Let’s be clear, any rock song that can recall my years as a closet emo teen will instantly have my cold black heart – no matter how tenuous the connection. And this is pretty effing tenuous. Still, the light dusting of reverb on the opening riff on the latest single from Melbourne four-piece Neighbourhood Youth – ‘For Nothing’, coupled with the morose, hollering vocals were enough to get my attention (but I decided against punishing my face with eye-liner). This bustling guitar rock track is propelled by leading man’s solid vocal work with definite singalong infectiousness.
Aside from the obvious indie rock cred Neighbourhood Youth are channelling, the opening riffs remind me of the hooks off the last Title Fight LP. The melancholic undercurrent of the track reveals itself in the guitar melodies, and the band clearly have a grasp on how to construct a driving alt-rock song. It will be interesting to see how they expand on their ideas in their second EP, due out early next year.
It’s the kind of track that I want to see live as soon as I hear it, there’s a bubbling energy throughout that makes me think the guys would put on a sweet show. Melbourne Music Festival thought so too, slotting the boys in prime position alongside World’s End Press, Tiny Little Houses and Foreign/National last week.
Catch Neighbourhood Youth in the 11:15AM Saturday slot at Paradise Festival this weekend.
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The year has almost rolled over, but there’s no shortage of grand track cuts in this month’s MAP compilation. Our Aus selection this month is Spookyland’s ‘Bulimic’, which is possibly the band’s best track to date. It’s a en epic purge – a bit like ayahuasca without the mess. While you’re there, make sure you check out dancefloor vibes below from Japan’s submission Shigge (behind Yesterday Once More) and Italy’s Dumbo Gets Mad, who’ve just released an album inspired by the man, the mystery – Neil De Grasse Tyson.
Right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 18-track compilation through Dropbox here.
El Violinista Del Amor & Los Pibes Que Miraban – Inofensivos
El Ruido y La Culpa: Una Opereta Lastimera is the band’s fourth album in more than six years on the road. It’s a crazy journey through an eclectic salad of genres, something we’re quite used to with them. Their music overcomes drama, bad mood and guilt with humor, irony and abandon.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Spookyland – Bulimic
Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve. This track stabs it profusely, draws a stake through the middle and stands over watching as your arteries bleed out in 4/4 time. Sorry for the emotional terrorism, but hear this track from Sydney outfit Spookyland and you’ll probably agree it warrants the description. Marcus Gordon’s prose is stark, its delivery brutal at times – but you get the feeling there’s something important to be said beyond the rhetoric. It’s a stoic, turbulent six-minute epic – and the ending is worth the wait.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Bonifrate – Museu De Arte Moderna
Museu De Arte Moderna is the title song from Bonifrate’s new album. It has the psychedelic vibe of the whole record, plus some Beck influence that makes it more contemporary. His album is one of the jewels of the Brazilian indie scene in 2015.
(Listen to the full list below)
Broadway Sounds have been shredding and sweating all over dance floors with their quasi afro disco / calypso beats over the last few years. The trio are playing Paradise Music Festival next week at Lake Mountain Resort – and because BS are all about ~ vibes ~ they’ve made a playlist to get you there and back. The playlist includes Amsterdam’s Hunee, Total Control and a good dose of Mondo Rock. All guarantees there’s no fighting over the stereo or enduring your designated driver’s Biggie Smalls playlist on the way up. Check it out below.
Final round tickets for Paradise are available to purchase at the festival website. If it’s likely that you’ll be FOMOing at work next week, check out this photo essay Bec and Ed shot at last year’s event that might change your mind.
Pills make some great trip-hop. Pretty basic sentence, gets the job done. But do you have any idea of how rare that is in Sydney, let alone done well? We’ve got an overdose of incredible electronic stuff, a small army of fantastic hip-hop artists, but the melding of the two? You might as well be asking for the Knights to take out a premiership.
After a few promising singles, Pills have hit their stride with ‘Slugger’, a scowling grimace twisted into a syrupy spellbinder. A taunting mantra twirls around clipped production that wouldn’t feel out of place as the soundtrack to a snake charming session. It’s friendly – but you just know that if you let your guard down, it will bite you.
Pills also have an awesome video to boot, featuring unsettling strobes, bottle-sipping bedroom boogying, and a general atmosphere that David Lynch wishes he could call his own. It’s disconcerting, weird and beautiful; a perfect match to the song itself.
