New Music

LISTEN: Bad//Dreems – ‘Dumb Ideas’

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bad dreems

Is it just me or does everyone wish they were in a band after a breakup so you could write a song like this? ‘Dumb Ideas’ from Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems is packed with barbs that are filed to a point by grinding rhythm guitar, accented with that trademark caustically catchy lead. “Thought that you were somethin’ but you’re just another dumb idea” Ben Marwe sneers, voice scratching at the edges in a way that lets you know that at least part of this cruel kind of bravado is a front.

This band gets a lot of old school Aus rock comparisons, but they’re way more than just conduits for the unearned nostalgia of 20 year olds; they’re one of the strongest bands in the country right now, and a full length release can’t come soon enough.

You can hear ‘Dumb Ideas’ on Youtube right now, and there’s a digital release scheduled for April 14th.

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To support this track, and celebrate recently being snapped up by Ivy League Records, Bad//Dreems are doing a few ‘intimate’ shows in independent record stores around the country, a prospect that anyone who’s ever seen them live will find both really exciting and just a bit bloody scary. In good way.

Dates below. Tickets at baddreems.com.

Saturday May 17 – The Exeter / Title, Adelaide
Friday May 23 – Black Wire Records, Sydney (All Ages)
Saturday May 24 –
Music Farmers, Wollongong  (All Ages)
Saturday May 31 – Record Paradise, Melbourne
Saturday June 7 –
Rocking Horse, Brisbane (All Ages)

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GUEST: Dollar Bar – Track by Track

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dollar-bar

It’s been 10 years now since Dollar Bar released their self-titled debut LP. In 2013 the band emerged from a six-year hiatus with the excellent follow up, Paddington Workers Club, named after ‘a shitty old bar room’, long shut down, that was a focal point of Brisbane’s Spring Hill scene.

The album could have been recorded back in the 90s, when Dollar Bar first formed, its sound falling somewhere between early Pavement and GBV. The band hasn’t lost its sense of humour, but these days the tracks (e.g. ‘Hipster Mental Ward’, ‘City Pricks Sitting Pretty’) take aim at the kids inhabiting the stages and the dives that Dollar Bar long left behind.

Dollar Bar sent us a track-by-track account of Paddington Workers Club. Check it out below:

 

‘Diff’rent 4 Gurls’

I’d formed a new band with my brother David, along with John and Cuffy from Dick Nasty. We did this song based on White Town’s ‘Your Woman’. Dollar Bar liked it and gave it a burl. After several attempts at re-recording and overdubs, we agreed that our original take, including guide vocals, was strongest. Basically it’s the poor man’s Strokes. (Dale)

‘Hipster Mental Ward’

This song was inspired by my time working in administration at a mental hospital in Toronto. Opposite the hospital was an arty stretch of Queen Street West – one of the hippest spots in town. I wrote the lyrics on my walks through the lush park grounds to purchase caffeine hits, and there were literally always tattooed girls riding bikes outside. The part about the guy putting his $20 bill in the microwave to sterilise it is a true story too. (Patrick)

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GUEST: Morning Harvey

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guest

Morning Harvey have a new video out today for their single ‘Girl Euphoria (Come Back To Me)’ which in true Brisbane camaraderie, packs in cameos from The Jungle Giants, The Belligerents and The Furrs (who also share a guitarist with Morning Harvey). Nic McKenzie from Deep Sea Arcade directed the video, apparently spending a few hours teaching the guys how to play their songs backwards \m/.

We’re presenting Morning Harvey’s single tour all through April. The first show kicks off in Brisbane this Saturday at Black Bear Lodge with Salvadarlings. The band have also compiled their top 5 bands from the sunny state below, check it out.

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  slug-guts

Slug Guts - ‘Stranglin’ You Too’

‘Stranglin’ You Too’ is a beautiful song in a odd way. It’s got such a great mood to it; the melody is perfect and his voice works so well on top of it all. I have no idea if they are still going, but I’m pretty shitted off that I haven’t seen them play. I first heard this song on a 7″ that Jackson our drummer was sent from Hozac Records in the US.


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The Furrs‘Get On Your Horse’

Jimmy, one of two guitarists in Morning Harvey started The Furrs around the end of last year.
I can’t wait for people to hear the rest of this EP, it’s full of extremely catchy tunes and sweet melodies.
Every time he shows me a new song I wonder why I didn’t think of that first. Bless his soul.

salvadarlings

Salvadarlings – ‘Lemon Mirage’


I’m fairly certain these guys are only a relatively new band to come out of Brisbane.
The lead vocalist’s voice is very sweet. Looking forward to seeing them play at our single launch in Brisbane.

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INTRODUCING: The Night Terrors

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night terrors

Alongside contemporaries like NO ZU and Zanzibar Chanel, The Night Terrors incorporate all the elements of shlock horror, trance and kraut experimentalism into a weird chemical reaction of awesome. All of that is explored in The Night Terrors new record Spinal Vortex, out on Homeless Records (Bits of Shit, Sex Tape, Cuntz). 

The Night Terrors rocket through sonic territory at a break-neck pace – like the Batwing if it was piloted by Kraftwerk. Careening through walls of electronic-tinged instrumental post-punk, Spinal Vortex does this all in just under 40 minutes.

Spooky malevolence and violent synth uprisings stalking palettes of sheer theremin…this band has it all.

