Yeeee-HAWW, have we got some real bangers that will put the bump in your saddle. Synth-punk cowboy Cong Josie rides forth with his new album with CONG! Traversing a hyperreal world of romance, sleaze, and throbbing synth arpeggios, this manic track mutates through the swamp of Aussie post-punk, feverishly mutating influences in a wild rollercoaster ride of personal confessions. Cong Josie relishes the embodiment of a satirical stance of contorted machismo. CONG! is an electric place of sleaze, smoke, simmering rock n’ roll kicks, and gyrating hips.
Rockabilly-style vocals and crooning balladry muscle into EBM club settings with this bizarre track. Cong’s cheeky humour balances out the intensity of the more salacious, noir nature of the lyrics, luring the listener into a den of iniquity. Cong Josie is the alter-ego of Nic Oogjes (NO ZU). His distinctive Aussie twang and the bricolage of historical influences defy a hyperreal parallel universe. We hear shades of Alan Vega, Chrome, The Birthday Party, Kid Congo Powers, The Fall, Pere Ubu, and The Gun Club in his style, and boy does he pay a feisty homage to the lot, with half the roster of ZE Records thrown in for good measure.
Watch the wild video for Cong The Singer, directed by Nick Mahady & Nicolaas Oogjes, on a gonzo trip along an Australian freeway. Ready to roll?
Next up is Margarita, directed by Hayden Sommerville, bursting with sweat and swaggering gusto. Lurking somewhere between industrial slammer and Lynchian balladry, Margarita mainlines directly to the heart in this tale of love at first sight and the twists and turns of their ensuing romance.
Persephone, directed by Lizzy Bailey, is a sentimental ballad dedicated to various guises of a goddess with strong ties to the artist. Oogjes named his daughter after the Greek goddess of spring and the underworld, trapped between the living and the mythical. The slow motion song, peppered with dreamy synths and a smokin’ sax solo, is fueled by nostalgic passion and a deep love for doo-wop. It is pure Wall of Sound blocking Charon’s raft. A sense of danger lurks just under the surface – perhaps it is Hades itself. Persephone serves lullaby for those most loved, the flowers in bloom, the birds, the butterflies and the eternal underworld abyss… all in one. Scorpions, snakes, lizards, snails – tiny agents of death and darkness, wilt the blooms of life with their presence.
Leather Whip, directed by Nick Mahady & Nic Oogjes, is a mission statement of the idiosyncratic, hedonistic existence of Cong Josie. The song pulses back and forth between two worlds; minor and major, 1980s and 2020s, equal parts electro pop-euphoria, menacing industrial post-punk, and the smooth croons of Chris Isaak. This song examines his family ties to harness racing and animal rights, set in the context of Australia’s cultural masculinity and the modern climate of willful ignorance we live in.
The rest of the album is as solid as the singles, with the sleazy saxophone-driven “Flamin’ Heart” channeling the ghost of Alan Vega circa his 1980 solo debut, setting the tone, and letting every hombre know who and what they are in for.
Cong Josie’s Cong! comes out digitally and in Australia on October 22nd but isn’t out internationally (physically) till December 3rd (on a limited edition Hot Pink Vinyl, and CD.)
Cong Josie acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the lands and waterways in what is now known as ‘Brunswick’, ‘Coburg’ and ‘Montmorency’ (where this release was recorded) and pays respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging. Always was always will be Aboriginal land.
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