New Music

LISTEN: Ferla – ‘Guilt Pop/Stay Posi’

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Melbourne’s Giuliano Ferla (or just Ferla) has dropped a double EP of break up tracks, the first half a re-release of his 2015 debut ‘Guilt Pop’ and the second half the more optimistic sounding ‘Stay Posi’, as if by projecting positivity Ferla can shake the heartbreak hangover. All tracks could be sung to an empty hall littered with party detritus, glittering streamers reflecting disco lights across the room as Ferla sings his sadness to no one in particular. It’s unequivocally a tale of heartache coloured by dystopian glamour, sometimes personal but also on a bigger scale like the vague fear that comes with living in a world a that’s about to take you down with it. The release isn’t short on ideas in the way that some “break up” records are overly indulgent (even with the self-reflectiveness in the title ‘Guilt Pop’). 

The pop I hear is Australian Crawl and Simple Minds rounded out with the darker layers of Lost Animal. Ferla’s croon booms across the entire release like a more elastic Jack Ladder, from the deep resonance on ‘In the Night’ to the falsetto in ‘I Can’t Let You Down’. Although it’s one of the older tracks ‘In the Night’ is still my favourite, it has this stalking pace that makes Ferla’s melodies that little bit more cathartic.

The opener ‘Breakups are Hard for Everybody’ is one I’ve seen a few interpretations of, a personal narration of intimate frustration against the backdrop of a world falling apart: “Bitch leave me alone / I said as I slam down the telephone.” After abruptly ending the call our hero continues watching news of suicide bombers and ebola. Everyones got their own problems, and perhaps this is a case of trying to get perspective on a personal situation by putting it in a larger context or having so little feeling left that you’re as numb to your immediate surroundings as you are to distant sufferings. 

From here the record moves through the motions, confused but determined to commit to the breakup on ‘I’m Nobody’s Baby Now’ (replete with a shred-the tears-away outro), the romanticised revisionism of ‘In the Night’, dealing with the consequences and reality of separation on ‘I Can’t Let You Down’, through to the fuck you finality and bouncy synth lines on ‘Wasted on You’. It was definitely the slow-burners that hooked me on Ferla, but he’s also adept at high energy synth rock even when tearing down a future he’d previously envisioned on ‘Children are Our Future’.

There are so many entry points to connect with Ferla emotionally across Guilt Pop and Stay Posi that the fact it’s also an incredibly compelling listen is almost a moot point. That is, if it weren’t for that combination making this the perfect soundtrack to purging someone from your life.

If you’re in Melbourne, you can purge head to Ferla’s EP launch at The Tote on Friday June 16.

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Listen: Sewers – ‘Invisible Hand’

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Sewers

Photo by Glen Shenau at Mount ARI in Brisbane

‘Invisible Hand’ is the first single off Sewers’ last ever album. They’re breaking up, moving on, moving up, moving away.

I can’t write about ‘Invisible Hand’ as if I haven’t heard the rest of Sewers’ as-yet-unreleased final record. I have and it’s great – seems cruel to say cuz at this point there’s no guarantee when it’s gonna come out or in what form, or if it will at all, but that’s the truth.

To say that this is the most pop album Sewers have ever done would be wrong. It sounds like they might be bowing to some external pressure (that’s never been there), or giving up some kind of authenticity (that doesn’t exist). ‘Invisible Hand’ shows that that’s not at all the case. It’s more like what Sewers have always done, shaved down to a point, made more direct and urgent.

What it really sounds like is a really good three-minute rock song. It sounds like cutting the fat and getting to the meat of the real shit. Hoisted was hard and heavy, crusted over with muck, Weight dealt with punch-a-wall masculine self-pity. Both good records, but for their final outing Sewers seem to know a bit more about who their enemies are and are striking with purpose. Maybe it’s cuz of the lineup changes, maybe it’s cuz they’ve grown up, maybe it’s cuz they knew this was gonna be their last strangled shout, but they didn’t piss away their chance to make something meaningful.

For someone as obsessed with masculinity in music as me, a band like Sewers will always be interesting because they write music that mocks aggression and toughness by being aggressive and tough – which is a hard line to tread. I always come up against the question how much self-awareness can you have without any self-improvement, until you become as bad as dudes who aren’t self-aware at all?

It’s a dangerous thing when people start telling you that being fucked-up and dark is what makes you interesting or good. It makes people nasty. It makes people sneer and posture about not giving a fuck about anything. Sewers seem to have fucked all that off with this song and this record, and given us something honest and cutting that sounds good as hell. This record is as un-posturing as rock music can be, I hope you get to hear it soon.

Anyway I asked Shan Corrigan who sings in the band if he had anything to say about the track and he sent me something much more interesting than most of the ‘this song’s about a picture of a horse I once saw’ stuff that you usually get, so I’ll just put it all up here.

‘This is the song that kept me doing the band. We’d just finished-up touring USA and I came back feeling pretty worn-out with the band. I’d written a few riffs beforehand and one of those I’d called ‘Invisible Hand’. I was taking this to the band for a rehearsal when one of the guys quit the band. I guess that meant we had to replace him and during the search for someone else, I started writing again.

