I don’t always listen to folk, but when I do I tend to like it both succint and epic. Conceptually and actually.
Now that I think about it for the first time, maybe that’s impossible (or at the least unreasonable to demand)… but in stubborness I guess my reply to that would be some kind of shrug.
I don’t really seem to do meandering. I’m just not a meanderer.
So this Ainsley Farrell ditty grabbed me – an impossible little gem.
After the 30 second prequel we get rolling minor chords and even more rolling ocean metaphors – and you don’t get bigger and more mysterious than the ocean, do you? DO YOU? Well, except maybe for space. But space doesn’t really roll… and anyway shut up we’re talking about Ainsley’s song.
That aforementioned song I hereby refer to crams a lot of evocative, desolate sound into less than 2 minutes and it doesn’t even feel rushed or cut-off. Curious huh.
You are all here to witness the impossible moment where I post a song that meets my impossible folk demands.
So this little EP actually came out in it’s re-vamped glory a couple of months ago, but due to the inability of this blog to work to an average blog clock (1year = 7years/1minute = 7minutes. 1day = 1day you’ll never get back. nah just joking. maybe just the last one), i’m writing about it now. And at the risk of wankerisms, this stuff is kinda timeless. This shit ain’t locked to no time-space thing blog time thing. man.
Skinny Legions is the project of Glenn Hopper, and yep, that’s Hopper, not Richards. Coz really, Augie March is the real obvious reference point for me with this. There’s the obvious similarity in the two ‘n’s in Glenn (fucking conspiracy this is), and then, of course, the voice. And although there’s differences in the structure and nature of the songs, there’s still this sense of ‘fun’ that permeates right throughout this release. It might not come through on first listen, but let it sit with you – it’ll come.
You can grab the Birdsong EP just over here, and we got our two fave cuts below.
You see, over the past two and a half years the Melbourne based 5 piece have been working on their 5th full length, their first in 6 years. And whilst there’s no news on the name of the album or it’s release date, the band did, today, let us in on the first cut. ‘After The Crack Up’ somehow seems to recall their early sprawling songwriting combining it with the more refined song structure of their later work.
It’s exciting to see one of the country’s best bands and one of the country’s best songwriters back. Looking forward to this album!
It’s a short week. It’s also pretty wet and miserable outside.
There’s something incredibly prolonged and warm about Sean O’Neill‘s track ‘Vienna’. Sean’s a Perth fella currently based over in London. And yeah, sure, you can make all the obvious Bon Iver and Matt Corby style comparisons, but I actually think there’s something a little different about Sean’s stuff.
To me, it sounds incredibly warm – the bed of sound that the keys and guitar sit on gives it this vast but enclosed space, something that’s pretty hard to perfect. Reminds me of the Single Twin album of a couple of years ago actually. His vocals aren’t over the top – they tell a story and complement the instrumentation perfectly.
Bit of a winner I reckon!
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.
A couple of weeks ago I crapped on about how I’m getting old. Sure, I attempted to mask it in some academicised language about age and taste, but nah, really, it was just me getting away with having a bit of a whinge.
I do find my tastes changing though, and although it seems to correspond with me getting a bit old, the more country-tinged stuff I’m tending to favour is working rather nicely.
Rough River is the project of Kate Skinner, a Melbourne based singer-songwriter. ‘Sometimes’ is the lead single from her debut self-titled full length that covers that whole folk-tinged feelgoodness that still manages to feel quite sparse and carefully crafted despite all it’s alt-country style guitar picking, snare work, violin and overall busyness.
You can grab the album here. King Gizzard‘s Lucas Skinner (and presumably Kate’s brother/cousin) produced the album in his Brunswick home.
This one has been sitting in the inbox for a little bit, and it’s only now, on Good Friday down at my parents place in Melbourne that I’m sitting down and listening to this pretty excellent collection of songs.
Mallee Songs is the project of Michael Skinner. The album, Gum Creek and Other Songs is a sprawling account of the past 5 years where Skinner travelled from his Melbourne home to Japan and then back home again.
We got the opener ‘Egyptian King’ below. It’s simple, nothing completely out there. But it’s straight up, honest, and sets up this amazing sense of journey that the album then embarks on.
