Cool your boots, 2016; I’m still working through the impossible amount of tuneage your predecessor tried compressing into my earholes. Is there a way we can start the year around, say, March? Just kick back a bit and write January and February off as a hangover? No, I thought not, you heartless swine. Things Madrid quartet Hinds gives zero fucks about, not including releasing their debut album in the first week of January, are (a) wearing their hearts on their sleeves, (b) displaying their goofy demeanour, and (c) learning to play their instruments properly. In other words: they have exactly the right ingredients for an album which is infectious, fun and fresh. Lo-fi garage pop is the order of the day, centred on the alternating vocals of founding members Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote, who tend towards singing about the joys and pitfalls of trying to maintain relationships amid a sea of insecurity, misguided declarations of love, and heavy partying. ‘Warts’ is an early highlight; it’s perhaps the best example of the group’s ability to mix scrappy guitar melodies and loose, dual vocals, whereas the breezy jangle-twang of ‘San Diego’ takes it up all a notch. With an approach to playing that’s as much about writing great pop tunes as it is having a good time, Hinds are not only clapping their hands and enjoying the wild abandon of the moment; they’re digging their heels in for the future. Here’s to you, 2016. Let’s do this.
Melbourne monster-punk upstarts Going Swimming are on a mission, and it involves a heavy helping of the F word, an excellent debut album and an upcoming national tour. Hold the language warning, though, as singer Nick Leggatt explains exactly what the F makes his band tick.
“If you’re having fun, people have fun with you,” says Leggatt. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We try to play shows that we think are going to be fun, with bands we like; shows we think we would want to go to, not just any old show. And I can’t see us [writing about] any subjects too hard-hitting or anything. One of the guys tracked a demo the other day that was about three-and-a-half minutes and we accused him of writing an epic.”
The quartet have taken three years to release a debut LP, after Leggatt and guitarist Aswin Lakshman spent time in several bands together since meeting at school. Wanting to play music which better reflected the tunes they listened to, they formed Going Swimming with bassist Callan Trewenack and drummer Ben Barclay. The result is the hot-off-the-press Deadtime Stories; a 12-track collection of raucous garage, surf and punk tracks, executed with a healthy dose of piss-taking posturing.
“The four of us have all been a lot more serious bands [with] longer songs [which were] a bit more wanky,” says Leggatt. “We wanted to be in a band that didn’t take ourselves too seriously. We recorded a few tracks as demos and put out a five-track EP in 2013, which we did ourselves. We played as many shows as we could and put out a couple of double A-side singles later that year. We thought it was time to put all our new songs into an album, and thought it wouldn’t take us very long; being a very no-fuss, lo-fi recording. The whole recording process took us a lot longer than we thought. We probably laid down the drums tracks maybe 15 months ago, and between drum tracks and tracking everything ourselves, the tendency is to get a bit lazy. Three of us live together as well, and we thought it would come together quicker than it did, but we got there in the end and we’re stoked to put it out and move on to play the newer stuff. Progressing as a band has felt pretty natural; we’re still enjoying it and having fun.”
Not quite garage and not quite punk, the band might have invented a genre of their own: monster-punk. It’s a fitting description for not only the Goosebumps-inspired album cover and title, but the often-ramshackle way they attack their music.
“When you think of the word punk, I don’t think we fit that bill,” Leggatt says. “And we’ve played with a bunch of garage-punk bands, and sometimes we don’t fit that bill either. So, we’re kind of our own little niche, and I think part of that is my vocals; I yell and do weird stuff. Someone came up with monster-punk and we kind of like it. One review called us ‘piss-taking punk’ and I like that, too. I don’t think we were looking for a theme too much [with the album]. To be honest, the tracks are pretty random and a lot of that is to do with the fact whoever writes the demo, they tend to give it a working title. I like to try to riff on the working title and see if I can keep the working title as the final title. It’s not like I have a big scrapbook of heartfelt lyrics I want to put into song. That’s the fun part of it; just writing fun little ditties.”
