Posts By Melissa Tan

MAP x MAPCAST: March 2015

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We’re sending a perfectly auto-tuned human to the European Union. This of course, is totally OK because he has a duet with Lupe, a vast knitted beanie collection and a set of really annoying eyebrows. Aside from staking our country’s first claim at the Eurovision trophy we have absolutely no merit to even win – the other choices were quite obvious. Client Liaison performing on a giant rotisserie with flares and a horn section could have been lesser beige that Mr Sebastian himself.

Considerations aside, here’s another round of our monthly world wrap-up: Mapcast. Robbie’s wrap-up of the best new tracks from the Music Alliance Pact – tunes from Denmark, Chile, Canada, Columbia, Ireland and our very own Kučka.

If you’ve got a track you’d like featured as the Australian submission for Mapcast, drop us an email at editors@whothehell.net. Listen to previous Mapcast podcasts at our Soundcloud and check out the full Music Alliance Pact below.

 

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 21-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Panda ElliotGuerrero (AlexPatri remix)

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Panda Elliot is three in one: woman, band and producer. A fresh new face in the music scene, she recently launched her second album Forastera, which shows a more confident Panda Elliot, well established in her own style. After the eclectic single Ligerita, she released Guerrero, a rockin’ feminine song that forces you to move your head. The track is potent and full of energy on its own, so this remix by AlexPatri extends into the realm of fun, uptempo electronic dance.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
KučkaDivinity

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A continuation of Kučka’s future R&B leanings hinted at in her previous work, Divinity is a lush, surreal affair. Undulating rhythms sync perfectly with the swirling, cough-syrupy synths and Laura Jane Lowther’s vocals, which sound at once sultry and innocent. Think an antipodean Purity Ring.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Passo TortoIsaurinha

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Passo Torto is a quartet formed by renowned musicians from Sao Paulo’s contemporary music scene. Isaurinha is taken from their second album, Passo Elétrico, in which they explore guitars and effects on acoustic bass and cavaquinho (sort of a small guitar often associated with samba), with the lack of percussion elements leaving space for harmonic and melodic experiments.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
MunroeBloodlet

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Fans of Lykke Li may enjoy newcomer Kathleen Munroe, who simply goes by Munroe. She makes chilling folk tunes like this one with a tinge of Americana (though I guess this would be Canadiana?). Production-wise, Bloodlet doesn’t have too much but it’s perfect just the way it is. Her lovely voice is all you need.

 

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VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Jonathan Boulet

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Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Bands and artists are expected to borrow their schtick from a variety of sources. Often, the back story is just as interesting as the output itself. We’re kicking off a new series where we ask artists to make a mixtape based on a genre they’re into, but not necessarily associated with. Sometimes harmony, sometimes hardcore Jonathan Boulet gives us some insight into his ‘doom rock’ brain-chasms below. HTML hi-fives to Lucy Roleff (for illustrating our new national emblem above) and Greg Stone from Feral Media for putting this together.

Jonathan Boulet _ Virtual Mixtape

Greg Stone: I first became aware of Jonathan Boulet as the drummer/vocalist in the now defunct Sydney band Parades, an indie pop/rock group who seemed poised to take on the world, albeit for a brief moment. So it came as no surprise when Jono’s solo project stole the spotlight with its irrepressible pop hooks and sing along choruses. A talent that caught the ear of indie powerhouse Modular, who quickly released his self titled debut album.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Boulet’s most recent album Gubba (released via Popfrenzy), finds him indulging heavier rock moments revealing yet another side to his musical oeuvre, a side previously hinted at through his side-project SnakefaceConsidering this, it is certainly fitting that his mixtape is on the heavy side of things. A cathartic journey through sludge rock, post punk, hardcore and other distorted sub genres best enjoyed at maximum volume.

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1. Sleep – ‘Jerusalem’

Never actually listened to this front to back. We did it the other day while we were on tour driving between Sydney and Brisbane. The heavens opened up as they always do right as you go past Byron Bay. It was getting dark, we were speeding through a typhoon – zero visibility, moments from our imminent doom……with the perfect soundtrack.

‘Stoner’, ‘Doom’, ‘Sludge’ – whatever it’s called, it just doesn’t seem to ever lose its appeal to me. You can get sick of anything, but this is something I come back to most weeks.

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2. Swans – ‘Oxygen’

Michael Gira’s vocals are just straight out funny. I like his sense of humour. I just want a copy of the acapella for this one. Once again, Swans punish their audience with their unrelenting barrage of hits, slides, bends topped off with that undeniable groove.

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3. Destruction Unit – ‘Slow Death Sounds’

When that guitar comes in it just tears through the speakers like a chainsaw hitting a bloated stomach. That kind of reckless sonic annihilation would make many recording engineers queasy. That’s exactly why it’s perfect.

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4. The Men – ‘LADOCH’

I love how this song feels like it’s over but somehow they get a second wind and it’s back on. This band moves on so quickly from album to album but I’m glad they took the time to blow some steam and indulge in some righteous sonic violence before continuing on to safer territory.

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PREMIERE: Olympia – ‘Honey’ video

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Olympia

Olympia’s new track was inspired by photos of ‘red honey’ – the result of one Utah beekeeper’s idea to feed his bees Candy Canes instead of planting some flora like any other sensible beekeeper would. On ‘Honey’, Olympia (Olivia Bartley) says:

“Honey is about the influence we have on each other. The moment when something happens; you run into an ex, or you open your hive and the honey is the wrong colour. You have this, ‘Is this what I look like? Is that who I am?’ moment.”

