New Music

WATCH: Pregnancy – ‘First Kiss’

, , No Comment

Pregnancy

Yeah, that tape got released last year, Pregnancy did the whole Northcote Social Club she-bang and everything for it – but some songs are born for long everlasting life, and ‘First Kiss’ is such a song, given a new shot of life as the shiny lead single for Pregnancy’s upcoming LP, Urgency.

Pregnancy always struck me as having some awkward growing pains, at least from where I’ve stood in the audience. You could probably spot the genesis of the project a little while off during shows for The Ocean Party, where Denton would sometimes, if he was feeling up to it, have a sneaky boogie with himself or even jump into the crowd. Denton is all stiff dance-moves and low-register but, in a way, it feels like he’s pulling from the same book as artists like Alex Cameron or even his band-mate Snowy’s other project ‘No Local’ (in which Denton plays drums).

Lone dude with a microphone in a semi-formal get up; a pastiche of 80s romanticism at its finest. The synths are urgent, the guitars angular, the melodies heartbroken; everything’s perpetually running in the rain to a betrayed lover, asking for one last chance. The video shows the band playing cosy in a small room, juxtaposed with images from Pregnancy’s February tour.

Give it a watch below, get a taste of Denton’s dance-moves and perhaps buy the tape.

Head along to the ‘First Kiss’ single launch this Thursday, May 4 at the Tote, with support from Frances Fox, Tenderhooks and Qwerty.

Urgency is out in July via Melbourne’s Lost & Lonesome Records.

Facebook / Bandcamp

Read Post →

LISTEN: Setec – Cotton Bones

, , 1 Comment

Cotton Bones cover

In 2014, Brittle as Bones, the intimate debut from Setec, aka Sydney artist Joshua Gibbs, was released via artist collective Feral Media. Combining gentle melodies, ramshackle percussion and looped acoustic instruments with deftly chosen samples, the album created a warm and delicate world, each track immersing you in gentle evocations of a different time and place.

Over the past few months we’ve heard rumblings of a follow-up LP, and today we’re excited to present lead single ‘Cotton Bones’. Opening on a minimal piano loop, with spectral echoes dispersed among pitter-patter rhythms, the track recalls the dusty layers of Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House or Four Tet’s early folktronica.

There’s a melancholy to ‘Cotton Bones’ – perhaps typical of Setec’s nostalgic approach to song craft – which is belied by a breezy chorus. The song gradually blooms into a bright singalong moment, as Gibbs adds his own voice to the gauzy source material.

Sydneysiders can catch Setec launching his new single at the Gaelic Club next Saturday. The gig is hosted by Skydreams, with support from Spirit Faces, Imperial Broads and Okin Osan. Full event details on Facebook. You may also be lucky enough to pick up an extremely limited lathe-cut vinyl copy of the single, with 3 alternate sleeves.

Stay tuned for more news on Setec’s second album, but for now slide into ‘Cotton Bones’ for a while.

Website / Facebook / Soundcloud

Read Post →

WATCH: Geryon – ‘Somehow’

, , No Comment

Geryon Press

Geryon has The Touch. The secret recipe to balancing drum loops, pitch-shifted vocals and other modulations in a way that can translate complex feelings without many actual words at all. ‘Somehow’, the opening track off the Melbourne electronic artist’s debut EP ‘We Don’t Talk About the Ghost’ came out mid-2016, and now there’s a video to boot. If you have done yourself the disservice of waiting until now to listen to the EP in full, take this as a timely reminder to rectify immediately. The whole output is meticulously constructed, each song a delicate but sure-footed step into the light from stormy beginnings on ‘Somehow’, through the twisted slow dance of ‘Moulding Golden’ before arriving at the subdued pop of the closer ‘1 of U’, featuring fellow warped internet-pop pioneer kt spit.

