Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ego Tripping makes for two Zoo reviews in a day

"What the jiminy do I know about Indonesian music?! For all I know, an intellectually-impaired single mother in Jakarta has just accidentally synthesized the mythical long-lost note of E Sharp using nothing but a roll of old electrical cord and her teeth. Perhaps some sinister and ancient cabal is sworn to protect the horrible secret of E Sharp, and now it’s up to a sassy, effeminate hairdresser on the run from the law (or is he really only running from... himself?) to protect this young woman on her perilous trek to reach Dr Reginald Q. Oboe at the Vladivostok Conservatorium of Music before the accursed note becomes self-aware and Kills Us All.

This would be my educated guess. Fortunately, it’s safe for me to assume that you come from a position of relative ignorance as well. Three in ten Australians still think Indonesia is the country most likely to invade us. Australian tourism usually doesn’t progress beyond Ed Hardy-clad douchebags projectile vomiting en masse on the despoiled shore of Kuta Beach. Clearly, this is not an environment conducive to meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Which is a shame, really. Over the last decade, one thing above all others has gifted Jakarta with a burgeoning DIY music scene. Firstly, the most easily accessible music media is MTV Asia, a 24 hour channel hosted by an endless procession of bland, American-accented Filipino girls introducing an endless procession of bland, American and East Asian R&B artists. Any casual watcher of MTV Asia will be hard-pressed to find such an egregious use of autotune and such an abundance of prepubescent men in all-white Beaver Boys outfits anywhere else in the annals of human civilization. it’s a truism of modern music that whenever the music industry tries to enforce hegemonic tastes onto the public, the vanguard of common decency takes to the barricades with electric guitars in hand.

So it is with Zoo’s album Trilogi Peradaban, a three part punk-rock “fuck you” to the stultifying blancmange that the failing business model of the major labels keep shitting out onto the airwaves and the narrow confines of the alternatives provided by indie and DIY labels in the West. It would be easy for modern-day hipster gentry in the English-speaking world to write this sort of thing off, but some cultural perspective is necessary here – too often we forget that not everyone in the world was bowing down and praying towards Seattle five times a day in the early nineties. Trilogi Peradban is part of the same musical renaissance that we went through twenty years ago – the purest expression of Cobain’s old “punk rock should mean freedom...” line – and this defies the Arctic Monkeys-induced cynicism to which people my age have become accustomed.

Indeed, there’s very little in this album that we’d recognise as “punk rock”, beyond the second part of Cobain’s Law – “ long as it’s good and has passion”. Passion is in abundance on this album: passion for Indonesia’s heritage, passion for the country’s instruments, and passion for the local audience over foreign interlopers in tight jeans and asymmetrical haircuts. As the album’s trilogy progresses, whatever vestige of overseas influence gradually disappears as native instruments become more integral to the songs, and esoteric references to President Sokarno’s icy relationship with Malaysia in the 1960s and the Aceh independence movement are sadly lost on anyone unfamiliar with the language. So much of it is discordant, the singer’s occasional similarities with Mike Patton after a Red Bull binge can be off-putting, sometimes it actually does sound like they’re trying to find the long-lost E Sharp, but ultimately, this album is a forebear of great things to come from our northern neighbour."

Written by Sean Gleeson

ACRN gives Zoo 8/10 review

"The little-known genre of zeuhl found its roots in France in the 1970s, spearheaded by the prolific and grandiose band/cult Magma. A genre that somehow managed to combine free jazz, opera, blues shouting, progressive rock, heavy metal and chamber music, zeuhl made its impact on the avant-garde music scene by showcasing the duality between bombast and primitivism.

Since the sound was forged in Western Europe, zeuhl has been flung far across the globe, with numerous bands springing up in parts of Japan and, in the case of new-school zeuhl thrashers Zoo, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Zoo pay homage to their zeuhl roots on Trilogi Peradaban (in English, “Civilization Triology”), the band’s latest release by Australian experimental music labels Dualplover and Tenzenmen. The album tells a story of societal devolution through the medium of highly syncopated bursts of bass and drums, frenzied vocalizations and, at its most primitive, ritual drumming and minimalistic folk balladry. The entire album lasts only 40 minutes, but contains 22 tracks.

The first 16 tracks on Trilogi Peradaban are evocative of the thrashy zeuhl sound championed by Japanese band Ruins, one of the many projects of uber-prolific drummer Yoshida Tatsuya. There is also a great deal of avant-grindcore influence, bearing similarities to the work of Melt Banana and Naked City. Much of the album's sound is made up of snaking bass lines and syncopated drumming reminiscent of a (somehow) more caveman take on the early powerviolence of Man Is The Bastard.

