Dart #10: Uwalmassa – Untitled

Uwalmassa – ꧒
Unreleased single

Can’t say I’ve heard much Indonesian music but I’m very impressed with the samples I’ve heard from this label. This dart hits that sweet spot between intoxicated revelry and paranoia. It’s got that dusty tape Rhythm International sound but there’s something sinister afoot, and the stuttering churn of the bongos is just a few BPM shy of dance floor dynamite.

Dart #9: Shapednoise feat. Rabit – Pulling at the Seams of Existence

Shapednoise feat. Rabit – Pulling at the Seams of Existence
“Deafening Chaos Serenity”

I’m a fan of Shapednoise though not so moved by Rabit’s hipster midwest weightless, but this is one fine 10 minute shit storm. I’ve always been a fan of songs which perfectly emulate their title, and it’s never been a better time to pull at the proverbial seams of existence. Not so much a dart but you’ll need one after.

Also, finding it hard to place Rabit’s ‘feat.’? Who is on the deafening white noise and who is on the deafening feedback?

Dart #8: Cocteau Twins – Multifoiled

Cocteau Twins – Multifoiled
“Head Over Heels”

Cocteau Twins’ whole career is an impossibly good run of darts but I thought I should shine a light on this overlooked banger. Robin Guthrie’s signature Grand Canyon reverberations have always had an introverted quality to them, but they’ve never felt so claustrophobic, like the Twins are playing in some dingy speakeasy off the set of Twin Peaks. Liz Fraser, rivalled perhaps only by Bjork for vocal acrobatics and eccentric taste in metaphors, channels her sleazy side: ‘No longer multicoloured, just multifoiled’.

Dart #7: Kristin Hersh – Close Your Eyes

Kristin Hersh – Close Your Eyes
“Hips and Makers”
This record is full of tastefully sparse accompaniment but I think the string drone on this tune takes the dart.  Hersh positively flagellates the two chords on the acoustic, bringing the wounded embittered musings of her protagonist to life. Then the punch-drunk conspiracy ends and Hersh plunges us into a blissful, clean refrain. A troubling but powerful dart.

Dart #5: Madato – Make a Chick

Madato – Make a Chick
Items & Things

For those of you who miss the days when DFA’s blend of dance punk and Chicago house reigned supreme, Madato is coming in hot with plenty of sweaty bass lines and cheeky delivery. Could be viewed as facetious, but there is something endearing about the Italian’s loopy dreamscape lyricism, while his accent also captures, non-artificially, the slurred affectations of James Murphy.

For Finbar

Make It Up Club with Menstruation Sisters, Clare Cooper, Hextape and Sorcha Wilcox

Make it up club has been killing it for nearly two decades now, corralling the best in local artists and commissioning new collaborations at Bar Open on a Tuesday night where once a week the band room becomes a forum for musicians to test new ideas and to flex their skills of improvisation.  They’ve had countless musicians on this lineup, and the curation has always been admirably agnostic.  From live techno jams to post-rock and solo instrumentation with a broad cultural brush, the only unifying factor is that all the music is fugitive.  As MC Lloyd Honeybrook rhapsodises, we’ll never hear these sounds again.  On this night in particular his words seemed all the more convincing.  

Before I get tucked in I should disclose that I regrettably missed the opening act Hextape and Sorcha Wilcox.  I could, for the sake of maintaining the integrity of the the review, bluff my way through their set knowing nothing about what either act plays (“Hextape and Sorcha Wilcox kicked things off with an admirable marriage of contentious styles, forming what could only be described as music”).  But I have to fess up, I’m a working man with darts to draft.  Plus I’ve got no one to answer to so there’s no heads to roll.  Just one to hang in shame. 

I did, thankfully, make it for Clare Cooper.  She was a last minute replacement for Terminal Infant but from the strength of the performance the haste of the substitution could have fooled us all.  Cooper plays the Đàn bầu, a Vietnamese stringed instrument I’ve never encountered and as we all know every unfamiliar instrument is a smile from a beautiful stranger. 

As I’m not abreast of my Đàn bầu I can’t authenticate how true or errant Cooper’s playing style was to the traditional canon, but I can confirm she wielded it with talent and restraint.  The whole set was a showcase of different techniques, like watching a carpenter as all their efforts to saw, sand and paint produces a fine piece of woodwork.  Playing it with both bow and drumsticks, the Đàn bầu articulates in two parts, the twang of the string and the sinister metallic resonance of its oscillation, and Cooper was keenly attuned to the tension created by the sound.  From sharp aggressive bursts to a muted warble, Cooper executed the silences well and the pin drop crowd were all ears.

I’ve been a big Oren Ambarchi fan for a while now but I’m not up to scratch with Menstruation Sisters, one of his most enduring projects with guitarists Brendan Walls and Nik Kamvissis.  What I admire most about Ambarchi is his ability to straddle the hideous and the sublime – Menstruation Sisters, on the other hand, aren’t so enamoured with duality.  In fact, they are hell bent on shitting in you ears with as much mangled guitar strings molasses and gunshot snare fills as they can muster (and mustered they did last night with the PA’s under some very audible duress). 

Lead vocalist Kamvissis is your definitive renaissance punk – guitarist, vocal artist, visual artist – and there’s a continuum between his visual and musical expression.  His paintings recall the works of the COBRA movement: conveying the submerged trauma of a Billy Pilgrim-esque figure through primitive, childlike abstraction.   Similarly, Kamvissis’ vocals, mumbled and wretched under the surge of feedback, is like primal scream therapy from the centre of the earth.  By the end of the set the whole band had joined in, stopping to howl before breaking into another fractured groove.  It looked like they were having a blast and it was one of those great sets where everyone stands around dumbstruck afterwards, reluctant to break the silence with anything less than momentous. 

It was a privilege to experience such unique ephemeral music in such an intimate setting. But, more importantly, it’s vital to any strong musical culture that we maintain institutions like these where more challenging ideas can flourish.  The lineups rotate too freely to champion your favourite genre but give it a crack one week and I’m sure at least one of the artists will really hit the spot. 

You can check out future lineups for Make it Up club here.

Sadly there’s only room for one Clare Cooper on Facebook.

Dart #4: Ann Peebles – I Can’t Stand the Rain

Ann Peebles – I Can’t Stand the Rain
“I Can’t stand the Rain”

Rainy dart for a rainy day. This Peebles is the real deal – so real she comes from an era where songs were so good they named albums after them. ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ could have claimed legendary status on the back of that electric timbale alone, but its the cognitive dissonance of the memphis soul beat coming in and the subversion of rain as a conventionally romantic motif that makes this beast so weird and wonderful (and a true dart). Then there’s Ann, the only vocalist who could start a revolution over shit weather.

And it goes without saying but respect to ‘Jams Urban a.k.a Whisper’ for uploading such a mighty dart to youtube. This ones for you Jams.

Dart #2: Jenny Hval – That Battle is Over

Jenny Hval – That Battle is Over
“Apocalypse, girl”
Sacred Bones

A pretty emotional dart for a fine Saturday morning. The true pathos of this song lies in how the gleeful capitalist Hval depicts doesn’t represent some vaudevillian Wall Street plutocrat but instead resonates with a universal sense of complacency. I was drawn back to this song in the wake of the Trump victory, and its the perfect 21st century anthem: despondent, but with enough urgency to cauterise the gaping soul.

Hval brings back the trip hop break like it was never out of style and, true to form, manages to make the simplest arrangement soar. Her vocals are off the charts and with each breath she introduces a new melody or vocal idea (of which she has many). Also I’m not much of a film clip kind of guy but this one’s got a scorcher. Enjoy.