Lucky Dip #1: The Spaced, Cannon, Bunyip Moon
Here at M+N' HQ we receive more records in a week than the Australian recording industry will shift in an entire year. Only a select few will make it through our rigorous selection process which takes into account PR company harassment, the #zeitgeist, geography (Melbourne and Sydney mostly; Brisbane occasionally) and a production credit from Owen Penglis/Burke Reid/Mikey Young.
“But surely there’s some gold left on the cutting-room floor,” we hear you ask. To test this theory we sent MAX EASTON an indiscriminate pile of records by artists we (and by extension you) have never heard of. Think of this as the digital “Unearthed” radio to your relatively homogenous triple j.
Put Your Thoughts on Remote Control
The thing I was looking forward to more than anything from this series was to hate on a whole bunch of shit. Tear some new arseholes, slit a few foreskins, that kind of thing. When I flicked through the random pile of CDs my editor posted to me, this album was the stand-out. This was the one that was going to make this whole fucking article. I mean, it has a press release that begins with “hello rock reviewer”. (Hey man.) Its catalogue number is WR001 as if this release was the beginning of a new frontier of middle-aged dudes playing psych-rock from the front room of the Sydney sharehouse of one of the unmarried members, sneaking a couple of tabs of acid past the rest of the guys’ wives. Real rock‘n’roll mythology kind of stuff.
Then, with a chortle at the album cover that features a collage of the band standing alongside anyone from Karl Stefanovic to Dr Phil, I played it, walked around my room, folded some clothes, and then realised that somehow, in that last 20 minutes I wasn’t even listening to one of the records from the mockery pile, but was actually enjoying it. Yeah, this is a very influenced record; take any number of names from psych’s inflated history and you can make your comparisons from there, but this is done from a perspective no less tainted than a Pond or Tame Impala. If anything, it feels more true to the backlogs than those bastard kids from Perth. It’s not exactly rush-of-blood-to-the-dick exciting, but I was lost in it for a little while and man, I really wanted to hate it. Rating: 6.3 mortgages out of 10
Cannon: you had me at chick with three boobs. Considering our mutual love for breasts, Cannon didn’t exactly have to try very hard to impress me. As it turns out, they didn’t try at all. It’s sloppy like an underdone turkey. The kind of meal you get served up at a panicked birthday lunch where everyone groans when they pry apart a wing to reveal bloodened bits of half-cooked flesh. Eliciting comments like: “Yeah mum, I’ll eat it, but you could have done so much more with this poor dead bird and thanks for the diarrhea.” It’s probably too hot in Brisbane to eat roast turkey anyway. Apparently they’ve done alright on community radio up there – as it should, as there’s some really fun tracks on this record. Their own description of the album is “17 motivational-garage tracks about living the high life in Brisbane,” which sounds awesome, but I couldn’t pick up any references to drinking XXXX in the Valley before stumbling to a dollar peep show for a quick wank. Actually, that’s probably not too bad a description of Cannons’ brand of half-figured punk - a slightly guilty drunken toss in a humid cubicle near the busiest part of town. I’ve certainly done and heard worse things in my time. Rating: 6 points for not trying
So I’m fishing through the pile and I open up this CD and the little centre bit in the middle of the case has crumbled into bits and spread small, angular bits of plastic all over my bedroom floor. It’s late at night and I just polished off half a bottle of Jameson’s, so of course I don’t pick them up and of course I wake up the next morning and grind them into the bed of my foot and I’m just morning-grumpy enough to flip out. So I scrape through the pile in an irrational rage to find the culprit and inwardly scream FUCKING KATE BIRCHALL and then realise her name is Claire and then I listen to it and I’m so fucking angry that I don’t even get past the first song, which is kind of nice actually and seems like something I’d really like if I was a sullen 14-year-old. So maybe I’d give this another shot if I didn’t have 10 of these fucking albums to get through. Rating: -0.3 polyethylene units out of 5
Ian Kippax Matthews
Transported: New Australian Folk
I think I’ve heard this guy before. I was in [name a wine region or something] near a fireplace as a kid with [name a member of the family who is boring] and we were eating [name a fancy meal] and I didn’t want to be there. I just wanted to go home and kick a footy against a big brick wall for an hour, but I had to be polite at a table while this guy sang off to the side at some stupid inn, or tavern, or whatever you call pubs you don’t want to be at when you’re 12. Then 15 years later I had to review his record. I got really confused at first because the words “New Australian Folk”, “Transported” and “Ian Kippax Matthews” are all given equal prominence on the album cover. I’m glad I worked it out, because Ian Kippax Matthews would be a really weird name for an album. Rating: 24%/10
The Broken Needles: Terra Nullius
