Posts tagged “pop

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

 


LOVE MIGRATE.

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Long term followers of this site will know that a couple of years ago I use to harbour a deep deep love for a band called Love Migrate. The band haven’t released anything since the Dissolved EP in late 2013, a release that felt a lot more assured and focussed than their debut album of 2012. That’s not to say that I didn’t love that debut though.

This new track ‘Pippa’s In The Highlands’ feels as though a band in its new form, harking back to its older sound. And the track is all the better for it. The sparseness is back, allowing the vulnerability in Eddie’s voice once again to shine through. And those builds are also there – that euphoria that sets in at a minute left makes it all worth the wait.

They’ve also retained that solid pop structure to their songs that seemed to develop on the Dissolved EP, all while keeping that classic Australian singer-songwriter vibe.

The track is taken off the bands new EP Shimmer Through The Night due out May 22. You can catch the band launch the EP at the Gasometer on May 28.

Miks


NATHAN ROCHE.

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There’s something about Nathan Roche‘s slightly laconic vocal delivery that gives his work this effortless, relatable touch.

His final (Yep, mate, last one) album is due out anytime now. It’ll be called Cathedral Made Outta’ Green Cards. The first taste of it ‘Phantom Blues’ weirdly feels like it could go forever (probably perpetuated by the never ending refrain ‘these are the never ending phantom blues’ right at the end of the tune). It instead harks the ‘death’ of Roche, at least in the musical sense we currently know him. Although he’s not necessarily ‘ruling out the possibility of a string of “comeback albums” in his post-rehab mid-forties’ (direct quote from his presser – it’s really something special), wrap your ears around this one and the album when it hits the internet and the shelves of music selling stores.

Thanks for the good, nice, friendly and welcoming times Mr Roche. All the best in your new travels.

Miks


DICK DIVER.

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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.

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


SAN MEI.

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San Mei has been a bit of a repeat offender over here on maamf. We wrote about ‘Wars’, her second single a little while ago, but now we got the clip. Granted, this has already been kicking around a coupla weeks and I been a bit late with it all, but when you get a young artist doing great things that are slightly off-kilter and forward thinking, you always gotta post it.

San Mei‘s work has always harnessed this idea of vulnerability coupled with a real strong sense of control and forward motion and this clip nails that.

YES!

Miks.


TWERPS.

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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.

Miks.


[PREMIERE] CLUE TO KALO.

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If we, as people who write about music, and to an extent, trends, would have to suggest a new direction in Australian contemporary music, it would be that there appears to be a push towards and an appreciation of the more classic, but sophisticated pop song. Dorsal Fins are doing it, so are Hopium. And so is Clue To Kalo, a fella from Melbourne. You may remember the name Clue To Kalo, also known as Mark Mitchell – the guy has been releasing stuff for over 10 years (his first full length came out in 2003 via LA’s Mush Records).

This new album, The Motives Records, is due out on Sep 23 and it’s some beaut sonic eargasm that sounds busy and intricate and goes where you don’t expect. It’s also incredibly familiar and joyous and just darn great. It’s his first independent release, as well as being the first album he’s done outside of his bedroom.

You may know the first cut from the album, ‘Burning Arrow’. It’s a jaunt of sorts and goes everywhere whilst still staying within the pocket.

As well as ‘Burning Arrow, we’ve also got a pretty great little exclusive for all you guys. We got a stream of the album opener ‘The Men That They Make Us’. It’s ethereal, cinematic, starts off small and introspective with those contemplative lyrics and piano but gets expansive and large and all encompassing. It’s perhaps the best indication as to where Mitchell takes his music, and indeed, this album.

Make sure you grab a copy of the full length when it comes out. To my ears, it’s easily one of the better local releases of the year.

Miks