The festival issued a kind of apology for cultural appropriation, but is it enough?
I also wrote about this festival on Phillip Island which, contrary to Canada’s Bass Coast festival banning Native American headdresses, uses all that and more to market the show. The VIP camp site is called “Chief Camp” fer cryin’ out loud. You couldn’t get more blatant. They “apologised” with the classic “Sorry you were offended” method. Bad looks all around.
About a month ago I ran into Mikey Young from Total Control and Eddy Current Suppression Ring at the Copacabana on Smith Street. Still got the poster. He was DJing. Dick Diver were playing. So was Handsome Steve’s Steve Miller Band. The Bloody Marys were six bucks. They were shit. I’d been out for the past four days. The night before I keeled over outside the Public Bar ‘cos my insides were turning on me. I didn’t puke, just felt like I’d got a stick between the ribs. It was a good weekend for an arvo gig at the Copa, though. But I wasn’t in the best shape to run into Mikey Young.
I’d been thinking about writing a story on Mikey Young ‘cos everyone had been talking about Total Control being over but it didn’t seem real clear. When I saw him at the Copacabana and asked if he’d do an interview I only had the question of the band’s continued existence in mind, but then when he agreed I thought I’d ask him about his life story instead.
Maybe it doesn’t matter what hospital someone was born at but I like reading about it anyway. Knowing Eddy Current were from the same area as me made me appreciate them more. That video up there was filmed practically just down the road from my house. Those beach houses seem kinda iconic. Knowing that thoughtful, vital artists can come outta this kinda shitty town and do something incredible, instead of having to move to a sharehouse in Fitzroy first, is encouraging. I guess that’s how kids in Geelong feel, too.
There are a lotta reasons I respect Mikey, but I guess they all come back to the fact that he seems to have distanced himself from the spectacle without pretense. I feel like what he’s doing is probably the right way to do things.
I reckon this is the best thing I’ll write this year.
Someone sent us a floppy disc in the mail in 2014. #floppydisc #thefuture
this is the most vaporwave thing we’ve received so far
—Ancient Australian Worship Song
This Song was not heard for almost a hundred years until a team of remodelers found a music sheet stuck under the paneling of a wall in one of Australia’s oldest churches, it is now being released for the first time since 1914. Listen to the sound of a choir of over 300 people attempt to capture this beautiful song one last time.
it’s inspiring to hear this piece of my culture :)
O’Connor frequently nods backwards in time, but he’s also part of a contemporary moment in Australian music. Fellow Chapter acts like polymath Darren Sylvester and leather-daddies Standish/Carlyon, as well as recent Remote Control signees Client Liaison, are all gauzy embodiments of arch seduction, turbo-capitalist production, and indulgence. In the New Australian New Wave, corporate culture is mined for aesthetic value, yuppies are the new hipsters, and nihilism has been usurped by the possibility offered by wealth.
I figured it’s about time I put something out there as a positive counter to some of the bizarre negativity about Perfect Pussy and to explain why, for me at least, four tracks or four hundred doesn’t make any difference and there are worse things to be called than “naive.”
A few months ago I was whinging to my editor Marcus that I didn’t wanna end up like one of those guys everyone thinks of as some hates-everything acerbic dick. I’d submitted a particularly withering edition of my column and somehow we’d gotten onto the topic of the stereotype of music critic as inflammatory naysayer and I told him I didn’t want people to think of me that way, even though there were plenty of people who already did, and probably still do. He laughed, of course, ‘cos I wasn’t doing a real good job of demonstrating that, but I meant it. It’s a call often lobbed at Everett. I remember one exchange he had on twitter with some geek who said “Do you like anything?” to which he lobbed right back: “I like everything. That’s the problem,” and I thought that was a neat bit of wit. But I never wanted to deal with that accusation, ‘cos short of “Yeah but you hate female-led pop groups,” “Yeah but you hate everything” is some hard tar from which to un-brush oneself. It doesn’t pay - certainly in the literal though I mean the spiritual and emotional senses - to be destructive. It’s a hell of a lot better, if more difficult, to be constructive. So every week I open a bunch of Bandcamps and Soundclouds and random mp3 blog links and I set out to find the good in some of the first recordings in mostly nascent bands.
Sometimes, I don’t gotta look that hard.
