If you were to come up to me on the street and tell me there was a band out there that delivers powerful, riveting, hardcore music in 14 songs under 22 minutes, I would laugh in your face and walk away. Irrational, imprudent me; there is a band out there and they are called Paint It Black. Comprised of former members of Lifetime and Kid Dynamite, there should be no surprise then that Paint It Black are dynamic and vigorous. When you actually think of how many bands could pull off 14 songs in a measly 20 something minutes, well you think back to Lifetime and Kid Dynamite; bands that never gave a shit about industry standards and big wigs. That’s the type of vibe Paint It Black give off; in-your-face, earsplitting attitude.
Don’t think though that these guys don’t have a lot to say just because they get their point across way quicker than most bands. In fact, this album is more than just a little politically charged. There is no holding back at all. Right from the start, the opening track, “Election Day” breaths fire; “Last call for the bloodsuckers, cheaters, and parasites / You’ve been relieved of duty, so let’s call it a night / You’d better sleep tight, and get your head right.” No doubt that the album title, Paradise, is a metaphor of irony and mockery as the lyrics on the album are anything close to resembling “paradise” in any form. The lyrics also feature a ton of anger and irritation as displayed on the song “Nicaragua;” “You better watch who you call “backwards” & who you call “uncivilized” / Treating people like pigeons / I hope they peck out your eyes / Throwing crumbs and passing judgment / Nobody asked you to import that shit.” So charged with emotion you have to wonder how spent vocalist Dan Yemin must be after a performance.
Short songs would have most thinking there isn’t much room for creativity. Far from the truth again as most songs will leave the listener wondering how they managed to pack so much sound into such neatly packaged, short songs. With drums that crash as fast and aggressive as can be, each song is powered by the rhythm and tempo of the percussions. Add in some guitar work that adds momentum to the music and you’re really left with the feeling that you’ve just been punched in the chest.
A lot of hardcore has become watered down and cheap, Paint It Black are what you call a throw back to the “good ol’ days.” They play it the way it was intended to be delivered; with precision, power, passion and aggression. If you’ve been longing for fire and energy in your music, look no further than Paint It Black.
(Jade Tree Records)
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.