New Music

Listen: Rule of Thirds – Mouthful

ruleofthirdsHere’s the first new Rule of Thirds song we’ve heard since their ultra-limited cassette demo last year on Major Crimes. The Adelaide group have a new 7 inch releasing soon through No Patience and Video Disease Records, and ‘Mouthful’ will feature on it. For anyone unfamiliar with Rule of Thirds, they’re an unashamedly “goth” punk band that both looks and sounds the part, though in the former regard they follow more of a Siouxsie post-punk kinda lineage, rather than say, a Projekt lineage. Which is bloody lucky, let’s be honest.

Anyway, a good contemporary parallel would very clearly be Naked on the Vague, but Rule of Thirds sound less weird and more suburban – kinda rooted in a spotlit cul-de-sac decrepitude. Whatever the case, the vocalist here betrays none of the deadpan bluntness of NoTV – it’s more harried and violent, more likely to spit at passing toddlers. Some of the guitar work is reminiscent of Jimi Kritzler’s work with White Hex too. It’s safe to say that if you like either NoTV or White Hex, you’ll dig this. An LP would be welcome.

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New Music

Watch: Hollow Press – Memory Lapse

It’s only February, but Adelaide producer Hollow Press already has at least two releases scheduled for the year: one is a free remix album, and the other is a collection of new material courtesy of Wood & Wire. The album has no title or release date at present, but there is this preview video for a track called ‘Memory Lapse’. The video features footage from L’Etoile de Mer / Poison / Emak Bakia by Man Ray, and together with the music it resembles what might happen if W.G Sebald and William Basinski ever collaborated. Wouldn’t that be nice.

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New Music

Listen: Hollow Press – No One Else

Adelaide’s Hollow Press has a new full-length CD-R called Between Us, and US label Drug Arts has once again released it. Hollow Press has had a pretty busy year: Luke Telford reviewed his other 2012 album a couple of months back, noting that it “[feels] like a homage to the errant beauty that sometimes arises from urban abjection”. The approach hasn’t changed dramatically on Between Us, but the track embedded below stands out in all its lunatic ward glory.

The CD-R is available to purchase now through Drug Arts, and you can choose to buy the digital edition if you so wish. Polish photographer Sonjia Firlej has once again provided the cover photography for this record. Read our interview with Hollow Press here.

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Reviews

Rites Wild – Ways of Being (LP)

The name Rites Wild conjures visions of violent or malevolent ecstasy – of sparagmotic dismemberment and sublime highs. The purpose of that type of rite has long been lost on the western world, and in the absence of any real ecstatic expression, we’re now encouraged to drone on in monotone with barely any sensory deviation. We’re like what Clov observes when he surveys the audience through a telescope in Beckett’s apocalyptic stage play, Endgame: “I see… a multitude… in transports… of joy.”

It’s telling that Stacey Wilson has named her own label Heavy Lows. Its few releases are akin to Rites Wild: they’re similarly spartan in tone, but they share a weird optimism with the label founder’s own work that is important in light of this release. With Rites Wild, it’s almost as though Wilson is trying to reach for some form of ecstatic release by way of devotion to a minimal, brooding, quietly angry music.

Ways Of Being doesn’t change much from her M.O. to date. Its bulk comprises songs already released on cassette EPs over the last 18 months, with a couple of newer tunes rounding the package out to LP length. It presents us with a raft of anaemic drum machines, glowing synths and guttural vocal intonations, meshed into cerebral dubscapes and dirgey organ preset waltzes.

The most striking thing about this collection is the way it balances the cosmic with the intimate. On one hand, each element is tailored to sound as though it’s reaching for the cusp of perception. Drum machines and vocals are cloaked in immense reverb, and walls of delayed texture unspool endlessly into the distance on tunes like ‘Detached Living’. The title track spins a web of resigned, melancholic pop, which is squeezed through a sifting phase shifter to give the impression that its perimeters are slowly warping. Wilson’s vocal on ‘Work Ethic’ is so obfuscated by the burgeoning effects that it seems (appropriately) like a disembodied invocation. But the overall sound of everything is focused, almost muted, and utterly contained, as though by the sleight of a carefully disciplined hand that’s corralling each strand into the strictures of a small loom.

It certainly feels ritualistic, but not in any wild way. If it is reaching for some unattainable sublime, then it fails unequivocally, and this is what makes it so compulsive. It’s the thing that gives the aimless reggae clip of ‘Minimal Where’, or the star-gazing resignation of ‘Ill Health’, inexplicable drive and purpose. It’s what imbues the exquisite and demented waltz of ‘Seasonal Shine’ with a kind of galling, tragic beauty.

It’s meditative – it illustrates what we find at the end of the day’s drone, lighting the distant and intangible contours of what little hope we can still cherish in the depths of each insular, quiet night. Similarly, it’s transcendent and slow – it reaches for catharsis with a thoroughly uncanny discipline. How are we to tear ourselves from these oppressive screens, but with slow perseverance?

Label: Not Not Fun
Release date: October 2012

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Reviews

Beige Abrasion – S/T (Cassette)

Each track on this Beige Abrasion tape sounds like two separate songs playing concurrently: there’s the beats and then there’s everything else. The Adelaide trio make music that could reasonably be described as dance, but in a similar fashion to Sydney’s Holy Balm, nothing is ever perfectly locked in step. The effect is one of drowsy, hypnagogic euphoria rather than strident revelry. The beats sound like perennial space station static, while the other sounds operate with a mind – and in a galaxy – of their own.

Take ‘Flapping Pancakes’ for example: there’s a muted-yet-busy pulse, bent in several awkward directions but functional nonetheless. Then there’s the weirdly frivolous canned-computer arpeggios torn straight from Doctor Who. But then (!) there’s the actually-quite-sad lead line that seems to reprimand all that surrounds it, kinda like a downcast elemental force that can’t keep up. The effect is that you really don’t know what to feel.

That seems to be Beige Abrasion’s intent, though there’s a strong possibility they’re just playing it by ear. During ‘Koala’, what sounds like a demo-button 4/4 triggered straight from your family Casio sits autonomous and lonely amid an increasingly obstructive “jam”. The beat is gradually subjugated and buried until it meekly peters out, a swarm of nonsense synth pads heckling in its wake.

Don’t be led to believe that this music isn’t fun to listen to though, because it’s exactly this forthrightness, this unorthodox brutality, that makes Beige Abrasion fascinating and often pretty damn hilarious. Like their fellow Church-city friends Major Crimes, there’s an overriding sense of malfunction here, but in place of dread is a kind of garish techno slapstick.

Label: Heavy Lows
Release Date: October 2012

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