Psy Ants – Bit Tongue Prik (LP)

Psy Ants released this LP a couple of weeks ago and then disbanded, so this is the only record they’ll ever have, and you’ll probably never see them play live again. Consisting members of Per Purpose, Knee Chin and Cured Pink, the Brisbane trio formed around the duo of Aiden Hilcher and Mitchel Perkins, and eventually recruited Glen Schenau on guitar. They played the type of noise rock that sounds life-changing after about four (maybe five) longnecks.

The record plays out like a 20-minute rush of ugly texture: flaked with rust and bluntly serrated at the edges. Mitchel Perkins yells/sings like he was dropped as an infant, and the ensemble itself is unusually technical for a group like this, changing tempo and tack several times within the space of a two minute tune. ‘Belts & Ties’ is an exception: a short and leery chant that approaches something almost frightening in its nastiness. Elsewhere, foreign elements like chimes (?) make ‘Toska’ a little bit weirder than your run-of-the-mill “angular” noise rock tune.

Overall, it’s true reprobate filth. If someone played this record to you without saying what it is, you’d probably guess it was made in Brisbane. Bit Tongue Prik consists eight songs, and each is a mess of feedback and yelling. You could slot these guys on a bill with Slug Guts, early Per Purpose and nowadays Sewers, and you’d have a very… thematically consistent show indeed. That’s where I imagine this group would shine – playing to a room of fellow imbeciles. This is a serviceable enough record, very good for what it is, but all three members are doing more remarkable stuff now.

Label: Vacant Valley
Release date: November 2012

New Music

Listen: Psy Ants – Spike

Story goes that Psy Ants were a Brisbane group formed out of the ashes of a band called Science. They evolved from a two-piece consisting Mitchel Perkins and Aidan Hilcher, before expanding into a three-piece, with Glen Schenau of Per Purpose and Marl Karx on electric guitar. As with that other group Glen Schenau played in, Psy Ants are releasing a debut LP and then calling it a day. Seems like a pretty dignified way to die in the rock ‘n’ roll business. All is not lost though, because the members now play in groups like Per Purpose, Knee Chin and Cured Pink. Good on them.

Their debut LP is called Bit Tongue Prik and it’s out through Vacant Valley right now. Take a listen to the track below. We’ll review it soon.

They’re in the middle of their final tour at the moment. Most of Australia will have either missed them or seen them by now, but if you live in Adelaide or Brisbane, here are the details:

The Metro
w/ Big Richard Insect + No Action + Shopgirl

Legions Hall
Sewers + Gerald Keaney and the Gerald Keaneys +
Cannon + The Maryettas

New Music

Listen: Go Genre Everything – Everyday Robots

There are a bunch of people I know who swear by Go Genre Everything. No one ever feels ambivalent about them, which is a very beautiful thing. Less beautiful is that they aren’t very prolific, but then, ubiquity leads to ambivalence and that is not an emotion that Go Genre Everything is associated with.

Case in point: I had a guy email me about this track. He wasn’t from the band, nor the label Vacant Valley, but still he wrote that this new 7 inch is “the best local release of the year” followed by italicised song lyrics penned by Go Genre Everything. He probably sat there and typed them out himself, all starry-eyed and giddy. Is this guy a sicko? No, he’s just in love. Thanks, buddy.

Anyway, the 7 inch is called Domestic Dreams and Robots and you can purchase through Vacant Valley and probably your local Chandlers. The track below is called ‘Everyday Robots’. Go forth and click.


Pop Singles – All Gone (LP)

The cover of All Gone alludes to a well-established Australian-ness. There’s a silhouette of a Hills Hoist with a few dozen pegs attached to it, and a shrub at the bottom. The yellow-black-red colour scheme looks like it accompanies a Text Classic, the recent book range that repackages popular and prominent works of the Australian literary canon. You’ll hear references to The Go-Betweens, The Church and The Triffids in Pop Singles’ take on melody-driven guitar pop. All signs point to an over-indulgence of Australiana, but it merely acts as a backdrop for something far more universal.

There’s an ordinariness to All Gone that transcends the current slacker-pop condition of relishing in the mundane. Tam Matlawkowski skips over lethargic one-and-all symbolism and instead sings about people and human relationships. It’s a conversational record by a steady, assured voice. It doesn’t use geography or insider references as a stylistic crutch, and there’s no reason this album couldn’t have come from a Perth or Hobart trio rather than a Melbourne one.

Lead single ‘All Gone’ is an outta-the-gate pop topaz, all shimmering optimism in the face of defeat. It sounds like the advice of an upbeat friend to another who’s just been dumped: the hopeful to the hopeless. “Something had to give, you know it couldn’t last,” sings Matlawkowski, offering some perspective. “It’s not wrong, it’s not right, it’s nowhere in between.”

Side B standout ‘The Greatest Feeling’ follows this theme of hope/lessness in its tracking of an ambiguous relationship. “Why won’t you just / admit a thing or two / admit defeat when it’s due, ” it opens against squalling guitar. During its three minutes it’s difficult to ascertain what Pop Singles supposes is the greatest feeling. “It’s getting harder to relate to anyone but you,” the song concludes, hinting at belonging being their most important emotional tenet, yet one of the most difficult to establish or maintain.

Slits of brightness filter through ‘Are You Still There?’ and ‘Now and Again’, while ‘Always Away’ feels like a fierce rollick in the aisles of personal fear. ‘Overcast’ opens with a gaze over a vast red desert, before tearing up the dust in a pummel of percussion. It’s a two-gear track that shifts from this Australian Cowboy twinkle to a powering chorus. And it’s simple, really: jangle will never go out of fashion if it’s done this well.

The magic of All Gone is in the freeness of the lyrics and how they intersect with the instruments. These are rhymes that fit so oddly in place; words slide in and out of each other, the tails of sentences slotting into a guitar uprisal. Vocals, bass and guitar work in tandem to slot together at new angles, wistfulness informing wistfulness.

“All my life I’ve been looking for something… but no one knows that I don’t trust them”: side one, track one covers it. All Gone is a record of desire for closeness in a world of closed shells. In its strands of unachieved dreams, of hopefulness and hopelessness, this is a confident debut touching on timeless and borderless themes.

Label: Vacant Valley
Release Date: July 2012