Posts By Melissa Tan

PREMIERE: Hideous Towns – ‘Heart Attack’

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hideous_towns

I saw some shoegaze bands on Thursday night. It’s awesome watching people in the crowd contort their bodies to music, especially when there’s a shrouding wall of reverb covering any semblance of a beat. I can’t dance to this music. If I pull out Stella Luna or revisit a Slowdive record, it’s somewhere with dim lighting and a massive doona where I can revel in being a recumbent, moody fuck.

Anyway, not everyone listens to music in near darkness. Melbourne’s Hideous Towns are back with their new single, ‘Heart Attack’ – a bright follow up to last year’s self titled EP.

It’s crisp track; guitars are tender; drums are hit with economical purpose and Alana’s hopeful vocal traverses in equal stride alongside the rest. There are simple pow-wows in the verse about the parallelisms of love and its undoings. Hideous Towns might have been quick to gratify the shoegaze zeitgeist in their earlier recordings, but their previous EP showed the band’s capacity to be tender and edgy all at once (without drowning in vocal/pedal fanfare).

In ‘Heart Attack’, Hideous Towns turns up the pace of their last release, but keeps the status quo. It’s quite a peppy tune actually. Maybe your new pump-up jam. It doesn’t wade in the euphoric shell pool for much of it, but even for the lack of passiveness here, I would love to hear a bit of Monika Fikerle bite happening in the rhythm section. The guitar stutters have been mixed to a clean pulp around the 2:10 mark, but I dig it. Could wax on about this track and how I’ll probably go for a run and order a pizza afterwards, but you should probably just listen to it.

It’s 2015, but still a great time to be a sad guy/girl with a loud amp.

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‘Heart Attack’ is out tomorrow digitally and on vinyl via Lost and Lonesome. The band will be heading out on tour across the country at the end of the month. Dates below.

27th June – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane w/ BottlecockThe Bag Heads

28th June – The Time Machine, Sunshine Coast w/ FlotsamjetsamPermateens

10th July – Hotel Metropolitan, Adelaide w/ The SystemaddictsPonytail Kink

25th July – Oxford Arts Factory, SYDNEY w  /The S-BendsAloha Units, Hunch 

8th August – Bar Open, Melbourne w / Pure MoodsHAWAII94Parading

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VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Marcus Whale

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Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Illustrations by Lucy Roleff 

We’ve teamed up with Feral Media for Virtual Mixtape – a series where we ask musicians to create a mixtape based on a genre, artist or theme which they’re passionate about not necessarily associated with.

Our third instalment comes from musician Marcus Whale, known for his work in Collarbones and Black Vanilla. Whale has chosen a selection of tracks from experimental American composer/songwriter Scott Walker, who came to prominence in the late 60s and still receives acclaim for his unorthodox sound musings.

 

 

Marcus Whale - Virtual Mixtape - WhoTheHell

Words by Greg Stone: 

Although only in his early twenties, Marcus has been involved in the Sydney music scene for many years. When I first met Marcus, he was sixteen and reviewing for post rock website The Silent Ballet, and writing music under his recently retired Scissor Lock moniker, which over the years evolved from shimmering ambient guitar pieces to processed vocal soundscapes to woozy, sample-heavy electronica.

Marcus is best known as one half of electronic duo Collarbones, or as a member of R’n’B-tinged, dance music upstarts Black Vanilla. But aside from these more pop centric projects, Marcus has also remained heavily involved in the experimental music scene curating and performing at events including the Now Now festival, Underbelly Arts and Electrofringe; releasing works on New Editions and Room 40 imprint A Guide to Saints, and also running his own short-lived label CURT Records.

Considering this dichotomy, it’s rather fitting that Marcus has chosen Scott Walker as his mixtape theme, with Walker himself evolving from 1960’s pop balladeer as front man of the Walker Brothers, to his current status of avant-garde royalty.

For the uninitiated, consider this mixtape your personal guide through Walker’s intriguing musical career; but more importantly take in Whale’s insightful musings on a true artistic pioneer.

