While I was gone, though, the Inbox filled up with all sorts of goodies, including the debut album from The Straight Arrows, It’s Happening. The Australian quartet finally has succumbed to the digital age, previously releasing all of their prior efforts on 7″ vinyl. I feel like this is the part where I should insert some terrible hipster joke, but really, they’re kinda fun.
From their press release:
“The Straight Arrows started out with Owen Penglis yelling about getting dumped and kicked out of bands into a four track cassette machine in his bedroom, soon to be joined by Alex Grigg, Angela Bermuda, and Adam Williams, all friends with coloured musical pasts.
Slowly the four honed their reverb-laden, catchy, fuzzed out punk garage into something barely listenable and less antisocial. Unable to actually get any shows, Straight Arrows started putting on their own at the notorious (and now abandoned) gay bar The Newtown Hotel, culminating in the release of their first 7 inch record ‘Something Happens/Can’t Count’ on their newly formed label Juvenile Records.
Figuring the only way to sell these (and make their money back on the release) was to force these records in photocopied sleeves into the hands of drunks and connoisseurs, The Straight Arrows started driving up and down the East coast of Australia, playing parties, warehouses, bars; wherever they could, rapidly selling out the release (itself later seeing a repress on the esteemed RIP Society).
Forward two years and no longer kids, now with two more international 7 inch releases sold out, tours and shows with, amongst others (friends, punk slime, and shitheads), Thee Oh Sees, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, The Black Lips, Jay Reatard (RIP), PLUS a whole cast of bands recorded by Owen in the same method as the early releases (to cassette, in a bedroom or loungeroom, just ask Royal Headache, Circle Pit, The Frowning Clouds, Dead Farmers, or a whole cast of others you haven’t heard YET), the Straight Arrows come forth with full length release “IT’S HAPPENING”.
Graduating into the realm of MEDIUM FIDELITY, the group moved into Tim Done’s home/studio/archaic equipment museum, HANGING TREE, for a few days and recorded direct into his STRICTLY 1950s equipment, resulting in a release where almost all of the instruments can be heard.”
Yeah, this album still sounds like Owen Penglis yelling about getting dumped and kicked out of bands into a four track cassette machine in his bedroom, with some other kids playing on vintage gear tracked down in someone’s parent’s basement/attic/some other equally dusty and mysterious place. I haven’t heard anything like this is ages and it’s pretty awesome.
There was a quote somewheres out there on these intertubes about singer-songwriter fans buying stock in Depends because the mere thought of a real band will make them shit their pants. While I am a fan of the singer-writer (and my pants are still clean), these guys are pretty rad. All in all, it’s got this roots-punk thing going on…like old Stones or Ramones or early Iggy Pop. It’s everything that a good, old-fashioned punk album is supposed to be. Lots of lo-fi yelling, not a track over three minutes, and a distinct vibe that makes me want to get drunk and smoke cigarettes and run into people on a poorly lit dance floor.
Ahhh, and here’s that quote:
“Super crude power pop punker that would leave most of you Posies, Big Star, jingly jangly “songwriters” shitting your pants. The aforementioned Jingly Jangly crowd should maybe check some adult Diapers, because a full-lengther just got put down on tape!!” – Tom (i94bar.com)
Check ’em out for yourself. Here’s my personal fave, “Bad Temper”: