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POND Announce New Album!

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File this one under AWESOME NEWS - Our fave psychedelic rockers POND are coming back with a brand spankin’ new album in the early part of 2015.

On Man It Feels Like Space Again they’ve teamed up with another Cool Accident fave, artist Ben Montero who channels Crumb not to mention Big Brother and the Holding Company on the album’s cover art.

The date of release in Australia is Jan 23 and we’re especially excited for the vinyl which according to POND’s Facebook page will feature a die-cut outer sleeve with inner sleeve freakazoid mural!

A new album announcement wouldn’t be complete without some new music and they’ve got that sorted too. Lead single Elvis’ Flaming Star comes complete with a wacky VHS homemade video.

The guys gave the scoop to Pitchfork - It was shot using three iPhones, “six cans of silly string with three silly string assault rifles”, water balloons, Christmas lights, fake flowers, “one pair of alien sunnies and one pair of steampunk goggles,” and “2 much dumb shit to count really,” among other things, according to the band.

"It hurts more than you think getting pelted in the face with water balloons," they add.

Check it out below, and remember to put Grandma’s Christmas money aside, so you can cop it on release.

Rick Rubin Revisits The Birthplace of Def Jam

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Following on from his candid chat with Zane Lowe for BBC Radio 1 earlier this year, another nice slice of Rick Rubin related viewing has popped up around the label’s 30th anniversary.

Rolling Stone magazine recently took Rubin back to the birthplace of Def Jam records i.e. his college dorm room at New York University.

In the documentary Rick Was Here, Rubin as well as Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, former label president Lyor Cohen, rappers LL Cool J & The Beastie’s Ad-Rock as well as Rick’s roommate recall the early years of the now iconic label.



*judging by the pic above we’re guessing Rick’s mom didn’t throw away his best porno mag.

TGIF - BLITZ KIDS: The First Coldwave.


Once upon a time in the dark days of black & white London, the Blitz club arrived and brought us colour.

And people rode the tube looking like this:


and this:


Which was quite challenging on a Friday night on your way back from school.

The club was a scene, and you only got in if you were in it.

And the scene spewed forth a whole bunch of creative stars including Boy George, Marilyn, Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange, Philip Salon, Martin Degville, Michael Clark, Stephen Jones, John Galliano, Princess Julia and of course house band Spandau Ballet.

Which was nice and they made some great records and started a sound called “new romantic”.

And they influenced the last great phase of David Bowie so much that Blitz Kids fill the (extraordinary) video he made for Ashes To Ashes.


But before they all made records the club’s soundtrack was provided by legendary DJ Rusty Egan (that’s on the right)


Who cooked up a combination of icy electronic music from Europe, and some sound pioneers from the UK, to make a soundtrack that was very different and became beyond influential, and ushered in a new age of “electronic music”.

So this Friday here’s a bit of a Rusty Egan/ Blitz playlist to shake your shoes to.

It’s a sort of strange place where coldish machine music meets meet soul all around Bowie’s Young Americans and Berlin phases,

Somehow we feel this is where dance music started (and without it maybe there’d be no electro, and no Depeche Mode/New Order??)


Spandau Ballet have reunited as the original gang to launch a new single, a new compilation of all their many hits and to promote their brilliant retrospective film “Soul Boys Of The Western World



 -TH

Looking For The Purrfect Beat

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It might have started as a joke but now that over $55K has been raised EL-P & Killer Mike will remix their Run the Jewels 2 project using all cat sounds for the music.

The resulting Meow The Jewels release will get additional production assistance from a who’s who of the beat business, as Prince Paul, The Alchemist, Just Blaze, Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, Dan The Automator, & Bauuer have all volunteered to help out.

Checkout the trailer for the project below and stay tuned for more info as it come to paw.


Run The Jewels 2 sans cat sounds drops on Oct 27 via Mass Appeal

The Best Wedding Cover Band EVER?