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PREMIERE: Dorsal Fins – ‘Fell’

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dorsal fins art

Dorsal Fins is brand new project led by Liam McGorry, trumpeter and songwriter for Melbourne soul collective Saskwatch. Initially conceived as a studio-only band, each track has been developed in collaboration with musicians from local acts Eagle and the Worm, the Bluebottles, New Gods and more.

Dorsal Fins have just dropped the video for latest single ‘Fell’, which features Ella Thompson (the Bamboos) on vocals. The track opens with a faded choral sample that could have been lifted from Walt Disney’s Snow White and lyrics that call up Lewis Carroll’s maniacal imagination: ‘All the doors were locked/too small to squeeze/you drank from a cup/that said “Drink me”’. Propelled by a clean piano line and rich, swooping bass, ‘Fell’ is fleshed out by gorgeous vocal loops and layers of synths and horns that sit low in the mix.

The video – a mishmash of vintage sci fi, foreign landscapes, rolling traffic and endless train lines – was made by Jason Galea of ZonkVision. Galea is also responsible for the distorted B-grade psychedelia of previous clip, ‘Nothing Left to Hide’.

Thankfully McGorry has dropped the studio-only conceit, and Dorsal Fins will be launching their upcoming 12”, Gripless, at Shebeen on Thursday, 3 April. Jacky Winter and DJs Martin King and Stu Mackenzie will be supporting. Incidentally, Martin King has just released his own reworking of ‘Fell’ – check it out here.

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INTRODUCING: Ben Wright Smith

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Ben Wright Smith

These kind of songs are best when they’re beaten up like bad fruit. If anyone’s seen Josh Tillman expose his soul through the power of dance you’ll know what I mean.

Over-thirties who assume the ‘troubadour’ hat are apparently capable of devising platonic love ballads in the key of Ryan Adams. That’s not to say those in our early twenties can’t throw down our gripes via song (see Ben’s other track ‘If Living The Good Life Is Easy (Why Is This So Hard?’),  but I guess we bestow more problems on ourselves than we credit ourselves for anyway.

‘Fictional’ is the latest offering from Melbourne’s Ben Wright Smith. Wright-Smith’s previous EP, Autumn Safari – full of traveling songs and slide guitar, landed him a few stints in the USA and Nashville in 2011. ‘Fictional’ isn’t as much of an instant earworm as his previous single, but it’s been flailing around in my music memory for over a week now.

It’s hard to reinvent the wheel when you’re flagging alt-country vibes. Everyone is judging you on your slide guitar abilities and how weird you can get writing poetry about your shoes. Bonus points if you’re Scandinavian. Or if you’re the guy who got convinced by Rhys Mitchell (Mouth Tooth, RedBerryPlum) that making a video about pool cleaners with a heinous compilation of ripple transitions and heat motion tracking is the only way to reintroduce balladry to the kids.

I’ll give Ben Wright Smith credit though; the almost Born Sandy Devotional gulls-and-guitar soundbite in the intro paired with his higher vocal range lends this tune a strange comfort. Compared to other harmonica toting compatriots like Fraser A Gorman, even Sagamore’s Sam Cooper, Wright-Smith’s faint nuances make each phrase resonate on.

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If you’re in Melbourne tonight, catch Ben Wright Smith at his final The Toff In Town residency with The Kite Machine and Gena Rose Bruce.

Ben Wright Smith’s upcoming record In Parallel is set for a May release.

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PREMIERE: Nathan Roche – ‘Call Back’

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nathan roche

Next month Nathan Roche will deliver the second instalment of his glorious ‘Newtown Trilogy’. It comes only five months after the release of part one, his first solo effort, Watch It Wharf. This guy is as prolific as he is self-deprecating: he’s played in seven different bands from Townsville to Sydney (most recently Camperdown and Out, alongside members of Royal Headache, Dead Farmers and Raw Prawn) and has described earlier albums as “shambolic, poorly recorded, unstructured and rapidly conceived”. He’s also written a couple of books (there’s a sterling promo video for the latest), with red pens provided at one launch party “for those who wish to personally edit” his work.

He may be underselling himself, but Roche’s breezy, piss-taking attitude sure is charming. It’s all over Watch It Wharf, a record packed with Lou Reed-channeling tracks set around the pubs and docks of the (formerly) blue-collar inner-city Sydney.

Follow-up album Magnetic Memories wears its influences proudly, drawing on Brian Eno’s early pop output and the Americana-laced oddities of post-Big Star Alex Chilton. Mind you, it’s still pretty dinky di, with tracks celebrating the Hollywood Hotel in Surrey Hills and contemplating the relative merits of Walsh and Gordons bays.

Magnetic Memories is smoother than the predecessor album, with woodwind from Millie Hall (Destiny 3000, Bridezilla) and Caroline de Dear (Day Ravies), and cello by 2SER’s James Newman. Roche seems stuck at a point on the cusp of the 1970s and 80s when old-style rock’n’roll was taking a second glance at the saxophone. So you can just relax and let the arrangements on the title track lick you behind the ear while Roche huskily croons, ‘Magnetic memories/I got a tropical disease’.

New single ‘Call Back’ is even better – a punchy number that rails against the lifestyle impositions of the modern mobile phone device. It’s got bouncy, Roxy Music-style keys and back up vocals drawn from Lou Reed’s seedy take on American soul music.

Magnetic Memories is coming out in April via Glenlivet-A-Gogh (which has taken over Roche’s own Fartpound Records imprint) on vinyl, CD and digital.

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