Miyazaki! – Thank You. Fuck You. Goodbye. (2014)

Yup..Miyazaki..
Yup..Miyazaki..

This Melbourne based three piece has put together a quirky and charming collection of indie rock songs complete with Star Wars references, self depreciating lyrics, witty song titles and refreshingly honest music. On first spin I couldn’t shake the ‘The Might Be Giants’ comparisons. But with less silliness and more rock.

The production is clean and clear with all instruments sounding just as live as they should. In fact there’s more than a few sloppy moments captured for a touch of reality. There is minimal studio trickery employed here..it’s not one of those recordings where everything is trimmed/slammed and squashed into perfection. It’s honest and accurate of what this band actually sounds like! How sad that this almost passes for novelty in this age of technopoly in music. Anyway….I digress…

Luke (guit/vox) singing reminds me of a young Billy Corgan or even ‘Placebo’s Brian Molko. It’s mostly just him on vocals though sometimes there’s a tasteful little harmony behind him … but only occasionally. It might have been a good move to have used some doubling/layering in places to enhance a chorus or two..here or there..but that’s just taste.
The guitar and bass work together really well, there’s some great tones coming out of that axe..I’m not sure what gear they used, but I love the sounds! We get jangly, twinkly, reverby and most of all overdriven rock sounds..but all so well executed, you know they’ve spent time of this element of the band.

Maybe the weakest link here is the lack of memorable choruses or hooks that last beyond the songs 2-3 minute lifespan. It’s not forgettable music by any measure, it’s definitely worth a spin..but each time I turn it off I have immediate trouble remembering how any one song went. One notable exception is at the end of #7 ‘Ain’t no ring on this finger (baby)’..there’s a closing section with Luke singing ‘there’s something missin’ from my life / there’s somethin missin from my life’ coupled with another vocal behind it and a sweet build up from the band. It’s a good moment. The kind I wanted more of and luckily there’s some other great build ups and surprises in other songs too…loads of clever lyrics and feel good jams. The album closer ‘Smells Like Teen Pregnancy’ might be one of the strongest songs on the whole thing, a shame it appears so late in the game..def’s worth listening to sooner rather than later.

In conclusion, this is an honest album, that sounds really good, warts and all. The band are not crafting pop songs or catchy tunes to sell jeans/phones/whatever, it’s subject matter contains a share of social commentary and reflects a bit of realism seldom heard from indie bands who these days are often more concerned with crooning over girls or sooking over them.

Click on here to go check it out!

http://miyazakisucks.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/miyazaki.now

 

Anchors – Bad Ju Ju / Poison City Records

LP cover

Ok, in a nutshell..this is a hugely melodic and anthemic punk record. It’s also really reminiscent of Wilhelm Scream so one can expect busy guitars, triplets and riffs and very fast persistent drumming and hoarse/screamed vocals. Check, check, check and check.

At the start of 2010…the band dropped a three song demo online, got buzz almost instantly, gigged everywhere and released an EP whilst chipping away at material for an album and dropped it before Christmas. The vinyl followed shortly after in 2011 for a US release. Talk about a busy year!

The resulting album was 9 tracks long..though it’s really 10 cos there’s an equally cool hidden track after a few minutes of annoying silence. At least that’s how it is on the CD, on the vinyl they just get straight to it! The first and second track are essentially one song…and it’s a blast. Gang vocals ‘don’t let it end like this’ will be replaying through your head with any luck afterwards.
From then on it’s a really entertaining mixed bag of mid paced, fast and riffy melodic punk. It’s furious and pissed off to the utmost extent that vocalist Owen NEVER lets up on his intense delivery for a second so there’s no clean singing, no quieter moments. The band plays with some clever tempo changes and sometimes gets a little complex with the tricky bits..it’s actually heaps cool to hear more than just power chords and harmony octaves all the time which is pretty standard for a lot of melodic punk bands.

It was a goose-bump moment in the albums closing moments to hear the return of the gang vocal which appeared right at the start of the album and is accompanied an incredibly moving outro which just makes me wanna bounce off the walls!

The band is putting it up for free/PWYW D/L on their bandcamp page so I highly highly suggest you get on it! The vinyl is the way to go though, you can pick that up from the friendly gentlemen at Poison City Records in store/online.

As with many others, they’re playing at TapeDeckFest so if you have not gotten off your arse and bought a ticket…pfft!

http://www.anchors.bandcamp.com
Or be elite:
http://poisoncityestore.com/estore/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=865

 

 

Racoon City Police Department – Night Life EP (2014)

rcpd

RCPD are a 5 piece band from Adelaide who play emo/skramz/punk music that reminds me an awful lot of ‘Off Minor’. With that said..I could probably leave the review right there and you should have more than enough reason to warrant checking them out. But wait…there’s more.

Featuring 7 tracks the ‘Nightlife’ EP is only the second release from the band and has proven to be quite a popular one since it dropped back in May. The band put out the CD, Annoy and Destroy put out the tape and soon I believe they’ll be producing a 7” to complete the collection! PLUS the band was offering it for free d/l (until they ran out) so obviously this music is making an impact and people are lapping it up! Luckily Age Crisis Records have copies of the CD for those who missed out on getting a copy during the bands recent tour.

The production is superb on this release and sounds really full!! Instruments are crystal clear, drums are punchy as hell and the vocals carry amazingly well above it all in the mix. Overall the band plays melodic/mathy/aggressive emo that will resonate with fans of Piano’s Become The Teeth/Tiny Moving Parts/Calculator/Caravels etc

There are ambient/reverb laden post rock moments, heavy-crust/hardcore moments, blast beats and impressive guitar noodling..in fact there’s more packed into these 7 tracks than a lot of bands i hear attempt across a whole album. It’s ambitious if nothing else!

