Like a whirlwind set to unleash its unrelenting chaos – Schleprock’s Propeller is a tightly wound, highly explosive package of up-tempo punk rock seasoned with a good dose of rock and melody. Having first got my hands on this release some years ago, it is surely a wonderful thing to finally let my ears feast on this audio offering once again (it’s what happens when you borrow records – you have to give them back).
Packed with tracks of pure, straight up punk rock, this release served notice of how Schleprock’s brand of music was unmatched. While they released a very mediocre record on Warner Bros, it is with these earlier releases that they were at their best. Recorded raw and furious – tracks like “Underground” and “Happy Home” are proof that without a big recording and producing budget, you can still “bring the rock”. There are mid tempo tunes, (“Nowhere”’, “Obscurity”) but the majority of this effort is paced like those silly race cars that go round and round all day long.
You might say that bands like Schleprock were some of the first to mix fast paced punk rock with elements of melody, akin to Face to Face’s Don’t Turn Away; soaring guitars, melodic vocals and drums that belt like no other. And like that Face to Face record, years after its release it still rocks harder and better than most. It’s nice to hear a record raw – something that isn’t produced by knob turning gurus like Mark Trombino.
(Dr. Strange 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.