Features

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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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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MAP April 2015

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This month’s Music Alliance Pact features music from 16 countries around the world, including ‘Honey’, an all-family affair from Barwon Heads duo Surf Dad. You can check out more of their material over on Soundcloud.  ‘Honey’ also features in Robbie’s new Australian music podcast, streaming right here.

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 16-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Los Grillos Del MonteJaqueline

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This supergroup formed by Facundo Flores (Onda Vaga, Nacho & Los Caracoles), Tomi Lebrero (El Puchero Misterioso), Martín Reznik (La Filarmónica Cósmica) and Jano Seitún (Campos Magnéticos, Alvy Singer Big Band) has just released their first record. According to the guys, the album sounds like “a bolero who fathered a cumbia, a chorus which is the cousin of the best zamba, and rock music that won’t leave us even if we try”. MAP exclusive download Jaqueline is our favorite track from the album.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Surf DadHoney

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Surf Dad is the production duo of George and Declan Sands, brothers from Barwon Heads, a small coastal town just south of Melbourne. More than a year after releasing the excellent Unholy EP, the siblings have dropped Honey, a pristine, sensual track featuring horns, bells, woodblock, field recordings from their dad’s backyard and their mum, Natisha, on vocals. George salvaged the vocal recordings from old four-track cassettes that Natisha, an artist herself, compiled in the 1980s. As you might expect from an intimate family collaboration, the boys’ woozy, organic production complements her heady performance perfectly. And Mum’s reaction upon hearing the track? She cried.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Dilly DallyGender Role

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Buzz Records is taking Toronto by storm with their incredible roster of artists that include Odonis Odonis, Weaves, Greys, HSY, Anamai and more. Now I bring to you the incredible Dilly Dally, whose “I don’t give a fuck” attitude both on and off stage will have you loving them more and more.

COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
BalancerRemain Waves

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Balancer is a trio formed by Colombians and Puerto Ricans, but based in Brooklyn. Gabriela, Felipe and Francisco have released two EPs and an album called Tipsoo. Their music is striking – it’s a world influenced by indie-rock, psychedelia and electronics. Remain Waves is the first single released from Tipsoo, which takes us through the waves to the shore with a warm, downtempo sound.

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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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MAP February 2015

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February’s MAP has landed, with music presented by 19 blogs from around the world. Brisbane’s Nite Fields – whose moody debut album, Depersonalisation, has just dropped on Felte – are representing Australia this month. Head over to our Soundcloud to hear Robbie’s January MAP podcast, as well as a special Australia Day mix of some of our favourite local MAP entries from the past 12 months.

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 19-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Enero Sera MioHasta Encontrarte

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“January will be mine” is the translation of singer-songwriter Sol Fernandez’s artistic project. Her music is a perfect match of soft melodies and dream-pop with carefully crafted arrangements and sound landscapes. This track is from Enero3, her latest work, which is being released through Bandcamp.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Nite FieldsPrescription

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Prescription is the second single from Brisbane four-piece Nite Fields’ long-awaited debut record Depersonalisation. While the intricate guitar work and broody vocals echo The Church, there’s a humid, curiously distant tone here that is something totally their own. Starting with sparse prickly guitars and splashy drumming, the song folds in on itself towards the end, becoming slightly claustrophobic but in an intimate, whispery way. Nite Fields keeps you at arm’s length – you have to squint through the haze of effects and layers to get a hold of anything solid, but once you do, you’ve already fallen hard for this moody and mysterious band.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
WillowsThe Shape I’m In

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Johnny McArthur and Eric Moore make up the electronic duo Willows. They venture into uncomfortable territory melodically. The swirling repetitive underlying of The Shape I’m In resembles the dizzying sensation of intoxication. The bursts of energy are like the highs that come back to the inevitable lows.

CHILE: Super 45
Sin ÓrbitaAtardecer

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Sin Órbita is a duo formed by Paula Roa and Martin Perez Roa, who last year released their first record, Neón EP (Sudamerican Records). Flirting with electronica and soul, the band are a mixture of Massive Attack trip hop cadence and AlunaGeorge sensuality.

