The musical gene is strong amongst the kin of I’lls singer Simon Lam. The Melbourne producer has enlisted his cousin Chloe Kaul to produce some lean, polished electronic music as Klo.
Their latest track, ‘False Calls’, is a brooding electro-pop tune with R&B influences. It combines a carefully constructed rhythm section with snippets of Kaul’s soulful vocals to create some compelling electronica.
Kaul’s voice is enveloping and badass, like lounging around your jacuzzi in a silk robe. The vocal melodies sound like they were carved right out of a stick of butter and smeared artfully over some subdued, polished production for the perfect R&B/neo-soul sandwich.
The vocal layering mirrors UK experimental pop act Tirzah, and ‘False Calls’ is similarly beautiful in the simplicity of its composition.
Klo will be performing at BIGSOUND in September.
‘Heave Ho’ is the second single off Mere Women’s latest album, Your Town. It’s a super dark and often sinister look into regret and our uncanny ability to make the same mistakes over and over again. Their last record, Old Life, came out around two years ago, and I’m really kicking myself for letting them pass me by for so long. This track, and the rest of Your Town, has so much to love: bad arse vocals, dark, post-punky synths, and off-balance but totally catchy guitar lines.
‘Heave Ho’ is the sound of someone begging to be bailed out. Singer Amy Wilson’s voice is powerfully beseeching when she sings, ‘This love’s too hard / this love’s too hard’. That line, repeated again and again in combination with the tight and stony drums, pounds her pain right into your heart.
We get a moment of respite in the middle of the track with a spiralling and spare piece of synth. The tight drums skipping along underneath make sure that none of the momentum is lost before a tough and striking guitar line comes in and it’s all hurt and struggle again. But then, another switch – in the last minute the song throws us a taunting hook: ‘It would be so easy / it would be so easy’. Wilson’s voice is stronger now, and more authoritative. It sounds like she really could make a change and leave this hard love behind.
The number of distinct parts to this song, and the record as a whole, is impressive. There are enough great melodies and beats on here to fill at least a couple more albums from a lesser band, but these songs never feel crammed in or suffocated. With Your Town, Mere Women have made it clear that they can’t be slept on any longer.
Your Town is out now on Poison City Records
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‘Move Your Muscles’ is the first look into Felicity Groom’s second album, Hungry Sky. The track is a foreboding crash of percussion, gritty synths and guitar licks that writhe beneath all manner of distortion.
The bluesiness of her earlier work is combined with gushing synths that channel seamlessly into her rock roots. Groom’s distinct vocals are pared back for subdued, tense verses that build into a chorus delivered with raw power.
‘Move Your Muscles’ is a syncopated indie rock delight, thoroughly whetting our appetites for her sophomore album, which is due out through Spinning Top later this year.
Groom has also collaborated with Perth producer Diger Rokwell. Rokwell & Groom have put out some lush, psych-folktronica that you can find here.
Yoke are a young Sydney trio, featuring Kyle Linahan (vocals), Julian Boswell (guitar) and Corin Ileto (synth/keys), who have put out some pretty sweet New Wave sounds on their debut single ‘Burden’.
The track consists of vast spaces of warped keys bridged by Linahan’s smooth RnB vocals and a pop-ballad chorus that takes the edge off the track’s sparseness.
They’re one of a stable of bands currently referencing Prince and early 90s new jack swing, but Yoke’s easy melodicism goes a long way to distinguish them from the nostalgic-for-the-sake-of-nostalgia synth revivalists.
If Yoke can keep developing their sound, ‘Burden’ displays vision and talent that makes me very keen indeed to hear their EP, Jabiluka, which is due out later this year.
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It’s a real treat when music is easy to listen to from the get go. Dag is one of those bands that make it really, really easy. Their songs feel complete and fully formed without getting overcomplicated. Cards on the table, Dag aren’t pushing boundaries or setting precedents. But why should I care when I have these songs to listen to?
Dag is Dusty Anastassiou and friends. Dogwood is their new cassette, out now on Brisbane label Tenth Court. (Dusty also plays guitar for Tenth Court alumni Thigh Master). Dogwood is a fine addition to the growing amount of breezy, acoustic-leaning, suburban-grown Australian independent rock. Brisbane-based but sounding a bit Melbourne, Anastassious sings whimsically about dealing with the mundane aspects of life. The songs are nicely polished except for one lo-fi, demo-type ditty at the end of the cassette.
Dag know what they want to do and they do it well. There is room for growth in their sound, and hopefully we’ll see something truly special from them soon.
Melbourne soul-pop group The Harpoons are back again with brand new single ‘Can We Work This Out’, and to say it tugs on the heartstrings is an understatement. This is what you listen to when all hope is lost and you need a song to bring you just a sliver of comfort. Forget Adele; ‘Can We Work This Out’ is what you need.
Oscar Key Sung collaborator Martin King takes on lead vocals this time, and his light, pattering voice sounds pained – like he can’t even believe the words ‘Have we had our time/tell me is this it/I no longer hear my name coming off your lips’ are coming out of his mouth. Frontwoman Bec Rigby delivers soulful harmonies in a heart-shattering tremolo throughout, and sparse synth jabs punctuate the track like the offending lover ripping out King’s heart, piece by piece.
For all the hopeless romantics out there, The Harpoons are here for you.
The Harpoons will launch ‘Can We Work This Out’ at The Workers Club in Melbourne on Friday 8th August and Saturday 9th of August.
A release date for their debut album, Falling For You, out via Two Bright Lakes / Remote Control, will be announced soon.
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Sydney duo We Are The Brave have just released ‘Your Ghost’, a glistening synth pop track off the back of their debut EP Noctua. Vocalist Jess Chalker channels a combination of pop powerhouse Annie Lennox and the smooth and subtle Jessie Ware, pulling off the balance needed to keep any synth pop track from entering the cheesy badlands.
Hip hop producer Ox Why (Nathan Cunial) completes the duo, the pair sharing production duties to craft a rhythm section replete with hand claps and bongos and a Blood Orange inspired guitar lick tying it all together.
I expected the clip for ‘Your Ghost’ to be a well-choreographed troupe of leg-warmer and leotard-wearing dancers shimmying out their heartbreak (cheers again, Dev Hynes). The actual clip is heavier on the face paint, but it does feature some pretty badass broken-hearted dancing.
WATB are playing this Friday, 25 July at the Beresford Hotel, and they’ve got a second EP slated for release later this year.
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