I’ve been talking 7″ on Alberts Basement 2011
If I don’t sleep tonight 7″on Wormwood Grasshopper 2011
I’ve been talking 7″ on Little Big Chief Records 2011
I hit a wall 7″ on Quemada Records 2012
I made blood better LP on Negative Guest List
I’m not coming here 7″ on Unwucht
My Two Kids 7″ on Soft Abuse
Mad Nanna press,
Wire Magazine (UK) Review by Byron Coley in July 2011 Issue:
Mad Nanna “I’m Not Coming Here\My Two Kids” 7″ on Unwucht.
This is on the same label that righteously committed the almost-lost 3-Toed Sloth recordings to vinyl, amongst numerous other services to antipodean archival. This time Unwucht has spawned yet another new platter from Mad Nanna. Seriously, every time I check the forecast there seems to be a new MN record floating in the ether, waiting to be absorbed. With this level of productivity, one could assume that the quality of their output would suffer. Thankfully, this is infinitely far from the truth. Mad Nanna are an inherently difficult group to ‘get’ (whatever that means) and therefore interest me more than just about anything else involving guitar and/or drums on this continent or elsewhere at the moment.
The a-side, ‘I’m Not Coming Here’, was recorded at out-of-the-way gallery space KOF early in ‘11. It’s a disjointed, beautiful mess that wavers in and out of time and instrumentation. Occasionally it devolves into totally shredded edges, but is sustained throughout by Mickey’s relaxed strummin’. With Mad Nan, a live-recording is as good as anything else you’re likely to hear and no two recordings of a given track will likely sound the same. A testament to musicianship!
B-side, ‘My Two Kids’, is easily among my favourite MN jams. As my housemate put it, it’s like “Jumpin’ Jack Flash in pyjamas”. Narcoleptic, slurred, but with an undeniably rockin’ vitality. One foot in bed, the other in the Centrelink line. This version was recorded in Lyttelton on their NZ trip last year. This information is relevant, as several of the groups I would hazard Mad Nanna derive their sound from hail from this bountiful continent: Scorched Earth Policy, Plagal Grind, Axemen. None of these references are singularly apt, more so in terms of a mutually displaced frayed quality skirting the edges of ineffable pop sensibilities. Another great single from one of the most consistent and prolific bands in modern animation. -Cooper Bowman\Crawlspace
Mad Nanna “I Hit a Wall” b/w Untitled (Quemada)
Always a pleasure to see more ‘Nanna in the pile, they being one of like five bands that’re actually worth a toss at the moment. After picking through the wreckage (sans stick) of last calender cycle’s trash heap their previous pair of singles came out pretty damn close to the top, so yeah, I was eager to “slip it in” this one. And as others have pointed out, it’s another completely different, yet no less arresting, addition to the fine catalog of Rock dismemberment they’ve amassed thus far. “I Hit a Wall” might actually be the most together sounding tune we’ve heard from them to date, with legitimate structure, decipherable lyrics, and a chorus to boot. The music of Mad Nanna is maybe most akin to the act of eating an orange; it can be a pain to peel away the skin, but once the delicious juice found inside is dribblin’ down your chin (gross) you know you made the right choice. Sure, some might say “why not just cut out the middle man and buy orange juice instead?” but it’s clear they’re missing the point entirely. The untitled B-side’s a brief and thin strummer, working through a dingy riff while employing a bit of studio trickery to nice effect. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “a dryer Un” or “Jerry Solomon going right on ’Past the 21st Century’?” without cringing in terror, you really owe it to yourself to catch a grip of Nanna. And brush your teeth while your at it, you probably need to.
- put the music in it’s coffin
Mad Nanna I Made Blood Better (Negative Guest List)
One of the first lines uttered on this record is, “Am I hallucinating?” It’s only a minute since you placed the needle in the groove, but it’s already a timely question. I Made Blood Better sounds like a very laaazy submission to some blazed subconscious: it’s basically the aural equivalent of an onset of severe muscle atrophy. Imagine laying in bed for a month. When you first attempt to stand, you immediately fall. But you don’t bother getting back up because … well, it’s quite okay down there, and you had no where to go anyway.
