Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Rowland S Howard

Well, there goes a great Australian musician. I've enjoyed his music for most of my life, and to know that he will not be writing anymore songs evokes a sense of loss in me. I never met the guy, but did see him perform.

anyway, there's this clip from ATP.

Nice banter, as well as a great song.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Machines Of Indeterminate Origin 0.5 Presumption

I found, after a very pivotal listen to this EP, which took place heading along a highway to Burnie, that M.O.I.O. was Good Car Music, and that will tell you something about anything.
We all know the importance of the car to the formation of Rock itself, but the actual feel of speed on highway was never described with more sonic accuracy than Krautrock – that infectious beat describes forward motion like nothing else. The kraut beat gave birth to many children, and its minimal beauty has travelled great distances, shifting its form but never loosing that forward-to-the-future drive – whether hypnotic or interrogative, the sound of the autobahn is a watershed of vast proportion. We hear it in the ecstatic drone of the Spacemen Three, the OCD compulsion of Suicide, the groupthink of House Music and all its squiggly mutant children.
It’s also present here, providing an essential spine for a crafted, considered music that manages to satisfy intellectually and thrill the body into rocking right the fuck out. Yes people: M.OI.O is thinking headbangers’ music,with krautrock influences.
Y’know, this stuff is a music writer’s dream. There’s so much to get your teeth into: Kraut-metal-punk that negotiates space so that the music can stretch out but not become thin. Sinewy and muscular without delving into masculinity, the band’s name is appropriate and enigmatic. It’s mechanical, but not in the traditional way. It flows like mercury, each drum thud becoming a controlled explosion: destroying vertically but leaving the head floating free, nodding uncontrolled.
So much springs to mind –the groove-driven throb of lost Australian metal titans Christbait, the controlled glide of Justin Broadrick’s music – as well all I’ve already mentioned.
Importantly for me though, there’s more of a move into some kind of secular trance ritual that sets this apart from it’s many influences, and gives this unpretentious band a small but well carved niche in the rich tapestry of modern heavy music.
This Ep is sketchbook and map to an interesting future, and introduces a band well worth keeping an eye on, for one thing I am certain of, is that blending and tweaking isn't done yet - this is a watchmaker of a band, and whilst we can see the mechanics moving, the sense of obsessive craft that this band emanates will ensure that more and better is to come
If intrigued by my gushing sycophancy – and that was my aim – get in touch with band.

try their myspace, and you can hear what I'm rabbiting on about.


Agora II from Julian Percy on Vimeo.

this here is some noise generated by Julian Percy under his Ratbag moniker. Give it a touch I say, because Julian is one of the best noise makers I have the pleasure to know.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Internet is full of delight and terror

A few amusing musicish links

Julian Cope has written a eulogy for Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer

Self-proclaimed counter-culture gurus Byron Coley and Thurston Moor have writ another Bull Tongue column - and this one has some interesting clips included.

Here's some recent noise from the ever-entertaining Oren Ambarchi and his cohort Robbie Avenaim.

I'm pretty endlessly fascinated by Oren and his various musical ventures. I think in the end, it's the splattering majesty of The Menstruation Sisters I enjoy the most, but just about everything this chap touches is worthy of some investigation. Robbie I know less about, and that's something I really must rectify. He was involved with heckling me for wearing a Burzum T-shirt though, and given that it was at a w0g gig, that seems reasonable. More than that I really can't say.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Down and Out

DOWN AND OUT is a Hobart fanzine that covers a LOT of weird stuff from Cold Cave to the edges of hardcore as it is busted out today. Created and cobbled together by the cheery Sam, it's a worthy read because of the writing and because Sam bags stuff with such charm. He's grumpy, over it and still in love with music so much that it pisses him off and drives him to despair. Add in the little snippets of his life as an obsessive-compulsive record collector and you've got a decent enough read. Not the best thing in the world, nor the worst thing, just good and certainly worth a stamp.

so send a few to


PO Box 121
North Hobart
Tas 7002


and he'll send some photocopies your way.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Monday, 19 October 2009

DRUNK ELK S/T Cassette (Inverted Crux 18)

