ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Feel Or Suffer’ by Galapogos

Here at Heavy & Weird, we feel there’s not enough nepotism in the Brisbane music scene.  With that in mind, we’ve decided that Clint should review Dan’s band’s latest album, ‘Feel Or Suffer’. We also recognise that the rating’s system we’ve employed over the last year has mostly given bands we like ’10’ and bands we don’t like ‘1’, therefore we’ll be dispensing with ratings this year and telling you to either buy the album or save your money.

Of course, if you couldn’t tell that was sarcasm, you should be reading Rolling Stone.

Nonetheless, Clint will be reviewing the latest Galapogos release, not because he wants to give the band a leg up, or an unfair advantage, but because he genuinely likes their music and feels compelled to write about it. Take that as you will.  And now the disclaimer is out of the way, onto the review itself:

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Do I think this album is good? Yes. Do I think it’s perfect? No. But perfection is not what this record is about.

‘Feel Or Suffer’ is the most interesting artistic statement made by a Brisbane band in 2013. It is a bold step away from the alt-pop of Galapogos’ first album ‘Established Ghosts’ into ambient jammy weirdness. That they never fall into wankery is a miracle in itself, but this album is stunningly good on its own merits. Just listen to the epic ‘Parakeet Parachute’, or first single ‘Lisbon’:

What makes this even more of an achievement is that the entirety of ‘Feel Or Suffer’ was improvised live in the band room, with Dan Newton ad-libbing lyrics over the top; all recorded & mixed by guitarist Luke Koster. The result is one continuous movement of music, wholly unique, and utterly beautiful. I don’t know what the fuck Dan is singing about most of the time, but by god I believe it, and perhaps that’s what communication via music is all about? There is nothing plastic, no imitation, and no fakery involved, it stands up and forces you to listen intently and take a journey with the band.

This record is Jim Morrison saying ‘fuck you’ to his sex-symbol status, losing the leather pants and getting off on Patti Smith poetry, with backing from Slowdive. It is a singular vision from 5 guys on the periphery of a music scene they don’t fit in to, unable to be categorized, and uniquely compelling.

It won’t be a hit and it won’t make you cool, but it will change your life.  Go and find a copy.

Rating: 9 parakeets out of 10 parachutes
(I would have given it a 10, but I think this band is only going to get better)

By Clint Morrow

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SINGLE REVIEW: “Collider” by Roku Music

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The brand new single from Roku Music is called “Collider” and it is a beautiful breeze of all that is lovely about emotionally charged guitar music. With heartbreak swoons and a delicate level of smooth blissed out angst, “Collider” rewards you with each new listen transporting you further away from the dull cruelty of existence. Escapism is essential to all great music and Roku Music lay down some sensationally picturesque landscapes for you to nestle into allowing you to just drift deeper and closer to some kind of blue soaked divinity.

This song definitely pays tribute to all that is golden about shoegaze and to those that respect music you’ll be yearning to know where this song takes you in the context of an album. That is what I felt during the course of listening to “Collider” – that this a small part of a bigger sonic story that will no doubt unfold all kinds of emotions (known and unknown) and will cement Roku Music as one of the best bands happening in the world.

It is the heavenly scent sprinkled within those vocals that win me over. The guitars and drums and bass are all playing within the mechanics of the genre but it is the vocals that give this song colour and a true ache that brings me back for repeated listens. There is a mystery to the melody and I want to dive deep inside the fuzz to chase it and find out everything about it and try to locate the meaning of why there is so much joy yet so much pain spilling out of the speakers.  It makes me want to fall in love but it also makes me want to spend some time alone thinking about those two or three girls that you meet in your life time that shape your understanding of heartbreak and all things unrequited.

A song like “Collider” rings out with a nocturnal loneliness that reminds me of the sting of endless Friday nights spent staring at the ceiling trying to find ways to reform my desire to disconnect from the real world modes of fun and living but finding myself stupidly sinking inside a brand new sound that sums up the ache pounding deep inside me. If it wasn’t for finding new sonic examples of that ache and that yearning I’d probably a very happily married man doing very dull things like buying houses and caring about the bottom line. Instead I live for that feeling of isolation with new pieces of sound that best capture that god shaped hole in my soul and my desire to be a totally failed romantic cynic.

In short, support the fuck out of Roku Music – they are beautiful and pure.

