, c’mon, the band are back with a great new single inspired by their work with the Girls Rock Camp. The single is a goosebumps-inducing rocker that shoves the boys’ club in the corner and encourages girls to pick up and play with no mind to the detractors or nagging self-doubt. As usual the cornerstone of the track is Jenny McKechnie’s vocals, a weapon any band would be lucky to have at their disposal. Pretty much anything she’s singing about becomes a rallying cry, but in this case the subject matter and the system of delivery match in their buoyant blast. The track itself is amped up on chewed wire, spitting voltage in thick slabs through speakers and headphones alike. Much more than a stopgap single, this is exactly the kind of track that drew me to the band in the first place. It was available as an exclusive 7” at the band’s recent Cable Ties Ball, but should also show up in full form on Poison City as a digital single.




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RSTB Best of 2017

So this year is drawing to a close, or almost, we’re still a few weeks away from pushing the broken pieces of 2017 into the trash. There’s no real solace from a lot of the events that took place this year, but, independent of any current events, music has been kind to us all this year. These are the records that spent the most time on the turntable over here. Yeah, I know its kind of a lot, but there were far too many good ones that haven’t been getting the shouts they need elsewhere. Lets say this serves as both a best of and a most overlooked in one go. If you enjoy ’em, buy ’em if you can. Don’t do them the disservice of just bumping up the streaming numbers.

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Cable Ties’ Jenny McKechnie on Au Pairs – Playing With A Different Sex

As far as new artists in 2017 go, I’d say that Cable Ties are taking top honors right now. In their home country of Australia they’re raking in accolades and topping out mid-year charts, a trend that should hopefully catch on worldwide if there’s any justice. The band’s Jenny McKechnie is pulling triple duty as a cultural force, playing in newcomers Wet Lips alongside the Ties and co-heading a new label, Hysterical Records, alongside Amanda Vitartas of Future Popes and Grace Kindellan of Wet Lips. While Cable Ties is a taut musical force in its own right, much of the credit must be given to McKechnie’s vocal prowess and biting lyrics, both of which have drawn comparisons to crucial feminist punk outfits like X-Ray Spex or Sleater-Kinney. As usual with Hidden Gems I’ve asked Jenny to pick a record that’s been a bit overlooked in her opinion and tell how it came into her life and impacted her music. She gives her take on the Au Pairs’ ever resonant debut Playing With a Different Sex below.

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Wet Lips

More greatness out of Australia’s feminist punk underground, fast becoming the vital vein in a scene rife with the kind of buoyant energy that makes us Yanks feel like slackers incarnate. The debut from Wet Lips, out on the band’s own perfectly named Hysterical Records, is as fierce an LP as you’re liable to encounter this year. In the same vein as bassist Jenny McKechnie’s Cable Ties, the band takes the boys club to task, flaying the Y chromosome contenders with their own double standards and bullshit regard. It’s not so much a rallying cry as it its a statement of purpose, a manifesto made flesh in electric current, laying the hot wire down in your own puddle of nervous flop-sweat and set to fry.

The band pins their detractors to the wall, nailing them all as “just another faker in a Bad Seeds t-shirt.” Lord knows there’s no way their targets don’t deserve a dressing down and then some, but Wet Lips aren’t just here to throw insults without a foil chomped punk pedigree to back it up. The trio pack their debut full of hardened, nail-bitten barrel-rolls that lock in and bare down to the bitter end.

Grace Kindellan’s vocals crack with just the right amount of seismic fervor, dredging up a lineage that brings to mind the impeccably named C86’ers We Have A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It, doubled down with the entirety of Olympia’s feminist punk oeuvre. Sadly, Americans will balk because Wet Lips aren’t rolling through Iowa, and somehow we gotta see it to believe it. But be forewarned, hesitate and you’ll miss this seething slab of youth, a vital strain of punk that can’t be beaten, bowed or bent. If you’re reading this, it’s already to late, Wet Lips have cornered the market on raised hackles and grit-perfect riffs. No way you’re gonna get crush harder than this.




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Wet Lips – “Here If You Need”

The glut of albums has taken time away from some great tracks of late, so why not play catch-up? In addition to anchoring RSTB faves Cable Ties, Jenny McKechnie takes up ranks in Melbourne’s Wet Lips. The band’s sound is just as tough as her other gig, though she takes less of a front-woman role here so the vocal quotient docks in a touch less powerful than Cable Ties. Not as beholden to post-punk impulses, Wet Lips hew closer to a more traditional punk palette growling through grit-teeth injustice and riding tension like a straight-edge razor on the fire-bellied “Here If You Need.” The song encapsulates, as the band mentions, “being a woman in a social situation. the obligations you feel to be polite, respectful, small, restrained, not be seen to be greedy or attention seeking.”

The album has just moved back a bit to a June 30th release and it’s coming out on the band’s own imprint Hysterical Records, which offers up their debut alongside fellow Aussies Shrimpwitch as their inaugural releases.


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Cable Ties – “Difficult”

Still can’t get enough of Melbourne trio Cable Ties. Details on the upcoming album are sadly scant, but they keep dropping gems along the way, so the wait’s not so bad. Following on their debut single and a split with Wet Lips, they have a new track featured on LISTEN Records compilation Listen 2. The comp sends 50% of the benefits to WAR (Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance) and the label itself seeks to promote female and LGBTQ artists in Australia. Good will and great vibes aside on the project, the track is another killer from the Aussie band, still hitting the boiling point energy that seems to make the walls sweat and the room spin. While vocalist Jenny McKechnie, as usual, draws the lion’s share of attention on the track, the underlying instrumental is a gnashed ball of fury and noisy bounce that’s proof that as the band evolves, they’re simply proving that the early excitement wasn’t misplaced in the least.



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