Mad Nanna’s songs aren’t stream-of-consciousness. That’s suggestive of too much baggage, because the only resemblance to sentience here is the fact the music actually moves, albeit with its own syrupy, narcoleptic tread. This record is broken in most conceivable ways. Every note or vocalisation leaves trails of stickiness, like some sickly amphetamine cheese.
Mad Nanna is a Melbourne five-piece, fitting somewhere in the centre of a triad consisting Jandek, the Dead C and the Shadow Ring. If none of those approximate parallels mean anything to you, then just imagine an indie guitar band with a sloppy affectation, slow that down twice-fold, chew the cassette tape, re-spool, and then press play. Most will find this record punishingly listless: Ian Wadley’s drums miss most appointments with “the beat”, while Michael Zulicki’s vocals crudely elucidate only semblances of a theme. Mad Nanna always fall just-so short of making clear what their songs are about, and so the plaintive commonness of the snatches you understand take on some inflated meaning. ‘If I Don’t Sleep Tonight’ is a gorgeous song, if you’ve the patience, but why is he “bleeding on the floor”, and why does he “not mind”? Probably because that’s just what he felt like singing. But amidst the wreckage of sound that accompanies it, you can’t help but fill in the gaps.
Above all else, Mad Nanna sounds resigned. They also sound forlorn, hopeless, broken and inadequate. But it’s not depressing music, and nor does it languish in ennui. It’s liberatingly free: melodies flail and peter out, good ideas occur and disappear because, you know, who cares to rise to them. The whole B-side of this LP is a live performance, and by the sound of things no one in the audience is listening. It’s actually hilarious: you can almost follow entire threads of conversation. But the band play anyway, because what else would they do? They’re a band. This is what a band does. It plays. No matter what. That is the situation.
by Shaun Prescott\mess and noise
“I’ve Been Talking”
Albert’s Basement/Little Big Chief
I’m still at a loss as to how to describe what Mad Nanna do. I’ve chalked it up to living-room four-track improv with a mind for melody and a chain linking them way back to the beginnings of the Xpressway underground happening in the southern hemisphere. Mad Nanna play the antithesis to the Aussie punk gnawing at their heels, and instead mellow through an amateurish lens, though we know they know every bent note and misplaced beat is in its proper place. More please. – Agit Reader
Third month in a row with a new Mad Nanna record to talk about… for a group with seemingly zero interest in playing music, they sure play a lot of music. Seriously, they seem even more suicidal and lonely on I Made Blood Better than before… makes Jandek seem like the charismatic life of the party when Mad Nanna crawl into the opener “Deck Song”. Don’t get me wrong though, Mad Nanna are best when they’re decrepit, tired and irritable, as they certainly are here on this surprisingly lengthy album. And while Jandek only needed his own approval to release his music, somehow Mad Nanna features five band members. It just amazes (and pleases) me that five people would agree to turn out an album this morose and unlistenable, that the entire jury would be in agreement here. I actually had the second side of the album playing while involved in an argument and it made what could’ve been a simple conversation far worse. Few can pull it off like Mad Nanna can, which is why I keep coming back. – Yellow Green Red
Taken from Agit Reader: It takes a special breed to enjoy the work of Jandek. If you can make it through an entire record by the elusive loner, you’re a better man than me. But I suppose difficult music puts hair on your chest and makes the skin thicker—just don’t play it in polite company unless you trying to scatter the dinner party hanger-ons. That challenging barrier between artist and audience seems to pervade the first full-length from Victoria, Australia’s Mad Nanna, I Make Blood Better. In reviewing their debut single, I claimed that the quartet’s “lazy, haze-induced drawl” could only evolve. That’s not quite the case here, as with this record they increase the difficulty of catching hold of how, what and why they make music this anemic, this profoundly untrained. I Make Blood Better first appeared as a tape, but here has been re-recorded, still retaining the lower-than-lo-fi approach of that cassette. As with Jandek and other denizens who sit at farthest end of the abstraction spectrum (think Shaggs or Shadow Ring), you have to blindly dive into their work. These “songs” are brutally personal or part of some clandestine cult of basement dwellers, smoking deep into the night, never paying much attention to the stop and start buttons on the four-track. I would hate to say that it’s all that spiritual, though in their meddling they appear guided by an ethereal force, albeit one half-asleep and half-awake. At times, feedback and distortion float in like a celestial voice. It’s also not the result of accident or idiot glee, though vaporous melodies do form in the rusted, duct-taped swing of “You Can’t Expect It.” Still, you can sense those moments weren’t rehearsed or planned. “My Two Kids” is shambolic Kiwi-pop, only broadcast through headphones in shag carpeting. Why a tune this immediate is sullied by production and an audible lack of enthusiasm again questions the intent of those who dabble in such impenetrable music.
