Noise-punk-surf-rock collective Fidlar, debut their “get shit done” sound and attitude with their bratty self-titled LP. Opening with the hauntingly ferocious Cheap Beer, the album’s fast-paced tone is there from the outset. No Waves and Stoked and Broke, lyrically, sit side by side, with great scathings of friends/family, a shit tonne of drug references and some refreshingly heavy riffs there to push this “get shit done” persuasion onwards. Max Can’t Surf, 5 to 9 and Wake Bake Skate are representative of an anecdotal “short and sweet” kind of phrase, rather than an entire track. But it is still this manner of carelessness and pure “making this music for the sake of making it” that rings true, particularly in these tracks. Fidlar ultimately, are successful at making some pretty dirty music that you’ll definitely want to keep getting your hands filthy over.
What an album. Really. I think this is probably the most underrated album of the year, maybe even the decade (so far). If it wasn’t clear on their self-titled debut, it sure as hell is clear now, that Brisbane radicals Violent Soho mean business. Hungry Ghost features more of a mellowed tone, one of experience. Album highlight Covered in Chrome excites the Muscle Junkie in all of us, with bouts of “fuck yeah’s” and great one liners. Okay Cathedral, Saramona Says and Hungry Ghost all take the road less traveled by the punk veterans, and expose a toned down, and stripped back version of what Violent Soho have to offer. All lyrics aside, it is so obvious that the album and the ideas behind the album have been tailored to fit the music, and this really aids in getting the album across as such an honest piece of work.
Mega-talented, mega-babe Jake Bugg sees his second release confuse the hell out of fans. The real questions are, how can someone at only 19, be a) such an accomplished musician, what with two incredibly accomplished LP’s under his belt and b) create music that honestly seems way beyond his years. A credit to Bugg, this fusion of blues with modern indie-folk-rock works favourably to his advantage. Equipped with what has been described as a “Bob Dylan-esque” voice, Bugg, paired with his acoustic talents, has created this bluegrass whirlwind of the ultimate confusion of genres, but still is nothing short of stunning, lyrically and musically. Highlights in particular occur with the verse-to-chorus transition in Messed Up Kids, the wild west-esque Slumville Sunrise and the entirety of Me and You.
Forget everything you thought you knew about pop. Haim's Days are Gone is the most refreshing pop album I have heard since probably the early 00’s. Through incorporating slaps, bangs and scrapes with flawless three-part harmonies and toe-tapping riffs, as well as that classic ever-driving pop-synth-beat that underlies the tone for each song, Days are Gone tells stories of heartbreak, decisions and consequences. Songs like Forever with its xylophone-like riff and My Song 5, plowing forward with such heavily bass-lined force, and The Wire with it’s infectious as hell chorus, show the diversity on the album. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. This is definitely the most refreshing pop album I have heard in a long time.
I really can’t think of a better album to define 2013. Not just for me personally, but I think in terms of the music being released. 180 is fun yet sophisticated and is overall, quite edgy. The raw brooding vocals from Sam Fryer paired with the yelps and driving phrases from bassist Chilli Jesson, fuses for an album that vocally, is reminiscent of 90’s soft-punk. From heavily distorted riffs (Chicken Dippers) to softer ballads (Three Stars) to tracks that remind you of that smirk that asshole you hated in high school always had plastered to his stupid face (Johnny Bagga’ Donuts), Palma Violets, are ultimately pioneers of a new generation of music that is yet to be discovered.
I’m starting up a new feature.
For the remainder of the year, I’ll try my best to post a “highlighted” album of 2013 release, and by “highlighted” I mean one that I feel deserves to be mentioned and recognised. This is not going to be in any order, just a collection of fabulous works from this year.
Wish me luck.
Semi-satirical piece I did as a requirement for a job application.
