Fremantle’s nucleus, The Aardvark, developed a great plan to give back to the artists that have given them and the rest of Freo so many tasty tunes since they opened for business. The inaugural Sounds Of the Aardvark Vol.1 local band compilation presents a track each from 10 of the booking and bar staff’s favourite acts.
Pressed onto wax, and limited to a run of 100 translucent yellow vinyl copies, they’re only available from the venue itself during opening hours. It’s a not-for-profit exercise aimed at supporting the venue, the artists involved and the local WA music community. Talk about a perfect souvenir for visitors!
Side A kicks off with Scriptspeak By Didion’s Bible (originally released in 2018 on their EP also named Scriptspeak). Full of clunky garage rock, their blend of synths and fast strumming guitar strokes invokes comparisons to Talking Heads.
Web Rumors provides one of the many highlights with Downtown Denizen. Written by Perth all-rounder Em Burrows, Web Rumors were established in 2017 and have released several singles and an album in 2019 called Audio Video Disco with record label Group Therapy Records. Downtown Denizen was released as a single in 2018 and is a great taster for their new wave 80s alt-pop sound.
Axe Girl features with their catchy surf punk track, 1981. Axe girl is led by Addison Axe and have a pretty spectacular supporting history, having guested alongside Spiderbait, the Hard Aches, and the Bennies. 1981 is an encapsulation of their catchy sound, considering the polyrhythmic blending within the track which somehow compliments their traditional 70s punk rock flavour.
It wouldn’t be a collection of favourites without Perth’s first lady of rap Hyclass making an appearance. Susan Tuialii (Hyclass) is impassioned, honest and brutal, the lyrics on her track Queen proving this tenfold. With lines like, “I got the fire from my mother, got the will to survive from my father,” unsurprisingly Hyclass won the WAM Award for Best Hip Hop Artist in 2018 and 2019. Already a well loved track locally, Queen is a classic addition to Sounds of the Aardvark.
The last tune on Side A is Holding On, an emotive track from popular Perth artist Noah Dillon. Kitted out with a band of bass, drums and two guitars, the full sound and shivering vocals of Dillon create a track that’s yet another worthy inclusion.
So far so good, and on Side B there’s surf pop manifestation the Spring Peaks with Coming of Age. It’s a nostalgic Australiana indie pop song. Freo staples Salary have launched both their albums at the Aardvark, and Still Flaming comes from their 2019 LP Cul De Sac Breakdown. A project that started off as a solo bedroom pop venture by Sean Gorman, it’s grown into an 11 piece beast with a huge sound, although this lesser known track is perhaps not the most obvious example of that.
With so many different styles, the importance of tracks that complement one another is of particular importance. With the interweaving of guitars and keys in The Psychotic Reactions track All In My Head, it seems a fitting addition. Singer Hannah Smillie adds a vociferous tone to their velvety garage rock.
Lincoln MacKinnon and The Wrecking Train are a blend of country with folk rock, and the fervour of MacKinnon’s songwriting is probably why the Aardvark had to have I’m Bled make an appearance. I’m Bled is arguably the highlight of MacKinnon’s last album Sparks Will Fly which was released in 2019.
Closing proceedings is pop-rock and soul outfit Bass Lemon with The Christmas Song. Being unreleased when the compilation dropped last month made it feel all the more rare and special (it has since enjoyed a singe release last Saturday, November 30). Perhaps this points to the future of the Sounds of the Aardvark compilation series – the only way it could be more unique and special would be with a few more exclusive and previously unreleased cuts.
We certainly hope there is a Vol. 2, because this is a package to be cherished.