Simultaneously some personal shit was going down and I was there, right in the dumps with it. I didn’t feel like I knew who I was and I was pretending to be something I wasn’t. I was beginning to question my grip on reality – I certainly lacked perspective and this song was me grappling with that – those inner contradicting ideas.

When you suspend your value base for so long for some sort-of self-aggrandising “art” experiment things can get a little hairy. It was a luxury to be able to just piss in the wind; moan and mope about existence. But I realised I was deluding myself by believing that others were responsible for how I felt about the world. I had worn the “poor me, why am I such an asshole, when I’m actually really sensitive and caring guy” straight-jacket for too long. Just plain ignorant and short-sighted. When in reality I’m not even a drop in the bucket and I’m lucky to be here – doing what I am. Most people don’t get a choice and that’s what/who this song is about. Yeah this is long-winded dribble but the band isn’t called what it is for nothing.

Thanks to everyone who played in the band, put out our records, recorded us, organised shows, did posters, played with us, came to our shows and/or supported us as collectively or as individuals. Peace out fuckos, all our songs are about love.’

IF YOU’RE IN BRISBANE GO SEE SEWERS PLAY ONE LAST TIME TONIGHT AT THE BEARDED LADY

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WATCH: Multiple Man – Power Fantasy

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multiple man

The new Multiple Man video is a piece of sun-drenched nostalgia that incorporates home video from Chris and Sean Campion’s childhood in Brisbane with grainy footage from Expo ’88. Lol. Nah it’s 5 minutes of weird shit. Disembodied torsos, fish-eye videos of flowers, pulsating 3D shapes, roses, statues and pillars – classic iconography of power and desire. The video was made by Tim Dwyer (Horse Macgyver) who mostly does live visual art work (and is one half of terrific experimental project Half High), and it shows. The pictures are driven by the vibe of the music, rather than any narrative, and would work really well accompanying the track live (which hopefully they’ll do, but you know, projectors are annoying).

Despite Chris moving to New York about two years ago, Multiple Man haven’t lost sight of what makes them good – they’re a party band, made for jerky, sweaty dancing – even the vocals are rhythmic in their monotone and the cheesy edge to the beats makes it all so goddamn fun. They’ve never tried to reinvent the techno wheel, but it’s hard to think of a band in Australia that does what they do better. Welcome back, maniacs.

This song is off Multiple Man’s latest record with the very silly title of New Metal. It’s out in America now on DKA and out soon in Australia on Paradise Daily. Chris is also popping back over to play some shows around the place in June.

‘5 NIGHTS OF FIRM HANDSHAKE ELECTRONIC BODY MUSIC’

June 9 – MELBOURNE at LAZERPIG with MULTIPLE MAN DJs

June 10 – MELBOURNE at YAH YAHS with CUTTING ROOM, NERVE, MILITARY POSITION and BITUMEN
DJs
MOOPIE (Jealous God, Blackest Ever Black, a colourful storm)
JESS SNEDDON

June 15 – CANBERRA at Pickle at POLISH CLUB with HORSE MACGUYVER, KARLI WHITE,
CALIFORNIA GIRLS and PICKLE DJs

June 16 –  SYDNEY at Angels at PORTUGAL MADEIRA CLUB with VARIOUS ASSES,
L.A SUFFOCATED, TRU and SEX HAVERS DJs

June 17 – BRISBANE at WOOLY MAMMOTH with KANGAROO SKULL, REBEL YELL, LEVANA, DJ DANGER DESTINY and DJ SAMMY D’ANGELO

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LISTEN: Spirit Bunny

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Spirit Bunny cover

Brisbane trio Spirit Bunny deal in a unique brand of noise pop, although the term ‘pop’ in this instance refers to the short, sharp catchiness of their songs as opposed to any subscription to traditional structures or formulaic song writing.

Their self-titled debut album is an explosion of overdriven synth, rollicking drums, and circuit-bent 8-bit craziness. This is electronic music with the earnestness and urgency of a live band.

Brimming with raucous energy, the band bursts out of the gates with opener ‘Disco Horesride Montage’, a suitably animated introduction followed by the equally infectious instrumental cut ‘Bunny Battles’. And even when the pace drops back on the bouncy, hip hop inflected ‘Screaming Keys’ the palpable energy remains. The band rarely comes up for breath until the latter stages of the album, where tracks like ‘CRT Screens’ and ‘Gold & Brown’ introduce a slightly more pensive mood. But even on these tracks it’s not long before the band continues their aural assault, as if rejuvenated by the brief respite.

Spirit-Bunny

Aside from the obvious influence of the chiptune scene, there are nods to bands like Battles but with a scrappy, garage band tenacity. This is not background sound to lull you to sleep, this is brash, insistent music that demands your attention.

The band are wrapping up a national tour in support of the album with just a hometown Brisbane show remaining. For those of you who missed catching the band on tour, hopefully it won’t be too long before they head out on the road again. Until then, grab a copy of this fantastic debut now.

Brisbane launch:

May 20th @ The Bearded Lady

w/ Low Season and Leavings

 

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WATCH: Pregnancy – ‘First Kiss’

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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.

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LISTEN: Setec – Cotton Bones

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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.

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WATCH: Geryon – ‘Somehow’

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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.

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