By: Dan Newton

Listen to “Collider” by Roku Music on the following link:

http://soundcloud.com/sonic-masala/collider

Useful Links:

rokumusic.com,
rokumusic.bandcamp.com,
rokumusic.tumblr.com,
twitter.com/Rokumusicband
https://www.facebook.com/Rokumusic

 

SINGLE REVIEW: “Bull At A Gate” by Hawkmoon

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If Hawkmoon were a band from the Seattle Grunge Movement they’d be The Posies for sure. What this basically equates to is that instead of the angst, punk rock, heavy metal, psychedelia, Minor Threat / Black Flag infused hardcore and classic / hard rock hat tips that the big seven illustrated (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Melvins, Mudhoney, Alice In Chains and Screaming Trees), Hawkmoon favour power pop. That’s not to say that Hawkmoon sound or have pop skills like The Posies but it does give you a good starting point as to the spirit that is alive in their music.

The band has just released a new single called “Bull at a Gate” and it is a straightforward slab of Australiana flavoured power pop. The sound and mood of this track harks back to the mid to late 90’s and early 00’s where bands like Powderfinger, Custard and You Am I dominated that youth demographic of 18 to 24 and served as the soundtrack to a summer spent doing wonderfully pointless things in New Farm Park whilst fighting a “three bottles of wine” hangover and trying ever so hard to impress girls named Emily and Jill and Beth who are more interested in ecstasy culture as opposed to rock guitars now that they have returned from London.

That’s not to say that “Bull at a Gate” is totally suffocated by Nostalgia; there are modern flourishes in the dynamics that inch themselves towards bands like The Black Keys and Kings of Leon with textures and tones that show a heavy amount of hero worship towards anything and everything Homme. This is indeed a song in its more traditional sense with adequate verses, chorus’, bridges and appropriate reprises that is kept together with a rhythmic swagger and healthy yet all too familiar melody.

As a song it works but in terms of sonic evolution for the history of music and Hawkmoon themselves (compared to their first EP) it falls short but as I always maintain, sincerity is the key to authenticity and Hawkmoon communicate with an excited sense of glee allowing for the overall vibe of “Bull at a Gate” to sound convincing. It is that conviction that allows those thirsty for nostalgia and meat and potatoes to eat this song up.

My tastes are more geared towards weirdness within the pop music and rock n roll formats so it can be hard for me to get overwhelmed by “Bull at a Gate” as a song but I think that as previously mentioned, it is its sincerity that makes me believe that with time Hawkmoon will find their way to that weirdness and find their own unique way to communicate pop music to the world.

The new single by Hawkmoon is called “Bull at a Gate” and it is a power pop adventure with a rhythm and blues swagger framed nicely with a pure Brisbane melody. All in All a solid illustration of songwriting and 1990’s rock n roll fury.

By: Dan Newton

Listen To “Bull at a Gate” via the following video:

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Hawkmoon.music
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/hawkmoon-1
Triple J Unearthed – http://www.triplejunearthed.com/Artists/View.aspx?artistid=47803

 

EP REVIEW: “Red Bridge” by Slow Riots

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There is a quote from an amazing article I read about the heavy music scene earlier this week (click on this link to read it http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2013/12/dont-listen-to-everything/ ) that best describes how I feel about Slow Riots and their new EP “Red Bridge” and it goes like this:

“There is too much music and too many musicians, and the amateurs are often good enough for the public. This is healthy for culture, not so much for aesthetics, and shit for musicians. Musicians in the early ’90s were already feeling the pressure of competition from CD reissues of old stuff; here in the future, you can get almost anything that has ever been digitised for free and listener time is the precious commodity.”

There was also something I wrote in my Tape / Off review (you can read that here: https://heavyandwierd.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/single-review-pedestal-fan-by-tape-off/) which also applies here and it is as follows:

“There are a lot of really nice human beings making fucking terrible music in the Brisbane Music Scene at the moment. As a reviewer it is hard because you want to like these bands / artists purely on the merit of how great the humans in the bands are but you can’t because they make shite music that has no artistic value. Sure they may be the triple j darlings or the underground heroes but bad music is bad music and friends should never let other friends make bad music, but I’m always just a loose acquaintance so I guess I can shit on that carpet.”

In this instance I’m a loose acquaintance for sure but I know that a lot of the friends / family / fans of Slow Riots will hate me for what I’m about to write, but you can’t adjust how something resonates with you, you either feel it or you don’t and in the case of “Red Bridge” by Slow Riots I just don’t feel a thing, but heavy and weird were asked to review it so here we go.

