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.
These guys will surely be a very big deal very soon. I’d say as big as they want.
I will be glad about this, will attend their shows, will enjoy their shows.
I don’t know any facts you don’t, but their sound is bedding in and it’s pretty wild. Case in point, this ‘Horus‘ thingo.
His is the kind of sound that would be right at home in the Ghostly stable – a kind of rainy day pulse that turns introspective and otherworldy when you press into it. It’s a delicate area to work in – keeping a sublime flow but also embedding enough character and identity to avoid a life as (admittedly well-curated) elevator music.
The reason I think he succeeds so well is a kind of emotive frankness. Like “here’s a feeling that happened, and I caught it with synths. Feel it, or don’t.” It’s not hyped or amplified or demanding – just kind of….pure.
The single from this Dwell EP is ‘Pines‘ and it’s lovely, but my personal fav is the simplest moment: ‘Cave‘. I think it’s the sound equivalent of a hug with a loved one when both of your minds are actually elsewhere. A kind of semi-faded sanctuary.
Clearly that’s an odd feeling to try and describe – but, lucky for you and me, there’s no real need. You have personal access to the actual song. In fact, I’ll just…
*trails off, backs away, puts earbuds back in, leaves with wistful gaze*
How did he do it? How how how.
We like unpredictable, mashy electronic tracks because ART. It’s nice to hear new things. Genuinely new ways of vibrating air, as constructed by devoted humans. But, hip as you all are, let’s be real: these songs can oft be easy to admire, and oft pretty hard to live with.
So, we also like the warm hug of pop music because FRIEND. These songs don’t know a lot about the underground, they don’t chain-smoke or have crazy stories about what they did in Berlin. But they are friendly and trustworthy and they have your back. Or at least they don’t trip you over constantly, and some days that will do.
Not that I feel the need to talk to music blog readers about how we listen to different kinds of music because OBVS.
But, you tell me, which category does this Spirit Faces track fit in?
In a grail-chasing move, he’s balanced ‘Cloudplay‘ right in between these worlds, where the gravity of each cancels the other and it’s just….floating. Even a bunch of listens in it’s all loose and quirky and I can’t really expect what is coming at me next, but I ain’t panicked. I chilled.
Could this be ARTFRIEND?
Shouts to BUOY for bringing all her character and warmth, and giving things a natural woft and whimsy. Shouts to Mr Faces for his perfect sense of equilibrium, and of course the last chord – because HAIR METAL.
Hold off on your questions, no doubt all will be answered by the upcoming EP: probably with tidy taste and witty press because TEEF.
I’ve embedded the gynormo-player because I even feel friendly towards that little cloud.
A few repeat offenders this week hey?
Don’t get all steamed though – it’s not our fault that people who are already demonstrably good at recorded music are continuing to make recorded music. And release it at the start of spring. It’s as though the ice is melting and the new songs are starting to *can’t finish lamest analogy in the history of blog culture*.
I can’t help it. I’m just the messenger. Talk to him about the timing.
It is clearly one of his best though. I’ll just say that and leave you to your message.
It’s kind of kitsch, but in a fresh way that’s ….. classy.
Nostalgic, but again in a way that is ….. how can I say…..classy.
Eyetooth‘s work on the art is perfectly matched, I dare anyone to make a Wingdings border that….ughhh….classy.
There’s plenty of tracks coming out with sizzle and shimmer and hype, but I get the most excited by stuff like this – a quirky vision handled with a deft and smart touch. The internet is still making Cashmere Cat comparisons for it but I really think he’s found his own sound.
I’m going to respond by awarding him ‘most likely to splash overseas soon’ with a grotesquely opulent plastic trophy, so while I do that you may as well stream the damn thing.
I think my writing process is pretty much standard for Australian music blog writers, so at the risk of being obvious: here’s an #industryinsight.
Normally I’ll break into one of the nearby abandoned warehouses, where I’ll typically set off a few flares and scratch some maniacal writings on the wall using charcoal and ash. Then it’s just a simple matter of emailing a photo to cost-effective outsourced help, and putting my feet up until the confusing text appears in my inbox. It’s all very 2014, and works well as long as there are enough illegal fires around to keep the charcoal and ash supply strong.
But if I was to pick one small flaw in this ubiquitous industry approach, it’s that delay in getting the text back ready for internetting. I mean, you guys don’t seem to care if I’m like a month later (and notably less informative) than Indie Shuffle, which is odd but also nice. But it all starts to fall over when a guy like Planète drops a series of juicy treats from Melbourne in rapid succession. There’s another track out before I get my rants back on the previous one.
