The New Releases Show

Chris Cobcroft

Friday

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

About us:

Broadcast across Australia on the Community Radio Network, our nation-wide team do in-depth reviews of new, underground and most often Australian music. Click on the track listings below to read full reviews. Find more of our opinions on our Facebook and the Zedsite.

Producer:

Chris Cobcroft.

Contributors:

Blair Martin, Hillfolk, Fiona Priddey, Matt Thrower,  Andrew Bartlett, Andy Paine, Matthew Lynch, Kieran Ruffles, Jon Cloumassis, Jack McDonnell, Jack Jones, Boddhi Farmer, Aleisha McLaren, Dominique Furphy, James Chadwick, Judy Jetson, Sean Tayler, Alison Paris and Tristan Birrell.

Contact Us:

Any questions / music submissions: chrisc@4zzz.org.au

 

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02 December, 2022

On this week’s episode we’ve got the warmly warped, nostalgic beats of Tennis Pagan; cacophonous chameleon Poppy is still transforming crazily; we fuzz it up with Alien Nosejob and finally it’s time to get a firm Grip and acquaint ourselves with the grungy pleasures of Platonic Sex.

Tennis Paganvoid danceAUS

Tennis Pagan: half normalled (Spirit Level)

 

4:24 foil

 

Released: Now

 

- One of the things I’ve learnt over the years is that there is more music in the world than we can possibly comprehend. With the means of production growing ever simpler, that volume is only increasing. If you try and engage with it all, as some very earnest young music fans are tempted to do, you will drown and probably look a bit silly, flailing about trying to say something serious about techno that somebody banged out in half the time it took to write about it. The enigmatic Tennis Pagan has been releasing quite a flow of electronic tips, over the last three years -six EPs, I think they said?- all with a nostalgic fondness for the ambient techno and more experimental end of dance that began appearing in the late ‘80s and through the ‘90s. In that time TP’s Facebook fandom has doubled from thirty to sixty followers, so I think we can say, all this output has very much been pleasing themselves. Hey and me too, I have to say, although I wonder if I shouldn’t just listen to it and keep my damn mouth shut. It’s the occasion of Tennis Pagan’s first full length though, so, here I go…

 

The album half normalled is Tennis Pagan remaining as enigmatic as ever, still taking their name from an obscure AFL joke and letting us know little else about who TP is and what they’re up to. Oh, wait, there is a friendly little post-it note stuck on their Bandcamp page, cheerily introducing you to another collection of “[s]kittering rhythmic patterns and warm ambient tones [with a gentle nod] to the landmark artists of Warp's IDM heyday. Like a tiny little tourist pamphlet it tells you to look out for a humorous sample here and the influence of Japanese experimental music there. It neatly circumscribes what Tennis Pagan is up to and, again, makes me wonder what the hell I’m doing. 

 

I can say that after all the weird little dance ideas thrown together in blink-and-you’ll miss them EPs, it is very nice to have a full forty minutes of music. Many of the cuts are still fragments, a passing musical thought that Tennis Pagan threw out there, never feeling any kind of obligation to blow it up into some sort of Jon Hopkins epic. Here however, there’s a strength in numbers, all of these little fellas feel like they have a home together.

 

They can also hide behind the bulk of those cuts which are more fleshed out, like focus track  a void dance. It makes its presence felt, both by being as full of ambient wonder in its synth chords as anything on the record and, more so, through an intensely frisky beat. As with previous TP outings it’s like a drum’n’bass beat from a slightly different universe. Oh and is that …a time-dilated Jordan Shanks leering at us as he slurs out “please remember to like and subscribe”? 

 

There’s plenty of other things to like many of them a meeting of the friendlier end of avant-garde electronica and an oddball sense of humor. What kind of hilarious name, for instance, is cost price for the melancholy piano-tronic vignette it titles? Like you were forced to let go of your heart’s very desire, for less than you purchased it. The genial Euro beat is happy to play along with the confused welter of emotions. A sophisticated cocktail of bittersweetness and smirks. 

 

Going back to the bandcamp explainer, it is, as the label says, comfort food for avant-garde ‘tronic freaks and if you wanted something to remind you of the heyday of Boards Of Canada or Polygon Window, here’s an early Christmas present for you. As for me, I think I’m going to take my own advice and shut my yap; less talking, more music please.

 

- Chris Cobcroft.

Tim ShielHello Little Ghost (Here 4 U)AUS

Tim Shiel: Distractions 2 (Spirit Level)

 

4:25 Little Ghost (Here 4 U)

 

Released: Now

 

- A nice little opportunity to slip in a slice of the new record by Spirit Level label boss, Tim Shiel.

SampologyRainLOCAL

Sampology: We Are Love / Rain (Middle Name)

 

4:25 Rain

 

Released: Now

 

- The funky joyful 'tronics of Meanjin/Brisbane's Sampology are back with a little 7".

