LULU'S DECEMBER 2022 NEWSLETTER
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LULU'S STAFF PICKS OF 2022
Here! We! Go!
Mates, what an exciting time to get to share music. The last month has been absolutely stacked with fresh new releases that we’re so excited to enthusiastically push upon you.
On top of what we’ve written about here, we’ve also received new stuff from Alien Nosejob, the latest Carla Dal Forno LP, and an incredible reissue of unheralded Japanese synth pop Twin Cosmos via Left Ear Records, just to scratch the surface.
We’ve also got a bunch of hot new merch on the way, designed by Butter Sessions’ own Maryos Syawish, plus some long-requested reprints.
As is customary for this time of the year, Lu Crue have reflected on the 2022 just gone and picked out some key highlights to share.
Look after each other over the holidays, whatever they might mean to you.
Big love, see you on the other side.
HOT TUBS TIME MACHINE - “DOUBLE TUBBLE” LP
What a joy this one is. When Twomey (Lower Plenty) and Marcus (UV Race) got together a few years ago to do LUXURY, people were amped at seeing Marcus’ tomfoolery on the mic again, this time being the maître d'more mature sound. HOT TUBS TIME MACHINE is an extension of that band; a charming formula whittled down to perfection – a charm that extends even to the front cover, each one hand-finished with a drawing by Marcus. The music is truly lovely and you can tell that Twomey has had a blast experimenting with whatever flavour he feels like, the playfulness comes across wonderfully. If Twomey is the tasty fillings then Marcus is the bread and butter. His narratives are honest and simple, occasionally raw but frequently hilarious - the man has the ability to place punchlines both on and off the beat that would make many an MC blush. It’s these elements working in an ideal harmony that make ‘Double Tubble’ a must listen. If it doesn’t bring a smile across your face then you need a holiday mate.
JACKS - “VACANT WORLD”
In 2022, New York based label Mesh-Key have released four reissues of underground Japanese guitar music LPs. Each one of them is essential in their own way, ranging from some of the most notorious and influential records of their era to hidden masterpieces almost completely unknown in the west until now.
We plan on giving each of these releases their due attention, but for now it makes sense to start at the beginning.
Jacks is one of those bands that you most often hear in reference to bands that came after them. They are perhaps most notably the biggest and most direct influence on Les Rallizes Dénudés, a band which would in turn go on to inform an entire genre of Japanese minimalist psych music.
It is perhaps misleading to describe Vacant World as an "underground release" - it was released on a major label, and came before a time where independent releases were even feasible in Japan. Within that context though, they were completely unlike anything that had come before.
Emerging during the Group Sounds boom of the mid-60s, a collection of Beatles-influenced Japanese pop-rock bands performing mostly English language cover songs, Jacks looked the part but were musically the antithesis of the popular music of the time.
Upon first needle drop on Vacant World Jacks tumbles into your space with percussive exclamation; a strange, writhing declaration of intention. Enter a twisted stab of what sounds like a guitar being stretched and pulled apart, and Yoshio Hayakawa's distinctive vocal combination of slow, low monotone and desperate wails.
It's almost impossible to imagine what this must have sounded like to your average Japanese punter in 1968. As is the norm in these kinds of situations, Vacant World sold poorly and Jacks would retire after one more album. But, as always, those who did hear Jacks were often changed by the experience, and word slowly travelled.
54 years later, the record still sounds just as vital. As I said, Jacks is one of those bands that you most often hear in reference to bands that came after them. But make no mistake, Vacant World goes HARD. It's bewildering that this album doesn't seem to be held with the same reverence in the west that it has in Japan for decades. Hopefully this reissue will do a little to change that.
Available for the first time on vinyl outside of Japan, with a brand new master from the original tapes and extensive liner notes, this is without a doubt the best that Vacant World has looked and heard. Brush up on your history, don't sleep.
LOW LIFE - “DOGGING” LP
Yes yes yes yes.
A dead-set Australian ROCK MUSIC classic, Dogging speaks of the feeling of knowing you are proper scum - pure filth - this is an experience and perception of the DARK - addiction and excess, violence and shame. Finally back in press and yours to own in trade for money.
