If you’re about to head out tonight, you should take a listen to the latest offering from Alex Cameron, (otherwise known as the babe from Seekae).
Having been a fan of Seekae since they first came out, I’m forever obliged to take a listen to whatever comes next from this Sydney based trio. The last we heard from the Seekae boys was the stunning ‘Yech‘, a mello, down-tempo jam laced with soul-rnb undercurrents. For some, it seemed as though the band departed from +Dome’s aesthetic into more of the brooding, less abrasive sounds of The Sounds of Trees Falling on People.
And first out of the solo project stables is vocalist/percussionist, Alex Cameron.
It’d be a disservice to not acknowledge the fact that you’d be hearing this track through the lens of Seekae, considering that’s how we’ve come to know Cameron up until this point. But that said, it’s also a disservice to rely solely on Seekae to get Cameron’s latest offering. But you really don’t need to anyway. At points, this track is reminiscent of Twin Shadow circa Forget.
This track seems to inhabit a space which is almost pseudo-80s, with its liberal use of synths. Cameron’s vocals are subdued, creating a character according to his Soundcloud:
“A voice like honey and lyrics that sting…He knows what he’s doing and although he’s nobody’s fool, he is a slave to love.”
The legacy that Seekae has left over their two albums has done more than enough to hold future solo releases in good stead. It’s now up to Cameron to mark a definitive step away from the band to make it all count.
Photograph: Alan Weedon
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Don’t you just love it when Soundcloud suddenly cuts to a track that you actually really dig?
Enter this remix by S.F.T, a Kiwi producer signed to Auckland’s Renaissance Music. We all know that all NZ urban music puts its Australian equivalents to shame, and this is no different. This remix of fellow Auckland native, Eddie Numbers, is one thumping track that all urban/beat lovers should get on to, pronto (you can take a listen to Numbers’ original EP Try Before You Buy, here). The verses in this track are tight, not to mention the killer choruses. This definitely fits snugly with the current melodic flavour hitting Triple J at the moment – but it isn’t naff.
I strongly suggest that you stop what you’re doing and just take a listen the opener (plus his entire Soundcloud) to lap up all this Kiwi hawtness.
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First birthday parties, hey? Usually reserved for seedy uncles, blow-up castles, and mediocre cameos that somehow entertain the lucky babe to be. Do you remember anything from the space between popping out and entering into 13 years of education at age five? Nope? Glad I’m not the only one.
Last weekend Sydney-based label Hand Games celebrated the big 365 in Melbourne, after parties in Sydney and Brisbane earlier this month. I was lucky enough to head down to The Liberty Social and catch a stellar line-up of acts that didn’t include Fesbo the Clown, sadly. Castlemaine’s own D.D Dumbo opened and I’m forever in debt to Mel for reminding me to get down early to check him out. He’s got one hell of a voice, and truly great musicianship to boot. Oliver Hugh Perry, wrote and recorded his self-titled EP in 2012, and when this transpired live, I must say that I was taken aback. Stop what you’re doing and take a listen to ‘Tropical Oceans’ now, just do it.
Speaking of veiled hype, let’s not forget Client Liaison and NO ZU. While you’ve probably heard of the latter with their brand of unquantifiable calypso-pop, you probably haven’t heard of the former. Go get familiar with their deal. Self described as ‘international in flavour, cosmopolitan in style’, these guys are unashamedly reclaiming the supposed glory days of post-bi centenary/Sydney 2000 Australiana.Don’t believe me? Head to their blog to check out their mood board. They’ve yet to release formal tracks as such, but the video for ‘End of the Earth‘ makes up for everything. Forget that Crowded House ever happened, think the best of old ‘Farnsy, concocting all those power-Casio elements into something that’s actually quite good. At times you stop and catch yourself legitimately enjoying this: because the line between satire and performance is quite thin.
Though, you wouldn’t question the that from the This Thing boys, Electric Sea Spider and Andras Fox. Both hot off the back of successful releases, and in Fox’s case, one half of the hype-riddled Fox + Sui (and rightly so), these guys were a perfect fit for the party. Mirroring the label’s recent success in signing Oisima and Nakagin, Hand Games seem to have caught on to a burgeoning Australian experimental beat scene.
Big love to Hand Games for booking innovative first birthday entertainment.
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Sitting somewhere on the spectrum of ‘Australiana’ is Mind Maps by Great Earthquake.
