Nothing's going On comes in at 17 of the best 20 albums of 2015 in a Tomatrax review of the year that was. The enigmatic super reviewer for TripleJ and general music aficionado has pawed his way through thousands of hours of new music, a thankless task, albeit enjoyable for someone possessing musical seek and discover proclivities. A 10 track album, cobbled together over two seasons, beginning in summer 2014, the collective weight of 8 years of frenetic productivity, hours noodling away, capturing the worthwhile and bringing form to reality, this was the album that did what it did, a natural progression for us and one that had to happen.
Philip Catley Review
CD Review: “Nothing’s Going On” by William Street Strikers
Genre: Rock, Pop, Indie
Rating 5 out of 5 Stars
“William Street Strikers” sounds like a comic strip from a 1960’s Boys Own Magazine, but it’s really a rocked up four piece Indie rock band with plenty of experience and talent behind it.
Having listened to a few of their previous releases I got the impression that “Nothing’s Going On” is the natural progression for a band at ease with itself after years of live performance. The songs swing from the heavy rock undertone of “Seven More” to the Mexican brass intro of “Stalker”, and the delicate folk pop of “Ruby Blue”. Across the ten tracks there is sufficient variety to interest most casual listeners, and it’s all professionally performed and produced. Andrew’s vocals are smooth, melodic and always on point, and there’s plenty of interesting guitar sounds sprayed over the solid rhythm section.
My personal favorite, and this is subjective, is “Maybe”, which, at just under three minutes duration, is a driving infectious three minute pop song. There are plenty of other great tracks though, including the single “Wrong Way Home” which has a bit of Grinspoon about it.
You can digitally download this album, or stream it from Soundcloud, but buy the CD for the quintessential Australian cover photos.
Great work William Street Strikers.
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When I caught up with William Street Strikers’ vocalist and guitarist Andrew Matters earlier this year, he called their latest album “a real hodgepodge.” As I listened to Nothing’s Going On, I realised just how apt that description was. This album goes on a wide variety of musical directions, yet somehow it all works.
By daring to be different, William Street Strikers ensures this album has plenty of highlights. Nothing sounds samey, as it does on so many records, so each song stands up and demands to be appreciated. I love the easy groove of the album’s title track and opening number “Nothing’s Going On.” The single “Wrong Way Home” is one of the album’s strongest cuts. The horns help to balance the menacing lyrics of “Stalker.” The closing track “No Surrender” is good honest Aussie pub rock, defiant and jubilant in its rebellion with big screaming electric guitars and pounding drums.
Before writing this review, I looked back over what I wrote about William Street Strikers’ last few releases. In 2012, I commented that Keep Left was also an eclectic album, but questioned whether the band might have experimented too much. A year later, with the release of the To the Motel EP, I accused the band of playing it safe. Now, with a few more years of experience under their belt, I feel like they’ve got the balance right. Nothing’s Going On is another very diverse offering from the Adelaide band, but it’s one that somehow remains accessible and cohesive. It takes the listener in different directions without alienating them. It’s a very smart release from this up-and-coming Aussie act.
Nothing’s Going On is released on July 31.
To the Motel
Like all bands these days ‘The William Streets Strikers’ must have had that dilemma of making a few dollars to put in the tank to get to gigs and getting their music out there to be heard, and with ‘record’ sales as low as they are putting your music out for free or a donation is one option there is to be heard.
I for one am glad they did as what we have here is raw and energetic and as earthy as rock should be. With four releases and a lot of shows under their belt they recorded their latest effort with a particular idea in mind. ‘To the Motel’ was a deliberately stripped back recording with no overdubs or auto tune. It was recorded essentially ‘live’ to capture all the spill and the essence of the band, but saying that it’s still a quality set.
Railing against the studio tricks utilized on a lot of recordings these days the band felt that whilst using plug-ins and gadgets is pretty much par for the course these days, it can take off the edge. As a result on ‘To the Motel’ you can hear an amp buzzing, an echo from the toms and the woof from the overtones off the bass. It works and what’s more it’s honest, real and as we said raw.
The five tracks on fourth release ‘To the Motel’ are all new and the lead track and title track is as good a place as any to start. This is high energy garage pop-rock with a distinct ‘indie’ flavour and a little dab of blues to keep you satisfied. It’s also fun, without being overly po-faced and the sort of song that will leave you wanting to explore further.