You can stream the full album here.
Skinner also has a full band album due for release in the 2nd half of 2014. Keep an eye out for that one.
I must admit, when I pressed play on this one, I was unsure. Paul’s voice is fragile, and to me, there’s some fragile voices that I think just sound really weak, and not just in their power, but also in what they’re trying to convey. Paul’s voice manages to convey so much though – it’s unique quiver compliments the rather sparse guitar beautifully. And I think the fact that that chorus is pretty sing-a-long like as well as being a little Mr Brightside-esque (thanks Tommy for the tip-off) helps it out a great deal too.
MAAMF is lucky enough to debut the clip for the track. Using filtered footage of kids being kids (including a young lass in a floral head wreath singing those words directly to you), coupled with war time imagery, and signs of poverty, you can tell that Paul has thought this one through. ‘Thanks For Nothing’ is not just a personal exploration of what life may mean to him, but it’s also a statement of sorts with the flipside being a comment on the importance of being thankful for what you’ve got and what you receive.
From Brissie, Danny Harley is doing some pretty amazing things at the moment. Perhaps better known as The Kite String Tangle, he is one of the few artists in Australia successfully melding the world of glitchtronica and good singer songwriter music.
You may have heard Danny’s name kicking around before – he’s the frontman of great live electronica band Pigeon, who we’ve recently featured. The Kite String Tangle is very different though, and first single ‘Given The Chance’ is testament to that.
Stream the single below and grab it on iTunes if you dig.
Wow. I could listen to this all day. This is easily one of the loveliest songs I’ve heard in quite some time.
Tomas Strode & The Tour Guides are responsible for making me feel pretty warm and fuzzy and contemplative this afternoon. What a freakin great start to the week.
Their new single ‘Broken Road’ features the excellent girls from Aluka – those vocal harmonies add this beautiful extra level of warmth that, in my eyes/to my ears, make the track. I’m actually sitting at my desk kind of wanting to cry.
You can download the track for free below, and if you dig, make sure you check out their other stuff on their soundcloud.
The bands debut full length Graceful Mistake is due out later this year.
If you’re in Melbourne, make sure you check out the guys launch the single at The Workers Club on Wed 27th March.
Wil Wagner from The Smith Street Band has a solo EP entitled Laika coming out in a bit over a week (Feb 4) through Poison City Records. For fans of The Smith Street Band, and in particular Wil’s honest and pretty funny vocals, I reckon this EP will nail it. Just Wil and an acoustic guitar, I am so fucking keen!
Two tracks from the EP have already been released, and are just below. If you like, make sure you pre-order the whole EP over on the Poison City Records site.
Yep. Once again, it’s new Matt Walters. The gent can, in my eyes, do no wrong.
The new EP, The Vacant Heart EP is such a great collection of songs. There’s some The Middle East influence in some of the tracks – especially with the beds of found sound/vocals that sit underneath a lof of the intro and outro’s. It’s also a fucking pop release (!). Not what I was expecting, but man, it’s freaking good to see the dude meld his emotive folk with some real pop instrumentation and song structure.
I’ve got ‘To Die Young’ below as a stream. That big chorus, those continuous drums, the funky bass line that seeps through. It knocks me down every time. It’s produced to a t.
can WILL AND MUST grab the full EP for a measly $4 over on Matt’s bandcamp.
Matt Walters just posted up a new song to his soundcloud, and, as ever, it’s pretty lovely. It’s a bit more of a mellow sound that the stuff off his first album, but man, it still takes a hold.
The track was recorded in New York last year after Matt spent some time in the states recording his new EP.
Looking forward to the new stuff!
Ok, so really, there’s no two ways about it. Nick Van Breda does sound a lot like Josh Pyke. But like an updated version with a bit more of a crazed out Jonathan Boulet style to him. Those two comparisons have been made plenty of times, but in terms of his songwriting style, as well as instrumentation, they’re by far the closest similarities.
There’s something incredibly simple about Van Breda’s vocal style and lyrics. There’s this unpretentiousness about it, a simple straight up honesty. And the instrumentation is pretty darn nice, especially on lead track ‘Think About’. The melody lines, as well as the warm strummed guitar, sit so nicely against the big, at times boomy drums. We got ‘Think About’ below.
