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JULY MIX.

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It’s round two. Back. Proper music writing. A nice collection of tunes this time around – chock to the brim and all that. Some thoughts and reflections on the tracks within the tape are below. Have a read and a listen would ya?

It feels as though songwriters are a hell of a lot better now at accessing a classic song structure and injecting it with enough personality and originality that it pops, so to speak. On this tape you can here it in the layers in L.U.V‘s track ‘You’ll Never Let Me Go’, the embrace of more traditional blues and soul instrumentation of ‘Down To Rest from Tom Stephens. And then of course you have the Waitsesque jaunt of Lost Animal‘s ‘Do The Jerk’ with its organ and sax combo. Dorsal Fins have always been on that classic pop tip – to the point where every single hit/strum/connection of brain to voice feels purposeful. My Brother’s Friends do the sing-a-long duet real well too, offering two perspectives on a track, simply via the differences in phrasing between the verses.

The cultural significance of movements like LISTEN and Sad Grrrls Club isn’t going unnoticed. Of course there’s forever to go, but the fact that female identifying and GNC artists are now visible is all sorts of good. What makes me (a white cis-dude) a little uncomfortable though is the fact that these artists easily compete (not that it’s at all a competition). It’s not the fact that these artists are themselves good, it’s the question of who the fuck are we to be only now realising that ‘hey music is cool and gee there are some bloody talented people out there’. What the hell were we (predominately white music guys) doing to only get this now. in 2016. Who the fuck are we to put structures in place (like casually sexually assaulting women/overly sexualising women/fetishising those artists that identify differently) that purposefully favour some artists over others? Artists like L.U.V. and Rachel Maria Cox and Julia Jacklin and Tracy Chen and Ninajirachi. All making these tightly wound tracks, some full of more intimacy than you can bear, some with these super tight guitar pop structures. All really really catchy and good (hence why they’re in this tape). We should all make considered and thoughtful choices about who we choose to support.

It’s something that’s been pushed a lot recently – we have a real super exciting electronic scene in this country. And yeah mate, we do. But the most exciting stuff to my ears (and hopefully yours) is happening away from the spotlight and away from the most hearted and reposted on soundcloud. We got a couple of those in here, from the warm and moving sonics of acts like LAIKS, Braille Face, and Ninajirachi; right through to the more pop sound of CDAD and Yon Yonson. I think special mention needs to be made of Tracy Chen‘s ‘Eggs’, which knocks me over into some tingly mess each and every time I press play on the thing. And it would be remiss of me not to make mention of Japanese Wallpaper, the exception to my most hearted and reposted rule.

And all the others in this here tape. This tape especially has felt quite a pleasure to post. If you just can’t wait to read more of me writing, then you may well want to sign up to the maamf mailout. Thanks to all those who have done so already. For those yet to, it’s a monthly mailout full with many of things I been reading and enjoying over the past month. You can sign up here. You can check out the past issues here.

Miks

 

JUNE MIX.

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Sometimes I find it difficult to really properly get at what I’m trying to do with this. As new music hits the inbox, the submit page and the submithub profile, it’s easy for this thing to move further away from its initial purpose. That purpose is to write about and support those new artists I come across and love and am excited by.

That’s not to say I haven’t been inspired somewhat. The past two mixtapes have had me digging deep inside in an attempt to find some purpose in what I’m meant to be doing with all the time not spent ‘doctorating’. It has sparked many an idea, or rather a collection of ideas all focussed around one central big project.  I will still write about ol’ mate Steve, but you can head over here for that.

Now that that’s all clear, perhaps we move towards a brief summation as to the contents of this here tape. I think from here on, I’ll write about a selection of those included in the tape. Around 4 or 5. To write about all (in this case) 19 tracks would make for a long read (and let’s be honest, you just come here for the list, not the writing). That’s not to say that all the tracks don’t deserve some level of reflection. Just know that there are plenty of other (and arguably better) spots to find that. maamf mailout is a good place to start. You can press play on the tape below.

I’ve always been a sucker for local references in popular music. Allan Smithy‘s ‘Four Letter Reason’ does that nicely. It’s becoming an all too common tale within Australian music (especially those in Sydney) to rightfully bemoan the state of living. Nicely, and quite masterfully can I add, using the loose structure of the love song as the base, Smithy details the movement and stagnation of both friends and himself.

