Mint Current Issue

Page 32

EDITOR’S PLAYLIST

with Billy Dixon

M83

A.B. Original

Deep Street Soul

Birds of Tokyo

Do It, Try It

2 Black 2 Strong

Souls Come Alive

Anchor

Junk

(First feature-length album)

Come Alive!

Anchor EP

M83’s breakout hit Midnight City was one of the decade’s biggest tracks, hitting the airwaves heavily and being endlessly remixed and altered in clubs for years after its release. Their Sophomore effort – not including their flawless work on the soundtrack for the somewhat-flawed Tom Cruise film Oblivion – Do It, Try It, isn’t such a clearly-cut electropop hit, but they lay a solid foundation that’ll likely have the same extended shelf life. The lyrics are at once more basic and less adventurous, sticking to familiar club and dance themes, but the way they’re interspersed with a sparsely-populated soundscape simply works. M83’s second gift from the album Junk will be the track Solitude - sparser still, and a very strong indicator of the way M83 want to be received on the international scene. Keep listening to these guys!

This song is a hilarious if somewhatconfronting tune about being aboriginal in Australia, perhaps summed up most ironically with the phrase “hit you with that Andrew Bolt of lightning.” If you’re offended by coarse language, this would be a good track to stay away from. But this would come at the risk of missing a new patch on Australia’s cultural quilt – rapper Briggs and producer Trials have not only created a uniquely-Australian rap album in the vein of ’90s supergroup NWA, in doing so they’re taking on that underlying tone of racism we’re often accused of out here... and they certainly don’t pull any punches. These are some of the hardest-hitting hiphop lyrics I’ve ever heard. Whether you like your tunes political or not, this is a track everyone should listen and respond to.

Do you know what contemporary funk and soul music sounds like? The answer is this. From the distorted, amplified electric piano intro to Mighty May’s booming yet boundless vochal chords, you can see the genre hasn’t changed fundamentally over the decades, but has instead gained layer upon layer of polish. It’s definitely still raw enough to feel, but the production values blend into this track so well that it’s hard to tell at times whether this took months of fine-tuning to complete or simply came out that way after a bumper jam. Even if this isn’t your genre of choice, it’s worth putting a finger on the pulse of musicians not currently found in your playlist from time to time, and Deep Street Soul will not let you down for your willingness to branch out.

Moving away from their contomporary altrock roots, Birds of Tokyo have subscribed to the trend of supplementing their fivepiece instrument outfit with thick synths and electronic sounds. Ian Kenny’s a far cry from his work with Karnivool here – fans of his previous effort might not be so pleased with the transition either. It’s significantly softer and lyrically more delicate, yet deeply satisfying when analysed in a vacuum. Released last year, Anchor was the prelude to Playlist, Birds of Tokyo’s first compilation album. True to industry fashion, they’ve used it to slip a couple of previouslyunreleased tracks into the world. It peaked at number 4 on the charts. You don’t get multi-platinum certified if you’re not doing something right, so if you’re new to the group, Playlist is worth checking out.

MISSED THE MARK

The Louvin Brothers – Satan is Real

fuse, who used to smash his mandolin to pieces when it went out of tune, only to glue it back together once he’d sobered up.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a fantastic album and if you don’t already own a copy, you really ought to do something about it. It contains tight, brotherly harmonies of a kind that everyone from the Everly Brothers to Simon and Garfunkel would spend their careers trying to emulate. The musicianship is also top notch. Sprightly snare, dancing piano and a hummingbird mandolin make this the blueprint for hundreds of country artists. So why does this splendid record belong in Missed the Mark? In two simple words: the cover. Without doubt, the cover of Satan is Real is one of the most confronting in the history of modern music. The concept came from the brothers themselves and it’s a photo that could only ever appeal to the committed or the curious, but absolutely nobody else. The brothers stood in their white suits in a quarry, in front of a twelve-foot devil made of plywood, whilst the eternal embers of hell were simulated with kerosene-soaked tyres. The rest, as they say, is slightly-charred history. Ira and Charlie Loudermilk performed under

32

MINT Magazine | May

2016

By Stuart McCullough

What also makes this record something of an acquired taste is the subject matter. Lots of people are familiar with gospel music of some variety or other. Much like traditional hymns, they’re mostly tunes sung to the glory of God. This album is different. It is, in effect, an attempt to restore the balance.

the name The Louvin Brothers and they liked to intersperse more traditional country fare with gospel albums. To describe them as “God fearing” does not do them justice. More likely terrified. And Ira Louvin lived like a man with the devil forever at his heels. He may have sung songs such as The Christian Life (later covered by the Byrds on Sweetheart of the Rode) and The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea, but in truth he was a chronic alcoholic with a supremely short

Likely figuring that salvation and everlasting happiness were hogging all the attention, the Louvins wanted to set the record (quite literally) straight with a timely reminder that Satan and eternal damnation were also real. The results are terrifying. There are songs about the intemperate use of alcohol (including The Drunkard’s Doom) and dying (including the evercheery Dying From Home, and Lost). But there’s some lightness too, including the wonderful There’s a Higher Power. It’s a beautiful, strange shot across the bow from proselytising brothers who warned against sin whilst one of them was wading through it up to his earlobes. In that sense, it’s a product not just of its era but of the

kind of people who made it. The Louvins were the rural South of America midcentury version of the Gallagher brothers, I suppose. Except, unlike Liam and Noel, they were mavericks. That’s what made them dangerous. Satan is Real was released in 1959. The Louvin Brothers continued to work as a duo until 1963, when it all got too much for Charlie, who decided to quit. Charlie released solo albums. Ira got shot six times by his third wife, who lamented that a lack of bullets prevented her from getting the job done. In the end, Ira and wife number four died in 1965 in a car accident. Killed, somewhat ironically, by a drunk driver. Charlie passed away in 2011, at the ripe old age of 83. The cover and the subject matter might seem a little off-putting, but it’s worth the effort. On this record, you’ll find some of the most sublime singing ever committed to vinyl. It’s hard to imagine anyone releasing a mainstream record like this today, and that’s exactly what makes Satan is Real so remarkable. bayside & mornington peninsula


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.