Posts By Annie Toller

INTRODUCING: Owen Rabbit

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The thing I find most refreshing about Owen Rabbit’s sound is that it isn’t very trendy. Instead, it’s extremely direct – so sparse it’s a little gawky, like knock-knees or braces, but pop to the bone nonetheless.

The kid talks tough, of course: “Owen sounds something like Burial shoving Rufus Wainwright into a metal box,” reads his Soundcloud bio. Like a true lad, he was inspired to make music by the rave culture he grew up in, he draws on trip hop as much as indie pop and his first single is about being driven home in the back of a police car.

Owen Rees composes his tracks using a loop pedal, a drum pad, samplers and a variety of instruments. His patchwork percussion includes a number of household objects – matches, monopoly sets, tissue boxes. Debut release ‘Police Car’ features the clink and spray of an aerosol can. It’s a spare, confident track, led by vocals both melancholy and strident.

‘Police Car’ b/w ‘Homeless Dog Shelter’ is out now on 7″ vinyl, CD and digital via Catch Release Records. The last show of the ‘Police Car’ tour takes place at the William St Bird in Perth this Thursday, 21 August. RSVP on Facebook.

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MAP August 2014

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MAP is here for the month of August, Brisbane’s Blonde Tongues representing Australia this time around with their languid, ‘twee-gaze’ debut, ‘Seilu’.

Don’t forget to stream or download Robbie’s MAP podcasts via Soundcloud or iTunes. There’s a new MAPcast coming your way soon, focusing this month on the sounds of Mexico.

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 22-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Como Diamantes TelepáticosSoñar Soñar

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The name of the band comes from an Allen Ginsberg quote about the writings of his friend Jack Kerouac (“Each book by Kerouac is unique, a telepathic diamond”). This song by Como Diamantes Telepáticos is the first single from Dorado, their second studio album, in which they explore a more experimental psychedelic pop sound and mysterious lyrics. The album is available in physical format and as a free download from Bandcamp.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Blonde TonguesSeilu

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Seilu, the new single from Brisbane’s Blonde Tongues, is a piece of dream-pop with serious emotional pull drawn from slow-build instrumentals and spacey flares of lead guitar. A track about contradictions, thought patterns and lines of friendship, Seilu is coy and seductive rather than brash. There’s no doubt Blonde Tongues still have plenty more depths to reveal in their sound.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Banda do MarHey Nana

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Banda do Mar is a project by Marcelo Camelo (former singer of Los Hermanos, one of the biggest Brazilian bands from the last decade), Mallu Magalhães (Brazil’s biggest hype from the MySpace era) and Fred Pinto (Portuguese musician, member of Buraka Som Sistema and Orelha Negra). Hey Nana is their first single, bringing summer early with a catchy melody and some beachy vibes.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Slight BirchingCurrency

Sean Travis Ramsay makes neo-folk tunes under the name Slight Birching. His latest single Currency reveals a slight eerieness created by a haunting pedal steel and unique guitar twangs as Ramsay ponders a larger meaning in life.

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LOOK: Geoffrey O’Connor – ‘Her Name on Every Tongue’ single launch

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A few weeks ago Melbourne venue the Tote played host to the launch of Geoffrey O’Connor’s ’Her Name on Every Tongue’. The track is the second single from his sophomore solo album, Fan Fiction - ‘eleven adult contemporary disco hits’, out now on digital, CD and ‘deluxe gold vinyl’ via Chapter Music.

Supporting him were White Hex, a handsome duo whose latest album Gold Nights melds Italo-disco with proto-punk; Terrible Truths, a Melbourne-via-Adelaide post-punk three-piece, who will release an album via Bedroom Suck later this year; and newcomers Gold Class, doing their finest Ian Curtis impersonations.

Terrible Truths’ own Stacey Wilson (Rites Wild, Regional Curse), who also heads underground label Heavy Lows, took some photos for us on 35mm film. Check out Terrible Truths’ new single below, and eyeball more of Stacey’s work on her website.

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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.