5 Things to Consider when Considering Adulthood
By Caitlin Medcalf
Picture this. It’s the day of your eighteenth birthday. You’re imprisoned in a steaming hot classroom. Everyone around you is nodding off to the beat of the teacher’s voice. You’re impatiently tapping your pen on the edge of the desk that is unfortunately emblazoned with multiple penis’ and a colloquial “suk my dik” scratched in with a biro. The teacher says something about integrating to find the area under something something, but all you can picture is the pristine curve of its body, crafted by the finest of men. You imagine the taste of it as it hits your tongue like a train. You’re swishing it around your mouth, feeling the burn as it slides like silk down your throat. You long to feel your vision blur, and your speech give way to your desires. Yes. You’re thinking about that first bottle of vodka. The first legal bottle purchased from the dirtiest of corner liquor stores, but you don’t care; who’s going to stop you? After all, you’re an adult. But does this REALLY make you an adult?
When did money really become a concern?Remember that $10 Mum gave you to buy some hot chips from Maccas after school? I hate to break it to you, but those days are over. Yes, you have responsibilities now. Gas, electricity, internet, food, telephone and water. Can you hear your wallet crying in anguish yet?
2. “The Grind”
School gave you a routine. Wake up, skip breakfast, just make the bus, endure six hours of mostly irrelevant dribble, laugh at someone’s haircut with your friends, get the bus back, sit on Facebook for 6 hours, sleep, repeat. But what happens after that? Yeah okay, you go to uni, you travel, you might even fall in love, but do we ever find routine again? Well, yes. Welcome to the real world, sometimes known as work, or “The Grind”. Named so for the feeling you are given of being grind down to a monotonous pulp, and left to contain yourself inside your cubicle that happens to be identical to the one next to you.
3. Who Am I?
We spend our teen years finding a group of friends who accept us, and by trial and error, we find a few places where we either fit, or don’t fit. As a positive, adulthood entails taking life’s experiences and applying them to the sliver of knowledge you actually have about yourself. No one knows who they are at eighteen.
As much as you love staying up until you’ve watched the entire first and second seasons of Friends, you really can’t make it past the opening credits without dozing off. Even when you’re out with mates having a drink at the pub, you can’t help but think about the earliest time you can get away for even just a few cherished moments of sleep.
You more often than not find yourself returning to the classics like ABBA or Duran Duran. There’s nothing wrong with these artists or their music per say, but try and think of a time that you didn’t cringe when your Mum played ‘Dancing Queen’ on full volume in the middle of the shopping centre carpark.
These are all just fragments of what makes up the typical “adult”. You might actually have enjoyed jamming to ABBA since you were a kid. But then again, what do I know; I’ve only just legally bought my first bottle of Vodka.
WAVVES AFRAID OF HEIGHTS REVIEW
With what began as a bedroom project, Wavves is now out of the house and into the world with their fourth LP, ‘Afraid of Heights’. Set to surf into Australian shores on the 26th of March, this is definitely one you will not want to miss. Seriously. Following up from 2010’s definitive LP ‘King of the Beach’, and the everlasting 2011 EP, ‘Life Sux’, ‘Afraid of Heights’ is an obvious next step up the evolutionary chain. With clarity and great precision, you would not think this to be something from Wavves, ever. A change in mindset and a definite maturity being nurtured from influences such as Green Day and Weezer has made ‘Afraid of Heights’ something completely new, yet still the same for all Wavves fans.
Opening with two pre-release singles, “Sail to the Sun” and “Demon to Lean On”, the album begins on a pretty high note. Fast-paced, full of life and a killer riff, “Sail to the Sun” begins with the jaunty sounds of a glock, unusual for a Wavves record. Branching out yet again, the Nirvana-esque track “Demon to Lean On” continues the new sound we haven’t heard much of before. Then we come to the comforting sound of “Mystic”. Typical of Wavves first or second album, the bass riff in this is really fucking magical. Really. “Lunge Forward”, “Paranoid” and “Gimme a Knife” give us some catchy oohs and aahs, ear-melting guitar riffs and some narcissistic lyrics to fill us up. A huge 60’s psych rock and 90’s garage influence filter through “That’s On Me” and “Cop”, resonating also through the fast-paced “Beat Me Up”. “Afraid of Heights” sounds like something off of “Life Sux”. So broody, dark and damn catchy. The drunk slurs transitioning into the chorus fit snug with the lyrics “I think I must be drunk”. Wavves has been so hard at work with this one, and it’s great to see them really stick to their guns to create something they’re proud of. It’s also really, really fucking catchy.
