Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gold Tango

Since I arrived in Melbourne 18 months ago, I think I have discovered a new truly amazing band every month or so on average. Honestly, I think I could make a good stab at naming 18 Melbourne bands who are as good those in any other city in the world, I'm not going to though.

Gold Tango are the latest to come out of nowhere and kick my ass. I know pretty much nothing about them, except that they're on the flawless Exo Records, consist of two girls and a guy from such Melbournian underground institutions as Flesh vs. Venom and the one track they have up on their Myspace sounds like These Are Powers having a panic attack. 'Telescope' reminds me of all kinds of things but mostly of a more urgent Excepter, all careering rhythms and Cab Vol. electronics with the breathy female vocals accentuating the claustrophobia ingrained in the track. They have some shows coming up in September and October (but hopefully sooner) and are recording Telescope and other tracks for a 7" or a series of split 7"s, or something. Like I said, I know nothing about them - but I'm sure that won't be the case for very long.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Love Brainiac and Always Will

I've been struck down with a horrible stomach bug all week, making me more sick than I remember since I was a child, so I haven't really had much to say. What I have done is watch lots of cool videos from deathbed (hehe, I am the worst sufferer) and for my only post of the week would just like to ask - "Remember how fuckin' amazing Brainiac were?" Behold:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Deformative@Spring Tones

Some exciting news just in - I'll be djing at the incredible Spring Tones festival in the Roxanne Parlour at the end of September - eyo! After the lackluster Castle Tones last month, Mistletone have really pulled out the stops for this one, managing to pull together a bill bursting with some of most exciting local and international talent of the moment. Topping the bill are the red-hot and super-fun Vivian Girls, bringing their sub-three minute pop nuggets to Australia for the first time (pretty good, considering they've only been around for a week or so). Tropical noise-maker Ducktails, the beautiful Tiny Vipers and one-man party-starter Hawnay Troof make up the rest of the overseas acts. On the local front are some old Mistletone favorites like Mark Barrage and Love of Diagrams, as well exciting upstarts Super Wild Horses, Rat vs. Possum, Aoi and plenty more.

Needless to say I'm super-happy to be playing this show, which should be even better than the incredible Summer Tones at The Espy back in February. Tickets are on sale now and I wouldn't be suprised if they sell-out, so get to it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MIFF Comes Up With Goods

The Melbourne International Film Festival kicks off in just over a week and by the looks of things the ten session mini-pass that I intend to buy will be entirely used up with movies, docos and collections of experimental shorts celebrating indie/punk-icons, institutions and eras.

The Backbeat program alone has served up three documentaries of assured excellence. I Need that Record! pays homage to the honest-to-goodness role independent records stores across the world have played in nurturing alternative and experimental music and their revered place within these communities. With the inescapable rise of download culture having a plague-like effect on these institutions, this is as good a time as any to watch such DIY icons as Mike Watt, Ian MacKaye and Thurston Moore wax lyrical on these vital but possibly doomed cultural hubs. All Tomorrow’s Parties brings together footage shot by patrons to the hollowed festival at its various locations. With the still raw news that ATP will not be coming back to Oz for some time (see previous post), this documentary should go some way to mollifying our nerdy disappointment. Lastly, former Pop Group chief and all-round DIY-Dude, Mark Stewart is profiled in On/Off. Looking forward to that one a lot.

Arguably even more exciting is the Australian Post-Punk program. These ‘Post-Punk Mixtapes’ compile rare live footage and experimental films clips featuring such luminaries as Nick Cave (obviously) and the Primitive Calculators from a time when seemingly it was kicking off everywhere, from Manchester to Melbourne. There are five in all but if you can only make one I would recommended #5 if only for the insanity of The Birthday Party live footage. I’m pretty sure this is the same footage from the Nick Cave retrospective at The Arts Centre last year and is worth the price of the ticket alone. As an added bonus though, there is an early John Hillcoat short in there too, cool!

Lastly, Blank City documents the Cinema of Transgression from the Lower East Side in late ‘70s/early ‘80s (I told you it was all kicking-off then!) Closely tied with the no-wave music scene, such icons of independent film as John Waters and Jim Jarmusch cut their teeth with this DIY film-making style and appear in this documentary alongside anti-icons like James Chance, Steve Buscemi and Lydia Lunch.

Of course there are also loads of cool movies playing but this is a music blog and this post has taken me an hour to write so you check the rest of the program out for yourself here –

Sean x

Friday, July 10, 2009

No ATP Oz until 2011

From this morning:
In devastating news, it has been revealed that All Tomorrow’s Parties will not be returning to Australia in 2010. The Age reported this morning that ATP will skip next year, with plans to make it back in 2011.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive response to this January’s inaugural edition, “logistical issues” are behind the decision to have a year off. The difficulties stem from hosting the festivals at Mt Buller in Victoria and Sydney’s Cockatoo Island.

