5 local bands that are killing it right now
It might finally be time to admit that there's 'something in the water' when it comes to quality live acts emerging from Perth. So much so that the task of deciding who to see can seem overwhelming. Don't worry, we got you. Read on to find out my pick of the local acts you need to catch live.
Rag n’ Bone
Seeing Rag n’ Bone perform at a venue like The Bird gives you the impression that the band may have outgrown some of Perth’s cosier local haunts. Front woman Keira Owen’s booming voice and stage presence command your undivided attention much in the same style of Jehnny Beth of Savages’ fame (Although she’s probably tired of hearing that). Experts of shifting dynamic, Rag n’ Bone’s songs seem to breathe. Tightrope bass and drums control the direction of the songs whilst Axel Carrington’s guitar playing alternates between more-effected Rowland S Howard-esque noodling and playing right in the pocket. They are waving a post-punk flag in a city ruled by 420 bro rock.
Go and see them release their album “Hand Full of Ash” March 18th @ JRS.
Whether they like it or not, Shit Narnia are trailblazing what locals are calling “Oz-Core”. A celebration of being Australian perhaps, or a self-aware piss-take of bogan culture all while looking like caricatures of larrikins. Maybe I’m reading into it too much. In any case they craft their own truly original brand of what is dirty, self-loathing punk while simultaneously showcasing the 90s Midwestern emo picking prowess of guitar wizard extraordinaire Sam Atkins.
FOAM are about to embark on another East Coast slog in support of their magnum opus “Coping Mechanisms”, and, if their album launch is anything to go by, they will be playing with the full gusto of a seasoned, touring band. I can imagine they are on a bit of a high right now. Basking in the glory of making and launching what could very well be regarded the best local release of the year which maintains its integrity when played from start to finish live. Listen to it if you haven’t already. Seriously, it’s really fucking good. They aren’t about to be the next Triple J darlings though. The record was a change of direction for the band. The tracks take a little longer to reveal themselves. They change form. They keep you uncomfortable. They use dissonant voicings. The instruments sound like blunt force trauma. (Think The Jesus Lizard growing up in Perth in the 21st century).
Okay, Sprawl aren’t currently as active as the others on this list but if they come out of hibernation at some point in 2017 do yourself a favour and check them out. You won’t be made to feel comfortable… in a good way. Sprawl’s music is punctuated, changing tempo and timing often. Vocalist/guitarist/Trumpeter Ben shifts from spoken word ramble to yell all while maintaining his fight with the (anti)rhythm section with his very own brand of jagged guitar noise. Think of the undersung heroes of 90s indie and noise rock (Polvo, maybe Slint too) if they had the chance to toy with 21st century guitar effects.
At some point between their two most recent releases Kitchen People lost the urge to play guitar solos and opted for synthesisers instead. I mean, they still have guitars but now there’s monophonic synthesis in the mix too. The result is, of course, an incredibly full (but not cluttered) sound. They play fast and are the masters of syncopating chord changes. Think early Total Control output or maybe The Screamers. Every song feels like walking on a tightrope. The great irony of punk is that it’s the most efficient musical genre. This is no exception. Most songs clock-in around the two minute mark and end with sudden, pin drop silence; they’re clearly very well-rehearsed. Last time I saw Kitchen People they had two drummers. Bugger me dead.