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LISTEN: Felicity Groom – ‘Move Your Muscles’

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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 RokwellRokwell & Groom have put out some lush, psych-folktronica that you can find here.



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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.


LISTEN: The Harpoons – ‘Can We Work This Out’

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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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WATCH: We Are The Brave – ‘Your Ghost’

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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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INTRODUCING: Staunch Nation

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Something odd is happening in Australian hip hop at the moment. No, I’m not talking about Milwaukee Banks, who have sent local blogs into a spin with their steezy, Southern-style rap . There are no false American accents from the blokes I’m thinking of; they’re true blue, rapping about V8s, warm beer and Dunhills, and heading out in the Holden, balaclava clad, to hold up a 7-Eleven. There’s profligate use of the C-bomb, and it seems they spend everyday “punchin’ cones with hoses and stealing munchies from the grocers”.

Ray Chanel, MCGC, J-Willy, J Palm, T-Billz and John Savage (AKA J Saavy) are Staunch Nation, a crew hailing from the outer suburbs of Sydney and the nation’s capital (presumably from out Tuggeranong-way). They might sound suspiciously like the popular front of the Southern Cross Soldiers, but don’t worry – these fellas are #based as. Staunch Nation are just spreading the good word about how sweet it is to be in western Sydney sipping Rio Bravo in the summertime. Their overriding message, as told to Noisey’s Kane Daniel, is that “Everyday is a celebration, so inhale deeply and get broccolized like we’re back in the Triassic doing gymnastics”.

These guys don’t pay much heed to the usual rap signifiers. Their Tumblr features Warney and Russell Crowe pretty heavily, as well as the Footy Show, Plucka Duck and, for some reason, the Gympie IGA. They’ve also got a kind of unsettling fascination with Steven Seagal.

They’re not much interested in the traditional hubris of the genre, either. Here’s Staunch Nation on swag:

“My dress code is strictly polo and thongs”

“I’m Prince Charming with a gap in my teeth/Cassanova with a bum bag and poise like a sheik”

On their stacks:

“I’m covered in bling and when I take a shit/I hear ka-ching, ka-chingy, ka-chingy-ching-chingy”

On b*tches:

“Feel slightly sexual, melt her like lava/then go to the plaza and buy myself a fur coat/made from 100 per cent llama/then say ‘I love ya’”

Staunch Nation’s flow might be a bit clunky, but – the best surprise here – the tracks are underpinned by some very appealing production. Fizzy and bold, with innovative little plays on trap, it references the warm, minimal beats of early 90s hip hop.

Hear Staunch Nation’s first single, ‘Summa Crusin’, below.

If, like me, you can’t get enough of Ray Chanel et al, you can follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud. A second video, for the single ‘Mainies’, will drop on 27 July, and debut mixtape Finesse is due out in August.

Sydney-siders can catch them playing alongside Milwaukee Banks, Moonbase Commander and Mike Who at Goodgod on Wednesday, 13 August. It’s one of those VICE ‘free with RSVP’ parties, so get in on it here.

PREMIERE: Playwrite – ‘Whittaker’

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Fresh from the horse’s mouth is a brand new slice of heaven from Melbourne outfit, Playwrite. Their latest single, ‘Whittaker’ is a beautiful song, one that’s endlessly listenable while also carrying a thought provoking message.

With a strong aptitude for folk, Playwrite open ‘Whittaker’ with a softly pattering drum line and a simple but touching acoustic guitar melody. Over time, they introduce pitch-perfect vocal harmonies and glittering synths that create a sublime contrast with the lead vocals, expressing yearning and melancholy in a striking way. It’s an interesting contrast between the calming nature of the music and the earnest plea contained in the lyrics; the carefree melodicism is countered by serious social commentary in a way that’s uniquely effective.

Previous single ‘Lady Oracle’ was a more layered affair. Where ‘Lady Oracle’ was propelled by driving beats and jungle rhythmics (think Yeasayer, circa All Hour Cymbals), ‘Whittaker’ is stripped to the core, contemplative and world weary.  Lamenting the failure of our institutions and the ignorance of many, Playwrite’s sentiments are strong. Thankfully, ‘Whittaker’s understated atmosphere adds weight to the message, where a more bombastic approach would have undermined it.

The band took time to craft their latest work in the Victorian hinterland and on ‘Whittaker’ it shows. You can imagine this song being conceived during a walk at dusk, away from civilisation, where the woes of the world can be examined from afar. Throughout the song there is a gentle sway, a caressing breeze of fresh country air.

Playwrite’s debut album is slated for release later this year. It features production work from Jimi Maroudas (Kimbra, Eskimo Joe, Bertie Blackman) and mastering by Emily Lazar (Haim, Vampire Weekend, James Vincent). Based off their two latest singles, I’d say the record will be as diverse as it will be touching.

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