Albert’s Basement – Vinyl 1 (Albert’s Basement)


Last year could have very well been the height of east-coast Australia’ decidedly DIY and intensely underground music movement. Bands and venues like Naked On The Vague, Say Cheese and Die! at Lanfranchi’ in Sydney, Young Romantix at Forpaw Gallery and Cloudcity in Melbourne and groups like Look!Pond and On/Oxx in various houses and bars in Brisbane. Sounds ranging from idiot Black Metal (Radiation Nation), to loose, lurid improv (Holy Balm, Vincent Over The Sink) and soothing psychedelia (Fabulous Diamonds, Always). All of brought together by friends with offers of space – be it a warehouse, city park or friend’ bedroom – to perform or record and the unheralded power of MySpace. A handful of CD-Rs, cassettes and memories still remain to document this period of intense musical creativity from a large group of young, understudied and enthusiastic performers.

And then this: a limited edition vinyl release, with hand-painted covers, of a recording of a show in a bedroom in June last year in East Brunswick, Melbourne at which fifteen bands performed, twelve of which are represented here. As a whole the recordings are delicate, the performances range from amateurish to smilingly confident, understated to downright scared – all a testament to the times in which these kids grew up, being watched over by a callous, artistically insensitive government. Its gonna take a while before anyone can feel comfortable in their attempts to either succeed or achieve notoriety musically or artistically.

And whereas a good helping of these groups around this time sought the harder edges of the city curb, most notably the projects of Shaun South: Young Romantix Make Love and Deaf!Deaf! (who, incidentally, reside in the same area), these kids raised themselves on softer stuff. Rather than Teenage Jesus, Sonic Youth and White Light/White Heat, this shows more of an affection for Dylan, Cat Power, The Velvet Underground as well as some of the more spacious moments in Krautrock.

Everything opens with some quietly sad electric-folk from Great Earthquake and Humansixbillion. Low Rise Estate’ “Untitled” is probably the hardest sounding track here with its warped guitars and increasingly chaotic effects rack, all held down by a slow, heavy bass beat. Side A ends with an acoustic rave-up on TV and TV themes from Extreme Wheeze, ending with everyone in the audience singing along to the Captain Planet theme tune. The first half of Side B are soft, lilting pieces of improvised effects, guitars and lightly brushed drums. Guns For Saint Sebastian’ “A Is For Apple” with its gorgeous harp and cello in particular contains a grace that is so rarely found in Australian music of this nature. Touch Typist and Popolice provide some of the best, most lovely ambient fixtures on which, this author feels, we can hang our future music hopes.

Joel Hedrick


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