In the decade since its release, it is cemented - one of the best of our generation. 8 songs, all of them punch hard and to the point and sound as perfect as the day we first heard them and knew it was a record we would carry through the hard times. Low Life revel in squalor and self disgust - what could better define the mindset of punk life, lad life, low life - revelry in ruin, revelry in decline - and anyone who knows, who has been there, you can hear it in Dogging, you gotta LAUGH mate. You can FIGHT, and you can LAUGH... when they're kicking in your door, when you've got insufficient funds and a heavy debt on your shoulders, everyone has started blocking your calls, when you've forgotten where you are and how you got there and what you took on the way and someone is asking for your ID, someone is asking you how you got that black eye and where your tooth went and who the fuck is RIHANNA why do you keep screaming about RIHANNA, there's an angelic figure in front of you, shrouded in gold light, your eyeballs are shrieking in agony at the vision of such beauty...
It’s a dogs life - the modem world is a cage - it's records like Dogging that show us the depths below the depths - you can always fall further, and when you think you've hit bottom, the floor will open up, and you'll be laughing all the way down. It's cages all the way down. The stuff dreams are made of, this! The joy of life! OUR LOW LIFE.
Any band with guitar bass and drums will stand in awe of Black Sabbath, and so it is appropriate Low Life have pressed their LP in the immortal colours of ASTON VILLA FC. Praise Geezer!
COMUNIONE - “COMUNIONE” CS
Easily one of the best punk EPs to hit the shop this year. This tape captures the fighting spirit energy that can be so powerfully channelled when playing distorted guitar music. Described as ‘Shamanic Punk’ by their original label from Italy (Sentiero Futuro Autoproduzioni - check them out) this is an astute label for Italy’s COMUNIONE. Their sound is informed by classic Peace Punk with added layers of spirited cacophany and dirt via almighty Black Metal. In a vast landscape of aggressive music it can be hard to find something with that special feeling and fire but this is absolutely it. COMUNIONE is a diamond in the rough. Do not miss it.
ETERAZ - “VILLAIN” LP
Persian language hardcore punk that’ll tear the house (and hopefully the establishment) down! The production is savage – booming lows and enough crunch to piss off a cornflake. Definitely a few clicks quicker than Discharge but this mob have obviously studied the proto-ancient art of the D-Beat and achieved enlightenment. I would kill to see them live, the record gives you a sense that they’d knock you senseless. Evil eye hardcore. Mighty stuff.
HEAVEN - “STARLESS MIDNIGHT” 7”
Naughty and freaky punk from Texas. Taking cues from 80’s Californian and Japanese outfits, they got that bone rattlin’, chain swingin’, melody makin’ shit on lock. Much of punk as a genre is about raging against being downtrodden and smashed into the dirt by powerful forces that be, because fuck that shit. Rage to replace it with something better. Heaven fucking gets it and they get it right. MAGICAL MUSIC MILITIA. CULTURE DESTRUCTION MILITIA.
GEHENNA - "NEGATIVE HARDCORE" LP
The world is on fire, mobile phone towers are destroyed, do you try to access instagram? You can't access instagram, you are all alone, in the distance there is the sound of a terrible drum beat, the beat is getting closer, the only food you have is mescaline, do you eat the mescaline? You eat the mescaline.
The word NEGATIVE might seem redundant if you've spent enough time insulated from the world of positive hardcore - productive hardcore - cupcake hardcore - GST hardcore - genetically engineered gluten-free hardcore - and GEHENNA, one of the greatest HC of all time, will always remain outside of the world of positive hardcore - the hardcore of crews and mosh buddies - the hardcore of community - the hardcore of the priest and the counsellor - real estate hardcore, hardcore for the deal pigs to get siked to before landing a neat commission (but, of course, donating a fair chunk of it to some socially conscious organisation, donating a fair chunk of it to SAVE THE PLANET or STOP WAR or FUCK CANCER) - Gehenna are a cult band, pushing through 30 years on the fringe, prowling the hinterlands beyond the festival hardcore world, the world of teenage mutant ninja turtle hardcore - merch hardcore, the hardcore of smart branding and keen marketing - graphic design hardcore - the hardcore of the podcast, the hardcore of Spotify - the hardcore that interns at Twitter would soundtrack their segway orgies to - Silicon Valley hardcore - Vans Warped Tour hardcore, hardcore that sells shoes and skateboards and a lifestyle that says "I like my friends" - soy meat hardcore, the hardcore of tofu and vegan cheese.