I really like what I initially thought the Broken Needles were trying to do on this record. There’s a moment early on where you’re going, “Ooh, yes, big fields of guitars and plodding percussion and some words about something Australian”, but then it goes all feathery and nice and it wasn’t what I wanted from it. I suppose I could have been listening to The Drones instead. Hey, how good are the Drones!? Rating: 4.6 Gareth Liddiards out of Mike Noga
Remember before how I got angry at Katy Birchman for hurting my foot? Well Brazillionaires are even worse. They almost broke my stereo. Their CD is so shoddily made that it has this weird manufacturing fault around the rim that made my stereo refuse to take it. So, being a patient man, I crammed it in until it fucking well took it. Then it wouldn’t come back out again for a while, which made me very fucking angry because I love that stereo and I don’t know who Brazillionaires are. So, to be fair, I was going to hate Brazillionaires anyway, but then I listened to it and I can say that I hate them not just for almost breaking my stereo, but for writing lines like, “We can be so spunky, we can spank your monkey, oh.” It’s supposed to be some commentary on popular culture according to the CD booklet (which, incidentally, smells like an AFX set.) As much as I don’t like the album or the band or the CD case though, I do have to agree with the part of the press release that says, “There’s a cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘I’m Sticking With You.’” Rating: 0.5 warranty cards out of 6
The Bunyip Moon
Clever move putting your CD in a DVD-sized case, Bunyip Moon. Very clever move. Trust the laws of physics to make your album more likely to get pulled out of the pile full of mostly square-shaped albums. Good move too, because World is actually quite a cool little album. It’s a tough one to give a speed listen to as it’s all such a slow build; messes of noise (ay, ay) churning into drawn-out, almost painfully sparse meanderings. It’s no ground breaker, but for seven experimental distractions, it’s not too bad a listen. I mean: “WORLD!? Wanna narrow down your subject matter to something more specific!? HA!” Rating: 7 rectangles out of 10
The Purgatories took a leaf from Bunyip Moon’s book and sent in a CD in a little A5 comic booklet thing, which is a great concept and as such, is a direct beam to my heart because I fucking love comic books. Since the album just kind of sounds like it was made by a Nick Cave or Tom Waits fan trying to root a girl who’s into rockabilly, I’ll just talk about comic books for a little while. I’ve always been right into Spider-Man, ‘cos he’s just this kid who puts so much fucking stead into what his Uncle told him on his death bed about responsibility that he does all these honourable things for his friends and family only to wallow in poverty; just because it’s “the right thing to do”.
When Spider-Man is young, Gwen Stacy (his first and only true love) dies at his hand, and he feels the guilt of that for the rest of his life. Later, he’s desperately trying to love Mary Jane as Gwen’s replacement, but I don’t think he was ever really into her that much, y’know? Mary Jane was just a hot model with red hair and I guess if you’re Spider-Man, you take whoever doesn’t ask too many questions about the mid-town battle with the electrified German in a green suit that you had to get through before you got home from work. A few years ago there was a whole-of-Marvel-Universe crossover event where the Scarlet Witch has a nervous breakdown and because she’s so fed up with everyone’s expectations, flips out and creates an alternate universe wherein all her friends and relations get what they want. When the new world is revealed, there’s a series of flashes to all the different lives of the characters of the Marvel Universe and within it, there’s a panel showing Spider-Man waking up and rolling over in the morning only to see the back of Gwen Stacy’s head. And man, I was 22 when I read that, and I cried like a girl with a splinter. Rating: 10/10 (for Spider-Man)
I knew that when I read that Storm Chasers were a “funk/reggae/rock crew out of the hills of Brisbane” that I was going to love this band. Here at M+N, “funk/reggae/rock crews out of the hills of Brisbane” are our favourite, as you may have read in our extensive coverage of “funk/reggae/rock crews out of the hills of Brisbane”. Everyone in this band is college-trained. There’s a college-trained ukulele player and a college-trained harmonica player. They’re a very well-educated band. In fact, it’s a testament to music education in the Sunshine State that with all the time and money that went into all these musicians, so little that I would ever want to listen to came from it. Rating: 3 HECS debts out of 10
The Sonic Blue Album
There is nothing more DIY than including a “selfie” as your promo shot on the back of your album cover. Damian Lasaration not only wrote, recorded, produced and performed everything, but he also took the photo (without the aid of a timer or anything). For this, he gets my seal of approval even though he samples the ocean and includes weird whistles and clicking noises in the impossibly busy loops he’s jammed into this album. Rating: 2.4 MySpace self-portraits out of 10