Tagged By I’lls

LISTEN: Arms Akimbo, Hospital, Us the Band, Planete, Golden Girls & OM Collective

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arms akimbo

Arms Akimbo – ‘Level Completed’

This little gem comes from Josh Bush, drummer in Sydney band Low Lux, now going solo under the name Arms Akimbo. ‘Level Completed’ channels elements of 80s pop and Balearic house, Bush’s falsetto gelling seamlessly with the snappy guitar and muted toms. It’s a stylish debut, low key yet cathartic.

Hospital – ‘Daniel’

This track from Melbourne outfit Hospital has really earned the Xiu Xiu comparisons (and supposedly got the nod from Jamie Stewart himself). ‘Daniel’ is all screams and sawing guitar, Al Dodds’ voice quivering in disgust as he addresses an absent father figure. There’s adolescent angst here, but the delivery hits hard. Hospital’s latest record, Describing Bodies, is being reissued through Skydreams on 11 January.

Us the Band – ‘And I Will’

The newest signing to Rice is Nice, Sydney duo Us the Band make up for their lack of manpower with overdrive and manic energy. ‘And I Will’ is the second single from a forthcoming EP. It’s characteristically short and sharp, with shredded vocals and a neat hook.

I’lls – ‘Let Me Have Just One (Planete remix)’

I never understood the hype around I’lls. The songs are pretty, and I admire their minimalist touch, but they’re so derivative of Radiohead (and Thom Yorke more generally), it’s kind of embarrassing. Planete‘s remix of ‘Let Me Have Just One’ – a standout track from their swan song, the awkwardly titled Can I Go with You to Go Back to My Country – elevates the original to real body music: something you can feel in your muscles and bones. Which is what the Melbourne producer excels at – driving delicate samples into a whirlwind, his rattling textures swept along by grinding bass.

Golden Girls – ‘Life of the Party’

Melbourne three-piece Golden Girls make slowcore for the present day, using synths, drum machines and loads of reverb. The Golden Hour EP was recorded under the auspices of Brunswick-based Smooch Records, with mixing from Rat & Co.‘s Joshua Delaney and mastering by Mikey Young. The trip-hop leaning numbers are perhaps slightly undercooked, but the narcotic guitar loop of penultimate track ‘Life of the Party’ works well. Tim McNeill’s disembodied lyrics sum up the mood: “I really think I might be too stoned/I think we should go home”.

OM Collective – ‘I Didn’t Know I was Trouble’

For his first single as OM Collective, Sydneysider Tim Ferson has released a chamber folk reworking of Taylor Swift’s ‘Trouble’. This is a bloke who looks like Father John Misty taking a trip at Earthcore, so it can be hard to disentangle the earnestness from the irony. Nonetheless, Ferson’s orchestral melancholy is a nice counterpoint to Taylor’s focus-grouped mix of spite and nostalgia.

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You should always trust a conservatorium student who pulls apart hooks long forgotten. That’s what Asdafr Bawd (pron: az-das-ah-fah bow-d) has done to xTina’s ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’. It’s part of a two-track release out through Solitaire Recordings (run by I’lls very own Hamish Mitchell). ‘Nobody’ – which uses Aguilera’s hook – should be commended for giving relevance to someone whose star has faded, along with flip-phones, low-cut denim and the stand-alone MP3 player.

Asdafr Bawd (real name Alex Clayton), is a classical piano and percussion student at the University of Melbourne, and he seems to be someone whose music knowledge would extend well beyond your usual chitchat. Presumably, his studies are routinely making him note the difference between augmented, diminished and suspended chords – so don’t get all high and mighty when you realise he’s put Caribou through the works on the second track, ‘Love’.

Underneath all of this is one suave producer who you could place on a spectrum with UK garage at one end and the current post-dub / post-Jamie xx world that electronica is in right now at the other. So pop 19-year-old Alex Clayton on your next playlist – alongside the wealth of young producers Melbourne’s got going for itself right now.

FacebookSoundcloud / Twitter

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The musical gene is strong amongst the kin of I’lls singer Simon Lam. The Melbourne producer has enlisted his cousin Chloe Kaul to produce some lean, polished electronic music as Klo.

Their latest track, ‘False Calls’, is a brooding electro-pop tune with R&B influences. It combines a carefully constructed rhythm section with snippets of Kaul’s soulful vocals to create some compelling electronica.

Kaul’s voice is enveloping and badass, like lounging around your jacuzzi in a silk robe. The vocal melodies sound like they were carved right out of a stick of butter and smeared artfully over some subdued, polished production for the perfect R&B/neo-soul sandwich.

The vocal layering mirrors UK experimental pop act Tirzah, and ‘False Calls’ is similarly beautiful in the simplicity of its composition.

Klo will be performing at BIGSOUND in September.


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PREMIERE: I’lls – ‘To All The Blurred’ (Rat & Co Remix)

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On the back of amazing remixes this week, (hear Nick Zinner’s remix of a Rainbow Chan track), here’s another. You should already know anything Rat & Co touches turns to gold. Combine that with I’lls‘ spirit fingers and the output is something real special. Rat & Co’s ‘To The Blurred’ remix is a rework of the track that appeared on I’lls incredible EP A Warm Reception earlier this year. The pair have added a sharper beat to I’lls lush pile of carbonated fuzz and dilated feelings. This one sounds like a long, comtemplative wander in metropolis. This track will be released on a Yes Please compilation in early December featuring remixes of I’lls A Warm Reception EP by electronic artists like Naysayer & Gilsun, Tincture, Wabz and Ktsche.