GEHENNA spoke of hunger and crime where their contemporaries spoke of sharing their toys, stage diving, soda pop - they terrorised the hardcore scene of the 90's with the same kind of horrific visions that bands like INTEGRITY shared - a polluted and pathetic world needs to be DESTROYED - the world needs the courage of NEGATIVITY and HATRED - the world does not need fake positivity hardcore, that kind of hardcore for the kids at school who run to teacher - Karen hardcore - the hardcore best listened to on low volume so you don't upset your neighbours - air bud hardcore - iPad hardcore - hardcore with a spiritual twist, hardcore with social value, conscious hardcore, Christian hardcore, JOE BIDEN HARDCORE.
NEGATIVE HARDCORE is the best of that other world of hardcore - bleak, unstable, grim, DETESTATION - an affront to what "hardcore" is for most of the world, music to play at the voting booth, in the sneaker shop, at the vasectomy clinic - bowel cancer awareness music - music for nerd orgy, music for Paypal, music for influencers - NEGATIVE HARDCORE does tribute to the legacy of THEE ALMIGHTY AND INFAMOUS GEHENNA, one of the HARDCORE bands that redeem the entire genre and sound.
The mescaline is starting to work. The beat is getting closer. Do you smoke the crack pipe? You smoke the crack pipe. There is a scream in the distance, and the beat continues to draw near. Do you walk towards the drum beat? You walk towards the drum beat. It is behind a wall of sacred fire, you can hear GEHENNA beckoning you to walk into the fire, do you walk into the fire? You walk into the sacred fire, the terrible flames, baptised and renewed...
LULU'S STAFF PICKS OF 2022
DX 10 of 22
1. Michel Houellebecq In The Presence of Schopenhauer and Interventions 2020
1a. Rapid Dye and Demolition
2. New Altered States jams Troth and Th’ Blisks
2a. Yuta Matsumura had a good year hey
3. The Northman and Dune
4. Re/Search book on JG BALLARD
5. Somewhere Between comp of mutant Japanese pop on Light In The Attic is dope
6. New Burial - any Burial - all year every year
7. Low Life XTC
7a. Sports Casuals FC and Aston Villa
8. Honey 2 Honey live in Sydney and Canberra
9. Chateau and any Al Montfort this year all year every year
9a. Faceless Burial live
10. Thankyou Gordon
Mosha’s Top TEN List
• SEDICION - “EXTINTOS” REISSUE LP
• COMUNIONE - “COMUNIONE” CS
• HEAVEN - “STARLESS MIDNIGHT” 7”
• PUSHA T - “IT’S ALMOST DRY” LP
• IRREAL - “ERA ELECTRONICA” LP
• DEAD CONGREGATION LIVE
• STRAIGHTJACKET NATION LIVE
• IWGP WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP INAUGURAL MATCH (KAIRI vs MAYU IWATANI)
• WILL OSPREAY - BEST IN THE SQUARED CIRCLE
• MAXWELL JACOB FRIEDMAN - BEST ON THE STICK
YAS’S TOP PICS OF 2022
LK Creative Victoria - Endless Bullshit Vol.1 + 2
Abrasive, catchy, intriguing, infuriating, addictive. Pure genius!
Paish - Pop Monsieur Vol.1 (Cease And Desist)
Scolding pop music of the finest order. I’m still sad he changed the name from Boy Lana to Paish, but more so I’m proud to have put out one of the best albums of the year (I admit I might be a little biased). I can’t write anything better than this, so I quote: “It is sonic testimony to Man’s capacity to politely, toe-tappingly, lose his mind on a public bus.” Highly recommend.
Yuta Matsumura - Red Ribbon (Low Company)
A hypnotic record that draws you in deeper each listen.
Wet Kiss - She’s So Cool (Dero Arcade)
An absolute lightning bolt for the Melbourne music scene. Kind of like if James Chance and Lana Del Rey had a baby - electric, longing, debasing…But probably more like if Ms 45 or Christine Chubbuck had a rock n roll band. Good thing they absconded to Berlin, they really are too cool.
