Foreign/National seem like a bunch of dudes who enjoy irony. I’ve never been to Paris, but I hear they’re all assholes anyway.
‘Paris’ is the newest track from the Melbourne five-piece, taken from their debut EP set for release in 2014. Previous demos (‘Life Tourist’, ‘She Told Me A Story’) are scattered with jazzy hooks and cooool percussion plucked directly from the EASY-LISTENING section of the Qantas in-flight entertainment brochure. Not holding that against anyone, I could use a holiday. ’Paris’ on all terms, is a leisurely gem of a pop tune – cascading twin-riffs, killer drumming and some cruisy mellotron harping down the chorus line. Sounds like Born Ruffians and Air floating on a raft down the Sienne. Is that even ironic? I don’t even know. Vincent Gallo eating a breadstick.
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Leading up to his stint at Paradise, we asked our favourite bearded beat brother Oisima to pick his top 5 Australian electronic producers across this wide, brown, digitally enhanced land for us.
Slamagotchi has always been, and always will be one of my favourite Australian producers. He’s always two steps ahead in his visions and his message through music. When his debut album drops it’ll create a serious stir…
2. Mei Saraswati
Mei Saraswati’s music is the purest form of expression. It’s so free & so goddamn funky, I seriously cannot get enough. Hands down, she’s my favourite vocalist in Australian music. Here’s hoping we one day get a chance to create music together.
3. Silent Jay
No one’s drums smack as hard as the brother Silent Jay! His production is so clean, although seems effortless in such an incredible way. Every time I see him perform live I leave with a sore neck from getting down so hard.
Nakagin has this beautiful way of creating the most encapsulating wall of luscious sound. You feel like you’re wandering through a rainforest just after a sun shower with the light peering through the leaves. Such amazing music from such an incredible person I’m fortunate enough to know.
5. How Green
How Green is undeniably one of the most underrated producers in the country. Adelaide based, he’s going to cause a serious stir once his music blesses more & more eardrums in the coming months & years.
Catch Oisima performing at alpine best-fest Paradise Music Festival on the 29th Nov – 1st Dec.
The organisers of the festival are also throwing a pre-party TONIGHT at the Liberty Social Club, details here.
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MT (or Many Things) is led by Michael Tomlinson, the heartbreaker from late Brisbane band Yves Klein Blue, who’s followed YKB’s Britpop tendencies to their proper conclusion and actually moved to London. He must have sold his soul at the crossroads on the way (or perhaps imbibed a Phoenix box set), because new single ‘Alpha Romeo’ has got to be the grandest pop song he’s delivered yet.
MT’s work seems simpler than Tomlinson’s earlier stuff; less wordy and more direct, focused primarily on the id-centred payoffs that come with a massive chorus. The tone is slightly ambiguous for a pop banger, Tomlinson crooning ‘I’m tired of lying / when people ask me if I’m alright,’ before launching into reminiscence like a drunken former frat bro: ‘Romeo used to be my call sign / Call me up for a good time’. The hook, however, is sweetened with disco synths, gospel girl backing vocals and a rockstar delivery that’s utterly convincing.
‘Alpha Romeo’ is officially released on 29 November through Dew Process and Universal Music Australia. Expats/absconders can catch MT’s single launch party at London’s Oslo on the 28th.
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The Ocean Party’s latest record, Split is out now through Spunk records. Yes, that hip label. Home to Bonnie Prince Billy, Okkervil River, and Bill Callahan amongst others. It’s a welcome reminder that hard working Australian musicians can be rewarded. Now let’s have a quick refresher.
Melbourne band The Ocean Party, is Jordan Thompson, Liam Halliwell, Curtis Wakeling, Lachlan Denton, and new kid on the block Zac Denton. Split was recorded at Lachlan’s grandparents’ farm in rural NSW. Curtis reckons that it was a good way to be focused on nailing down a mixture of new material. “We’ve had a pretty relaxed time recording all three albums but it was good to get away to the country for this last one, it’s pretty easy to get distracted when you just record at home”.
Home is back in Melbourne where these guys all live and mate together, recording with a cavalcade of musicians in different positions, creating multiple sounds with varied song writing. This renewed focus is evident in Split, which is a very well considered LP and one that always sounds like an Ocean Party recording.
