New Music

LISTEN: Kirkis – ‘Hypno’

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Melbourne’s Matthew Kirkis once described playing live as “trying to do a handstand on a giant dragon all the way to Disneyland,” and that’s certainly what it sounds like.

Anytime you sit down to listen to an offering from Kirkis you’re inevitably blindsided. You’re excused for looking like Elaine each time your body tries to move to his time signatures. Before you even get close to working out what you think he’s trying to say, a cluster of rapid-fire melodies all shout at you at once.

So spare a thought for the man behind it all. He’s out with a new track titled ‘Hypno’, building on the hybrid jazz-cum-future soul he’s had quite the knack for – otherwise known (on Soundcloud) as #kirkis. The single comes off a forthcoming LP to be released through Eglo Records, thanks to a chance meeting with label reps at the Evelyn Hotel during Melbourne Music Week.

For a musician who isn’t formally trained, countless hours of consuming myriad influences have sure made their mark. It’s telling that he first studied Painting at the Sydney College of the Arts before jetting off to the New York Art Students League, considering he told us that “colours and moving picture play a large role” in his work. What that work is can’t be pegged solely to his music: he’s a painter, he’s also Anti-Kirkis (his experimental electronic alter ego), and he dabbles in a bit of set-design, too.

‘Hypno’ then, is yet another expression of this guy’s desire to create. He seems to have this boundless energy that you need to see in person if you’re ever given the chance. To describe him, best take a leaf out of the Hiatus Kaiyote playbook, because there has to be a Kirkis equivalent of ‘multi-dimensional polyrhythmic gangsta shit’. ‘Doing handstands on giant dragons’ is halfway there.

 

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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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INTRODUCING: Leather Towel

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Some songs make you feel tough as hell – you walk down the street listening to them and even if you don’t like fighting you’re daring everyone you walk past to start something. This new single from Melbourne’s Leather Towel, a band that features members of Nun, Ausmuteants and Exhaustion (!!!), is kind of one of those songs – but it’s also kind of just about Mexican food. And that’s what I like best about Australian punk music: so much of it is fucking hilarious while being, simultaneously, downright terrifying.

‘Nacho Chips’ (apparently from a forthcoming record due in February through Aarght and Hozac Records) is on edge for the whole of its less-than-two-minutes runtime. From the jittery high-hats to the frantic vocals to that bass riff that makes me feel a bit sick but in a way that I like a lot – the whole thing is wound up like a spring that goes off almost immediately. It also seems like it’d go nuts live, but Leather Towel don’t play much and only in Melbourne. Still, an excellent song.

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INTRODUCING: Chores

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Man, fuck chores, amirite? Stuff Mum and Dad, I wanna watch some goddamn TV! Power Rangers is on, and they can go SCREW THEMSELVES if they think I’m missing these brightly coloured karate robots getting up to some GODDAMN shenanigans.

Chores are, sincerely, the worst thing on the planet – right after cinema clerks who ID you at MA15+ movies and that dickweed of a maths teacher, Mr. Graham. Yeah, nah – that seems about right.

It’s kind of odd that a band – especially a band as awesome as this one – would name themselves after the worst thing on the planet. Maybe it’s like that metal thing where you name your band something controversial, like Fuck the Fitzroy Doom Scene or Gay Witch Abortion.

Chores sound like Jebediah being gutter stomped by the fuzz pop of the Mint Chicks. Their debut EP Yeah, Nah contains six songs of Dischord-era emo gargled with a hefty dose of feedback. If it weren’t for the droning guitars, Chores could be a punk band. Instead they’re an awesomely weird amalgamation of shoegaze, snot and guitar solos.

Although taking out the rubbish and feeding the dogs are literally the worst things the planet has thrown at you, Chores are the best band to lay into your earbuds as you begrudgingly go about your tasks so you can earn some freakin’ weed money.

Chores’ Yeah, Nah EP is available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.

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LISTEN: Day Ravies – ‘Under The Lamp’ EP

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I’d always thought of Sydney’s Day Ravies as a kind of over-earnest band – one of the best things to come out of this shoegaze/psych revival period, definitely, but not particularly fun. With this EP, they’ve proved me well and truly wrong.

One highlight is the overblown synth on ‘Perennial’, the most dramatic and upbeat track, with the teasing vocals in the chorus (‘I left you wondering’) taking joy in their own mystery. Then there’s that distorted guitar on ‘Sleepwalk’, almost country at times, playing a lead line that stumbles all over the song, knocking everything else out of its way and having a great time doing it. The raw buzzing slab of noisy guitar on every song balances out the breathy vocals beautifully, and acts as a strongly grounded base from which the lighter layers of their sound can spiral out.

With ‘Under The Lamp’ Day Ravies have made their sound fresh again, and maybe finally kicked that ‘jangly’ tag that’s inexplicably clung to them  since their first release. They’re also a band that’s extremely confident and respected in what they do, so it’d be cool to see them push things further and get more experimental with future releases – go a little Frank Reynolds and get real weird with it.

‘Under The Lamp’ has been released on the band’s own brand new label Strange Pursuits, and you can get it as a cassette or download from Bandcamp.

Catch them on tour along the east coast in support of their recent ‘Hickford Whizz’ 7″:

Thursday, 12 March – The Curtin, Melbourne, w/ The Ancients + White Walls

Friday, 13 March – The Hotel Metro, Adelaide, w/ EMU + Yabbies

Saturday, 21 March – The Foundry, Brisbane, w/ Per Purpose + 100%

Saturday, 28 March – Union Hotel Newtown, Sydney, w/ bearhug + Weak Boys

Thursday, 9 April – The Phoenix, Canberra, w/ Black Springs + Mind Blanks

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INTRODUCING: Yaws

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One thing Australia certainly isn’t suffering from right now is a lack of left-field electronica. From Lower Spectrum to LUCIANBLOMKAMP, there has been a noticeable rise in both the quantity and quality of local electronic music, with those on the fringe yielding some weird and wonderful sounds. However, you are unlikely to come across anything as immediately strange and ultimately compelling as Yaws. The London-based, Adelaide-bred producer crafts dense sonic soundscapes as alien as the obscure tropical disease that forms his namesake.

His first release, ‘Seventh Continent’, was recently debuted by up-and-coming net label Etched Traumas. Emerging from an oblique flanged rhythm that wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange, the track evolves into a bold minimal-techno jam, adding intricate layer upon layer over the course of its 11 minutes. There are shades of HTRK‘s hazy electro-surrealism, alongside overtones of Factory Floor’s ruthless proto-punk industrialism. The track’s ascent is so subtle that you barely notice it, until the glorious static-soaked climax hits.

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