All the Rage no. 76, Jan. 19, 2020: The in-between period

The best in left-field pop from Canada, Australia & beyond! This week, some great tuneage to kickstart your new year: Dreamy pop from Melbourne (Flyying Colours, Spiral Perm), Sydney (The S-Bends) & Aukland (Na Noise) Canadian electronic tuneage from Smaller Hearts, Molly Drag & Lié. Alien Nosejob and Psychic Void get punky! Edmonton’s Brunch Club and Hobart’s Quivers deliver some exceptional guitar pop. And so much more!

Your setlist:

Greg Dulli
Pantomimia

Dead Little Penny
Talk Show Goth

Flyying Colours
Goodtimes

The S-Bends
Datsun

Molly Drag
Exist

Ramon Chicharrón
Apretao feat. Boogát

Smaller Hearts
Possible Futures

Salad Boys
This Issue

Heir Traffic
Is it to Clamber, to Climb?

Spiral Perm
No Bones

Alien Nosejob
Television Sets

Hockey Dad
I Missed Out

Psychic Void
Sweet Dreams

No Museums
An Engine Submerged

Brunch Club
Dandelion Dreams

Na Noise
Bad Dreams

Quivers
When it Breaks

All the Rage no. 74: Best tuneage of 2019

It’s the end of the year, which means it’s list time! First up, my 30 favourite left-field pop songs from Australia, Canada and beyond. Enjoy.

30. BBQT
Flinch

Delightfully bouncy guitar pop from Montreal. Not a bad way to kick off at top 30 list.

29. DZ Deathrays
Shred for Summer

A perfectly named song from this Brisebane trio. Definite Jane’s Addiction vibe going on here.

28. Moody Beach
Slave

Sydney sultriness.

27. Miesha & the Spanks
The Girls are OK

In a world of microgenres, it’s nice to know that straight-ahead rock and roll, in this case courtesy of this fine Calgary outfit, is still a glorious thing.

26. Booji Boys
New Repacement

Ditto for punk rock. No-frills, unadorned noisy perfection, straight out of Halifax.

25. The Vovos
Venus

This weird and wonderful tune, from Melbourne’s The Vovos, is the epitome of left-field pop. Probably the most purely delightful song on this entire list

24. Ausmuteants
Forever Cops

Melbourne’s Ausmuteants nail punk’s proud tradition of standing up to unjust authority. “Hands up; we’ll still shoot.” A harrowing glimpse of the nasty side of 2019.

23. Nooky
Blackfellas

A harrowing, desperate cover of a 2009 Steel Warriors song from this Yuri man from New South Wales’ South Coast, who also happens to be one of Australia’s most exciting rappers.

22. IV League
Comedown Sensation

Yet another soaring pop anthem from a Melbourne group that over the course of only a few songs has demonstrated an uncanny knack for soaring pop anthems.

21. Heart Attack Kids
Do What You Do

Two guys from London, Ontario, who know how to bring the noise, with a detonating sound you can hear from space.

20. The Double Happiness
No Place Nundah

A nostalgia-washed homage to a backwater town from this Brisbane band. I kind of love this song.

19. Quivers
You’re Not Always On My Mind

Exhibit A for the theory, which I am starting right now, that Hobart’s Quivers are time travellers from the late 1980s. A mellow tune that has classic Dad Rock written all over it.

18. Tram Cops
California Way

Jittery, wistful lo-fi goodness from a forward-looking Melbourne outfit.

17. Big Mike & Gianni La Bamba
Bad Boys (Single Edit)

Seeing Big Mike & Gianni La Bamba open for Donny Benét (twice!) was one of the highlights of my year in Germany. Big Mike is a hulking, muscled blond dude from Cologne who looks like he’s either just come from or is going to the gym. He raps (in German) about working out and partying – he’s basically a Teutonic Andrew WK. And his music, courtesy of Mr. La Bamba, is a delightful throwback to hard-edged 80s dance music. One highlight of their live show (other than the very fit, shirtless men that seem to comprise 50% of their audience) is a rap that’s done to the tune of the Hall and Oates’ hit “Out of Touch” that kind of sneaks up on you (“Is… is he rapping in German to a Hall and Oates song?”) This song isn’t that one, but as a celebration of Kolsch Bad Boys, it’s almost as awesome (in the 80s sense of the word).

16. Ultra Magnus
Duck

Nice heaviness and great flow from this Toronto rapper. Yes, please!

15. Jackie
New at Drugs

Joyous power-pop from Toronto’s Jackie. I’m pretty sure I’ve never before heard a song about a mom (your mom) trying drugs for the first time. Jackie packs a lifetime of history and a staggering amount empathy into three minutes.

