I know that summer has only been with us for a week, but this unassumingly-packaged compilation of Sydney’s newest and most worthy music is shaping up as the Kriskringle/Christmas stocking/festive-present-swapping bargain of the season. Expertly sequenced from Alpen all the way through to Vincent Over the Sink; leaning heavily towards the meditatively electronic end of the mood scale, but with a little lo-fi punk thrown in for added scuzz, it comes to 18 tracks for only 10 bucks with barely a dud moment to be heard. What are you waiting for, Scrooge?
Opening with the dewy horizon of Seaworthy’s ‘Map In Hand (Pt 2)’, the dawn end of this album notches up some immediate highlights. Morning Stalker’s ‘When All Is Said and Done We Will Forgive Each Other Under the Sun’ runs like a waterfall, buoyed along by cascading keyboards and looped, sun-struck vocals. Amanda Handel and GL Seiler’s ‘The Passing’ is altogether more misty, like a field recording of a phantasmic civil war, circa 1850: marching snare drums, curling trumpets and a babbling, half-buried crowd of people that rise up to tug at the listener.
Moving on to the mid-section, ‘Little Tapioca’ by Underlapper is melancholic and delicately sweet, a part-electro part-acoustic lullaby that resembles fellow Melburnians Heligoland sieved through a handful of snow. Ollo’s ‘Peanuts’ boings through the low end and squeaks through the high in a pleasingly old-skool, Atari-like fashion, while ‘Camber’ by Clairaudience is Joy Division on AutoSummarise: ominous, whiplash drums and dirty guitar form an instrumental loop so audacious in its imitation that it’s kind of great.
The only real stinker here is Yes Nukes’ ‘Boys’: garage-lite too worried about its hairstyle to either flail or stomp with any sincerity. Yawn. Naked On the Vague’s ‘God Nor Devil’ is another early-80s time caspsule, channelling Teenage Jesus and the Jerks for the appropriately anti-establishment duration of 47 seconds. Say Cheese and Die’s ‘Bride Of Frankenstein’ is the best of a small punk/no-wave selection that rounds off the disc: equally cranky and hilarious, it lurches with a B-grade primitivism that just can’t be faked.