Tropical Fuck Storm
Tropical Fuck Storm
Tropical Fuck Storm, 2018. Left to right: Fiona Kitschin, Gareth Liddiard, Erica Dunn, Lauren Hammel.
|Labels||Joyful Noise Recordings, Flightless, Tropical Fuck Storm Records|
|Associated acts||The Drones, High Tension, MOD CON, Harmony, Palm Springs|
|Website||TFS official website|
Tropical Fuck Storm are an Australian band from Melbourne, Victoria, formed by Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin while on hiatus from the blues punk band The Drones. Lauren Hammel, from the band High Tension, plays drums, and Erica Dunn, from the bands MOD CON, Harmony and Palm Springs, plays guitars, keyboards, and other instruments. Their sound is characterized by elements of art punk, noise rock and experimental rock.
2016-2018: A Laughing Death in Meatspace
Looking to reboot creatively, The Drones took a break at the end of their tour supporting Feelin' Kinda Free in December 2016. The following year, Drones founder Gareth Liddiard and longtime bandmate Fiona Kitschin started writing material for a new project under the name for the record label they'd coined to self-release the last Drones album. They recruited Erica Dunn and Lauren Hammel during the summer of 2017, before embarking on an American tour. According to Dunn, "They just rang me up. Gareth and Fi were on loudspeaker like excited children. The pitch was 'Do you want to play guitar? We’re just going to do some weird shit.' And I was like 'Okay, sure.' Then Gareth said 'We might go to America in the next month, are you free? And we have to write some songs.' Sure I'll clear my schedule. Hammer [Lauren Hammel] was a bit different though, because [Gareth] didn't know her and he had to take her to the pub."
They released a series of 7-inch singles later that autumn while on tour with Band of Horses and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard in the US. Their debut album, A Laughing Death in Meatspace, dropped in March 2018 and the band signed with Joyful Noise Recordings shortly thereafter. "The album title links "meatspace" – as Silicon Valley engineers derogatorily refer to the physical realm – with a neurodegenerative disorder called kuru, once found in the Fore people of Papua New Guinea. Men would eat the muscles of the deceased, while women and children ate the brains, thereby inheriting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and pot-holing their own grey matter to such an extent that they lost control of their emotions and laughed themselves to death." Videos for the songs "You Let My Tyres Down", "Rubber Bullies" and "Soft Power" were released that spring.
The album received positive reviews one writing that "Starting a new project unencumbered by the Drones' name or weighty reputation seems to have given Liddiard the freedom to jettison the last remaining trappings of rock traditionalism in his songwriting and let loose, with impressive results." The Quietus ranked it #8 out of 100 entries on their list of "Albums of the Year So Far 2018", writing that it's "hot with anger and full of ugly truths about the ways we live our lives [...] the effect is compelling." Greil Marcus wrote that the album makes "as fierce a band as" The Drones "seem austere" in comparison, writing that "the explosions in "Two Afternoons," "A Laughing Death," and "Rubber Bullies" are glorious and frightening, so big they don't feel quite real, but there's a story trying to climb out of the noise, carried by Liddiard's weariness, his uncynical fatalism, but shaped by the counter-vocals of Kitschin and Dunn", ending by saying that "you can feel as if this is what history sounds like as it's being written." As of August 2020, it is also the second highest ranked punk blues album of the decade (behind The Drones' I See Seaweed) on the website Rate Your Music, based on over 5300 ratings.
In March 2019, the band released a new single, "The Planet of Straw Men". It is taken from their second studio album, Braindrops, which was released on 23 August 2019 by Joyful Noise for global distribution and by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's Flightless record label in Australia. It included the previous released single Paradise, and the song "The Happiest Guy Around", which was ultimately featured as one half of a split single with Liars (who contributed the track "Total 3 Part Saga"), the 18th instalment of the LAMC (Less Artists More Condos) series of 7-inch singles curated by Famous Class Records (where "an established musician on the A-side" is paired "with one of the musician’s favorite new artists on the B-side". The 7-inch was released on 28 September.)
