The clip for Rainy Day Women‘s latest single ‘Mars’ is filled with crackled footage of the lads roaming through vines of over-priced-goon-fruit and lush green fields with front man Dylan Ollivierre’s six string tagging along for the stroll.
The pastel tones in the clip match the tune’s melancholic turn. It’s still well crafted, jangly guitar pop but minus the carefree sparkle that much of their earlier work had. The textured harmonies and brass complement the ever-present guitar melodies to tell a story of longing and goodbyes, all under the group’s telltale Perth sun sound.
It’s the stuff of hazy daydreams, and it features the most ‘strayan outfit in the world – denim, beanie, coat and thongs.
‘Mars’ is the first cut from Rainy Day Women’s forthcoming debut album, to be released in the not too distant future, and the guys say that ‘Mars’ is the sound of things to come.
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On, the collaborative EP from Lovely Head’s Vivian Huynh and Teenage Mustache’s Evan Hill Porteus, has a cinematic sparseness carried by a solid undercurrent of apocalyptic minimalism. Huynh’s vocals are an ethereal counterpoint to Porteus’ (of the excellent Newcastle band Bare Grillz) pounding synth breaks. Opening track ‘Kennedy’ is a case in point, setting you up for an interesting listen indeed.
The solo work of both artists is a good indication of their collaborative direction, flexing their No and New Wave muscles respectively. It’s an odd combination that they manage to pull off across On, and the result is some pretty dark, innovative post-punk.
The EP definitely creates a solemn mood, its No Wave experimentation evident in the crashing percussion and industrial echo. It can be a little intimidating, but the closing track ‘Alleviate’ does just that, with Huynh’s vocals and Porteus’ production agreeing to relieve us of the atonal darkness (but holding onto the hollowed-out drum machine rhythms) to create a haunting melody that rounds out the sonic scope of On.
The pair are launching On at Freda’s Bar in Chippendale on 31 July. RSVP on Facebook.
Keep an eye out for the debut Teenage Mustache record, due out on Y202 Records mid-year.
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Brisbane-based quartet Santelmo began putting music out mid last year, culminating in the release of their debut EP Pins & Needles. The band cites some pretty divergent influences, from Grizzly Bear to J Dilla. The former at least is evident over the course of their 6-track EP, with honeyed, Ed Droste-like vocals layered into pretty but distorted melodies.
A Pins & Needles standout, ‘Holiday Season’, begins with an unassuming drumbeat that could belong to any cookie-cutter indie rock song. Cue droning, dissonant vocals that would threaten to float away if they weren’t rooted to a persistent, driving bass line and rhythmic guitar. If the song wasn’t full of sneaky counter-melodies and harmonic textures it would be lifeless, a risk avoided by Santelmo through careful production. A nod to J Dilla, maybe? They just don’t seem like the kind of guys (and gal) who’d put out a careless, sloppy track. You probably had a better holiday than Santelmo, but at least they had the decency to turn their shit time into a gritty, melancholic and captivating tune.
The moody vocals, agile bass and folky riffs on Pins & Needles combine to prove that 1) Santelmo are capable of crafting angsty gems without any clichéd sappiness and 2) indie rock doesn’t have to be hopelessly unoriginal and bereft of emotion.
Santelmo have just put out a film clip for the EP’s title track, ‘Pins & Needles’, with help from Brissie filmmaker Tom van Kalken. Watch on to see guitarist Eamon Webb inadvertently turn one of those totem tennis poles that lonely kids get for Christmas into a pogo stick.
Eamon and bass player Joe Saxby have also been putting out some neat folktronica under the grammatically-challenged moniker These Guy that you can listen to here.
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I wouldn’t be surprised if Kučka‘s (aka Laura Jane Lowther) voice actually spun fairy floss. The latest single from the Perth native, ‘Unconditional’, is a decidedly smoother pop song than those on her debut EP, where her experimental tendencies (see ‘Polly’) saw her layer those sickly sweet vocals over glitch samples and sparse, syncopated drum machine beats.
‘Unconditional’ refines her penchant for the pop hooks and harmonies that were generously sprinkled over her debut, opting for a more structured approach to production that sees her embrace a (slightly) more traditional pop song structure. The slow-jam synth beats in the verses dissipate into a breakdown featuring a lone vocal melody before building back up into an R&B style call-and-response chorus line. It’s still avant-pop, but with a straighter synth pop vibe in place of the experimentalism of her debut.
Somewhat presciently, US rapper A$AP Rocky sampled Kučka on his 2012 single ‘Long Live A$AP’ – then asked her to contribute backing vocals to ‘Fashion Killa’. The brush with pop royalty perhaps reflects the future arc of Kučka career – or, at the least, it’s been a catalyst for her new off-kilter pop sound.
On top of that (and aside from the obvious Grimes comparison), the polyphonic textures and bright production on ‘Unconditional’ show more of an optimistic side to Kučka’s music. Must be all that Perth sun.
‘Unconditional’ is the lead single from a new EP, due out later this year. Kučka is launching the single at the Bird in Perth this Saturday, 7 July with support from ¹fm¹, Mudlark and DJs Rex Monsoon and Salut Barbut (The Monarchy). RSVP on Facebook.
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Bugs is the solo effort of Connor Brooker, lead singer from Sunshine Coast surf pop/goon rockers Pro Vita. He’s borrowed from the surf pop roots of the group but left any semblance of polish (and fruity lexia) behind. There are distorted shoegaze vocals, earworm-y hooks and gnarly guitar riffs crawling all over Bugs’ debut EP, Home, Alone. It’s lyrically sparse at one turn and raining feels at another. The back and forth between the two keeps his debut effort interesting, pushing away surf pop’s tendency towards monotony with one hand and embracing the structural simplicity with the other. Bugs’ penchant for pop-punk riffs is something that could have been plucked right out of Dylan Baldi’s head, a melodic sensibility that’s obvious in the noise pop delight ‘Get to Know Me’, a standout from the EP. It’s surf pop covered in gravel, but it goes down a treat.
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