Archive for January, 2014
The Stevens (label-mates of Dick Diver over at Chapter Music) hail from Melbourne, and at the beginning of November last year they dropped record by the title of A History of Hygiene. So let’s talk history. By now the savvy listener (you) knows that any song will be an appropriation of sounds from the past, and this is most easily demonstrated in guitar-based rock. You can trace the ancestry of a particular guitar tone or playing style like blonde hair back up a family tree (the oldest electric guitar recording is barely 80 years old, after all). With these sounds come the moods that surrounded their genesis. We’ve all experienced the transporting function of music, the power to evoke a particular mood or memory from the past. It’s kinda like time travel. But in your brain. Woah.
As a result, when I listen to opening track ‘From Puberty to Success’ I can’t help but think of 90s bands like Pavement, who really crystallised in musical form the mood Stephen Malkmus referred to as ‘this morass of slackness’. The Stevens are historians, and they bring us treasures from the past. This is your new fix of spineless rock from a lucky country. Musicians who have been anaesthetized by a removal from any sense of external struggle. There is a pathos involved; it makes us feel empty, or perhaps a nicer term would be ‘relaxed’. I love it.
I hear echoes of The Velvet Underground in tunes like ‘Challenger’, with that distorted bass line and organ sound carrying reluctantly hollered vocals. Despite the brevity of some of the 24 tracks on this album, there is a lot to sink your teeth into: a big ol’ bunch of interesting sonic moments throughout, some exceptional chorus melodies and great lyrics.
In summary: this band uses wah-wah pedals on their guitars, and nothing has ever sounded bad through a wah-wah pedal. Nothing. Ever.
The new’n from Snowy Nasdaq is amazing. I don’t really know why though. It’s supremely warm with every snap and beat muted with grain, like my soon to be released brand spanking new profile picture on social networking website facebook! Unlike my photoshop sensibilities however, the Nasdaq doesn’t simply layer one filter across the entire canvas but meticulously makes seemingly brilliant production choices at every turn. At the thirty second mark after having kept the vocals reasonably dry, the Nasdaq reverbs the balls of the single word ‘sniff’. I don’t know why, he himself probably doesn’t even know why, but I’d wager there’s a strong instinctive element to the way the Nasbomber deals with his sound. It’s easy to dismiss the song’s content by virtue of a) the opening line and b) it kind of sounds tongue in cheek but please don’t do that bros, This iz srs. This is a song about the reasonably universal concept of sexual baggage entering into new relationships. Past partners, past behaviours, the physical parts. Every month of 2014 will see a new track from the Nasdino turning up on the internet as part of an agreement with Why Don’t You Believe Me? Records that stimpulates on delivery of all twelve songs that the Nasdaq children will be released unharmed. It seems extreme but since the Nasdicator has no proven track record of releasing music (his output limited to Mining Boom, The Ocean Party, Pencil, Velcro & Ciggie Witch) the good folk at the label needed some form of human collateral as a guarantor of content.
Bit of an interesting name is old SpaceManAntics. I mean it’s probably not as good as SpaceManAntiques, at least conceptually, but it still rolls off the tongue quite smoothly. SpaceManAntics, come on readership, say it with me. They’re fresh out of Freo (as in, fresh enough that their manager’s mobile phone number is freely available on their facebook) but it’s not stopping them from angling straight for an LP by February 1st. The debut song is called ‘A Man Is A Ghost Of Peter Pan’ which is probably insinuating that in growing up we die. That’s what I take from it anyway and my blog = my rules. Plenty of lovely delays and pedalled out guitar tones. It sounds like the spawn of Bearhug and an early Band of Horses and by my numbers that’s a two from two so now I’m rather keen to hear the record. I was mid-way through writing this when I came upon the bio on their Unearthed profile which is a far more entertaining read than any of my emotional livejournal spoutings here. Please see below.
The debut album Puraede’s Parade sees these sounds crafted and sculpted into a 10 track journey surrounding the tragic life of Bloomsbury Puraede-an extra terrestrial figure who is slightly more advanced and developed in his senses, skills and appearance than the average human. His home planet has began to devour itself in a global breakdown of society, partly caused by the corrupt prophet who lives amongst the waves of the sea. Bloomsbury flees to earth before the evil of his home planet consumes him. In a desperate attempt to survive he reveals himself to the world, but to his disappointment, is shocked at the extent to which his abilities are blown out of proportion. Soon enough the people of Earth consider him a God due to his evolved abilities and appearance, and Bloomsbury is forced to flee again before he is condemned for selfish negligence regarding his apparent ‘powers’. Once again Bloomsbury Puraede is alone, singing songs of corruption and close mindedness in search of a new home. Alls in all; come for the explosion party of kraut-glam-psych explorations and stay to fall in love with Bloomsbury and his cosmic adventure.
A new four track EP from the man whose real talk brought us #emotions and #feelings last May. This EP hones in on plenty on the satellite sounds he made use of in ‘Andromeda’ last time round. It’s all very sentimental and slow moving but in a warm, familiar way like dust motes in a sunbeam, slowly settling and if that imagery doesn’t make you want to get involved then nothing will.
WHAT EVEN IS MARKETING THESE DAYS? You know with the internet, kids have handphones and sneakers, hardly anybody wears a suit on the weekend sometimes I just want to lie down.
The thing with marketing is that everybody knows that you can’t build a good brand any more, that’s marketing 101 folks. Slogans are dead, pantone colour palates are useless, jingles have no place in modern society. “Where to from here though?” I can hear you asking through your computer screens (webcam is on, mate). Well, I know the answer.
WELCOME TO THE NEW MARKETEERING AND ENTER ‘THE MANDARIN CENTRE’.
At some point midway through 2013 the bikies running the Mandarin shopping centre in Chatswood grew tired of being an also-ran in a four way mall contest. I know how gangs work though, and those gangsters knew that they couldn’t just ‘change their name’ or ‘upgrade their facilities’ they had to take it to the next level, they had to create marketing 2.0.
Upper management decided that this new wave of marketing would probably need to involve an MC running through a near complete list of every possible merit the centre has to its name. Sure, its selection is dwarfed by the Westfield opposite and yes, Chatswood Chase down the road makes it look like a derelict public toilet but there’s something charming about the old Mando (+ free parking voucher with any purchase). While plenty of us jumped ship when Timezone shut down which was frankly, a bloody disgrace, the remaining stores have plenty to keep you interested, particularly Daiso which is a store where literally every item is $2.80. Do you have any idea what that means!? It means a packet of chips and a towel for $5.60. They don’t even have functional cash registers, they just use calculators to tally your price. What a place. I’m also 85% certain that the owners of cute soft-toy store ‘Morning Glory’ don’t actually know what they’re referencing with that name. What I can tell you is that their prices are as firm as their name, don’t even try haggling. Exclusive of store content I can say with surety that on the whole it’s still at least three times as inviting as the impenetrable mono-cultural fortress that is Lemon Grove up the boulevard.
Anyway, back to that MC mentioned earlier, he’s got game. The beat’s a little light on the lowend but Mandarin MC makes up for it with versatile lyricism and a strong aesthetic. It’s a song that probably coasts on the strength of its conceptual weight, the MC tapping on the touchstones that make the other MC a cultural and commercial epicenter.
I’ve popped it onto soundcloud if you’re that way inclined.