copies still available through volcanic tongue ad infinite limits
Independent Press, Edition of 200
Side A: Howlway
Side AA: Creepertown
Sarah Byrne (vox, junk)
Alex Cuffe (speaker box bass)
Ross Manning (strung panel)
Joel Stern (leg horns, drum machine)
Amazing deluxe private press 7” from this unclassifiable Brisbane group who come over like Corwood plays the music of Moondog and The Godz. This amazing single pushes the sound even further into a strange ethno-forged zone where the complex overlapping rhythms of The Magic Band are a given a staggering Reich/Riley makeover, with horns, chugging guitars and brokedown junk instruments propelling the inspired, impressionistic vocals of Sarah Byrne into a weird free country brass hybrid that is somewhere between a stoned, cultic Spontaneous Music Ensemble and a buncha midgets playing the music of Albert Ayler. I’m struggling to put my finger exactly on what these guys actually do, suffice to say this is some of the most original, idiosyncratic and inspired music coming out of Australia today. And that’s saying something. Can’t wait for their forthcoming full-length on Negative Guest List. Deluxe screenprinted fold-out sleeves, edition of 200 copies. Yeah!
RECOMMENDED: Brisbane’s Skyneedle plies a refreshing stripe of avant “rock” that relies not on earsplitting electronics or feelbad atmospheres. Driven by an incessant hooting from some kind of pump-driven horn, “Howlway” shambles along in an odd danceable mode. Singer Sarah Byrne juxtaposes a sultry vocal with the mutating caveman rhythm, tunelessly plucked slack-strings and an intermittent low-end grind produced by something else entirely (presumably the “Speakerboxbass” as operated by one of the quartet of noisemakers, Alex Cuffe). With instruments like the “Strungpanel,” and the “Latex Leghorn Drum Machine” credited, part of this record’s fun is in imagining what these homemade doodads even look like. Owing to their design and the resulting arbitrariness of the pitches produced, they evoke a crude junkyard/industrial version of far-eastern folk music. And the instrumental B-side “Creepertown” has that in droves, accompanied by a stumble of sheet-metal percussion and more of that rhythmic two or three-note hooting that alternately recalls some of Elliott Sharp/Carbon’s early large ensemble works and/or Canada’s pep-peps of noise, the Nihilist Spasm Band. It would be tempting to pigeonhole this (inaccurately) in some kind of no-wave or even neo-primitive revival, but Skyneedle’s atavism is less ritualistic/confrontational and much more playful. It might be the influence of the medium here, but the unit also deserves credit for keeping these tracks brief, wrapping them up after ideas are explored with sufficient thoroughness and before they would meander into self-indulgence. The whole limited-to-200 copies shebang is packaged in a jacket screenprinted with high-contrast, retina-confounding patterns, only adding to its mutant appeal. (Adam MacGregor)
This is something that you don’t often get to come across, something that successfully straddles the divide between accessible and truly strange without sounding contrived in either regard. Sky Needle is essentially something of a junk orchestra made up of Brisbane underground art scene stalwarts Joel Stern, Alex Cuffe, Sarah Byrne and Ross Manning, banging away on a collection of homemade, non and primitive-instruments. The B-side, from which comes the single’s title, is the one that leans most towards the strange, a pleasantly cacophonous mix of lo-fi bass scratch, one-note riffs on indeterminate wind instruments, and clanging rhythm provided by the banging of assorted non-musical objects. The A-side, ‘Howlway’, is the ‘pop’ song, in this context, a similarly single-minded, one note buzz with jagged sax improvisation and, most significantly, Byrne’s banshee wails. I am a sucker for artwork as well and I have to confess to being sold on this one before I’d even heard a note. Housed in a wonderfully hand silk-screened A3 page folded up around the 7″ vinyl, the package is every bit as good as the music. Not so much an added bonus as a reminder that art really is important to music. (Adrian Elmer)
Danny Venzin in The Thousands
…the medication shoved down your throat by up-and-coming Italian pornographer, Flavio, is really starting to blur your context. Is that a mosquito you hear buzzing? No way, there aren’t mosquitoes in New York. Puta madre! That bloody mozzie sinks into your skin and you realise you’re really in Brisbane and it was all a dream. The only remnant of the lucidity is the Sky Needle record someone left spinning to soundtrack your sleep.
Negative Guest List
If you needed any more evidence that Brisbane's experimental scene is alive and sweating, here we have the excellent second vinyl release from yet another fantastic local group. 'Creepertown' follows a full length cassette ('Skyliner') from earlier in the year released by the sharpies over at Albert's Basement, and is the group's second release overall to feature the addition of gyrating female vocals. That's the A-side at least- a tune that on a surface level presents the group as a blazed Young Marble Giants like unit, while a distressed, sinister vibe is diffused as if it were the pulp drip from the rim of a Cooper's Pale Ale stubbie.
The flip is an instrumental that makes use of the group's arsenal of home-made “unstruments”; a collection of strange mechanisms that might have been invented in an early draft of 'Naked Lunch' (inter-textual references are of course, tricky), and are drawing from Eastern/Asian influences in the way that they carry things out. It is from this Interzone where Sky Needle excel, walking one of the more delicately & deliberately twisted paths of future-primitive noise/ rock conceived in Queensland state since the early reign of the Invisible Empire. These headhunters are sure something fierce! -b.a.