Cloud Ice 9 - Circus St (Happy Tapes)
A truely enigmatic band made up of the most unlikely members. See them live - maybe you’ll get a driving No Wave set, maybe you’ll get the closest approximation of The Fugs from a band who have never heard The Fugs. It’s a bit naughties Canada - think Cindy Lee, Crack Cloud, Tonetta - the warm warble of VHS. But overall its got deep roots in Australian absurdism, it’s funny but you’re scared to laugh. The children of the Antipodeans at kick ons. A through-line from Tsk Tsk, Essendon Airport, Circle Pitt, Eastlink, Cured Pink, Native Cats…
Hydroplane - S/T (Efficient Space)
Like any Efficient Space release, this Hydroplane reissue is probably the record on this list that has had the most effect on Melbourne’s music this year. Or maybe it just remerged at precisely the right time. Timing is very important for a record. We’ve entered a new chapter of trip hop inspired ambient slash experimental slash dub slash depresso high class dole wave, and this record has surfaced to reclaim it’s position as godfathers of the new epoch. For lovelorn philosophy students or just general art-world-adjacent fuck ups. The perfect companion to a depression day in bed- only to be played 20 times on repeat.
Hantu - Zither EP (Nice Music)
Zither EP has been crafted with the most deft of touch, or more accurately spun like a web to be discovered in the early morning sun. The brilliance of this EP is the way the quality or charisma of each of the core instruments feels magnified - the lightness of the flute, the hypnosis of the bass, the mindfulness of field recordings, and the mystery of the zither, yet all still live in a harmonic balance together. Isobel D’Cruz’ debut as Hantu has shown her to be one of Melbourne’s most adept, skilful and influential musicians. (Not to be missed live)
SAM’S TOP 10 OF 22 (in no particular order...)
V/A "The World I Want Would Be Celestial, Wet" 2xLP
In a year of amazing comps, the inaugural effort from Absorb stands radiant. A testament to the potential of curator-as-artist; this impeccably programmed document of Melbourne's experimental cabal serves as both an important time-capsule and an exciting statement of intent.
Haco @ Substation
I found out Haco was playing at Substation approximately one hour before Haco's performance at Substation was scheduled to begin. I promptly cancelled all plans for the night and made my way directly to Substation. What a dream.
Th Blisks "How So?" LP
Damn, Yuta had a good year, huh? Both Th Blisks and Yuta's solo LP were high points; this one edges out Red Ribbon for no reason other than I've had more time with it. Plus, there's nothing like a supergroup to get the blood pumping.
Gretchen Felker-Martin "Manhunt" Book
Ruthless literature. This is only horror because it holds the mirror up so well. Mad props to the 50 yr old suit who didn't even sneak a glance at the weeping transexual he was seated next to as I finished this book on a four hour domestic flight to Perth; that's discipline.
Ricci @ Animalia x Vortex
The long-awaited return of Ricci to the club sound system has been the dancefloor highlight of 2021. Each set has been spectacular in their own way, but his first set back in March holds a special place. Rarely have I danced so hard with a bigger shit-eating grin on my face. Pure class.
Act Now "Louis Adonis" 7"
A real dream-team situation with this one. Vinci putting out this record of him and Tarquin jamming without telling Tarquin is very funny and very on-brand. Glad he took the initiative. Sounds great at both speeds; double the value.
Soft Centre @ Vivid
Soft Centre is what happens when the underground is given capital. For one day, we got to see what everyone would do if they had the money to do it. "The nang bar will accept Beem It." Sydney rules.
Jessica Au "Cold Enough For Snow" Book
This dreamy little novella slipped through my brain and left me thinking of it for months after.
Jordan Ireland "Spirit Walking" LP
Channelling the soul of the best new age without feeling like a pastiche, Jordan Ireland's album of piano solos was low-key one of my most played albums of the year. Working beautifully as both an ambient record and a more active listening experience, Ireland moves seamlessly from fragile Astley-esque melody narratives to jazzy new age reminiscent of Sims build music (I say this with a great deal of affection for Sims build music).
Optic Nerve @ Nag Nag Nag
Can a hardcore set make you cry? Optic Nerve stand peerless in 2022.
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