The most positive thing about the brand new Slow Riots EP “Red Bridge” is that it is made by humans and is all original material. Full marks will always be awarded to any human being attempting to create original music. I must admit though, that is where the positives begin and end for me and despite attaching all the right genre tags to their music in order to reel me in, the music just failed to impress.

Where Slow Riots win is that they have indeed evolved from their first EP. There is more confidence in the playing and they sound a lot more comfortable in their own skin allowing for the songs to sound well put together. Dynamically and aesthetically these songs are flawed in so many ways and whilst you could dismiss these flaws as a simple exercise in the lo-fi DIY shtick, there is not enough dust or dirt in these songs to lean on that excuse. The songs sound way too structured for the genres and bands Slow Riots are attempting to align themselves with and it sounds more Nu-Metal than it does 90’s Alternative, Math Rock or Shoegaze.

I must commend the rhythm section because they sound incredibly tight and they deliver a very inspired performance. There is something a little Nu-Metal about the way bass and drums of Slow Riots lock in; in that Incubus / Karnivool kind of way but there are distant peppering’s of Helmet for sure. The rhythm section have set a solid foundation here and show an intense discipline is at play but a little bit more looseness may have allowed for these songs to sound more emotional and alive, overall though – a killer rhythm section.

The guitar lines are intricate and well-structured but they lack emotion and meaning and sound re-hashed. There is nothing original about the execution of the guitar riffs and whilst they demonstrate that James Hilan has great technique and skill it says very little about his creativity and if anything showcases a lack of it. I rarely comment on this type of thing in my reviews, but the overall tone of the guitars suffer from that disgusting “frogstomp” or “battle of the bands” curse where they sound incredibly dull and lifeless. Adjusting the tones and experimenting with different guitar textures may have helped save some of these songs but unfortunately they remain flat lined and uninspiring. Even in a lo-fi DIY setting you can still make your guitars shine with divinity (80’s Sonic Youth, 80’s Dinosaur Jr., Early Helmet, Shellac and Sebadoh).

Vocally James is attempting something he is unable to pull off and it is a bummer because he has the right idea but just lacks the skills melodically to make it work. Even with the style of vocal delivery James is attempting it is important to understand how the melody of it all fits in with the structure of the song because if it isn’t applied with care then it sounds clumsy and lacks impact. It all sounds like a rushed after thought with all of the lyrics sounding like they are trying way too hard to be clever and art school casual. The words in these songs are way too calculated to be clever or art school casual.

The most inspiring part of this EP is how it is pieced together like one long song, yes each song has the same basic dynamics but as a whole piece it works together if you imagine it as one very long song. Perhaps that is how the band intended it to be communicated and big marks to them for attempting such a progressive challenge. With a better producer the band could have really taken these songs to some “out of this world” places, instead we get a good demonstration of what great mathematicians Slow Riots are.

I totally understand what kind of band Slow Riots are attempting to be and I really hope they reach that place eventually but on “Red Bridge” they fail to capture the excitement, energy and emotion of the genres they claim to be influenced by. This is great music for the young and the beautiful and will no doubt have them exploding with joyful bliss but for the old and the ugly it just sounds like a poor attempt at genre flattery.

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/slowriots
Bandcamp – http://slowriots.bandcamp.com/
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/SlowRiots
CD Baby – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/SlowRiots
Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/slow-riots

CASSETTE TAPE REVIEW: “Coral Corral” by Pale Earth

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Towards the end of 2013 and during the first week of 2014 a lot of the more “funded” publications were publishing their “bands to watch in 2014” lists and fuck, it’s pathetic. I’d like to believe that the people running these publications aren’t sinister enough to believe that their audience is so stupid that they won’t read between the lines and see it for the promo fist fuck that it is, you know the little dance that happens between publicity companies and just about everyone in the industry who’ll afford them hype for the right price. It makes me want to vomit in my hands and smear it all over the dumb fucks gullible enough to celebrate it and share it on their social media pages like it is some kind of “surprise” or “shock” that their band or “client” got chosen.  There is no fucking justice in this industry and these lists should not surprise or shock anyone, it’s all about whose sent the best fruit basket or fist fucked with the right asshole. Scratch my back and I’ll fist fuck yours.

One band who should have been on that list but wasn’t was Pale Earth and it disgusts me on so many levels that all that neatcore “made for TV” music succeeded, fuck it, all of the bands on those lists are simply todays hipsters / tomorrow yuppies and I’m sure their children Theodore and Imogen will grow up and hate them and at least play with a bit of fucking angst.

