Posts Tagged ‘Mikey Young’

Various 'Sad About The Times' 2xLP

Have you ever felt sad about the times you are living in? You may not always be able to work it out, but you can sprinkle a little sugar on your sadness with songs like these. A follow up collaboration between Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Suppression Ring) and Keith Abrahamsson (Head of A&R at Anthology Recordings) to their 2017 compilation “Follow The Sun, Sad About the Times”, at its core, is a set of North American 70s jammers.

With a hint (at times) of West Coast jangle, these tracks traverse the border between the power pop of the times and a late-night coke jam. You can also hear echoes of folk rock, soft rock, and even detect some psychedelic flashbacks. But despite the genre jumping, the atmosphere of Sad About The Times is always dominated by a haunted human voice.

These songs come in the wake of the psychedelic sixties; after the high-flying idealism had run its course and singer songwriters were ascendant. After the party, reality kicks in. They all could have been hits. Each with a different flavour, all subtly conveying universal emotions that are hard to describe but easy to feel. It features Jode, Hoover, Jim Spencer, Antonia Lamb, Hollins Ferry, Willow and more.

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Limited 12″ Edition. Standout tracks from Parquet Courts’ latest album Wide Awake! get the dancefloor treatment in a collection of remixes available on 12” vinyl. The A-side features a re-work of the danceable title track by legendary first wave NYC disco pioneer Danny Krivit, who has delivered classic vinyl re-edits of tunes from Visage, James Brown, Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk, and many more.

The B-side features remixes of two tracks by prolific Australian producer and engineer Mikey Young, known for his work in Total Control and Eddie Current Suppression Ring. “Mikey has always impressed me as a musician and person,” says Parquet Courts’ A. Savage, “but he’s developed a remarkable talent for producing electronic music, as evidenced by projects like Lace Curtain and Total Control. He has a skill of impressing his genius and personality into a track and elevating it to something more.

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Laughing at the System finds the contemporary Aussie post-punks in a terse—and surprisingly poppy—mood. “Luxury Vacuum” is a jangly new wave jam, and “Future Creme” contains guitar phrases so sweet they could have been plucked from twee fabric. There is no sprawling psychedelic tangle of wires like the great “Black Spring” to be found here, in other words, though “Vote Cops” is an lithe, minimal piece on the more experimental side. This proves to be the right approach for songs that needle elegantly at our present condition—welcome to the increasingly regressive future, where linear historical narratives turn to dust and parody is unnecessary—without getting too didactic; given the album title, one might expect pure polemic. Total Control have always been sharper and more sly than that, though.

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However you might try to find the words for it, Total Control’s caustic charm is stunning and oblique. A sensible account of the band typically focuses on its parts—the associated groups, the touring configurations, etc.—as if finding ways by which Total Control is divisible gleans critical information for breaking through their cryptic sheen. With tonic, wry twists, and forever employing aphoristic brevity for the comic/cosmic dynamite that it is best reserved for, the band seems to indulge this with each new release, or tour, or whatever’s put on the counter. The bands European tour tape from 2015 was a sure reminder of this.

Their new 12″, ‘Laughing At The System,’ is a succinct statement, but it feels like the sharpest thing they’ve ever assembled. Written and recorded over the past couple of years in various lounge rooms, bedrooms, and rehearsal studios, across Melbourne, regional Victoria, and Western Australia, Al Montfort, Daniel Stewart, James Vinciguerra, Mikey Young, and Zephyr Pavey are—for the record—all accounted for in the process.

‘Laughing At The System’ is bookended by a title track in two parts. The scattered mania of the opener is an unsettling beginning, with cascading madhouse-riffs somehow finding a ricocheting unison. The closing part has the familiar head-charge of Total Control’s most gnashing moments, with the guitars balancing the equation between running-too-fast and drinking-too-fast in one queasy commitment. With a brilliantly acerbic wit, we’re implored to gather that there’s some equivalences here. And it’s this kind of impulse that’s kept up throughout the 12″.

Drizzled with Vinciguerra’s fraught fills, which have the rare quality of being unmistakably his in both electronic and acoustic form, this punctuation comes in and out of focus between elegiac moments and breezy experimentation, the latter including the elated instrumental ‘Cathie and Marg.’ Throughout, Stewart scripts a tumultuous wake for a flatlining reality, forever nudging the listener to second-guess themselves about the sincerity and intent. Far from cynical, but earnestly neurotic, the potency of the atmosphere that Total Control has mustered across ‘Laughing At The System’ registers as a deeply commanding, though bleak, psychedelicism for the future.