The event promoters told The Age: “The ski season has cut into our preparation time, so it seems to make more sense to give ourselves some breathing space and aim for the next event in 2011 rather than next summer,” Pittman says. “We have every intention of being back in 2011 but without our issues/logistics being addressed, it could be tough.

“We’re disappointed of course – the event was magical and the response overwhelming – but we don’t want to rush to meet a deadline and end up delivering a half-baked event,” the statement concluded.

I guess that's fair enough but disappointing as hell nonetheless. I missed last year's inaugural fest for the legitimate but ridiculous reason of having to pick fruit in Swan Hill (visa commitments, bleugh!) so was really looking forward to this year. Unbelievably, I never made it to any ATP in the UK, Primavera providing my indie-fest sustenance each year and now it looks like I'll have to hold off on popping my ATP cherry for another 18 months.

Oh well, at least we have Animal Collective confirmed for Meredeth...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rat vs. Possum Tote Residency #2


I had intended to start this blog based on several recent musical experiences, most recently with the first night of Rat vs. Possum’s July residency in The Tote. Except I went to Sydney on Thursday and by the time I got back on Monday and slept all day Tuesday, it felt somewhat incongruous to the nature of blogging to begin with something almost a week old.

So instead, let’s concentrate on the much more recent past, with the second night of RvsP’s exciting month-long residency. Exciting in terms of the support bands assembled, who make up a large contingent of the most interesting bands in Melbourne, in that it turns the mid-week lows on its head (it really does feel like Wednesdays are the new Fridays right now) and of course in the opportunity to see the always wonderful Rat Vs. Possum each week.

With all those positive vibes, it’s a shame to have to begin with a something a downer. I missed East Brunswick All Girls Choir, who I haven’t seen but heard great things about, and arrived just in time to catch Cuba Is Japan. These multi-instrumentalists play mostly instrumental music, which is based around some kind of nautical concept if I remember right. The Tote was already pretty packed by this stage and the eminently beautiful crowd were clearly up for some high-drama post-rock. You certainly couldn’t fault their enthusiasm but for all the obvious passion these guys have for what they’re doing, I was totally unmoved. As I say, just about everyone else seemed to love it but for me, I just feel like I’ve seen it all before.

The Tantrums are a fairly sinister trio playing creepy, percussive electronica, reminiscent of New York archetypes Dark Day and Ike Yard, as well as contemporaries HTRK. They are also incredible. I knew nothing of The Tantrums before tonight but this quietly intense set, ranging from songs of sparse bleeps, punctuated by unhinged yelps, to a nice groove at the end, had me fixated. Cannot wait to see these guys again.


Rat vs. Possum are just great. That’s the kind of goofy none-speak these guys elicit and it’s no bad thing. Every time I see them there is such a joyous, harmonious atmosphere amongst the audience that you kind of feel that instead of playing their whacked-out, tom-heavy psychedelic anthems, these four misfits are actually the good witches of Brunswick casting blissful spells on us all, intent on converting the world to their doctrine of love for heroic apes, glitter, and communal fruit. Tonight seems like the apex of that ambition. Although I doubt it is, it just seems that way. Maybe it’s the awesome Rainbow Light Experiment. Maybe it’s the way The Tote is beyond packed but no-one is uncomfortable, instead everyone seems just on the right side of drunk. Maybe it’s the way everyone here seems to be friends and the sense of community is palpable. It’s probably all those things but I think it’s mostly the prospect of once again seeing a band who do everything right and who never fail to delight live.


Oddly then, two new songs of a markedly darker tone open the set, beginning with a Velvet Underground-style dirge before seguing into more familiar driving rhythms. I liked them a lot and so did the rest of the crowd it seemed, especially the drunk girls beside me – ‘Ooh, new songs and I love them already!’ It was the ‘hits’ from then on, each lovingly danced to, applauded and consumed by the crowd who by mid-way through the set had invaded the side of the stage. And of course there was the moment everyone was waiting for - the sing-along of the most ingenious refrain since ‘Are we not men? We are Devo!’ I guess that was the apex, for now.


Earlier this week I compared RvsP to a cross between Indian Jewelry and Pocahaunted but I’m already thinking that is not really true. They certainly fit with the current nu-psychedelic zeitgeist and you could draw references with bands ranging from Ducktails to much of the Paw Tracks roster, not to mention legends like Popol Vuh and Can. However, the multi-percussive, mulit-layered anthems RvsP construct, appear to be more the product of joyful experimentation between friends and a passion for creating, collaborating and performing than any external influences. That they are able to subvert this insular approach and create something of true communal jubilance is perhaps what makes them, you know, just great.

Next week the amazing Parking Lot Experiments will be playing their lovingly-crafted lo-fi gems, along with Pschue and Milk Teddy, as well as intriguing performance artists, V Dentatas, and of course the darlings of July themselves.

See you there!