*Australia just reaches over from nowhere and slams my head into the table. I dunno how many parts this will be. So lets just call it “Land Down Under Week”.*
Ever since I started this blog I’ve been exposed to music from far and wide. Russia, Poland, Mexico, China, Switzerland, Italy, Africa, Japan, India. All of these places have been cranking out tunes steeped in the local flavor. There’s been one country that has been missing for quite a while, which is especially surprising considering that in pretty much every other aspect this tiny little island is packed to the tits with RAD… and kangaroos.
Yeah I’m talking about Australia. I thought I would never find any music from this haven of extreme sports, utes and strange animals. Then I happened to stumble upon “Drone from the Underside of the Earth”, a 26 song compilation from the label Art As Catharsis and went “ohhhhhhhhh.”
Art As Catharsis are an independent label specializing in Australia’s heavy and experimental underground music scene. The compilation was put together to spread the word of what’s going on down under and it’s a good thing too because these are some damn tasty jams. There’s 26 songs and 26 different artists packed into this collection spanning the range of classic stoner all the way down to the dank depths of doom.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t even finished chewing my way through all the sounds on this release but I’ve heard enough to know y’all should go get this shit right quick. All of the bands on this record deserve a mention and since there is such a range of styles I’m just going to dedicate the next couple posts to going through the compilation, song by song by song.
Right from the top we’ve got Hydromedusa with “I’ll Make It Home”. Foot through the floorboards, bar brawl style stoner clears the room and gets you set for things to come. With a speed and aggression that dips over into punk and thrash, it’s crossover, but instead of crossing hardcore and thrash, it’s smashes thrash and stoner together with marvelous results.
Log and “The Chimp” are next. BIG crunchy guitars provide the canvas for a harmonica to howl along over, giving the entire affair a very southern flair. Kind of like a hybrid of desert rock and drone, it hits hard and quick, departing just as soon as it came.
“Hugh Heffner” is herded in by Sons of the Ionian Sea. A distinctly more laid back affair compared to the first two tracks. It plays to a more blues rock drum, with less distortion, more fuzz and much, much smoother jams. A more sublime trip towards catharsis, they weave together complex melodies and vocal scores showing off some impressive musical chops.
Looking Glass kick things back in gear with “Heavy on the Hook”. The familiar distorted and jangling guitar is back, in combination with more spaced out vocals. A fairly straightforward track, just providing plenty of rawk and roll. It’s average, yes, but well put together and well played. Even at that it still blows most North American bands out of the water. Goddammit Australia. Why have you been hiding for so long?
Battle Pope, “The Psalm of Barry Hall” is a dirty, filthy motherfucker. Something that sounds like the bastard child of hardcore, southern rock and punk, it smashes it’s way through your ears leaving a wake of broken beer bottles, blood and harmonica’s.
“Death Knight” by Law of the Tongue is the first taste of Australia’s evil side. Putrid sludge drips from your speakers, a barrage of sonic evil and despair. Put your head down and bang for your life if you want to have any hope of surviving.
So yeah. Six tracks in and I’ve got six new artists to look into. In some ways this drives me insane because know there’s just too goddamn much music to go through and none of it sucks. FUCK.
The ENTIRE FUCKING THING is up for a “name your price” option on Bandcamp. Too…much…awesome….
Here’s a bunch of links. Go listen. NOW.