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OCTOBER ’14 MIX.

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oh mate. I mean gee whiz. Little Miksydicklefizz here is struggling to get these things up in a time appropriate manner. I’m currently facing perhaps the busiest time of my PhD which is basically just full of travel and stuff. And the field work has been absolutely excellent – couldn’t ask for better young people to speak to, but mate, not being in the one city for more than two weeks is getting to me. But hey, what is this? the little excuse club full of lilttle teeny weeny excuses?

Nah mate, it’s not. It is actually a pretty rad Australian music site (72nd best in the country – it’s a self-appointed title we’re all pretty proud of around here). And this here be the October mixtape.

I’ve taken a couple of liberties with this one – it was originally stuck at around 30 tracks and I did consider doing two tapes, coz, you know, two’s better than one etc (i’m single). At the top, I really do need to mention that the excellent Max Quinn has started a little music projoect – his Onomatopenis. His work ain’t up on soundcloud, so just as a little extra, if you download the tape (YOU REALLY SHOULD AND PLAY IT AT ALL OF YOUR PARTIES), then wedged between SCOTDRAKULA‘s ‘Shazon’ and Anatole‘s HTMLflowers remix is ‘Tarmax’ off Max’s first proper release. Also, I’m well aware that both Rolls Bayce‘s ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ and Luke Howard‘s ‘Cibi’ have been kicking around for a while, but they hit my radar in October (add another penny to the excuse club jar).

Bloody great tape though, full of everything. CHIEFS is doing some ace things at the moment – heaps of collab work. This track with old mate Owen Rabbit is pretty fantastic – hearing Owen in a different light is pretty great.  Gab Strum’s (Japanese Wallpaper) side project Càbãnå is also killing it – big Phoenix vibes and so is DXHeaven. A while ago I wrote about this new sophisticated pop/r’n’b that’s coming out of Melbourne. Really need to add DXHeaven to that list.

So yeah, there you have it. Part diary of a mad man, part talking about the excellent tracks in this ol’ tape.

DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE TAPE (Right Click/Save As)

Miks

GANG OF YOUTHS.

goy sm

Uh oh. Miks usually beats me to Gang of Youths posts but finally it’s me with a handful of sentences to try and explain why I can’t stop caring about what these dudes do. Could get gushy, you should brace.

Well if you put a gun to my head and asked me what the best art looks like, I would:
1. Suspect that’s not really your question. Because, you know, the gun.
2. Quickly pick a serious answer in a spike of panic (probably as you start squeezing the trigger), and blurt out: “just a human, easily seen.”

I realise that would be an awkward thing to say and I would still get shot. But it could be true and more importantly I think Dave Le’aupepe is a vivid example of this very thing.

Not so much in his press persona, where he is unpredictable and cut-throat honest, but still oddly mysterious. I mean there’s a whole other piece in that. But I’m talking songs.

Benevolence Riots‘ shows new colours sonically – there’s a flip to a resigned vocal that cuts through a surprisingly snappy song structure. But the key element for me is stronger than ever – the unusually deep heart. By heart I guess I mean that it has these undertones to it. Like a messy collision of many things I grapple quietly with myself, but spread out loudly in a spectacular, tragic, desperate, beautiful way.

For example, I get washed around from intelligent altruism to resigned devotion, dark cynicism to desperate hope, blue collar clarity to the confusion of human greatness, equality, craftsmanship, earning, failure and most of all: the deep unspeakable grind and reward of costly human relationships.

Heavy, complex, yes. And maybe I am too much of a fan to write this – but if you put this with their other songs to date, I swear all that stuff is in there.

It’s mostly Dave we’re seeing, though like most great bands I sense that the other guys have more to do with us hearing this stuff than we’ll ever know. Certainly these are an oddball bunch in their own right, possibly bonded now both as fun loving bros and more like actual brothers who have spent 2 years on a kicking bull together. That part you can feel live. But I’m digressing.

For mine, I’d take these songs straight. Like, neat. Raw on one of those prison cafeteria trays. Thus I’m not craving any more shimmer or dressing than we get here. But it is rather lovely shimmer, so I don’t mind if we get a lush record. As long as they keep Dave’s ‘easily seen heart’, I’m in.

Have I explained myself well? Maybe not. I still don’t really understand why I love this band so much. But I’ll say this – if we do get the album that these songs point at (next year?) I’ll be buying a physical copy so I can keep it near to me when I sleep. Music, hey.

Adam

[PREMIERE] GRANDSTANDS.

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Melbourne band Grandstands are back with their new single ‘Getting Out’. It’s a song ostensibly about breaking up and the realisation that getting out, is in many cases, the best thing. It’s also perhaps moreso detailing this strange fixation we now have on the mundane.

It’s a phenomena that has influenced nearly everything. Things like ‘normcore'; this fascination, at least within some fields of academia at investigating the everyday; and of course the whole idea of suburban guitar pop music. We’ve now reached a point where the only way to look is back in on ourselves, too aghast at the ridiculousness modern life has become. Grandstands manage to capture this feeling incredibly well.