I suppose there’s a method, or a general disregard to methods, that employs this madness. Did these guys intend for us to hear the unabridged, one-note, detuned marathon that is “Deck Song” or the indecipherable, and as a result infinitely creepy, conversation cut directly into the second side? Are we to believe, from the jamboree finale of “Just Before the Sun Hits Down,” that they’d much prefer to give us an album of banjo mutilation and hemisphere blues? Somehow, despite these questions, this alchemy works and works effectively enough to want more, to flip sides, to soak into their ether. The addition of some live recordings, especially the unexpected crowd noise that surfaces in “I Hit A Wall,” erases any loneliness you might afford to a record this intangibly warped. Then again, there’s nothing off-putting or caustic in the sonics that could scare one away. I Make Blood Better is terrestrial in its creature comforts, alien in its composition and somnambulistic in its execution. It’s also entirely a record that depends firmly on the eye of its beholder. To some Mad Nanna’s clumsy psych can morph into dustbin raga, primitive jangle, and even a Pavement song or two (were Pavement really the Sun City Girls). To most, it’s going to sound like a mess, a confused band fumbling in the dark. Mad Nanna speak in tongues, just take the time to learn the language and you will be rewarded.
Kevin J. Elliott
Listing from Volcanic Tongue: Massively anticipated debut LP from this amazing no-technique downer rock/pop group from Melbourne, Australia who slouch around the basement with alla the primitive elan of The Scrotum Poles/The Shaggs et al: I Made Blood Better is a fully reworked and expanded edition of their original cassette on Goaty Tapes (specifically: five re-worked tracks and three new ones), a staggering navigation of brokedown de-tuned guitar, expiring rhythms and hypnotic downer vocals that should appeal to anyone who ever wept over the first couple of Shadow Ring albums and who thinks the second Godz album was ‘too musical’. Mad Nanna have such a profoundly personal take on the sound of collapsing universes that they rival early Kousokuya and the first Royal Trux album in terms of falling apart to stay together. The battered ‘folk’ edge has a lot in common with the wayward appeal of the early Jandek sides, with the same kind of slowly expiring/barely articulated ‘blues’ guitar runs that define his most ‘out’ sides but with a vocalist that almost out-does The Dead C’s Michael Morley in terms of narcoleptic/beyond the long blank appeal. Stunning songwriting at a wildly distended peak from a group that have virtually re-written the aesthetics of idiot-avant. Profoundly strung out, idiotically moving, highly recommended!
Mad Nanna If I Don’t Sleep Tonight 7″ (Wormwood Grasshopper)
More Mad Nanna, this time brought to us by the fine folks at Wormwood Grasshopper Records. “If I Don’t Sleep Tonight” might be my favorite Mad Nanna track thus far – the main guy repeats the title and is all thumbs on the guitar while some other band member recreates the sounds my stomach makes when I’m having trouble sleeping at night. Although it’s constantly on the verge of devolving into a Menstruation Sisters-style compost heap, Mad Nanna always hold the song together by one thin hair, capped off by a celebratory whooping of the crowd (looks like this was a live cut). The ostensibly untitled b-side is less to my liking – sounds like the group pared down to an acoustic guitar duo, strumming their basic chords like they just missed the bus and had an unexpected three hours to kill. Had I heard this track first, I may very well have never ventured further into the world of Mad Nanna, so thank God that’s not the case. On the strength of the a-side, and with acknowledgement of the b-side’s subtle charm, this one’s worth keeping too. -Yellow Green Red
“And you’s know who else’s of the same mind? Mad Nanna. They’s function in the Albert’s Basement universe down to Victoria, Australia ‘n the spuzz they’s released on this 7″ is a dandy. Even in a country w/a scene that’s blowin up like the Oz one is, still ain’t no one what sounds like’em. Imagine if that band, Even As We Speak was struck by lightnin & on account, forgot all’s they ever knew. Upon relearnin to play, they’s used a cassette recordin of File Under Pop’s 7″ for inspiration which went beyond therapy ‘n became THE GOAL. It also kinda sounds like a Falling Spikes bootleg what had been caked w/mud & laquered onto vinyl. Definitely Lo-Fi, doubtfully hip. No matter, it’s still a glass what’s half full of life’s lemonade that’s sweeter’n a Soave spritzer. Glug, glug, glug.” -Siltblog