Perfect Pussy’s four-track i have lost all desire for feeling is spectacular and addictive and explosive and raw, raw as the deepest nerve scathed by the self-destruction on the warpath towards oneself. Nick O’Byrne said to me the other day he reckons they would’ve sounded better at the Pitchfork showcase on a worse PA system. No no no, Nick, you see things like this, you need the highest-end choicest shit possible. The noise is already there, you need something that’ll bring out the melodies, that sugar rush ecstasy that’d have me running back to Melt-Banana for another hit if I could ween myself off this. I can’t, I’ve given up hope, I never really tried in the first place. It’s taken over and I just let it. I wake up in the morning actually jonesing for it. Often it’s “I” but it changes. This morning it was “III”. My friends have begun to notice and it’s starting to become a problem. I’ve started making up excuses not to leave the house so I can stay in and listen to this on the stereo. I’m not fucking with you. I am fucking with you, I take it out with me, but nobody wants to sit next to me on the train when all they can hear is the KRAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
But what’s so confounding not to mention downright vexing is how objectionable some people find them for seemingly no greater sin than daring to express obvious sentiment, the kinda boldfaced childlike ebullience and ruin and apocalyptic emotion - rapture - that’ll get you dismissed as juvenile. Well I’d rather be juvenile than jaded. Give me obvious sentiment over unfeelingness any goddamn minute. And I know the thing’s called i have lost all desire for feeling and Meredith Graves even screams “I have lost all feeling” on “II” but that’s disingenuous, innit? Just listen to the songs. It’s nothing but feeling. It’s so full of feeling, full of despair and frustration, distortion-veiled angst and gelignite fury at the very inability to escape feeling which fuels the whole EP.
Oh sure, make fun of Graves for crying at Caravaggio. Make fun of anyone who’s ever shed a tear at the expression of feeling, and anyone who’s ever been moved by another human’s attempt to capture and then invoke something so essential. Make fun of me for getting suckered by this record. Get it over with because I don’t wanna have anything to do with any fuck so sadistic they can’t even see that their invincibility came at the cost of their most visceral senses, the defeat of the mechanical mind over the pulsing heart. I’d rather be a baby to the world than a carapace without its insides, a rattling husk occupied by nothing but cynicism.
"Listen to this band, listen to that, they’ve done it a million times better." NO! I’ll scream real petulant, ‘cos I’ve got this band, right now, these four tracks, and then I’ll have the new tracks whenever they’re out, and maybe I won’t like ‘em as much and they’ll ruin everything and I’ll resent the band and I’ll resent that anything ever has to change but that doesn’t matter, do you get it? ‘cos right now I have these songs and this band, and more than any other band I’ve ever heard, right now for 13 minutes, they’re the greatest band in the world, in history, and later I won’t feel that way BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER because right now it feels like this is all there is, these 13 minutes and the 13 minutes after that, and I’ve only had this EP in my life for maybe a couple of months and it could all be over tomorrow but in which case why not love hard and fast and bold today while we’re still here, still wrapped in these 13 minutes? Why not bleed and cry and immerse ourselves in each other, in our friends and our families and the world outside and this fucking EP right now as if there’s never going to be another 13 minutes just like this? WHY NOT GIVE IT EVERYTHING? WHY NOT RISK LIFE AND FACE HEARTBREAK? Why not live as if we’ll never be born again? Why not embrace feeling, the most obvious sentiment, the heart-cloistered truths brought to the surface through squalling screeching distortion, as if we might be denied the chance to ever feel again?
And I would rather write this juvenile personal screed, this kinetic ball of light, than attempt to convey with analysis and distance why this band means so much to me, because to love it this much is to live within it and when I listen to i have lost all desire for feeling there is no difference between the pounding of the drums and the pounding of my own blood, like I’d rather kiss you than explain why I want to first, and for that you can call me a child - but better a child with constant wonder than an adult with naught but suspicion.
I confess: sometimes I lose all desire for feeling too. Participating in this world is the greatest challenge and I’ve known a couple people who were overcome by it and had to tap out and sure every now and then a series of unfortunate events might inspire thinking towards the same, at which point I wonder if it’d be better to never feel at all. There is no experience more grotesque and oppressive as feeling. But in its duality, no experience more invigorating. That’s why I embrace obvious sentiment. Anything that’s right there reaching out for me to grab and with which I can haul myself through the cracks in the pavement out into the light, I’ll grab it. I don’t wanna die thinking I was above it all, squatting in the muck with my smug self-satisfaction. I don’t ever wanna deny the chance to feel, ‘cos to feel is to be alive, and that’s an obvious sentiment in itself made no less true by its obviousness. I’ll take the dark and complex, the nuanced and the subtle and I’ll embrace those too but never at the expense of unadulterated feeling whether it’s horror or beauty. Give me everything grotesque and oppressive and I’ll challenge it with kindness. There’s nothing more noble to my mind than opening one’s arms to the possibility of immolation versus ascension. Perfect Pussy might be a baby band with a lean discography but for as long as I can keep basking in these four tracks, well shit, I’ve never felt such a strong desire to live my life. And in the joyous light of that, all criticism seems trivial by comparison.
tbh this is probably the best thing i’ve ever written
The Apple proposition is a 1960s futurist-zen minimalist throwback, lifted from Nordic designers like Panton and Saarinen, whose functionalism was influenced by movements like De Stijl and the Bauhaus.
While modernism proposed ways of dealing with the cataclysmic upheaval brought on by industrialism, Apple’s proposition is the Western capitalist commercial: freedom, ease, and cool control of one’s environment.