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I have to be honest, I liked Edwyn Collins best when he looked like he did above… But that didn’t mean that 1995’s A Girl Like You wasn’t a …

BANGING TUNE.


And now it’s been covered by The Black Keys.


Dan & Pat will be returning to Australia in April 2015 on their Turn Blue tour and as much as we’d love to see them play a wedding based on the above, we’re pretty sure they’ll be sticking to festivals, arenas and music bowls.

We don’t know when Edwyn’s next back. But I’m off to listen to Orange Juice.



-TH

The 20 Best Songs Ever Written About L.A.

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Via LA Weekly’s West Coast Sound


Let other cities have their feel-good, celebratory theme songs — their “Philadelphia Freedom,” their “Empire State of Mind.” Here in Los Angeles, we like our urban anthems dark.

Sure, we’re the land of endless sunshine and Hollywood high rollers. But we’re also the birthplace of gangsta rap, the sleazy home of hair metal, the place where sex and drugs met rock & roll, the dream factory where dreams come to die. Yeah, we can be pretty, but we’re proud of our ugly side. Los Angeles isn’t for everyone, which is what it makes it so special to those of us who can’t imagine living anywhere else.

So you won’t find any sun, sun, sun or fun, fun, fun (well, except the kind to be had in strip clubs) on our list of the 20 greatest songs about our city. With all due respect to The Beach Boys, that isn’t what L.A. is about for us. It’s about the dark stuff.


20. Dr. Dre, “Let Me Ride”

In 1992, all eyes were on Los Angeles. On April 29, the four white LAPD officers who had been videotaped using excessive force against Rodney King were acquitted. The city responded by rioting; later that summer, Dr. Dre recorded his seminal solo debut, The Chronic. From the track’s tea-kettle squeal to Dre’s first-things-first announcement that he’s got his “Glock cocked,” “Let Me Ride” immediately transmits the danger of living in a city where those entrusted with protecting and serving pose as much of a threat as anyone. But for every dark underbelly there’s a sunny side, and Dre created a rolling, glistening G-Funk soundtrack perfect for L.A.’s favorite pastime, lowriding. Snoop Dogg’s gentle snarl on the hook made you want to hit Slauson when the sun went down, no matter the consequences. - Rebecca Haithcoat


19. Fidlar, “Cheap Beer”

Ripping into the song with some furious surf guitar and the sort of frayed aggression that drivers in this city are all too familiar with, Fidlar are on a mission – to get effed up. The track evokes the frantic, endless hurry everybody here always seems to be in, but also captures what it’s like to be young and reckless in L.A. – cheap beer, shitty cars, and lots and lots of weed. In a city famous for street cruising, Fidlar takes us on a drunken journey from Alvarado to the 101 freeway, down south towards Mexico, and back over to the Westside. If the line “Supposed to be in Santa Monica at 8 a.m.” makes you cringe, it’s a safe bet you’re an Angeleno. - Artemis Thomas-Hansard


18. Michelle Shocked, “Come a Long Way”

imageIt’s too bad Michelle Shocked is best-known these days for committing career suicide with a bizarre anti-gay rant at a 2013 show in San Francisco. Because in her late ‘80s/early ‘90s golden years, she was one of the warmest, wittiest singer-songwriters to cross over from the college folk circuit into the mainstream. “Come a Long Way,” from 1992’s Arkansas Traveler, is the Texas native’s rollicking ode to her adopted hometown, told in flashes of familiar landmarks seen from the back of a motorcycle: MacArthur Park, East L.A. (“Pescado mojado me encontré”), Watts Towers, Mulholland Drive. Any recent transplant who’s spent a weekend cruising our city’s endless sprawl can relate to the song’s breezy chorus: “I’ve gone 500 miles today … and never even left L.A.” - Andy Hermann


