Posts Tagged ‘Hierophants’

Traffik Island’s Zak Olsen on Public Nuisance – Gotta Survive

Keeping the wheels turning on Hidden Gems and pulling more and more psychic diggers into the fold. This week the honors fall to Zak Olsen, the Aussie indie utilitarian who crops up in quite a few RSTB faves, to be honest. From the fractured pop ooze of Hierophants to the crushing grooves of ORB, Zak has done time in The Bonniwells, The Frowning Clouds, and keeps time in his own solo work as Traffik Island. The latter’s work caught my ear a few years back with a spot-on deep-dive into loner folk, but of late the band has embraced an aesthetic of psychedelic beat driven on an engine of Library Music funk. Zak gives some background on California garage band Public Nuisance and how their Nuggets-era works came into his life. Check out Zak’s take on the band’s works below and head to Flightless for the latest Traffik Island thumper.

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Hierophants

Aussie squirm-pop savants Hieorphants landed a propulsive chunk of post-punk on the chin of 2015 with their album Parralax Error. While the band issued a few singles before and after, its largely the last we’ve heard from the band until a surprise resurfacing this month on Anti-Fade. Spitting Out Moonlight is as twisted and taut as their previous effort, squeezing strains of synth-pop, jumbled jangle, and post-punk pounce into thirteen packed tracks that squeegee the soul. The band, which contains members of ORB, School Damage, The Frowning Clouds, and Ausmuteants revels in knocking the listener off their axis, while at the same time, providing just enough of a blistered beat to shake a dose of dance out as well.

The record benefits from a cache of strong songwriters, and while the needle vacillates through genres pretty freely, it all comes together like a lovingly curated mixtape adorned with shades of crushed velvet, plastic, and chrome. Peeking through the haze, the synth wobble of tracks like “Thoughts of Speech,” and “Carbon Copy” give the album a glue-huffed giddiness that’s immediately wiped to the waste bin by bent tin tangles guitar on “Memory Card,” and there are even a few prog-pegged whiffs that come seeping through the floor boards on opener “Shoemaker Levy” and closer “Everything in Order” with the latter taking the winked patter of Daevid Allen to heart. Its good to have the band back as they solidify their catalog with a sophomore platter as vital as the first. Who knows how long it’ll be before the stars align and a third hits, so enjoy this one while it lasts.



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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, Parsinp, 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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ORB

Zak Olsen and his exhaust fumigated band of ’70s crate diggers are back in the arms of ORB once again, and their sophomore album further explores the double stack attack of prime-era Sabbath’s machinations. However, as their first couple of singles attest, the band is trying to push beyond the sound that’s brought them wafting into the arms of stoner-garage freaks everywhere. They embrace fellow ’70s esoteric anomaly Syd Barrett’s effervescent pop, then tumble into a sound that hews a bit too close to labelmates King Gizzard for my taste. It’s hard to dissociate the skittering fretwork and itchy delivery of KG’s brand of psych from their home base and anyone attempting tends to sound a bit watered down.

Perhaps, though, I’m splitting hairs because the band’s bread and butter is clearly so locked into Sabbath’s doom-psych that they can hardly be credited with blazing trails. Yet, when they hit those fuzz squalls right, the album explodes in an enveloping wave of dread and glory that’s taking a cocktail of Blue Cheer, Flower Travelin’ Band and good ol’ Sab straight to the vein. This one is for the late night headphone creepers, the Sunday morning window rattlers, the dirtbags blasting venom at the red light downtown. Naturality lets the band stretch out and explore their sound, reveling in the 6+ minute tracks that showcase the band’s ability to build on a groove and blow it out into a plume of death’s head smoke.

I’ve got a soft spot for ’em, what can I say? Fuzz has been attempting something along these lines and plenty of the orbiters of Planet Segall find themselves in similar waters, but no one is emulating the original quite as nicely as ORB have managed. If you’re a purist, go to the source and hear Ozzy rant about the impending doom of the Vietnam era. If you’re just looking to strap on the same heavy metal thunder with the dry taste of nostalgia on the tongue, you could do far worse than to let ORB rattle the racks for a rotation or two.




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ORB

OK lets get it out of the way quickly, ORB sound a lot like Sabbath. I mean they have the early catalog on full repeat, day and night. They’re feeling the doom of Iomi and the dread of Osbourne in their marrow. But, you know what, screw it, they’re doing it right. If you’re going to go down the Sabbath rabbit hole, you better know how to handle that gas mask groove and you better be able to bring the low end like a boot to the neck. In that respect, this Geelong gaggle are doing doom-psych like it was their birthright. They stretch it out, kick up the maggots below the soil and don’t make this feel like a night at headbanger’s karaoke. They know that the speedier sections of Paranoid were fun, but the times when the band touched on prog, that’s when they were gathering the true clouds of doom. ORB has been behind the wall of sleep and they’ve dug up the bodies buried there.

It doesn’t hurt that Birth comes with a triple (quadruple?) pedigree backing it up. The man behind ORB is Zak Olsen, also of Geelong punks Hierophants and the album was recorded by Aussie heavy Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring), putting his stamp on the sound and shattering the very last bong in your cabinet with van rattling authority. He then kicks it over to King Gizz’ label Flightless on the home turf and completing the circle, its found a home at Castle Face in the US. This thing’s been making eyes at your girlfriend for the last twenty minutes and its moral compass is merely waiting for you to get up for a beer before it slinks in like the creep asleep in the back row of your Trig class. Shit, its a wonder this thing doesn’t come loaded in a shag shrouded package with pop-up quadraphonic. Essentially this album is the living embodiment of the second Bassmobile and that’s alright by me.


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Hierophants

These chaps from Geelong have been a long time coming on this one, teasing with some singles, but finally cracking the egg wide open with Parallax Error. Cutting the swath down new wave’s long tail of influences, you’d be remiss not to notice the fingerprints of Mark Mothersbaugh littered on this one, but there’s plenty of room for Gary Numan via his Ultravox obsession and the quirkiness of The Buggles and Flying Lizard sprawled across those synth lines. That’s not to say that this sounds like an 80’s comp, rather that the band seems to have chewed on their fair share of pop laced outsiders and let the sound drive them to find their own antisocial corner to crawl in. There’s a Plasticine film pulled over the top of Parallax, refracting the light in angled shapes and making it hard to grip, but isn’t that just the fun part? Nothing here sticks easy, its catchy but catches in your throat just as often. A damn fine salvo from the South Hemi if I do say so.

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Hierophants – “Nervous Tic”

Hierophants have shown up here before on a number of singles but good news from the pipe is they have an album coming out in September on Aarght / Goner. First taste is a nervy, anxious slice of sci-fi punk that’s augmented with an equally itchy video. The track picks up whiffs of Chrome and MX-80 then strains them through a more digestible brand of Aussie skronk that falls in line with their ties to Ausmuteants. Ears are perked for the the album for sure.

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