Sunday, February 16, 2014


Vanessa Amara Both Of Us

Vanessa Amara's debut tape features a consistent theme of ominous church organ augmented by tape loops and piano, or interrupted by percussive blasts like a desperate parishoner seeking midnight confession. On first hearing it, in the Winter of Copenhagen earlier this year, the drone of the organ resounded most prominently and the tape suggested some sense of stillness and contemplation. Listening to it on my return to Melbourne Summer, my brain affected by jetlag, self abuse, and the sweltering heat of the loft I work in (which lacks both insulation and ventilation), I was beholden by the claustophobic quality, the sizzling tape loops contributing to an atmosphere of imminent catastrophe. In the weeks since my return I have adjusted to the schizophrenic conditions of Melbourne weather, and to the dramatic ritual of this cassette, which is a highlight of the year so far.

I got in contact with Vanessa to ask about the recording experience of Both Of Us.

"I recorded the music in the Winter of 2012-2013 with help from my closest friend in a small summer house by the sea, in the north of Sjælland, the same island as Copenhagen. I moved up there to record with a band I played in. We had all our recording gear in the house and stayed there until late spring, late April. I wrote the first and the final song the summer before, the middle one is a couple of years old. But we made a shorter and more percussive version of it.

We asked the closest church with an organ if we could record in the church throughout the months we stayed there. The church was 30 km away, we had to bike their early in the morning and reached the church when it was still dark. Around the walls and the vault were old religious frescos of awkward figures and symbols. Drawn by different hands they had different lines, and reminded me of the tattoos on my friends' skin.

The organ player in the church asked when we'd have to leave. We had no clue, so he explained us the different things one should go through closing the church. We stayed in the church the following day and night, until we had recorded what we needed, drank their holy wine, ate their dry crackers, biked back to the house, and the following months we made tape loops and recorded synth and guitar, closely following the season change, waking up with the birds, finding youth in the April sunsets glow."

Buy it here.


SIMFUCKERS - You Get What You Deserve

Big Star's popularity is probably at its zenith - recurrent discoveries of vault recordings, documentary, Chilton reissues aplenty - and Simfuckers tribute cassette to one of their finest tunes is unlistenable depravity of high grade. If you come to this thinking you might be treated to the heartbreaking vulnerability of Big Star, you get what you deserve. This tape is blunt, crude: fucked. Their set at Maggotfest was a remarkable moment of 2013: punishing mid paced riffs with Elliot's retard slurring becoming more incomprehensible as each layer of clothing was discarded, the crowd treated to mouthful after mouthful of mystery meat. Simfuckers demo proved their superiority to their genetic forebears (Bloodclot Faggots, etc.) in their high regard for making deaf, and this tape continues their trajectory, direct into the hearts and minds of our country's most sensitive music listeners.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Jock Club's Fantasy was the tape I listened to most in 2013. I picked it up in Austin whenTotal Control played with Destruction Unit and the Ascetic House guys opened a stall that included a couple of thousand different cassettes and pamphlets, from which they compiled a small selection and sent me on my way. Upon returning home to my old job, a coworker recommended me the Chris Low Ultimate Acid Mix which provided a pretty good introduction to Jock Club when I returned home to play the cassette that very same day. Such coincidences are the grist for many an obsessive's mill, and the tape didn't move from the player for months, providing a nice counterpoint to Lee Gamble's incredible Diversions LP.

I spent a month in Berlin over Jan and was refused entry to Berghain for the second time (0/2 - I look like a narc), and returned home to an email from Andrew that he was happy to answer a couple of questions about Jock Club and Fantasy.

So here it is: a couple of questions answered about Fantasy, my preferred tape of 2013.

What made you decide to use the name Jock Club?

The name Jock Club came about because i was trying to relate to the 90's dance and club scene, i always pictured 90's clubs filled with jocks and street kids raving with glow sticks for some reason, the idea was funny to me.

What kinda stuff were you listening to when you put Fantasy together?

So basically at the time that i started Jock Club i was really getting into Techno from the Berlin Berghain and Ostgut Ton scene; a lot of Shed (Wax), Function, and Shifted. My first tape "Labyrinths" was just a stab in the dark, i really had no clue what i was doing. Fantasy being the second tape, i felt like i had a better idea of what sound i liked. I tried to include elements of everything i was into; i was getting into Deep House and other Techno like Skudge, Surgeon, and Nina Kraviz. After the tape came out, I went on tour with Destruction Unit for like 6 months. At that time i really started to get deep into Acid House and kind of the history of dance music; old school Detroit and Chicago House, it was all i listened to every day. I guess dance music was always apart of my musical upbringing, i grew up with Moby and the Chemical Brothers so when i started doing Jock Club i just felt excited to understand how electronic music worked.