Also below is ‘Record On’. With it’s simple, warm lyrics on top of this rhythm that feels like it’s about to fall asleep, it reminds me a lot of an old Melbourne band The Small Knives. Like this fella A LOT!
Outta Melbournetown, Yeo is one diverse dude. New track, Selma Blair is a banjo infused folk sing-a-long. But then going through his earlier stuff there’s a massive Pharrell Williams influence in tracks like Two Sides Of A Door. So, we got both.
Anyway, the newy Selma Blair is taken from Yeo’s third album entitled Home, coming out next week (Jan 12), all for free on his bandcamp page.
Also, make sure you chcek him out as he tours the new album – he’s doing Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. More deets here.
ok. Sydney based singer/songwriter Faith Lee jumped up on the Unearthed Podcast that I subscribe to. And I mean yikes. Zan Rowe left a review of her track Life Long Friend on her Unearthed profile and said that her voice cuts right through. Couldn’t agree more. I think what makes this track so good though is the instrumentation. It’s simple, the use of harmonica at the end kills – it feels so held back and restrained, and the track on a whole reminds me a fair bit of The Middle East which is lovely – this might have something to do with the fact that Mark Myers from the band produced this track. It is such a super lovely track.
Download this baby from Faith’s Unearthed profile and you can stream it down below.
Faith Lee – Life Long Friend
Some lovely folk for a bit of a lazy Thursday afternoon. Kate and Max are out of Brissie and do some pretty easy going guitar based indie folk stuff. The vocals are rather lovely and aren’t exactly like this either, which is a definite good thing. There’s no vintage bicycles here!
The track we got below is off The Great Unseen EP. Check this one out…definitely worth your weight in gold.
The guys are also doing a bit of a tour. You can check ’em out at Freak Out at Laundry tonight in Fitzroy or at Rats in the city on Saturday night.
ok. So I actually caught this guy just over a year ago support the now name-changed Goodnight Owl. Only catching a track or two, I was impressed, but kinda forgot about him.
Then Love Migrate (the new Goodnight Owl), posted a link to Hayden Calnin’s Unearthed profile. So, i checked him out. And downloaded the two tracks on his profile. And yes. This guy is really really impressive.
Reminds me a bit of Goodnight Owl in it’s folky sound – his voice reminds me of Eddie’s from those guys/Love Migrate. There’s also a real feel of Oscar + Martin to him. And man, that is always a good thing (on a side note, the Oscar + Martin album is still looking to take album of the year for me. so good!)
Anyway, below are two tracks, Winter and Summer taken from his soon to be released City EP. Check it!
ok. So if you’re here in Australia and you spend at least some time listening to triple j, then you most likely would have heard the name Dead Letter Chorus.
But, if you’re anything like me, you probably wouldn’t hear a song and think, hey, that’s Dead Letter Chorus. That and the fact that there’s another band called Dead Letter Circus who do that ott anthemic rock stuff which I really don’t dig.
So, when this new track came my way, I was interested to actually put a sound to the name. After hearing their new single Yellow House i fell for them. And then I looked them up on hypem to check out if anyone had blogged any of their other stuff. And then I realised, Dead Letter Chorus are that band that do that song for the Toyota ad! And that song (Run, Wild) is lovely.
Anyway, new track Yellow House is indie pop perfection. Has that excellent mix between a polished well produced sound and that diy bedroom production. It’s harmony lovin, driving indie pop goodness that will be sure to make even the worst person crack a wry smile. It’s that kind of stuff that makes you a little bit warm. Wanky i know, but true!
Check out the track below and stay tuned for their 2nd album Yearlings which’ll be dropping in June. The guys are also playing CMJ in October, so I reckon worldwide domination is probably the next logical step.
Dead Letter Chorus – Yellow House
So this is what happens when you don’t blog for a while and you get sent some pretty sweet as local music. You miss out on launches and gigs that otherwise would have been pretty darn killer. A launch that I did miss out on was that of Owls Of The Swamp.
Owls Of The Swamp is actually just one dude – Melbourne based Pete Uhlenbruch. He’s set to release his second album mid year and has just returned from his fifth European tour (that be commitment).
