LULU'S FEBRUARY 20 NEWSLETTER
Here is the February 2020 Newsletter, emailed at the start of the month to our mailing list and sent hard copy with all instore orders.
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Featured in this newsletter:
CONSTANT MONGREL - EXPERTS IN SKIN 7" [UPDATE: SOLD OUT]
LES RALLIZES DÉNUDÉS & BE - THERE'S NO HEAVEN LIKE HELL CS [UPDATE: SOLD OUT]
As we attempt to come to terms with the horrific impacts of colonisation on this land now un-ignorable by all (pretty hard to have a bbq when you’re choking on the air) we must, again, turn to our communities for support and guidance. It’s been encouraging to see so many people drop what they are doing and offer up their services to help those in need at this time.
We’ll leave you with a quote from Max Easton from the Winter 2019 issue of Lulu’s Magazine. It feels particularly relevant at this time. Keep looking after each other, keep loving each other. Lulu’s loves you.
“Being a fan of underground music is a subversive act that helps you come together with a community to form a like-minded contingent that is capable of enacting real socio-political change in the world, in the workplace, at the gig, in your band. It's a responsibility to align thy musical and artistic practice with fights for indigenous sovereignty, trans rights, sex worker rights, feminism, anti-racism, LGBTQI rights, self-determination for the under-privileged, collectivisation across these spaces, and the right side of the class war.
We are friends if you agree.
In addition to the releases spoken of in more detail below, Lulu’s has been jamming the following;
~ ENTHUSIASMS “ISSUE 1” MAGAZINE (EFFICENT SPACE)
~ ALIEN NOSEJOB “SUDDENLY EVERYTHING TWICE AS LOUD” LP (ANTI-FADE)
~ SHAH SHARAFI “NILE MIX 1” CS (SELF-RELEASED) [UPDATE: SOLD OUT]
~ HEATHER BENJAMIN “ZINES 2009 - 2019” BOOK (SELF-RELEASED)
This is the debut 7” from Sydney blood meat punk band G2G. These 4 songs cement their reputation as a band who can play both types of music (fast music and slow music). 166 copies were pressed, all hand numbered. Lulus exclusive is 6 copies pressed on clear vinyl with colour inserts.
CONSTANT MONGREL - EXPERTS IN SKIN 7"
Opening with a classic rumblin’ thunder ‘n’ shinin’ leather post punk barge of a riff’n’lead combo, which feels like Joy Division’s heavy as hell live recordings, you get the feeling you’re gonna be putty in the hands of CONSTANT MONGREL for the next few minutes. A few more moments into ‘Experts In Skin’ and suspicions are confirmed when the song’s vocals tone in overhead and you realise you’re stranded in the eye of the storm as the lead and riff haven’t subsided and aren’t looking to any time soon. It’s worth getting satched. ‘Shnuki’ makes its presence felt with some vintage Constant Mongrel but as it rolls forward and Amy and Tom chant along together I can’t shake the feeling that this song resembles the cynical older sibling of Terry. A well meaning kid with a mean streak because, hey let’s face it, the world is a total flop sometimes. Something is clear (and not just the vinyl) - CONSTANT MONGREL have proved themselves to be experts in something, certainly.
LES RALLIZES DÉNUDÉS & BE - THERE'S NO HEAVEN LIKE HELL CS
On the first on April 1975, Les Rallizes Dénudés head head Takashi Mizutani invited Taisuke Morishita of the bent Japanese psych band Be (fka Yellow) to his house/studio in Fussa, Tokyo for a jam. The resulting session saw Morishita on synth (aka the un/holy black and white keys) duty alongside LRD alum Shunichiro Shoda and an uncredited bass player for an hour long jam of Mizutani's "There's No Heaven Like Hell", a slow psychedelic build of a track that gives us a peak at the tender side of these notoriously twisted units of space and time (AKA THE ALMIGHTY LRD!!).
Perfect accompaniment to an early morning trip to the unbefriended parts of your mind, a stroll around a natural body of water with the dog, or crepuscular Merri Creek changa puff. Beautiful stuff.
Writing about Pagan Altar’s Mythical & Magical feels somewhat like writing an obituary for one of your nearest and dearest. I’ll start at the beginning; this album is worthy of the love and praise it receives. Widely considered to be Pagan Altar’s magnum opus, the alchemy at work on Mythical & Magical results in a splendour so vital and refined that the seekers and wanderers of the world would be well to take precious moments to sit with and bask in, surrounded by a strongly scented smoke as well as both inner and outer flame alight. Having mostly left behind the doom of their monolithic Judgement Of The Dead album what Pagan Altar instead offer here is a rarified form of 70’s hard rock imbued with folk magic leanings of Druidic Europe; a balance so adeptly struck that it becomes difficult to imagine that rock music could possibly sound any other way. At every turn and beneath every stone is a subtlety and awe inspiring beauty akin that which can be found in any gemstone or grain of sand when paid mindful attention; so poised and skilful are the performances that when things take a heavy turn, and they most certainly do, it arrives with the exhilarating thrill and confusion and jubilee of true, blood rushing danger and adventure. Above all, Pagan Altar weave stories and spells like no other - brooding, joyous, fiery, mournful, otherworldly and gorgeous. Mythical & Magical is a temple upon a landscape within which great truths are to be found. “The gentle throb of an ancient drum, no human ever made. Music only gods should hear, no human ever played.”
I believe that you occasionally get a pure glimpse into the heart and soul of a genre or scene, whether it’s been around for six minutes or nine decades, which greatly expresses its essence and atmosphere and therefor stands the greatest chance of speaking its truth; whether it’s a classic example of of the genre’s defining sound or if it’s an interpretation of the sound, adhering to convention or not, spoken through whatever language and means necessary. What has (probably quite unfortunately) been labelled Dole Wave generally is marked by a few signposts and cornerstones: an expression of lower socio-economic class whether real, imagined or pretended; a quaintness of sound and feel, whether it’s song structure, recording quality, or (but almost certainly) lyrically; and a worn badge of some aspect of Australian identity whether it be attitude, humour or cultural & geographical references; and finally yet almost non-negotiably; our equally forsaken and beloved accent.
‘Double Bugger’ compiles the work of Australian-sometimes-abroad Josh Newton. “Well I made the first tape in Berlin as a parting gift to the mates I'd made in the decade I'd lived in Europe, only made 50 copies and gave them all away (some people might've got multiple copies ‘cuz I didn't have that many friends.) Then when I moved back to Sydney and realised I had no friends and I couldn't find a job I started recording that last tape, my little brother gave me an iPhone and I downloaded garage band and recorded half of the record just with the phone.
Among the tracks can be heard echoes of UK’s DIY scene built around similarly scrappy methods (Cleaners From Venus and The Fall-adjacent groups) as well the dusty and weary presentation of other, more bleak, down and out bedroom recording artists of the last fifteen or so years. Yet there is the familiar and unmistakable refrain of Australiana at work here. Hell, it’s called Itchy Bugger. There is a bit of a self-awareness to the whole thing yet it doesn’t fall into the grubby mitts of conceited rubbish in which so much Australian creativity is slip slop slapped around. See? But at some point when you’re looking toward the bottom of the barrel or up from the bottom of a few bottles you’ve probably got to come to terms with the fact that as an Australian you probably have a weird accent which doesn’t easily lend itself to singing nice songs nicely, and you’re just gonna have to go for it and write your damn catchy songs anyway.
The recordings collected on ‘Double Bugger’ are an example of something generally wrong done right. Dole Wave is basically a dirty word at this point but this record really is a little winner.