Let’s give it another shot
Let’s try it another way
Let’s put the puzzle
Back together, our way
Twerps – ‘I Don’t Mind’ (2015)
I’ve come to not know what to expect with Twerps. I thought I knew after their first full length. It was ethereal dreamy guitar based music with the rough edges, the scuffle still there. It sounded polished, but the ideas and the thoughts and process behind those ideas were still on show.
Then, after last year’s Underlay EP gave me the impression that they were going to embrace that more lo-fi aesthetic, they came back with ‘Back To You‘, a track that to my ears re-engaged with that dream like state their self-titled debut had put me in. The flute like synth line was Underlay-esque, but whilst new, still reminded me of some of the more upbeat cuts from the debut, just using different instrumentation. The second cut from the bands new album Range Anxiety (due out Jan 23) was ‘Shoulders’. Again, this one also managed to induce a dream-like state, whilst also putting forward something new in a focus on Julia’s vocals.
Now they’ve let ‘I Don’t Mind’ into the world. ‘I Don’t Mind’ is a track that feels as though it could close out the band’s debut album. It sprawls and is messy in parts, but still with that polish. Dare I say it’s anthemic, especially in that big all engrossing chorus that hits. It feels the most familiar of the three tracks, all of which will appear on the bands second full length Range Anxiety due out on Jan 23. I’ve heard this Twerps before. This is the Twerps I fell in love with.
I think what I’ve realised is that the idea of ‘progression’ in music implies something very particular. It is something that suggests growth and this almost romantic notion of an evolution in sound. It implies leaving behind the old and constantly seeking out the new.
I think with this release though I’m beginning to question just how relevant a term like ‘progression’ is when talking about music output. As music writers we want to be able to tell a story I guess, and the notion of progression lends itself to that old writing trope of the traditional story-arc where it’s all about triumph over adversity and reaching a better place. In having this as the go-to though, the stories we can tell about the musicians we love are pretty lopsided, and dare I say in many cases, not all that honest.
What about those artists that don’t leave their older influences at the door after album one and evolve in that traditional sense? What about those artists that don’t embrace a more electronic side in their latter albums? What about a band like Twerps who instead of moving on from their earlier work, are open to working with the same sorts of ideas, sounds and influences?
The story of Twerps isn’t one simply about re-visiting and re-engaging with the old ideas. It’s about doing different things with similar ideas. It’s not about going back, in the same way as it’s not about going forward. Instead it’s about the now, and the real and direct experiences gained in the present moment.
If you’re lucky enough to check out Twerps as they support Belle and Sebastian around the country, or if you’re checking them out at Sugar Mountain or Golden Plains, then have a bloody blast. And if you didn’t realise they were playing these shows and are thinking of trying to head along, then details can be found here.
For those not lucky enough to check ’em out live, then make sure you grab a copy of Range Anxiety when it’s out – you can pre-order on iTunes now or over on the Chapter records store. ‘I Don’t Mind’ got best new music on some big site called ForkPitch or something like that too. Can’t blame ’em – it is a seriously wonderful jam.
I mean, really, as if I wouldn’t be all gushin’ over this. I mean, as if Dick Diver‘s 3rd album Melbourne, Florida won’t make at least the top three albums of 2015. I mean, as if, even with a slight change in sound, I wouldn’t just fucking love ‘Waste The Alphabet’, the new single from the Melbourne, Victoria based band.
‘Waste The Alphabet’ is intoxicating. It’s a fuller sound than their earlier work, and there’s a propulsion to it, and a directness to it. It’s only taken me a couple of listens, but I now reckon maybe it could get in the top of this year already.
I’ve written about 10 versions of this post, and I’m always finding myself hitting and holding the backspace key. I’ve been trying to articulate how I feel about the new Twerps release Underlay, an 8 track EP that came out a couple of days ago. It’s the bands first new material since the incredible ‘Work It Out’/’He’s In Stock’ double single from late 2012, and it also marks their first release on Merge Records, a US label home to bands like Arcade Fire and Wild Flag.