PoppyFYB

Poppy: Stagger (Lava / Republic / Universal)

 

FYB

 

Released: Now

- When I saw Poppy earlier this year at House of Blues here in San Diego, I didn't think she could surprise me again. Well her latest work is out and I stand corrected.

 

Though Poppy is known for her ability to morph her sound, this EP continues the sonic tone established in her last album, with harsh rocking guitars that seem distorted specifically to destroy your ears and pop influenced sounds that soothe the chaos.
 

Poppy appears to come from the early 2000’s indie post-punk and post-rock scene as well as incorporating electric breakdowns and somewhat straight-forward lyrics. Stagger’s job is to let you know what Poppy can do with this sound if it’s juxtaposed with her shape-shifting nature. Understandably, the songs are so different from one another that one may think the production is underdeveloped. However, Poppy is no stranger to experimenting with new elements to adopt into her catalogue. It is up to the listener, but it’s hard finding artists that dare to constantly transform their artistry and I value that.

 

Introducing the album with FYB, Poppy wastes no time trying to prepare us for the jarring guitars that have defined her grating aesthetic, the song then navigates through the obscure ambience of the verse which, instead of being repeated later in the song, is instead replaced by a psychedelic outro that leads us into her screaming inferno. This is when you understand how misleading Poppy is, her name and appearance never match her screeching screaming. Lyrically, FYB is also very performative; it cares little to explain itself and is more focused on repeating the statement “Fuck you back”.

 

Pocket experiments with minimalistic drums and a tranquil voice verging on whispers. It almost feels like clickbait for the upcoming screaming mixed messy broken guitar strings. Followed by Shapes and the title track, Stagger, the album ends with simpler compositions and more traditional structures. It feels bittersweet to end with such a lyrically tragic song such as Stagger, which is carried by weakened piano notes and lonely harp-sounding guitar strings. This body of work is closed with what seems to be Poppy´s latest experience with the music industry: a woman who was manipulated into becoming someone she wasn't, denied her own sound. It feels like should be an empowering song, but is actually a slow paced, sad lullaby, like Poppy was slowly being extinguished by the experience.

 

This EP definitely isn't for those who are looking for the Poppy who shocked us with extreme transitions or a mysterious persona, but it is refreshing to see a version of her artistry that isn´t too polished, to attract a certain audience. It's raw, you might even call the production lacklustre, but for the ones who appreciate authenticity and the good ol´punk vibe of the early 2000´s this might be for you.

 

- Pablo Peña Lopez.

Salt MoneyOverplayedLOCAL

Salt Money: Love Of My Life (Indie)

 

1:55 Overplayed

 

Released: 9th December

 

The Meanjin/Brisbane screamo types are releasing their album next and you best believe we'll be covering it in full.

Alien NosejobMouldy DoughAUS

Alien Nose Job: Stained Glass (Anti-Fade)

 

Mouldy Dough

 

Released: Now

 

- Alien Nose Job is one of the most recent projects of musician Jake Robertson, who you may know as a founding member of Ausmuteants. Stained Glass is his fifth release with Alien Nose Job and to say it pays homage to the monoliths of Aussie rock'n'roll, AC/DC would absolutely be an understatement… this album is a tribute to the Beer Barns of the late '70s/early '80's Pub Rock Scene. You can hear a lot of The Angels and Rose Tattoo, there is a lot of that Sharpie boogie sound that was the backbone of Australian music in the '70s, but also a touch of the rough-edged punk of that era as well.. there’s more than a touch of X in RNR Rubbish Bin and you can definitely hear other obscure Australian punk influences in there as well, maybe some Leftovers and Rocks?

 

Stained Glass was a solo project for Robertson, a self-proclaimed “Bedroom Recorder”, but he did have a pretty high-profile cameo drop in on this project, namely (and fittingly) Brian Johnson of AC/DC who pops up on Coastal Living 2, a continuation of a theme that harks back to an earlier Ausmuteants track about growing up on the NSW Central Coast.

 

Not all of the tracks on this album are based on Aussie Pub Rock of the '70s and '80s. There’s a hefty serving of pop punk in there as well, in songs such as Sharp as a Needle and Mouldy Dough, a fast and punchy track at the end of the album that actually leaves the listener wanting more.

 

This is an album that took me a few listens to get into, as a seasoned music listener there is a LOT here that I’ve heard before, but it’s fun and a tribute to Jake's musical loves. It’s a creeper, but a keeper.

 

- Judy Jetson.

Tropical Fuck StormThe Golden RatioAUS

Tropical Fuck Storm: Submersive Behaviour (Joyful Noise)

 

4:07 The Golden Ratio

 

Released: 3rd February

 

- TFS continue to dribble out new material, much like bile dribbles from the mouth of Gareth Liddiard. This single is from a 12" due in Feb '23 and answers the question would maths equations be better if they were delivered as drunken rants.

