Record review: Doctopus – Wobbegong (2014, LP)

doctopus wobbegong

Shortly before his death in 1982, gonzo music journalist Lester Bangs played down the importance of using sophisticated recording techniques by claiming that the best records are made and played on garbage equipment. By that standard, lo-fi slacker-rockers Doctopus must have made one of the records of the year, because their second album is so heroically sloppy it should be served with a napkin and wet wipes. Not that the Perth trio would be the types to give a damn; it’s just good to be pre-warned when dealing with such a gloriously unfocussed piece of work. As their name suggests, the band have a minor preoccupation with marine life, as on the mostly nonsensical title track, which finds bassist/vocalist Stephen Bellair bawling “I wanna live underwater” repeatedly before switching to “I wanna live in a spaceship with you,” in move that’s more indecision than evolution. Naming a track ‘Stadium Rock’ and making it five minutes of squalling, rampaging feedback manically laughs in the face of everything that hair-metal stood for, and the eight-minute tuneless ballad that is closer ‘Chronic Reprise’ kills any chance of clarity and finishes off the record. If you’re looking for an overall idea or a general concept, you won’t find it here. Instead, it’s the utter lack of direction, whatever-goes attitude and general overall mess of sound that is most appealing about this seven-track effort. Musicians take note: this is how to stuff up an album good and proper. Lester would be proud. (Independent)

For mX

Record review: The Love Junkies – Flight Test (2014, EP)

the love junkies flight test

Perth trio The Love Junkies have been busy blowing eardrums up and down the country for the past couple of years with their sweat-drenched, everything-up-to-eleven live shows. Their 2013 debut album Maybelene was an impressively pulsating mix of grunge riffs, alt-rock face-melting and bluesy jams, and this five-track home-recorded EP continues in a similar vein – to a point. You’d be forgiven for thinking the band had gone soft with a mellow space-rock 90-second intro and the poppy opening minute of single ‘Chemical Motivation’, before the point in the song long-time fans have come to expect and love; when singer-guitarist Mitch McDonald lets rip with a throaty scream that would peel wallpaper and probably knock out a donkey at ten paces. ‘Storm Troopers’, penned by bassist Robbie Rumble, is an introspective shoegaze-y affair that never fully kicks into gear and ‘Gloria To My Dysphoria’ is a somewhat solemn, slow-burning psychedelic epic. Closer ‘Blowing On The Devil’s Strumpet’ gets closest to the vein-busting screamo found on Maybelene, and just when you think McDonald’s voice can’t hold out, he goes for another couple of verses. This is another fine release from one of Australia’s best and most promising young rock bands.

Interview: Paul French of Mining Boom

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This Labour Day weekend is not only a three-day affair, but Goodgod Small Club is celebrating turning three with a birthday bash filled with more musical talent than you can shake a stick at. On the bill with the likes of The Murlocs and Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys is Perth indie-rock quartet Mining Boom. Frontman Paul French tells me what to expect from the gig.

Ok, so I was trying to look up stuff on Mining Boom, and your Tumblr basically consists of videos of people fighting and a picture of a man punching a giraffe. What’s the deal with that?

Rest assured, the Tumblr was made with the best of intentions. Early on we realised that we never had anything to update it with, so it just descended into all kinds of shit talking and pop cultural debris. None of us own a camera, or do anything other than playing music, so we never have any kind of band hi-jinks to document. In saying that, there is something about the concept of a physically imposing person, that we as a band fully endorse.

Your music has variously been described as “garage pop”, “stoner rock” and “suburban Australian misery”. How would you describe it?

Lately we’ve had a few people brand us with the ‘stoner’ tag. I would definitely say we are more of a meth-oriented band; in fact you might even say we are the Cypress Hill of meth. Nah, I’ve always had difficulty trying to put a banner term on what we do. The thing about genres is that they are generic. To me it’s just common sense kind of stuff, it sounds like the place it is from, it has synths because it is 2013 etc.

You’ve just played the BIGSOUND festival for the first time, and got pretty great reviews. How was the show for you? What other bands stood out for you?

We didn’t really get a chance to see many bands, between playing our set and trying to find a place to stash our equipment, we kind of had our hands full. Robert Forster was good and I heard Bad//Dreems played well. I saw Thelma Plum hanging around at the bar before we played and she looked good, I probably should have said something.

Shortly you’ll be playing the Goodgod’s third birthday party. What can Mining Boom fans expect from the show?

Pyrotechnics, choreography, classic band banter.

In ‘Craigie’, there’s the line “One day I will bash that c*nt,” and “One day I will go to the gym.” Is it written about one person in particular, and are you more of a weights or a cardio band?

People always misquote that line, it’s actually ‘one day I will go legit’. It must be my thick West Australian accent or something. I’d say we would be 75% cardio 25% weights, on account of our drummer, Brendan. He is quite the physical specimen. I’ve seen him rip up phone books and impregnate men.

Recorded music from Mining Boom: we want some. What is on the horizon in terms of your debut record?

Yeah we are still working on our album, it should be all done by the end of the year. It’s going to be called ‘TAFE’ and will be available on Spunk Records early next year.

What would be included in your ultimate tour rider?

Protein shakes for Brendan (jack3d, horny goat weed etc.) Camembert. Coon. Quince paste. Emu Export. Tony Abbott’s daughters.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

Finish the album.