Posts Tagged ‘Wireheads’

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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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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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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Wireheads

Its starting to get frustrating shouting into the dark about Wireheads. Dom Trimoboli and his deck shuffled band of musicians have been consistently finding the spark to light up the parched outback punk that threads is way through their releases and it feels like someone should be taking notice. They pick up the thread of sandpapered alternative that waxed experimental in the ’90s, feeling every bit like they’re holed up at Fort Apache rather than a hidden island in Anacortes, Wa. But, to follow their muse, the band again returns to the American Northwest for aid from discordant divining rod Calvin Johnson, a match that seemed serendipitous two albums ago and now feels like perfect symbiosis.

With Johnson at the boards, this record expands on the magnification of hooks that took place on Big Issues, producing some of the band’s downright catchiest songs to date. Their sound began to coalesce on Arrive Alive, letting Trimboli become comfortable in surroundings that weren’t as barbed as their debut, but here he sounds more confident in his prowess than ever. There’s no shortage of dissonance, but it’s coating some real pop nuggets here. Rolling their strums and squalls in the shattered glass trappings of The Fall and the jittery explosiveness of The Pixies, Wireheads are making the kind of weird, wandering, addictive records that used to flesh out the world of college radio long before CMJ took a tumble.

I hate to try to squeeze a little life out of the expression “they don’t make ’em like this anymore” but it might just be the best way to sum up Lightning Ears. Wireheads are a band making records for themselves, clearly not giving two shits what stylistic notions are de rigueur, home or abroad, they simply channel the shaggy beauty that rumbles underneath the itchy skin of of Aussie indie, poking at the comfortability of slacker pop in the process.




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Wireheads – “Indian Pacific Express’

Getting to be a regular occurance around here, Wireheads have an album on the way via Tenth Court. The first cut is even more refined than I’ve heard them in the past – janglin’, plunking piano and a smooth keel running through Dom Trimboli’s vocals. This sounds like a natural progression from the material they’d cut into on Arrive, Alive, clean burning Aussie jangle with just the right touch of vulnerability and visceral punch. Definitely got eyes out for the new album.


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Workhorse

The debut tape from this Adelaide band is much more than their humble moniker would attest to. While the songs are certainly not full of flash, Harriet Fraser-Barbour’s songwriting isn’t workmanlike or rote indie by any means. The songwriter, who also plays as part of RSTB favorites Wireheads as well as Fair Maiden, crafts smoky-eyed alt-country that’s warm and inviting. The tracks are by all means laid back, but exuding an air that’s cool and collected rather than adopting the oft imitated slacker charms of many of her countrymen. Fraser-Barbour is the cool older sister projecting an unrattled air, even if there’s a dark strain of torment running through her.

The songs on No Sun simmer with a lost summer quality, the kind of feelings that burn bright and fade into Kodachrome memories that seem timeless and yet trapped in amber. The album feels like it’s been around the bins for ages, despite having just reached the world, but that’s just a testament to the players enlisted and Fraser-Barbour’s skill behind it all. It arrives fully formed and to that effect, leaves Fraser-Barbour as one to watch moving forward for sure. If this is just the beginning, I can only expect she’ll find purchase on greater heights moving forward. Fraser-Barbour may be taking her first turn as bandleader here, but quite honestly, she’s nailing it out of the gate.




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RSTB Best of 2016 (so far)

Ok, so deep down I know that the half-year best-of rundown is becoming an expected bit of mid-year clickbait listicle self-love. It’s a totem that’s somewhat unnecessary, seeing how at the end of the year votes get tallied and the same releases get pondered. But since I also have the nagging gnaw that a culture of collective consciousness music press will result in plenty of homogeneous diatribes about what’s been considered the cream of ’16, I figure that it’s worth it to shine some light on a few deserving entities that are gonna to be left out of the party.

Some outlets have gone so far as to tell the world that 2016 has been super stressful for them, what with all the surprise albums needing their immediate attention. Sleepless nights in the review mines, I’m sure. Caffeinated burns through the wee hours that are called upon because absorption of albums over time is heresy these days. No time to listen deep because those other sites are stealin’ your views, siphoning clicks, and by next week those cuts will be far too stale to talk about anyhow. RSTB’s always there to let you know that sometimes its OK to let an album fester under your skin a while. Review it late, review it early, but maybe listen long enough to learn how it impacts you—or at least how it sounds in the car vs. the speakers vs. the headphones.