 

Platonic SexDisappoint AnotherLOCAL

Platonic Sex: Grip (Zang!)

 

Disappoint Another

 

Released: 2nd December

 

- There’s recently been a resurgence of grunge, and there’s a strong contingent of bands in Brisbane/Meanjin who are doing it very well. Queer alt-rock band, Platonic Sex deliver their own brand of this genre, on their debut EP Grip out this week via Zang! Records. Very talented musicians Jane, Ryan and Mikki back a very talented singer-songwriter Bridget, who manages to be so eloquent in their f*** you that, as a listener you can’t help but be charmed, ignited and uplifted all at the same time.

 

This six-track cassette, definitely has grungy elements, like the angsty lyrics, and soft/loud build-ups to shaking crescendos that make you wanna throw yourself around in a sweaty moshpit. It’s reminiscent of early grunge stalwarts Screamfeeder, or Garbage, and is most definitely influenced by the love sick indie fuzz rock of Snail Mail or Beabadoobee. However, Platonic Sex combine angst and distortion with delicate moments of vulnerable reflection on themes of queerness, mental health, community, and love in all its forms: familial, platonic, romantic.

 

These songs are expert at punching the listener in the guts with lyrics that describe recognisable situations, feelings, and ideas, in an accessible, yet poetic way. For example, Devil’s Advocate is not subtle in it’s political message. It’s a scathing commentary on men who obtusely perpetuate sexism and misogyny towards women and gender diverse people. It’s a call for accountability, but it’s done with a hint of humour and even compassion. This band gives second chances, but conditionally. This song says go and do the work and try again to be better.

 

Disappoint Another also hits hard, lifting the energy again midway through the EP. Bridget questions a partner not being true to themselves, hiding for the sake of other people’s happiness. Bridget croons these questions over Ryan and Mikki’s driving percussion, and Jane’s crunching riffs, and honestly, this track might be the catchiest song of the release. Every time I listen to it, I have it buzzing pleasantly around my head for days.

 

What makes Platonic Sex distinctive, is the acrobatic vocals. On this EP, Bridget’s voice constantly surprises the listener. At times it’s a wailing vibrato, like on Exhausted Competing For You, which, enhanced by a lot of atmospheric reverb, makes me think of Björk. Then, there’s a song like Alright, where Bridget’s clear and soaring melodies evoke an almost country-pop-diva sound. I’m reminded of Alison Krauss, Dolly, or Kacey Musgraves. But then, bam! It gives way to a guttural and raw growl and then, back again to the melodic soprano. At the beginning of the track, Be There, is that vocals or is it a Theremin? It never feels like too much though. Bridget has master control over their vocals, and each decision although heartfelt, and raw, also sounds like it’s intentional and carefully placed to surprise us at just the right moment, on just the right lyric.

 

The title track Grip has that same driving guitar and beat that instantly hooks the listener, and is more indie pop than the other tracks. It still has the grungy soft build into another ear worm chorus, that by the end of this EP, you’ve come to expect. This time, however, the band is joined by a choir doing back-up vocals which leaves the listener with a hopeful feeling of camaraderie. Bridget who co-wrote the song with long- time friend Kate McGuire -lead guitarist of Meanjin bands Mouse and Voiid- explains that this final track is a “tribute to the amorphous, self-defined structures of queer relationships, and the transitions - from friendship, to romance, to exes, to friends, and so on - that occur so frequently within queer communities”. At the end of the song, the choir sings the message like a joyful footy crowd, that shouts the gist of, “let yourself fall in love, let yourself change and grow, and how good is queer love in all it’s forms?”.

 

I first saw Platonic Sex live, back in 2021, and immediately investigated where I could buy their album. With only a handful of singles under their belt for the past eighteen months, I was pretty impatient to have this band’s recordings in my hot lil hands. I’m glad they didn’t rush, though. You can tell they’ve taken their time and worked hard to create this stellar debut body of work.

 

A powerful first release from an up and coming band that is truly going places. Take note.

 

- Alex Campbell.

    Last QuokkaEat The RichAUS

    Last Quokka: Eat The Rich (Indie)

     

    2:26 Eat The Rich

     

    Released: Now

     

    - A succint statement on class relations in WA from much fancied Freo punks, Last Quokka. It's also the second outing from an LP that's due early in '23.

    Chris AbrahamsCostume (Excerpts)AUS

    Chris Abrahams: Follower (Room40)

     

    13:33 Costume (Excerpts)

     

    Released: 2nd December

     

    - This is what you get when you programme a whole show full of minute-and-a-half punk: a big gap at the end. Fortunately Chris Abrahams, one-third of the Necks has a new record out, so please enjoy a nice, big, ambient slice of that.

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