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INTRODUCING: Hentai Magi

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hentai magi

Hentai Magi is the solo project of Sydney-sider Roberto Klaic – or the ’20th Century Boy’, who, according to his self-mythologising, was “spawned out of a young man who had reached the end of his evolutionary state and found transcendence in the sonic dimension”. Press release bravado aside, I’m amazed this guy is still flying so low under the radar. Perhaps the sinister nomenclature – not to mention the necklace made of bones – has been scaring the punters off. Beneath the sci-fi and gothic symbolism, Hentai Magi’s debut EP is a very consistent little collection of pop songs. 

The pagan overtones are realised to some extent in the circular grind of Klaic’s compositions, which tend towards drone despite the abundance of melodic hooks. The tracks are composed of screwed up organ sounds, probably guitar generated, alongside drum machines, booming bass, synth arpeggios and guitar solos that are reminiscent of pop savant Wild Nothing. The EP, strong on themes of forgiveness and the will to forget, feels like it was written in the wake of some emotional distress. Klaic has tortured these pop songs with bursts of noise and blown out drums that at their loudest sound like fireworks, and the climactic passages brim with elements that thud up against one another like it were a contest.

Hentai Magi achieves a strange balance between aggression, contemplation and pop; the schizophrenic dark side of Japanese counterculture meeting the ritual chants of a summer solstice.

You can stream the EP below, or get the whole thing for yourself as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.

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PREMIERE: Bearhug – ‘Borderlines’

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Sydney’s Bearhug are back with their first full-length release since 2012′s Bill, Dance, ShinerSo Gone will be out on 12 September through Spunk, and we’ve got the first taste for you in the blistering opener, ‘Borderlines’.

Bearhug has undergone some line-up changes, having lost a member since the Over Easy EP came out in April last year, and with those changes has come a major overhaul of their sound. While earlier releases smacked of My Morning Jacket and Being There-era WIlco, the band now names acts like Sic Alps and Fugazi as influences.

So Gone was recorded by Straight Arrows frontman Owen Penglis, who’s worked with most Sydney DIYers worth mentioning, including Royal Headache, Angie and Palms. Penglis now has a bona fide studio to work in (a step up from the kitchen of his Surry Hills share house), and the difference shows: Bearhug’s new single isn’t scrappy so much as searing.

‘Borderlines’ is all feedback and screaming guitar solo, underpinned by the drummer’s motorik tick and plenty of fuzz box. A brief but driving instrumental number, the track’s an exciting teaser of what’s to come.

So Gone tracklisting:

01. Borderlines

02. Aimee

03. Animal

04. Habit Wave

05. Chlorine

06. Acid Town

07. Catacombs

08. In Rapture

09. The Glow

10. The Sky

11. Until We Say

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PREMIERE: Caitlin Park – ‘Wake Up in a Whirr’ video

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‘Wake Up in a Whirr’ is the third single from Caitlin Park’s sophomore album, The Sleeper, which was released through Create Control in May. Like much of Park’s work, the track holds together a huge number of elements – in this case frenetic guitar, layered vocals, drums improvised from wooden wine boxes, found sounds and field recordings from destinations as far apart as Cambridge and Times Square – while still conveying a sense of simplicity. The song spins beneath Park’s smooth, confident vocal, like that surreal and vivid dream which forces you bolt upright at three in the morning.

As with the wonderful ‘Lemonade’, the video for ‘Wake in a Whirr’ features some stylish androgyny, focusing on a boxing match that’s been elegantly shot in black and white.

Today Park also releases the ‘To Breathe You Out’ EP, featuring collaborations from Kira Puru, Emma Russack, Shanna Watson and Jessica Venables.

Park and her band begin their tour for The Sleeper tonight at Sydney venue the Vanguard, following up with gigs in Melbourne and Brisbane. Dates below.

Friday, July 11 – The Vanguard, Sydney with Joyride

Friday, August 1 – Bella Union, Melbourne with Emma Russack and Shanna Watson

Saturday, August 2 – The Hive, Brisbane (All Ages) with Fieu and Sahara Beck

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