A quick glance over the Deadtime Stories tracklist reveals an additional level of humour with some creative and funny song titles.
“‘Yoko, Oh No!’ was a tough one as it’s an instrumental,” Leggatt says. “That song has changed titles a million times. At some stage it was called something like ‘YOLO’, but we decided we can’t have that. ‘Cosmonauts and Crosses’ was a riff on the original title, which was something about being a cosmonaut. The lyrics are a bit messed up and all over the place; we almost wrote it as we recorded and I couldn’t get the lyrics right. We got really drunk one night and I just spat out the verses.”
A national tour is locked in for October and November, so expect to be experiencing the F word on a stage near you.
“It’s that fun vibe,” Leggatt says. “We’re pretty loose on stage. We try not to be loose musically, but sometimes that works its way in. Our songs are short and sharp; we smash them out and pack as many songs as we can into a half-hour set. At the same time, we know what it’s like to be a punter and stand there in the crowd and be a bit bored. You don’t want to see anyone yawning, so we get out there and smash it out. We want to leave them wanting more, so hopefully they’ll come to another show. We love touring; it costs us a lot of money, but it’s like a little fun holiday for us.”
DEADTIME STORIES IS OUT NOW. GOING SWIMMING PLAY:
SUN OCT 18 – FRANKIE’S PIZZA
FRI NOV 13 – THE WORKERS CLUB
Some garage bands should probably stay in the garage, and others have a duty to kick the door down and explode into the street with a furious blast of colour and imagination. Sydney’s Food Court is most certainly of the latter variety; this gang of jangly fuzzmeisters is exactly the type of shot in the arm Australian guitar-rock could do with right now. Recorded by Straight Arrows’ Owen Penglis and mastered by the always-excellent Mikey Young of Total Control/Eddy Current Suppression Ring, this seven-track EP takes more from ‘90s garage than it does from the original ‘60s wave, with hints of Weezer and early Green Day, and the results are all good. Single and opener ’14 Years Young’ is the obvious high point; its shouty chorus and brash guitars set the quartet’s stall out in no uncertain fashion. ‘Red Wine Teething’ is more measured, even if it reeks of hangovers and walks of shame, while ‘Dripping’ is rougher around the edges and points to what ought to be a pleasingly destructive live show. The cocky swagger of ‘On The River’ is a fitting climax to an EP that sits well beside anything from Palms to The Frowning Clouds, and a lot more besides. Building from here is what will make or break the band, but with only one song out of seven finishing up anywhere near the four-minute mark, this is urgent and necessary stuff from a promising addition to garage-rock goodness. (Independent)
Let’s get this straight from the off – legalizing everything probably isn’t a good idea, and it’s safe to say Geelong retro garage-rockers The Frowning Clouds know that. That aside, this is a band with some serious pop-writing chops, as this third album from the quintet shows. Plenty of sixties-inspired jangly pop with more than a few welcome psych-rock touches is the modus operandi that long-term fans of the band will recognise, although there are a few neat new tricks slotted into a series of two to three-minute tracks to keep things interesting. Indeed, it’s the lack of extended King Gizzard-esque psych-rock wig-outs that make Legalize Everything bounce along so nicely, although at no point does the mood get beyond incredibly laid-back. Opener ‘Carrier Drone’ sets the tone with a chilled and distorted chorus of “take me, take me anywhere you want”, while ‘Sun Particle Mind Body Experience’ carries on the relaxed vibe with some shiny guitar moments. Tracks like ‘Move It’ and ‘No Blues’ display an intriguing diversity to the band’s sound that points to a more eclectic future, while space-rock instrumental ‘Radio Telescope’ sounds like a group of guys making ear-searing noise just for the sheer pleasure of it. All in all, it’s this mix of elements that combine to make an album that’s catchy, crackly and a whole lot of fun.
Best track: Sun Particle Mind Body Experience
If you like this, you’ll like these: The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Byrds
In a word: Swingin’