If anything ‘So Fukn Restless’ is even stronger, with an almost Americana-vibe washed across an indie-pop-rock sound not a million miles away from bands like Screaming Trees or Soul Asylum back in the early nineties. Key to the release though is the melody and WSS have a knack of finding one to perfectly compliment some great guitar lines.
Perhaps the most interesting song here is ‘Sure Baby’ which immediately brings one of those iconic names to mind – Bowie. Its strummed intro and vocal phrasing can’t help but remind you of the great man and with such a sweet vocal melody it creates a slightly low mood that divides the release beautifully. It’s a great song that demands you check it out.
Surprisingly the best is yet to come with ‘Suburban Song’ the pinnacle of the indie-pop sound set up with the first two tracks. What ‘Suburban Song’ adds are the best melodies and the most infectious hook here. Again to me it has a taste of the post-grunge bands that fell into our consciousness in the mid-nineties.
‘Blind Fred-e’ that closes the record has a real sixties vibe to it and a simplicity that just works. How you would classify WSS I’m not quite sure? Take an underground vibe, a mid-nineties alt-pop-rock sensibility, a dash of Bowies and a garage ethos with a pinch of sixties simplicity and a sniff of Americana without the mournfulness and you might end up as prepared as I am to say this is just a damn good local rock release that should open a few doors. And all you have to do is head to the site and download it, share the love and get out and see these guys play! I look forward to more!
The Strikers from William Street in Adelaide are back with their third release. This time round they have returned to the EP format and have focused their sound towards the vintage Australian garage rock sound with five lively and energetic rocking tunes.
The EP blasts open with the lively and rocking title track. There is a heap of energy as the band thrash out with a heap of oomph having a lot of fun in the process. So funkn restless is a gritty garage rock tune! The band pour a heap of energy into the track led by some heavy grungy guitars. Sure baby is the ballad of the EP. Sounding somewhere between David Bowie and the Beatles, the track slides along in a smooth fashion courtesy of some mellow vocals and a chilled out soundtrack. Suburban Song is catchy indie rock tune. There’s a great vintage garage feel here with the sound being slightly rough and raw round the edges. At the same time the tunes are infectiously catchy giving it a great upbeat poppy vibe! The EP closes with the racing high energy Blind Fred E ensuring the release finishes with as big a blast as it began.
The William Street Strikers have continued their charge in this their third release with 5 tracks showcasing their own brand of garage rock! The band manage to infuse raw gritty rock sounds with some infectiously catchy tunes to pull off 5 tracks that are full of energy and a heap of fun!
4.5 out of 5
To The Motel’ is the fourth recorded effort from Adelaide’s William Street Strikers. A follow-up to ‘Keep Left’, the band’s 2012 full-length studio album, ‘To The Motel’ is a 5-track EP that features the grade of ‘left-of-centre rock’ that the William Street Strikers have become known for. The quartet, formed in 2010, consists of the mononymous Andrew (vocals), Chris (guitar), Shannon (bass) and Todd (drums).
Overall, the EP has a strong Chicago blues-rock undercurrent. ‘To The Motel’ – the title track and opener – is funky, quick and energetic. Todd’s snare is pervaded with overtones and really kicks the EP into gear whilst Chris and Shannon play melodic, interweaving lines and Andrew spits lyrics over straight 8ths for the song’s duration.
‘To The Motel’ is a symmetrical EP, travelling from an explosion to a hum and back again over the course of five songs. Right at the centre of the record is ‘Sure Baby’. William Street Strikers wear their influences clearly on their sleeves and ‘Sure Baby’ has a doppelgänger named ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie. Both songs reside in the neighbourhood of C major and trudge along at the same tempo but what really struck me is the similarity between the vocal melodies. I urge the listener to play each song in succession and hear the musical love.
For me, personally, ‘Suburban Song’ is the stand-out on this EP. ‘Fukn Restless’ and closer, ‘Blind Fred.E’ passed me by without so much as a nudge to my musical palette (it may have been grammar-related) but ‘Suburban Song’ holds the weight of the whole record by itself. It’s got all of the hooks and pop sensibilities of a great pop song but balanced with a stunning 90s alt rock production ethic. Props to Brett Sody at Sodypop.