We’re encouraged to lose our possessions. Music? Store it on the iCloud. Books? Store it on the iCloud. Movies, magazines, newspapers, TV — all are safely stored in the ether and not underfoot or stuffed in a closet. It’s a modernist monastery where the religion is Apple itself.
Meanwhile, those who have hung onto possessions are castigated, jeered at, and painted as fools.
The hit A&E TV show Hoarders identifies people with things as socially malignant, grotesque, primitive, dirty, bizarre. In a word: poor. Apple has turned the world upside down in making possessions a symbol of poverty and having nothing a signifier of wealth and power.
Honestly haven’t thought too hard about this piece as an argument, whether he’s on to a truth, but it’s a very fun read nonetheless.
Ian Ian Ian.
I think it’s important to take Ian Svenonius’s political commentary (and I say this as a real fan) with a grain of salt; it’s more conspiratorial and paranoid and provocative than rigorous. But it’s also valuable to examine it to uncover what in particular is untruth and exaggeration. Once you swing towards his extreme, try to swing back, and you can find yourself in an interesting place if you land closer to his edge of the sandpit.
It was not creepy or weird.
I went to Australia’s first Cat Cafe AND IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
Reprinting this thing I wrote about Rayon Moon in last week’s New Oz Music.
Around the time I was talking to a crowd at The Toff on Wednesday night about how music writers should always disclaim their personal relationships with bands, Rayon Moon, a band I’ve so gratefully come to know personally, were playing their final show across town. I first saw Rayon Moon at the Workers Club with ScotDrakula. That show changed everything for me.
I nearly didn’t make it to that show in March 2012. I was shuddering ill, but I’d put off seeing ScotDrakula for too long. At the time I didn’t think too highly of the ol’ Australian music; most of what’d been exposed I saw as shallow parody of better overseas bands, and I’d never had a moment of personal discovery with a band, except for Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders, maybe, that’d done much to change that. That show, though…
This crow-haired dervish screaming and excoriating himself on stage; this cheeky sailor chap smirking behind his drumkit. Gene Ulmer and Aye Lips, they were. Obviously pseudonyms but thoughtfully chosen for a band so steeped in a particular aesthetic. For as often as I’ve been in Ulmer’s gleaming hulk of a car vibrating to The Stooges or Richard Hell, or bouncing around to their covers of The Ramones or Bauhaus or Cramps-borrowed riffs, they pointed me to artists like Curtis Mayfield or James Chance. The through-line is perfectly clear: whatever makes you move is in, whatever leaves you cold is out.
And my lactic calves’ll have to forgive me, for boy did Rayon Moon make me wanna move. I’ve been coming back to something ScotDrakula’s Matt Neumann said to me a while ago when I asked him about dancing on stage: when the folks with the instruments move around, it gives the crowd permission to move around as well. Rayon Moon were one of the most permissive bands going. Not just onstage but off, too. They always eked out a space for themselves in the room, wrigglin’ and shufflin’ in sync, a performance of their own refined over hundreds of nights. Plenty of times it was more fun to watch than the band playing.
But the music, too! Spooky and psychedelic, infectiously rhythmic, sardonic, witty, and absurd. Too often they got lumped in with surf-punks and garage-rockers, and to be sure they had some of that, but what a reduction! ‘Ghostride The Whip Bareback’ is a surreal story of kidnapping and ‘Man Eating Mummy’ howls and shrieks of curses and mythology, while ‘Dennis’ lashes out at an escaped ex and ‘Greensborough Plaza’ savages smalltown conservativism. ‘It’s Not Too Bad’ sounds like a b-movie trailer, ‘The Phil Spector Wig Appreciation Society’ waxes on the concept of legacy, and the yet-unrecorded ‘Little Baby Boyfriend’ - brought to the band by recent member Annaliese Replica and developed into a new favourite - riffs on being hot for short guys. They were way too weird to fit in with most but rarely got credit for it. I remember going to a job I hated every morning a couple years ago, wearing my black and studs on the tram, listening to the Badlands/It’s Not Too Bad cassette, feeling too tough to touch.
Believe that I wouldn’t be writing this column without that show. And maybe you’re in your comfy chair thinking “Get the fuck on with the music criticism, dude. Nobody gives a fuck about you!” although I’d have to imagine you do at least a little bit, given this column’s established tendency towards the putridly diaristic. Yeah, I knew Rayon Moon. I’m the most biased Rayon Moon critic around, but no feckless fanboy; they’ve put out unexceptional tracks to be certain, although after a lot of thought I can’t say they’ve ever put out one I haven’t, on some level, liked. But besides their personal affability, it was that alchemy of pop and pulp that drew me to ‘em, both in the first place, and again and again over the past few years.
I still have the poster from that Workers Club show. The setlist, too. I’ll miss Rayon Moon, even as they move on to other projects. I owe them a lot. Thank you, Rayon Moon, for all the songs and all the shows. Thank you for teaching me how to move.