Dion Tartaglione is an expert manipulator of noise. As Planète he is at the forefront of the newest wave of Australian electronic music. This might seem like big praise if you’ve never heard of him, but I have a feeling after listening to the latest Planète tunes – the ‘Visions’ / ‘Snow Sketch’ double A-side – you might agree with me.
I’m so confident that you’ll agree this guy is the bomb that I am tempted to stop writing now and let the music talk for me. I’m too vain to let that happen though; let me tell you a bit more about what to expect.
‘Visions’ starts off simply, quietly. Only a few blips and clicks permeate the low-level sound, but they are crucial to the build up. Not long after, the bass enters and your synapses start firing; electrical and chemical impulses start moving in your brain. The groove, once this track gets going, is undeniable – it might not make your heart race, but it will make your brain work.
‘Snow Sketch’ is the slightly longer song of the two, and it has more of a body groove going for it. You can bop around a bit more to this one, but its charm is in its restraint. Plucky synth notes dance around the maracas and bass undercurrent. Both tracks get beyond the seven-minute mark, making each a hefty yet satisfying aural trek.
‘Snow Sketch’ and ‘Visions’ are so immaculately crafted you’ll think they came from a bigger, more established name. The songs are like rooms decorated in the most elegant, minimalist style – unfathomably cool. Planète has the backing of similarly hip electro-heads, Silo Arts, and has supported the likes of LUCIANBLOMKAMP live. If you’re not convinced by this release, then it’s genuinely your loss.
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Many Things are a London-based group led by a familiar Aussie face. If you, like me, got caught up in the whirlwind surrounding Yves Klein Blue a few years back, then you will instantly recognise Many Things’ vocalist, Michael Tomlinson. Now living in London, Michael has spread his wings not just geographically but musically, too.
‘Chains’ is the new single from Many Things. It’s a heartbreaking take on obsession and an inability to let go of past loves. This tune is a proper rollercoaster, starting slowly but swelling to a bombast that parallels Tomlinson’s passion. He’s angry, he’s miserable, and it feels like he’s trying to pour every molecule into this song in the hope that he can contain it all there.
Take note, this isn’t a solo outing. Many Things is a group of talented musicians who create a strong foundation for Tomlinson’s voice. The small details are the most interesting. Listen close for the odd voicemail snippet – they add a level of personal sadness to the picture of obsession already being conveyed.
The newly released video for ‘Chains’ is a warped, VHS-style clip that features a bare-chested Tomlinson, his image distorting every time he begins to break apart.
Many Things will be releasing an EP, What We Are, on 22nd August through Dew Process.
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‘Walk Don’t Run’ is the brand new single from Melbourne four-piece Singing For Humans. The group has been gathering momentum for a little while now over a bunch of new releases, and we are happy to offer you the first taste of their upcoming album.
The song is a rousing track of simple yet elegant pop with the volume turned up to 11. Crystal clear vocals, pristine musicianship – Singing For Humans know how to write a tune. ‘Walk Don’t Run’ has a distinct UK indie-rock feel, channelling bands from the ’90s and early 2000s, combining the sonic qualities of acts like The Big Pink and The Verve.
After a few opening bars of acoustic strumming an electric guitar is introduced that sounds like an air-raid siren (if it were powered by failing Duracell batteries) and lyrics that provide a warning: walk, don’t run; simple but sound advice.
Singing For Humans will be releasing their self-titled EP on the 30th of August via Shock Records.
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It’s a real treat when music is easy to listen to from the get go. Dag is one of those bands that make it really, really easy. Their songs feel complete and fully formed without getting overcomplicated. Cards on the table, Dag aren’t pushing boundaries or setting precedents. But why should I care when I have these songs to listen to?
Dag is Dusty Anastassiou and friends. Dogwood is their new cassette, out now on Brisbane label Tenth Court. (Dusty also plays guitar for Tenth Court alumni Thigh Master). Dogwood is a fine addition to the growing amount of breezy, acoustic-leaning, suburban-grown Australian independent rock. Brisbane-based but sounding a bit Melbourne, Anastassious sings whimsically about dealing with the mundane aspects of life. The songs are nicely polished except for one lo-fi, demo-type ditty at the end of the cassette.