‘Suburban Song’ is Weezer and Pavement but more melodic. Chris’s guitar work is beautifully choppy, allowing Andrew to play with as many vocal rock licks as he fancies and the chords just flow down and around their home base of G major with such ease that the repeat button seems more clickable than usual. For fans of ‘Extra Ordinary’, the new anthem from Adelaide alt rockers Hi, I’m Reclusive Author Thomas Pynchon, ‘To The Motel’ is worth it for the fourth track alone.
With this in mind, William Street Strikers deserve accolades for having the determination and fortitude to even get to a fourth record. Let alone a fourth record that features creative, versatile and consistently strong song-writing. From somebody who never heard William Street Strikers until this release, this reviewer looks forward to hearing their next recording and wishes them well with four stars.
4 out of 5 stars.
“To The Motel” – William Street Strikers
After treating us to a full album last year, Adelaide’s William Street Strikers have gone back to the short EP format for their latest release To the Motel. It’s an interesting tactic which allows them to focus their sound and produce a more crowd-pleasing release than their previous effort.
I enjoyed their full-length album Keep Left, but wondered whether it was too eclectic to appeal to the masses. To the Motel doesn’t take as many risks, which is both a blessing and a curse. After appreciating the daring of the album, this feels radio-friendly but a little safe. However the conviction of the band shines through.
This EP is all energy, but that’s not to say that it’s a frenetic EP. William Street Strikers know when to ease off the intensity, but driving drum beats and chunky guitar chords dominate. The title track starts the EP with a bang, leading us easily into the bluesy rebellion of “So Fukn Restless”. “Sure Baby” sees William Street Strikers taking the foot off the throttle a little bit, but there’s no losing the emotional intensity. The band makes sure their EP ends on a high with the rocking “Blind Fred E”.
To the Motel is an EP that’s accessible, with an energy that’s infectious. It shows a band that’s discovering their sound. Hopefully next time we’ll see William Street Strikers exploring it more completely on another album.
After releasing a couple of EPs, William Street Strikers are showing us what they can do with a longer format with the release of their debut album Keep Left.
The disc’s title is an appropriate one, as this is a disc which refuses to play it safe. It’s a very eclectic collection of tunes, one which some people may accuse of being too eclectic. After all, as they’re so different there’s bound to be a few that won’t resonate with every listener. However by offering such a variety of music, William Street Strikers has also ensured there’s something for everybody.
Personally I find it hard to resist the bold brass of the ska influenced “Madboy.” The laidback summery pop of “Sinking in Quicksand” seems quite simple, but there’s something about it that kept me coming back for more. The cruisy beach vibe of “Let It Go” makes it another great summer anthem. While it didn’t make me smile wide like my other standout tracks, it’d be remiss of me to neglect mentioning the closing number, “Forget Your Bible.” This is such a well crafted song with incredible lyrics. If this is a sign of what these Adelaide lads are capable of we should hear a lot more from them in future.
see full review here > http://www.soundsofoz.com/2012/01/20/keep-left-william-street-strikers/
Adelaide’s William Street Strikers are back with their debut full length release. They have picked up where they left off on their No Not Nick EP producing solid rock with all sorts of interesting sounds coming in and out of the album. Across the album the band explore various elements of rock, pop and punk. On top of this there is a strong ska sound that flows through the various sounds and holds everything together strongly. The band put a lot of passion in their sound and range from delivering dark melancholic moments to rocking out with a heap of energy....
Tomatrax Rating : 4/5
see full review here > http://tomatrax.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/cd-review-william-street-strikers-keep-left/
No! Not Nick
Tomatrax Rating : 4/5
The title track is a solid rock tune with a hint of funk mixed in. The band are all very tight and exert a lot of energy and a big sound. The result is a very solid tune that will get your head banging in no time! Instant Pizza world is a solid post punkish tune. The track has a dark chilling vibe the whole way through with some curious guitar distortion holding the various elements together. The bass line is quite catchy and engaging which is matched my some energetic guitar riffs and solid drumming. Petey is a slower more melancholy tune reminiscent of Died Pretty or the Church. There’s a lot of activity in this track all of which fits together nicely creating a solid layer of atmosphere. The guitar is putting out that vintage Australian sound which is topped with strong echoing vocals. The EP closes with the chilling Laughing my way to hell. Mixing country and hard rock elements they put together a powerful ballad that closes the CD well!
This is a very solid EP with a lot on offer. Over the four tracks the band explores various musical sounds and styles and pull them all off with colourful flair!