It’s not until the final vocal line, just 20 seconds before the end, that we get a feeling Aeora has reared her head from the underground. ‘Afloat’ kicks along at a careful and constructed pace, not quite quick enough for the listener to forget the self-conscious and reflective lyrics, but with enough classic dark electronic pop to create a tension in the mind of the listener.

Occasionally I’ll feel flawed. It’s partly due to an inability to adequately articulate myself. The majority of it though is simply testament to the sheer quality of music I find myself listening to. I wrote to Lee Hannah, or Sessility a little while ago in response to their email about ‘Plaza’, a new track taken from an EP that’ll feature collabs with Yeo and Kira Puru. Below is that inability to express when I’m being pommeled with deep deep cuts.

“It’s really something else – those live sounding drums really get me. And those little key lines that sound improvised and off the cuff but fit so beautifully within the structure. Really, Plaza is super super cool.”

Finally, I wanted to briefly run through some thoughts on Good Boy‘s ‘Poverty Line’. It’s easy to cast this off as a vain Eddy Current Suppression Ring-lite project. Originally I had been sceptical. And either Mikey Young himself from Eddy Current is in dire need of work, or he’s cool with it because the man mixed and mastered the thing and from that point I immediately rethought my initial hesitancy. Again, a comment on traversing the difficulties modern being shoves in your face, Good Boy were probably in kinder when Brendan and co were thrusting around Melbourne’s scene. But still, this nails down an attitude and way of being that is forced upon many of those younger than you (maybe) and me (definitely). The more cut throat this place becomes, the more of these mini revolts happen.

So that’d be it. I know I know, every coupla months, I change things up. I have historically stuck to things that are easier, and what I find easy changes. What I find challenging doesn’t though.

See ya for the July tape in a month or so.

Miks

APRIL+MAY MIX.

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The following is a continuation of the piece written for the March Tape. You can read that here

Later on that evening, I remember reading through that stream of texts you had sent me a week earlier, after you’d arrived back home from your parents. You would tell me everything you wanted, just like that.

‘I’m with you. Now and forever’ you’d typed. ‘But why the fuck are you not here with me now?’ As I stumbled back from the loo, I sat down to order another round. My hands grazed the top of my empty pint glass, as I took my phone back from Jed. As it went from his hands to mine, it lit up.

‘I needed to see you…’ you wrote.

Jed let go – ’She’s come back mate’.

I read through the earlier messages, the one’s Jed saw before I did. You’d arrived back unannounced.

’22 thanks’. I lifted my arse off the stool to reach for my wallet. As I look despondently at the bartender, handing him a twenty and a couple of gold coins, I muttered out the right side of my mouth ‘last round, yeah?’

Jed wrapped his big left arm around my back as I wriggled away.

‘Are you going to come back home?’
‘I neeeeeed you’

I turned back around to Jed to ask when he was flying back to Tassie. We spoke over that last round, mostly about him, my gigs, and the dinner and the fight he had the night before at his folks. We spoke about everything but you. Jed had hinted at moving the conversation that way, but each time he would, I’d quickly ask him why I had to witness that fight he had at his parents place. I would suggest that his brother was right and that his mum and dad should stop dropping everything for him, just so he can come back up to Melbourne every month.

I felt good. As if I was ready to take on any task thrown my way. We left The Bend out in to the cold of the July air. Fuck it was cold, we would laugh. I pulled my beanie out of my other back pocket and pulled it down over my ears. Jed hugged me, wrapping his massive frame around what felt like nothing. ‘Tomorrow night – one more beer before I head back’. I just walked, drained.

‘Have you left me?’

I turned around, Jed had left. As I looked up again from my phone, I was knocked – lightly hip-and-shouldered by an older woman running, scampering back towards the tram stop. I looked back down again.

‘Have you left me?’

I look up again as I hear an older man on the other side of the street yelling, just fucking yelling. I couldn’t make out exactly what he was saying, apart from being peppered with ‘fucking cunt’ and ‘you’ll pay’.

I went to walk back into the Bend, but as I walked in, I was hip-and-shouldered once more.

Miks

MARCH ’16 MIX.

