Posts Tagged ‘Melbourne’

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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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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Program – “Memory”

Melbourne’s Program hit back quickly with a second single from their upcoming Anti-Fade debut Show Me. Slashing their strums with staccato stabs of guitar, the band’s still running down the edges of post-punk and punk and dousing their driving rhythms in a kind of detached delivery that suits them well. “Memory” coils slightly before unfurling into a cozy chorus, but the band’s quick not to linger in the sun too long, diving right back into those driving chords and gnarled twang. The way this one’s shaping up, if you don’t already have Program on your radar, this ought to seal it. The video is a simple setup, feeling very ‘public access TV’ but they don’t need any flash to make this one stick. The album’s out October 18th.

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Cool Sounds

Melbourne’s Cool Sounds have endured more than most groups have between albums. Following the tragic loss of their friend and bandmate Zac Denton, a fixture in the close knit Aussie indie scene who was also in notable bands Ciggie Witch, Pregnancy, and The Ocean Party, the band like many of those others had to find a way to move on from the loss. They’ve always had a way of intertwining bittersweet swoons inside imperturbable hooks that seem to saunter through the sun breathing a rarer air, but that veneer of melancholy is a bit more palpable on More To Enjoy. Amid the slow simmering pop boilers like “Around and Around” and the standout title track, there’s the cool smoke curl of “Hume and Gloom” which seems to tackle loss head on. The balance of catharsis, comfort, and a sense of finding joy in small spaces seems to glue the album together with a detached cool that’s instantly alluring.

Denton and his brother Lachlan both had a knack for songwriting that found the pang of life and melted it into pop that felt both transformative enough to hit home and ephemeral enough to just soundtrack the whistle of breeze past the car windows. They bring together an edge of pristine pop slink with country slides and sparkling jangles for songs that fuse into something with a bit more impact than the sum of those parts might suggest. Its hard to say that loss could ever be anything other than tragic, but the band turns the moment that life pulls the rug out from under you into an album that’s honest, infectious, and despite its scars, deeper than anything in their catalog. It’s quite honestly the band at their best and it should grace your shelf of necessities for 2019.



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Fabulous Diamonds – G.B.H.

This is not a band I’d expected to return to the fore. It’s been seven years since Melbourne duo Fabulous Diamonds issued their sorely overlooked Commercial Music. They’re still crawling through the murk, turning creeping menace into dub-flecked ambient anthems. “G.B.H” is lost in a miasma of haze, pulling bits of twisted John Carpenter synth through a fog of fear and doubt and dread. The band has always threaded the outskirts of pop, finding doors in that no one thought to explore. This album sees the band jump to A L T E R, who are quickly making an imprint picking up all manner of experimental impulses at home and abroad. The band’s last was actually the subject of Ripley Johnson’s Hidden Gems, feel free to check that here. The new LP arrives September 20th.



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Parsnip – “Lift Off”

Melbourne four-piece Parsnip have been banging around the Aussie underground for a few years now, showing up on Anti-Fade comps and singles with a delightfully simple sway. The band’s always captured a sort of sun-kissed vision of where post-punk and indie pop clasp hands — the kind that brought the Marine Girls into focus or the type that let Tiger Trap releas smiles on an infinite loop inside your brain. Throw in a good nod or two to late ‘90s power poppers and paisley fallouts like The Apples in Stereo and they’ve been hard resist. The band’s latest single, a prelude to an album on both Anti-Fade at home and Trouble in Mind here in the states, is just as damnably hummable as anything in their catalog. The song jangles and spins, breaks down into girl-gang choruses, and in general brings the rush of childhood back for one more go-round the in the soul. When the Tree Bears Fruit is out August 30th. Be sure to keep it in mind.



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Bench Press

On their sophomore album, Melbourne’s Bench Press have tightened their sound and hammered out a focused approach that whittles away any excess. Built on a bedrock of muscular postpunk, the band brings an unusually milkfed force to the typically wiry genre. The guitars still bend and contort, attempting to squirm away in distress, but the frame they’re fashioned to is fortified by knotted bass grooves, a thick pummel of drums, and the gruff growls of singular singer Jack Stavrakis. The record works hard to avoid the typecast tropes that have bogged down so many in their field, giving the crushed glass crowd a hardcore makeover.

It’s really Stavrakis’ oversized personality that pushes Bench Press out of the common channels that modern day post punks have allowed themselves to be filed. His voice swings wild, almost always at a gale force gusto, deconstructing doubt, self-care, self-improvement, and hypocrisy. From the name on down, the band seems like it should be a bro’s dream of dirgey hooks, and testosterone stained 20 rep jams, but the band’s self-aware, turning their bombastic frustration into a manifesto for change, not status quo.

When the band’s edges are sharpened and their hooks are harnessed right, it’s a powerful record that charges breathlessly at any target. Occasionally it stumbles, with the flipside cooldown “Take It Slow” going at it a bit literally, and bogging down the energy. For the most part, though, this is another win for Poison City, an angular, damaged punk rumble that’s bashing at all the right recipients.



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Cool Sounds – “Around and Down”

Melbourne’s Cool Sounds return with a new single that hints at the promise of an album later on in 2019. After a tumultuous 2018, the band revives their propulsive post-punk, buffed to a buttery shine but slightly crestfallen all the same. There’s a bittersweet soul thrumming through the wires of “Around and Down” – drums snap in capgun cadence, the smell of sulfur on the wind. There’s a muted mull to the vocals but the band still has a sharp acumen for slow motion slides and lolloping pop. It’s the kind of comforting track that can be played over and over until it wraps around the soul like a blanket. Sometimes we all need just a touch of comfort.



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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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Possible Humans – “The Thumps”

Another top-notch jangler out of Melbourne and the hotbed of Hobbies Galore. Possible Humans blend roiling twang with the crunch of fuzz and a quick-step beat pushing it headlong down the hill. “The Thumps” builds on their previous LP and a single on Strange Pursuits (home to Day Ravies, Sachet). Like Stroppies, they’ve also cleaned up their act a bit for the new long player and their sound has cohered into a mash of the Stropp’s organ-laced jangle-pop, Twerps loose shuffle, and the taut bass work of The Go-Betweens. The first single offers a lot to love, so its understandable that hopes are high for the full-length coming April 1st. The record was recorded by Alex MacFarlane with the usual Aussie shine-up by Mikey Young. Grab a listen below.






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