Treble magazine, in a review published on 12 August 2019, named Braindrops their "Album of the Week" praising the track "Paradise" as "a sickly mirage of an oasis—you can practically see the disspiating heat haze over Liddiard's trickling guitar riffs. It slowly escalates its way toward a furious climax, turning into one of the most explosive break-up songs in recent memory". The review concludes: "Tropical Fuck Storm invite the chaos, orchestrating it, manipulating it, delivering a piece of mangled and bruised art that sounds magnificent at its most frayed and fragmented. It's a weirdness that feels strangely assuring, even necessary." NARC Magazine gave the album a perfect score, writing that it "pretty much cements the Australians as one of the most vital acts on the planet right now." Exclaim! called it "a psychedelic rock opera occasionally dipping its toes in the stream of electro-punk. The result is equal parts harrowing and electrifying, surreal and far too familiar." According to Paste, "[l]istening to Braindrops feels like watching a sped-up timeline of rising sea levels and melting glaciers set to long-lost field recordings of maximalist noise-rock from the Outback. You're listening to a world falling apart." Braindrops, writes The Line of Best Fit, "is as cerebral and gut-level as its name implies, high-minded and high volume, a grand mess that isn't really a mess at all."
In an interview with Konbini, Iggy Pop praised the title track of the album, simply calling it "a good fuck". Both Michael Feuerstack and Conan Neutron called it one of their favourite albums of the year, with the latter calling it "an utterly befuddling and "wrong" sounding record that is oh so "right". There isn't a clear monster single like “tyres” on this one, but the whole thing has a snakey, baked in the sun vibe that works its way into your subconscious."
On 15 March 2020 TFS released "Suburbiopia", a song about suicide cults. "The lyrical trajectory started as a total shamoz", Liddiard said of the song. "We all started it at breakfast one morning. But at about 11am I took a shower and the concept came to me. I thought 'What if all those nutty cults with their fucked up suicide escape plans weren’t wrong and everybody else accusing them of being insane was wrong? It’s timely not 'cause of the cult thing but because it’s probably a good time to leave the planet.'”
- Gareth Liddiard – lead and backing vocals, guitar
- Fiona Kitschin – backing and lead vocals, bass guitar
- Erica Dunn – backing and lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, synthesizer
- Lauren Hammel – drums, programming, MPC
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions|
|A Laughing Death in Meatspace||
|"Chameleon Paint" b/w "Mansion Family"||2017||A Laughing Death in Meatspace|
|"Soft Power" b/w "Lose the Baby"|
|"You Let My Tyres Down" b/w "Back to the Wall"||2018|
|"Rubber Bullies" b/w "Stayin' Alive"|
|"The Planet of Straw Men"||2019||Braindrops|
|"Can't Stop"||non-album single|
|"Who's My Eugene?"|
Awards and nominations
Music Victoria Awards
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2018||A Laughing Death in Meatspace||Best Rock/Punk Album||Nominated|
|Erica Dunn||Best Female Musician||Nominated|
|Gareth Liddiard||Best Male Musician||Nominated|
|2019||Braindrops||Best Rock/Punk Album||Won|
|themselves||Best Live Act||Nominated|
|Erica Dunn||Best Female Musician||Won|
|Gareth Liddiard||Best Male Musician||Nominated|
|2020||Erica Dunn||Best Musician||Pending|
National Live Music Awards
The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are a broad recognition of Australia's diverse live industry, celebrating the success of the Australian live scene. The awards commenced in 2016.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|National Live Music Awards of 2018||Themselves||Best New Act||Won|
|Live Hard Rock Act of the Year||Won|
|Gareth Liddiard (Tropical Fuck Storm)||Live Guitarist of the Year||Won|
|Erica Dunn (Tropical Fuck Storm)||Live Instrumentalist of the Year||Nominated|
|National Live Music Awards of 2019||Lauren Hammel (Tropical Fuck Storm)||Live Drummer of the Year||Won|
|Erica Dunn (Tropical Fuck Storm)||Live Guitarist of the Year||Won|
|National Live Music Awards of 2020||Themselves||Live Act of the Year||Nominated|
|Fiona Kitschin (Tropical Fuck Storm)||Live Bassist of the Year||Nominated|
- "Tropical Fuck Storm Have the Best Band Name (and An Even Better Album)". Noisey. 2 May 2018. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
- "Ep138: Gareth "Gaz" Liddiard (Tropical Fuck Storm, The Drones)". protonicreversal.com. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