Mad Nanna – I Hit The Wall 7″ – Quemada
With releases coming at a steady clip from these guys, the quality is unflagging, and in fact, I Hit The Wall is something of surprise — breaking from the unsettling bleakness of If I Don’t Sleep Tonight the two cuts here are, well, quite catchy and quite straight. It was always true of Mad Nanna that the songs themselves were excellent — they just happened to be played in such a manner that they barely held together. Here the band are really just being a pop band and it’s great. Not slick or anything, just playing the songs well and clearly. And the songs are good — one is good and the other is great. Highly recommended! $7 -Eggy Records
Mad Nanna “I’ve been talking” 7″- This Melbourne group – whose fluid line-up seems to revolve around one Michael Zukicki – sounds like Jandek singing in a room to himself while Vincent over the Sink fiddles around in the corner. ‘I’ve Been Talking’ was recorded live at the Empress but it sounds like the band was sleeping on the job. ‘I Made Blood Better’ picks up the pace a little, bravely maintaining an average of one-chord per minute. There’s a kinda voyeuristic aura to Mad Nanna – it sounds like the audio diaries of a psych-ward incumbent – but it’s this sense of intimate access to the unstable that makes this debut such a compulsive listen, and given the variety between these two tracks it’ll be fun to see how much more Zukicki’s crew has to offer. Here’s hoping they learn nothing between now and the next record. – Mess and Noise
Mad Nanna – If I Don’t Sleep Tonight 7″ – Wormwood Grasshopper
Very excited to get a handful of this 100 press Australian 7″ from my fav Weirdos of Oz. “If I Don’t Sleep Tonight” finds the ‘Nanna band in a moment of surprising tenderness — late-night sentiments of love and psychosis transmitted via their usual out-of-tune clatter. The unlabeled b-side is mellower still, a very pretty folk-pop number with muted strumming and a guitar line out for a midnight wander, with occasional, distant vocals. An excellent pair of tunes, very skewed and lovely. -Eggy Records
I Hit a Wall [7-inch; Quemada]
By Jspicer on Aug 27 2012
I Hit a Wall is a long drag off an unfiltered cigarette. The billowing smoke chokes the lungs, locks them into breathlessness. The momentary glimpse of the human body shutting down as the brain hovers to process death: that’s the bourgeoisie cool of Mad Nanna. The A-side goes through a pack as it leans against the garage wall, too cool to move due to the perfect slacker pose. It’s a lazy jam, exhaling the tar and deciding to live another dreary day in 50s hotrod heaven. The flipside jumps into the moonshiner and drives until it runs out of gas. Pretense disappears into necessity, the burning desire of Mad Nanna leaving its flat surroundings and getting lost in the middle of the desert until the band physically hits the walls, bodies flying through the stale air into infinity. Mad Nanna’s where it’s at, an era removed from being a Russ Meyer house band. We will never be as cool as we are when we’re listening to this.
Mad Nanna – I’ve Been Talking 7″ – Little Big Chief
Two Garbage and the Flowers-style stoned strummers from the excellent Mad Nanna, different versions of tracks that are on the Goaty Tape (“I’ve Been Talking” and “I Made Blood Better”). This is actually an American reissue of the 7″, which originally came out on Albert’s Basement and sold out quite briskly. So big ups for Little Big Chief for stepping up and making it available again — the AB edition was actually my introduction to the band, and in the distant future when all of our cassettes are warbley and broken (I didn’t say that) I will be very happy to have this little gem of wax to spin on the turntable. Seriously guys, weird, excellent music on vinyl is the best. It takes balls to release it and you will be comforted to own it. -Eggy Records