A newer Hobart enterprise, which has already changed form since this document saw the light of day. Drunk Elk went through a few versions then settled into the triumvirate of Dave on the mic, Simon Kraus bassing it about and Sam Acres stroking some breed of keyboard. Sam didn’t hang around for long and now Ben Mason is playing guitar instead of keys, but he (Sam) did manage to get his Elk-Version recorded, and Sean Bailey swooped after playing with the Elk-Beast in a hall in the bush somewhere out of town. I saw this gig and it was no bloody wonder: classic Hobart vibes were presented. Melodic dark downer pop that sways and incants – Dave has some kind of touched vocal delivery that never fails to draw me in.
A deep sadness, longing and wanting that is hamstrung by shyness seems to under-pin Drunk Elk on this fragile, demanding release. Maybe it was some kind of dream world where VHS tapes could be used as food that spawned all this. Maybe it was just Hobart and the landscape about it, for like the best Black metal, this resonates with the land it came from and the lives of those therein. Of special note is the opening track Quintessence – it’s an instant classic that bays to the moon in slow motion. This a fine Inverted Crux release and if you see it, grab the bugger.

Perhaps you could get lucky and track one down here:
Inverted Crux

KRYSTOFFKRVSTOFFISTON “A door as a substitute for two doors”

The French black legions and the more occult ends of industrial loom large over this effort from the duo of Christopher L G Hill and Simon Taylor. This is a scare fest in fine tradition that turns a treadmill of sound underneath wails and groans that are torn and processed into dank air, ugly and shining wet. I have to admit to buying the t-shirt I enjoy this fucking thing so much, it’s ugliness and anguished rending sounds perfectly suiting the rain that drowned my home town over winter. They’ve called this grey metal and while I remain unsure about the metal moniker, grey could not be more perfect – all those moist things that dominated my younger days come to mind – fog, high school dances I took pills at and sat outside of, the industrial docks by the river, the awful cheap wine, the unending feeling threat that terrified in it’s looming emptiness, a future of nothing but repeating patterns of boredom mixed with terror, dominated by a landscape that could not give a flying fuck – empty condom wrappers in filthy public toilets, broken glass that seems to resemble hieroglyphs when the mushrooms kick in. Perhaps this is a kind of Homebrand HP Lovecraft - all-devouring, unfathomable banality, so potent it's a curse for those who have no belief in any afterlife at all.

If this intrigues, more maybe be found here:

Files to swipe

Heavens - Sky Hut is a charming blog with a marvelous resource of recordings by some of the Australian underground's finest schmucks, fruits and weirdy-beardys. Variety is the spice of life and one cannot survive on trips to Melbourne once every six months to replenish the music supplies. I'll be getting lots of fixes from Sky Hut From here on in. I guess some others may as well.

here 'tis:
Sky Hut

and don't miss all the jolly sacrifice burning fun available at Sean Bailey's highly reputable Inverted Crux label. Sean is a one-man army who makes fine music, releases the obscure and paints fine art in the basement. Check it all out:

Inverted Crux

GUGG Piss & Glitter

Peer Gynt on Mogadon chased through treacle by the mushroom people, falling into a cave of bats with sirens for heads. The ensuing conversation - Peer is stoned and the bats have to communicate using sheer note length - was a complex one, heated and vulgar, but hey kids – it’s just a GUGG cassette. GUGG is probably classifiable as a ‘music’ project where the superhuman creative forces of Alex Vivian and Christopher L G Hill combine into a chattering morass that I can’t help think of as some sort role-playing game gone very, very bad – it would all seem to be processed vocals and gibbering primate sex noises mixed in some sort of unwashed cauldron. Vivian’s work has intrigued me for some time now, as he has journeyed through Always into GUGG, and he’s constantly evolving, smashing ideas down and moving on with astonishing rapidity. Chris Hill is more of enigma, but his music and art projects that I’ve encountered thus far have a welcome sense of absurd comedy coated with cheap-rent psychedelic juggling. Their powers combine and creepy vocals squelch around and about, hinting at body functions and the sound slapping squelches – filthy and fecund. This collaboration is playing live in Melbourne a fair bit from what I can glean, and will soon meander down Hobart way for a show at the six_a space and I look forward to getting sucked through the gawping mass into a mine full of fat-arsed gnomes who love bucket bongs and caffeine overloading. I just can't get away from fantasy games today but perhaps I should just admit I’m a dork and paint a huge Orc on my leather jacket and buy some jerky. Roll a D20 and save me, someone.

you might be able to get this tape from here:
But I'm not promising you a thing.

