G’day Cool Perth readers. So, as regular perusers of this column will know, I’ve been living in Melbourne since February, which – let’s not beat about the bush – doesn’t exactly lend itself to writing about literal nights that are Cool in Perth. I’ve hoped to be a foreign correspondent of sorts; what’s going on in the belly of Perth’s cloudier half-sister? But sometimes you gotta get back to your ROOTS, nahmean? This week I wanted to write about new releases from the West Coast, and I put out a callout for submissions. I got an overwhelming response, which is great in itself. If you sent me something and I didn’t write about it: sorry mate. Time is money and money is time and I spent most of both on dumplings and beer.
I’m prone to verbosity, so for your sake and mine, each review herein is limited to 50 words. Micro-reviews, I guess. Small windows unto that which exists as sound and should be experienced as such! Without further ado:
Kucka – Unconditional
[pictured. image credit: GIRL TOY]
What has Laura Jane Lowther been up to in her studio/bedroom/python-riddled neon tower of genius? Here’s a taste: “Unconditional” is arguably Kucka’s most conventional tune yet, eschewing her celebrated sample-heavy, breathy palette, instead plunging into deep and churning RnB. But true to form, it’s surprising, unique, futuristic – and intensely rewarding.
Sprawl – Aleph
Tech-savvy noisemakers Sprawl unleashed two monster EPs in 2012. “Aleph” is the band’s first as a 3-piece, and they’ve embraced their shrunken sonic girth, with a sound that’s more Shellac than Gang Gang Dance. Trumpet cameo aside, we’re talking boney bass, dry drums, buzzsaw guitars, inflamed vocals – perfectly utilized.
Shock Octopus – A Crisis
Unlike kindred cephalopod-wordplay name-spirits Doctopus, Shock Octopus have never been interested in sounding like your matey next door neighbours. “A Crisis,” likewise, is operatic, overflowing with bright-eyed galactic/suburban prog enthusiasm. Fans of Canterbury rock who meanwhile hanker for grungey guitar and piano-ballad indulgence will welcome this nine-track’s slimy, suckered embrace.
Rabbit Island – 65% Hits
This collection of unreleased Amber Fresh tracks recalls her lo-fi Myspace-playlist origins, meanwhile darting in luminous new directions. Rejoice in the onomatopoeic “Fun” and the autumnal “Nothing Lasts”; relish the unexpected booming ‘80s drums of “Call Dreamin,” and the crystal clear, playful mountain folk gem “Dandelion for the Whole World!”
Loom Voodoo – s/t EP
Tim Cluett is an alumnus of WAAPA’s composition school – and an erudite, expert approach certainly shapes his beats-focused Loom Voodoo project. It’s omnivorous, intricate; yet there’s as much here for the bloodflow as the brain-cells. Labyrinthine, otherworldly club music – unfurling with organic flutters and aquatic eruptions. A phenomenal debut.
Diode – Second Circle
Diode mightn’t have been gigging much but they’ve certainly been refining and augmenting their sound behind closed doors. “Second Circle” is their third release, and its beautifully recorded songs – like “Mini Bar” and “Zero” – evoke equal parts Nico, Broadcast and Jesus & Mary Chain. Worth every penny.
Our Man In Berlin – Is It Right? EP
Here’s a triumph of indie-rock/electronica fusion, striking up a tasteful symbiosis that surprisingly few bands manage. Intricate drum patterns weave between restrained guitars and ping-pong synth pulsations; verby (but never insipid) vocals flow overhead. This EP’s a descendent of “Kid A,” yet it’s the inspiration – not imitation – that prevails.
D-Jeong – Beatz N’ Pieces
Crisp, satisfying, glitchy, lush beats like Mumma used to make, back when she was making forward-thinking instrumental hip-hop.
Rich King Matthews – That Girl (single)
Clean and boppy guitar pop with a bonus Brit brogue. Not my cuppa, sure, but deftly delivered – West Leederville’s answer to The Kooks?
Klaus Bass – Paroxetine
Really nice acid house/surf guitar cocktail?! I guess?! By local producer Michael Graham, worth a peep for sure.
That’s all for now folks. Happy listening.
See you next time,
Your pal in the silly jumper,