The Guardian just did a roundup of new Australian bands, failing to mention The Frowning Clouds or Clouds/Ausmuteants side project Hierophants. They have a new single out on Italian label Goodbye Boozy called “Nothing Neu” which mixes Spencer Davis Group with Neu! Also out on the same label is the Clouds’ first single off of the new album. “Beetle Bird” is coupled with a remix by Rhys and Josh from The Horrors.
Posts Tagged The Frowning Clouds
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for, but let’s not jump straight to the dessert. First I’ve got some honourable mentions of releases that deserve a list of their own. These are either records that came out late in December of last year, or really great records recorded by equally great friends.
Bad Indians – …Are On the Other Side CQ
Sam Lunsford – s/t self-released
Gestapo Khazi – The Jewel of the Land self-released
The Resonars – The Greatest Songs of… Trouble In Mind
Beachniks – In Color Neotomic
Sapphire Mansions – Over America 12″ It’s Raining
Amor de Dias – The House At Sea Merge
Now, picking the below 15 from the original shortlist of roughly 85 albums was hard, but there’s definitely no doubt which have been the best five albums of 2013. That’s why this year I’m presenting them in a non-ordered 5+10 list. As usual Thee Oh Sees have had a good year, with a new album that I think actually might be my favourite from Dwyer’s pen so far. They also released Vol. 3 of their singles collection, and an excellent EP called Moon Sick. The powerpop album of the year turned out not to be the new Bad Spors LP (despite opening track “Get You” being absolutely killer) but the debut from Nightmare Boyzzz. It includes one of last year’s best songs, “My Body Breaks Down” from their Younger Siblings split, and also, since Plateaus didn’t release an album this year, Bad Patterns stole the limelight. Fittingly, “Crying In the Limelight” was the best track on the new Audacity record… Cool Ghouls and The Shivas are my best discoveries of the year. And Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel is the latest inclusion, perhaps it will grow on me, or perhaps it will be forgotten as mere psych pastiche. That’s the unfair treatment you’ll have to consider when you’re comparing an album you’ve had 11 months to digest with one you heard last week. I haven’t written anything about either Night Beats or King Gizzard, but you’ve probably caught on anyway. If you feel like you’re missing stuff I recommend following Record Turnover on soundcloud and fb where I share a lot of things I don’t have the time to write about at length. Of course, Night Beats were guaranteed a spot even before I heard Sonic Bloom, since their Malmö gig was purely captivating.
The Higher State – s/t 13 O’Clock
The Shivas – Whiteout! K Records
Night Beats – Sonic Bloom Reverberation Appreciation Society
Jacco Gardner – Cabinet of Curiosities Trouble In Mind
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Float Along—Fill Your Lungs Flightless
Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel – Nico & Her Psychedelic Subconscious Burger
Fuzz – s/t In the Red
Dead Ghosts – Can’t Get No Burger
Cool Ghouls – s/t Empty Cellar
Elephant Stone – s/t Hidden Pony
The Frowning Clouds – Whereabouts Anti Fade
Paul Messis – Case Closed State
Nightmare Boyzzz – Bad Patterns Slovenly
Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin Castle Face
Mikal Cronin – MCII Merge
And that’s it for this year. It’s been a great holiday season reading other people’s list, catching up on heaps of records and remembering just the incredible amount of good music being recorded and released. Even if it’s just a cassette, like the new Goochi Boiz album for example. And I just saw that What Next? released a new tape in May. Please tip me about anything I might have missed in the comments, sometimes you don’t hear your fave record of a certain year until one or several years later. Apart from the releases here in the archives, I’ve been listening a lot to albums from Warm Soda, Running, The Go, Mozes & the Firstborn, Bad Sports, King Kahn, Useless Eaters, Bazooka, White Fence, Black Angles, Crystal Stilts, Psychic Ills, Catholic Spray, Lantern, Audacity, Mantles, Wrong Words, Pastels, Primitive Hearts, Limiñanas, Feeding People etc etc.
A couple of mixes coming soon, as a complement to the lists.
