CVLT Nation’s Top 6 Australian Releases of 2014
Written by Geordie Stafford
SIX: Internal Rot – Mental Hygiene 12”
This kicked my arse when I got around to listening to it. I’ve since flogged it to almost to death. While I’m not the world’s foremost grind aficionado I know when something grabs me by the jaffas. Max is perhaps best known for his work smashing the drums for bands like Agents of Abhorrence and Far Left Limit, but here he makes his presence found making wonderfully gross sounds through the microphone, while Christoph (of 37 other bands and counting) destroys the drums in no uncertain terms. No weak blasting here. Brad is in a small category of grind guitarists in that I can both hear what he’s doing and love it. Mental Hygiene also possesses one of the best record sleeves of the year. Once you’ve hammered this I can heartily recommend their great split 7” from earlier this year with the equally raging Manhunt, another band totally worthy of your time. I slept on that split and missed out so if anyone has a spare copy…
FIVE: Last Chaos – Fuck the Queen comp track
Recorded between last year’s fantastic split with Singapore’s Vaaralliinen and their upcoming 12” for the Bad Teeth zine compilation, “Fuck The Queen” finds Last Chaos delivering a mid tempo stomper. While some of their influences are still clear (d-beat punk bands from Finland, Sweden, perhaps even Japan), they continue to grow with each release into a slightly weirder prospect. Declan’s vocals keep getting better as well. Slightly noisy driving punk rock with delayed vocals. A great harbinger for the new album that will come out next year.
Full disclosure time – Last Chaos is my brother’s band, he’s the bass player. I also played in another band with the drummer for six years and lived with the singer for about three. To compound my conflict of interest, I played guitar for three gigs end of 2013/start of 2014. Nevertheless, heed my warning and remember the name. They have recovered from the crippling blow of having me as a member, albeit briefly, and their album will be on plenty of end of 2015 lists not written by family members.
FOUR: DEAD – Captains of Industry LP
Captains of Industry opens with drummer Jem pounding away on his own for about two minutes before the other half of DEAD, bassist Jace, joins in. From there it’s 37 mins of DEAD’s sludgy noise rock in an AmRep/Melvins kinda vibe, but with a distinct Australian flavour. Much will probably be made of Toshi Kasai engineering this album, but DEAD’s style seems to transcend details and in many ways this sounds little different to their last album Idiots. A solid pounding of drums and bass, with both members contributing vocals, everything on this sounds great and I thoroughly look forward to having it belted at me live at volume later this month. The songs continue to develop in my head with each repeated listen.
THREE: Frown – The Greatest Gift to Give LP
Great doom with some psychedelic touches from my hometown. I’ve listened to this A LOT this year. In fact I’ve listened to the track “Harpocrates Unborn” more than pretty much anything else this year alone. Frown supported Sleep last week and more than held their own against the headliner. They’ve grown from their demo, and this album sounds terrific. This was recorded as a three piece but they have since added a fourth member, and the new songs they’ve been trialling live point to an exciting future. For fans of Ramesses, Reverend Bizarre, Bong, 11Paranoias… you get the picture.
TWO: RIP – Fucker – demo tape
Six tracks of noisy punk shit from Melbourne. Raw/noise punk has been everywhere in the last few years and I’ve become quite weary of trying to keep up with it all. RIP Fucker manages to rise above a lot of the pack, especially live. I saw them at Total Attack and they were one of the easy stand-outs from this year’s lineup. Like their fellow Melbourne punks Kromosom, they seem to actually care about songwriting, unlike so many noise bands. Can’t wait to see what they do next.
ONE: Harmony – Carpetbombing LP
More beautiful gloomy stuff from Tom Lyngcoln and co. Following on from their near perfect self-titled album from a couple years ago, Carpetbombing opens with a spoken word track that somehow doesn’t suck (I know, I’m as surprised as you) featuring Australian legend Don Walker and the tone is set. Morose but melodic, Carpetbombing finds Harmony again mixing their guitar, bass and drums with a three piece ‘mini-choir’. The band sounds fantastic and the ladies’ more angelic voices create a wonderful juxtaposition with Tom’s gnarly snarl. More than merely repeating what they did with their last album, Harmony have developed their sound and we are richer for it. A total bum-out, but in a good way.