Artist of the Day
By Joe Coscarelli on October 2, 2008 9:06 AM
Eddy Current Suppression Ring
What? Repeatedly touted as Melbourne's best live rock band, Eddy Current Suppression Ring play a brand of punk thick in Australian accents and rife with attitude. On their latest LP, Primary Colours, the Ring sport an obvious appreciation for all things basic, beholding the proud punk tradition of shredding power-chords and fiery commonplace lyrics in the vein of Black Flag and X. Finding fury in the mundane, the band riffs on workingman themes of scrounging savings and indulging in TV and ice cream, while maintaining showmen's bombast on tunes such as the calamitous "Which Way to Go."
Who? Formed after a drunken jam session at a Christmas party in 2003, the four motley musicians -- then all laborers at a local vinyl pressing plant -- wear their lack of musical expertise like a badge of honor. Lead snarler Brendan Suppression, who had never written a song before improvising that night, is flanked by guitarist Eddy Current, bassist Rob Solid, and drummer Danny Current. The quartet, who's 2006 self-titled debut -- plus three 7" singles -- were printed by their Corduroy Records employers, have started their own label, Aarght! Records, under which they released this year's Primary Colours in Australia. Colours arrived stateside September 9 via Goner Records
Fun Fact: Considering his wild antics, most would never guess lead singer Brendan Suppression, a.k.a. Brendan Huntley, suffers from a near-debilitating stage fright. His solution? A pair black golf gloves, which he always sports when performing for peace of mind.
Now Hear This: Eddy Current Suppression Ring, "Which Way to Go"
EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING – INTERVIEW – OCTOBER 2009
By: Steve Rose
Named after an infamous electrical component at a Melbourne (Australia's cultural capital) based vinyl pressing plant, Eddy Current Suppression Ring have been kicking out Troggs inspired lo-fi garage rock jams for four years. Over the course of those one thousand four hundred and twenty four days, ECSR have gone from a low-key, low-pressure inauguration to being the winner of the Australian Music Award, and receiving several other high calibre accolades for their latest record; Primary Colours. They now have two records released worldwide and a large cult following to go with it. Somehow an awesome band that is generally seen as a punk/no wave act, from Melbourne Australia, appears to be on its way to taking over the world, yet keeps doing everything its own way; the right way. We had a quit chat to Mikey, to find out what they are up to, if they're coming to the UK and what they think the Pavement reunion has in hold:
Rockfeedback: I find it pretty incredible that a band of your particular style are Australian award winning artists. Has this changed the band, or the fanbase, or the shows in any way?
ECSR: Hard to say yet. We have laid pretty low since the award writing and recording new stuff. We had 2 shows about a month ago and it did seem like a lot of various people turned up. Mind you we have always had a pretty diverse crowd. We got a lot of attention from media that previously didn’t touch us but it remains to be seen if it will be long lasting. It hasn't changed the band at all.
RFB: Have you heard the British band The Horrors (who were nominated for the Mercury Music Award), who's latest album is also called Primary Colours?
ECSR: Yeah, good album too from what I’ve heard. there was another band called Finally Punk that had a 7" out last year called ‘Primary Colors’ so we can't really claim ownership to it. Just one of those things.
RFB: I know some of you are in other bands, and that there is an Australian 'd.i.y/punk scene', but not a huge deal of underground Australian music is widely known in Britain. Could you tell us about the 'scene' and some of the other bands which you class as your contemporaries, and would recommend to fans of yourselves?
ECSR: We are lucky to live in Melbourne which is by far the most thriving scene in Australia. Lots of venues and lots of great bands. UV Race, Super Wild Horses, The Twerps are some of faves. Woollen Kits, Beaches, My Disco are also great, Royal Headache and Kitchen's Floor from Sydney and Native Cats from Hobart are all also tops.
RFB: Up until fairly recently your records have only been available in the UK through peoples’ distros. How did it come about that your albums have been released through what is essentially a dance label, in the UK?
ECSR: David at Melodic just emailed and said he liked the record a lot and asked if he could put it out. Not many people had shown interest in the UK and I did like the idea of not coming out on a straight up rock n roll label. The people that seem to like us are always pretty diverse so I like the idea of different kinds of labels releasing it to different kinds of people. The only band at the time I was aware of that they had released was Baikonour and I quite liked that record.
RFB: To me the tracks on both your LP's work together well, to create two whole pieces. Was this a conscious decision? Or were they simply the songs that you had at the time set to tape?
