Posts By Madeleine Laing

INTRODUCING: Love Signs

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This single is the first chance anyone outside of Brisbane has had to hear the lovely Love Signs, who have risen from the ashes of girl group devotees Johnny and The Fembots and played some very impressive shows around town in the past few months.

‘Wish At Home’ has a  kind of school dance vibe – if school dances were actually about locking eyes across a softly lit room with the love of your life rather than drinking too many Woodstocks and throwing up behind the bike sheds.

There’s a whole lot of sweetness here, but also sophistication – and most of it comes from Izzy Mellor’s voice, which can’t help but take centre stage, it’s so full and classically beautiful. The instrumentation is subtle but distinct, a guitar twinkling away in the background and the rhythm section mixed with a restraint that helps to give the song its gauzy aesthetic.

The romantic feel is complemented by sighing lyrics about heartbreak and loneliness, and it’s an excellent introduction to such a sleek nostalgia band. Hopefully Love Signs have a lot more where this came from.

Talented AND generous, Love Signs have made this track available for free download on Soundcloud.

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FEATURE: Shedstock 2014

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Shedstock is the pretty genius brainchild of Donnie Miller and Innez Tulloch of Roku Music and recording studio Nowhere Audio. For the past few years it’s been running as the DIY festival to end all DIY festivals – a kind of pals-only thing on a family farm with a stage made out of wooden pallets. This year, with the help of some crowd funding, they built a real stage with a roof and walls and everything, and put on the biggest party northern New South Wales has ever seen.

There was music from the truly great Blank Realm, Brisbane’s best sad-band Keep On Dancin’s, the always excellent Roku Music, local badarses Woodboot, cold synth queens and surprise highlight Pleasure Symbols, scrappy legends Cannon, the ‘90s-bush-doof-meets-shady-electro-pop of Multiple Man, and the seriously demented Unpeople and Cobwebbs, to name hardly any, all playing in the obscenely beautiful surroundings of the northern rivers.

A music festival with no dickheads, good music all the time and heaps of rad dogs and chickens to play with during the day? Heaven.

To get into the DIY spirit (and maybe because I don’t own a real camera) I shot some photos on disposable film – and hey, they turned out alright!

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PREMIERE: Tempura Nights – ‘RIP Chix’ (video)

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ornage

A couple of months ago we featured Tempura Nights’ first single ‘R.I.P Chix’ (spoiler: it’s excellent), and now we’re premiering the Brisbane trio’s first foray into video format.

Keeping up the dreamy theme that runs through the washed-out track, the video is like the daydream you have when you’re three hours into an eight-hour shift – the kind of fantasy where you lay around with your good-looking mates and smoke cigs and play music and have pillow fights and braid each other’s hair. It’s total wish fulfilment, but done with the kind of wink-and-nod, tongue-in-cheek attitude that makes Tempura Nights so likeable. (Look at those white cut-off shorts and tell me this is a band who take themselves too seriously).

The video looks a hell of a lot better than your average DIY clip, with some pretty, sun-drenched shots by director Jennifer Embelton of Somersault Visuals. It’s clean and striking; the perfect visual introduction to a band that’s well worth watching.

Look out for Tempura Nights’ first EP White Whine, which will be out in the coming months.

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LISTEN: Contrast – ‘Less Than Zero’

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b&w contrast

Contrast are from Melbourne and describe themselves as ‘a coupla blokes who like skateboarding and local music’. Of course. But as bored as you might be with all the ‘regular guy’ modesty going around at the moment, these dudes are making music that’s interesting enough to reveal actual underlying ambition and talent.

Listening to their new EP, Less Than Zero, you’d believe they were the latest English buzz band: a bit shoegaze-y, kind of punk, with smart lyrics and delivery that effortlessly transitions from snide to sincere. There’s Primary Colours-era Horrors in the expansive intros and atmospherics, echoes of Major Leagues in the sweetness of the guitar lines and apathetic vocals, and of course all the usual ‘80s shoegaze references – but with enough of their own pop smarts that it’s hard to care much about who’s done it before.

You can pick up a copy of Contrast’s EP Less Than Zero here.

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LISTEN: Popstrangers – ‘Don’t Be Afraid’

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Popstrangers

Popstrangers’ first record Antipodes made a lot of people sit up and pay attention to New Zealand music. They also released one of my favourite singles last year, the understated ‘Rats in The Palm Trees’. So when new stuff from them ambled onto my radar, I got psyched.

And they didn’t disappoint. Typically for these guys, ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ has the kind of vocal hook that runs around in your head for days, annoying if it wasn’t so bloody good. Where ‘Rats In The Palm Trees’ and previous single ‘Country Kills’ were pretty straight, kinda disillusioned slacker rock songs, ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ has so much going on it’s hard to know where to start.

What’s going on with that bass sound? I’m into it. And hey, it gets cool and dark with just bass, drums and vocals in the verse, and wow, then things go like full Grizzly Bear-pretty (which is ultimate-boss-level prettiness) with that guitar in the chorus. Hang on, I gotta listen to it again.


‘Don’t Be Afraid’ will be out on Popstrangers’ second album Fortuna, hitting shelves and the internet on May 27th.

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INTRODUCING: Tempura Nights

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tempura nights

Tempura Nights are a Brisbane three-piece made up of the power combo of members of Go Violets (who bummed us all out a couple of weeks ago by breaking up), Major Leagues and The Good Sports. They’ve been pretty quiet since the release of first single ‘Cocky’ early last year, but this song shows that they mean srs bsns for 2014.

‘R.I.P. Chix’ is kinda getting pushed under the category of dream pop, but that label doesn’t quite do justice to how likeably tough singer/guitarist Alice Rezende comes across in the verses. Her lyrics about those romantic, over-privileged girls in their own own perfect worlds that we love to hate (and sometimes straight-up hate), are delivered in a downbeat monotone which is nicely dark and understated.

There’s stuff in here that you’ve heard before, from influences like Speedy Ortiz and Joanna Gruesome, but Tempura Nights are approaching the style in a different way, messing with form and structure to make a super cool sound that never seems derivative.

‘R.I.P. Chix’ is the first taste of Tempura Nights’ White Whine EP which will be out in the middle of the year. It’s also available for free download. Woop!

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WATCH: Tape/Off – ‘Pedestal Fan’

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Tape Off

Tape/Off are a Brisbane band who’ve been around for quite a few years making consistently rad, dingy rock music. Maybe part of the reason these guys are so good is that they’ve all got other ‘projects’ and shit to do. Recording, producing, radio announcing and, of course, plenty of other bands keep the members busy enough that they’re free to make music that’s unpretentious and loose. Tape/Off always sound like a mostly fun and recreational band, though they’re still serious as hell about making great songs.

Their latest single ‘Pedestal Fan’ was released ages ago, but the video has just been put out so if you haven’t checked it out yet now’s your chance. The clip is shot in black and white and features a relaxed approach to road rules; band members shredding and singing and smashing drums in an old van (which apparently was put out of its misery by a medium sized hill not long after this shoot). Usually clips that just rely on one idea like this get boring halfway through, but this one is fast and frantic and totally watchable until the last second.

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Tape/Off’s first full length record Chipper comes out in June, but you can check out their two previous EP’s (and also get ‘Pedestal Fan’ as a pay-what-you-like download!) on Bandcamp.

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