If you’re a garage head these would have been the two most anticipated releases of the year. Since bursting out of a Melbourne suburb in 2009 with their Lovin’ You EP, they’ve practically spawned a whole scene of garage and punk groups inspired by them and Straight Arrows. The Frowning Clouds have now found a home on Anti Fade, run by the people behind Living Eyes (one of those very bands). Still represented by Saturno in Europe, who have helped them sway a new continent with only two brief visits. And a fantastic tour tape to boot, that I wrote about earlier and which features in my recent list of 2013’s best singles and eps. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Whereabouts ended up on my list of the best 15 albums, which I will be posting soon too. Because although the Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology cassette didn’t show much progression from their ’65 revival sound of Listen Closelier, (except some ventures into ’66 sounds, like The Mods’ “Days Mind the Time”), this album is a completely different beast. While recent single “Propellers” is included here, neither that nor the preceding “All Night Long” hinted at the direction they would be taking here. This 13-track album is an ode to the psychedlic era Kinks and the folk-rock sounds of 1968. Without churning out catchy pop songs, they achieve the same success Woods did on their latest album, via quirky song structures, groovy bass lines and far-out 12-string sounds (check out the ending of first track “All Angles” for example). “Into the Ground” and “Dreamtiming” are among the most beautiful electric folk songs of the year. And on “3 O’Clock Habit”, “Beetle Bird” and “Product of the Peanut Butter Company” they could have been channeling Peanut Butter…. Conspiracy. But they’re at their absolute best when they are just Frowning Clouds: “Mayan Calender Girl”, “Much Too Much Too Soon” and “Heaps Deep” are unique and memorable songs in their own right. And still they’re not afraid to break out a simple braindead riff like that of “Human Being, Human Doing, Human Going”. Hear it on spotify
It’s true, The Higher State are here with their best album so far, aptly titled just The Higher State. Unassumingly packaged and presented, this masterpiece sounds like it could have been recorded in a casual 10-day session just like Younger Than Yesterday. Marty’s cut his hair, Paul Messis has come in on bass, no paisley shirts on the cover. As a band they’ve reached an age at which style and artifice is less important than just being yourselves. “Look here comes another trend, now you look just like your friends” to quote the album’s closing track “Try Slowing Down”. Even though the more psychedelic precursor Freakout At the Gallery was great, it’s this equally balanced mix of 12-string folk-rock and seething fuzz leads that they do best. With two razorsharp singles already released this year, only “Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)” is included here, leaving you with 11 new songs that together make up the strongest material Marty and Mole have released since The Mystreated’s classic LP Looking Right Through (that, believe it or not, turns 20 years old next year). Perhaps it’s Messis who has re-ignited that spark, or maybe it’s the comfortable setting of their own Folkstone studio that just makes these songs come together naturally. Each of them so strong it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Hear it here, or get it from 13 O’Clock, along with their newest 45 “I Just Pretend”.
Once again, it’s time to round up and get ready for another year of great releases. You might have already checked the great lists from Styrofoam Drone and Tiny Grooves, and I’ll definitely have a few repeasts. I’ve had some catching up to do though over the last few weeks, but I’m now ready to present my list of the best 45s and extended plays of 2013. It’s been a good year for several artists, who will appear both here and in the albums list: Jacco Gardner (who was also on last year’s list), The Frowning Clouds, Warm Soda, and of course The Young Sinclairs who have 2 singles making the cut (out of a total of 5 this year).
The Thanes make an incredibly strong comeback in 2013, and also their new Dirty Water 45 should be in the shops any day. The biggest surprises may come from powerpop knock-outs Chain Letters, new US garage group The Neumans, and the Jacco-produced debut from Miri May. Fergus & Geronimo have evolved into Parquet Courts and The Keepsies, the latter of which is my favourite, on here with their second single (which doesn’t seem to be available on vinyl yet?). Another couple of off-shoots Winter Bear (ex-Cave Weddings) and Las Rosas (ex-Harlem) round out this list which is organised in a 5+10 fashion, with no particular order within the groupings.
The Thanes – She’s Coming Back to Me State
The Neumans – Fuzz Filled Dreams Wild
The Young Sinclairs – Hurt My Pride Requiem Pour Un Twister
Miri May – You Are My Angel Saturno
The Frowning Clouds – Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology EP Saturno
The Keepsies – She (Was My Baby) Chrome Waves
Chain Letters – Bad Reflection Pogo Time
The See See – The Rain & the Snow Sundazed
Warm Soda – Tell Me In a Whisper Goodbye Boozy
Jacco Gardner – The End of August Trouble In Mind
The Young Sinclairs – You Know Where To Find Me EP Planting Seeds
Winter Bear – Jump In the Fire Hozac
Las Rosas – s/t EP Burger
Energy Gown – I Watch the Sun EP self-released
Endless Bummer – Ripper Current EP In the Red
Others that at least deserve a mention are brilliant releases from Straight Arrows, Drags, Beach Party, Fuzz, Temples, Cold Warps’ tour tape, Los Wallas, Vacations, Ketamines, The Raw Nerves, Unwed Teenage Mothers, The Higher State, Plateaus and Nightmare Boyzzz. Look out for the albums list coming soon, as well as a podcast of tracks from both lists and a spotify playlist. Plenty to come!