Locally, they’re still on Chapter Records, a label that any reader of this site will know is a BIG favourite of mine. They’ve acquired a new drummer, Alex Macfarlane from fellow Chapter band The Stevens, who also recorded this EP. It was mastered by Mikey Young.
I guess if I was to try and begin to assert any sort of opinion about Underlay, it would be that it sounds less big, but still equally as expansive. It sounds rougher, but still equally as lovely. Underlay is different, but still captures all that I love about the band.
As our mate Adam said last night as we checked out the band launch the new EP at the Red Rattler, there’s a cinematic quality to their work. It feels like a great soundtrack to a film montage. We didn’t get into the specifics of what film or even what style of film it would be, but the fact that this new material still manages to evoke imagery and the instrumentation and arrangements still manage to sound as though they’re accompanying something more than just the lyrics is testament to their approach to song writing. As Adam also said, there’s still a real pop sensibility about their work.
And whilst, still, I need to familiarise myself with this release even more, I think the very fact that it’s thrown me a bit means that the band aren’t resting on their laurels. I know I like this release, a lot. But just why, it’s significance, and what impact it will have is something I’m still working my way through.
We got our fave cut ‘Wait Till You Smile’ just below. And make sure you stream and purchase the full album over at the Chapter Music bandcamp.
There’s something about the melding of two, quite distinct ideas and combining them into one. It’s a tried and tested formula – rather depressing lyrics put against an achingly sweet acoustic pop song, or, alternatively, a new form of instrumentation put against a genre or sound that usually uses something different. It’s how musicians create tension, something that draws in the audience and creates that immediate intrigue important to good art.
You may know Andras Fox – he’s a Melbourne based producer that works within the disco sort of sound. He melds an analogue aesthetic into it though, making a style that has been a consistent over the past 40 or so years sound old and new at the same time. It’s that play on expectation and that tension that makes Andras’s production work stand out so much.
You would definitely know of Oscar Key Sung – he’s been a regular feature here on maamf. I think this is where the tension comes in again – we are so far used to Oscar’s polished, cleanly produced forays into the strange soul music he’s so bloody good at. Oscar’s voice, placed with the rawness of the production diverts your expectation though.
Instead, we’re left with something that is full of funk, a vocal that compliments rather than overpowers, and a collaborative project that feels as though it’s pushing forward in it’s own time.
‘Everytime I Go’ is taken from the debut full length Cafe Romantica due out October 17 through Chapter Music. Keen.
I love it when a song can elevate you from what you expect it to be, but only slightly, subtly.
This new track from Laura Jean‘s new self-titled album manages to do that. It is soft, and heart-wrenching, and story-telling to a tee.
There’s something about when the drums kick in though that adds this very slight stilted nature to it all. I think it might be the early snare hit in the groove coupled with Laura’s syncopated vocals, but it’s something that, if you’re properly listening to it, makes your ears prick a bit. It adds this extra layer to Laura’s ‘First Love Song’, something that in and of itself is different to her previous work – whilst you could argue that some of her earlier songs have been about love (2011’s ‘Missing You‘ being a case in point), ‘First Love Song’ is direct.
The story-telling nature, and incredibly personalised, emotional lyrics, detail a sense of doubt that perhaps we all have in these situations –
‘You’d just made a film in which you’d asked your best friend
to hit you in the face, again and again.
You were very concussed and felt drunk for days.
Were you open to me because your brain had somehow changed?’
The doubt, the heart-on-sleeve story-telling, the minimal, almost lullaby-esque instrumentation bring out an incredible honesty in Laura. And whilst it is a love song – it is ultimately about meeting someone new, there is this strange comfortableness in this notion of being heart-broken and then the sense of despair that seems to accompany the subsequent relationship.
Laura has worked with John Parish on this album over in the UK. The album also features the vocals of Jenny Hval right throughout, a rather prominent Norwegian singer-songwriter who actually had a bit of success here in Australia about 10 years ago. Those ‘ah, ah ah ah, ah’ bits in ‘First Love Song’ are Jenny’s.
‘Don’t Do that To Yourself’ is the 2nd single taken from Darren Sylvester‘s new album Off By Heart due out next week (October 4).