17. The Tubes, “White Punks on Dope”

Bizarro ‘70s art-punk had a million early adopters, but none of them could out-weird or out-theatric The Tubes. With their circusy hijinks and cast of dozens, cleverly ripping apart the day-glo showbiz of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, they always pushed the envelope. So when the San Francisco-based group took on the suburbs-to-L.A. exodus in “White Punks on Dope” on their 1975 debut record, they did it with characteristic outrageousness. It’s a classic story of rich ennui, told through sun-bleached Hollywood lens flare. All these strung out suburban punks have the problems other poor jerks only dream of having — too much time and too many goddamned drugs. This track is a rare example of outsiders perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of L.A. youth. - Paul T. Bradley


16. DJ Quik, “Born and Raised in Compton”

The first single from DJ Quik’s 1991 debut, Quik is the Name, “Born and Raised in Compton” was a more melodic and personal introduction to the city for rap listeners than the barrage of militant nihilism that was N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton.” However, Quik didn’t excise the gritty details for the sake of accessibility. Instead, he honestly depicted his conflicted relationship with his birthplace. His Compton was still the home to jackers and crack. A bulletproof vest still wasn’t a bad idea. Your turntables and SP-1200 could still be stolen from your home. Yet Quik, like most native Angelenos, displayed an undying affection for his hometown. He may have written part of the song to avenge the injuries he suffered while living in the city, but the “CPT sign” remained written on his chest. - Max Bell


15. Hole, “Malibu”

If there was ever a better line written to describe why this place is what it is – a mecca for artists and misfits to find, or lose, themselves – than “Oceans of angels / Oceans of stars / Down by the sea is where you / Drown your scars,” well, we dare you to find it. Led by a very lethargic guitar, “Malibu” tells the story of a wanderer, too numb to navigate, fighting to survive in the pseudo-glamorous, jaded realm that is Los Angeles. The song swells with the burnt-out desperation that defines this star-struck city; it reveals our disease, but also offers a cure in the sand, sunset and crashing waves. - Artemis Thomas-Hansard


14. Jurassic 5, “Lausd”

Jurassic 5’s Quality Control was the hip-hop collective’s major-label debut and brought the first national attention to the slew of talent coming out of South Central’s Good Life Café open mic nights. Released in 2000, the record featured 15 tracks of freestyle-inspired knowledge, peppered with an occasional drop of L.A. pride. On “Lausd,” the city becomes the subject, as each J5 member takes turns spitting reality checks to anyone who hasn’t made it past the SoCal clichés of enviable weather and Hollywood glamour. Through a succession of rapid-fire verses, Chali 2na, Akil, Zaakir and Marc 7 give a primer on the “the land of earthquakes and high crime rates,” where hopes are blown, drama collects, and you better not need a babysitter if you’re ever going to make it out alive with your big dreams intact. - Sarah Bennett


13. Soul Coughing, “Screenwriter’s Blues”

“You are going to Reseda to make love to a model from Ohio / Whose real name you don’t know.” Somehow, without ever having set foot in Los Angeles (a brief trip to Orange County notwithstanding), a young singer-songwriter from New York named Mike Doughty nailed the hazy, rootless feeling that falls over you in this city when it’s 5 a.m. and you’re hurtling down an empty freeway towards that last, lonely, desperate booty call, with the sun’s first rays “painting the smoke over our heads an imperial violet” and only a blathering morning radio jock to keep you company. L.A. is both a city built on fantasies, and a city where fantasies dissolve in the cold light of day — and Soul Coughing’s funny, phantasmagoric portrait captures both aspects in near-perfect symmetry. - Andy Hermann