 

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‘It’s Raining Today’ from Scott 3

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The arrangement of the ambivalently atmospheric ‘It’s Raining Today’ from 1967’s Scott 3 is I think proof that you can be both completely dedicated to middle of the road Adult Contemporary radio format, as well as to sonic innovation. The techniques used in the string arrangement mirror that of some contemporary classical composers of the 60s, notably the Polish composer, Penderecki. His great string orchestra work ‘Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima’, written in 1960 has provided a blueprint for countless other composers (and pop musicians) in the ensuing years. How appropriate for a chromatic cluster to turn up on the exact cultural opposite end of the musical spectrum seven years later.

 

‘Boy Child’ from Scott 4

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‘Boy Child’ is another example of Scott Walker’s tendency toward excessiveness in arrangement, strings drenched in reverb. I’m not sure exactly what ‘Boy Child’ speaks to lyrically, but it feels as if it could only be about the second coming of Jesus, a kind of romantic desolation.

 

‘The Cockfighter’ from Tilt

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Fast forward almost thirty years to 1995 now, and the form of orchestral soft pop that brought Scott Walker to fame has long faded in popularity. What’s left for Walker, is just the theatre of it – the power of instruments to surround his voice with a world. Notable to me is not necessarily that arrangement in ‘The Cockfighter’ is harsh at times, but more that once Walker prioritised songwriting above aesthetics, his interests immediately took him through zones that required treatments as dark as this. Among fairly dated 90s rock band arrangements are industrially rendered pulses, white noise, squealing strings and horns, uncanny field recordings – all serving to echo Walker’s diabolical vision…

 

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MAP June 2015

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music_alliance_pact_ MAP

MAP – our monthly round-up of new music from around the world returns again, courtesy of some of the fine folk who run the best new music blogs on both sides of the equator. Our June submission, (picked by our Mapcast host Robbie) features some gorgeous electronica from Sydney’s Bicentennial. Get some bilingual action in your white-bread music collection by downloading the 20 track compilation right here.

 

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Ciudadano TotoEsta Canción

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Last month Argentina’s independent music scene mourned the sudden death of Adrián Nievas, aka Ciudadano Toto, lead singer of electro-pop group Adicta. An all-time favorite of Zonaindie, Adicta was perhaps one of the most underrated bands of the last decade, so if you never listened to them you deserve to (all their albums are one click away). This month’s MAP song is a home-recorded cover version of Cuban legend Silvio Rodríguez that he used to open his recent solo concerts. Sophomore album Flores, Brillos y Arcoiris was released just a couple of months ago). RIP.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
BicentennialSleeper Train

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Hailing from Marrickville, a suburb in Sydney’s warehouse district, Bicentennial (Jess Cooper) writes and produces dark but delicate soundscapes layered underneath reverberated chant-like vocals. She cites backpacking around the globe as a major inspiration to her music, which is easy to see in this track’s title with any remaining inspiration coming from her white pet parrot Jai-Chai, whom she claims is never far from her shoulder.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
CíceroIsabel (Carta De Um Pai Aflito)

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This song is from Cícero’s third album, A Praia, released a few months ago. Its lyrics are about a father regretting the loss of his daughter, who left home to experience life. The album has elements of traditional indie-rock and Brazilian popular music, usually referred to as MPB.

 

Listen to the full mix below.

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MAP – May 2015

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map

Our Australian MAP selection for May comes from Arvo Tanty – the solo project of Michael Dolan who formerly played in perth. Picture heavy, ostentatious synth accordion draped around your cerebrals in stereo sound. It sounds like luxury. IT IS IGOOD.

Some other gems worth noting include jazzy sounds from Brazil’s Otis Trio, and a track released in 2000 by Copenhagen band Speaker Bite Me which is receiving acclaim in Denmark and its first vinyl release in over fifteen years.

You can grab a zip file of the full 19-track compilation through Dropbox here.

