Posts By Annie Toller

PARADISE MIXTAPE: ESC

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Next up in our mixtape series, featuring artists playing Paradise Music Festival on 28-30 November, are Melbourne post-punkers ESC, who have sent in their ideal soundtrack for the drive to the festival site at Lake Mountain. It’s a wonderfully eclectic mix, featuring everything from vapourwave to future beats – plus a cheeky little nod to the folks at Paradise tucked away at the end.

ESC are working up a new album as we speak, so keep your eyes peeled.

Track list:

01. ‘Wind On Water’ – Fripp & Eno

02. ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ – Nina Simone

03. ‘Cartoon Jungle’ – Andras Fox

04. ‘Flying’ – Death In Vegas

05. ‘Donovan’ – Happy Mondays

06. ‘地理‘ – Macintosh Plus

07. ‘Industrial Resort’ – Standish/Carlyon

08. ‘SexSlaveShip’ – Flying Lotus  (mixed with ‘Chamber of Reflection’ – Mac Demarco + ‘Baby Phat ft De La Soul’ – Devin The Dude)

09. ‘This Could Be Beautiful (It is)’ – Metronomy

10. ‘Vessels’ – Phillip Glass

11. ‘The Nights’ – Lee Hazelwood

12. ‘Vacuum Boogie’ – Floating Points

13. ‘Never Been To Me’ – Charlene

14. ‘Wind On Wind’ – Fripp & Eno

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PARADISE MIXTAPE: Planète

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Planete

In the lead up to boutique Aus music festival Paradise, which takes place on the final weekend of November, we’re running a series of mixes from artists featured on the bill. Kicking things off is Melbourne producer Dion Tartaglione, aka Planète, who’s sent us a pristine and expertly mixed selection of minimal techno jams.

Planète’s gorgeous two-track EP, Snow Sketch/Visions, is out now through Brisbane/NYC label Silo Arts. You can also download his blissful, Jon Hopkins referencing remix of Tincture‘s ‘Similar Circles’ via XLR8R.

Track list:

01. Vermont – Übersprung

02. David August – Epikur

03. Terence Fixmer – When The Sun

04. Petter – Untight

05. Lake People – Point of Time

06. Daso & Pawas – Det

07. The Sight Below – At First Touch X Nils Frahm – Familiar

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INTRODUCING: Total Giovanni

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Newly signed to Two Bright Lakes and Remote Control, Total Giovanni last week released their debut single, ‘Human Animal’. The band’s reputation for outrageous live shows preceded them, and before the public got a taste of Total Giovanni’s recorded efforts they were booked to play Dark Mofo, Melbourne Music Week, Golden Plains and Paradise Music Festival. But even the on-stage spectacle of five grown men in berets and leopard-print hot pants, performing synchronised dance moves to the strains of crotch-sniffing Italo-disco, could not have prepared us for how accomplished Total Giovanni sound in the studio.

A part of this year’s sweeping boogie revival, ‘Human Animal’ is also heavily indebted to the Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem (its opening lines – ‘I’m having so little impact/I’m having so little impact’ – immediately recall the melancholic jibes of James Murphy’s ‘Losing My Edge’). Total Giovanni jammed together for months before embarking on their many live dates, and they sound great as a result – as ‘Human Animal’ demonstrates. This is smooth, tight and extremely danceable stuff.

Catch Total Giovanni this Friday at Melbourne Music Week’s opening night, and on the final weekend of November, at Paradise Music Festival.

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LISTEN: Ara Koufax – ‘Brenda’

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The second single from Oceans Apart, a 19-track compilation showcasing Melbourne’s diverse club scene, mixed and curated by Cut Copy, dropped last week. If the other tracks are anything like as good as this one (and NO ZU’s contribution, the no-wave pilfering ‘Raw Vis Vision’ – replete with sax, disco whistle and cowbell – is a pretty fair attempt), then Oceans Apart could do great things for the local underground.

Ara Koufax is a new project from old hands Sam Gill and Luke Neher of Naysayer & Gilsun. It’s largely the result of a working beach holiday the pair took a little over a year ago to thrash out some new ideas. While Ara Koufax isn’t unrecognisable as the work of Gill and Neher, the sounds here are more expansive, less clean and monochrome, than the pair’s earlier material.

Their first single, ‘Converge’, is a warm, textured house track, with scuffed loops and a vocal that could have been plucked straight from a sweaty dancefloor in 1980s New York. ‘Brenda’, which unfolds in twice the time, is a much lighter affair. It sails along, with euphoric vocals taken from the late, great Brenda Fassie riding atop bubbling percussion and ascending keys.

Ara Koufax’s debut EP will be out soon on Downtime. Meanwhile, Oceans Apart is due for digital release on 11 November, via Cut Copy’s own Cutters Records, with vinyl samplers to come on 18 November. Preorders are available now from iTunes.

Don’t miss the Oceans Apart launch party at Melbourne Music Week on Saturday, 15 November, featuring Cut Copy DJs, Andras & Oscar, NO ZU, World’s End Press and heaps more.

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INTRODUCING: Amateur Dance

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Amateur Dance is Joseph Cookson, a 20-year-old from Melbourne who makes deep house jams, betraying a nostalgia for the unremembered 90s. His formula is simple but effective – juxtaposing spare melodies and light-handed production with the intimate words of total strangers. One woman admits, “I can’t produce… I just – I can’t”, and entreats you directly: “I don’t get it, but I’m grateful, and I want you to know how grateful”. Another demurs with a self-conscious giggle, “My life’s not that interesting”. Cookson executes these songs with a youthful earnestness and unabashed referentiality that’s pretty hard not to like.

The first Amateur Dance single, ‘what i had 2 do’ was a stunner, pairing Death Cab for Cutie with the ranting of bodybuilder CT Fletcher. With follow up EP keep it up receiving some positive attention overseas, Cookson has signed to October Records, where he’s kind of an odd fit on a roster of more ‘saleable’ acts – from the maximalist Afrobeat of Ribongia to the insipid white girl RnB of Elizabeth Rose and Vanessa Elisha.

Cookson’s first release with October Records, the Talking About Yourself EP, is another solid work – though, in keeping with the theme of self-effacement, the tracks have names like ‘Beginner’s Luck’ and ‘Room for Improvement’. Taking a populist route on the title track, Cookson samples an interview with that archetype of humility, Aubrey Drake Graham. The EP keeps on hitting the pleasure centres, moving to a young woman murmuring breathless endearments on ‘Room for Improvement’ and finishing up with the touching and strident prescriptions of ‘Advocate for Love’.

The chief risk for Amateur Dance is that if he keeps on flogging this recipe, his music could start to feel formulaic – calculated, even. Cookson’s obviously got a good ear; I just hope he broadens the range a bit in time for the release of a debut full-length.

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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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