Prep your thickest goggles and don your protective visors because you’re in the presence of an intemperate face melter. Sydney’s Party Dozen may have just become my new favourite band and one of the first domestic records of 2016 to knock me flat on my ass without the sense of decency to offer a pillowed landing. At least I had the fortune of starting with ‘The Living Man’ (the first song from this Party Dozen two-tracker). It gave me time to incrementally aclimmatize myself to the palette of sound that Jonathan Boulet and Kirsty Tickle utilised here. Waves of guitar-sounding-synth or synth-sounding-guitar roll against cleverly dynamic drum parts and wild sax improvisation. By the end of the track the synth sounds have established themselves as guitars and don’t you feel like an absolute burke for ever confusing the two. But this is the start of our journey friends, this is where it begins. Now you’re entering the ‘Wide World’, a thundering bison of a track that threatens to trample you at its commencement then uhhhh… well then it tramples you, true to it’s omens. More distorted saxophone that’s also shed any clear sense of identity which I’ve realised is something of a production trope on these tracks. The two of them have taken traditional instruments and bent their sounds into new angles so that it’s never quite clear what’s what. Anywho, listen in order and then it’s of paramount importance that you text me with your opinions on this track. Hit me with your most informed cool thought, drop it square in my text-centre, share with me all the clever things you thought up in your cubical you worthless swine. Hell, these records gone and got me all jazzed up now, I better go.
‘Glow’ seems an appropriate title for a song that’s filled with synth noises and programmed beeps that seem to bloom with life and pulse rythmically across the song’s few minutes. Each signal rises from the flattened plane in slow gradient, pulling upward and then smoothing downward, not unlike (and I’m stretching here, but bear with me) the curvature of braille itself. Small undulations across a level surface that each hold meaning should you be willing to invest some time in the medium. Sheets of ambient sound are the bed from which the vocals and blips swell from and they’re sometimes solid, sometimes quavering with uncertainty. It’s a great a first step forward from Melbourne label Spirit Level who relaunched last week with news of Braille Face’s signing.
Bonus fact for my regular readers (if this is your first time here please look away, this is a members only fact): Urban dictionary taught me that braille face is someone with an intense pimple population and I for one am going to wield this term like a claymore going forward.
Trigger warning, if you are a person who is prone to #feelingthings then this song isn’t for you. Or maybe it is for you, I guess it depends on how open you are to the idea of weeping into your pillow tonight. ‘Maths and Engineering’ is lifted from an [as yet untitled] upcoming record soon to be released by Brisbane duo ROI. Barnaby Gickel and Matt Schrader have played intermittently with various Brisbane projects but under the moniker ROI they’re releasing a series of songs featuring a range of guest vocalists. There doesn’t seem to be any intention to leverage the brand of any of these vocalists because damned if I can find any reference to who is singing on this track. The vocal reminds me a little of Rohin from the Middle East and a lot of Grand Salvo but the underlying lyricism of the thing is the cincher. There’s very little subtext, just a plainly-spoken narrative that takes you on a journey through a suburbia that could be any of Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney if he didn’t explicitly mention Birdee Num Nums and the Brisbane River. The cues used to establish the setting all stick perfectly in my nostalgic longing for simpler school years- that friend who was the first to have internet at home, inter-school athletics carnivals, the significance of a friend at school being an adopted child. Simple emotional reference points that weren’t battered by the constant onslaught to bring your life forward, to have things and to be things. I won’t speak to the story that weaves through these settings because it’s best received direct but I’ll say that it definitely put me back in my seat for a few minutes. Fingers crossed there’re more tracks as siginificant as this on the album because this is a very special record.
Streaming this one direct from Triple J Unearthed – shoutouts to the good people over there championing records like this one.
In October last year I bought an incredible cassette by an artist called Oliver White. It wasn’t an arbitrarily selected release as I came pre-loaded with a love of the delivering record label Healthy Tapes and of Swimming. This is to say, the Adelaide three piece band Swimming, not the aquatic activity. My love of watersports had absolutely no bearing on this purchase. I’d been living in Melbourne for around six months by this stage and the Great Ocean Road was an infrequent part of my lifestyle but nonetheless something that I’d participated in a few times. So with the full admission that I’m no Great Ocean Road deep alumni, I’d like to assert that this song captured the movement of its gentle curves, the salty smell of navigation by retracted window and the warm but crispy air of a Melbourne Spring. The whole EP feels just as momentary so I highly recommend your purchase of the digital record though sadly you’ve missed the boat on the physical edition. Before she was Oliver White, Angela Schilling’s work as part of the earlier mentioned Swimming was a source of much celebration here at Sound Doctrine Dot Website Dot Com. There’s a wonderful remix EP worth checking out and an entire hot damned LP so start here and then work your way backward.
This is a record I’m going to have to see live in the next few months because there’s a raw intensity to it normally reserved for guitar bands and my mate Aaron whose presence at any party is quite frankly unbearable and who despite constant reminders never remembers to bring his iphone charger with him and lives perpetually out of battery. NO YOU CAN’T USE MY PHONE AARON. The breaks on this record make for an industrial strength punch in the ear zones akin to an old favourite of mine called Phobiac who dropped an incredible EP in 2012 and then disappeared (reminder, email Phobiac). After A/Bing the two I’ve come to the realisation that it’s not crazy that a drum break would sound like a drum recording so there’s another Sound Doctrine exclusive. This is certainly a nice palette cleanser to the chill electronic music that I’m forever swimming in and might be the sort of thing that’s going to break through because after all, we’re all getting a little tired of listening to pretty, gentle electronic beats with a nice crooning vocal over the top of them. Those chill records are kind of like my friend Aaron though aren’t they, they don’t really have teeth. With Aaron it was an elective surgical decision but with the ol’ chilltronics, it’s really in the blood isn’t it. Anywho, this one has some teeth and there’s seemingly a big voice behind them which is also part of why I’d like to see it in its most live format. It’s a little buried in the mix but it’s in therrrreeeee. Get around it, there’s an EP coming I think.