 

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
El GnomoSuicidas Melodías

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This new musical project by Martin Reznik (La Filarmonica Cosmica) almost started as a game in 2012, when he recorded several songs on a weekly basis. Some time afterwards, while reviewing the material, Martin realised he had an album in his hands, so he spent the next months polishing the songs and re-recording some instrumental tracks. He also invited musical friends to participate in what became a folk album with a soft psychedelic vibe. Suicidas Melodías is one of these collaborations, in which singer-sonwriter Sofía Viola lends her wonderful voice. You can download the full album from Bandcamp.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Arvo TantyWhite Hum Valley (Hello)

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Arvo Tanty is an introduction to producer Michael Dolan’s solo material, following his work with electronic outfit Perth. White Hum Valley (Hello) is a grandiose, cinematic Casiotone orchestra track where slow, effacing rhythms pulse and dissolve at surface break. Dolan says the song was inspired by Joni Mitchell, Mort Garson’s Plantasia and his yearning to make a “Nintendo soundtrack of some kind”.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Otis TrioMontag’s Dream

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Montag’s Dream, the opening track of Otis Trio’s debut album 74 Club, probably refers to the main character of the novel Fahrenheit 451. The dark jazz they create fits perfectly with the despair related in the book.

 

Listen to full song selections below:

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PREMIERE: Head Clouds – ‘New Light of the Equinox’

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Head Clouds

There’s a place for articulate, indie pop music and the best-of is filed somewhere between the Decemberists and whatever happened during the blow-organ resurgence that was 2005.

If there’s one decent deed you do today to bring it back, give Head Clouds’ earlier EP, Up On Hellfire Ridge, a listen. It’s a sample of the band’s dreamy lyricsm that’s a bit early Augie March and akin to what Midlake might have penned after a weekend bender.

The first track from their new EP, ‘New Light of the Equinox’ is about “new perspectives”, which the band comparatively strings up against guitar flourishes and Jayke Maddison’s pastoral croon: “You rode me into the dust, I was a bull in the new light of the equinox”. 

All the machinations in the first part of the track are comfy, plodding on as you would with the ebb and flow of Satisfactory Indie Rock Song. The guitar syncs with the vocal; the vocal marries the guitar in the verse. This is until the bridge where the track scatters out into an instrumental waltz and the guys start waxing lyrical about telecomms et al. Head Clouds’ sound is incredibly polished for a band who’ve been releasing stuff independently. You get the feeling that the slight cowbell might be abandoned for some crash symbols, Win Butler style at any moment. Lucky, the band are good at showing restraint in song and form – and it’s working in their favour.

Head Clouds are releasing their new EP very, very soon. More info below:

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PREMIERE: Love Migrate – ‘Pippa’s In The Highlands’

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Love-Migrate

This is the first we’ve heard from Love Migrate in over a year – and the newest track from their upcoming EP, Shimmer Through the Night.

According to the band, the song is “devoted to the loss of love”. As Love Migrate usually do, melancholia and old flames are poured all over the lyric sheet. The band always seem to piece the parts back together with earnest though. They do it again here.

In ‘Pippa’s In The Highlands’, there’s a vacant space between Eddie Alexander’s lyrical lines where those stark 4/4 drums become so apparent. It exists only for a fraction of a moment, but feels suspended for much longer. Eddie’s bleak, but tender disposition makes this emptiness seem all more defined. This track is like being slowly coaxed into someone’s bedroom; steered around memory stakes, peering at stuff other’s ex-lovers forgot to collect – and then taking it.

‘Pippa’ seems nice. Wonder what she’s doing now. Catching the last train home. Doing groceries on a Tuesday. Hanging out with someone else in the same bars.
For all star-crossed anxieties, life just goes on (one Kurt Vile riff at a time).

The band have been kept busy in holed up in warehouses, bedrooms and other music making spaces around Melbourne’s northern suburbs recording their new EP. Shimmer Through The Night is out through Flightless/Remote Control on Friday May 22nd.

Love Migrate are launching the EP at the Gasometer Hotel on Thursday the 28th of May with Sunbeam Sound Machine & Crepes.

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