Across the entirety of the album, Zoo vocalist Rully Shabara Herman stands apart from the rest of the band, shouting, chattering and operatically chanting over the thrash-and-grind of his bandmates. The final part of the album is meant to convey a return to primitivism through organic percussion and neo-folk-influenced acoustic guitar arrangements that bring a calm ending to an otherwise frenzied album.

Trilogi Peradaban is an excellent, operatic take on neo-tribalism that makes a provocative statement, melding grindcore, folk and contemporary zeuhl sounds to convey a theme of societal collapse into a primal state of simplicity." 8/10 - Aaron Vilk

Have a listen

available here

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SISSY SPACEK on tour in the USA!!!

wish i was announcing an australian tour, but no i have to tell you that Sissy Spacek are once again on tour in their native country and won't be doing any southern hemisphere dates anytime soon. for those who prefer the colder experience of a band on CD played on a home stereo limited copies of French Record are still available at the gift shop.

and when i say limited i mean like six copies or something so quickly now!
preview below

SISSY SPACEK & Geritt Wittmer/Paul Knowles

02/26 — LOS ANGELES, CA @ The Smell
02/27 — LOS ANGELES, CA @ F House
02/28 — FLAGSTAFF, AZ @ Vesica Pisces
03/01 — GRAND JUNCTION, CO @ Le Giragge
03/02 — COLUMBIA, MO @ Cafe Berlin
03/03 — ST. LOUIS, MO @ Antarctica
03/06 — CINCINATTI, OH @ Art Damage Lodge
03/09 — ATLANTA, GA @ Eye Drum
03/10 — BALTIMORE, MD @ The Bank
03/13 — BROOKLYN, NY @ Issue Project Room
03/14 — NEW YORK, NY @ Cake Shop
03/15 — PROVIDENCE, RI @ AS220
03/16 — ALLSTON, MA @ O’Brien’s
03/17 — BURLINGTON, VT @ The Bakery
03/18 — HADLEY, MA @ Grey Matter Books
03/20 — ROCHESTER, NY @ Bug Jar
03/21 — CLEVELAND, OH @ Now That’s Class
03/22 — OBERLIN, OH @ TBA
03/23 — TOLEDO, OH @ Robinwood Concert House
03/24 — YPSILANTI, MI @ Dreamland Theater
03/26 — CHICAGO, IL @ Viaduct Theater
03/27 — MILWAUKEE, WI @ Borg Ward
03/29 — OMAHA, NE @ The Cave
03/30 — DENVER, CO @ Rhinoceropolis
03/31 — SALT LAKE CITY, UT @ The Urban Lounge
04/02 — SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ Here
04/03 — OAKLAND, CA @ Terminal

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Waver : Bohemian Suburb Rhapsody

New Waver have a new downloadable album, what else do you need to know!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Black and Budget Minded, What Is? Music 1997 at the Punters Club

Just stumbled acorss these pics of an old band of mine called 'Black and Budget minded', which consisted of Steve Veale and Myself and was sometimes billed as the Steve Lucas! Most of our shows were about music and battle, like doing amplified sword fights, here we battle royal on an amplified trampoline while trying to play drums.

note the glorious Lester Vat of Volvox in the crowd, why am i a pie?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rice Corpse Sydney Show Tomorrow night

the new look aussie line up of Rice Corpse featuring the Hard Ons Peter Kostic on drums and Garbage and the Flowers Stu Olsen on piano and Original memeber Lucas Abela on glass is doing a gig with nevada strange, whores and none music.
$8 / 8 Cunningham St Haymarket / 8pm

Tuesday, February 2, 2010



Yogyakarta's Zoo's successful concoction of its punk rock roots with a seasoning of traditional music elements makes them a beacon of the Indonesian Underground. Their debut album, Trilogi Peradaban (Civilization Trilogy) is formed by three distinct movements forged from sessions conducted in 2007/08, tracing the bands fast evolution from the Ruins-esque proto-punk of Neolithikum (New Stone Age) and Mesolithikum (Middle Stone Age) to the spontaneous folkish neo traditionalism ranting of Palaeolithikum (Old Stone Age). With 22 tracks ranging from dissonant maths-rock expelled in quick Melt Banana like successions to acoustic shamanistic vocal uttering’s produced with the Skeletal framed lineup of drums, bass and Jembe, all lined with the deft vocalisations of Rully Shabara Herman telling a story of the deterioration of cultural roots in modern civilization. Released in conjunction with Tenzenmen.