Archives for posts with tag: Eddy Current Suppression Ring

Mikey Young

With Melbourne recently going into full pandemic lockdown again I figured PopLib should be focusing on some Melbourne artists. There’s plenty PopLib has featured over the years. Most seem to be recorded and/or mastered by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring). So I had a look to see if he had any solo music on Bandcamp. Not sure what I was expecting but was pretty certain it would be some kind of guitar-based garage rock, not an album of synth instrumentals. It’s great, so here’s “Socks”:

Young is a keyboard and guitar player and Total Control are a kind of lo-fi-ish synth-punk band (in a kind of Gary Numan meets Swell Maps kind of way) so the synth pop vibe of his solo album isn’t too out of character.

There’s another solo Mikey Young release on Melbourne Label Hobbies Galore called “You Feelin’ Me?”, which is a bit more guitar-based and a grainy collection of lo-fi ambient instrumentals, kind of like an op shop Eno.

To find out more about Mikey Young and his recording and mastering approach there’s a highly entertaining Tape Op interview where you will find gems of wisdom like this:

“I always thought that if you can’t record the song well that you want to record in three goes, then you shouldn’t be recording the song. Especially for a kind of garage rock song. You don’t even want to get it perfect. It hardly gets any better after the third take.”

 

 

Tough Age on tour 2018Tough Age are from Toronto, Ontario in Canada, this song title is a reference to Melbourne, Australia band Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and bassist/vocalist Penny Clark sings “I want to be signed to Flying Nun” and “I’ve never been to New Zealand, but if you sign me I’ll go every week.” Are you confused yet?

Sure enough there’s a stereotype Flying Nun guitar jangling guitar strum energy going on here. However, on the evidence of the three tracks shared ahead of the release of the latest Tough Age album, there seems to be as much influence from US outfits The Feelies and Jonathon Richman & the Modern Lovers in that ramalama strumming, as well as the Australian band referenced in the title of this song.

Presumably the desire expressed in this song is to be signed to the mythical 1980s free-form version of the label. There’s no scruffy jangling guitar rock released on Flying Nun Records these days apart from the 80s album re-issues.

Still, this weird, confusing international link up does show how far the idea and influence of the label, or to be more accurate the idea and influence of The Clean, traveled and is still travelling. The best evidence of the influence of The Clean on Tough Age comes in this glorious standalone song “Waiting Here” released in January:

In 2014, not long before the New Musical Express (NME) withered from its physical form altogether, the UK music magazine ran a feature on Flying Nun Records called “Songs in the Kiwi of Life”  with the introduction: “Founded in the early 80’s, New Zealand’s greatest ever indie label Flying Nun Records created a magical roster of bands whose Dunedin Sound continues to exert an influence today…” 

The magazine wasn’t available in Dunedin so no-one could read what it was about. However, some local Dunedin musicians took their default opposition position on what they assumed would be an oldies yawnfest about decades old music regardless.

Sure, there was a bit of that of course in telling the story of the label, but the main angle of the feature observed the label and some of the music it released through the eyes and ears of young people creating music today, and featured UK and US musicians (from Parquet Courts, Veronica Falls etc.) explaining how the music had influenced them.

The young NME writer April Welsh already had some serious Flying Nun nerd credentials too, having previously published a fanzine tribute to the label (still available to read as an Issuu online edition here), further demonstrating the influence of that “magical roster” of Antipodean oddities on a new generation of music lovers.

So it shouldn’t really be a surprise that reverberations about the label as we hear from Toronto band Tough Age are still rippling around the musical world, and even getting conflated with Australian bands (perhaps) at the same time.

[Thanks to Bandcampsnoop for the Tough Age tip-off.]

Boomgates

Day 7 of the unofficial Australian Music Month takes us back to Bedroom Suck Records for Boomgates ‘Whispering or Singing’ from their ‘Double Natural’ album.

Boomgates draw together people from a variety of great Australian underground bands – Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s Brendan Huntley, Twerps Rick Milovanovic and Dick Diver’s Steph Hughes. They’ve also done a split 7″ with The Bats recently.

The album is a great rough thrash of guitars bass & drums part Velvet Underground, part The Clean, and part Feelies staccato-strum. The voices alternate between braying ‘strine (I mean that in a good way) and Steph’s more melodic singing. The contrast between the two is perfect here.

The album packs a naturalistic punch – a clean and real recording, with stories and laconic voices reflecting unpolished suburban Australia (Melbourne in the case of Boomgates), and echoes of early Paul Kelly as much as beloved Australian storytellers The Go-Betweens.

Boomgates – Whispering or Singing from Powers of Ten on Vimeo.