This evening we’re lucky enough to feature the clip for ‘Getting Out’. Shot at Melbourne Zoo, it gets that whole everydayness to a tee. There’s a strange calm to the close up shots of zoo animals doing what zoo animals do.

Alongside the clip is a really wonderful three track single with ‘Getting Out’ as the lead. You can have a listen to that one below too. The guys also have a debut album in the works, due for release in early 2015. Featuring ‘Getting Out’, it’s been mixed and produced by Josh Bach who worked on Milk Teddy‘s wonderful debut and has been mastered by our mate Casey Rice.

If you dig ‘Getting Out’ and you’re down in Melbourne then we’re also pretty chuffed to announce that the band are playing a launch at the Workers Club on November 21. Details for that one here.

Miks

TETRAHEDRA.

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In the September tape, we opened with a track from new Melbourne 6-piece Tetrahedra. ‘Dried Up’ was a build of beautiful soft vocal layerings complicated by this stark tension that arises during that chorus. It was a great example of a band approaching pop music from an outside perspective.

The band have just launched a ‘live’ vid for another track of theirs ‘Circle My Heart’. Less electronic in it’s approach, ‘Circle My Heart’ showcases the bands more traditional training (they all met at the VCA down in Melbourne) – there is a strict funk and at times fusion feel to this track. It also messes with your sense of time and truly illustrates just how much a sense of context can develop in music. The opening piano riff gives you one interpretation, which after a while you feel comfortable sitting with. But then when that drum groove kicks in, you’re given a whole new way of understanding the track. And then, of course, that sax. I mean, move over Snowy.

It’s may be easy for some to give Tetrahedra a quick listen, and hear all that strangeness in the time signatures and the hard to place groove and write it off as something not accessible. I’d suggest however, that what makes Tetrahedra is the accessibility of their music. Underpinning the work of Tetrahedra is an undeniable pop aesthetic, and it works as a point of entry to their music.

 

If you dig the track, then make sure you jump over to the band’s bandcamp page and grab yaself a copy. Also make sure you give the guys a follow over on bandcamp as well as a like on the ol’ faceys.

Miks

I’LLS.

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I’lls are back and quietly changing things up a fair bit. This is exciting music. If you’ve heard I’lls before, you’d know that their work resembled more song-like structure. Underpinning their work was a strong pop song aesthetic that was layered and haunting enough as to not be dreary and straight.

This new work, a two track release, still sounds like I’lls, but has moved away from that ‘song-like structure’. Embracing a more dark and ethereal vibe, it’s a release full of rampant propulsion. Both ‘Fifty Phiphti’ and ‘Asakusa’ still have that introspection that harnessed their earlier releases, but this time the foundation on which it is built has changed.

You can grab the new release as a digital download or on vinyl. More on that here.

If you’re in Melbourne, then PLEASE go and see the guys live at The Workers Club on November 6. More on that here.

Miks

SEPTEMBER ’14 MIX.

2014-10-05 16.03.26-1Oh goodness.

I’m writing this post in parts.

I’m currently at uni (on a Saturday) and I’m meant to be transcribing some interview data. But even though I’ve had some amazing and illuminating chats with young people about music-making and I love listening back to them, the actual practice of typing, command tabbing back and forth between Word and iTunes, constantly pressing rewind and pause gets tedious, and is currently making me feel nauseous. So, what better than listening to the potential tracks for the September tape (as I write there are 29 – should lose about half of those) and writing this here intro. But then again, the intro has ended up looking more like a tedious and nausea inducing account of my morning.

And so we come full circle.

It’s Sunday morning, and that Saturday morning diatribe is gone. I feel better,  – it’s quite nice outside. It’s meant to be a warm one although those northerly winds are forecast. I get hayfever pretty bad – yesterday’s account was partially effected by that. And the northerly winds bring up all that pollen and dust in the air, so I think it’s an inside day for me. I’m still going through the tracks for September – slowly dwindling them down as the waft of bacon and eggs sifts through from the kitchen. Although this bacon and eggs wasn’t mine, the smell of it puts me in a fucking good mood. And that sun’s still out too.

The tracks this month are essentially everything you want in a mixtape. Or, everything you want in a monthly mixtape. Or maybe just what I want in a monthly mixtape that I do each month that usually comes about 12 days later than it technically should.

So anyway, the tracks. Some lovely warm guitar pop from SMILE, Harley Young & The Haymakers and FLOWERTRUCK, some strange and wonderful sounds from Tetrahedra, kučka and AFXJIM and some of that euphoric pop music from Brightly and Owen Rabbit that I’m always going to be a sucker for. And of course all the other acts – thanks for making this September tape one of the best yet!

DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE TAPE (Right Click/Save As)

Miks

OPEN SWIMMER.

BEN WIDE BIG internet

Well this is real beautiful. Open Swimmer is the solo project of Ben TD with a little help from his friends. This track ‘Sugar Bowl’ is taken from the full length Canyon due out next Friday (17th October).

