Not every band is either revolutionary or expendable, innovators or imitators, and I’ll bring this back to relevancy now by saying that for all the vague associations you can make for ScotDrakula, their particular formula - whatever it is, and I hope they stick around long enough for me to keep trying to figure it out - is worth watching in action at least three times. I can’t promise that their lyrics will lead to introspective revelation (though “Don’t Do Anything Stupid” is a bloody good song about depression) but I’ve never felt less burdened by the Sisyphusean task of existence as when I’m bouncing and shouting along to “Shake ya Bones!” (“Hopefully next time we see you we’ll have a new album,” sez Neumann on Facebook after the show.) They’re also really funny, if you’re into that. I believe in precious few things: racial and sexual equality; the promise of space travel; the therapeutic effect of a well-made cheese sandwich. Modest convictions, maybe, but I also believe in ScotDrakula.
The name belies an aggressive, acerbic exterior which makes them sound anything but, not least because the guitarist among the trio has a penis. Serving up the bile is lead vocalist Amy Wilson, whose syllabic delivery punctuates every word like a knife wound. The second thing to note about Old Life is how it sounds. The entire record is pervaded by a low, rumbling drone, immediately filling any gaps of silence, running beneath the cavernous noise and persisting past its end, and the effect is that Wilson sounds like she’s shouting into the void of an underground steel mill. What exactly she’s shouting about is so burdened with doom and gloom it seems liable to consume her. “Amends”, ostensibly a song about making, y’know, amends, semi-pleads “Let’s make amends / Before we die,” that second-line caveat being the sort of macabre end-in-sight perspective which coats every sentiment on the record. Wilson also sings “I hope you’re travelling / well,” but the pregnant pause before the last word feeds it back into the line so it sounds more like “Well, I hope you’re travelling.” Because if we’re not gonna make amends then you might as well do us the favour of fucking off.
Keith! Party look like the cast of Play School on poppers and sound like Hunx & his Punx & Daphne & Celeste. Keith! Party are as camp as they are anarchic, apparently letting anyone from their extended circle of freaks participate in the stage show. 2SHEE, the one female MC, bears a striking resemblance to a shorter-haired Grimes with more glamour. Still kinda crusty but, y’know, she had a costume change mid-song. Keith! Party are the most compelling argument in favour of live music that I’ve seen since the Parking Lot Experiments last year, literally bouncing off the walls and the roof, rapping about potatoes and cheetahs and shakin’ yr ass. It’s entirely liberating when a band genuinely doesn’t give a fuck about anything except having the most uninhibited experience possible - even better when they look like their wardrobe was styled by Andrew WK and Fisher Price. I’m pretty sure we were all waiting for the moment when front-KP Talkshow Boy would get his dick out. (It never happens.)
This video speaks for itself.
Rachel Haircut came to me via Chris Ott, whose preternatural awareness of Australian acts as an American had me wondering before I knew him if he was actually a fellow countryman, and have since found their way into my morning rotation. Helps that whichever one of them runs the Twitter is a funny bastard.
Now there’s a working musician.
Of the talent-stacked opening acts at the Super Wild Horses album launch a few weeks ago, the debut performance of one band caught the eye – and for good reason. Boomgates – made up of members of Dick Diver, Trial Kennedy, Teen Archer, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and The Twerps – could be as close to a bona fide Melbourne indie supergroup as you’re likely to find [ed. poor Ooga Boogas]. Regardless, there was something definitely special in Boomgates’ loose, infectious and imperfect set that night. This two-track single is the band’s debut recording, and like their solitary live appearance, it captures the early stages of a scrappy pop band enjoying themselves. The distinct broad vocals of Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s Brendan Huntley opens ‘Bright Idea’. His trademark, clipped delivery talks of “artificial intelligence” before Dick Diver’s Steph Hughes comes in with some sweet “whoa woo” harmonies.
Hurtsville was the most egregiously slept-on Australian release of 2011. Unfortunately the facts that a) his real name is Tim Rogers and b) he sounds like Nick Cave were such tantalising ledes that nobody really paid much attention to his music.
I first met Yeo a few months ago at a show he was playing with Staffan from Francolin, where Sophie introduced me to him as a music critic, evoking an “Oh, shit” which I found pretty amusing. He played an eight song set including “My Greatest Fear” (track 7) which happened to capture so well a situation I was in at the time being in love with a friend, inspiring one of those “I have to text her right now and tell her how I feel” moments, although wisdom won out over heart and left the phone where it was. I saw him again a couple weeks later playing with Luke Brennan at The Evelyn where Al and I raved during and between songs about the dude’s talent, going from acoustic ballads to synth pop like it was nothing and producing everything himself. A couple weeks ago I saw him again at the Carlton Club playing his new stuff live for the first time, some of which appears here.
“The Middle” and “Let’s Stay Together” contain tropical influences, featuring xylophones and tambourines, which don’t feel at all out of place and encourage the party atmosphere. But it’s “When I get to Heaven” that shines, heavily reminiscent of old jazz music traditions. It’s got a swinging beat, jovial lyrics in a Sinatra-esque style, and indulges a fantastic trumpet solo. A brilliantly executed package, as is every track of the album. With no offence to other local acts, this is a highly polished effort from the Melbourne boys, and should easily find an international audience amongst the likes of Beach House fans. It might be described as a weird amalgamation of styles, but Francolin have obviously spent a long time nailing down a unique sound that works, so trust them.
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- howtolistentomusic said: You forgot Savage Garden
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- monsterpussy said: rachel haircut! my boiz!
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