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There’s a huge list of obvious reasons as to why record stores are still vital, but my personal favourite has to go to the art of the ‘recommendation’. It’s a lot harder than it sounds; trying to get the right balance between something that matches what the customer is interested in, but not too strange that it will alienate them. For example, you wouldn’t give a Cannibal Corpse record to someone who’s recently discovered The Living End, just because both involve guitars. I would, but I’m a bad person, and that’s why I don’t work in a record store.
The people behind the counters of Australia’s finest and longest lasting record stores have got the ‘recommendation’ down to an art. A few years back, in Sydney’s Red Eye Records, the clerk saw me perusing through Unity Floors and Day Ravies‘ albums, and suggested I look into a band called Mope City. BAM! Like that, a simple, “…check this out…” has turned an awkward ginger kid into an awkward ginger kid that has a new favourite band.
Fast forward to 2015, and the Sydney trio have surpassed their scratchy lo-fi beginnings of their first two EPs, and kept the adoration of that same weird child who’s now kind of an adult. Releasing a 7″ earlier this year of tight, post-punk inflections, Mope City have already followed up with a full-length album. Released on Tenth Court (Wireheads, Sewers, Thigh Master), Petri Dish features stand out, ‘Wave of Youth’, a track which echoes the band’s love of Slint, whilst maintaining the morbid pop aspects that made Mope City so great to begin with.
Melancholic as a finding yourself 10 cents short of a coffee on a hungover Monday, ‘Wave of Youth’ packs salad day nostalgia with plodding bass, call and response guitars, and dishevelled drums. The accompanying video, directed by the band’s own Matt Neville, throws together a pastiche of stop motion, silhouttes, and knick knacks sourced from the back of cupboards for a swirling pastiche of the youth Mope City sing about.
Petri Dish is out now on Tenth Court. Buy it here, or better yet, head to your local record store to grab it and cop a few new recommendations while you’re there.
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Photo: Seshanka Samarajiwa
Fuck off John. Seriously, stop terrorising Max Quinn’s neighbourhood. Actually after listening to ‘Waterloo’ (named after the inner-Sydney suburb) I think I’ll be just fine here in Brisbane, thanks. Max Quinn has artfully turned his ‘povo urban youth’ experience into a neat slice of alt-pop punk on the first track from his forthcoming EP Carpool Tunnel Syndrome (a disease which I actually thought existed after many years of sympathising with Sharon Strezlecki because I thought she was heaps stressed from driving Kim around everywhere until someone corrected me: “car-pal tunnel, idiot”).
‘Waterloo’ wastes no time with bells, whistles or indie BS. It’s straight up story-telling, backed by a very listenable band. Perhaps Quinn’s hinting at a more direct approach to this EP, with his 2014 self-titled mini album (which was actually recorded in the residence that provided the inspiration for ‘Waterloo’) a pretty playful release full of offbeat quirks. Quinn is a witty song-writer – his lyrics move at a stream-of-consciousness pace without disappearing up their own butt in metaphors or becoming one-dimensional cliches.
It’s no surprise that the narrative is the real hook in this track, and the instrumentation gives Quinn’s story plenty of space to move. The vocal harmonies and layered guitar lines nail their job – you barely notice them at all because you’ve been swept up in all the hubbub and are busy screaming “fuck awff Jooohhhhhnn.” I love a good reverb soaked psych-wank as much as the next 22 year old, but Quinn’s sound is refreshingly earnest and I eagerly await Carpool Tunnel Syndrome.
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Two things happened on 21 October 2015. First of all, every dodgy news outlet in the world scrambled over itself to find an original way to tell everyone that this was the day Doc Brown and Marty McFly travelled to in Back to the Future Part II. The result was a flood of increasingly depressing memes that sucked out the entire spirit of the film.
The second thing that happened was Sydney soul-poppers Lily & the Bellows released their latest track, ‘White Lies’. Now, at first, these two events don’t seem related at all. How could the degradation of a beloved 80s film and a swinging pop number from a group of Sydneysiders be connected?
Well, here’s a theory for you – Lily & the Bellows actually travelled through time with Doc and Marty. Their sound rings clear as a dance floor ditty from the 1950s of George McFly. Lily & the Bellows were meant to be playing a support slot for Bill Haley and His Comets. Just as they were about to step onstage, the troublesome duo whisked them off in that bloody Delorean of theirs. Now they’re stuck in 2015 with nothing to do but release that fantastic song they’d been working on moments before.
The signs are all there – organ, plucky guitar, serene melodies: Lily & the Bellows were destined to be the hitmakers of their time. Luckily for us millennials, we get to claim them as our own. Suck it, Baby Boomers – this golden oldie belongs to us!
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