New Music

Watch: Club Sound Witches – Uprok

Club Sound Witches is the duo of Brisbane’s Nicola Morton (Bad Intentions) and Matt Earle (xNoBBQx), a pairing as abrasive as you’d expect from their prior projects. The video for ‘Uprok’ (a track from a forthcoming cassette on Breakdance the Dawn) is funny. A paper boat leads a camera past onlookers who are either disinterested or confused by the filming, which would be a perfectly acceptable reaction to the track itself.

‘Uprok’ is an oddity, consisting of harshly grating overtones with writhing beats plied underneath. The duo describe themselves as a techno band, but those influences are violently obscured under the aural buzzsaw that is the track’s ambience. The beats are muted too, so that it sounds like you’re loitering just outside a club with a persistent headache. When I listen to this track, I want initially to remove my headphones and walk away, but I listen anyway. It’s a very strange and appealing form of punishment.


‘Uprok’ will appear on a cassette release on Breakdance the Dawn, and follows a 2012 CD-R that we reviewed previously.

New Music

Listen: The Mermaids on Breakdance the Dawn


[UPDATE: a free Bandcamp sampler has been released featuring the below releases + more]

Matt Earle’s Breakdance the Dawn label has a habit of releasing a generous handful of new CD-Rs and tapes at once. The pattern continues with nine new recordings, all available now through the label’s website. I’ve not heard any of them yet though a few samples have been uploaded, among them this three minute section from a new Mermaids release, which comes in the form of a VHS / CD-R release.

As we’ve pointed out before, The Mermaids is a Newcastle duo featuring Michael from Cock Safari / the Grog Pappy label, and Nick from Polyfox and the Union of the Most Ghosts. The few recordings I’ve heard from the duo vary widely. The sample below – a bed of static harried by clipped vocal samples – is dramatically different to the atmospheric synth sleep of ‘Greetings in Three Languages‘.

‘Static with clipped vocal samples’ sounds like it’d be annoying, but strangely enough, there are few sharp edges to the sample below. It’s involving and evocative. I’m not sure how the VHS format factors into the end product, but expect it to be fascinating, and probably discomforting.

As for the other new Breakdance the Dawn releases, there’s stuff by xNOBBQx, Sun of the Seventh Sister, Goods Van, The Sha, Club Sound Witches, Squiding, Bad Intentions and Statis Duo. All are available as either CD-R or tapes, except the VHS tapes of course. Buy them here. Sample the rest of them here.


Greg Boring: A brief, baffling introduction


If you search “Greg Boring” on Facebook, you’ll notice there are lots of real Greg Borings out there. As in, people with the actual surname Boring. The official “Greg Boring” – the band at hand – probably has a page there somewhere, but it’s buried among the long-suffering human Greg Borings, many of whom don’t look too miserable, god bless them.

Greg Boring is releasing their debut LP Heavy Syrup through Critical Heights on February 11. This came as a surprise to me, because apart from a tape in the Breakdance the Dawn catalogue, I hadn’t heard a whisper out of them. Curious, I emailed them a few perfunctory questions. The answers I got back are equal parts enlightening and baffling. They also sent me that photo above, which alone could have answered one of my questions: it looks like a Brisbane underground society pic. There’s a bunch of Sky Needle, with a little bit of Cured Pink and Sewers. I’d tell you who they are now, but you’ll find out below anyway.

The band refused to have each answer attributed to the specific band member in question. Make of that what you will. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

Is Greg Boring an actual person?
a) We are. ‘Greg Boring’ is ‘a self-conscious lowbrow who makes a virtue of his own mediocrity’ and his ‘psychological peculiarity is a weak ego’.

b) Well, now we know the press release worked. How do The Residents handle this question? Do they giggle about it each time? We’re giggling about it right now. There is a ‘Greg Boring’. A person who either obtained this pseudonym through reputation or vanity founded the group. Who watches the Watchmen? Greg does.

c) Like a single organism that everyone sees, hears and experiences the same? Are these the demands of contemporary authenticity? Like all the shit around me, I have to be whatever I need to be: an individual is a just cataclysm of various pillaged characters. We take the gestures and affectations we need for one situation and call on a new set for the next. Otherwise I’d be inaccessible in most conversation.

d) none of the above

Who plays in Greg Boring the band? Why did you form the group?
a) Greg Boring, Greg Boring, Greg Boring, Greg Boring, Sarah Byrne. Greg Boring.

b) This question is much harder than the last question because the answer is long and even longer if everyone gets his or her own set of brackets after their name. The people in the photos are in the band.

c) To prove ourself. Several individuals have found themselves in the group, but only after recording, only after the fact. At the artwork stage of the new album it was recalled that Adam Park had played bass throughout the record, on a tip off from Sarah Byrne and Andrew McLellan looking at the ‘date created’ on the original session files. It is safe to say Adam did not know he was in Greg Boring, and perhaps still doesn’t. It may be up to him. Someone should let him know the record is coming out. Adam, if you are reading this…

d) all of the above

How long has Heavy Syrup been in the works?
a) One long night. That Greg Boring cannot recall.