- Valentish, Jenny (2 May 2018). "Gareth Liddiard on the wreckage of the web: 'If I could go back to 1999, I would'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
- "The Quietus | Reviews | Tropical Fuck Storm". The Quietus. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
- "The Quietus - Features - Quietus Charts - Albums Of The Year So Far 2018: In Association With Norman Records". Thequietus.com. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
- "Real Life Rock Top 10: Memories of Aretha". The Village Voice. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
- "Custom chart - Rate Your Music". Rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
- "A Laughing Death in Meatspace by Tropical Fuck Storm". Rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
- "Announcing: Tropical Fuck Storm 'Braindrops' Storm". joyfulnoiserecordings.com. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
- "Tropical Fuck Storm // Braindrops // Joyful Noise | Joyful Noise Recordings". www.joyfulnoiserecordings.com. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
- "Tropical Fuck Storm - "The Happiest Guy Around" | Post-Trash Premiere". POST-TRASH.
- "Liars - "Total 3 Part Saga" & Tropical Fuck Storm - "The Happiest Guy Around"". 12 September 2018.
- Terich, Jeff. "Album of the Week: Tropical Fuck Storm - Braindrops".
- "Tropical Fuck Storm Braindrops". exclaim.ca.
- "Tropical Fuck Storm: Braindrops". Paste.
- "Tropical F*ck Storm's Braindrops is a thrilling, high-minded mess". The Line of Best Fit.
- "holy fucking fuck thanks @iggypopofficial 🦘🛸🦘🛸 and @konbini #tropicalfuckstorm". Facebook.
- "Godfather of punk IGGY POP tells the world 'Braindrops' is a good fu*k". Amnplify.
- "Top Records of 2019". Conan Neutron's Protonic Reversal.
- "FMG Best of 2019". Forward Music Group. 3 January 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
I was scared to see this band play, precisely because they are supposed to be so good. It never ends up being true. Fortunately, I also never end up being right. And for the record (pun intended), TFS’s 2019 release Braindrops is as good as their first one, which is to say very great.
- "Tropical Fuck Storm premiere video for new song 'Suburbiopia'". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 15 March 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
- "Tropical Fuck Storm share 'This Perfect Day' cover featuring Amy Taylor | NME Australia". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- ""Chameleon Paint"/ "Mansion Family" - single". Apple Music. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""Soft Power"/ "Lose the Baby" - single". Apple Music. 17 November 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""You Let My Tyres Down"/ "Back to the Wall" - single". Apple Music. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""Rubber Bullies"/ "Stayin' Alive" - single". Apple Music. 13 April 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""The Planet of Straw Men" - single". Apple Music. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""Can't Stop" - single". Apple Music. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""Paradise" - single". Apple Music. 18 June 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""Who's My Eugene?" - single". Apple Music. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""Braindrops" - single". Apple Music. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""Suburbiopia" - single". Apple Music. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- ""Legal Ghost" - single". Apple Music. 12 August 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- "Previous Nominess". Music Victoria. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
- "Previous Winners". Music Victoria. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
- "Industry Awards Winners And Hall Of Fame Inductees Revealed + 2020 Music Victoria Awards Nominees Announced With Public Voting Now Open!". Music Victoria. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
- "NLMA announce 2018 nominees and Live legend". NLMA. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- "Winners of the 2018 NLMA". NLMA. December 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- "HERE ARE YOUR 2019 NATIONAL LIVE MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEES!". NLMA. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- "AND THE WINNERS OF THE 2019 NATIONAL LIVE MUSIC AWARDS ARE…". NLMA. 5 December 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- "Nominees announced for 2020 National Live Music Awards". NLMAs. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.