Features

MAP January 2015

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The first MAP of 2015 is here, featuring tracks selected by 18 blogs from around the world. Sydney’s AFXJIM is representing Australia this month with ‘Distant’, the lead single from his second LP, out now through Feral Media.

All 18 tracks are available below, to stream or download at your leisure.

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 18-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Mariana PärawaySirena

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Somewhere between Mendoza and the Andes, Mariana Päraway becomes a mountain siren who sings about entangled fates in her latest album, Hilario. Mariana’s music navigates through pop, folk and electronic landscapes resulting in a deep, refined sound exploration.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
AFXJIMDistant

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Sydneysider Travis Baird is a multi-instrumentalist who earns a living scoring video installations, playing as a session musician and performing on tour with the likes of Melodie Nelson and Sounds Like Sunset. AFXJIM is Baird’s solo project, which consists of home recordings pieced together from loops, drum machines and field recordings of everything from kindergarten classroom chatter to police radio transmissions. It’s a subtle fusion of experimental electronica and acoustic songwriting, falling somewhere between Tortoise-inspired post-rock and the folktronica of early Four Tet. Distant is the title track off AFXJIM’s second LP. Carried on a bed of slide guitar and rumbling percussion, the track’s centrepiece sample features singing “recorded to MiniDisc in a bus-top karaoke bar in the Costa Rican backwoods”.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
DuaniAproveita

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Aproveita is the first single from Duani’s debut solo album, which will be released this year. He became famous in Brazil in the 90s, playing forró (a very danceable rhythm strongly related to the Northeast culture of the country) with the band Forroçacana. In this single, he plays all instruments and sings. The lyrics are a manifest about comprehension in love and its different ways of desire, packaged with black music and soul.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Morning ShowI’m Listening

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Alt-folk trio Morning Show features members of Bed Of Stars and The Archers. The multi-instrumentalists show a pallet that is heavily influenced by Canadian peers such as Dan Mangan, Hey Rosetta! and Wintersleep. I’m Listening is a beautiful, balanced single you will have on repeat.

CHILE: Super 45
Tus Amigos NuevosParaná

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If we have to blame someone for why Chilean rock has been overshadowed by the pop scene, all darts would point to the extreme seriousness with which most of bands go on stage. Luckily, Tus Amigos Nuevos have been refreshing the idea that rock can be cathartic, danceable and, above all, very funny. This year they promise to be even more so thanks to their second album, from which Paraná is the first single.

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MAP December 2014

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Melbourne garage rockers ScotDrakula are the Australian submission for this month’s Music Alliance Pact, the excellent ‘Shazon’ featuring alongside tracks from around the world – from Denmark to the Dominican Republic.

Check out all 17 entries below, and keep your eyes peeled for Robbie’s Mapcast, coming soon to Soundcloud.

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 17-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Pablo Dacal y Fer IsellaLos Caminos

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Singer-songwriter Pablo Dacal (MAP February 2009) invited fellow musician and friend Fer Isella to perform a concert together. In return, Isella proposed that they record an album. After years of conversations they finally got together, then the two artists visited Ulises Conti (MAP March 2009) at his Buenos Aires studio and invited him to produce the album. Right there, the newly-form trio recorded piano, vocals and other arrangements. The resulting album is called Los Caminos and here’s the self-titled first single.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
ScotDrakulaShazon

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Steeped in a love for fuzz and 60s rock’n’roll, Melbourne trio ScotDrakula transcend the novelty of their name with songs so catchy they make Gangnam Style look about as appealing as week-old haggis. The band has just released their debut album and it’s drowning in two/three-minute garage super-soakers. Shazon is irresistibly charming, enough to convert the stalest individual to a headbangin’ conqueror of the dancefloor.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
LYONCut Me Loose

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Cut Me Loose is the latest track from Toronto’s Lauren Malyon aka LYON. It’s a difficult one to get out of your head once you listen to it, like the girl next door you can’t forget.