This is probably my irrelevant organisation of a release that’s familiar in parts, but wholly unquantifiable in others. Think vocals with a distinctive ‘Australian’ voice, and tracks that don’t readily fall into some archetypal ‘indie’ feel. You could say that this is almost world music, but maybe that’s just being lazy.
What’s an interesting thing to note about the feel of this release, is its ability to project a sense of immersion. Despite the fact that it’s technically an acoustic album, this still has qualities akin to Caribou and The Townhouses, in the sense that it establishes a sprawling sense of place. Caribou’s wrote his 2010 release Swim about his literal love of swimming, while Leigh Hannah dreamed about the Orient and shifting environments in Diaspora. Noah Symons, the man behind Great Earthquake set out on this release with Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges in mind.
The record weaves these ideas through with the sounds of ambient hinterland recordings, presumably from that same region. This is especially true on ‘Human Activity’, which is one of the most beautiful points on Mind Maps, in my eyes. It instills a sense of intimacy that makes the tag of a ‘bedroom producer’ actually ring true.
The ethereal ‘Coping Mechanisms’ hints at that too. There’s very little that separates you from Symons as you listen to this. And by no means does ‘bedroom producer’ present something of a detraction of Symons’ musical ability, because really – this creation of intimacy is vulnerability when you flip things over. The lack of lyrics provide a veil, but it’s Symons effectively coming at you unfiltered for the entirety of this release. And that’s something definitely worthy of praise.
So, this release is something that strikes the right balance between rolling with an overt theme, but at the same time, doesn’t discount the importance of structure, instrumentation, and all that other ‘grown-up’ stuff that makes any release stand on its own two feet.
Facebook / BUY
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The community radio sector is something which all of us as ‘taste-markers’ will inevitably have to peruse on a daily basis.
Whether it be the vitality of Melbourne’s 3RRR or Sydney’s FBi, community radio stations have I’m sure, granted you with a multitude of new experiences and insights into the artists you’ve come to know and love.
And Melbourne’s Progressive Broadcasting Service (PBS) is no different. Home to “little heard music”, PBS has been many a watershed moment for teens, or even adults, wanting to break the shackles of the ear-bleeding homogeneity of commercial radio (since 1979). While Triple J serves the informed Australian listener to adequate degrees, it’s stations like PBS who go leaps and bounds in promoting music that may excite, intrigue, or present a whole new perspective to your perception of ‘taste’. Whether it be Hip-Hop, Latin, or Rockabilly, the station consistently presents a grid that doesn’t shy away from inaccessibility. Having said that, it’s this relative packaging of niches that provide the necessary grounds for getting into musical styles that you probably wouldn’t have even given thought to previously. It’s for this very reason why I’ve discovered some properly good Gospel, Ska, and Ethio-Jazz that I probably would never have discovered – even with the internet at my disposal.
However, despite the dedicated (and unnoticed) work of volunteers and community broadcasters from around the country, the very future of some 37 stations is in limbo.
Thanks to cuts in funding to the tune of $1.4 million, community broadcasters will no longer be able to maintain the costs associated with digital broadcasting. While the current federal government has committed $2.2 million at present, $3.6 million is needed to ensure that all community stations keep their digital broadcast capabilities. As it stands, federal funding of digital transmission and connectivity costs amount to less than $100,000 per station. So, considering that you’d have to be a luddite to not know the future of analogue, this issue has gone beyond just being a big deal.
Considering the impact that community radio has had on all of us at WTH, we thought it might be worth talking about. So, take a read when you have the time, make some noise, and sign the petition, here.
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(Words/grovels by Mel Tan)
Festival reviews. Generally a good place to describe the weather in hourly increments, tweet-debate the best burger van based on the number of guys with sleeve tatts and flat caps standing in line, maybe say some nice comments about some bands.
Like every other media outlet covering this festival this year, I would have liked to wring out some nice prose describing every set in such detail so that anyone who who didn’t get along could have heard how awesome Real Estate were, smelt the sweat seeping from the abundance of tropical print, found out the truth about Alt-J’s talking voice etc.
On the contrary, my Laneway was a lot more shit. The bulk of my Laneway experience was spent spent standing in a 3 hour ATM queue. Consequences of forgetting $$ and choosing a halftime Gozelme over entertainment.