Fuck, what a great pop song.

14. Dead Little Penny
Honeycomb

Curve-y shoegaze from Auckland. Mmmmmmmm…..

13. Hello Seahorse!
Mujer

I’ve been a fan of Hello Seahorse! from the moment I saw them open for The Killers in Mexico City in 2009. Ten years later, they’re still delivering phenomenal tuneage, their secret weapon being Lo Blondo (Denise Gutierrez), who has one of the distinctive voices in all popular music – any language, any genre. Mujer, their latest, continues the winning streak.

12. Gold Fields
Glow

Ballarat heroes return with some dancey goodness that showcases Gold Fields’ growth as a band.

11. The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience (The Lonely Island)
Bikini Babe Workout

Few things brought me more joy in 2019 than The Lonely Island’s 30-minute ode to the Oakland A’s steroid addled heroes. There is no reason why The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience should exist – I’m pretty sure no one was clamouring for a 30-minute set of raps about/by Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire, but the world is a better place for its existence. It’s only a matter of time before The Lonely Island pull and Parker and Stone and stage a Broadway musical, right? Please say yes.

10. Donny Benét
Second Dinner

An 80s disco-style ode to the joys of four square meals a day, this is vintage Benét.

9. Smaller Hearts
Circuitry

The standout song from these Haligonians’ strong second album. Picture a warm Pet Shop Boys, or an optimistic Depeche Mode. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold.

8. Tropical Fuck Storm
The Planet of Straw Men

Angry, righteous, off-kilter and noisy, with the best male-female vocal tradeoffs in the business, Tropical Fuck Storm is the 2019 band we both need and deserve.

7. Pale Lips
You’re A Doll

Another highlight of a year in Germany: Seeing Pale Lips play a small room in Münster in February, at a time when I was pretty much ready to head home but still had months to go. Tight, poppy, 60s-style rock and roll that I could listen to until the sun goes out.

6. Heart Beach
Cliffhanger

Hobart’s (now Footscray) Heart Beach somehow find another gear. Cliffhanger injects an already fully formed sound (deliberate drums backing Yo La Tengo-style dissonance) with an epic level of soulfulness courtesy of Claire McCarthy plaintive vocals. A song made for movies – you know the scene. There’s something special about this band.

5. JuliaWhy?
Starman

Sydney’s (now London, UK) JuliaWhy? take the next step. Muscular dreampop. Their new album is excellent. I can’t wait to see where they go next.

4. Sampa the Great
Final Form

“Young veteran; new classic.” Long may she rule.

3. Sahara Beck
I Haven’t Done a Thing Today
triple j Unearthed Embedded Player

Sahara Beck, the Brisbane artist who’s been recording since she was what, 15? (my goodness), gifts us with a wonderfully upbeat, Killers-esque tune in all the best ways. One of my 2019 go-to mood-lifters.

2. Sunscreen
High Over Love

Pure, joyous guitar pop from a Sydney four-piece. Seriously – just go listen to it. I’m running out of adjectives.

1. Calmly
Pet Tornado

This Perth four-piece (née Childsaint) has finally released their first album (huzzah!), and it doesn’t disappoint. Eight songs of heartbreak, regret, reseignation and resolve, capped by this quietly haunting acoustic tune. Beauty in despair.

All the rage no. 61 – February 14, 2019: Why yes, I do believe I will “bring the noise”

As always, your biweekly hit of the best in new left-field pop from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week we go heavy on the “beyond,” with new tracks from Ladytron, Bob Mould and (be still my heart) Pet Shop Boys. We also go heavy on the noise courtesy on Perspex, Danko Jones, Alien Boys without forgetting the value of straight up pop, from Fatamorgana and so, so many more.

Yer setlist:

Soft Science
Undone

Perspex
Cheap Gossip (demo)

Danko Jones
Burn in Hell
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/XDjZEFje79Y

DZ Deathrays
Shred for Summer

Pale Lips
Show Me Another Way to Your Heart

Fatamorgana
La Altlántida

The Eclipse
When You Say You Want More, I Want Less

Pet Shop Boys
Give Stupidity a Chance
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/P9jEuHbB0GQ

Ladytron
Far From Home
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/H3TqaBxmevQ

Heart Beach
Better Than This

Bob Mould
I Fought

Alien Boys
Night Danger

Jackie
New at Drugs

Antonia & The Lazy Susans
R U OK?
https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/6167581

Soviet X-Ray Record Club
Weekend

Anemone
Sunshine (Back to the Start)

Monnone Alone
Do it Twice

All the Rage no. 49 – June 23, 2018: Feel-good hits of the year

Your biweekly source of the best left-field pop/rock/punk/dance from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week: Good music equals good mood. The proof is streaming below.