b) Heavy Syrup the LP on Critical Heights took time. It’s pretty good, obviously even some cocky Brisbane art-snobs are gonna have to go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Roughly a year. We all had to wait for people to change and emerge and get enough cash to buy some new drum machines and synths to drop on our feet. What I’m saying is you gotta have money to be different and follow your dreams and if anyone tells you differently tell ‘em to go back to their big golden guitar in the dirt.

c) Heavy Syrup was given up on the Cyprus Hillsong netlabel sometime in early 2012 after Joel Stern found an unmarked recording session from early 2011 on his studio computer. Disclosure, after the fact.

d) some of the above

You guys had a Breakdance the Dawn cassette scheduled as well, is that still happening?
a) Breakdance the Dawn has a schedule?

b) We have had many already. No idea what show or recording this may be. If we’ve performed in front of him, we award Matt Earle absolute decision making power, with no consultation.

c) it’s always happening, still.

d) the above

What influences Greg Boring, sonically or otherwise?
a) Extreme entertainment listening, ‘misrelation to the subject matter, an ‘inner realm’ which stays altogether empty, abstract and indefinite. Sometimes, where this attitude is radicalised, artificial paradises take shape as they do for the hashish smoker and powerful taboos are violated.

a1) I’ll be waiting online when you come back with your answer. In the meantime our answers are here in list form: Moog, Vermona, Crowther, Boss, Digitech, Europa, Vox, Sarah Byrne, Casio, long sticks, short sticks, big big big springs, rubber bands, Stihl, Coca-Cola, Michael.

Is Greg Boring pop music?
a) “The listening of Popular music is manipulated not only by its promoters, but as it were, by the inherent nature of this music itself, into a system of response-mechanisms wholly antagonistic to the ideal of individuality in a free, liberal society.” We are Unpopular music.

b) Pop music is famous people singing over childrens music. On the other hand, there’s all these liberal types that say their mate down the street singing about their dole cheques over the top of some discordant zither is also pop music. We don’t know anymore; we don’t care anymore. Frankly, it’s a market we could do with / without.


Greg Boring’s Heavy Syrup releases February 11 through Critical Heights.

New Music

Listen: Love Chants – I Won’t Run

As someone who hasn’t seen Love Chants at a show yet, I’m very surprised by what I’m hearing here. Love Chants is Anthony Guerra (Black Petal), Matt Earle (Breakdance the Dawn) and Michael Zulicki (Mad Nanna). The group is split between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, so live performances are something of a rarity. Never mind though(!), because a trickle of releases have begun to emerge: Breakdance the Dawn just released a First Session CD-R, and the two tracks below come from a forthcoming EP on Quemada, which is due in early 2013. These songs are reminiscent of Loren Connor’s quieter “airs” at times (he calls ’em that), which isn’t something I expected from a group with ties to X-Wave. Surprises are the best thing.


No Barbecue – Outdoor Living (CD-R)

This record is barren. If the popular depiction of apocalypse is a grand vision of cities ablaze, the one offered by No Barbecue (usually known as xNoBBQx) is marked by absence and silence. This is the aftermath: languages forgotten, foliage turned to dust, the sound of bricks dislodging from their mortar and highways cracking at their foundations.

The apocalypse is a pretty convenient visual analog to this music, with its total dismantling of structure and logic. Yet when you see xNoBBQx perform live it sounds and feels totally different – it’s a comedy of brazenly deliberate errors. With the clarity of their live presence, Nick Dan’s snare hits sound like snare hits, and Matt Earle’s out-of-service electric guitar sounds like exactly what it is. On record though, that crispness is sanded away and their playing sounds inhuman. Outdoor Living gives no impression of sentience, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone actually playing it. It’s harder still to imagine any listener interpreting this record as something other than the sound of an unceremoniously purged Earth.

I don’t claim to have heard every xNOBBQx release, but here at least, they’re not a noise rock group, or an improv group. This is a kind of dreaded, lifeless ambience, brought about by minimally fiddled electric guitar and a kit so broken it emanates nothing but erratic pulses, buried in broken-jack hiss. Across six tracks the duo rarely show signs of life, though what might pass as a crescendo does occur occasionally, like some undignified structure finally caving in.

Maybe total annihilation is the only true progress left. It’s the ultimate catastrophe to bear witness to, the final undocumentable Event, and the only total change. No Barbecue offer a brief glimpse at ground zero, via the brutal – yet sonically delicate – leveling of their chosen form. This isn’t “music”, nor entertainment. This is barely noise. It’s an impersonal and discomfortingly unromantic vision of a post-life vacuum. Ruins, with no one left to fetishise them.

Label: Breakdance the Dawn
Release date: October 2012