Posts By Annie Toller

PREMIERE: Massimo Jones – ‘Bone Dry’

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Entertainer, conman, itinerant, sleaze, Massimo Jones is a veteran and an auteur, the washed-up bastard son of the Italo-Australian underground.

The halcyon days of his youth – the dance floors of Milan, the Blue Light discos of the outback – are over, but Jones hasn’t lost his optimism. On debut album Jonesin’, he brings you proto-punk gloom shot through with the bright strains of Eurodisco.

His brand new release, ‘Bone Dry’, is a dispiriting tale of heartbreak and creeping nihilism. The track’s mournful synths and strangled vocals, while at first oppressive, give way to a hazy steel drum breakdown – a glimpse of the LED dancefloor illuminating the Mediterranean nights of Jones’ imagination.

‘Bone Dry’ is the follow up to ‘Ladies Man’, ‘a hot little number about doing time as a con-man in the 70s and gettin’ tangled up in the kind of ménage à trois that can turn a man half-mad just tryin’ to keep his head’.

Stripped back and lonesome, ‘Ladies Man’ reveals a fella half in love and half nauseated with the course his life has taken: ‘Can’t you see I’m getting sick of watching actors fight? Finding blood in my jacuzzi every other night’.

Massimo Jones is currently wandering lost through the south of Spain, but rumours are circulating of a return to Australian shores this summer and a string of performances to follow. Keep your ear to the ground.

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PREMIERE: Owen Rabbit – ‘Violence and Degradation’

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Last month we introduced you to Owen Rabbit, a kid who got his start playing bush doofs in WA and ended up composing trip-hop-inflected indie pop in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

‘Violence and Degradation’ is the follow up to first single ‘Police Car’. An extended live recording of the new track has been doing the rounds for a while now, showing Owen piece the sound together from a panoply of equipment – synths, samplers, drum machines. The final version has now been laid down and returned from the mastering studio, and will be released very soon via Catch Release Records.

Thematically, ‘Violence and Degradation’ is a neat sequel to the earlier 7″, moving from a tale of delinquency to one of addiction and destitution. But where ‘Police Car’ was sparse and strange, ‘Violence and Degradation’ is lush and soaring, layers of strings, keys and shuddering snares.

Owen Rabbit has a bunch of shows coming up in NSW and Victoria:

Wed, 8 Oct – The Evelyn, Melbourne

Fri, 17 Oct – FBi Social, Sydney

Sat, 25 Oct – The Evelyn, Melbourne

Thurs, 13 Nov – Wesley Anne, Melbourne

Sat, 14 Nov – Babushka Bar, Ballarat

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INTRODUCING: GL

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GL is a Melbourne-based synth-pop duo formed by Bamboos alumni Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson. The pair is about to release the Love Hexagon EP via Plastic World, a Sydney imprint run by Vic Edirisinghe of Astral People and James McInnes of Future Classic.

With a focus on the kind of forward-thinking, club-oriented acts that don’t seem to have a natural home on existing local labels, Plastic World has, in its short life, dropped releases by Tuff Sherm, Cassius Select, Retiree and Alba. The label’s curatorial nous is reflected in the remixes they’ve scored for GL’s upcoming release, including work by Detroit house legend Terrence Parker and Gerd Janson of Running Back Records, which has released music from the likes of Todd Terje, Theo Parrish and Tensnake.

‘Won’t You See’, the first cut to surface from Love Hexagon, started doing the rounds back in July. Though it’s body music with a killer hook, overwhelmingly the track comes off as a 1980s genre exercise, its drum machines and tightly coiled synths zapping like lasers.

GL’s new single, the more sultry ‘What Happened to Us’, draws on a similar palette – but here Thompson’s vocal performance pushes the sound to a higher plane. Her voice flutters and cracks as she delivers the yearning lines, ‘Don’t push harder/You can push harder/But it’s not like before’. As it heats up, ‘What Happened to Us’ rivals the retro-pop grandeur of Solange’s Dev Hynes-produced tracks, equal parts strength and lightness of touch.

Love Hexagon  pre-orders will be available soon. Check out the video for ‘Won’t You See’ after the jump.

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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
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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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