Australian music doesn’t have the greatest reputation, for every Necks or Birthday Party, there are a litany of Jet’s or Crowded House’s. Recently though, there have been suggestions that this might be set to change with micro-scenes starting all over the country – including in Blank Realm’s home city of Brisbane – that don’t seem bound to the same influences as their British or American counterparts. This is especially exciting as we are seeing lessons being learnt from across the Tasman Sea from professionally weird Kiwi bands such as The Dead C & The Clean.
Blank Realm have been a going concern since the middle of the last decade, releasing on a number of influential underground record labels including Not Not Fun, Fire Records and Siltbreeze, though over the course of nine albums they have slowly moved away from the abstract improvisational noise elements of their early sound toward a more linear and song based construct. Take a “song” like the 10 minute plus ‘Tether’ from their second record Free Time, which sounds like a friendlier Wolf Eyes and compare it to the relatively straightforward ‘Falling Down The Stairs’ from their most recent album Grassed Inn, where the hook is positioned ostentatiously at the centre of the song, sounding beautifully distressed, like a lost, 10 times copied, Brian Jonestown Massacre tape.
That recently released LP Grassed Inn has deservedly received a refreshing amount of praise from the likes of Pitchfork, The Wire and Uncut. The band appear to have taken the lessons learnt in their career to date and used them to construct a more concise set of quirky, stylish and only occasionally freewheeling songs without losing the freshness of their earlier more improvised work. It sounds like you wish Primal Scream did when they went ROCK BAND, adding influence from The Velvet Underground and Spiritualized rather than mindlessly aping The Rolling Stones. Furthermore, they have developed an excellent reputation as a live outfit, having recently been nominated AIM’s best live act of 2014. Let’s just hope they don’t mention the Ashes.
In support, Brighton Noise can vouch that The Soft Walls will be worth the entry on their own after catching them at Faux Discx fantastic Great Escape showcase little over a month ago. Created as an outlet for Cold Pumas guitarist and curator of the aforementioned Faux Discx imprint Dan Reeves to experiment with different sounds from Cold Pumas, Reeves has also managed to find a band to bring his vision to life. The Soft Walls are currently preparing for the late July release of second album No Time with both tracks previewed so far ‘Never Come Back Again’ and ‘Guided Through’ impressing greatly.
Opening the show is a return to live action for Royal Limp who have been absent without leave since last November, though the promise of new material from the self-proclaimed “pansy punks” suggests that the time hasn’t been wasted.