When most veteran trollish internet dwellers see the term “puppet masters” in a title, they start believing an incoherent rant about either the illuminati or the Anunnaki is coming. However, whenever I think of the word “puppet,” I’m reminded of “Senor Sock,” a talking sockpuppet from the classic 90’s show, “Talk Soup.” When I think of puppet masters I drudge up memories of Metallica and my own regrettable metal phase in 7th grade, the pictures from that era not even being suitable for a #tbt post on instagram(much like the photos from Halloween 1986 when I went dressed as PeeWee Herman.)
Anyhow, what’s all that have to do with the Noise Puppets, another electronic music project from Australia? Absolutely nothing, except for the fact that an article reviewing weird music demands a bizarre intro if it is to reach it’s targeted demographic. As for the Noise Puppets, they(I say ‘they’ because it is somewhat ambiguous as to how many are involved or whom they are, and I think they like it that way) describe their music as “weirdo dance music from down under,” and I have to say it lives up to that description. What I noticed pretty quickly while listening to Noise Puppets’ debut album “Social Paranoia” is the diversity of styles within individual songs. It’s not uncommon for a song to completely change direction midway through. For example, the 5th track “A Matter Of Time” starts off with an almost tribal feel to it. If you listen creatively, you can hear imaginary voodoo chanting in the background as you picture a death scene from the Bond Film, “Live and Let Die“. However, shortly after that, the song morphs into spacey sci-fi “the super computer is about to attack it’s human creator” mode. The tracks all maintain this level of unpredictability, which keeps the listener engaged. When a song clocks in at 7:00 minutes plus, nobody will listen to the whole thing if they think it’s going to be the same loop the entire time.
The opening track, “Let’s Go F*cking Mental” opens similarly to the Brian Jonestown Massacre song of the same name. Beyond the opening though, they are not even remotely similar. It’s a solid way to kick of the album, with plenty of energy that sets the mood for some creepin’ on the dance floor. If I had to describe the difference in tonality between Subterralien and Noise Puppets, I would say that though they utilize many of the same synthy sounds and patterns, Noise Puppets’ music has a slightly more tribal or groovy feel to it. My favorite song on the album is “Midi Evil,” a catchy tune that seems to be the most melodic of the bunch. Noise Puppets also get bonus points for coming up with cleverly abstract titles that somehow manage to accurately convey the character of each individual song.
You can(and should) purchase Social Paranoia here.
I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t another article about illegal aliens tunneling underground to get to their day labor jobs or a paranoid warning of a surprise Chinese invasion such as the one depicted in the 1967 classic, “Battle Beneath The Earth.”Perhaps less controversial(but equally as creative,)I’m actually talking about an electronic music artist from Australia, who goes by the name “Subterralien” and is currently signed to Face Melt Limited.
He describes his sound as having “elements of glitch hop, IDM & psychedelic trance,” yet his Twitter account simplifies this further, stating matter of factly, “I make weird music.” Most people in the US who listen to his new debut album “Modnar” would likely associate it with the popular 8-bit old school video game or chiptune music movement, bringing to mind groups like the Minibosses. Yet Subterralien’s music seems slightly more artsy and creepy than the geeky and nerdy. I would say it goes back a bit further in time stylistically as well. His sound would fit in nicely in the era between 1976-1982, the tracks reminiscent of the synthesized background music of John Carpenter and other scifi/horror films of the same period. For example, the song “Madspace,” would not have seemed even slightly out of place on the soundtrack to Logan’s Run(Hollywood please spare us from another awful remake of a beloved movie.) “Mangoloid,” on the other hand(track number five) seems to have more of early nineties techno vibe, bringing back some fond memories for me of big pants, chain wallets and “Rave Krispies.”
The best way for me to describe Subterralien’s album would be “retro futuristic.” In the same way that the dystopian films of the late 70’s depicted a future that once seemed way ahead of where we actually ended up(but not so much now,) “Modnar” is still slightly ahead of it’s time musically, mostly due to the fact that mainstream pop music has taken us so far intellectually backward. Do the world a favor, buy this album. Support melodic music that is interesting, that you can dance to, and that won’t shave points off your IQ in the process.
Seriously though, I don’t mean something fleeting like the Beale Treasure or that German gold bar stash out of “Kelly’s Heroes.” Rather I’m talking about musical treasure, a little known band from Melbourne, Australia, called “Secrets Of A Wooden Hut.”
About 5 seconds into their EP, “From The Outside,”I realized just how incredibly polished their songs are. The production values are as good as anything on the radio in the USA, but without the dumb lyrics or overproduced “autotune feel” that plagues most top 40 American music. My favorite song on their EP has to be the catchy and melodic track, “The Madness,” which I listened to several times in a row. The lead vocals by Samantha Sharpe(an unassuming and mild mannered yet amazing singer) really sparkle. They carry all the songs well and are assisted from the effects which were chosen by some people who obviously know how to mix a jam. The same can be said of Heath Mitchell on guitar. Out of the zillions of different pedals, amplifiers, plugins, filters, etc, he manages to nail down precisely the perfect tone for the music at hand. Drummer Scott Murdoch keeps a solid clean rhythm without any of those overly abrasive hi-hat frequencies I’ve come to expect from indie bands that still play traditional drums. Watching their mini documentaries, you can’t help but notice that for such a talented bunch, the members of Secrets The Wooden Hut seem uniquely down to earth and likable.
If there was any area for Secrets Of The Wooden Hut to improve on, it wouldn’t be in the music but in the marketing. They need more exposure. That’s the thing with treasure though. One actually has to get curious, take the initiative and go out and listen for it.