I always manage to find myself feeling romanced by Darren‘s music – it’s throwback vibe, coupled with Darren’s laid back vocal delivery forces me into this feeling of nostalgia and, well, romance.
The super famous Geoffrey O’Connor is back with a new jam, ‘Jacqueline’. It’s a little more upbeat than his earlier solo stuff. It still manages to keep that super romantic vibe to it though.
You can stream it below, and if you dig and you happen to be over in NYC, check his out at CMJ alongside a whole heap of other Aussies.
‘Jacqueline’ is taken off Geoffrey‘s 2nd solo album, due out before the end of 2013.
‘High Hogs’ is the second taste of the new Bushwalking album, due out September 6th. Some lovely angular guitar vibes, and is a little more sunny sounding (if that’s possible) than their earlier taste, the album title track ‘No Enter’.
This kind of blissed out wonderful pop music is too few and far between. A bit of an institution, at least within Melbourne, The Ancients are sort of masters of that summery blissed out vibe. New stuff is a lot more psych influenced (what isn’t at the moment!), but still manages to keep that funky feel good sound.
The new single is called ‘Molokai’ and the new album Night Bus is out October 18. It’d be stupid to sleep on this one.
I dunno what it is about Australian bands, but there’s some serious incestuousness going on.
Made up of Ela Stiles from Songs, Nisa Venerosa from Fabulous Diamonds and Karl Scullin from Kes Band, Bushwalking apparently started out as a bit of a solo gig for Ela with Nisa and Karl just in the background. But man, kinda glad she pulled Nisa and Karl into the mix proper. As a band they’re tight as and those duelling vocals of Nisa and Ela are pretty phenomenal. You may well know this already if you’ve heard their first album, First Time which was released last year.
The guys are back (already) with their second album set for release September 6th. Entitled No Enter, it sounds even more disjointed, but tighter still. There’s even more going on in the work of Bushwalking this time round, and although that may make it a little harder for the listener to find something to latch onto, once it does pull you in, it’s well worth the wait. Title track and first taste of the release, ‘No Enter’ is a pretty ace example of that.
Hopefully we’ll also see some live shows towards the end of year too!
Melbourne five-piece Beaches are releasing their second album, She Beats on May 3. The band’s self-titled debut, released in 2008 (feels like ages ago), was pretty lauded – some great surfy indie guitar music.
The first taste of the new album, ‘Distance’ goes for a big driving dreamy vibe with layers and layers of some of the best guitar sounds you’ve heard in a while. So keen for this album!
Ace Melbourne band The Stevens have signed to equally ace label Chapter Music. Chapter are rereleasing the bands 6 track Cassette/CD-R EP of last year as an excellent 7″ vinyl on April 5. But if you’re that keen to get your hands on it, then you can grab a digital copy right now via the Chapter Music bandcamp page.
You can stream my fave cuts from the EP below (make sure you purchase it if you haven’t already got a copy). Also good news is the fact that Mikey Young is currently working with the guys in the recording of the bands debut full length due out later on this year. The Stevens make some seriously catchy indie pop music. This will be an ace album.
Make sure you check the dudes out as they support UK’s The Wedding Present on Feb 27 at the NSC too. Details here.
Dick Diver are seriously fucking killer. The band have a new EP
coming out on Friday OUT NOW and is the first taste of their second album due for release early next year through Chapter Music.
The first track, ‘Alice’, is a seriously ace indie pop gem. These guys have such an easy going feel to their music. It’s straight up, decent lyrics, well thrown together pop music from four of Melbourne’s best.
You can stream and purchase the EP over on the bands bandcamp page.
Oh man, a new Twerps track has surfaced! It’s taken from a new 7″ the band are releasing soon. Called ‘He’s In Stock’, it’s something that pushes along, has that thrown-together-but-still-sounding-amazing sound to it that only Twerps can pull off.
The track is in fact one of the B-sides to the new 7″ with a track entitled ‘Work It Out’ being the lead track. There’s also another B-side, ‘Recall’. But man, ‘He’s In Stock’ is a freakin’ great track, and if it’s anything to go by, then I’m really really excited for the new stuff.
It’s gonna be up on iTunes on Sep 17 and will get a physical release on Oct 23. YES!