Mother Mars have always been a band that I enjoy watching live. However, I can remember that about a year ago - sometime around Doomsday 2010 - I noticed a subtle shift in the attitude of the band. It was almost like, after some internal or personal turmoil the trio had finally begun to relax into their music, that they had found their own voice as a band. Mother Mars' attention to sonic detail has always been impressive, but they now seemed more cohesive and more comfortable - and their performance became undeniably stronger as a result.
As it turns out that over the aforementioned period, the group had been working quitely away on recording their new album 'Fossil Fuel Blues'. That immaculate attention to detail, and almost obsessive process of revision and recording has resulted in Mother Mars nowdays delivering some of the most best stoner/desert groove in Australia.
If there is one truly impressive thing about Mother Mars, it is the trios' impeccable and infectious sense of groove - and that is on full display on 'Fossil Fuel Blues'. Groove and feel is something I don't believe you can teach, and these guys have it in spades. Whether it's on a high-energy rock number like 'Ride Like the Wind' or a darker, more sedate piece like the albums title track, their feel is impeccable. These guys are so fucking chilled you half expect them to slip into a coma at any second.
For a home recording, the sound quality is solid. The tones and textures are absolutely beautiful. The bass is warm, fuzzy and fat. Matt's Strat sings with a gorgeous bluesy fuzz-and-overdrive treatment. The vocals too are tinged with psychedelic textures. Clearly a lot of time has gone into the crafting and layering of this album, as it continuously proves to be multifaceted. The only hallmark that this is infact a home recording is the volume, which sits considerably below most other albums. However, that approach has also let the band keep the depth and definition of their sound, so it really isn't a flaw.
'Fossil Fuel Blues' is another one of those seemingly countless local, underground releases that has seriously reinvigorated my passion for the Australian music scene. The sheer quality and range of releases that have been offered up in 2011 is mind-blowing, such that I am absolutely sure this has to be the best year for the Australian underground in a long, long time - but more on that wider narrative another time.
Once more I recall my disappointment at seeing the widely acclaimed Earthless live -- and once more I juxtapose that with the awesome local and relatively unknown talent of Looking Glass and Mother Mars. Both bands eclipse the vast majority of releases that the global stoner scene attempts to offer up as its best.
With 'Fossil Fuel Blues', Mother Mars have delivered a gorgeous sounding album thats smooth, psychedelic and with serious fucking groove. Any fan of psychedelic of desert or stoner rock would be a fool not to check this release out.
So I went and saw a band called Pirate last night at The Lansdowne Hotel.
Every now and again you might be lucky enough hear a band that totally reinstates your faith in music; a band that reminds you why you fell in love and were inspired by music in the first place. These bands do not come around very often. Usually they're so rare you could be forgiven for never hearing one of them in your local scene unless you really hunt it out. You might be fooled into thinking that the larger international bands really are all on a different level to anything being produced locally. Then a short while later a band might come along to turn that perspective on its head.
Pirate are one of those bands. Squat Club are one of those bands. From what I hear, Squid might also be one of those bands. I ranted a few days ago about the state of the Australian music industry; that the lack of grass roots support means that bands who truly deserve recognition will never achieve it. As I've alluded to a few times before, this truly is a double edged sword. Faced with huge geographic hurdles and no chance at achieving even moderate commercial success, bands are forced to play out of love and an innate desire to play their music for themselves. It might frustrate me occasionally, but ultimately it can breed some amazingly unique bands. It's quite evident within the ultra un-commercial grindcore scene.
I consider myself quite lucky to have found at least two bands of that caliber in the last six months - totally unique, talented bands that both inspire and depress me; knowing that I'll never achieve that level of musicianship unless I quit my job, lose my hobbies, give up sleep and take up a healthy ice habit.
I watched in awe of this four piece - drums, guitars, bass and a saxaphonist with a bigger effects pedal board than the guitarist - playing psychedelic, all instrumental progressive rock in the vein of The Mars Volta. The drummer had an absolutely beautiful feel to his playing. There were times where everyone was playing in total chaos, with no one playing on the one but that bassist who held the groove impeccably. The progressive build up and dynamics had me praying that a joint might fall from the sky.
It was fucking amazing.
On Wednesday the 12th of November, Squat Club are playing at La Campana in the Spanish Quarter (near Town Hall) with my grind band Kill A Celebrity. The night after, Pirate take the stage at The Lansdowne again. I strongly suggest you drop whatever you were fucking doing and go and see these two amazing bands.
And are Squid on the same level? I'll find out at about 1AM tonight at Louie's warehouse in Marrickville.
Time to go play some bass. Oh, to quit my job and become an indulgent musician. Maybe one day.