“I want it to be a raw and possibly uncomfortable reminder of what we have put our Indigenous people through, and urge all Australian’s to respect and support the first Australians.”
As those of you will know who read this old site a bit, I also spend my time doing a PhD. Or, I also spend ALL my time doing a PhD. My project is looking at young people and music-making and blah blah blah. It’s been awesome to see young people hone their own sound and make music that is meaningful for them. Violet, although not one of the young people participating in the research has kind of killed it when it comes to honing that sound and making music that is textured and provocative.
Violet, as a musician, wears it all there on her sleeve – her first single, ‘My Dress Hangs There‘ is an obvious ode to trip-hop inspired sadcore and Jackie Kennedy. It’s almost over the top but in the most subtle way – it’s that big waft of mellow melancholia without being smacked over the head with it. Second single ‘Lines of Loneliness‘ was similar in style – showcasing a strong affection for quality Hollywood women of old melded with a much heavier and muddier production aesthetic.
Her third single takes that slightly uncomfortable intrigue and amps it up. As with Violet’s approach to music-making, the use of sample’s help provide her tales with context. ‘Ivory’ uses them in incredibly powerful ways. The audio from ‘White Australia’ documentaries, the manipulation of traditional indigenous percussion and that gunshot, all provide you with context for Violet’s message.
This site veers to the side of being not overtly political, although you can of course argue that having a blog is in itself an inherently political practice – blogs allow us to exercise our political rights. Heck, maybe simply our use of the internet every day is a political act. Lessons in what politics is and isn’t though aside, Violet’s refrain ‘We shot them dead’ makes for uncomfortable listening. Because that is what happened, but still, in this country we operate on a white way is best way ideology. As an aside, it’s not about which is the fucking best way, it’s about taking responsibility, working with people instead of on them. We still as a country are forcing people out of their communities, which makes Violet’s track all the more important.
And if I can also put on my rapidly ageing hat on (fuck man i feel like i’m older than 30 but wotever m8), at 18, Violet is making a stand, and using creative expression as a way of reaching as many people as possible. Bloody young people aye – makes my work feel all the more worthwhile.
Look out for more stuff from Violet. Hopefully we’ll get an EP soon!
Sometimes it doesn’t take much. The driving, aggressive, propulsion on offer in Hedge Fund‘s latest ‘Look Who’s Back’ gives everything in what feels like one sweet blow to the body.
The fact that length wise, this is within your usual pop song fair says something about what they pack in – I find myself always pressing play again straight after it’s finished.
If you’re around Sydney, you might have caught Hedge Fund play Rare Finds‘s new night over at the Sly Fox in Enmore. If you missed that one then make sure you check ’em out at Junkyard Fest on Saturday. Details here.
Lostkeyz is an 18 year old Sydney MC. On the back end of immersing myself in the work of Flip The Script, it’s real cool to see new young MC’s embrace that more lowkey 90s sounding vibe. Also like the Flip The Script dudes, Lostkeyz has a real natural sense of flow and tone – his voice itself is real direct and personal.
‘Lagging On’ is his latest, a short rumination on keeping a sense of self through change. The production mimics the title, with that drum groove just sitting as far back as possible.
Lostkeyz has the game to back this all up too coming off some top support slots for Daily Meds as well as a killer single ‘Do What You Love‘.
Keen to hear some more stuff from this guy.
Yeah mate, seems everyone and their dog are doing the nu-hiphop vibe lately. With big wigs like Remy doing solid things and Milwaukee Banks and Baro perhaps being at the top of it, it’s the thing to do. And just like the ‘Australian sound’ EDM thing that happened a while ago, it’s becoming harder for the top kids to raise their heads up above the rest.
Flip The Script feel as though they’re doing things a bit differently. Young dudes, both sing and rap. Both have a pretty cool unique tone in their voice and their flow is undeniable. And to top it off, production is all 90s jazzy vibe. And it kills.
Latest single ‘Acting Profound’ below, and if you dig, download their tape crewsin’ over here.
