The Australian music landscape seemed to be populated with a whole bunch of Psyche Rock in 2012. When you look at what is being offered there will always be the popular vote and the unpopular vote. It all depends on your ability to dig deeper beyond the radio waves and general empty calories of what the audience, record companies, promo companies and media sell you to find the good stuff. In 2012 the overweight 10cc sounds of “Lonerism” was the lazy mans psyche rock record and in the tradition of Straya music continued the tradition of promoting something that sounds like a lesser version of an already established band. In short, Tame Impala is a poor man’s Flaming Lips.
Regular John on the other hand, they are the psyche rock band that Straya needs.
Regular John is an incredibly vital sounding band in the landscape of guitar rock in 2012. They are dark, moody, intense, heavy, weird and of course packed full of pop music skills. Regular John make music that is about the exploration and evolution of the Riff and while the band is rooted in the traditions of bands like Kyuss there is still so much more to the pulse of this bands sound. When I listen to Regular John I hear the forward thinking hardcore punk of Fugazi, the LA drug sleaze of Jane’s Addiction, the free jazz freakouts of Ornette Coleman or Miles Davis and the poetic dust of The Doors. There is My Bloody Valentine cream and Rowland S. Howard steam with an incredible amount of Melvins Sludge and Carole King Hugs.
Ultimately though, the band is their own thing and anything vintage that pops out is an exercise in saluting the history of music and manipulating it in their own vision as opposed to ripping it off directly.
“Strange Flowers” is a beautiful one track album separated into ten separate tracks. This is music that you need to listen too without distraction. When I put the album on and the first groove of “Sky Burial” hits my headphones you know that you are being taken on a journey. I’ve found the last couple of nights when I sat down to review the album I’ve had to just turn all the lights off and just lay down on my bed, with my headphones and just get lost in the sound of the album. It is almost drug like the way the sounds on “Strange Flowers” seduce you and weave in and out of your mind, it is quite an emotional journey and it is pure stoke the whole way through.
I have started to grow quite an emotional attachment to “Strange Flowers” and I really can’t separate the tracks, to me it is all one song and that is the only way I can listen to it, front to back. This is a positive in the day and age of low attention spans and digital downloads. Regular John has taken to the time to write and sequence a full piece of art.
It’s not my job to tell you all what to listen too because music is a personal thing. This time round though I will say that Regular John have made an Straya classic that will sit next to the revolutionary sound of bands like Birthday Party, Beasts Of Bourbon and The Church. You can waste your time with the 10cc and their “Lonerism” hype machine, and of course anything else being offered up as Psyche or “The Alternative,” or you can actually spend some money on a band like Regular John who makes intense, experimental, vital and beautiful music. Regular John is a true joy to listen too and I’m so glad that they exist and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
“Strange Flowers” by Regular John is my Straya Album of the year for 2012
10 Cassette Tapes Out Of 10