Dystopian Australian scuzz-rockers Tropical Fuck Storm sharpen their slow burn on Braindrops | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Dystopian Australian scuzz-rockers Tropical Fuck Storm sharpen their slow burn on Braindrops


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For the past decade or so, there’s been a heavy influx of gnarly rawk bands from down under who know their dark Aussie-punk history. Contemporary groups such as Deaf Wish, Amyl & the Sniffers, and No Sister seem to have absorbed into their own DNA the damaged sonic splatter of their fucked-up Oz ancestors: the Cosmic Psychos, the Scientists, Feedtime, and the godfathers of them all, the Boys Next Door/the Birthday Party. Such is also the case with the colorfully named Tropical Fuck Storm. TFS have roots in late-90s/early-aughts band the Drones, founded in Perth in 1997 by future TFS front man and guitarist Gareth Liddiard. For nearly two decades, the group straddled the line between enticingly melodic and maniacally dangerous, with epic tunes that escalated into dissonant scrapes of pure noise. Liddiard’s partner Fionna Kitschin joined the Drones on bass and vocals in 2002, and after the band went on hiatus in 2016, the couple launched TFS. When the duo were booked for a U.S. tour with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, they quickly added members of other diverse Australian groups, including Lauren Hammel of metal screamers High Tension and Erica Dunn of postpunk trio Mod Con and minimalist indie torch-song duo Palm Springs. Once the lineup solidified, Tropical Fuck Storm began composing tunes, releasing a few 45s before putting out their savage debut LP, 2018’s A Laughing Death in Meatspace. Soon after, they signed with Joyful Noise, and just last month they dropped their latest album, Braindrops (released by Flightless in Australia). The title track features Tropical Fuck Storm’s trademark slow burn of off-kilter, bendy guitars, dystopian lyrics, and a buildup that explodes into a completely modern, experimental, overdriven, blooz-scuzz racket. That urgency also comes out strongly in their live performances; in their surreal appearance on Aussie comedy show Tonightly With Tom Ballard, they absolutely destroy while maintaining actual hooks and dynamics. Miss this far-traveling band and risk waiting a while for another chance at their good old-fashioned down-under rock kick to thee gut.   v

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