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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Last month we introduced you to Owen Rabbit, a kid who got his start playing bush doofs in WA and ended up composing trip-hop-inflected indie pop in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
‘Violence and Degradation’ is the follow up to first single ‘Police Car’. An extended live recording of the new track has been doing the rounds for a while now, showing Owen piece the sound together from a panoply of equipment – synths, samplers, drum machines. The final version has now been laid down and returned from the mastering studio, and will be released very soon via Catch Release Records.
Thematically, ‘Violence and Degradation’ is a neat sequel to the earlier 7″, moving from a tale of delinquency to one of addiction and destitution. But where ‘Police Car’ was sparse and strange, ‘Violence and Degradation’ is lush and soaring, layers of strings, keys and shuddering snares.
Owen Rabbit has a bunch of shows coming up in NSW and Victoria:
Wed, 8 Oct – The Evelyn, Melbourne
Fri, 17 Oct – FBi Social, Sydney
Sat, 25 Oct – The Evelyn, Melbourne
Thurs, 13 Nov – Wesley Anne, Melbourne
Sat, 14 Nov – Babushka Bar, Ballarat
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Wives (formerly known as Sweet Shoppe) are your new favourite post-punk band. Like all great post-punk bands, they were bred out of the sewer of manipulation, deceit and backstabbing – also known as our nation’s capital of Canberra. With experience and talent on their side, Wives contains members from other flagship bands such as Assassins 88, TV Colours, Sex Noises and Beach Slut.
The band’s newest single is ‘Buried’. The music is severe, and plods with the doom of an undertaker about to make some bank. There’s a lot of elements at play here: the thwocking bass, submerged yelps and that angular, neurotic guitar piercing skin again and again. It’s an uneasy track, and the best part about it is that you can’t quite make out why.
The video only adds to the track’s vague yet encompassing nature. It’s kind of like someone dropped a kaleidoscope in a vat of acid and then was granted the power of neon heat-vision. Whatever is going on behind the shifting patterns isn’t all that obvious, but the intrigue is all part of the fun.
Wives launch ‘Buried’ in Sydney at Black Wire Records on Friday the 26th of September, with support from Bare Grillz, Hence Therefore, and Roland Major. They follow that up with a hometown show at The Phoenix with a support slot at Mere Women‘s album launch on the 27th.
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GL is a Melbourne-based synth-pop duo formed by Bamboos alumni Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson. The pair is about to release the Love Hexagon EP via Plastic World, a Sydney imprint run by Vic Edirisinghe of Astral People and James McInnes of Future Classic.
With a focus on the kind of forward-thinking, club-oriented acts that don’t seem to have a natural home on existing local labels, Plastic World has, in its short life, dropped releases by Tuff Sherm, Cassius Select, Retiree and Alba. The label’s curatorial nous is reflected in the remixes they’ve scored for GL’s upcoming release, including work by Detroit house legend Terrence Parker and Gerd Janson of Running Back Records, which has released music from the likes of Todd Terje, Theo Parrish and Tensnake.
‘Won’t You See’, the first cut to surface from Love Hexagon, started doing the rounds back in July. Though it’s body music with a killer hook, overwhelmingly the track comes off as a 1980s genre exercise, its drum machines and tightly coiled synths zapping like lasers.
GL’s new single, the more sultry ‘What Happened to Us’, draws on a similar palette – but here Thompson’s vocal performance pushes the sound to a higher plane. Her voice flutters and cracks as she delivers the yearning lines, ‘Don’t push harder/You can push harder/But it’s not like before’. As it heats up, ‘What Happened to Us’ rivals the retro-pop grandeur of Solange’s Dev Hynes-produced tracks, equal parts strength and lightness of touch.
Love Hexagon pre-orders will be available soon. Check out the video for ‘Won’t You See’ after the jump.
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True to form, ‘Prone Hold’ from Auckland’s Trust Punks sees the band continue to forge their sound; a dissonant marker between punk and skewered pop.
‘Prone Hold’ is the first track to be released from the band’s debut LP, Discipline. The seven track LP follows a series of singles previously released on Bandcamp.
Both blissful and confronting, ‘Prone Hold’ is a perplexing journey. While each section boasts enough content to carry an entire track, it all passes in seamless procession. The chaos is counteracted by extended angular guitars and long drawn vocal lines. The track peaks with the inclusion of horns over gradually rising and multiplying vocals, before devolving once more into a harsh enveloping wall of noise.
Trust Punks perform at Homies Cosy Teahouse on October 18th in Wellington, and 10 South Street on October 25th in Auckland. A larger New Zealand tour and the band’s second tour of Australia will happen this coming Summer.
Discipline is set for a November 14th release date via Spunk Records.
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Following our podcast on new Indonesian tunes last month, Mexico is our feature country in this month’s MAPCAST. Robbie takes you through what he describes as “twenty minutes of terrifying Mexican underground”, covering everything from new cumbia to afro-pacific beats. The whole affair sounds like Gael Garcia Bernal and Drake doing drinking out of a shoe in a dank, dark club somewhere on the Yucatan. Thanks to our fellow MAP compatriot Uliel from Mexico music blog RedBull Panamerika for your help this month.
This month’s episode, along with previous podcasts are available for free download over at our Soundcloud.
Check out more international tunes in the September edition of the Music Alliance Pact.
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Angela Ford and David Jenkins are a pair of vigilantes. The Sydney duo don’t fight crime per se, but they do fight the good fight of producing great music. Vigilantes have created an immaculate and imaginative tune with ‘Circles’ – a glossy, New Wave-y melody built on danceable beats. The duo have also recently put forth a brand new cut, creatively entitled, ‘<3′. Believe me, these songs ooze style.
‘Circles’ seems to lament or grudgingly accept the cyclical nature of things. Recurring mantras and looping synth progressions help to round out this feeling. Angela’s vocals are particularly special, moving across angelic peaks from chorus to verse.
‘<3′ has a bit more pop and bounce. This one focuses heavily on David’s sculpted vocal tones; smooth, yet not over the top. He sings about devotion, eternal love and other happy things but without sounding cheesy – no mean feat when you specialise in effervescent electro-pop.
Both Angela and David are accomplished musicians, having previously performed with Bertie Blackman and Kirin J Callinan. I’ve been told by the pair that the creative process is rarely linear, but things manage to come together with ideas and fragments recorded over time. If ‘Circles’ is any indication, I’d say the process works perfectly.
No EP or album is planned at this stage, but expect more singles that will assuredly help spread the word of this daring duo.
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