Monday, 23 February 2009

I have written Music reviews for a number of publications. Some reviews are better than others. I'll try to post more at some point.

These offerings appeared in Stained Sheets issue #2. Stained Sheets is a fanzine edited by Dan from Straight Jacket Race. The zine features some talented writers from Melbourne. 2009 may become the year of the Sheet.


Clockcleaner play unpleasant music. ‘’Babylon Rules’’ is a revenge fantasy orientated, misogynistic kick up your guts. Their delivery comes across as completely genuine, thus making proceedings even more unsettling. Lead antagonist John Sharkey’s reverb-soaked guitar brings THE CRAMPS to mind, whilst his vocal musings represent more the thought patterns of Lux and co’s audience at Napa State mental hospital back in the halcyon days of ‘78. The ominous low end meandering is not unlike Australian underachievers KING SNAKE ROOST and LUBRICATED GOAT, the latter of which being a comparison the band vehemently refute. The drums are completely unremarkable. Their ability to create a mood via their ‘’skull music’’ phenomena is almost as strong as their ability to write exceptional songs. It makes you wonder, what if the lyrical content were more diluted? What if the band’s on-stage and off-stage persona were less confrontational? Could this band be a world-beater? We may never know? Nevertheless, ‘’Babylon Rules’’ is a tremendous effort, and perhaps the best release of last year. This is a band that deserves everything, both good and bad, that is coming to them.


You see the problem with the Brits is that they’re just so fucking lazy. Noone cares- ‘’I can’t go outside, I’ll catch a chill. I can’t go outside, I’ve not got any sun oil on. I’m dead broke, me.’’ All familiar phrases from our wooden-toothed, pasty skinned, dumpy brethren. To be honest (tbh), you can’t really blame them: The weather sucks, the people are dog-ugly and 99 percent of their bands in recent years have been flaccid. That’s why GENTLEMAN’S PISTOLS are such an anomaly. What we have here are four pretty right-on Northern lads playing hooky trad-rock in the vein of Leaf Hound, Blue Cheer and Lucifer’s Friend. The cheeky lyrical content and energetic playing allows anyone from the 60 year old, bitter R’N’R purist, to the 18-year old girl fucked up on meth at the Big Day Out to get down to The Gents. ‘’The Lady’’ throws you down stair with a sleazy, lounge vibe. ‘’Creamy Lid’’ is hardly about Ski Double-Ups or Yoplait Petit Miam if you get me? The Gents have banged out a well-written, fun record that should help our friends in the mother country to stop complaining about the weather, the muggings and the weather. Bigger and better things for ‘’these’’.


These four young blokes play early 90’s Californian power violence, replete with fast parts, slow parts and some general weirdness. These guys smoke bongs, roll their own darts, work shitty jobs and have occasional bouts of mental instability, possibly caused by excessive marijuana consumption. The hardcore sections don’t really bring anything new to the table, but these days, 99% of this style is like the cat on the chopping block to these ears. Mate, I’ll tell ya, PATHETIC HUMAN are at their best when they drop it down 400 BPM and plummet into a painful dirge. Ugly, ugly stuff. Hopefully subsequent releases will see them experiment with more downers and sedatives. Repeat after me, ‘’Grim reaper’’, not ‘’Cold War’’.


In 1977, the rope that joined Australia and Tasmania was severed in a terrible boating accident. This unfortunate mishap forever plunged most Tasmanians into a life of solitude, servitude and extreme ignorance… Not the four chaps from WITCH HATS though. Never content to waste their lives away in Hobart’s salt mines, cotton fields and chain gangs, the Hats set about procuring as many floatation devices they could, and made the testicle-ingesting journey across Bass Strait, bringing with them their neo-swamp rock. Yep, you can bet that these Melbourne-based sister-fuckers are members of the order of Gordon, dig the sermon of Salmon and live by the gospel of Gracelands. Like their deities, it’s often the Hat’s rhythm section that keeps them afloat, especially through some particularly mundane verses. However, the verses provide appropriate ramp-ups to soaring crescendos and inventive changes. The Hats could delve deeper into the tom-based tribal crawl, but the real pots of gold lay in their clever pop-hooks and catchy choruses. ‘’Cellulite Soul’’ is the maiden voyage, for these fish out of water sailing mightily towards the horizon.


The editor of this publication has been pulling himself silly about this band, and rightly so. DEAF WISH have knocked out a superb local release in the great tradition of the Aussie post-punk sound that everyone is so eager to recreate these days. However, few contemporary artists attempting this style have the ‘’wild men of rock’’ vibe of Ian Rillen or Stu Spasm that appears totally removed from the arty, cerebral, less-threatening sounds coming from old blighty, or the continent at the time. DEAF WISH sit somewhere between the two schools. DEAF WISH are very Melbourne. DEAF WISH sound dirty, violent, and unfriendly at times. How could they not? Their sound is part Flag, part Venom P… yet there is a slight good-time vibe to what they do. Perhaps it’s the samples of rehearsal room tomfoolery that loosens up some of the assault? Perhaps it’s the jerky Minutemen moments? Perhaps it’s the unconventional melodies buried under a mass of drums, guitars and vocals? Perhaps DEAF WISH are onto something, and it’s working well. Perhaps other bands in this one horse town should pay attention?

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