Sick clip too!
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.
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*
But this is nice. Expansive.
I don’t know if she recorded herself in a large cave, or approximated that using digital signal processing technology – maybe none of us will ever really know for sure. But either way this one puts a fresh spin on an aesthetic I recall fondly from Florence’s Ceremonials. And if any part of you thinks that may not be a complementary parallel, then I think you need to listen to that album again.
Sounds like the epicness is even testing the poor soundcloud encoder, but such is our luck and luxury we can now buy a version captured with a fuller complement of bytes.
Also I couldn’t help but notice her Soundcloud is followed by people including Flight Facilities – to which I thought “hmmmm” and also “well now”. If they do ever do a thing together I’m calling that last sentence an exclusive.
Anyway I trust you value our new format, where we’re careful to review streaming encoder performance and who follows who on social networks. 2014 journalism is the best journalism.
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.
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.
Uh oh. Miks usually beats me to Gang of Youths posts but finally it’s me with a handful of sentences to try and explain why I can’t stop caring about what these dudes do. Could get gushy, you should brace.
Well if you put a gun to my head and asked me what the best art looks like, I would:
1. Suspect that’s not really your question. Because, you know, the gun.
2. Quickly pick a serious answer in a spike of panic (probably as you start squeezing the trigger), and blurt out: “just a human, easily seen.”
I realise that would be an awkward thing to say and I would still get shot. But it could be true and more importantly I think Dave Le’aupepe is a vivid example of this very thing.
Not so much in his press persona, where he is unpredictable and cut-throat honest, but still oddly mysterious. I mean there’s a whole other piece in that. But I’m talking songs.
‘Benevolence Riots‘ shows new colours sonically – there’s a flip to a resigned vocal that cuts through a surprisingly snappy song structure. But the key element for me is stronger than ever – the unusually deep heart. By heart I guess I mean that it has these undertones to it. Like a messy collision of many things I grapple quietly with myself, but spread out loudly in a spectacular, tragic, desperate, beautiful way.
For example, I get washed around from intelligent altruism to resigned devotion, dark cynicism to desperate hope, blue collar clarity to the confusion of human greatness, equality, craftsmanship, earning, failure and most of all: the deep unspeakable grind and reward of costly human relationships.
Heavy, complex, yes. And maybe I am too much of a fan to write this – but if you put this with their other songs to date, I swear all that stuff is in there.
It’s mostly Dave we’re seeing, though like most great bands I sense that the other guys have more to do with us hearing this stuff than we’ll ever know. Certainly these are an oddball bunch in their own right, possibly bonded now both as fun loving bros and more like actual brothers who have spent 2 years on a kicking bull together. That part you can feel live. But I’m digressing.
For mine, I’d take these songs straight. Like, neat. Raw on one of those prison cafeteria trays. Thus I’m not craving any more shimmer or dressing than we get here. But it is rather lovely shimmer, so I don’t mind if we get a lush record. As long as they keep Dave’s ‘easily seen heart’, I’m in.
Have I explained myself well? Maybe not. I still don’t really understand why I love this band so much. But I’ll say this – if we do get the album that these songs point at (next year?) I’ll be buying a physical copy so I can keep it near to me when I sleep. Music, hey.
FOOD COURT are four Sydney fellas doing some rather scuzzy solid pop song stuff. These guys have been kicking around for a little while and are definitely part of a rather established skuzz kinda scene up here in Sydney.
Their new single ’14 Years Young’ is the first taste of the bands 2nd EP Big Weak due out early November. It’s just over 2 minutes of that fuzzed out rollicking guitar that covers your 60s guitar pop to some psych. It’s also real bloody pop sounding too – these guys nail a pop structure, but inject enough interest (that middle 8 bit) into it all to make it stand up on it’s own.
If ya dig, then the guys are launching the new EP with an afternoon show on Saturday 20th September at the Glengarry Castle Hotel in Redfern.
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.