12. The Decemberists, “Los Angeles, I’m Yours”

For those who hate but love L.A., The Decemberists’ reluctant 2003 ode puts all those complicated, mixed feelings to song. In “Los Angeles, I’m Yours,” the Portland-based band turns our city’s most unlovable elements — from prostitutes to pollution — into poetic verses that seem at first to promote immediate evacuation. Who wants to live in a “ditch of iniquity and tears”? But just as singer Colin Meloy and his acoustic guitar have you abhorring L.A. as much as he does (or at the very least never wanting to hit the beach — “an ocean’s garbled vomit on the shore” — again), he resigns himself to affection for it, singing the eponymous one-line chorus as only an outsider can — with enough thoughtful contradiction to make all the ugliness beautiful. - Sarah Bennett


11. Mötley Crüe, “Girls, Girls, Girls”

“Girls, Girls, Girls” is primarily a not-so-subtle ode to strippers. But at the heart of the metal song is a heartfelt love letter to Los Angeles, the neon paradise where all the girls raise hell. Mötley Crüe’s most instantly recognizable anthem serves as a lyrical directory of strip clubs from Atlanta to Vancouver to Paris, but its sound is pure late-night Los Angeles. A four-and-a-half-minute medley of wailing electric guitars, head-banging rhythms, and testosterone-amped hooting and hollering, “Girls, Girls, Girls” has come to define the Sunset Strip and its infamous 1980s party scene. Vince Neil immortalized the now-defunct Tropicana (“where I lost my heart”), and cemented Body Shop and Seventh Veil (reportedly Neil’s favorite hangout, and the setting for the tawdry music video) as Hollywood landmarks. - Jennifer Swann


10. Warren Zevon, “Desperados Under the Eaves”

Of all the soused poets to wash up in Los Angeles, the late Warren Zevon too frequently gets the middle-of-the-pack treatment, often (shamefully) mentioned as an afterthought to flashier personalities. But “Desperados” is proof that he knew this town and its lonely strivers. Cooped up in his shitty motel room with The Shakes, a drink-desperate Zevon wittily narrates his frustration with L.A.’s refusal to give anyone a free pass. Even if it sinks into the ocean (oh, and it will), the city will still get its due. You may hate it here, but you can’t escape (“Heaven help the one who leaves”) so long as you’re empty-handed. Leave it to such a master songwriter, in all of his idle bitterness, to transform the maddening hum of an air-conditioner into an almost endless chorus. - Paul T. Bradley


9. Guns N’ Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle”

Unless you arrived when walking down Yucca could still get you knifed, it’s easy to think of Hollywood as a safe playground for wannabe stars. If you want a taste of that former life, however, you need look no further than the opening track of Appetite for Destruction. Guns N’ Roses were an ugly band for ugly people in an ugly part of an otherwise beautiful city. Think of this track as the sound of a young man’s first mugging. Visualize it playing in the background the first time a starlet fucks for the rent. Imagine it soundtracking a new addict’s first experience with dope sickness. That’s the Los Angeles GnFnR documented — the city that a young Bill Bailey arrived at on the Greyhound. - Nicholas Pell


8. NWA, “Straight Outta Compton”

In the summer of 1988, the U.S. needed a wake-up call. L.A. was not Hollywood. Hollywood was not L.A. Twenty miles south of the sound stages and the Walk of Fame, disenfranchised denizens warred over primary colors and government-owned blocks. Death came by bullets, narcotics, and at the hands of brutal, lawless and often racist police officers. N.W.A. was that wake up call. “Straight Outta Compton” was their war cry for their home turf, but it spoke for all marginalized cities and citizens in greater Los Angeles. Over Dr. Dre and DJ Yella’s banging, funk-filled production, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Eazy-E exposed the world to their nightmarish reality and the militant minds it created. Both L.A. and rap would never be looked the same way again. - Max Bell