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As we sit up after a moment of rare lost ecstasy, backs straight against the couch, we take notice of what is around us. The smells, the sounds, the weird itches on the outside of your right thigh that you only notice at times like this. You are conscious of your posture, I am too. We profess our hesitancies and proclaim our merit, our value. You make mention of how I’ve changed you. We explore where this is heading.

I admire your earnestness, your heart and everything inside seeping out your sleeve, out there for the world to see. You suggest that I could learn a thing or two from you. “I have” I replied.

With some quick fleeting resolve, I blurt out that “we need to look after each other. Better.” This was the exact thing you had yelled at me weeks earlier as you slammed the front door and left for your parents place. The very fact that I just parroted it back at you wasn’t lost on me.

Still on the couch, you pull your pants back up. I stand up to get my shirt that you threw all the way over to the other side of the room. You didn’t do anything in halves. I had always enjoyed that about you. Slowly buttoning my shirt back up, I meander back to the couch. I sit down and turn to you. You kiss me, the first in what was forever.

We both stand up, and slowly put the rest of our clothes back on in silence. We’ll speak, at various points through the rest of the day. We’ll speak about everything else, all the time waiting again for that moment of fleeting resolve.

Miks

JANUARY+FEBRUARY ’16 MIX.

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As I sit writing this post, I remind myself that this has been a long time coming.

As slight changes emerge within my day to day life both with this site, new silly ventures, and PhD and work life, I remind myself that all of this has been a long time coming. As I finish off with Hayden Calnin’s masterpiece of a track ‘Cut Love’, I steady myself. Feet firmly on the floor and the words flowing steadily from my hands, appearing on the screen in front of me.

All of this. Everything leading up to this very point in time.

As I sit with old favourites like Arthur Wimble, LANKS, and Ciggie Witch, I mark out my territory. And as I sit and be floored again by Marcus Whale, Luke Howard, and LUCIANBLOMKAMP, I wipe away those old tears. And then with those new infatuations – Alice Ivy, Isabel, and the almighty Dogood, I slowly fall back into a feeling of warmth and knowing and remind myself.

This has been a long time coming.

For some time now I’ve made it a habit to talk around the music. This was how you write. The story on Catalyst the other night about music being used to elicit memories for people living with dementia as they sit, still in those old people’s homes I became convinced that fuck it. What’s the point. If music can do that then it’s indescribable. You’re always going to do it a disservice.

But then I read those others who also do music writing. Those others who write about the music itself. None of it’s perfect, but that’s the fuckin’ beauty of it. This game is about getting close, slowly scraping away at the surface and finding some through line, no matter how long/short/narrow/wide and having that one person sit back and think, ‘fuck, that’s it. that’s what I hear.’

As I start afresh, I see that I’m here. This is where I was heading.

Miks

NOVEMBER+DECEMBER ’15 MIX.

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Sometimes I don’t know what to write at all for these little things. They’re becoming rarer and rarer (it’s the (currently) bi-monthly australian music mixtape site!), and it’s becoming more and more difficult to consider how these tapes somehow relate to my own life in direct, although subtle ways.

For sure it does, what with myself compiling them. And they’re solid tapes too, so, for sure, that’s a nice little accolade for my own musical curating ways. But those direct tangible summaries of feelings and thoughts and states of being that these tapes have helped to provide is becoming less and less clear.

I’m pre-empting a feeling that will hit in a few weeks where after quite a bit of change, I’ll find myself something new.

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Best of the year tape will be up in the next couple of weeks too (although last time I promised something I missed it by a month). So yes. Stay tuned for that.

Miks

SEPTEMBER+OCTOBER ’15 MIX.

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Sometimes you’ll tell the most unexpected people the most unexpected things. 

I am the perennial slug. Slow off the mark. No protective shell. But resilient. Leaves a trail. I know my story and can trace those stories to where I’m at now.

I like to be all romantic and believe that this site acts as part of the mucusy trail. But hey, with my lack of discipline with this of late, it’s more like the occasional stop over for supplies. I use to romance the idea that music is my constant. It’s the thing that keeps me going, man. But nah, fuck it, it’s my pit stop.  These tracks are my pit stop. A long pit stop full of three or four days worth of sifting through the shit oily crap to find that one (or in the case of this tape, 29), good fuckin’ chiko roll.

Expect another tape, the November one in a couple of weeks. This slug’s been going full hog the last couple of months. Going to stock up on those chiko rolls in a coupla weeks again.

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Miks

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