FREE CHOICE/SUPER STAR ‘ Green’ Split cassette

If one pulled a carrot that resembled a man from one’s garden in the 1600’s it was quite a worry, and the one sure way out of the mess was to mumble the Lord’s prayer for over and over for hours on end. Repetition, drones, and loops figure large in human social process – we like to go to the same pub and drink the same drink. I used to think it was because we were lazy bastards but there’s more to it than that – repetition is somehow, some kind of thing we human critters need.
Music, which describes time, requires repeat listens to really get to the depths of it, and so it took a while for this cassette to really get its worm into my head, but it did succeed, downloading a spiral of beaten metal that hummed me into another world – yes, this ideal in a bath, except that it’s a tape and you have to keep turning it over. Prick of thing, but I totally understand why all these hip kids are loving outdated mediums – because the fuckers are racing to the bottom for the oldest synth on the block. Makes perfect sense to me. I love analog styles.
Track by track, if I must – there’s two here and one is Free Choice, which is Jarrod Zladic of Australian miracles Fabulous Diamonds. I dig the Fab D’s a whole lot, but I was relieved to find this was Jarrod going of on a tangent – “Aztec Horse Hat” is one big minimal riff that builds over twelve minutes from a tanging sprung noise propelled by a scrutting beat into some kind of hilarious, chuckling bleepfest. It’s a good track and lives well with repeat play – Jarrod seems to understand the importance of extending into the infinite, in a somewhat Terry Riley tinged way, which is no bad thing. Give people synths and they will do this, and why the hell shouldn’t they?

The Superstar cut “wandering frond” has more a festering aspect to it but mages to make a sensible choice about adding layers – horns that moan in some kind of supernatural fashion, heckled by the most primitive of guitar pickings make perfect sense when arranged with some sense of art and destiny. Like the aforementioned carrot, this disturbs with half-formed things that remind one of something else when it should really just be boiled, but when asked to view through other lenses, one should never shy in fear – carrots don’t really bite and this track delivers something quite engaging – like a muttered incantation, I swear it will deliver me from something.

These days, Free Choice is largely a duo and may be found at
Whilst Superstar hang over this way:

I believe this tape itself is sold out, (check me with my rarity) but both acts have other gear worth pursuing.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

NAKED ON THE VAGUE The Mickey Mouse Headache Tapes (Near Tapes 002)

The explanation is that it’s a “collage of live recordings made from various live shows across U.S.A. 2008 & a show in Canberra Australia 2007”, and that is indeed what it appears to be, but I’ve delved into this sponge-morass of murk more than a few times now, and there’s something else going down. There’s a coherent form to the two slabs of wailing mung this consists of – two sides of a tape that I was enough of a moron to get on CDR.

I guess it’s not an official release, but I’m at the point where gobbling up anything with the Naked On The Vague stamp on it is something of a prerequisite, and as this pleasantly dissolves song forms into some kind of swampscape for the ears, it's a fine addition to my hoarded collection of NOTV relics. It expands on prior releases, enhancing my understanding of this fascinating act. NOTV have depth and some savvy, which makes them a satisfying listen and something to enjoy the growth and expansion of. Cripes, I'm making them sound like some suburb of toads making homebrew that I watch via telescope. ahem.
I have an urge to use it as a soundtrack for an upcoming reading of What’s Rangoon To You, Is Grafton To Me, and I think that whole thing would work well if I project pictures of roadkill and slugs mating whilst doing so. I suppose it could be bad trip music but really, I like it and find it somewhat alluring in a filthy sort of way. It’s a bit like one of those odd things I did primary school to give myself headspins – you know, rolling down hills and standing up too fast. One kid did that and spewed and we all got into trouble. Happy days.

If you like NOTV in a more than casual sense – you should get this thing. I may be revealing myself as some kind of art fag, but you can shove your anti-intellectual homophobia up your whiffling faux-blue collar anus. NOTV are a decent band and all they touch turns to grey-blue wobbling murk of the finest kind, and this release is no exception. All they really need is corpse paint, but alas, they are from Sydney and I just can’t see it working.

Get a CDR or a cassette from