Your setlist:

Shirley & the Pyrmaids, One Life

Expanda Fuzz, Check Your Watch

Moaning Lisa, Good

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/7137071

VOIID, Not For You

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/7135436

White Blanks, Go Right Now

Georgia June, Pressure

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/6529526

Muncie Girls, Picture of Health

Wax Mannequin, Boring

Fritz, Biggest Fool in the World

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/7119326

Loose Tooth, Keep Up

Seaside, Golden Girl

Stars, One Day Left

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xXW1BB6N1gg?rel=0

Single Tear, in your arms, in my arms

Chromeo, Room Service

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/B-_xw6lf9T8?rel=0

All the Rage no. 48 – June 17, 2018: Soft, loud, melancholic

Your biweekly source of the best left-field pop/rock/punk/dance from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week: We get mellow with Future States, punch with Lié and Surf Dads, and end with a Tropical Fuck Storm of despair. Let’s go.

Your setlist:

Shaun Carlo & Jeepz, Earn

Future States, Heaven

Phantastic Ferniture, Fuckin’ and Rollin’

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/00F5GpqtjDr750q3M2Bkfm

Chromatics, Black Walls

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/UwigmMTsM-Y?rel=0

Smaller Hearts, Summertime III

Asta Rangu, Plastiscine

Lié, Country Boys

Surf Dads, Hold Onto Me

The Dollar Bill Murrays, The Shape You Take

Squaring Circles, Anima

 

Tropical Fuck Storm, Rubber Bullies

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/_fhOUfxIvgY?rel=0

All the Rage no. 45 – April 8, 2018: The Don

Your biweekly source of the best left-field pop/rock/punk/dance from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week: Your biweekly source of the best left-field pop/rock/punk/dance from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week: Donny Benét’s new album is finally out, and it’s fantastic. Let’s start with that. New Primitive Calculators! Birdz & Omar Musa! Dakk’One! So much more! Listen up!

Your setlist:

Donny Benét, Love Online

Birdz & Omar Musa, About Me

Dakk’one, Lullaby

White Hex, Gold

Primitive Calculators, Power

Preoccupations, Antidote

Candy, Apartment in the City

Flowertruck, Come Across

Soft Wounds, Story

Wild Meadows, Fever

 Hit Bargain, Capitulate

Talk Show Host, We’re Not Here to Make Friends

So Young, Sixteen

All the Rage no. 43 – March 3, 2018: Working through the issues

Your biweekly source of the best left-field pop/rock/punk/dance from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week: Using music to process a bad month for the concept of justice for Indigenous Canadians. As Superchunk (also on this week’s show) ironically put it, What a Time to Be Alive.

Your setlist:

Tropical Fuck Storm, Back to the Wall
https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/05HLtkxNPaKGrs0nHYmNPe

Tram Cops, stolen land

US Girls, Incidental Boogie
https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5DZBl18zByeRXwRotKcVvF

A.B. Original, Dead in A Minute (f. Caiti Baker)
https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/19i9XNvAlpkudulpAHuEHo

Cable Ties, Tell them Where to Go
https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/2OHVppPPqySVNEWQ99iDfV

Sook, I’m Not Your Woman

Boat Show, Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Booji Boys, Mr. Nazis on the Beat

Quick Fix, Always Was

Donny Benét, Santorini

Zoë Fox and the Rocket Clocks, Fists

bedside., Get it Right

Deafcult, Secret Wisdom

No Museums, The Twin Tone Market

Wax Chattels, Stay Disappointed

Superchunk, Reagan Youth

Jess Locke, Border Security

All the Rage no. 42 – Feb. 14, 2018: So. Much. Excellent. Tuneage.

Your biweekly source of the best left-field pop/rock/punk/dance from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week: A surprising number of best-of-2018 contenders, and it’s only February. It’s going to be a good year for music.

Your setlist:

The Nude Dogs, We’re Girls, We’re Here

Rackett, Ready or Not

Wild Meadows, First Exit

Booji Boys, Pissicine Perfect

Civic, New Vietnam

Loveproof, Sister Moonlight

Dream Girl 88, Hits Me Like a Thunder

Chromeo & The-Dream, Bedroom Calling
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/c1cvDqM_CMg?rel=0

Kimmortal, 88 and Beyond

Persons, Got Nothing For Ya

Tia Gostelow, Hunger

Siamese, Slaughterhouse

Blaire, Youth

The Double Happiness, City

Camp Cope, How to Socialise & Make Friends

 

All the Rage no. 41, Jan. 29, 2018: Batting cleanup

Revisiting the bumper crop of great 2017 tunes I missed the first time round, and a few new tracks from 2018.