Hear the full list after the jump:

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MAP – November 2014

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Our feature act for November’s instalment of our monthly MAP series are pop stalwarts Open Swimmer. The band features members of The Harpoons, Seagull and Melbourne via Glasgow singer Ben TD. You can listen to all the other good stuff our pals from blogs around the world are featuring this month in the list 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 22-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Tomás FerreroCuando Te Hablo

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In March 2013, a mixed group of musicians gathered together in Cordoba and Buenos Aires to play some songs and sound pieces composed with lyrics taken from the work of a federal collective of artists called Esta Vida No Otra. Some of them recorded the results several months later, and those tracks were then released as a compilation titled 15 Artistas Cantan Esta Vida No Otra. The song we have selected from this album, also available for free at Bandcamp, is Cuando Te Hablo by Tomás Ferrero from the band Rayos Láser.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Open SwimmerSugar Bowl

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Open Swimmer’s version of pop is jarring, even discordant at first, but it’s this blatantly simple approach that has us hooked. (Dirty Projectors fans, pay attention now.) Sugar Bowl is a brilliant introduction to the band; playful yodelling is cut and pasted along a steady 4/4 drum beat, while witty banter takes the fore. Songwriter Ben TD was based in Glasgow for seven years, touring extensively and landing multiple sessions on BBC Radio One and a stint at T in the Park before settling in Melbourne. The band comprises some of Melbourne’s most admired independent music alumni (The Harpoons, Seagull). Expect to hear a lot more from this group.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Alessandra LeãoMofo

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Alessandra Leão shows off her experimental side with Mofo, taken from her new EP, Pedra De Sal. Avoiding the world music sound from other works, this song has dark music and some weird programming that fits the angst of the lyrics.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Beach SeasonMidnights

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There’s not actually much out there on Beach Season besides the fact the project is from Calgary. The smooth vocals of Midnights complements the hip-hop influenced rhythms. This is a duo that won’t be much of a mystery for long.

Listen to more below:

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MAP October 2014

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Our submission for MAP this month features minor spandex indulgence from The Twoks. Don’t forget to check out our Soundcloud for our monthly MAPcast podcasts.

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
UbikaFahrenheit

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Hard rock guitars, solid bass and drums plus strong female vocals are the formula behind Ubika. Fahrenheit is the first single from their latest album, Amigos Del Bosque, and it’s inspired by Ray Bradbury’s novel. The song has a video directed by Diego Stickar, which you can watch here.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
The TwoksFirst Light

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The Twoks are a Melbourne two-piece comprising Xani Kolac on violin and vocals, and Mark Leahy on drums. Initially the solo instrumental project of Kolac, who studied jazz and improvisation at Victorian College of the Arts, the duo is now renowned on the local live circuit for their unpredictable sets which feature Kolac on loop station and a smorgasbord of effects. On The Twoks’ latest release, First Light EP – which boasts crisp production from Tony Buchen (The Preatures) – Kolac’s improvisations have been whittled down to concise retro-pop tunes in the vein of Pat Benatar or Kate Bush.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
BaleiaBreu

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Breu is one of the strongest songs from Baleia’s debut album, released last year. They first caught the attention of the indie press in Brazil with a jazzy cover of Justin Timberlake but in their album they show a handful of influences, resulting in experimental indie-rock that dabbles in baroque pop and folk.

Hear the full compilation below.

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LOOK: Sunbeam Sound Machine

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Sunbeam Sound Machine did the Melbourne to Sydney run last week, playing a show and stopping over at FBi Radio on the way. Lachlan, their drummer is handy with a cam and took some snaps for us. The band have been busy working on their debut album which lead vocalist Nick Sowersby received an Australia Council recording grant for.

Sunbeam Sound Machine are playing their first headline show in a year tonight at Shebeen in Melbourne, with supports from I, A ManHollow Everdaze & Chips Callipso. Tickets are available here.

