The Inches – ‘Dress Like Gods’
Hot young things out of Melbourne, The Inches are living proof that the Aussie music industry does work in weird and wonderful ways. Signed before they had even played a single show, these boys are now part of the Red Label roster, an underground subdivision of the behemoth that is SonyBMG. With an average age of about twenty-one, the group posses a proficiency which far outstrips their years, as they rip through their modern take on 70s glam in the vein of T-Rex, Bowie, and perennial favourites, Deep Purple.
But it would be wrong to label The Inches as yet another ‘scene’ band who wear their influences like a second skin. For they also meld punk-funk, disco and most importantly (for this author) extended psychedelic jams into their numbers, which makes for a highly unique sound. There’s alot of buzz surrounding these guys, and it’s pretty easy to see why. As drummer Manny Bourakis explains “Melbourne is a city with a good rock community, but lots and lots of shit bands.” Good to see that this outfit managed to inch their way to the top of the heap. Who needs the metric system anyway?
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I Heart Hiroshima – ‘Candy Cut’
Right from the name, you can tell that these kids are going to be scruffy “scribble-our-name-on-your-schoolbooks” indie-pop darlings. Like every good lo-fi outfit, I Heart Hiroshima met at a house party last year, did some jamming, decided to ignore bass guitar (who plays bass these days anyway? That’s so 1990s..) and record a cute little EP. The result is A 3 Letter Word for Candy, a debut which, rather impressively, manages to encapsulate the spirit and fervour of some of the best indie acts of the recent years.
Equal parts Pavement, Sonic Youth and Tapes ‘n Tapes, the trio all share vocal duties, making for some interesting Subways-esque texture changes as boys and girls constantly swap from lead to backing. Needless to say, the girl’s a lot better, with a sexed-up yet eerily detached voice that would probably give Interpol’s Paul Banks nightmares. The production is, naturally, mediocre (as was probably intended), but the songs are tight – and the twin-pronged guitar attack actually works, rather than simply sounding contrived. When a grassroots label pumps some serious money into their studio time, these guys will be huge.
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Midnight Juggernauts – ’45 and Rising’
“Dude, this crowd is so scene…”
A phrase often overheard at Midnight Juggernauts‘ gigs, where old highschool buddies Andy and Vincent proceed to blow indie kids’ minds, especially in their hometown of Melbourne. Though they have only just released their EP Secrets Of The Universe, the boys have supported with some rock’s premier acts. Wolfmother, DFA 1979 and songstress/DJ Annie are all quick to praise the duo, currently labelled as the “hardest working touring act” in Australia. And the gigs just keep on coming, as the Juggernauts hit the road with Canadian wunderkind MSTRKRFT.
Their sound is truly inventive, mashing up pretty much every electro subgenre of the past few decades, leaning heavily towards the moody synth-club sound which echoes New Order and to a lesser extent, Daft Punk. First single ‘Shadows’ showcases this sort of zombie-flick-vs-neon-disco concept which has catapaulted the Juggernauts to stardom. They’ve got an album in the pipeline, a headlining tour in the next month, followed by a slot at the prestigious Homebake Festival in December, the lauded, annual all-Aussie festival which takes place in the heart of Sydney. These guys don’t even need the promo; friends like Cut Copy, The Presets and Chromeo speak for themselves.
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Sneaky Sound System – ‘I Love It’
As Bob Dylan famously announced, “The times they are a-changin”, especially for the Sneaky posse, who seem to have transformed from everyone’s favourite club act into commercial superstars overnight. Of course, Angus and Daimon (i.e, the boys) have been banging out tunes for over five years, acquiring a legion of devoted fans in the process from their ‘Sneaky Sundays’ jaunt at Hugo’s Bar, home to the urban elite in Sydney’s party central, Kings Cross. Yet it is only recently that their hard work has come to fruition, in the shape of their banging self-titled album.
Part of Sneaky’s newfound influence can be attributed to their newest member, the stunning Connie Mitchell, whom the boys stumbled across in Hyde Park playing guitar and singing. Like Fergie to the Black Eyed Peas, Connie has only served to enhance the already distinct Sneaky sound. The Sneaky D.I.Y approach has certainly taken them far beyond the realm of their wildest dreams, as they were recently nominated for two ARIAs (NB: One ARIA in Australia = One Grammy in USA, One Brit Award in the UK, etc), and invited to support Robbie Williams on his upcoming Australian tour. Quite ironic, considering their statement “We’re like an electronic garage band with delusions of stadium glory.”
These guys make seriously good music. They make sugar-pop groups with electro trimmings like the Rogue Traders and Bodyrockers look like preschoolers. Rock on.
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