New Music

Listen: Standish / Carlyon – Nono / Yono

standishcarlyon

This is two guys from The Devastations (Conrad Standish and Tom Carlyon) doing what most will probably reflexively describe as ‘chillwave’. Stranger things have happened, but if you remember The Devastations last LP Yes U, you’ll realise this stylistic shift isn’t as massive as it seems. Also, there’s none of the over-exposed, happy-go-lucky reverie you’d associate with that C tag: this is dark and grimy in a fashion that recalls a more colour-inclined HTRK.

The duo’s debut LP is due in May through Chapter Music, and this is the first single. Its smooth ’80s pop patina recalls some of Daniel Lopatin’s work with Games, but the focus here is on song structure rather than pastiche. We’re interviewing Standish later this week, so stay tuned for that. They’re playing a headline show at Melbourne’s Gasometer on March 1 with Roland Tings.

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New Music

Listen: Jonny Telafone – Only Temporary Things

jonnytelafoneOriginally from Canberra but now based in Melbourne, Jonny Telafone first came to the wider public’s attention via the Dream Damage label/blog, where several of his cassettes were sold and then digitally distributed. He’s always been a hard guy to pin down: back in 2010 his songs (‘Doomed in Love’ for instance, released in 2009) seemed to fit nicely next to that other Dream Damage luminary Horse MacGyver (what’s that guy doing nowadays, anyway?). It turned out that wasn’t the case at all, because whichever way you try to spin it, Jonny Telafone is all over the shop. Certainly not in a bad way, though.

Later material like 2010’s Wherever the Wind Blows demonstrated a more conventional, confessional approach to songwriting, echoing some of the songs he wrote as far back as 2007.  Most recently, he’s released a 7 inch through Nihilistic Orbs called Ceremony. It’s a pretty confusing state of affairs for anyone with an interest in the guy, so it’s lucky that Chapter Music has compiled a Jonny Telafone best-of, which collects various tape and digital releases. It’s packaged as a CD and 7 inch package, with the 7 inch featuring four new tracks. We’ve chosen to embed something a bit older: a track called ‘Only Temporary Things’. It’s easy to run hot and cold with Jonny Telafone, but for mine, this is one of his stand out moments.

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New Music

Listen: Bum Creek – Matrix Pills ;-) Babe

Things have been pretty quiet on the Bum Creek front of late. One part of the group is working solo under the name Thugquota, but they’ve not released anything official since 2010’s Al, which was a barrel of laughs. While we patiently wait, tinned foodstuffs and a shotgun at the ready, we’re pleased to offer you a stream of this track from a forthcoming Chapter Music LP, which celebrates that label’s 20th anniversary. With the help of a calculator, we’ve calculated that label head Guy Blackman has been releasing records since most of the content-generating monkeys here at Crawlspace were adolescents. A stat well suited to the bottom of a Tooheys New cap.

The double LP is called 20 Big Ones, and it features 20 rare and/or unreleased tracks from groups connected with Chapter Music on fashionable coloured vinyl. Acts include Dick Diver, Primitive Calculators, Small World Experience, Minimum Chips and exactly 16 others. They’re only available at shows though, so you’ll need to attend either the Melbourne or Sydney birthday celebrations to pick one up. Record collecting recluses, it’s time to harden up.

Here are the dates. Scroll to the bottom for the Bum Creek track.

Sat Nov 17, North Melbourne Town Hall, 3.30pm – ALL AGES

with Crayon Fields, Twerps, Beaches, Pikelet, Laura Jean, Primitive Calculators, Jonny Telafone, Standish/Carlyon, Clag, New Estate and Bum Creek

Sat Nov 24, Goodgod Small Club, Sydney, 7pm

with Crayon Fields, Laura Jean, Standish/Carlyon, Guy Blackman, Jonny Telafone

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Reviews

Fabulous Diamonds – Commercial Music (LP)

Fabulous Diamonds have lost their innocence. Where their first album, let’s call it 7 Songs, was a mere extension of the elementary nonchalance of their earlier EP –drummer and vocalist Nisa Venerosa’s caustic observations offered up in lucid fidelity over a clumsy convergence of drums, synths and saxophone –the second, Fabulous Diamonds II, was more abstracted. Representative of the legendarily combative relationship between Venerosa and band mate Jarrod Zlatic, the tension of that album’s unrelenting forward-thrust was most succinctly prefaced by a pissed-off Venerosa reproaching Zlatic for counting time too soon on record. That volatility, whether it be between band members, their divergent stylistic preferences or with their chosen instruments, is an energy Fabulous Diamonds thrives on. So what happens when that energy fades?

Naming their latest album Commercial Music and christening the track listing with actual song-titles where they could (a ‘???’ standing in for where they wouldn’t) Fabulous Diamonds’ third full-length offers a powerful sense of eye-rolling dejection. Six tracks come to 40 minutes of trundling through a mire of eerily compressed reverb that obscures Venerosa’s sharp though ever-obtuse wit, and lowers everything else into a cumulus of sounds –synthetic and otherwise. But as the Proustian adage goes, “the beauties that one discovers soonest are also those of which one tires most quickly”, which certainly applies to Fabulous Diamonds’ evolving oeuvre. It’s no longer in the lumbering synthesis of two autodidacts still figuring out their instruments that one finds a gob of fleeting pleasure, but in the compositional subtleties of Commercial Music. These are harder to find but easier to hold on to once discovered.

Always keeping their audience guessing, Fabulous Diamonds instills it with a heightened sense of confused unknowingness from the outset. Seemingly freeform though fully-composed pieces generate an overpowering sense of evasive cynicism, as slow-burning album opener ‘Inverted Vamp’ casually churns out a feeling of mundane desperation, while closer ‘Downhill’ works itself into a final fit of anxiety over a 10-minute stretch. Meanwhile, synth samples linger atop a chasm of manipulated sounds and echoes through a half-arsed duet in ‘Lothario’, while unease wavers over the delayed drumming of ‘John Song’. That track’s shrouded lyrics, now captured, reveal the truly brilliant pop inversion Commercial Music is meant to be; Venerosa and Zlatic howling, “John can’t dance no more, he’s doing ‘the face on the floor’,” as if this were the drug binger’s ‘Macarena’, Fabulous Diamonds-style.

At first glance, it’s as if the band have given up altogether; falling in line with a simulation of what Fabulous Diamonds should sound like, rather than what they do. But having moved on to various other projects since starting in roughly 2005 –namely the more electronic leanings for Zlatic and organic ones for Venerosa –Commercial Music is the most fully realised account of the duo’s contrasting aesthetic (and Fabulous Diamonds’ core strength) yet. Because even as Venerosa makes a limp-wristed effort at emulating a drum machine to suit the in vogue trend toward a fully electronic set up, luckily for us, she fails spectacularly; a testament to apathy being one’s greatest asset.

Label: Chapter Music
Release Date: August 2012

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