Could you give me an idea of what you think "psychedelic music" means in 2014? I suppose with one foot in acid house (Jock Club) and the other in psych rock (Destruction Unit) you've got one of the widest stance on the matter of most anyone on the planet right now!

Overall though "psychedelic" is less about the actual genre of music and more about the mindset behind it, "Acid House" or any type of electronic music is constantly changing, sub-genres play a big role in this, (ex. "Acid House" or "Deep House") Rock music is the same way. Playing this kind of music is about paying attention to the history of the music, but at the same time paving new ground for it to prosper.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Snake is Al Montfort's first solo recording, an 8 song cassette released on Hideotic (UV).

It's a little awkward to run a list of bands with someone I've been playing with for over a decade, but if you are familiar with Lower Plenty, Total Control, Straightjacket Nation, Dick Diver, UV Race or East Link, you are familiar with Snake. These bands have played and jammed every week for the last decade, not to mention overseas touring and making a movie. Al also has a great jacket with Princess Diana on the back.

Over the last year, using the sarangi, assamese buffalo horn flute, sax and been, a zoom drum machine and GUITAR, Al started accumulating solo recordings and it's one of the best tapes of 2013.

This a very eclectic collection of songs, all strong. There's a song that sounds like live Alan Vega that closes with a passage of fractured noise and bursts into a cascade of aforementioned Indian instruments, for instance. Moments of mesmerising drone. Atmospheric, dark psych-folk. "A journey".

Recorded over the last twelve months in Melbourne and while travelling in India, Snake is a very powerful selection of songs. Are you my main man? Are you now? Are you now?

Limited to 45 copies, don't sleep. More copies soon. Buy it here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


This guitar on this tape is disgusting. It sounds like Ildjarn. No shit. Very loud. It’s not a metal tape, but an infected wound. An open furnace. A personality in fragments is the suggestion. The further suggestion is the deterioration of one’s ability to distinguish the passing of time in a linear fashion. Each element holds the distinguished air of precision. Supreme control, as opposed to the immediate thrill of unhinged chaos. The attention is held into a yawning abyss of sneers and disgusted remarks, splintered with infected pulses, samples of illegible conversation or joyful singing. A man looks into the camera, and says that his penis size made him insecure until he drank Coopers Pale Ale, and then he high fives a pensive cat. This is the finest beer ad ever made, but you didn’t watch it because you are afraid of the future.
More info here. *** Edit: this piece is a pretty good argument against writing on benzos, and I only leave it here to humiliate myself into not attempting such in future. ***

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Gentlemen Demo
Melbourne’s Gentlemen straddle a couple decades of drug punk, sounding at times like the darker 80’s (Scratch Acid), at times more like raw 90’s / early 2000’s obnoxious garage punk (early Hunches, Clone Defects). Easiest reference point: Pissed Jeans, Francis Harold, etc. They kick a nice scathing dirge or two on their demo, rabid vocal presence over sick fuck guitar hate, and they can let a riff play out for a few thousand repetitions without losing me.
Listen here.


Stoic Violence Demo

Three killer songs of fast, nihilistic hardcore, not too far from the h100’s which is a pretty high accolade. Featuring ex-members of Video Disease, with a great deal more spite and venom. One of the better US hardcore demo cassettes from last year. They've got an LP out now.
But fuck, mate… the woeful cover art. Let’s talk about it, because I'm not going to show it to you (edit: there it is). Punk with handgun, glam punk girl with bullet in her head, band name spraypainted on the wall. A dead girl on the cover of a cassette full of morose, suicidal lyrics from a gent in his mid 20’s. I’m certain the contrarian spirit behind such anti-social sentiments as murder aren’t to be analysed in any kind of depth: they hate you. They hate everyone. But, there’s the aesthetic suggestions of the bereaved boyfriend weakened by his inability to cope with rejection. Far from the kind of music Stoic Violence play. BAD CHOICE. I don’t want anyone to see this tape sitting around my room. It’s humiliating. I give it to charity, I save the world. Starving children thank me on their blog. Persecuted minorities email me praise. I am the bastion of kindness. I am David Tibet, I am Jezus.
Listen here.