Lyrically it’s really got some potency, loaded with metaphors and personal stuff like ‘i guess what im trying to say / its hard to watch a loved one slowly fade away / with every breathe you take / brings death closer this way’ on the opener ‘Lungs’. Wether born from personal experiences or stories, the words seem very personal and are delivered with passion and urgency.

This is  CLEARLY AND EASILY in my top-releases of the year. I am smashing this one on repeat. And i dont even like Resident Evil.

Buy it from the band for $1 at: http://rcpd.bandcamp.com/

Or buy the CD from the fine folks at Age Crisis Records

http://www.storenvy.com/products/8273823-raccoon-city-police-department-nightlife-cd

Or by get Tapes / Vinyl through the crew at Annoy & Destroy http://annoyanddestroy.bigcartel.com/

Or D/L from them..

https://annoyanddestroy.bandcamp.com/album/nightlife-2

Lyrics available on their web site..worth read, totes emo and shit.

http://www.raccooncityband.com/

Thesis – Holiday Home 7″ (2014 Lacklustre Records)

thesis rock
cover

Thesis are a 4 piece act from Sydney who play a raw mix of melodic pop punk with emo and indie elements mixed in for good measure. This is the bands 2nd release BUT first through the awesome crew at Lacklustre Records who offer it as a free download via bandcamp as well as handling vinyl orders. This business model of ‘free d/l + vinyl’ is really growing into a legit way of operating for independent labels across the indie/punk/hc scene in the wake of the digital revolution and the demise of CD sales. Can you believe that..ha ha.. not that long ago it was tapes dying off..and before that it was vinyl..! Now that they are both coming back would it be fair to say in a few more years we’ll reflect on the passing of the CD & mp3? Hmm..ponder that.

Back to the music..*ahem*..

Musically Thesis are pretty consistent with the current trend amongst bands in this scene. They blend lightly overdriven guitars with jangly power chords and harmonies/octaves over the top. Drums are straight forward, no double time or anything like that..it’s a mid-paced affair but to be fair it’s a very solid performance especially with some of the fills and rolls in the opening track ‘no love lost’! The bass sits pretty much square in the middle and just does the job without any real flair..BUT it all works well together to create a mature and melodic take on the pop-punk sound. Think early ‘Citizen’ or ‘Make Do and Mend’ for comparison.

The thing which is going to set this band apart from the rest is the vocals. It’s also going to polarise audiences into two camps: 1) those who like it for being different or 2) those who wig out and don’t get it. As a reviewer I should try and be impartial..but honestly I swung quite a bit on this point. At first I didn’t like it. Nope. It grated against my nerves in the same way i remember Hot Water Music used to get under my skin! The gruff/slightly off key and very Aussie delivery began to sound more and more fitting as listened to the EP over a few times..and as you may have guessed .. I like it now. Quite a bit 🙂

These lads will be at Tape Deck Fest if you were lucky enough to get tickets to that and have also been touring around with the likes of Trophy Eyes, Basement and others.. no doubt in a few years they’ll be one of those bands you get to say ‘oh i saw them when they played dot dot dot..’ or in this case ‘oh i’ve got their first vinyl they put out back in 2014!!’

It’s a grower. Get onto it 🙂

Digital here:

http://lacklustrerecords.bandcamp.com/album/holiday-home-2

Or get the physical 7” here:

http://lacklustrerecords.bigcartel.com/product/thesis-holiday-home-7

Reverie – S/T 7″ (2014)

a1242685864_10

A new label based in Brisbane > ‘NeverHomeRecords’ have just put out a stunning debut release from fellow Brissy based 4 piece ‘Reverie’. These guys play a super sad and melodic blend of 90’s emo/indie rock but the material is slower paced than most and at times even leans a little toward post-rock. All the better for it. This method worked for a lot of bands IN THE ACTUAL 90’s..so it’s great to see old tricks turn new again!

This is going to resonate strongly for fans of TWIABP/Joyce Manor/Modern Baseball/Basement etc etc. It’s that melodic sad and likeable sound that grabs you in the guts and breaks your feels! You could easily imagine a band like this opening for <insert favourite Topshelf/NoSleep/Runforcover band> if you catch my dirft.

The guitars are beautiful here, reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate circa ‘Diary’ era or Jimmy Eat World circa ‘Clarity’ era. They use some beautiful tones and often let the chords just ring out without relying on heaps of distortion to sustain them. The bass plays some great parts, noticeably opening the EP with a wicked bass part that starts the song and demonstrates some solid musicianship. Drums are tasteful and sound really roomy and live..fitting for this style but i noticed some clever hat-work and fills that compliment the space given by the guitars. Sometime it’s not what the band plays but rather what they DONT do that makes an impression. Such is the case here.

Another great quality..is the mix and production: it’s absolutely spot on. A good performance, no matter how well played or emotional can always be let down by a poor engineer and this release has everything going for it. Front man ‘Mitch’ has a raspy singing voice which conveys heaps of feeling and sounds honest. The melodies are simple and lyrically it’s personal heartfelt content eg. “Always been movie extra, un-focussed background figure”… Love that line!

Overall .. huge thumbs up from me, go get it from one of the links below and lets get behind new bands..and the labels behind them!!

Physical copies of the 7” available here:

http://neverhomerecords.limitedrun.com/products/530944-reverie-s-t-7

Stream/download here: http://neverhomerecords.bandcamp.com/album/reverie