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by The Peep Tempel
Feature Records for the week beginning Mon 10 Oct 2016
The Peep Tempel Joy (PBS Feature Record)
Melbourne divorce-wave trio The Peep Tempel delivered a near perfect punk record two years ago. Tales pushed them from barroom heroes to festival favourites. Stories of blokes who f*cked up and are living with the consequences were lathered with self-awareness and angst. In a young person’s game like rock 'n' roll maybe experience did count for something.
Joy finds The Peep Tempel pushing beyond the suburban pubs and butcher shops that set the backdrop for Tales into regional and outback Australia, uncovering a different mindset and a new host of broken characters. Sonically, they've also pushed into new territory. They can still do the danceable Tote rock that's their stock in trade (see the nazi-bating ‘Rayguns’ or cautionary ‘Go Slow’) but it's just a fraction of the mosaic that's on offer here. From the operatic rock of ‘Totality’ to the isolation and loathing dripping from the dark monologues ‘Kalgoorlie’ and ‘Constable’, The Peep Tempel cover an astonishing range. The blistering top-end guitar is still there. So is the relentless engine room chug of Steve and Stew. It's just that they've found a whole lot of new ways for these simple elements to fit together. Blake's voice is more threatening than ever – casting long shadows over proceedings, its power and range are formidable.
‘Neuroplasticity’ dominates the second side of the record – it's an instant classic built around a punk-funk bass line and a stunning arrangement. How do we manage to keep ourselves happy when the world is in such a dire place? Ignore it, of course. There's no shortage of distractions from the carnage so why should we let ourselves feel bad? Feeling uncomfortable yet? Maybe you should be.
The Peep Tempel have taken the sound they'd refined on their second album and pushed it out into new and weird places. Likewise they've looked deeper into the Australian psyche revealing some of the wiring responsible for violent and apathetic behaviour. Refusing to be pigeonholed, The Peep Tempel have delivered one of the best rock 'n' roll records of the year. Just don't expect it to improve your outlook on life.
Review by Nick Brown (The Breakfast Spread)
Tilman Robinson Deer Heart (Featured on The Breakfast Spread)
Melbourne’s Tilman Robinson has spent much of his time in recent years traveling the globe, absorbing musical, cultural and personal influences along the way. Of particular importance has clearly been a stint in Reykjavik, Iceland where Robinson spent time at the iconic Greenhouse Studio, home to Valgeir Sigurðsson and many of the artists associated with Bedroom Community. For those people familiar with Robinson’s musical evolution in recent years it’ll come as no surprise that this album sounds light-years away from his background in the jazz idiom (Tilman was in fact the PBS Young Elder of Jazz in 2014). It’s also no surprise that this album is so astonishingly good.
Right up front we hear "Where We Began" and the mix of minimalist electronics and lush, dark strings provide the perfect entrée to what’s to follow. Pareidolia opens with brutal low-register punches that become set against droning, agitated strings, electronics and frantic beats. There’s a darkness here that can be foreboding but at no point becomes overwhelming. It’s hard not to be reminded of Ben Frost’s best work when listening to these tracks. Often there is rich beauty to be found in the darkness and Robinson clearly has developed the aesthetic sensibility of Deer Heart around shade rather than light.
Sonically Deer Heart is an immensely dense piece of work. Acoustic strings are contrasted against digital static, contemporary production techniques stand alongside the inclusion of Ondes Martenot, an early 20th century electronic keyboard instrument. Aurally there’s just so much to wrap your ears around on Deer Heart that is stands up to repeat listens again and again. Headphones are highly recommended when doing so however as Deer Heart is best consumed whole, and the album is at its most rewarding when the listener is totally immersed in Tilman Robinson’s sound world.
Truly a formidable piece of work, Deer Heart could well be the album that announces Tilman Robinson as one of the most exciting young composer/producers on the planet.
Owen McKern PBS 106.7FM
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