I’m starting to think that sometimes best should be more relative and less quantitative, and maybe it might be fun if there were a few more outlets with a true voice. But, so went the airwaves, so go the reviews, eh? Ah, maybe I’m just old fashioned. Anyhow, here are the picks. Remember RSTB is never content (n.), and never content (adj.).

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Wireheads

Perennial favorite Wireheads are back on the scene with a third record, again for Aussie imprint Tenth Court, and its great to hear their caustic post-punk mature. The Adelaide band’s debut was ragged and unapologetic in its delivery, little wonder that I’d named it one of the great overlooked records of the last ten years. On their third record they ditch the alt pedigree of Calvin Johnson’s Dub Narcotic for homeland sessions that pull in just about everyone that they know. Driving force, Dom Trimboli sketched out the songs and invited friends into the sessions to help flesh them out, resulting in a roster of 20 musicians that includes members of Brisbane’s Bent, Sydney poppers Day Ravies, kindred spirits Bitch Prefect plus Fair Maiden, Men With Chips and The High Beamers. For the most part this ends up bleeding in a bit of beauty to Wireheads’ usual lemon in the wound attack. There’s a loose nature to the album, but strangely it results in some of the band’s most pop moments. The ravaged swagger of “Dedication”, the dark country shuffle of “Proserpina,” the psych pop warble of “Isabella Says” and the last-call balladry of “Banana Fish” all feel like leaps from their chewed wire beginnings.

As the album unfolds there are still a few moments of the band’s squall’s – sax skronk ripping like an inter tube in distress, violin howling at the wind – but for the most part the mixed company seems to have taken them in new directions and those chances pay off. For a lot of bands, tempering their sound usually means losing a bit of vitality, but there’s little anyone could do to sand down the edges of Trimboli’s vocal bite. When he’s singing, its a Wireheads song; doesn’t matter if there are strums or saw tooth licks, the impact hits you just the same. Three albums on the band is still one of the most interesting kicking around guitar rock these days and Arrive Alive stands to prove it.



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RSTB Most Overlooked

So, here it is. Raven has turned 10, which means that I’ve been doing this for a friggin’ decade at this point and I have to say, it hasn’t been a bad ride. With the site’s turn into the double digits it seemed time for a new coat of paint, which you may notice in the form of our new design and move to the proper .com address.

I spent quite a bit of time pouring over the site’s past in the last few months leading up to this relaunch and while I will work to get some larger features going this year, I’m not going to make lists a regular part of the site, outside of the mid-year and year-end wrap ups. I’ve never been a fan of running down rut-worn lists of records based on a loosely tied theme. But…nostalgia begged a bit and I came across several posts on records I thought just never got a fair shake. Its not a list of my best of the last ten years, those you can probably put together yourself from year end lists, rather these are some great records that just never seemed to garner enough yelling about them.

However, rest assured that despite a new look, the ethos of RSTB will remain largely the same. I’ll still focus on reviews that don’t get too gabby, some videos and now a short bit on tracks that are exciting from releases to come. There will still be a focus on the physical formats and prods to buy them, because paying artists for music you can hold in your hands will always be a good idea. So, without further adieu… the list.

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Wireheads

One of the great records I came to late last year was Wireheads’ underrated creeper The Late Great Wireheads. The band followed on with a tape for Brisbane label Tenth Court, who also stand to release the band’s sophomore album, Big Issues, next month. Traveling to the US to record with Dub Narcotic / Beat Happening guru Calvin Johnson, the record isn’t so much a shift from their last as an extension of it. Still shaggy and barely holding its erratic gyrations in tact, but with just a touch of focused energy that puts a bit of pop thrust on their post-punk assault. There’s a touch less of Tom Spall’s violin to saw at your brain pan but thankfully they left plenty of raggy harmonica, blender churned guitar and Dom Trimboli’s urgent vocal lamentations to sate ya. The energy spins the dial from the frantic energy of “Punk Song” and “Charlie Darwin” to the loping, squalled “Good Grief.” As fates have it, its likely that people stateside will sleep on this yet again but here’s hoping that a few good souls have the right sense to get one of these in their hands now. Its not often you get to feel the live wire crackle before others get wise. Here’s your best chance.

Listen:


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