Curtis opens with vocals on ‘Quarter Final’, an ode to slacker life. The melody is an absolute cracker. Catchy as any pop song could be yet perfectly situated in a field far from anyone else. ‘Quarter Final’ speaks of getting wasted, sleeping with anons and feeling suicidal on Sunday, y’know… life. It features a gorgeous guitar hook and Curtis nails the mood of a groundhog day Bill Murray would be proud to rep. It also signals that we are in for another good record.
Next up is the title track ‘Split’. Much has already been written on this one but let’s note the vocals of young blood Zac of Ciggie Witch. “I am really happy with how it (more…)
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Young Hysteria is the new project for Jimmy Hawk and Thomas Van Der Vliet.
Hawk is well versed around these parts for creating lithe, hook ‘n’ sling indie pop through his previous work with Jimmy Hawk & The Endless Party. Hawk’s buttery chords make their cameo here, while this track rolls by at a more leisurely pace.
Here’s the premiere for the band’s new video for their debut single, ‘This Is Not A Love Song’. There’s some cool shots in the video of neon, flora/fauna and Parliament station off-cuts in the background too.
It’s not a ‘love song’, but all those loitering treble guitars are making me feel like less of an asshole today, especially when it’s Friday and I’m knee deep in spreadsheets. PAY IT FORWARD JIMMY H.
‘This Is Not A Love Song’ is available for purchase via
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DZ Deathrays’ brand new single ‘Northern Lights’ plopped overnight. It’s the first smell of the band’s forthcoming sophomore LP due in the first half of 2014. These guys are doing pretty amazeballs. They knocked out an ARIA award winning debut LP ‘Bloodstreams’ in 2012, then owned the world by touring relentlessly for over a year.
Most recently the band entered the studio with producer Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, The Horrors, Sigur Ros) while in the UK to headline NME Magazine’s party at The Great Escape Festival in May, and banged out this single track titled ‘Northern Lights’.
It’s a moody number. Lots of layered guitar and vocals building to climatic bursts of fever. A really great sound from a couple of guys that last time I saw play, were kinda bangin it out pretty wildly. This one is a lot more considered. Let’s call it their ‘sweet disposition’. Can’t wait for the new record.
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The term ‘electronic artist’ is a vague label these days; it does little to separate the diligent sound artist from the guy recycling song samples to a sea full of early twenty-somethings doing beanies and cheap tabs on the regular.
On the outset, Sydney’s B_U_O_Y seems to qualify for the broader term. I have my own naggings against electronic artists with grammatically challenged titles and symmetrical cover art, but B_U_O_Y’s first track ‘Close/Open’ is one I’ve welcomed with open ears – and at least half of the Soundcloud plays on this track.
B_U_O_Y is Charmian Kingston, who was previously a vocalist for Sydney four-piece Hello Vera. Kingston was to Hello Vera what a sole femme vocalist is to any all male, pop-jazz-hybrid band: necessary. She may have added reasonable levels of twee (including starring in the band’s own Scottish sitcom) but I think her work with B_U_O_Y makes it clear that some ladies do stuff better on their own.
On paper, ‘Close/Open’ sounds like a producer’s picnic – skittered percussion, vivid synth work, with big-expanse vocals somewhere in the mix. However, instead of being tethered to the production of the track – the crux of B_U_O_Y’s sound is owed to the instrument-like quality of her vocals. Since most young electronic producers are prefixed by the need to partion off vocals, then butcher the whole thing in Audacity to vaguely resemble a beat, hearing the clarity in this track is really neat.
Kingston’s vocal meandering obviously echoes her heroes; Bjork, Bjork, BJORK (and all the other female vocalists united by an x chromosome and the word ‘eccentric’). More apparent in my ears anyway, are the similarities between B_U_O_Y and Cameron Mesirow from Glasser. Both might both be drawn to worldly drumming and the heady glow of Eastern vocal influence, but they do share something across their scattered song ambition.
Like Mesirow, it’s Kingston’s disconnect that has most impact here. For what the song pilfers over lyrically, it makes up for with its space-of-sound intent (and killer vocals). You can imagine she’s the type to trail off mid-sentence in conversation, but the one to leave a fine impression at that. Whatever you make of this, it is a nice exercise in sound.
‘Close/Open’ is only B_U_O_Y’s first track. I like her ambition, can’t wait to hear more of this.