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FEATURE: Sugar Mountain Festival 2015

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Photography by Bec Capp

 

There are certain things that should be left unsaid in order to avoid conflict. At this year’s Sugar Mountain festival, Nas bulldozed through that rule with charming American gusto: “Man, these buildings – it’s like we’re in the projects”. Hold it there, mate. If you were looking for one sure-fire way to turn Sugar Mountain’s inner- city white kids bright red, this was it. The Victorian College of the Arts isn’t exactly the same place Jenny used to sing about. But you can’t really blame Nas for getting a bit carried away—this year’s Sugar Mountain played itself out like an epic.

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We were made to wait two years. 2014 saw the festival get a much-needed injection of cash from the Mushroom Group. This was like Broad City’s comedy central moment. And boy did they sure deliver the goods—Nas’ Illmatic (in full), Kim Gordon’s art rock experiment Body/Head, and surprise appearances from Neil Finn and Dev Hynes via video link during Kirin J Callinan’s set. Throughout the day, though, you got a sense that this festival wasn’t riding off sheer spectacle. Sugar Mountain bills itself as a “summit of music and art”, but that tagline forgoes the most important assertion of all—this festival does so much to distill and communicate a Melbourne story that’s wholly our own. For some of this city’s inhabitants, our ‘indie’ culture is increasingly bleeding into a mainstream definition of Melbourne. We’re a city that boasts of coffee that’s second-to-none, a music city that bites the hand that feeds it and wins, and a city that “demands some level of civic engagement beyond simply walking the streets.

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From the inner-city’s gentrified masses to the sports-luxe goths roaming Melbourne’s CBD till the early-morn, Sugar Mountain was a summit for Melbourne’s disparate microscenes. If we’re a city defined by villages, then the villagers flocking to Sugar Mountain would all have a link to an ‘alternative’ culture that’s continually eroding into ever more niche divisions. The club kids could’ve stayed with the 2 Bears while Kim Gordon resonated with the crowds old enough to remember Sonic Youth. Melbourne, though, was in fine form: Twerps, Chela, Slum Sociable, Banoffee, NO ZU, Oscar Key Sung, Ash Keating, Leif Podhajsky—if you thought there couldn’t have been a more ‘Melburn’ festival than Paradise, then Sugar Mountain sure blew that out of the water.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget our local craft beer and gourmet food trucks.

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As much as this could’ve devolved into an insular Melbourne love-in, SM felt more like a celebration of local and international artists who have contributed to the city’s broader culture. TwerpsMarty Frawley revealed that his Mum studied painting at VCA. I’llsHamish Mitchell (as Sangkhara) and collaborator, Nicholas Keays did the video art for Oscar Key Sung and Cassius Select. Lauded Melbourne photographer Prue Stent helped to create Sugar Mountain’s art direction. Ash Keating’s multi-storey abstract painting, arguably the festival’s artistic centrepiece, adorned the VCA (of which he’s a graduate). The very fact that Sugar Mountain hosted art reminded us that we’re a city that we do ‘culture’ without tokenism, sometimes.

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People actually went into the VCA’s exhibition spaces and viewed Leif Podhajsky’s mixed- media works—the same could be said of Hisham Baroocha’s sitting next door. If most major galleries are afraid of declining audience numbers (apart from MONA), then Sugar Mountain went on to show that it’s not that hard to re-contextualise visual art’s consumption (despite parts still being shown in a traditional white cube). The idea of mixing a music festival with visual art is a promising one—a decision that lends itself to Melbourne’s inherent thirst for involved civic engagement (ahem, MPavilion, NGV’s Friday Nights).

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So as much as it could’ve been criticised as a festival where privileged inner-city white kids dance to Nas like they’ve been through their fair-share of #struggles, Sugar Mountain is at its best when it lets Melbourne tell its own stories through a mix of local and international artists who have directly or indirectly contributed to our collective identity. For a generation raised on a late-90s definition of pop culture—one where hip hop, R&B, and pop reigned supreme—Sugar Mountain gave everybody the chance to relish a interpretation of popular culture, which made the Johan Rashids of this city sit alongside Body / Head without fear of being caught in their shadows.

It’s these moments which remind us all, that hey, not only have we got one world, but we’re actually making a contribution to it even though we’re stuck at the end of the earth.

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