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB W/ THE VACCINES AND THE JUNGLE GIANTS @ HORDERN PAVILION, 3/1/2013
Okay well the show was anticipated to be pretty huge from the start, I mean after all, it was North Ireland boys Two Door Cinema Club, English troublemakers The Vaccines and our own home-grown The Jungle Giants. They kicked off their down under tour with a show in Melbourne, moving through into the New Year with Field Day and then making an impact on Sydney just last night.
Welcomed by a huge ‘The Vaccines’ banner, sporting the ‘Come of Age’ logo, fans rippled with confusion as to which band was coming on first. A quick 20 minute wait, saw The Jungle Giants onto the stage, sunny and tropical sounds alike wafting from the stage. Opening with ‘Mr Polite’, I was honestly surprised with how well known the band was within the crowd. Fans clapping along, singing along, jumping and pushing in sync (there was a heck of a lot of pushing) was the response the band wanted, we could see that. Moving craftily through tracks such as ‘No One Needs To Know’, ‘Back To The Start’ and ‘You’ve Got Something’, the band was very in sync with each other and with the crowd. Jungle (no pun intended)-like guitar riffs, tons of clapping and a heck of a lot of “HEY!‘s made for an energetic half-hour set. Closing off their night with ‘She’s A Riot’, a crowd favourite amongst the Sydney go-getters, the crowd rippled with excitement right until the last note.
A brisk walk on the stage, a pick up of their instruments and The Vaccines were straight into crowd favourite, ‘No Hope’. The English boys certainly have spent their short time together in good measures, every song was so accurate and so well blended. I also thought the set was very well planned out, it panned across all aspects of ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ and ‘Come Of Age’, from more upbeat tracks (‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’, ‘Bad Mood’) to slower ballads (‘Aftershave Ocean’, ‘All In White’). The crowd was less upbeat than it was during The Jungle Giants, which was rather disappointing but that didn’t really stop them from powering through. Keeping the pace with ‘Ghost Town’ and a sing a long version of ‘Post Break-Up Sex’, the band then went on to close with dirty grunge outfit ‘Bad Mood’ and the tropical ‘Norgaard’. The Vaccines certainly did deliver a power set.
Adorned with a huge upside down trapezium, LED lights and roaming spotlights, the stage began to flicker. The opening beat of ‘Sleep Alone’ and then the vocals from Irishman Alex Trimble flew through the crowd. Opening with two crowd favourites (then came ‘Undercover Martyn’) was I think a fantastic idea, the crowd stuck to the stage like glue with interest. It was definitely an interesting set, and certainly a long one, with 18 songs being thrown into the mix. The spirits of the crowd lifted, with ‘Tourist History’ favourite’s ‘This Is The Life’, ‘You’re Not Stubborn’ and ‘I Can Talk’. A credit to the band, their live performance was played with 150% effort and 150% energy and it reflected so much upon their sound. It was so much more whole and uplifting, which is something you can’t take away from a mastered LP. Whilst flowing through ‘Sun’, ‘Next Year’, ‘Handshake’ and ‘Eat That Up It’s Good For You’, huge balloons were dropped onto the crowd, adding to the excitement. The lights dimmed and the band left the stage to regular chants of ‘ONE MORE SONG’. As per expectations, Two Door Cinema Club took to the stage to play not 1, not 2, but 3 encore tracks. ‘Someday’, ‘Come Back Home’ and ‘What You Know’ enabled the crowd to see the band off on a memorable note. Two Door Cinema Club played a well thought out set with considerable ease and confidence, and it showed.
