TRACK | Punter – A Minute’s Silence

5/5 golden merles

Hardcore punk from Melbourne with great scope, focused on the vast rot. The vocals are appropriately raving in a perpetual alarm propelled by an undercurrent of backing hooks and lead guitar melodies that facilitate agreeable ingurgitation.

You’re not going to get a better opening line than “Chuck a piss-up on a grave site” for awhile. The primary concerns explicit in the text are privacy in an era of unbidden observation, militarized police forces, and the general degradation and abuses of the social contract. It’s also anthemic. And it’s also a lot of fun.

From what I can gleam as am imbecile and outsider, the son and dotard of many hungry ghosts, the angle is relatively anarchic, I hope, to the extent affiliations don’t damn you outright. There are expressed concerns with left disunity benefitting the bastards at the alternate extreme. Historical examples are cited as everyman martyrs who have been sacrificed for a world they would be ashamed to have been affiliated with.

Your revulsion will either be directed outward or eat you alive from the inside. As an agent within a system of organized degradation with a capacity for self reflection, exercising that capacity for critique is imperative if there is any hope of remediation. And (and) there’s a lot of good hooks in it, too. Revel, wallow, examine, admire the monolithic guillotine on the cover… come up against the limitations of the medium and maybe discover a door.

$6.91 USD on Bandcamp or vinyl from Drunken Sailor Records.

TRACK | OUZO! – State of Affairs

5/5 golden merles

Australian Garage punk that has become sentient and aware of the existential threats which are damning us to an arbitrary and relatively abrupt end. A dangerous prospect, hopefully. The track contains a litany of discontents, each censure delivered with savor. Racing through the excess offenses of the era, OUZO! continues smashing and grabbing back at the daily gauntlet of inadequate empathy.

And, of course, rightfully so. God damn the status quo, the complacency which empowers it, and the fervor with which its defenders somehow manage to live with themselves. In the fine form the critique holds up and is elevated. Tradition is presently the cancer of culture, by and large, we just hope for the benign kinds cluttering up our chest cavities.

But, also, contradictorily, ritual can reinforce behavior, and maybe with nice, catchy, scathing, fun, fiery tracks like these that tradition can be reinvented, with some small part played as a salving commiseration, consensus building catalyst, or soundtrack for direct action. I don’t know. Adam Curtis would politely laugh in my face for discussing tracks in these terms. But he provides no practical alternative and is himself caught in the indefinite arts feedback loop.

The 7″ is sold out from Weather Vane Records (AU), Polaks Records (EU) but some remain for €7 on the French Wine Records (EU) bandcamp. Or $3 AUD for the digital remains straight from the horses’ mouth.

TRACK | Krul – Moon

5/5 golden merles

Melbourne-based punk rock with Japanese vocals, Krul’s “Moon” arises like an ungodly hour, with drums like a stake through the heart. It’s made for inciting, the riot or the unvarnished reverie. In any case, a recipe for revolt and some finely constructed contents for the small hours.

Having lived under the reign of both the sun and moon, I tell you I prefer the moon: a great curator of the light, and patron saint of less is more. That is much like the instrumentation and production here, everything piled and cutting but not running the cup over.

There’s an old saying where I proport to be from, “He who burns bridges, builds mausoleums.” This is the soundtrack of that sentiment. You can name your price to own the set as we await a work at greater length.

TRACK | Billiam – Jenny Destroys Records

5/5 golden merles

From a split with The Vovos, Billliam’s “Jenny Destroys Records” is synth punk that tells a simple tale of destruction well, with heart and animus. The Vocal-synth harmony is unforgiving in its pursuit: heavily hounding, never yielding. In the writing there is a keen understanding of when to rhyme and when to let it slide, suiting the compiling accusations as they grow in conviction.

It’s a great relief to find this frank wrath so built to scale; the track balances absolute parity of medium and message, the scope fitting the melody and method of execution; all of it craven and compelling. Artistry and insolence are the heart of punk rock, but also here add in a bit of humor and a laser-guided melody.

The remaining tracks will be emerging on the 16th of September, preorder now at $1 AUD. The 150 pressing of the vinyl by Under Heat Records will be gone shortly, those not already smashed or scratched by Jenny the cat. rip.

TRACK | CLAMM – Something New

5/5 golden merles

Melbourne’s CLAMM offer “Something New,” fangs bared, among a set of impassioned punk and garage rock tracks. The works are ruminating and requesting assistance, an allegiance at the threat of annihilation. The direct language and reiteration of themes insist that this is real seeking/beseeching, decidedly not posture or play on the scales of invest or escape.

The production cracks, daunting and declarative. An authoritative and aggrieved vocal at the core of the track holds court: in a time of mass disillusionment and a growing desperation for reinvention, what can be salvaged and what must be discarded? A reason, a sign. something new. Backing vocals collude with some horns that act as a wax seal on the exit and work to elevate the scope.

Vinyl’s are out from Meat Machine (UK, Europe and Asia) and Chapter Music (rest of world -> this means you, USA) — if you’re off planet or shedding all material possessions in anticipation of the end, digitally it’s $13 AUD worth of audio.

TRACK | The Shifters – A Believer

5/5 golden merles

“A Believer” is a bit more Australian garage rock excellence from Melbourne’s The Shifters. Gradual and gracious tones that creep about the periphery, blossoming and cleaving to the meditative frame. Soldered together with synths, an incise track largely devoid of excess.

You can forsake all your earthly possessions and embrace the void with a nice, transferrable digital purchase that still benefits the band in some miniscule but not immeasurable capacity. And it includes a 21 minute live set as well in addition to the original couplet. The second-hand market has the wax disk for about $50 big ones.

TRACK | Chook Race – Pop Song

5/5 golden merles

There’s a rotating cast of 4-5 people in 30 Australian garage rock bands and they’re all good. It’s like any crime drama show you’ve ever seen on the BBC: 4 guys and 4 gals in a rotating cast of who gets to play the detective.

The influence is both disproportionate and good, at least as far as this subject of another tendril of the empire is concerned. “Pop Song” features what guts would jangle like if they were made of metal and could reverberate audibly.

Much like the US of America, Australia has had a succession of mediocre crackpots at the helm. Nevertheless, within the music scene and across the last decade there has been a similar set of assumptions about harnessing the heart, about how and when… And the technologies available to record… And the styles aimed at through them… And the influences accumulated plus or minus the current trends, which are adopted and which abandoned… And possibly some similar sort of water table contaminated neurotoxins consumed.

Whatever the case may be, there’s some not insignificant overlap in these regards and a hundred others that output after all the variables something deemed ideal.

I suggest a reputable publisher offer me a $50k advance to sort this all out… or some vastly more qualified Australian I guess.

TRACK | Possible Humans – The Thumps

5/5 golden merles

The track for me represents music with a broader capacity than is normally assigned or attributed to it, one that is attempting to more properly incorporate doubt or uncertainty into the model.

Lyrically there is a reassessment at work and at the time of delivery we’re privy to some middle-stage in the process of reinvention.

Meanwhile the musical accompaniment is the energy embodied which acts as a catalyst for this effort, itself a spiraling, mechanical whirl.

The persistence fuels the framework, and is, through its action, a kind of enriched ground of possibility for the vocal performance to grow out of. Quietly at first, so as to not draw too much attention. And then later with determination.

It all locks together nicely in the tenuous/tempestuous process. Order the album here.