Bitumen – photo by Steve FuzzFarm
“Honey Hunter” is a thundering-great slab of hot-cold post-punk from Melbourne band Bitumen.
It’s one of 4 excellent tracks on a recent 4 song split cassette EP from Melbourne underground label Vacant Valley.
Thundering drums set the pace and volume, then a skirl of squealing guitar riffs and rumbling bass comes in and all hell is let loose. This is beautifully crafted post-punk – a hint of the ice-cold pummeling sound of Clan of Xymox and some Gothic touches reminiscent of Skeletal Family but Melbourne has been the home of this kind of industrial futuristic pop music for even longer than Germany or the UK. Top shelf sounds.
Listen to the rest of the EP here too – related entity No Sister are also worth your time. There’s a bit more information on both bands in this interview in This Is Not A Drill.
“As The Sun Goes Down” is the opening track from the debut album “Everything Fades to Blue” by Tasmania based EWAH and the Vision of Paradise. It’s a belter of an album – epic, cinematic and just a bit dark. Well worth a moment of your time to get lost in the desert at night “As The Sun Goes Down”.
But don’t stop there. Linger a while and take the whole trip here. The album is classic Australian alternative post-punk rock in the tradition of The Triffids, Roland S. Howard, or Spencer P. Jones. From the lush production, menacing tremolo guitar, shimmering New Wave synths and keyboards and thundering drums, to the storytelling in the lyrics, it’s all here.
Presenting this stylish ‘cinema-noir’ album is guitarist, vocalist and songwriter EWAH and her band The Vision of Paradise, a recent discovery from the fine Hobart underground music compilation album “Community 4” where their “Walk the Night” was a standout track.
For another perfect example, listen to the song the band takes its name from – “Vision of Paradise”. Over a majestic 7 and a half minutes the song builds from atmospheric mantra to a swelling tidal wave of keyboard, drums and guitar feedback before easing back again to fade to silence.
“All Summer Long” is another song which immediately conveys a sense of landscape, distance, and shimmering heat through its atmospheric wide-screen arrangement and lethargic pace.
These are just a couple of highlights. The album really deserves to be listened to as a whole piece, working together as a collection of thematically-linked stories mixing light and dark, affection and menace, beauty and beasts, triumph and disaster.
“Everything Fades to Blue” was released a few weeks ago on LP. I reckon it’s worth adding to your collection.
Free Time (NYC line-up)
More magic from favourite Australian label Bedroom Suck Records, now relocated from Brisbane to Brunswick, Melbourne, surely the hot-bed of Aussie independent music right now.
This time it’s a band called Free Time, operating between Melbourne and New York with a different line-up for each country. Anyway, here’s the bouncing guitar pop of “Among the Reeds” to set you on the path of discovery.
Free Time is/are the band/s of Dion Nania. The self-titled first album by Free Time was recorded in New York in 2013 with Free Time’s US line-up. Now the second album “In Search of Free Time” has been recorded by the Australian line-up in Melbourne. Fair enough.
Joining Nania as Free Time in Australia, and on this album, is Martin Frawley (Twerps), Zachary Schneider (Totally Mild) and Joe Alexander (Terrible Truths).
As you can tell from this first song from the album, it contains a familiar Australian gallop, evoking memories of classic Aussie guitar pop through the ages while also offering a giddy combination of some element of the sound of all the bands above, even down to Joe Alexander’s restless rhythmic tumbling drumming.
The album is varied and repays repeated listening. There’s a bit of everything, from rambunctious loose-limbed eager strums to the reflective and delicate weaving of lead guitar and rhythm guitar. Worthwhile seeking out the LP version.
Free Time (Melbourne version)
After a month of NZ music it’s time to venture across the Tasman Sea to Australia where Terrible Truths are “Uptight”.
Terrible Truths are a favourite from the well-stocked cupboard of brilliant leftfield Australian music known as Bedroom Suck Records.
Their self-titled debut album is an absolute blinder of fidgety and melodic post-punk built entirely around the interplay between lead guitar, bass and drums, plus call-and-response vocals.
