Friday, June 9, 2017

Let's talk about Australia

After several years of posting their music, I've come to terms with the fact that every band coming from Australia is either a mildly quirky coed folk group, or a sweaty band of men who survive on beer and meat. Maybe it's just difficult to find the stuff in between. Melbourne act the Stroppies are ideal if you've found Lower Plenty or Wireheads, or Terry, whom I've not been able to shut up about since they're such delights, all of them. And while I'd love to say there's some sort of trend among acts in which there are men and women singing in unison and in monotone, cartoonish folk with something of a punk-lite aesthetic, all of these bands are basically linked by involvement from either Al Montfort or Mikey Young.

So the gist of this is that Mikey Young, whose name is stamped somewhere on the releases of many bands between Oakland and Melbourne, mastered this eponymous EP by the Stroppies, which is lovely for bopping up and down in your car seat and shaking your head from side to side like a member of the Peanuts gang at Christmastime. 

While we're at it, let's apply all of the above to Signs Are Rampant by Blank Statements, save for their much higher lady-ratio. Blank Statements share two members with the Stroppies, and their record was also mastered by Mikey Young and released on Melbourne's Hobbies Galore. If they'd been English, Blank Statements might've been a great fit for Damaged Goods, once upon a time.

You know what else Mikey Young has been up to? His debut solo record! If you're familiar with the synth work on the last Total Control record, this album won't sound entirely out of place. Your Move Vol. 1 comes out June 16. Now, why hasn't he begun scoring campy horror films, or for that matter, taken over duties on Halt and Catch Fire?

And finally, something on Tenth Court, not affiliated with Mikey Young. Small World Experience is a thirty-year old band whose first record in nearly two decades arrives on June 23. The music is not out of line with what bands like Lower Plenty (or any of the above acts) are creating now, and there are a great few bits of humor throughout the record -- the favorite here is probably "Table Talk," quite literally about the experience of sitting at the table for steak and kidney pie as a child and being told (as culminates in the chorus), "you're not going anywhere, finish your pie." Album opener "Sugar Beats" might actually be about the path to diabetes.

Musically, this seems to have guitar tunings similar to those used by Thurston Moore, and if anything, the sequencing seems a bit odd; there's no obviously climactic album opener or conclusion here, though the steady "Call of the Wild" might have been a more anticipatory start than "Sugar Beats." Still a reliably nice comeback record, though.

Here's a taste of what they were twenty years ago. Nineties as hell, no?

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