New Music

LISTEN: Step-Panther – ‘It Came From the Heart’

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Step-Panther have just released their latest single, ‘It Came From the Heart’, the second from their upcoming sophomore record Strange But Nice. Welp, for a bunch of Wollongong bros who like to shred, Step-Panther sure did a turn on us.

Although previous single ‘Nowhere’ and earlier tracks like ‘No Fun’ and ‘Maybe Later’ made Step-Panther stand out as snotty, high-octane punks, this new one is about as laid back as the band have ever been.

Don’t let the cruisy pace and note-plucking deceive you though, Step-Panther are still at their juvenile best. They combine lyrics about creatures from the swamp, intergalactic eye pulverisers and heartbreak into one intoxicating tune. Although they’ve turned down their guitars on this one, Step-Panther have lost none of their ability to write excellent songs.

Strange But Nice is out on 19 September through Inertia sub-label HUB.

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INTRODUCING: Owen Rabbit

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The thing I find most refreshing about Owen Rabbit’s sound is that it isn’t very trendy. Instead, it’s extremely direct – so sparse it’s a little gawky, like knock-knees or braces, but pop to the bone nonetheless.

The kid talks tough, of course: “Owen sounds something like Burial shoving Rufus Wainwright into a metal box,” reads his Soundcloud bio. Like a true lad, he was inspired to make music by the rave culture he grew up in, he draws on trip hop as much as indie pop and his first single is about being driven home in the back of a police car.

Owen Rees composes his tracks using a loop pedal, a drum pad, samplers and a variety of instruments. His patchwork percussion includes a number of household objects – matches, monopoly sets, tissue boxes. Debut release ‘Police Car’ features the clink and spray of an aerosol can. It’s a spare, confident track, led by vocals both melancholy and strident.

‘Police Car’ b/w ‘Homeless Dog Shelter’ is out now on 7″ vinyl, CD and digital via Catch Release Records. The last show of the ‘Police Car’ tour takes place at the William St Bird in Perth this Thursday, 21 August. RSVP on Facebook.

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GUEST: Ben Montero

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Yeah, yeah. Ben Montero’s good with his hands. You might already know him as one half of Early Woman or from eponymous pop outfit Montero, the TM Band or the forever excellent Treetops (RIP).

Outside of music, Montero’s an artist. His work has appeared in the Huffington Post, VICE, Desktop Magazine and the Australian Book Review among others. Ariel Pink, Beaches and Pond have even recruited his stuff to sell their wares. Well, he’s just opened his first solo exhibition, ‘SKETCHES’ – featuring over 148 posters, sketches and various lampoonings of the local music scene which Montero’s been a part of for twenty years.

Montero recently worked up a comic for us which covers all the hard hitting issues like free beer, Fred Negro and ‘normcore’ – which should be enough of an incentive for you to get along to the show.

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SKETCHBOOK is showing at Lamington Drive, Collingwood until the 30th of August.

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PREMIERE: The Townhouses – ‘Magpie’ (Video)

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Leigh Hannah has been making tracks under the Townhouses moniker for over five years. ‘Magpie’ is the first single from his new record Ill-Fitting, which will also be the third – and last – full-length Townhouses’ release. While his previous LP Diaspora was slated with themes about displacement,  ’Magpie’ sees a return to the touchpoints of introspection seen on his earlier releases.

Featuring footage of Gippsland’s Corner Inlet, the southernmost occurrence of mangroves on earth, cut against scenes from Apichatpong Weerasethaku’s 2002 Thai romance Blissfully Yours, ‘Magpie’ is an “intimate representation” of Hannah’s “personal anxieties”.

‘Magpie’ might be about restlessness, yet each stagnant phrase and repetitive arpeggio seems to resolve itself – in the same way that closing time music does. I think a younger, suburbia-scrubbed Bill Callahan armed with a vibraphone would have been pleased.

 

Ill-Fitting will be released on cassette and photo zine format on the 23rd of September via Healthy Tapes.

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LISTEN: Many Things – ‘Chains’

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Many Things are a London-based group led by a familiar Aussie face. If you, like me, got caught up in the whirlwind surrounding Yves Klein Blue a few years back, then you will instantly recognise Many Things’ vocalist, Michael Tomlinson. Now living in London, Michael has spread his wings not just geographically but musically, too.

‘Chains’ is the new single from Many Things. It’s a heartbreaking take on obsession and an inability to let go of past loves. This tune is a proper rollercoaster, starting slowly but swelling to a bombast that parallels Tomlinson’s passion. He’s angry, he’s miserable, and it feels like he’s trying to pour every molecule into this song in the hope that he can contain it all there.

Take note, this isn’t a solo outing. Many Things is a group of talented musicians who create a strong foundation for Tomlinson’s voice. The small details are the most interesting. Listen close for the odd voicemail snippet – they add a level of personal sadness to the picture of obsession already being conveyed.

The newly released video for ‘Chains’ is a warped, VHS-style clip that features a bare-chested Tomlinson, his image distorting every time he begins to break apart.

Many Things will be releasing an EP, What We Are, on 22nd August through Dew Process.

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INTRODUCING: Main Beach

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Newly formed Sydney garage-surf-slackers Main Beach have been hard at work in their short existence, releasing no less than half a dozen singles since February. Their Bandcamp reveals a band driven by nostalgia for simpler times and endless summers, with music that walks the line between sugar-coated and bittersweet.

‘Down By The Wall’ features a lazily strummed guitar, bright and snappy drums and a healthy measure of distant ‘oohweeoohs’. The song’s sleepy, jangle-y vibe will make you long for the sea and won’t leave your head all day. The vocal hook is frankly heartbreaking, and the wash of reverb reflects the glare of the summer sun or the haze of sea spray at your favourite secret surf spot.

Main Beach will release a video for ‘Down By the Wall’ early next month. If the band’s first six tracks don’t satisfy the need in your life for garage surf jams, their debut album is due out on 12 September.

Main Beach will play a series of shows in their hometown over the next few weeks. Here are the dates:

21 August – Captain Cook Hotel, Surry HIlls

24 August – Valve Bar, CBD

12 September – FBi Social, Kings Cross

13 September – Brighton Up Bar, Darlinghurst

20 September – Tokyo Sing Song, Newtown

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LISTEN: Rolls Bayce – ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’

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Dean McGrath’s Rolls Bayce continue on their path of psych-pop exploration with the release of their new track ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’. The production has been polished up since the release of prior track ‘Arrows’. The song sounds quirky yet familiar, and it’s catchy as hell.

With a tight and dry rhythm section chugging along throughout, McGrath lays down sweet falsetto over raw, warped guitar lines. The track moves at a driving pace, leaving little time to notice how much detail this band can pack into less than four minutes. All that’s missing is a soaring, fuzzed-out guitar solo – but maybe that’s not their thing. Perhaps they’re saving it for the live show.

Bouncy, to the point and just a little psychedelic, ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ is one for the summer festival-goers and spaceheads alike.

You can catch Rolls Bayce live over the next couple of weeks on the tail end of their three-week Saturday night residency at Black Bear Lodge, and in September at BIGSOUND.

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