7. The Kinks, “Celluloid Heroes”

Appearing on the British rockers’ aptly titled 1972 record, Everybody’s In Show-Biz, “Celluloid Heroes” spoke skeptically about movie stars through the use of nostalgic images, specifically Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame, a constant reference throughout. Ray Davies name-checks actors Greta Garbo, Mickey Rooney and Marilyn Monroe amongst the fallen heroes who live on via the silver screen. The tune is a cautionary tale for young hopefuls who seek fame. Davies’ ode to the dead stars reflects ultimately — and bittersweetly — the narrator’s deluded wish that his life was like a movie, since “celluloid heroes never feel any pain.” An outsider’s sentimental warning about the pitfalls of our city’s most fabled industry, “Celluloid Heroes” hits home a bit closer than many of us would care to admit. - Daniel Kohn


6. A Tribe Called Quest, “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo”

Based on an almost mythical shithole-of-all-shitholes frequently referenced by Sanford and Son patriarch (and nearby Watts resident) Fred Sanford, the El Segundo of this Tribe Called Quest master track exemplifies Southern California weirdness as perceived by New Yorkers on a cross-country joyride. Somewhere between suburban blandness and an endless array of oil company trash dumped onto a marsh, Q-Tip and crew weren’t far off the mark when they wrote of a place where you’d be pissed to leave your wallet — even if there was that one sexy waitress. While it doesn’t accurately describe the current, somewhat cleaned-up El Segundo, the song has become a familiar cultural reference point for L.A.’s many sprawling, forgettable burbclaves. - Paul T. Bradley


5. Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Under the Bridge”

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” is simultaneously one of the most depressing and uplifting songs ever written about Los Angeles. Detailing Anthony Kiedis’ darkest days shooting speedballs underneath a Mexican Mafia-controlled bridge in downtown L.A., the ballad begins with John Frusciante’s unmistakably melancholy guitar riff accompanied only by Kiedis’ confessional: “Sometimes I feel like my only friend / Is the city I live in / The city of Angels.” It’s both incredibly heartbreaking and comforting to know that even when you’ve got no one else, the city is always there for you, a constant concrete companion that sees your good deeds and knows who you are. Ever since “Under the Bridge” catapulted the Chili Peppers to mainstream success in 1991, fans have sought to locate the bridge in question – but it’s “unimportant,” Kiedis told Rolling Stone in 1992. Still, during our loneliest days, we’ll always imagine that bridge downtown, wherever it might be. - Jennifer Swann


4. Ice Cube, “It Was a Good Day”

Ice Cube always had a knack for storytelling laced with razor-sharp social commentary—even on “It Was a Good Day,” in which Ice Cube just recounts a typical day in his life. In addition to the L.A. specificity (smog, Fatburger, the Lakers), the genius of this song lies in the fact that although nothing goes wrong, everything could. No car jackers in sight, no helicopters patrolling the hood. And again, there’s that dichotomy that’s so quintessentially L.A. — despite the ever-present threat of violence, the song just sounds so damn chill. Sure, it might’ve been a good day, but what constitutes a “good day” in South Central? He didn’t have to use his A-K. - Rebecca Haithcoat


3. Tupac, “To Live and Die in L.A.”

Often, those who love Los Angeles the most fervently are the transplants. No one repped the city harder than its most beloved adopted son, Tupac. “To Live and Die in L.A.” is both a love letter and a warning to the uninitiated. After all, if anyone understood how the brightest day will give way to the darkest night, it was Tupac. Though QD3’s production is as easygoing as a Sunday afternoon barbeque, Tupac’s lines flip back and forth between basking in the glitz of the Sunset Strip and fretting over his court cases, between shouting out his buddies Snoop and Suge and warning outsiders to tread carefully (“Thinking Cali just fun and bitches/Better learn about the dress code, B’s and C’s”). It’s a complicated song that looks so simple on the surface. Just like L.A. - Rebecca Haithcoat