The first single is So Far Away and to be honest, I dismissed this one when I first heard it. Was too clean sounding. I love indie folk singer/songwriter stuff but on first listen, this didn’t do it for me. I left it on my iPod though and it came on every now and then (I downloaded the track about a week ago) and everytime I heard it, I heard something new. There’s a level of warmth about this track that I hadn’t noticed first time round. Lyrics are also pretty nice – it was written in Germany and has this longing for home thing going on which is kinda sweet and stuff. Anyway, keep an eye out for this gentleman. This track is already getting a bit of play on Triple J so he must be doing something right.
So last year, we wrote about a new Melbourne based singer-songwriter. His name was Matt Walters and the track we posted was called I Would Die For You and it featured the ever good Megan Washington. To say that song went absolutely gangbusters is a massive understatement. It was one of the most popular posts from last year, and the track reached the top 5 on the Hype Machine.
It was, simply, an amazing, well written song, full of brush work and sweet acoustic guitar, Matt’s almost haunted voice and Washington’s Aussie tinged vocal magic (sounds wanky, but true.)
Matt has his debut album ‘Farewell Youth’ coming out mid year, and to help set you up for it all, we got the first single from it just below. The album has been produced by Francois Tetaz who’s also worked with a few maamf faves – Gotye, Sally Seltmann, Bertie Blackman.
Anyway, the new single is called Horses, and it’s in the same vein as …Die For You. Mr Walters seems to have a thing for female bv’s. Horses features Kim Richey who’s done work with alt-country king Ryan Adams.
Enjoy this one. Reckon he could do alright this year!
ok! So, we’re sort of back in the game. Whilst I do have my laptop back with a brand new hard drive etc, I don’t yet have any of my data. Hopefully in the next day or two though, we should all be good.
Thought I should celebrate with one of my favourite bands, The Middle East. The guys from Townsville have been slogging away on their debut LP (will be a big one me thinks!). From what I’ve read, the LP is due out sometime in the first half of next year, and we got the first taste of it down below. Not sure whether tracks like Blood or The Darkest Side will be on the album, but if their first EP is anything to go by, I don’t really care – they’re bound to throw up some pretty incredible folk pop goodness no matter what.
The single is called Jesus Came To My Birthday Party and sees them go into a bit of electric guitar, jam kinda sound – especially towards the end. It’s a really beautiful track, and like anything The Middle East put out, I’m kinda in love.
I know I know…it’s been absolutely ages. I’m currently super super busy, so that’s why I’m not keeping the posting up. Think I spoke about it a few posts ago, but hey, it’s all good.
Bit of a change for maamf with today’s post. Something super mellow and simply, well, it’s pretty beautiful and shit (i was never good with emotion)
Matt Walters is a Melbourne singer/songwriter putting forward some darn impressive folk indie goodness. The dude is just putting the final touches onto his debut album, which will be available early next year. But in the meantime, you can get set for his new EP, Talking In My Sleep which is out next month. Matt’s doing some shows down here in Melbourne to celebrate – get along if you like what you hear (Check out his MySpace for deets).
The lead single off the Talking In My Sleep EP is I Would Die For You featuring the ever amazing Megan Washington. Grab it down below as well as a completely unrelated track from a completely unrelated band. The Small Knives released two albums in their time. They’re also from Melbourne, and both their albums are two that I keep on going back too. Really well written songs. I got Little Bit off their 2004 album Rain On Tin just below too.
You know how sometimes, there are bands that have this really awesome song and you love it so much that it becomes your second favourite track of the year and after a while you realise that you only know that one song?
The Middle East are that band for me. And Blood was that song for me. I did know one other song by them however…and to be honest, it kind of put me off. That song was called Pig Food…and it was just too slow and naval gazing and depressing. It sounded like a Melbourne band called Laura who produce these massively long depressing tracks (I do like Laura, just in small doses!) But then another track fell into my hands. It’s called The Darkest Side and it makes me realise that The Middle East should be known for more than just the one song. It has that whole folk pop thing, the same as Blood, but a little more introspective I suppose.
I also recommend checking out the vid for Blood. Pretty nice.
K. That’ll do the ramble for now