So, breaking the industry norm, I’m typing some of these words straight into a computer in order to feature ‘Snow Sketch‘ while honourably mentioning ‘Visions‘ and also this remix of Lanks’ Green Light. Not sure if he produces at the speed of light or queues it all up to torment/elate me, but we can all reach consensus that he knows his way around ambling the airy and articulate over the deep and round. I know that reads weird but I’m ok with it.
Serving suggestion: queue all 3 and ebb them into your ear holes for the dreamiest 22 mins of your day.
Silo Arts on point again too, just go on and trust em.
Shhhhhhh. Don’t make any sudden movements.
Here we have something that very few tours get to see, so let’s forget all those complaints you outlined earlier and remember to pay the damn fare.
This ‘How it Ends‘ is a gem of moment from Melbourne’s Telling, for now in a totally unsaturated state. Tim ‘many project man about the internet/radio’ Shiel and Ben ‘quite the classic heartthrob’ Abraham seemed happy to sneak this up without fanfare – but I have no reservations in ruining that quiet sanctity with song-tourism for immense financial gain*.
And look at it. It’s a surprising result really. Definitely not a straight sum of their current solo sounds. You won’t get much of Tim’s driving oddity or Ben’s friendly poppity pop, it’s more … cavernous.
I wrote a few comparisons then scrapped all those, so I guess it’s on it’s own – but it sits right with me. Just right. Best track yet. Of 2. But still. Short. Sentences. Punchy. Reporting.
So we all got lucky out there today. You’ll tell them good things at the information centre, won’t you? You will.
And also this might be one little google hit where Tim is referenced without any mention of Gotye so he’ll be…ahh, still nope.
*Again I simply can’t overstate how zero the revenue is from this blog. Much more zero than you can possibly imagine.
Have you ever been too certain you would love a track before you hear it?
It’s a dangerous place to be, wielding that kind of unbridled expectation. In fact, my old man used to proudly profess his pessimism (p p p p) with the sly gloat that ‘those who expect little are never disappointed’. Whether or not that is a healthy way to go about life (obviously it isn’t) (it’s ok because brackets are like whispering so he can’t hear) I paid no mind whatsoever and embarked on a life of overexcitment.
Yes, sometimes you do lose. Not everything tickled me like I hoped it would this week. But then sometimes you are just right. Confidently, accurately, literally correct.
The sound quality is top of the top shelf, but I just deleted more aghast gushing on that because it would be a waste to listen to this geekily. This one is about heart. Dripping, mature, full, unique heart.
I tend to believe Fractures when he opens his mouth, and Andrei is so far beyond his years in letting delicate sonic pieces run together just enough to take the focus off the skill and onto the song.
To quote myself on the result: “‘Ghosts‘ is an emotionally complex snippet of life wrapped in a deft beauty – and I couldn’t have over-anticipated it if I tried”.
Adam 1, unbridled expectation 0. Hah.
The whole Fractures EP including this track went up for procurement today. Why not throw some currency at it eh. I also grabbed it straight from Andre for full lossless immersion, for me this is the very kind of track that is worth such technology.
The twisty biology of musical trend eh.
5 years back this Slumberjack track would have sounded like it was from another universe, but in 2014 I’m just here casually inspecting it like a jaded doctor in some future sci-fi film – counting eyes to see if we have a new species or not. The sci-future is now in the beats world.
But as I’m examining all 12 tentacles and anterior scales on this particular specimen, you can imagine my surprise to start recognising body parts in some pretty strange spots.
A sugary double tempo build we see daily…. but with dropped Rasta acapella (yes it is Skrillesque)….and sampled piano….connected to a dirty Carmack-style drop? Weird mash.
There are even swoops over the top harking of Electric Mantis.
So obviously this pile of DNA sounds like a Frankenstein mess. On paper.
Well, no, maybe ‘Felon‘ is an mess. Maybe it is too creepily familiar, too unnatural. And maybe “on paper” a biologist isn’t supposed to catalogue beasts made by crazed surgical scientists.
But you have already forgotten that in the beats world we are already well past 2078, and all those ethics are old hat. In 2078 we reward mash and collage above all other art forms – and this Felon track is starting to draw the big crowds at the zoo.
Certainly the pieces are very well-integrated, and built up with exceptional sound sculpting. Are you really going to fight the inevitable future? You’re not.
May I suggest you choose from 3 allowable reactions (as is the 2078 custom):
– Call this the best song in the history of the earth (I’m looking at you, internet teenagers)
– Keep a close eye on where these guys take this excellent execution
– Write extensive complaints to Miks decrying how Adam eventually referenced Skrillex on maamf, undermining all you thought you knew and loved. Keep in mind Miks is a nice guy who already gets too much email, so please do try to keep it snappy.