Weird to think that this was over a year ago.
ODD FUTURE @ ENMORE THEATRE, 24/1/12
Hype crew Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (or OFWGKTA/Odd Future for short) took the young Sydney crowd by storm. A rebellious force against traditional music, Odd Future brought something completely unseen to the Enmore Theatre stage. Passion, anger, heat and excitement, all in one 2 hour set.
As the venue slowly started to fill up, the lights began to change and music began to play from the many speakers surrounding the stage. As the songs changed from one to the other, fans were becoming easily excitable. When a long enough break between songs occurred, the crowd began to chant “WOLF, GANG, WOLF, GANG,” repetitively, only to be disappointed by the opening tune of the next song to be played over the speakers, until Syd emerged onto the stage, and stood behind her mixing table. Waka Flocka blared from the speakers, and really set the crowd up for what would be one of the craziest nights of the year. The crowd went wild, and soon after, the opening beats of 64 blasted through the speakers, followed by Hodgy Beats and Left Brain stomping around the stage, conveying the dark tune throughout the whole venue. This was definitely the perfect song to open with, upbeat, dark, and just all round crazy, the young crowd responded hugely. I think within the first song, the crowd really sorted themselves out. Moving from the front to the back, or the back to the front, everyone started to find their place on the floor.
Rapidly producing heavy beats in songs like Transylvania, French! and Rolling Papers, the epitome of Odd Future’s drug usage side travelled through the crowd, and no one was afraid to admit they were actually high as fuck.
Hastily jetting through the overly-hyped set, a sudden mess of Supreme 5 panels and Vans came to settle for a second, until the night came to Yonkers. Every single fan in the room broke out into the classic Tyler, The Creator lyrics of “I’m a fucking walking paradox”, and continued for more than 1 verse. Tyler didn’t need to rap, the crowd willingly did it for him. And boy was it loud. Flashing lights, circle pits and crazy teens rampaging throughout the floor, Yonkers certainly went out with a huge bang.
Some of their lesser known songs brought less energy, but the crowd was still eager to create a huge mess amongst themselves, shoes and cups flying everywhere, there really was not a dry shirt in the venue.
A definite highlight of the show was definitely the track Sandwitches. Screaming at the top of their lungs, “WOLF GANG, WOLF GANG, WOLF GANG”, the crowd created an echo throughout the entire venue, and a frenzy began. Tyler, egging everyone on in their excitement, changed the tempo of the song on a few occasions. No one was still for the entire duration of the song, everyone was doing something, whether it be pushing someone else, or ramming to the front. An anthem to teenagers, Sandwitches created this buzz of energy which lasted for the remainder of the show.
Moving on to Bitch Suck Dick, Taco made his long awaited appearance onto the stage. Momentarily going quiet during his verse, “SHUT UP BITCH, SUCK MY DICK” rang from every corner of the venue, everyone crazy about that particular verse. The hype, aswell as the temperature continued to increase at an alarming rate, all building up to the final song on the Odd Future agenda for the evening.
A momentary explanation of the significance of the song to Tyler himself, made the song so much more intimate, and before the crowd even had time to speculate, the well known countdown to Radicals began. “4, 3, 2, 1”, and then the drop. No one had been this crazy at all during the night, but Radicals unleashed every temper in the room. Everyone having no respect for those around them, yet still making it about the crowd, Radicals was the perfect show-stopper. The anthemic lyrics “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school” were louder than any other line that night. Easily relatable, those particular lyrics stuck in everyone’s mind for the whole song, losing themselves, Radicals was definitely the end of a perfect show.
A quick thankyou from Tyler, and wave from the rest of OF, saw the crowd outside, accompanied by Earl by Earl Sweatshirt playing in the background, as an unknown prestige, almost like a myth, an urban legend per say.
A night that will never be forgotten, anyone over the age of 40 would cringe at the first verse of any one of these songs, which made the night even more special, knowing there is one thing that will stay young forever, Odd Future.