Three hours down, Laneway security tried to console all 70 of us standing in the heat with bottled water. Nice move guys. In light of forgoing a bad case of the munchies and missing out on all the bands worth seeing (Cloud Nothings, Japandroids, POND, Poliça, Divine Fits and our boy Chet Faker), I did catch some other good stuff on the day. Here’s a condensed version.
The Men take the record for the shirt-off drummer at Laneway in 3 years. Alpine swapped crowd banter for wolf howls…ain’t nobody got time for that. Twerps worked their usual scrappy charm on a big crowd. High Highs convince us that they should strongly reconsider their Aus citizenship. Real Estate played crunchy lo-fi jams off Days and some tunes off their self-titled. Shlohmo summoned the entire day’s supply of denim overalls, ‘man buns’ and stick-on face jewels to a 20m² pen outside the Future Classic stage. Flume‘s slot at 9.30 meant Bat for Lashes crowd was a little sparser than the turn out for M83 at the same time last year. Despite the smaller crowd, Nat Khan sung all the new stuff, sashayed around in her coloured tin-foil get up and still trumped as GODDESS. And to cap it the day off in true Laneway tradition, there was another cameo by man in a tree.
On a good note, Alan did cart along to every act on the day and managed to capture another great Laneway. Check out his amazing portraits below.
(more photos after the jump)
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I’ve always been jealous of Fitzroy’s Gertrude St. For those of you not living in the World’s Most Liveable city, let me put it this way. SYD think Newtown, and BRIS think Fortitude Valley (the rest of you, well, make it up). Once a thoroughfare seen as the embodiment of Melbourne’s polar socio-economic disadvantage, the street has gone on to transform itself into one of Melbourne’s most hallowed hang out spots. And while the throes of gentrification have taken most of old Gertrude, she’s still got her soul, and quite a ragin’ one at that.
Northside Records has perched itself on top of Gertrude for 10 years now this month, and it’s fitting that a proposed in-store celebration turned into an accidental street party.
(more photos after the jump)
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Look, I must confess that I’ve been on a bit of an urban music trip, in part due to the rediscovery of my childhood. I’ve been caught in the throes of late 90′s rub, to be exact. I’ve been immersed in the funk of Erykah, the soul of D’Angelo, and the social critique of Lauryn Hill. I know that 90′s nostalgia has reached its peak, but I can’t help but treat myself to the luxuries of the golden age.
But what’s thrown me over the past year is the degree to which the archetypal ‘indie’ music has embraced it. With Grimes and Collarbones brandishing their Mariah fandom without fear, my typical aversion to admitting these rather ‘guilty’ pleasures have largely been made redundant. The Bloc Party/Horrors-toting teen that I once was has retreated back to the bosom of once cringe-worthy titles such as “Oooooohhhh…On the TLC Trip”. And with Destiny’s Child reforming sometime this year, this rediscovery couldn’t have come at a better time.
But alas, in an Australian context, the urban music canon has fared a little less favourably. Nationally, we don’t need to be reminded of the stigma of Australian hip-hop. But in recent months, I’ve definitely felt that there’s been a groundswell in whatever constitutes Australian ‘urban’ music. You just need to look the innovation of Hiatus Kaiyote or Oscar + Martin to name but a few of the successes of late.
Admittedly, I’ve been relatively Melbourne-centric, and here I go again, with Melbourne-via-Adelaide future soul/hip-hop artist, Candice Monique. Originally of Candice Monqiue and the Optics fame, the vocalist moves from traditional soul roots to a mix tape representative of a number of urban influences. Throughout the 14 tracks, you will undoubtedly hear parallels with the likes of Erykah Badu especially on tracks like ‘How to F*ck’, produced by intriguing Melbourne musician, Billy Hoyle.
However, underneath all these lofty comparisons, it’s clear that Monique has got something going on with the spoken word. Her poetic skill is laced throughout these tracks, not just articulated as hip-hop, but pure poetry that could give any budding SLAM poet a run for their money.
So, to all unashamed lovers of urban music, treat yourself and give this a listen. And to all others, stop pretending that you don’t sneak a little Erykah in with your Alt J.
Facebook / Bandcamp
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Late last year, we introduced you to Milhowse, the Melbourne-based electronic artist, with a sound seemingly unable to be pinned down. But here he is with a new track (yay!), ‘Bad Lands’. He’s tagged it under ‘neurotic’, but we’ll let you decipher it for yourself, because I’m sick of filing this under trip-hop.
Facebook / Soundcloud
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