2012 was a big year for Melbourne suburb Geelong. Now it’s that time again, and The Laughing Leaves mentioned in the post below is not the only band making the rounds (speaking of leaves, don’t forget to check out The Fallen Leaves’ new album). The Living Eyes are back with a follow-up to last year’s brilliant “Ways to Make a Living” 45, on Billy’s own label Anti Fade. The album is self-titled and includes ten new garage winners as well as the single top side. It’s already sold out, but you should stream it on bandcamp, starting with my favourite track “Heard It All Before” below.
Saturno Records in Spain released the very first Living Eyes single back in 2011, but was already then the home of Geelong stalwarts The Frowning Clouds, who recently came back to Europe to play the Le Beat Bespoke weekender in London. They’ve finished their second album now, but as an early teaser Saturno put together a tour cassette called Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology. If the eight tracks are anything to go by with regards to the new album, the Clouds are done with the ’65 Rolling Stones sound, and the slightly more primitive and varied sound is rather in line with side projects The Bonniwells and The Hierophants, and definitely nods to The Kinks. Two stand-out tracks “Guess Again” and “Thought About Her” prove Nick and Zak still have some major talent to unleash. The latter, as you can hear below, lifts the intro straight out of The Mods “Days Mind the Time” (featured here on Bitter Bells), which is quite an obscure garage 45 although it has previously been covered by The Madd.
Apart from Summer of Fuzz there’s been one more cassette compilation released this year that’s put me onto a lot of good new bands. New Centre of the Universe cements the fact that, next to Canada, the place were it’s happening right now is Australia. There’s the Bedroom Suck and R.I.P. Society labels, great bands like Bitch Prefect, Royal Headache, Circle Pit, Bloods, East Link, Woollen Kits etc. (several of which are featured in the recent podcast). Add to that list Anti Fade Records, who really puts Geelong on the map, and as more than simply the home of The Frowning Clouds. The bands on New Centre of the Universe give the feel of a positively thriving scene of garage groups. And in the list of upcoming Anti Fade releases you’ll find Useless Eaters, The Bonniwells and a Straight Arrows reissue amongst others.
It’s obvious that Anti Fade is an artist-run label. With an apparent DIY belief in anti-design and dubbing cassettes manually, the music is what label founder Billy Gardner truly cares about. As a member of The Living Eyes and Ausmuteants, he had the idea of making a comp as early as last year, he tells me. A true labour of love then, featuring established acts like The Frowning Clouds and Zac’s other group The Bonniwells, The UV Race and the much-lauded Dick Diver. The tape gives the impression that each member of every band also fronts their own outfit and Gardner explains the relations between the various constellations. For example, one of my favourites called Hierophants shares three members with The Frowning Clouds. Their split cassette with Brisbane-based Cobwebbs is one of several releases that came out before New Centre of the Universe was eventually finished. There’ll be more about Hierophants soon, and Cobwebbs have an LP due out on Lost Race soon. They actually reminds me quite a lot of Cosmonauts, whose second album dropped recently and is more than worth a listen.
There are too many great titles on the tape to list, but Chook Race, Mesa Cosa, and The Murlocs all have records out that you should check out. Luckily the whole thing is on bandcamp, so I’ll just leave you with this track by Facetime emitting some well-digested Felt vibes.
I admit I haven’t kept up with the Australians bands since my obsession last year, mainly with The Frowning Clouds. But the new track from Reading Rainbow (“Dead End”, one of their best yet) got me started again, since it’s one side of a recent Hozac Hookup Club split with Australian duo Super Wild Horses. I still haven’t been able to find out what the SWH side is called, but it compelled me to check up how some of the other great current Aussie groups were doing.
Not only do The Frowning Clouds have their second album out soon, but the first 7″ off it is already here. It’s called “All Night Long” and is a fab raver, coupled with the more sombre “Dame a Dozen”. Can’t decide which one I like best! Zac has recently recorded an album with a new trio called The Bonniwells. He sings and plays the drums on Unprofitable Servant, which is a decidedly more trashy album than Listen Closelier. It doesn’t seem to have garnered much attention but is well worth checking out both for the originals and the covers of e.g. “We’re Pretty Quick” (changed to “We’re Pretty Sick”).
Also out with a new single are Melbourne lo-fi belters Woollen Kits. “Maths” is available from RIP Society and you can watch a video for the great a-side here. They also have a cassette ep coming out soon on Fan Death. Above is a photo from their instore gig at Repressed Records in Newtown, with Super Wild Horses (from Christophlr on Flickr).
The best new Australian band I’ve heard apart from The UV Race is by far Straight Arrows. Their first album It’s Happening came out already last year, but the band just went on their first US tour. The album is full of well-written songs that are obviously garage with all the right influences, but without being tied down by a compulsive authenticity drive. The 24-minute-long record is out on Rice Is Nice and I’m really looking forward to hearing what they cook up next.