After having a look through recent posts, I realised I haven’t really properly spruiked anything off the new Jonathan Boulet record. The first taste we got, ‘Hold It Down‘ showed a renewed guitar heavy Boulet sound, with less of that percussiveness and more of the shreds. I liked it. It made sense to me – if you follow Boulet’s other work, you’d know that he’s dabbled his lower body in the heavier side of things with Snakeface and Top People.
Gubba, the new album, isn’t as heavy as some of the other projects – there’s a few playful moments throughout the release. It is darker than some of the earlier Boulet albums though. I’m still working my way through it, but it’s holding up pretty well.
Anyway, we got the clip for ‘Hold It Down’ just here. ‘Hold It Down’ follows the travels of some rather bad bikies. It’s a cool clip, bit of fun, gives light to that playfulness i mentioned earlier.
Make sure you check out Jonathan Boulet as he heads on a bit of a tour in support of the new album throughout August. Details here.
Very rarely do you hear a song that actually does what the presser says it does. ‘Escapism’ is the new one from Bon Chat, Bon Rat. In their email, they state that “This is as aussie as Seekae and Australian Crawl having a jam session underwater in a time machine.”
And, it’s bloody spot on. There’s the classic Australian songwriting evoking that sense of space. And then there’s that slightly off-kilter instrumentation that sways, and curves and has so much going on, but still manages to sound sparse and sporadic, and completely complimenting the vocals.
The track is taken off the bands new EP Burning Palms due out soon. KEEN!
I have this playlist, and you know it is currently my favourite one.
I wouldn’t normally pick a favourite child like that, but it’s just so much more lovable than the others. For decompressing, disappearing with or even just being acceptable at dinner (at least in comparison to the grinding noises and disjointed art projects of my other playlists).
See I jammed it full of one of the more timeless sounds going right now – this minimal, spaced songtronica. A cold minimal beat, warm human voice, off time piano, VERBBBB. We’re talking SOHN, Erik Hassle – beautiful list.
But I am still wracked, WRACKED with guilt because it is currently unaustralian. You see, YOU’RE allowed to listen to whatever you want but this is an Australian music blog and WE have our responsibilities. It’s not all champagne and private jets writing for revenue-free blogs – sometimes we also need to bloody look after the koalas and have sunset beers on the beach and flaming listen Australian. There is good stuff close to the sound, but nothing native yet that has been at home in that list.
So imagine my delight when this one bubbled up from Sydney’s Little Deed. Low plays on the first track, so we shoppers are in on the first floor this time.
‘Neon‘ is totally in that same wonderful space. It slips from anthemic to claustrophobic, epic to personal. There’s a vintage influence too, I can’t feel if it’s a kind of blues or soul hint maybe.
This seems to be some kind of radio edit (my sleuthing has gone as far as the song title – you’re welcome), but I’d definitely eat 6 mins of this, so maybe she has a plan for an EP with a longer cut.
Thanks Little Deed, whoever you are, you’re about to break into my current fav playlist.
This track, ‘Our Company’, it sounds easy. You could go as a far as to suggest that perhaps, not a lot of effort went into making it.
I think that’s an easy route though. Sure, I think lots of people might hear this and think, oh but I could make that maybe. And i’d go, hey man, wanna fucking medal? The fact that it sounds as though you could do it is not the point. I mean, it is partly the point in that it helps to make the track feel relatable, but the main point that I think is really important to get across is that this is a project that, sure, wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve (New Order, Grafton Primary etc), but it still manages to sound fresh and not like anything else being created NOW. And I think that’s where the ingenuity lies – GRANDSISTER obviously knows where he’s going with this project, and it’s being stuck in that sense of propelling, continuous motion that makes this work.
GRANDSISTER is the work of a Sydney based dude by the name of Will Colvin who you might also know as front man of HEDGE FUND. Looking forward to hearing more of this fellas work.
Exclusive (not actually).
You’ll never guess which 90’s/early 2000’s electro-punk STAR is back, all grown up and ready to…
…well, do some country-styled acoustic stuff that’s probably just what you need for you Sunday morn.