ECSR: Pretty much the latter. Just a bunch of songs that were ready at the time and fitted well together. The 2 albums were never considered as companion pieces
RFB: Do you have any favourite tracks, or tracks that you never play live off of your albums?
ECSR: ‘Demon's Demands’ off a 7" we did we never play as we just don’t nail it like we do on the 7. Also ‘I Don’t Wanna Play No More’ is one we don’t seem to fully capture.
RFB: With these recent British releases, does this mean that you will be heading across to these shores to tour, anytime soon?
ECSR: We are going to wait until the new LP is out in the first half of next year and then hopefully tour in the second half.
RFB: Are there any British bands past or present, which you are particularly fans of; like to see play live?
ECSR: Unfortunately most of the British bands I like would be way past their prime. I need some good recommendations on the current state of British rock n roll.
RFB: Are any of you Pavement fans? What do you think of the upcoming reunion shows?
ECSR: I'm actually a total Pavement fanboy. I'm pretty psyched about the reunion. I reckon they can still pull it off. It hasn't been so long that it will be too much of a nostalgia show. I've seen them twice before and they were great.
Having recorded their first album in three hours, Eddy Current Suppression Ring decided to take their time on their second, Primary Colours: a whole day. "Our songs aren't really brain surgery," says guitarist Mikey Young. "You've got one riff, maybe two, and everything's pretty much written in half an hour." But somehow, those spontaneous riffs, coupled with singer Brendan Huntley's rowdy pub-stool harangues, have landed them continental acclaim Down Under with sold-out gigs and an ARIA Awards (Australia's Grammys) nomination for best rock album.
No one is more surprised than the band. Five years ago, Mikey, Huntley, and Young's drummer brother, Danny, recorded their first song, still beer-buzzed after a Christmas party at the Melbourne vinyl-pressing plant where Mikey worked. Goofing around in the plant's studio, they began jamming, with the mic-less Huntley singing directly into a tape recorder. Pleased with the results, they enlisted pal Brad Barry to play bass and recorded more songs for a seven-inch. They named themselves after a copper band on a transformer and all adopted noms de rock: Mikey became Eddy Current; Huntley, Brendan Suppression; Danny, Danny Current; and Barry, Rob Solid. "We thought we'd play one gig and quit it," says Mikey. "So we chose a stupid name and we didn't think about it."
As it turned out, that one show led to an American tour and a rabid Australian fan base. "The audience reaction has started to weird me out," says Mikey. "People respond pretty physically." Even weirder has been the critical reception to Primary Colours (Goner). "I don't know if anyone's said a bad word about it," Mikey says, laughing. Somehow, the apparently feckless quartet has fashioned a near-perfect alloy of Velvet Underground distortion, Mark E. Smith–style speak-singing, and arty-ragged drum bash -- a crude capstone of indie garage rock. But the guys aren't ready to quit their day jobs. "If we didn't have something to fall back on, it would become too much of a job," says Mikey. They don't have definite plans -- they'll probably play more shows in Australia, write some songs, and maybe come to the U.S. next year. "We don't look that far in the future," Mikey admits. "All of us have pretty low ambitions."
-- Since their first show, Huntley has donned black gloves to help temper his stage fright. "They make him feel like someone else," says Mikey. "Like he was Brendan Suppression instead of Brendan Huntley."
-- ECSR recently opened for Devo, Mikey's all-time favorite band. "You always wonder if the idea of your heroes is going to be destroyed by seeing them now," he says, "but they didn't do that."
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - "It's All Square" (Eddy Current Suppression Ring)
I’d prefer not to know too much about Eddy Current Supression Ring’s backstory. They sound for all the world like four guys who showed up in a Melbourne garage and started making rock music without any particular ambition – not even to be a garage rock band. It’s hard to think of a contemporary band doing the guitar-bass-drums-singer thing as effortlessly as these guys. Strictly whacked chords jump around while the bass slips in the opposite direction. I detect a few guidelines – no blues licks, no heavy distortion. But they’re absent the doctrines and constraints that their peers use to make great roughed-up music, be it the Dirtbombs’ double-heavy rhythm section, Jay Reatard’s insistence on self-recording, or the one-man band tricks of Mark Sultan. Eddy Current adhere to the motto of that fine purveyor of Australian cuisine: no rules, just right.