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Rainbow Chan, the Sydney-based songstress who’s responsible for one of Australia’s more notable pop releases this year, has come out with a side project, Chunyin.
Chan’s Long Vacation EP (out through Silo Arts & Records) set indie scensters alight with her brand of delectable pop, but this latest project sees a break in that trajectory.
Often associated with Sui Zhen (hopefully not because of inadvertent racism), Chan’s melodies inhabit a space that could be considered whimsical—no doubt fostered by a love of vintage toys.
However, Chunyin’s a whole new ball game.
The first, and only track posted on Soundcloud, ‘Monochrome’, is reminiscent of Collarbones circa Iconography. It’s an abstract work that probably won’t be as blissful to the ears as say ‘Fool’s Gold’. The vocals that underpinned that release aren’t present here. Tagged as ‘Stonewashed’ on Soundcloud, ‘Monochrome’ distorts the the ‘vintage toy’ aesthetic into that of chopped up samples, loops, and general electronic goods.
What propelled Chan to break open this side-project is anyone’s guess, but it’s going to be interesting to see Chunyin develop as a counterpoint to the stylings of Rainbow Chan.
It’s hard not to read over this track with the multitude of sampled influences that could’ve been referenced in the making of ‘Monochrome’. From Four Tet’s ‘Rounds’ to Mount Kimbie’s back catalogue, the creation of Chunyin taps into a scene which places the musical ‘figurehead’ in the backseat. And, considering all the attention Chan’s received for Haircut, can Chunyin be seen as an antagonist to the pop idolarity fostered by the Long Vacation EP?
Probably not, but I’d love to find out.
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You might know Angie Garrick (or ‘Angie Bermuda’ as she’s better known) for her screen work or her various guises in bands like Circle Pit, Ruined Fortune and Straight Arrows. Angie released her first solo EP Turning recently, where she’s swapped scrappy garage for a moodier sound.
Turning is a record for people who aren’t scared of music that’s a little ‘harsh’. (I’ve been playing it all day and my housemates have never been less chill.)
The highlight of this EP for me was closing track ‘A Certain Friend’. This track is total drowned-out desperation – the percussion here could synch up with the rhythm of a body being dragged down the stairs with Angie’s unrelenting vocals at the fore. There’s a lot to like here though – the heavier ‘Do Yourself Right’ delivers the first of the record’s many soul crunching riffs right out of the gate, while lead single ‘Parallels’ sparks familiar pointers to Angela’s previous ventures.
Turning is a record of pleasure and pain. IT RULES.
Turning is out now via Rice is Nice, and up for purchase here.
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Early Woman is a collaboration between writer and documentary maker Hannah Brooks (St Helens, Spider Vomit, Young Professionals) and artist/cartoonist Ben Montero (Treetops, the Brutals, Montero). The group started popping up on bills around Melbourne about a year ago, performing nicotine-stained love songs in the style established on first demo, ‘Brothers’.
Early Woman’s sound is the perfect meeting point between the decadent, knowing schmaltz of Montero and St Helens’ gritty heroin chic, with Brooks’ serrated vocal and guitar tone complementing Ben Montero’s breathy croon and organ figures. They somehow manage to seem both earnest and sleazy at once, regularly rolling out lines like ‘I love my brothers like a real lover should’.
The band’s first official release, ‘I’m a Peach’ b/w ‘Feathers’, came out on vinyl and digital just over a week ago. As with the earlier ‘Brothers’, the tracks’ pop structure is straight to the point – there’s a bridge for every chorus, and both pack a punch. The best moment here has to be the billowing first hook of ‘Feathers’, Montero’s lyrics an exercise in surrealist romance: ‘Feathers flying all around / when she opens up her gown / I can hardly feel the world around me’.
When you see Early Woman play live – a terrific, tinsel and tie-dye affair – Bobby Brave’s ornate bass playing really comes to the fore, providing much of the songs’ melodic backbone. That element is oddly low in the mix on these recordings, but it can still be enjoyed with a pair of headphones.
‘I’m a Peach’ b/w ‘Feathers’ is out through Mistletone and Inertia. You can purchase it on iTunes or order the vinyl here. The band is at work on a debut album right now and will play a Mess + Noise Lunchbox show on 22 November as part of Melbourne Music Week.
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