2. X, “Los Angeles”

If any single track evokes the contradictions and complexities that come with living in this restless, sometimes raging city of ours, it’s X’s anthem “Los Angeles.” The title track from the band’s searing, Ray Manzarek-produced debut remains the L.A. band’s signature hit. Never mind that the opening verse clearly proclaims “She had to leave Los Angeles,” or that “she” had racist tendencies — the discriminatory lyrics were written for ironic shock value, and meant as a reflection of the time (1980) the track was written, according to co-writers/singers John Doe and Exene Cervenka. Fans for the most part always got that, choosing to ignore the track’s thematic darkness and discord, and instead succumbing to its equally raw rhythmic spell. Like the city itself, “Los Angeles” has a relentless allure that never fades. It’s not altogether pretty, but it is unforgettable. - Lina Lecaro


1.The Doors, “L.A. Woman”

You wake up on a chigger-infested couch after a late night of partying. The inside of your mouth tastes of stale cigarette smoke and hangover. You walk out to your ’69 Nova, pump the gas pedal twice, cross your fingers and pray to a god you don’t believe in that it starts. The engine fires up and you reach into your center console for your last smoke. Lighting it, you pull on a pair of shades even though the sky is still twilight blue and there are still stars twinkling overhead. Your temples throb as you drive around looking for donuts and coffee, hoping you can get some sleep before work.

And just as the sun cracks the top of its head over the Hollywood Hills, you hear “L.A. Woman.”

Congratulations. You’re part of the great chain of lowlife existence that arguably began with Mr. Mojo Risin’. Without this document of what it means to be young and degenerate in Los Angeles, we get no “Welcome to the Jungle,” no “Los Angeles” and certainly no “White Punks on Dope.” It all began here, and it sounds just as good now on the classic rock station as it did on the Mighty Met more than 40 years ago. - Nicholas Pell

Sound (asleep on a) Cloud


Have you heard that SoundCloud recently announced a loss of $29 Million in 2013?

Now while we’re no Fortune 500 company ourselves, we do know that you’re more likely to make $$$ IF YOU ACTUALLY DO SOME WORK.

Judging by these pics taken in their Berlin office, we’re not sure if that’s the case as it looks more like a relaxation retreat than a place of business.

Does anyone know if they’re hiring?

Bangerz


… And here we were thinking Miley Cyrus had bad taste…

Turns out she shares Our Love for Caribou. Respect.

HAMJAM x Wax Volcanic

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There’s this one parallel park I really want to tell you about. But before I do I want to assure you that this isn’t the leadup to a gory accident or some overdrawn metaphor employing the Motzart-esque use of a Mitsubishi Magna. It’s okay. It’s an overdrawn metaphor of a totally different kind. It’s about a park conducted during heavy lunch-hour traffic over the course of about two and a half minutes. Think, for a second, about how truly long that is in heavy traffic.

[Author’s Note: Especially outside the Warner Music office in Melbourne’s Wellington Street which possesses just the right kind of unhappy union of industry, recreation and residence that make most drivers’ dispositions start at ‘irritated’ and climb at the slightest irritation]

 But what is magnetic about this park isn’t the traffic swinging in dangerous half-disk arcs around the parking car or the contorting faces and swatting palms inside the road’s motionless vehicles. It’s the expression the parker, a lady of maybe 50, is wearing while attempting (and reattempting) to install her car kerbside. Her expression isn’t so much relaxed as carefully deposited over the front of her skull. It’s still in the way that concrete is still after it has been poured, carefully raked and allowed to settle - almost impossible to tell if her calm is true oblivion or a perfect mask.

This question— the one of true oblivion or perfect mask—is the exact question I’m wondering about Perth psych-pop slackers, Hamjam.

"It’s very…very boomy…I can’t really hear…" Hamish Rahn, one half of Hamjam (the ‘Ham’) is croaking through the speakerphone. James Ireland (‘the Jam) is nowhere in earshot. I’m currently looming over some kind of professional conference call machine that is spidered over the elliptical, cornsilk surface of the central conference table. The room’s acoustics are more suited to quiet chatter or the recording of Medieval sacred music than a semi-shouted band interview, so I lower my voice and the volume on the phone-spider.

"Is James with you Hamish or is it just you?"