Darren Cross was a member of Gerling, a band that was incredibly important in my musical awakening. ‘Enter Space Capsule’ was one of my first CD’s, and Gerling actually helped me ease my way into appreciating electronic music.
Now though, Darren has gone a little alt-country. You might have seen the Jep and Dep project he’s got going with Jessica Cassar. The solo stuff is similar, albeit, slightly more introspective.
‘Slings and Arrows’ feels familiar in it’s structure, but there’s a sense of almost despair in this. It’s captured beautifully with Darren’s guitar work, and his voice carries the track in a way that doesn’t overwork it. It was actually written whilst Darren was driving through Nashville last year. You can hear that influence pretty clearly.
‘Slings and Arrows’ is taken from Darren’s debut solo EP No Damage which should be out in August.
I’m not even going to try and be mysterious and jaded here – this is about to be a gush piece on Seekae. If you want unbiased information from a neutral source you’d best march those shiny boots over to the Telegraph. Here you will get nothing but extreme personal bias in favour of the plaintiff. Brace.
It’s not even that the song is killer, or that 1:46 makes me giddy. It’s the warm reassurance of knowing you can trust a group to grow their sound while keeping the depth. And if you’re not on the internet for warm reassurance, then go tell your internet service provider so they can dutifully cut you loose.
Like ‘Another‘ (which I was also hopelessly taken by), ‘Test and Recognise‘ is sparse and much more vocal than their old stuff – but it has one of the strongest moods they’ve ever conjured. It still floats untracked in that Seekae triangle between ominous, fun and beautiful – just moreso.
If you’re late to the party it’s possibly more divisive than their older work, but also a whole other thing to Alex Cameron’s impressively committed solo….character project(?) which you might be tempted to distrust at first (though you ought to attend here and let it grow on you).
Maybe Tommy said it better by saying less, but my effort is more informative because I’m also telling you that the full-length on drops 12/9/2014 and that the staff to seduce for a listen before then are those working for Future Classic.
In fact, life tip from maamf: seduce early for both tour and album listens. Don’t say we never help.
Mere Women sound as though they’re from Melbourne. But instead they’re from Sydney. With those big ragged guitar lines, it sounds as though some ferocious vocal should begin. But instead there’s Amy and Katrina’s vocal takes sitting soft and in contrast to that instrumentation.
It’s this contradiction that I find so exciting about Mere Women. The three piece have kicked around for a little while, and have their 2nd album Your Town coming out next month (July 25). The excellent ‘Our Street’ is the first cut. It’s pushy and driving, but with just enough restraint to let the vocals guide the way.
If it sounds like your thing, then make sure you check ’em out on their run of dates.
Fri June 13th – Blackwire Records, Sydney
Fri June 20 – The Imperial, Sydney
Sun August 24th – Reverence Hotel ‘Poison City Weekender Fest’, Melbourne *Sold Out*
Thurs August 28th – Newtown SC, Sydney
Montaigne is the project of Jessica Cerro. You might remember the rather memorable voice too. As Jessica Cerro she was a finalist in that triple j unearthed high comp a while back…and I think did pretty well. Her new track ‘I’m A Fantastic Wreck’ takes a slight unexpected turn though. This is interesting, verging on sophisticated pop music.
The obvious reference point for me is Otouto. That rather precarious percussion takes what could be a little predictable into weird. And weird is what makes this work. There are pop hooks galore, and that big climax at the end makes you feel all the things it’s designed to make you feel, but it’s that slightly off putting nature of Jess’s warm big vocal against the not quite there percussion and the rest of the staccato instrumentation that makes this one. And although it gets into a big ol’ sweeping love song towards the end, the way the strings wash out her voice, only for her voice to come back triumphantly and then end suddenly takes you by surprise.
‘I’m A Fantastic Wreck’ is taken from Montaigne’s debut EP Life Of Montaigne due out towards the end of the year. Looking forward to hearing some more stuff.
Well, here’s a thing. I (Adam) just had a kid. A genuine small female mammal.