‘Somehow’ has a benignly sinister beginning, the violin of Sienna Thornton (also of Two Steps on the Water) and some deep sea monster-sounding effects stalk you in a hovering way that makes it hard to tell whether a real threat is present, or if the fear is all in your head. Honestly if Geryon stalked me through a haunted forest I’d be totally cool with it because in the end you’re rewarded with this really great revelatory climax: “Somehow you see / everything i want to be”. Turns out the fear was worth pushing past this time.

After I wrote this, Geryon told me that the track is about intimacy, how when you can find it with someone it’s almost as if another world opens up. The track’s icy, sparse beginning takes on new meaning as the synths swell up, enveloping the tension with warmth. The clip brings this world to life; an eerie storm inhabited by dancing figures, conceptualised and executed by Geryon and multimedia artist Vaxx with help from fellow musicians and artists Wahe (of Kandere), Brooke Powers, Callan, Hiro Mcl and Astrid&, whose figures dance across the storm loop. It almost looks as if the storm clouds and lightening is being projected onto someone’s living room wall, and each dancer is taking their turn asserting their place in a world they’re all working to create.

Geryon’s song-crafting ability is on full display in this track. It’s haunting, it’s beautiful, and it’s a godsend to be able to listen to a track about intimacy/relationships and not have to listen to some dickhead cry into his guitar about being friendzoned.

Facebook / Bandcamp

Read Post →

WATCH: Rebel Yell – ‘High Authority’

, , No Comment

rebel yell

I think one of the things that sets Rebel Yell apart from a lot of other one-person electronic bands is Grace Stevenson’s impeccable taste. It’s all over this video, for ‘High Authority’, her first single since last year’s ‘Mother of Millions’ EP. She’s working with director Triana Hernandez, a Melbourne writer and director who’s burst onto the scene with some powerful and beautiful videos (she also made Various Asses’ recent clip for ‘Down Down’ – which so. Fucking. Gooood.). It’s especially in the clothing, from brand new Brisbane fashion designer Ellen Chandler, which Stevenson cites as the clip’s main inspiration.

‘When I first saw the outfits that Ellen had done for her graduate collection I started getting ideas – the video is based highly around the clothes, a fashion film style I guess. Her outfits are amazing and super confusing to get on! They’re all made up of other garments and at one stage I had pant legs coming off my arm! Originally I wanted the film in the desert, with a lizard, but time, money and an actual place to film it made that difficult.’

Instead of heading to the outback and auditioning reptiles, Stevenson settled on one of the scrubby beaches and brown rivers that make up most of South East Queensland’s less-than-postcard-perfect coastline. It’s an area she knows well, growing up around the Sunshine Coast – she scouted locations while visiting her folks.

The video itself revels in a kind of dirty glamour – it’s DIY but never looks cheap or half-arsed. They used a VHS camera and in some scenes, the car headlights as lighting. There’s a grainy road B-movie kind of feel – which lead to a decidedly un-Hollywood moment during the shoot. ‘We had a break at my mum’s house in Eumundi before it got dark, then used my car lights for the lighting out off a dirt road. I, being highly intelligent, turned off the car but left the lights on. So we waited about an hour or so for YOUi Assist [ML:is this a plug? Can we have some money?] to revive my battery. My mum did bring us some dinner in takeaway containers though, so that was nice.’

The song kind of speaks for itself – it’s bombastic, direct and, yup, heaps authoritative. The B-grade movie vibe continues in the sound, but now it’s a space horror – lazers and squelching effects. Like, cat-suited lady aliens biting the heads off human men or something.

Stevenson has a background in dance, and the sharp shapes she makes in the video shout power and control, thanks to the help of local dancer and choreographer Erika Goldsmith. ‘Erika choreographed the dance sequence at the end of the clip’ Stevenson says, ‘I remember she taught me a dance at school when we were both kids, and I’ve been doing her Rhianna dance classes this year, so we’ve known each other for a long time. Erika advised me on things that would look cool to do in the setting with the outfits, but some of it I had to ‘freestyle’ – that was when my car died.’

