Every week we collect a new batch of songs for your listening pleasure – plus a classic that you should definitely know and love. Here’s this week’s Blerg Bangers:
Walken – ‘Eagle Eye’
The influence of fellow Brisbane grunge revivalists Violent Soho is pretty palpable through the sound of Walken’s latest single. However, despite their status as proteges, there’s an element of this new cut that suggests they’ve been able to surpass their more popular masters by achieving something VS have really struggled with – absorbing their influences and then actually reinterpreting them as their own sound. Pixies, Pumpkins, Nirvana – they float on the surface with Soho – whereas Walken have swallowed those essences and belched them out in their own misty green haze of break neck pop punk. And with every burp, it seems like these dudes are getting stronger – like a bunch of bong of punching Hulks. It’s only a matter of time before we won’t be able to contain them any longer and they’ll smash the joint to smithereens.
The Pretty Littles – ‘Pride’
There’s an element to the brattiness of Melbourne’s The Pretty Littles that really pisses me off. Like the kind of irritation you get when you find out that your little brother has started a band using all your gear. And that that band not only doesn’t suck – they fucking rule. That scene from High Fidelity, where the record shop trio are sitting around listening to the demo tape the young skate punks recorded – collectively realising that they’re fucking geniuses – that’s the kind of pissed off I get when I hear these fuckers. But it doesn’t matter, because there are moments in ‘Pride’ that catipult me to a happy place – back to when I was a fan of mid-00s UK party garage rock (The Fratellis, Cajun Dance Party, and early Wombats all spring to mind), or drunkenly waltzing with the sloppiness / zero-fucks-given attitude of Australian pub rock records at their finest. The Pretty Littles still piss me off, but I’ll sing their songs loudly into schooner glasses all night long.
Olympia – ‘Smoke Signals’
I’ll openly admit that I didn’t think Olympia was “a thing” for the first few times I heard her. Her songwriting didn’t seize my attention and the combination of haircut and latex body suits lent me to think that there was something a bit gimmicky about her whole aesthetic – like Sia with a Jazzmaster. Smash cut to me catching ‘Smoke Signals’ ring out on the radio and I’ve become born again – a complete and whole-hearted devotee. There’s an indie rock queen bubbling just below the surface of those odd costume choices and those earlier, less formed tunes – and it’s staggeringly revealed on ‘Smoke Signals.’ This song could have been easily ripped from a Land Of Talk or Neko Case record, but there’s also a fragility and tenderness to her voice that reveals itself to be the one true element that separates Olympia from her contemporaries. This might just be the first few smoke signals, but there’s a big bonfire burning in her future.
Sturgill Simpson – ‘In Bloom’ (Nirvana cover)
A country artist… covering Nirvana. Sounds like an actual fucking nightmare. Instead what we’ve got on out hands is one of the most tender, gorgeous reinventions of a classic you’ll ever hear. And with the simple replacement of the lyrics “when I say” from the chorus with “to love someone” the entire context of the song is revolutionised. Nirvana’s original was always powerful, Simpson’s retake is heart-breaking. Couple with a composition that lands somewhere between Sufjan Stevens and Trampled By Turtles and you’ve got yourself a masterpiece.
Sleater Kinney – ‘No Cities To Love’
Is it a total dick move to nominate a song that is barely a year old as a “classic”? Well you can call me Richard because I have become unrelenting obsessed with the title-track from Sleater Kinney’s remarkable comeback record from 2015. The richness of the guitars, the smack of the drums, the plodding giant steps of the bass line, all swirling under Carrie Brownstein’s Debbie Harry-esque vocal acrobatics that are punk, rock, pop and indie all rolled into one unstoppable wrecking ball that plows into one side of your head, crashes through your skull, and blasts through the other side – your brain simultaneously crushed and captivated.