Now that public service announcement is out of the way you may figure my taste will spiral into what you call ‘lamesville’ as the magnitude of my new fatherly role eclipses my yearning for cultural relevancy. For you, then, I have 2 pieces of evidence to prove you are regrettably and embarrassingly mistaken.
My taste has always had a small but valuable lame patch, so either way I have you on a technicality. Ha.
This track. The one I am posting right now on this very blog. This Lanterns one.
I’m not even going to mention the deftly resampled organic sounds or carefully vocal layering – because frankly using musical descriptors for music isn’t a thing dads are even into. At all. Dads do metaphors.
So ‘Left in the Dark‘ is locking yourself in a cupboard. At first it’s mysteriously tight and claustrophobic, but slowly your brain starts drawing those rainbow pictures for your eyes and things get more expansive and curious.
Is this particular cupboard as clean as you first thought? Is it a vulnerable place, or maybe a little sinister?
Look, I couldn’t even be sure enough to warn you.
But I went back in, and I daresay I’ll do it again.
Keeping my eye on this Lanterns guy.
oh geez miks, shuttup already about your mates GOY. we know they’re one of your fave bands, but seriously, mate, it’s ok. i think people are starting to come round.
New Gang Of Youths owns.
With their debut album due out in the second half of this year, I reckon ‘Poison Drum’ will be just what you fuckers need until you go and see ’em live. The newy consolidates on that raucous energetic wall of noise and makes it epic. When I saw the track lasted for 6:26, I had to double check. Really? I thought I only just clicked play…testament to these boys though – they manage to pack in an awful lot without making it feel like it’s actually close to double the pop-song time formula.
And mate, those live shows. If I had a recommendation, it would be to skip the big shows and check out the band’s headliners (if you can of course). There’s something about being stuck in a packed sweaty medium sized venue with these boys losing their shit on stage. Some of my fave live music moments up here in Sydney have involved these fellas. You can find more out about the headline shows here.
So this is me breaking a rule.
I had a silent agreement with myself that I would not post any productions (at least for a few months) that featured synths or samples approximating steel drums, marimba’s, kalimbas or frankly any mallet-use instrument potentially associated with notions of tropical islands.
I know that’s shallow and I love the summer breeze as much as anyone, but if one attempts to listen to a lot of Aus electronic these little things can hit one’s own private limits in 2014.
This one is all full of their best strengths – nostalgic sample cuts, dreamy beats and unique rhymes put together with organic feels and interesting friends – like Marcus Whale from Collarbones. That doesn’t really capture it though. I always find that the more I listen the more I hear their different approach in all the little details. It sounds familiar, but many of the micro-ideas are actually quite new to my ears.
This is of course the opposite of a copycat, in fact I’d I consider them ‘producer’s producers’, quietly making their own thing in their own space. So the steel drum sounds are overruled and here we are – me looking a bit silly, you a bit confused, them winning. Just hit play and all will resolve. I posted the video, as the visuals continue the casual haze just so.
Oh – full disclosure, I did catch their live set supporting Elizabeth Rose recently and that’s probably further tainting my opinions. Great risky set with nailed vocals and crazy amounts of manually triggered groove. Whether that is a conflict of interest or a legitimate track-feature-factor, Sydney dwellers may want to claim a spot at the vivid launch for the album due in June.
A wash of sound and feeling, enough to take you away from that torrential downpour that just hit Sydney.
Nathan Roche is back, with the title track from his second full length Magnetic Memories. As avid readers of this blog will know, Nathan’s band Camperdown & Out provided a bit of a soundtrack to my first year up in Sydney, culminating in their album Couldn’t Be Better reaching #2 in my favourite albums of last year.
Maintaining the nautical vibe, Nathan ups the well produced, fuzzy sound, with his vocals lazy enough to chill you out, but still with enough character to define exactly what it is he’s doing. The album will be out hopefully within the next coupla weeks, or as Nathan himself puts it, it’ll be out ‘depending on when they arrive..’