There’s something gloriously wild and ebullient about it all. These qualities are illustrated perfectly on “Uptight” which now has a video for added excellence.
Terrible Truths’ debut has just been repressed in a special 2nd pressing limited edition on gold vinyl with a limited edition bonus 7″ EP. Go on… you know you want to.
Day 6 of NZ Music Month is Average Rap Band‘s melancholy truth about making music.
Average Rap Band are Tom Scott and Lui Tuiasau formerly of @Peace and Home Brew. They’ve relocated to Melbourne now and their album “El Sol” was released on cassette in March. It’s all nicely cheesy-smooooth 80’s synth and a lot of self-deprecating, on-point existenial raps about harsh twenty tens reality.
Lui: “This is a new group. It has nothing to do with @Peace or Home Brew. They’re different groups. But two of the dudes from @peace are in Average Rap Band. The skinny white dude. And the fat dread lock dude. That make sense?”
Read more from their interview on Jen Loves Hip Hop here.
No idea how I missed hearing Terrible Truths‘ wonderful self-titled album released late last year. Here’s “See Straight” from it.
This song – and the rest of the album – is excellent. Taut, brisk, angular post-punk, propelled by muscular bass and busy drums, with the guitar darting around spraying lead melodies and lashings of chorus effects and/or reverb around the place.
Their post-punk is generally played more straight rock than the brutalist neo-funk of the likes of Bush Tetras, Delta 5 and Mo-Dettes but there’s something of the angular rhythmic precision and spikiness of those bands in Terrible Truths’ sound and in the vocal interplay.
But forget the distant past, there’s also a more recent parallel in Australian music, with the phenomenal Bushwalking distant cousins to this sound (their album “No Enter” another release to check if you like what Terrible Truths have to offer).
Terrible Truths are now based in Melbourne, drawn there from South Australia mostly. Guitarist Rani Rose and bassist Stacey Wilson share vocals and Joe is the drummer – originally from Brisbane, and, I’m guessing, possibly one of the people behind the phenomenal Bedroom Suck Records (recently relocated the Melbourne from suburban Brisbane) who released Terrible Truths’ debut on LP/ CD.
Here’s the video for “See Straight” –
More bloody Australian guitar-pop brilliance I’m afraid. As if my record collection isn’t already bursting with enough recent albums from across the ditch, here’s another trio – Loose Tooth – with an upcoming 8 track mini-album working it’s way onto my can’t-live-without-this list.
This is probably the least Australian-sounding Australian thing I’ve heard recently. That ‘slacker’ style people assume is the 2010s “Australian Sound” is a terrible cliche anyway, but Loose Tooth just don’t fit it or anything else you’d think of as quintessentially Australian right now.
The shouty-in-a-good-way vocals displayed in the two pre-release songs streaming here and stratospheric backing vocals just ooze too much in-your-face garage-rock punk attitude and ensure these songs don’t form a background noise but take on more of a rallying call.
If I’d heard this without knowing it’s origins I’d assume it originated somewhere in the UK, probably Scotland. But Loose Tooth are from Melbourne and this is being released on the fab independent Milk! Records. Loose Tooth are childhood friends Etta Curry on drums/vocals and Nellie Jackson on guitar/vocals along with Luc Dawson on bass/ vocals.
Sure there’s a familiar kind of Velvet Underground via The Clean fuzzy chug going on here with an echo of The Shop Assistants and also the reverb-slicked ramalama of Thee Oh Sees. But the bass and vocals also give it a strong post-punk flavour. Or even the kind of art-school pre-post-punk Eno pioneered circa “Here Come the Warm Jets” maybe.
“Everything Changes” is brilliant, quite perfect, and although the component parts contain familiar elements, they are assembled in fresh, exciting and sometimes spectacular ways – like the over-the-top chorus backing vocals which are just crazy wonderful.
Give “Everything Changes” and the equally glorious “Will You” a listen and pre-order a download. Or, if you can bear the cost of the international postage, pre-order yourself one of the 200 copies of the 8-track mini-album “Saturn Returns.” Very tempting indeed.