Facebook Website

If you’re in Sydney you can catch Rebel Yell at Body Promise as part of Vivid on June 10

Read Post →

LISTEN: No Sister and Bitumen – Split Cassette

, , No Comment

No Sister

You know when someone is talking to you with extreme passion about something you’ve not previously been that interested in, and you can’t help but get sucked in to their argument, even though you’ve got no idea what it is? That’s how I often feel about No Sister. Everything they do is so intentional, so serious that I forget to roll my eyes at their use of the kind of art-rock, playing-guitar-with-a-screwdriver business that would usually be Not My Vibe.

So No Sister make kind of pretentious music, but at least they’re not pretending to be on the dole or like they didn’t go to uni. They don’t pretend to be approachable, #relateable fuckups – they’ve talk to you from a place of knowledge and foresight. Like lookout motherfuckers cuz it’s time to get mad. And there’s nothing wrong with being a bit pretentious if it’s for a good cause – like for some of the most vicious, vital music you’ll hear this hear. Its pretentious music that rules, seethes and gnashes its teeth, scowling in righteous anger. The were like this even before they moved from Bris to Melbourne.

‘Perpetrate’ is absolutely ferocious. I want that bassline isolated in its own track, so I can discover the secret to its absolute genius. Don’t listen to this at work if you don’t wanna be making wild-eyes at your co-workers for the next half hour, Siahn Davis and Tiarney Miekus’s vocals dueling like a devil on each shoulder. The lyrics are snippets of violent imagery ‘Like a hot fist thrown first!’ / ‘blazing through the noise’

Bitumen’s side starts with drum machine, and immediately it’s more obviously influenced by Melbourne goth post punk, um, coldwave, with Kate Binning’s drawling vocals swirling out of your speakers like black smoke. Their stuff is mushier, and noisier, using repetition and emotion rather than appealing to any kind of rationality

The lyrics seem lean on more personal stuff – there’s more yous and mes and hims and hers in these songs, less burning cities and shards of glass. ‘Honey Hunter’ sounds like someone very sinister, the snippets of ominous detail repeated; ‘indefensible, heavy breathing’ ‘in a pure world, he found her’.

The No Sister side stays restrained – held in by the tightness of the sound, the dry brittleness, There’s a calculated feeling even when the guitar devolves into noise, but Bitumen are absolutely balls to the wall, especially on ‘Winter Swimmer’, with that crunchy metal rhythm guitar under all the shredding, deep and dark with rumbling bitterness, a kind of fucked-up desperate devotion ‘I’ll do what needs to be done / I’ll do what needs to be done/ for you’.

It’s kind of a head/heart divide, except both are working together in violent revolt against outside forces. And, if making a good as tape counts as any kind of victory, absolutely kicking their arse.

Get this tape via always rock solid Vacant Valley.

See Bitumen and No Sister in Brisbane tonight at The Bearded lady with formidable support from Pleasure Symbols and Clever and on Sunday at The Time Machine in Nambour supported by the nice guys of hard rock Sewers, or next Saturday April 22nd in Melbourne at the Tote with Stationary Suns and Synthetics (who I hear are very good).

Read Post →

WATCH: Ultra Material – ‘Borderline’ Video

, , No Comment

ultra material

Yes, pure is the most overused word of all time, but there’s something just solidly, reliably, pure about Ultra Material. They’re terrific musicians and good people. They also have lots of other shit going on, so they can make consistently interesting and beautiful music and play the occasional great show around Brisbane without burning out or getting bored.

‘Borderline’, off their latest EP II, is about the poppiest song they’ve released to date. It’s less meandering and abstract, with more catchy vocal melodies and forward motion. They’ve embraced that ‘dream pop’ label bands have to take on so they can lose the ‘shoegaze’ baggage and made something that’s … dreamy and poppy. Vocalist / bassist Sarah Deasy is letting her vocals come through, without being drowned in effects. It’s a great move; while having a classically ‘good’ voice can sometimes be seen as a detriment to this kind of music, her singing is darkly lovely and resonant, elevating the whole song.