Believe me, there is a review coming – so yes, Pale Earth are one of the bands you should be watching in 2014 but fucking won’t because it won’t afford you any kind of social fortune and it won’t let you go home and fuck the prom queen on Friday night. Part of me is happy about that because the sinister music snob that lurks somewhere between my obesity and real world empathy believes that “you wouldn’t understand” just how great Pale Earth are.

The name of Pale Earth’s recent release is “Coral Corral” and it is a sweet slice of divinity.

First of all, I was so stoked to finally have an artist send me a cassette tape to review – my life as a music fiend started with the sweet shine of cassette tapes and while all you modern posers try to fake some authenticity with your praise for vinyl I still believe that the Cassette Tape rules all and if I had my way it would be how I’d listen to all my music, fuck I still do on occasion.

The music contained on “Coral Corral” is another evolutionary step forward that sails on a majestic drone that shivers like ancient heartbreak. There is something otherworldly about this music and I for one pray and hope that Pale Earth finally release a full length movement of music because they are the soundtrack to a modern evolution in sound.

I’m just looking at the Pale Earth facebook page and notice that only 139 people like this page, you people make me fucking sick. Stop wasting your time on pointless sound that has a rehearsed agenda and jump inside the Pale Earth spaceship and take a ride to the future where all of the aliens and humans have learnt how to live in peace and harmony without the need for the strangulation of Social Media and People who listen with their eyes.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed “Coral Corral” and wish there was more Pale Earth for me to listen to because the world is a brighter fucking place when this music is coming through my headphones.

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Listen and Buy “Coral Corral” here – http://paleearth.bandcamp.com/album/coral-corral

Bandcamp – http://paleearth.bandcamp.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/paleearth

SINGLE REVIEW: “Pedestal Fan” by Tape / Off

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There are a lot of really nice human beings making fucking terrible music in the Brisbane Music Scene at the moment. As a reviewer it is hard because you want to like these bands / artists purely on the merit of how great the humans in the bands are but you can’t because they make shite music that has no artistic value. Sure they may be the triple j darlings or the underground heroes but bad music is bad music and friends should never let other friends make bad music, but I’m always just a loose acquaintance so I guess I can shit on that carpet.

Tape / Off are not one of those bands, they are a great bunch of people who understand and respect music and in return make totally badass sounds as a result. So in short, my kind of band – people I like who make great music that resonates with me. The band has just released a new single which is called “Pedestal Fan” which from their soon to be released debut album and it is a total fucking bliss jam that communicates itself perfectly in less than two minutes.

All of those more fortunate publications will employ some writer to apply all kinds of genre tags to this song and or band; I’m not in the business of serving some kind of corporate agenda so I don’t have to tell you that this song is psychedelic, lo-fi and or the perfect execution of modern indie rock. Any thundercunt with seasoned ears and who respects music will pick that up instantly. The real enjoyment when listening to “Pedestal Fan” comes when you dig a bit deeper and hear the more subtle creative aesthetics at play.

First off I just want to congratulate Tape / Off for being original, sure are there influences that jump out at you but this song sounds fucking real and like four different minds working as one to make something that best represents what future punk should sound like. Thank fuck this is not retro, because I don’t think I could tolerate any more fucking Kevin Parkerism’s or Puddle of Mudd hell fuck yeah grunge tributes from local Brisbane or Straylian Rock Bands. I think the reason why Tape / Off will never subscribe to such a weak handshake mode of communication is because of the drums, fuck, the drums are what make this a firm dose of heavy metal understanding with a Slint Vs Fugazi Vs Sonic Youth heartbeat covered in all kinds of Malkmus jizz and jazz with a warm yet thick dollop of Sebadoh lo-fi sheen.

Yes, Tape / Off understand what is great and glorious about dusty and dirty indie rock but they play it with such a futuristic drive, much like Not From There did before them this band will be one of the many ways forward for the Brisbane underground music scene.

Look, I’ll make it simple for those of you who like their communication all modern and petite – “Pedestal Fan” by Tape / Off is a punk rock song wrapped up in psyche rock heartbeats smothered with the charm and delivery of Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” all the while being a total exercise in modern slackerism. It’s real and has the potential to be ignored and misunderstood or embraced and adored, I guess it really depends on whether you respect music or not. This song could also be beaming with all kinds of light due to Benjamin Thompson’s horn noises but you know, I reckon it is the full package and the power of it all can’t be denied.

Listen to the song now you fucking fool – click the link and turn it up loud

http://soundcloud.com/tape-off/pedestal-fan

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tapeoff
Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/tape-off
Official Website – www.tapeoff.net