Monday, 28 June 2010


Well, the charmers at Bedroom Suck – a Brisbane based label – sent me a wad of their dung to sniff, and let me tell you, I'm digging this stuff into the garden during winter because it's earthy and fruitful. It seems, from this far-flung outpost, that Brisbane is damn fertile ground for new and fascinating music these days, and this chunk of fine compost seems to just confirm that from art wangery to drug scuzzery to bedroom tossery., there's fine organic vegetables and fruit available for the discerning palate.
I have this personal idea about fragments. I like art and music and writing that even it is neat and entire, has the feel of being a fragment of greater whole, as if this tiny artefact hints at something more; as if one is not getting the whole story. It could be just the way I view existence, as in it's a random collection of glittering shards that are strewn about my path, the pattern one I impose. Hmm. EXTRAFOXX – The saddest - has this kind of a feel – you know, here's an idea, get it down, there it is. Is he stoned? Is he a shut in? It seems that these things could be true, but there's another hint beyond the sound – the cover art for this CD of 35 songs (Cripes!) is of a tiny home-job tattoo and that's as good a metaphor for this work as any I could muster. Etched onto the skin with the available means, the roughness being the charm of the aesthetic, there was enough skill for the design to be clear, the image is read and then all I'm left with is these small songs, made of the barest of things. Simple lyrics that sometimes hit home, a voice that has a bit of sadness in it, something stumbling and a little flattened – awkward – about the delivery? Guitar strummed clean, something in the back round filling it all out, but not too much, it's always going to be pretty bare and that would seem to be important to what ever this is – a sketchbook, a diary, a bunch of fragments. Some are brighter than others, but it's a collection and the only way to make any sense of it all is to examine the whole thing – because you could just say 'bedroom music' and leave it there, which would not be untrue, but there's a little more to it. There's some comedy and some throwaway stuff that is in some ways the best aspect of the whole thing, but the guy has tones and a something of a palette – sometimes, he just doesn't give a rat's arse. I mean 'why are they trying to turn the hippies into punks / why are they trying to turn the stoners into drunks' and that 's a whole song, basically. There's another song – 'A story' that keeps turning up as well, which would appear to be some kind of punctuation or some such.
Overall, this is pretty good gear, but I'm willing to be that if I knew the guy I'd think it was fucking sublime, and maybe that's a flaw overall, but until the day I meet the dude, if I ever do, this postcard from the outer edges of an ordinary life sung sweet will do me fine.

Totally from the other end of fucked in the head is an old album from LOOK! POND! - dates from 2006 in fact and it's a big wailing thing that could have been recorded better maybe but in the spirit of at least documenting something, they got it all down and here's a CD which sold out but then it was discovered that there was a box on top of cupboard covered in crap or something I got one to listen to – and yeah, I feel lucky, because it's good gear, all mucked up and screeching – look you, kind of know the drill here , because there's long running Australian music trope where a wretched guitar is strangled into a riff that jerks about like water in a pan of hot olive oil, the drums sound like a big stomping swamp bunyip having a wank in the bushes, that sort of deal. Sometimes there's songs and sometimes a sound is wrung out of the air and you can smell the sweat and anger. It's primitive and rushed and slammed together and that, people, is the way it should be – punk primitive of an antipodean variety, which some jerk is surely going to describe as No-Wave or post-punk and that jerk can fuck right off out of it like a bastard. This is not that shit, it's a couple of doors down and it probably never heard No New York. It's just as likely the sound is derived from the quality of equipment these people had access to at the time this existed because there's no attempt to de-construct or any of that horse anus here, more like they write some punky shit, drank a goon, recalled seeing Lubricated Goat on Rage and remembered someone had to get a bus later ,so the set was raced through and then there was a bucket bong with a bunch of kinder surprise toys floating in it and no beer. That'd piss me off and we might record the guitar part again, if we even were getting that sophisticated, which I doubt. LOOK! POND! Is not sophisticated, it's all energy and surging response to whatever the fuck wasn't going on in Brisbane in 2006. Music that leaps out and feeds back and thumps out epic fucking sludge grunts, songs that sound like rolling ten gallon drums down a massive drain, like the 15-minute plus album closer Village – that's one decent track there.
Apparently this is some kind of Ur-Band for the Brisbane scene now – members went on to Slug Guts, Kitchen's Floor and No Anchor, and this does feel a lot like some kind of big bubbling pot that beasties crawl out of and scurry off to do evil, so that works. It's a nice one to hear if you can find it.

I'll shut the trap with MARL CARX for now. Another band that no longer exists from Brisbane – dang, these kids turn over fast. The album that they left in their wake, 'sits obvious' gets a real tick of approval from me for sounding right in that realm that God Is My Co-Pilot charted some years back and then very few followed in what was deadly territory – like, you kind of really need to have good idea of what you're up to attempt to climb this particular cliff – or at least keep it as simple as possible. The last time I heard anything slightly in this world was long-gone Melbourne act JEMIMA JEMIMA who I dug a whole damn lot and never saw, and I'm not going to see this either – coincidence?
I'm sure that helps anyone trying to work out what the hell Marl Carx is, but it's herky-jerky drumming and guitar with vocal lines that converse – these cats, Michaela Sophie Chin (drums) and Glen Schenau (guitar, who also ended up in Kitchen's Floor along with Matt Kennedy from LOOK! POND!) are talking to each other a lot. I wonder what the fuck that's about? We'll never know, and that's all part of the enigma isn't it? Spindly, spidery guitar with a fair bit of treble over some thump thump thumpery, drawling poetry and the occasional sleepwalk vocal bleeding over the edges – it's Spartan but not spacious: there's a real sense of it being tightly structured even when it sounds all messed about. It's also over really damn fast, which is often a good sign for this sort of music – it struts up, swigs your beer, pokes out it's tongue and then strides of, leaving one slightly stunned – and that's it, that's all you get, so think yourself lucky. And think yourself even more lucky that someone recorded this act at all, and that they released it and that I heard and that I can tell you it's worth investigating further. Because it's a rare sound here on this disc that not everyone is going to like because it's something that hangs off the edges of traditional punk – yes, of course there's traditional punk – it's just that this isn't it. Marl Carx has a list of influences over on it's myspace and yeah you can hear it all for sure, but in the end this does manage to rise out of that mire and have a bit of character, certainly enough to make the existence of this recording worth it.

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