Almost everyone in this band is some kind of accomplished artist or designer in their real life, so you know they’re not going to slack off on a walking down Brunswick street eating a pie music video. Enter the queen of green screen Helena Papageorgiou, the Brisbane director who made, among others, this delightful video for Dag late last year (go watch it if you haven’t already, I’ll wait).

While the look for that clip was weird and ramshackle, this one is all moody cool, moving fast to keep up with Matt Deasy’s impeccable drumming. Patterns and silhouettes, neon colours and constellations fly by the surface of the moon and anime-style waves. Though Papageorgiou knows where to linger – like on the X-Files-y ending and the coolest use of dogs in space since 1986.

Ultra Material – Borderline from Helena Papageorgiou on Vimeo.

You can find this song and lots of other winners on II. If you buy a physical copy of the cassette if comes in a beautiful case with a fold-out poster design by keyboard player Zuzana Kovar, printed by Matt Deasy at his screenprinting company no. 7 Print House (I told you they were arty). People come and go, but objects are forever.

Facebook / Bandcamp

Read Post →

LISTEN: Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing – Songs of Sodomy and the Compost of Aethyr LP

, , No Comment

GPOGP

If I told you that you could get a special edition of Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing‘s latest record with a wooden box of tarot cards, would you think that was lame or cool? Or be completely unsurprised, considering the name? What if I told you this record heavily featured flutes, some of the least sexy sexual lyrics AND the most terrifying vocal performances in recent memory? Well good news, it doesn’t matter! Genre is nothing, all your ideas about what makes something good or bad or cool or lame are arbitrary – and this album will blow your brain out if you let it.

There’s a lot here – 18 songs, a double album by anyone’s standards. It takes patience to get into – I’ve been trying to write about it for weeks but for a while I was getting confused and turned around more and more every time I listened to it. It’s slow and fast, messy and clean, unfolding with marching ominous repetition, tap tapping on the inside of your skull, building pressure over 6 minutes tracks as well as over the whole 90 minute-ish thing. Horns and strings see-saw wildly over and through these songs. Some feel like baroque and serious almost-folk-metal, some almost straight hardcore, when the crunch of distorted guitar gives a conventional rock dog like me something to hold on to.

There’s also a strident kind of post-punk at its heart. Something like ‘Pacific Hygiene’ could be a Mere Women song, half drowned in oil and set on fire. ‘Out of Zone’ is formidably good, low rumbling guitars jostling around a desperately spiteful rasping shout that could break bones; ‘LVX’ is brutally cynical, teasing and hectoring vocals that explode into screeching hysteria, while ‘Lustration’ shows the hopelessness lurking underneath the surface of all rage – droning slow and dangerous. There’s a real ‘last chance to save your soul’ feeling to all the performances on this record. Despite its length, it stays brutal all the way through

It’s not that the lyrics are inaudible or distorted, they’re just drawn-out and obtuse, slipping through your fingers in abstraction and long words. By sound they’re all rooted in plague, degradation, puritanism, lost faith and clung-to hatred.

Information that I should have introduced earlier: Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing are from Auckland. From the little I know of New Zealand (though, like everyone in Australia, I idealise it as a chill paradise and plan to move there ‘sometime’), Auckland is considered less cool and culturally vibrant than Wellington, but those kind of places tend to produce the weirdest art – when you’ve got something to be outside, when you’re not constantly supported by a scene of creatives. Maybe you’d be more pissed off, more likely to make something as fucked up as this grim, great album.

You can buy Songs of Sodomy and the Compost of Aethyr, with tarot or without, via bandcamp here

Facebook / Bandcamp

Read Post →