Your setlist:

Tim & the Boys
Hey

Buzz Kill
Into the Void

US Girls
Pearly Gates
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/k9PLXHDEUFE?rel=0

Paupière
Défunte Lune de Miel

Spiral Perm
24 Sevem

Milk & Bone
Nevermore

DEAFCULT
Lemonade Beauty

Tropic Harbour
Can’t Pretend

Totally Mild
Today Tonight

The Plastic Fangs
Never Liked That Dog

Lizard Queen
Nightmare

The Buoys
Liar Liar

Kaptur
Spirit

Hideous Towns
Dogma

Turnover
Curiosity

Champion Lawnmower
Mean Fast One

All the Rage no. 38 – December 17, 2017: Best of 2017, 30-16

Your biweekly source of the best left-field pop/rock/punk/dance from Canada, Australia and beyond.

It’s list-making time! Here are my 30 favourite songs of 2017. First up, Numbers 30-16.
Your setlist:

30. Tapas (feat. Jeepz, G. Grand & Hyf), Havana Nights

Tasty hiphop from my hometown of Ottawa. Been following Jeepz for a while, and his effortlessly cool beats here don’t disappoint. MCs G. Grand and Hyf bring it as well. Solid beginning to the 2017 top 30, right?

29. Mezko, Trust

Sydney’s Mezko bring the 90s alternative dance to the second decade of the 21st century. Cool.

28. She-Devils, The World Laughs

Slinky, dreamy music that sounds like it was beamed here from one of the lusher lounges of the 1960s. These Montreal women bring it.

27. Alex Lahey, Every Day’s the Weekend

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of rock and roll.

26. Foxy Morons, Ex

From Hobart, a plaintive bit of relationship wisdom. Sadly, after one glorious EP, Foxy Morons are no more, a victim of the pull of the mainland, in their words. Oh, well. The world is a better place for their brief time together.

25. Kashka, New Moon Blues

I saw Kat Burns, aka Kashka, at the Heartbeat Festival, held in a house and backyard of a Toronto townhouse. There couldn’t have been more than 25 of us in attendance. She and her backing string quartet (trio? I’m blanking) set up in the living room, which was the perfect venue for her intimate, mesmerising, gentle tunes. New Moon Blues was a particular standout. I’m a fan.

24. The Afghan Whigs, Arabian Heights

Greg Dulli’s been churning out soul-infused rock in the Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers for almost 30 years, and Arabian Heights continues his winning streak. One of the most consistently rewarding American rock musicians of his generation.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/99xg4DtM-V8?rel=0

23. Moody Beach, Vanilla

In a perfect world, this song would be a Top 10 worldwide pop juggernaut.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/d307sJoN9ZQ?rel=0

22. The Courtneys, Tour

Optimism’s been a hard thing to come by in 2017, so we can thank our lucky stars that The Courtneys have stepped up to deliver some of that pure power pop. Perfect, joyous driving music.

21. Birdz, Crown Thieves

Public Enemy once described a previous generation of political hiphop as the Black CNN. On his debut album, which counts this song as a standout, it’s clear that Birdz, from Australia’s Northern Territory is continuing the tradition of politically aware hiphop, alongside Australians like Briggs, Trials, and Lucky Luke (coming right up). Call it Black CNN International. I’m not steeped in the intricacies of hiphop by any stretch of the imagination, but there seems to be a definite 90s tinge to the music. And did I mention that it sounds great? Cuz it does.

20. Laura Sauvage, Alien (Anything Like It, Have You?)

80s inspired synthpop that would make the Pet Shop Boys stand up and take notice. Given that PSB are at the very top of my personal pantheon of rock gods, there is no higher praise.

19. Lucky Luke, Jacks

On this one, there’s a definite 90s West Coast hiphop thing going on, all in service of a cool song about an abandoned Australian mining community. Socially conscious hiphop that grows your brain.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/VZHjgA4eVaw?rel=0

18. Leather Jacuzzi, Leatherette Spa

For the first punk rock entry into my top 30, it’s Calgary’s Leather Jacuzzi. Loud, ferocious, with a wicked sense of humour, these ladies are doing it right.

17. La Fièvre, La Chienne

Dreamy, resigned feminist pop from one of my new Canadian favourites.

16. The OBGMs, Beat Up Kidz

This is why you shouldn’t skip the opening act. Saw these Toronto punkers open up for Danko Jones a couple of years ago and they blew me away. High-octane punk rock. Yes. Here’s hoping their just-released debut album garners them the attention they so richly deserve.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/KKX8L52h2Sc?rel=0