New Music

WTH PRESENTS: Rock 4 Renewables Fundraiser

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Our old pals in parliament have been making their usual slew of embarrassing, socially divisive calls lately – including a lack of support for climate change action. A bunch of local Melbourne bands are having none of it, and are getting together to raise funds for the cause this weekend. All proceeds from the ‘Rock 4 Renewables’ fundraiser will go to assist Yes 2 Renewables‘ campaign for renewable energy.

The initiative, lead by Leigh Ewbank (former Damn Terran drummer) has already made a mark in the community; challenging anti wind farm campaigners in Canberra – and more recently, helping the Anglesea community fight to close a polluting coal power plant operating just 500 meters from a primary school. For more information on Yes 2 Renewables’ work, head on over here.

Good lineup, great cause. More details at the FB event page.

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PREMIERE: Gordi – ‘Nothing’s As It Seems’

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Gordi is vocalist Sophie Payten. ‘Nothing’s As It Seems’ is the new track from the Sydney based musician / medicine student. ‘Nothing’s As It Seems’ might appear polished, but if not for the hushed instrumental, it could easily carry on just entirely carried by Gordi’s vocal. Lyrically, it’s not overly ambitious – but Gordi’s pastoral nuances don’t call for it. The low-key arrangement keeps the folktronica twee-preening to a minimum. The track is still ethereal without being flail-your-guts-out emotive. (PS. I’ll be waiting for the Enya mash-up.)

Gordi plays Spring St Social in Bondi tonight and Goodgod Small Club on Wednesday October 22. Head here for a full run of show dates.

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LISTEN: The Frowning Clouds – Legalize Everything

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The Frowning Clouds latest release, Legalize Everything, offers psych vibes that’d be welcome in the UFO Club and a reflective and varied approach to production.

Sonic tweaks over the album’s 12 tracks highlight a number of different elements as the sounds move from clarity to ambiguity. Tracks like ‘Dead Growth’ are reduced to a handful of haphazardly mixed instruments, and the results are more like a bootlegger’s eavesdropping than a studio product. Meanwhile other songs, like the excellently titled ‘Sun Particle Mind Body Experience’, bring to mind your favourite 60s psych-pop bands with an extra helping of grit.

It’s refreshing to genuinely have no idea what’s coming next, and while consistent in vibe, the album lays down an impressive variety of tunes. There’s even a bit of kazoo!

Charming and addictive, Legalize Everything is well worth a spin. Pick it up now on Rice Is Nice, and hear lead single ‘Move It’ below.

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INTRODUCING: Yes I’m Leaving

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For those who are punk-inclined, I have found you a Fugazi. In a context where everything else resembles an actual fugazi (variously defined as a fake or a fucked up situation), Yes I’m Leaving is the brutal and efficient slap of sense that Australia has been missing. The new album is direct, punchy, cathartic and chaotic; it feels like a bandaid being ripped from the hairiest part of your skin, over and over again.

On their fourth LP, Slow Release (which is being released via Homeless Records), Sydney’s holy trinity sound dirtier, scummier and more savage than ever before. The production values have been extensively upgraded, with every scrape and bellow of their instruments being picked up and intensified. But rather than creating some sort of squeaky clean parody of themselves, the studio treatment has ensured that Yes I’m Leaving’s usual maelstrom is even more pronounced.

Opening track ‘One’ is especially fearsome. As all members link into a staccato pounding of the hooves, stampeding doom seems an impending reality. The finale is sheer ferocity, frontman Billy Burke screaming ‘One!’ in his banshee cry with enough force to rip the hair right off your head. Latest single “Fear” has a similar effect. It’s basically an expanded Drive Like Jehu track that’s been embellished with a particularly foreboding melody and a strong Australian accent.

Yes I’m Leaving may be more cynical than a Scrooge who’s been through the Vietnam War and create a more gnashing atmosphere than a Tasmanian Devil going through withdrawals, but that’s exactly what separates them from the rest and places them in a higher domain of punk music. Slow Release is an essential listen for anyone who likes to get their heads thumped in by carnivorous punk. And for those who haven’t had the pleasure of such an experience? The perfect introduction.

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LISTEN: North Arm – ‘Lately’

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North Arm are a Sydney-via-Newcastle-via-North Arm four piece who have been producing spaced-out folktronica since early 2013. The band’s new single, ‘Lately’, is an ethereal combination of front man Roderick Smith’s whispery vocals and a finely picked acoustic guitar, which floats atop a crescendo of percussion and synths.

‘Lately’ is decidedly more folk than the spread of lo-fi dream pop tunes on debut EP Thought Lines. I’m not sure which I prefer, but the production is ace all round – preventing the finely layered atmosphere of ‘Lately’ from turning into the ‘omg we get it’ overwrought boredom of some dream pop outfits.

The careful manipulation of traditional rock song structures gives North Arm an edge that I’m keen to hear more of on their next EP, Life Cycles, due out later this year.

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PREMIERE: Hollow Everdaze – ‘Ominous’ video

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Adding a string section to your lineup might make you Warren Ellis – or a damp Celtic jam band. Hollow Everdaze recently added violinist Myles Anderson to the bill. Spiccato never hurt nobody, but I went along to a gig last week with doubt cloud looming. Watching a garage band with a string section is like running IRL with 3D glasses – many dimensions, cinematic feelings, general anxiety. As it goes, the violin did end up being a decent match for the the band’s starry-eyed psych laments, and even the slight jazzy breaks they’ve been spotting lately.

Below is Hollow Everdaze’s new clip for ‘Ominous’, a new track off their upcoming EP. There’s a church jam session and minor participation in other brooding activities the track title commands, like patting farm animals and wheelbarrowing down slopes.

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Hollow Everdaze are launching ‘Ominous’ on Saturday, 4th of October at Boney with supports from Contrast and Peter Bibby and His Bottles of Confidence.

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PREMIERE: Massimo Jones – ‘Bone Dry’

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Entertainer, conman, itinerant, sleaze, Massimo Jones is a veteran and an auteur, the washed-up bastard son of the Italo-Australian underground.

The halcyon days of his youth – the dance floors of Milan, the Blue Light discos of the outback – are over, but Jones hasn’t lost his optimism. On debut album Jonesin’, he brings you proto-punk gloom shot through with the bright strains of Eurodisco.

His brand new release, ‘Bone Dry’, is a dispiriting tale of heartbreak and creeping nihilism. The track’s mournful synths and strangled vocals, while at first oppressive, give way to a hazy steel drum breakdown – a glimpse of the LED dancefloor illuminating the Mediterranean nights of Jones’ imagination.

‘Bone Dry’ is the follow up to ‘Ladies Man’, ‘a hot little number about doing time as a con-man in the 70s and gettin’ tangled up in the kind of ménage à trois that can turn a man half-mad just tryin’ to keep his head’.

Stripped back and lonesome, ‘Ladies Man’ reveals a fella half in love and half nauseated with the course his life has taken: ‘Can’t you see I’m getting sick of watching actors fight? Finding blood in my jacuzzi every other night’.

Massimo Jones is currently wandering lost through the south of Spain, but rumours are circulating of a return to Australian shores this summer and a string of performances to follow. Keep your ear to the ground.

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