♫♪  Distant Stars - The Way Things Work

Under the night sky they dream, one in Caen, one in Melbourne, two souls connecting via the cloud like electricity, their clash a shower of industrial sparks and science. Yes, they take their name from an Ultravox tune: “…somehow we drifted off too far, communicate like distant stars.” Yes, the designation is appropriate.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Detonic Recordings, the Australian synthpunk label specializing in the rude and the rambunctious, embodies a cultural clash of EQ-in-the-red proportions, pulling from London, Berlin, New York, and The Birthday Party when electronics and explosions of outward angst were in vogue. (I realize The Birthday Party is neither a time nor a place, but if you think about it, they sort of are?) The last time an Australian export made such an impact on me was 1986, when Paul Hogan charmed America’s (and Linda Kozlowski’s) hearts with his fish-out-of-water knifey antics. And just like our heroic “crocodile hunter” (patent pending), Detonic sticks sharp(ly recorded) objects in our face and forces us to pay attention.

That’s where Distant Stars comes in with The Way Things Work, a cassette (or CD) bomb fifteen items deep on the Detonic catalog. Like their forebears such as School Damage, Multiple Man, and Yaws (all with fantastic releases on the label), Muriel Annic and Richard Payne find the melody in the noise, the rhythm in the industry. Through their bleeps and squawks, their coos and hums, they allow the anger that springs from frustrated yearning to blurt through in a confused rush. A digitized, clanging, sexual, confused rush.

And so the transcontintental partnership bears fruit, a dancey, lurchy, rusted metallic recording bursting with attitude. This, of course, despite the fact that Payne likely needles Annic via email with such regionally flavored quips as, “I don’t mean to put down your black widow spider, but the funnelweb spider can kill a man in eight seconds, just by lookin’ at him.” Adorable.

I’m off to walkabout.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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