This double disc from Melodic joins their 2006 album with last year’s follow-up, Primary Colors, which got international attention and appeared on a lot of year-end lists. "Which Way to Go," from Colors may be their peak so far, a perfect storm of post-punk drone and regular guy lyrics. The self-titled debut reveals that they’ve been top rank right from the start. Their first two singles, "Get Up Morning" and "It’s All Square," have all the chemistry of their later tracks. On the former, the changes never hit where they’re supposed to on a four-chord rock song, like toast that keeps popping out of the toaster before it’s done. The swamp of bass and cymbal crashes that make up "It’s All Square" are ominous, but there’s nothing otherworldly about Brendon Suppression’s voice. As ever, he sounds like a guy who’s stumbled into the song, and had to make up his lines on the spot.
The verses of "Precious Rose" are so close to Wire’s "Mannequin" that it would make Elastica blush. But as much as it recalls the metronome beats and raw production of Pink Flag, Wire would have never gone near a song that compares a girl to a rose. They wouldn’t have let the song go on for three and a half minutes, either, nor come up with anything as lusty as "Want to kiss you all over / don’t know where to begin." If there was some more reverb, it could be the Troggs. But the Troggs would have tried some harmonies and bent some notes. And included a lot more filler.
By Ben Donnelly
Album review: Eddy Current Suppression Ring - 'Primary Colours'
August 12, 2009
Winners of the Australian Mercury Music Prize, and NME’s mad band name of the week award, ECSR are four men with garage-rock pulsing in great wibbly waves from their very fingertips. Their second album, to be released with their self-titled debut for the first time on these shores, is sweaty, rough and ready. ‘Memory Lane’ is Stones-meets-Stooges rifforama, while ‘wrapped up’ throws a touch of Dinosaur Jr grungery into the mix and ‘Colour Television’ flirts with Wire. An easy comparison would be The Datsuns, but this is much closer to White Denim’s first album. And while they don’t have as many ideas as the Texans (it’s got one thing on its mind) they can eddy our currents any time.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring / Primary Colours
The four members of Eddy Current Suppression Ring all worked for a vinyl pressing plant outside Melbourne, Australia. Six years ago, as their company Christmas party wound down, the four began jamming drunkenly together. They'd never penned a song or been in a band. Impromptu frontman Brendan Suppression simply ad-libbed lyrics into a tape recorder. Somewhere in there, more than just chemistry took hold. They settled on one questionable band name, an electrical circuitry term that also yielded three individual monikers: guitarist Eddy Current, drummer Danny Current and Brendan Suppression. Bassist Rob Solid held out. They released a spate of 7" singles on their own with relative ease. Then they unleashed two mighty full-lengths that until recently have never been available outside of their native Australia at the same time. Both are primal slabs of minimalist guitar music.
The "M" word might conjure images of bands falling anywhere between Wire and the White Stripes. While it's easy to detect notes of Wire, ECSR have developed an economy of sound that relies less on spiny riffs and more on an instinctual use of space. Within the clatter of each three-minute blast, Suppression is given the room to do just what he did during that Christmas party, not so much diarizing as slobbering each thought as it arrives to him. In "Cool Ice Cream", he screams for ice cream/sex over some guitar coiling and motorik bass, the end product a lot like a cuddlier, less creepy version of the Fall. And like the thrust of the Stooges, another easy reference point, that sexual drive (or template, really) lives and breathes in the dynamics as well. "Pitch a Tent" marries the same ideas to mangier soloing. When ECSR are at their best, they're working around an insistent groove, building before finally collapsing to saddle up again seconds later. There's little variation, but there needn't be. Even when the songs butt heads with one another, the melodies are pure comfort food. There isn't a weak song in the pack.
The stronger record by a hair, last year's Primary Colours is a very natural, even artfully polished extension of its predecessor. The DNA remains the same, just married with less hitches. As "Memory Lane" opens with nearly identical chopping, Suppression makes a difference by slowing his roll. Always dynamic, he presents himself here as an insightful drunk rather than just a drunk. Take the way "Wrapped Up" runs along some really beautiful ribbons of guitar melody for instance, Suppression going so far as to harmonize the equally warm refrain. "Colour Television" hits harder and with more menace than anything they've done yet, but there's a softening of edges taking place throughout, a band testing limits after having already refined them. Current in particular is able to dictate the climate, forcing the band out of the garage and suggesting they never go back.
— David Bevan , January 14, 2010