The band’s debut LP Wonderer is out in November through Dot Dash / Remote Control.

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MAPCAST: South of the Border

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Following our podcast on new Indonesian tunes last month, Mexico is our feature country in this month’s MAPCAST. Robbie takes you through what he describes as “twenty minutes of terrifying Mexican underground”, covering everything from new cumbia to afro-pacific beats. The whole affair sounds like Gael Garcia Bernal and Drake doing drinking out of a shoe in a dank, dark club somewhere on the Yucatan. Thanks to our fellow MAP compatriot Uliel from Mexico music blog RedBull Panamerika for your help this month.

This month’s episode, along with previous podcasts are available for free download over at our Soundcloud.

Check out more international tunes in the September edition of the Music Alliance Pact.

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Nick Allbrook: “It’s just doing a dumb performance for people wanting to have fun”

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Nick Allbrook_

Thanks to a calendar mix up, I was late to this interview with Nicholas Allbrook (of POND, Mink Mussel Creek and Allbrook/Avery).  He’s just released a solo album called Ganough, Wallis and Fortuna, so luckily I cut out the long part at the start of our chat – which was just me apologising profusely and Nick having to reassure me that everything was fine and that he was totally chill. Nick had been drawing on the whiteboard but wiped it clean before I got there. When I told him I would have liked the see his drawings, he talked about these monks who had once come to his school who’d done beautiful intricate sand paintings and then tipped them into the ocean and that he liked that idea. This is totally the kind of thing you’d like to think someone as thoughtful, nervous, and interesting as Nick Allbrook would be into.

ML: You got here yesterday right?

NA: I saw Felicity Groom who was great, but it’s all a bit overwhelming to stay out. Even though I wanna see bands I just can’t, it’s too much.

Even just like walking in here (the Judith Wright Centre, hub of BIGSOUND activity)…

It’s fuckin’ weird hey? You gotta like, say the same thing to everyone cause that’s all people know.

Is this the start of a tour for you?

Nah, just the one show. I’ve been doing a few shows at home in Melbourne.

How’ve they been?

Somewhere between enjoyable and horribly painful.

‘Whispers of Beauty’ sounds very…’Pond-y’ to me. Was that written early?

I guess it’s as much ‘Pond-y’ as anything else is ‘Nick Allbrook-y’. The only difference is the little name that shows up in Streetpress. It’s all the same. There’s no division from what is Pond, and what is me. It just gets put on a different… saleable unit.

I guess with one you get to work on with your mates a bit more.

Exactly. Though I can still work on ‘Nicholas Allbrook’, I’m doing the quotation mark thing with my mates. All the Pond dudes helped me on various songs. That’s what I’m talking about, why the labelling of stuff is so bizarre. I played drums on one of Joe’s ‘solo’ album songs and it’s weird, it’s all just the same stuff.

Does recording at home help you feel more comfortable?

Sort of. I kind of had to make a sanctified space to make it feel less comfortable; to make it feel like I was there for a reason. When I had my recording doohickies in my room it just doesn’t even…I don’t even do anything. Or I do, and there’s an overly casual no-end-to-it kind of feeling like ‘this is just a shitty demo, it’s just something I’m doing just next to my bed, why make it good?’

Do you feel like you make better music when you’re under pressure?

I don’t think there’s any. Sometimes pressure would work definitely. Especially in an improvisational way, but sometimes I’ll just be like sitting around relaxing and something good will happen. There’s no rules.

And are you approaching the shows in a bit more of a low-key way than with Pond?

Yeah absolutely. It’s not as much of a festival, a spectacle. And ’cause I’m you know, alone – you don’t just wanna. I get very nervous about putting yourself out there like, ‘It’s Nicholas Allbrook! Lights, camera! Everyone look at this guy!’

I just can’t help but underplaying it a lot. Probably the same reason I wear slippers every day. Don’t want to just be strutting around in Cuban heels. I’d feel uncomfortable.

 

(read the full interview below)

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