"It just me. James is, uh, in the shower."

This isn’t a far cry from their usual working relationship, according to Hamish.

Their song ‘Love’, the drooling vintage psych gem now familiar to many in Australian music scene already, was the first song Rahn ever wrote. In fact all of Hamjam’s songs—flange-drunk and with reeling key lines bordering on liquefaction— are written by Rahn. And after he’s “scratch[ed] out a little thing with a drum machine and guitar or whatever and kind of slap[ped] them together” he’ll find James (who until this point has been playing in the multitude of other bands he plays in or is still in the shower) and  “pretty much dump[s] it on his computer and say[s] ‘fix this’…”

And now the EP has, in the wake of the anticipation following ‘Love’, arrived.

“Yeah when Dan from Pilerats approached us to do this I never thought about it. I’d already given up on [these songs] and started doing other ones so for them to have a home is pretty cool.” I have plenty of time during the interview’s lengthened uncertainties and languorous pauses to think. Mostly I’m thinking about the ‘Is-it-true-calm-or-a-perfect-mask’ question from earlier while looking around the boardroom. My eyes drift to the northern wall, the room’s only non-glass surface, which is heavily encrusted with a monitor and two off-white filing cabinets. The filing cabinets occupy the northwest and northeast corners, making the boardroom table and it’s seven chairs look less like a light-bone coloured island and more like a creamy peninsula that has somehow broken free from the wall and come to rest in the middle of the room. The question of ‘true-calm-or-perfect-mask’ persists as Rahn enthusiastically summarises his morning activities: “I went to Centrelink to change some details…”

I still can’t work out if the extremity of Rahn’s near-catatonic state of chill is some thickly-laid-on rouse that Perth psych rock bands feel they have to lay on to preserve the slacker image that is so appealing to outside listeners. But as our conversation wears on, I begin to doubt it. I can no longer envisage Rahn in any other position than fully horizontal and his yawns roll steadily through our conversations, devouring entire words at a time and far too frequent to be faked. In fact I mapped the exactly time and approximate strength of each yawn (on a 0-5 scale), the resultant data you can find below. 10 (believable, I assure you) yawns in a 16.5 minute interview is, for me, pretty compelling evidence towards ‘true slacker’. But the interrogation continues.


A close cousin to the question of ‘true-oblivion-or-perfect-mask’ (slacker or faker) is the question of Perth as an exporter of psych rock. Perth seems—from the outside at least—to have a higher psych band per capita head-count than other Australian cities. Have Perth’s high profile exports (Tame Impala and the closely-related POND) created an idea or sound that other Perth bands feel they can simply feed into and replicate their way to the top?

Rahn doesn’t really find much perceptible on-the-ground truth for the idea.

“I think it’s the same as everywhere else…and obviously there’s a lot of spinoffs like a lot of younger dudes and all they listen to is POND and Tame [Impala] and all that kind of stuff who will be really heavily influenced by that stuff but everyone else I don’t know, it just being in Perth, everyone just does their own thing…like you don’t go to like psych gigs or anything. Everything just crosses over…”

And cross over things certainly do. The pair met at Uni, both studying music, and had played in together (as the Chemist) before Hamjam. And currently both members perform in at least two bands, with Rahn playing in Gunns and Ireland playing in the Growl and also Gunns.

“It’s good for fitting everyone on the plane and doing gigs under multiple guises” Rahn laughs.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: The ‘Uni’ they met at was actually the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) (but pron ‘Whoppa’) which boasts a pretty impressive alumni, from classical pianists like Mark Gasser through to Hugh Jackman and Tim Minchin. In an interview earlier in the month Rahn admitted a little more about Hamjam’s tertiary accolades and aspirations: “Everyone is doing law and stuff. I am just doing politics, Chris is doing law, Tom did philosophy and now works in the federal courts, James has a degree in Jazz, and Clint is a baker.” When Rahn met Ireland, he was studying bass, Ireland, the piano. So maybe just academically assiduous slackers? The whole thing seems to teeter on the brink of oxymoron but seems to hold in a ‘this-is-Perth-don’t question-it’ kind of way.]