The video was shot by director Alex Smith, whose credits include Jack Ladder’s glam-down with Sharon Van Etten, PVT‘s ‘In The Blood’ – or perhaps this low budget one featuring some guy named Chris Martin in soggy thermals stumbling across a beach.

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The video for ‘Honey’ is as stoic as the song itself. Olympia dons a Polly Jean jumpsuit and stance, and has all the lighting controls to power a substation or a late night viewing on Rage. Flash footage of Ballet Russes dancers in the 1930s pique the guilt that Bartley alludes to when she sings ‘Every lover you’ve turned your back on / Turns up new in someone else’s arms / I don’t want to see who I am in you, now’. 

Although the ‘studio’ here is arranged for prime-time, she’s playing live for an empty audience. Won’t stay that way for long.

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‘Honey’ is available to purchase on iTunes now.

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EXCLUSIVE: Nadia Reid – ‘Call The Days’

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nadia-reid

New Zealand’s Nadia Reid sings about the catharsis that comes with about moving to a new town in ‘Call The Days’. While Reid stems from the same ‘nu-folk’ ilk as Hollie Fullbrook (Tiny Ruins), Aldous Harding and our own Laura Jean, Reid’s diction holds a great weight that surpasses her peers. 

This track comes from her debut album Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs – the follow up to her 2011 EP Letters I Wrote and Never Sent. ‘Call the Days’ was recorded by Ben Edwards at Lyttleton Records (Aldous Harding, Marlon Wiliams).

Nadia says that the track was the first song she penned after moving from Christchurch to Wellington; spurred on by a “panic attack” and being “worried about making the right choices in life”.

On the surface, ‘Call The Days’ isn’t a difficult listen – the verses pace along steadily with Reid’s glowing resolve at the helm. There’s a string-like quality to Reid’s diction; her warm falsetto morphs in unison with the cello at times that you forget that both are entirely separate from each other. Reid deals with the misgivings of circumstance quite positively – in the same way that Laura Marling uses token steering-the-ship references and seasonal references (‘I threw out my winter coat / I cut the sleeves off all I’d known’) that same defiance remains here.

And like Laura, it still surprises me how some people still generally reference ‘age’ as an extraordinary justification to make a resonating folk track – as if youth’s poetic schitck these days is only capable of dropping bass and bad raps.

Reid lived and played music in Christchurch for many years before moving to Wellington, both pre and post the earthquake. Sure, the track happened in the midst of displacement and change, but it stays in the comfort of melancholia both in theme and arrangement. It always pivots back to the sane point, hovering around the same central chord.

Reid marks each verse with the phrase ‘I was so sure’, over and over again. It’s an honest self-affirmation, and an important one at that.

Nadia Reid’s debut LP Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs is out via Spunk on March 27th. 

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PREMIERE: Gordi – ‘Taken Blame’

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Gordi

Gordi’s new track ‘Taken Blame’ does its best ‘keep calm’ impression (without the bad spin-offs and aggressive font). Her debut track ‘Nothing’s As It Seems’ made its first appearance here late last year, and her latest single ‘Taken Blame’ is just as gossamer as the first.

It could be nonchalance or just restraint, but Gordi’s delivery treads along in a way that lets in light to an otherwise insular space. Lyrically, the subject matter is a little grim, but she maintains a transformative outlook. ‘Taken Blame’ adopts a beautiful arrangement, with Gordi’s nuances interrupted by the occasional off-beat or elevated vocal harmonies that bookmark the verse.

Whirling production/echo FX in the mixing department are all nice aesthetic flourishes. It sounds like listening to a live performance in a small room with massive ceilings. You get the feeling that without all of it, Gordi’s pastoral vocal would still lend this track the same weight. In this way, she tends to the same patch as Felicity Groom and even Sharon Van Etten, who’ve groomed their alto to the tune of honest post-love songs. There’s many years to go before Gordi could pass with the chutzpah that SVE reveals when she sings about errands and bathroom habits, but she might get there.

I’ve never seen Gordi perform, but I feel like I have many times.

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Gordi is playing Mordialloc Festival on the 28th and touring with Winterbourne throughout March. See below for details.

 

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INTRODUCING: Fonz Whaler

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Fonz-Whaler

Snubbing out lyrics ain’t such a bad thing when you have bands penning medleys about religious icons and shrines to fruit. Tom Kakanis is Fonz Whaler, a Brisbane guy making instrumental music out of his “brain oven” – which I’m sure is how all this fiddly ambient loitering incubates in the first place.

Fonz Whaler’s debut EP is a smoggy recount of solitude – fuelled by playful melodies, bow-legged instrumentals and every weird conversation you’ve probably had with yourself after 2am. This EP reminds me of some of Lalic‘s more downtempo tunes. And like Lalic’s work, there’s something special about lo-fi recordings like this which still cut clean sounds without suffocating in distortion or crying about the suburbs ’cause it can. 

Kakanis does attempt vocals on a few tracks, but it’s his instrumental-only version of events that do best. ‘Milestones’ kicks off with a succession of peppy guitar pluckings, the sort Andrew Bird would mount in his trophy cabinet, maybe on a Christmas album. That glorious treble guitar continues to bubble away in ‘Projections’. ‘Life on the Mandoline’ could be the motion picture soundtrack for a ridiculous coming of age biopic set in Crete, but it’s most definitely a song about a glorified fruit slicer.

You know, whether this is a baked dribble for soundscapes or vita C for the imagination, it’s been a nice way to kick off my leisure time. It’s all yours for $3, right here.

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