‘Sugar Bowl’ was produced by Nick Huggins from Two Bright Lakes, that great label that has many a great artist on it’s roster. And it sounds like a Two Bright Lakes release, especially some of the earlier Otouto, Kid Sam, Seagull kinda stuff. There’s a sincerity and joltiness and a thrown together/found sound feel to ‘Sugar Bowl’. The album itself features a whole heap of Two Bright Lakes fam, including Kishore Ryan (Kid Sam), Chris Bolton (Seagull), Martha Brown (Banoffee), Mark Gretton (Touch Typist) and a whole heap more.

I’d get around this release – reckon it’s gonna be pretty bloody special. You can stream the lead single below, and if you’re in Melbourne, make sure you check out Ben and his band (featuring Bec from the Harpoons, Chris from Seagull, Aaron from Frankolin, and Peter from Sweets and Hello Satellites) launch the thing at the Northcote Social Club on Friday 17th. Details here.

Miks

THE OCEAN PARTY.

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I reckon in a couple of weeks you’ll be hearing ‘Australia’s answer to Real Estate‘. And although some of those comparisons can be pretty lazy, I feel as though this one is accurate, in a way. The Ocean Party aren’t an answer to anything in particular, especially not another band from a bigger country who music writers in Australia always seem to believe we play second fiddle to.

The band’s new album however does feel like a progression in sound. It sounds fucking confident, but not in a cocky way. Confident in the same way that Real Estate sound confident. It’s dreamy, but still really quite messy in parts too. Their last album was a big old fave of mine. I reckon Soft Focus will be too. It’s such a step up from anything else I’ve heard from them.

The new single from the album, due out October 31 through Spunk is ‘Head Down’. It’s dreamy and warm sounding and Lachlan’s vocals are complimented beautifully by Snowy’s guitar line and that lush rhythm section. And it’s a bloody great example of a band with a more pronounced and slightly elevated sound. And the clip? I mean, what’s better that watching five handsome fellas play the track with some marvellous shirts? It’s Snowy, standing solo playing on a Melbourne rooftop ripping that sax. What more could you want?

If you don’t end up loving this album, then mate, think there’s something wrong.

[EDIT 9/10/14] Well, actually, this has been edited a little bit already coz the writing wasn’t too crash hot, but anyway. Spunk have since put the track up on soundcloud as a free download. Stream/download below.

Miks.

SLEEPY DREAMERS.

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There are certain narratives that seem to constantly infiltrate the ways in which we talk about music in this country. In terms of fame, there’s this rags to riches story (think Courtney Barnett etc), there’s the whole argument around scenes and particular sounds being more popular than others because of the institution that is triple j, and then there’s the fact that every single time we hear an Australian accent, we need to pick it out and at the very least make a comment about how proud/weird/cringey it makes us feel. Of course these ways of thinking about Australian music are problematic because they automatically shape our expectations. But, given they’re so consistent, there must be some truth to them in giving us an inroad to understand music in this country.

So, with all that said, I don’t think you can really stray away from at least briefly mentioning Ed Tripodi’s vocal style on the new Sleepy Dreamers track ‘Hunk’. There is that slight drawl, that almost lazy sounding vocal, with that ocker accent.

For me, it works. It makes the track take a step above. The track itself is masterfully structured, and some of that early slow and dawdling instrumentation reminds me a lot of Sleep Decade. But with that vocal touch, it cuts through in a way.

Perhaps though we need to change how we consider the Australian accent in music. To use some rather obvious examples, Julia Stone uses her voice and phrases lines in very particular ways. Brendan from Eddy Current has an almost nasty sounding tone in his passive aggressive vocal delivery.

No singer with an Australian accent sings in exactly the same way. Why then can’t we move away from this concern with the accent itself and instead focus on the tone, the phrasing, and the delivery? Why can’t we focus on the slight aggression in Ed’s voice at times, and the fact that at 3:27 Ed’s thin sounding voice still manages to be enough to perfectly complement the solo guitar strums? Sure, sounding Australian acts as an instant identifier, but I reckon we’re capable of changing the narrative on that one.

Hunk is taken from Sleepy Dreamers second EP Local Football. I’m looking forward to this one. Also, if you’re in Melbourne, then can I recommend you go and check out the band as they do a Monday night residency at The Evelyn throughout October? Details here.

Miks.

SNOWY NASDAQ + EMMA RUSSACK.

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I got a friend. He came to Australia a couple of years ago. We saw Emma Russack a couple of months ago, and one of the first things he said was ‘man, she is gorgeous. She is my kind of Australian woman.’

So, Emma, meet Phil*.

Nah mate. This ain’t no matchmaker post. Especially when Emma’s collabed with our mate Snowy Nasdaq on a track called ‘First STI’. The track is the September track for Snowy’s excellent one song a month thing he’s doing for Why Don’t You Believe Me.

Snowy’s production on this feels consciously different – and maybe it’s because his vocals don’t feature on the track. The vocals belong all to Emma, and although it gets a little nuts and frantic like a lot of Snowy’s production, it feels more sparse, maybe to give room for Emma’s wonderfully rich and evocative vocal tone.

If Snowy can get this kind of stuff up every month, then damn son, we got a prolific (and fucking great) one on our hands.

*Not his real name (so far off it’s not funny)

Miks

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