And multiple band members playing in multiple bands seems definitive in what Rahn calls the “incestuous” nature of the Perth music scene. His favourite joke about the Perth scene allegedly runs like this:

There is a guy who gets home from a gig and he walks into his room and his girlfriend is in bed with another dude who is also in a Perth band and he goes “Man, what are you doing? And this dude looks up and goes ‘Oh, it is cool man. Just working on an EP trying to get some stuff out’…”

My eyes lift from the speaker of the phone-spider to the surrounding glass walls—the single band of grey cutting through its gentle tint. The glass is thick, the kind that emits a woodish ‘thunk’ when you tap it with an index finger knuckle and slides shut like an inhaled breath. A long way in every sense from the towel shrouded front room where Hamjam’s EP was recorded. But this is far from the band’s biggest sonic ambiguity. A far greater one is James Ireland himself, who, despite being Hamjam’s producer, has Sudden Onset Hearing Loss, a condition that can rob an affected person of up to a staggering 30db.

“Yeah the first gig Hamjam ever did was a fundraiser for his ear because we one day he woke up and one side of his hearing had just dropped off and he thought maybe he’d got it from just going to the beach or in the shower or something…It’s crazy, he’s a really well-respected musician around these parts and he has half the hearing of everyone else…”

But somehow Ireland doesn’t let it affect him, or Hamjam “at all” according to Rahn. “Yeah we’ll be sitting there and he’ll say ‘should I pull that frequency out a little bit’ and I’m like ‘what fucking frequency?’…And I think ‘how the fuck did you hear that?’”

But the belief in Hamjam as the genuine article, the true oblivion rather than the perfect mask, doesn’t come while Rahn recited the litany of bands they can’t help but be involved in over time, or the financial, medical and geographic setbacks they seem to blithely shrug off in favour of making their ragged tunes. The real ‘nail-in-the-coffin’ moment comes when Rahn talks simply about Hamjam’s music. That’s it. His voice takes on the sort of detached high-rasp that people get when recalling the exact sequence of events of a three-day festival, or when trying to list the ingredients of the cold press juice they had last week but can’t remember the compound name of. He really is already looking forward. ‘Rare Books’, a song he openly admits is “their favourite song” seems favoured largely because it points to what comes next, what he is looking forward to.

“[‘Rare Books’] is our most well written song and definitely closer to what our newer stuff sounds like” Rahn states flatly. But there’s the slightly older songs too, the first songs Rahn ever wrote. Songs like ‘Beachy’ and ‘Fishing’, songs run through an old mixer in their front room; songs steeped in Perth. And, of course, ‘Love’, a song that (despite its sound) seems impossible to wear out.

Hamjam’s EP is out now through Pilerats. Listen to it once, then again, just to be sure they’re the real deal. I’m pretty damn sure they are.




For Cool Accidents

In The 70s There Was Long Hair and Leftover Hippies Everywhere

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Once upon a time there was a very clever man named Lawrence (that’s him in the middle above), who abandoned his perfectly formed & chic indie band Felt and formed a group called Denim.

Denim, with their perfect pop logo as displayed in the video below (ideal to be sewed on your jacket) made perfect pop records to match that were 10 years or more out of date. And every single one of them was a perfect tribute to a pop culture past.

When the rest of the world went Britpop crazy, Lawrence went Glam and his records Back In Denim & Denim On Ice duly did very badly. Although it might please him mildly in retrospect that his songs turn up on iTunes 70s Rock compilations. As if irony had never happened.

BUT they did spawn Middle of the Road


The absolute classic diss of everybody & everything.

So if this Thursday you are down on the world and feel like striking back why don’t you give it a rattle and empathise.



-TH