Dag know what they want to do and they do it well. There is room for growth in their sound, and hopefully we’ll see something truly special from them soon.
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Fresh from the horse’s mouth is a brand new slice of heaven from Melbourne outfit, Playwrite. Their latest single, ‘Whittaker’ is a beautiful song, one that’s endlessly listenable while also carrying a thought provoking message.
With a strong aptitude for folk, Playwrite open ‘Whittaker’ with a softly pattering drum line and a simple but touching acoustic guitar melody. Over time, they introduce pitch-perfect vocal harmonies and glittering synths that create a sublime contrast with the lead vocals, expressing yearning and melancholy in a striking way. It’s an interesting contrast between the calming nature of the music and the earnest plea contained in the lyrics; the carefree melodicism is countered by serious social commentary in a way that’s uniquely effective.
Previous single ‘Lady Oracle’ was a more layered affair. Where ‘Lady Oracle’ was propelled by driving beats and jungle rhythmics (think Yeasayer, circa All Hour Cymbals), ‘Whittaker’ is stripped to the core, contemplative and world weary. Lamenting the failure of our institutions and the ignorance of many, Playwrite’s sentiments are strong. Thankfully, ‘Whittaker’s understated atmosphere adds weight to the message, where a more bombastic approach would have undermined it.
The band took time to craft their latest work in the Victorian hinterland and on ‘Whittaker’ it shows. You can imagine this song being conceived during a walk at dusk, away from civilisation, where the woes of the world can be examined from afar. Throughout the song there is a gentle sway, a caressing breeze of fresh country air.
Playwrite’s debut album is slated for release later this year. It features production work from Jimi Maroudas (Kimbra, Eskimo Joe, Bertie Blackman) and mastering by Emily Lazar (Haim, Vampire Weekend, James Vincent). Based off their two latest singles, I’d say the record will be as diverse as it will be touching.
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The Backstabbers are a brand new duo consisting of Rupert Edwards (Dick Diver) and Amy Hill (School of Radiant Living), with a hypnotic quality that emanates from their brand of morose, drum-less folk.
If you can dig a few tunes that tug at the heartstrings and are less than cheerful, you should checkout The Backstabbers’ new cassette, Shame. I hope I don’t undersell how much impact music like this can have – these songs have a stern beauty and a calmness that eases the mind.
Piano and trumpet fill the space solemnly, as if they were echoing through an empty house. The girl/boy harmony work is especially sweet, taking the edge of the ‘strine in Rupert’s accent, adding an ethereal quality and giving fullness to the sparse arrangements on tape.
Shame dwells on the nature of friendships and the slow meandering of daily life, communicating thoughts and feelings simplistically but successfully. The songs are fully formed, if a bit rough around the edges. Regardless of its lonesome and haunting nature, this is well thought out, touching music.
The Shame cassette is out now on Hideotic and can be purchased through Eternal Soundcheck.
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Zaped is the side-project of Brisbane-based producer, Jordan De Pasquale, whose specialty is lush and layered electronica. The Palindromes front man has moved from a live band setting to a more intimate configuration for Zaped – and ‘intimate’ has to be the best descriptor for the music De Pasquale’s making under this new moniker.
‘Paradise’ is his newest single and best creation to date; an ode to the highs of passion and the desire – or the need – to attain a heightened state of pleasure. This is a song thick with atmospherics and a comforting yet exhilarating feeling; one that ascends to lofty peaks then gently places you back in reality.
From the beginning, a stark and beautiful piano loop helps set the tone for what is both a sensual and melancholic affair. Quivering drum samples help shape the opening moments of this meandering, synth-driven track before everything comes together in a peak that’s equal parts delicacy and power. Phenomenal singer Georgia Potter adds enormous amounts of energy and passion with her sublime RnB-influenced vocal.
This melodic composition is a step in the right direction for the producer. In a genre packed with talented contemporaries Zaped has some stiff competition, but with tunes like ‘Paradise’ he should be able to fill a spot in the upper tier nicely.
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