Rat & Co –  Facebook / Soundcloud

I’lls – Facebook / Soundcloud


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PREMIERE: The Ocean Party

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We love these guys. Most bands don’t usually don’t make more than twice an appearance on this blog (so many new bands, so little time), but these guys have somehow found a way around that. Dave has a blatant man crush on everyone in this band – while The Ocean Party’s member spawn-out into other local acts like Velcro, Kins, I’lls, The Removalists, Pencil, Ciggie Witch and Mining Boom makes shirking away from Band Bias almost impossible.

Amidst this band’s thread of solo projects, side projects and gratuitous sharing of talents across acts that have, and still continue to make important contributions to local music, The Ocean Party is the constant fixture in the chaos. And in a way, their Brunswick sharehouse (which featured in our photo essay of the guys earlier this year) seems to have become a central meeting point, literally and lyrically.

The band’s new track ‘Split’ which we’re premiering today sums up the band. The song’s subject is about moving away, but it’s a bit of a homecoming really.

Much like the song title, the band has had it’s share of vagabond members traipsing off to the UK and New York before returning back to the band or leaving to work on other projects. The Ocean Party originally met in high school in Wagga Wagga, but didn’t become a band until years later when they all found themselves living in Melbourne. After drummer Ben Protasiewicz departed for Perth, Simon Lam joined when their debut record The Sun Rolled off the Hills was recorded. 

After the album tour, Simon left Australia for England with his other band Kins, while the band started penning their follow up, Social Clubs. Simon made a prodigal return, coming home to record the second album, before departing again to focus on his other project, I’lls. A few months later, Curtis Wakeling (Velcro) left for New York for six months, so Joe Foley (Aleks and the Ramps) joined on bass and Lachlan Denton’s younger brother Zac moved from Wagga as a drummer. Curtis eventually returned from NY, and after getting the songs together for the new album the band packed up the van and headed to Tarcutta in NSW to record new material.

‘Split’ was recorded on Lachlan and Zac’s grandparents farm. During recording, the band moved away from the traditional idea of Lachlan Denton being the lead singer. Instead, the band took a literal approach to the song title, with every member of the band writing and singing their own songs. Zac penned ‘Split’ after moving from Wagga to Melbourne. “At the time I was just 18 and living with the rest of the band who had time to spare and less responsibility” Zac says, dividing time time for music and working as a plasterer for “shit wages and a hard-arse boss”.

Suburban nuances, the whole slave-to-the-man mantra is the obvious common thread through all our local bands denoting that token pop jangle. The point is to make the end result appear a lot effortless than the track’s intention/subject matter – and these guys do it well. ‘Split’ is a gorgeous, leisurely jam that could easily fool Shazam for a Real Estate b-side, but it’s not a sound we’ll tire of soon. The band have honed a much cleaner sound here, but those rolling guitar hooks and wistful lyrics are still hanging out right where they left off. The Ocean Party’s modesty and unassuming nature is what makes them so damn likeable. Knowing the nature of this band, the guys will probably see through a few more lineup changes. As long as they stick around chugging along making tunes about chugging along, we’re content.

Facebook / Bandcamp / Photo Essay 

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STORYBOARD: I’lls – A Warm Reception

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The last six months have been amongst the best of my time. A home base in Toronto and extensive travels about North America gave me the time and space to work on different projects while consuming Australian music through a more long-form process.

Each flight, cross city train ride, or 7 hour bus ride across great snowy landscapes lent itself to a more reflective consumption of music. In particular, new records from Beaches and Standish/Carlyon demanded my attention. But it was A Warm Reception, the new EP by I’lls that kept swallowing my thoughts.

What follows is a series of camera phone pictures accompanied by direct quotes from the stranger folks I met along the way.

It’s an essay explaining a visual and very personal story of a 6 week road trip circling the East Coast of the USA; driving from the fishing villages in Maine, stopping by haunted mansions in Savannah – to hanging out in dingy New Orleans jazz clubs and tourist-ing the maze of museums in DC. The colour, smell, sound and atmosphere of 5000 miles of the pure American dream…



Track 1: ‘Speak Low’

Listen to

“I don’t drink coffee. Or drink that much. I’m not really addicted to anything…except, well, I’m a sex addict. Anyway, so you want to hear a haunted story?”.


Track 2: ‘Plans Only Drawn’

Listen to

“I hear you like the Man From Snowy River? I’m a big fan. I’ve got an 8’ kangaroo whip. I’ll crack it for y’all if you like?”


Track 3: ‘Outright’

Listen to

“I play a Benjamin Franklin glass harmonica for tourists on the freedom trail. I’ve pretty much learnt every national anthem so that if someone asks for the… Mongolian national anthem (she gestures with her fingers) I can play it.”


Track 4: ‘Sharing’

Listen to

“Aren’t you two just a gorgeous couple? And on this lovely sunny day, that’ll be a pretty picture.”


Track 5: ‘To All The Blurred’

Listen to

“Oh, hey… I laid some carpet in Elvis’ house. 6 weeks after he died. Man, that was a long time ago. Hey could you spare some change for a veteran with colon cancer?”


Track 6: ‘Mine’s Here or My End’s Here or Nineteen’

Listen to

“My biggest fear is losing my special lady friend cause that’s what gets me through the night.”


I’lls Warm Reception EP available through Yes Please here.

Catch them launching the EP tonight at Yes Please’s 2nd Birthday:

July 18 – Melbourne
The Worker’s Club
$12 pre-sale
$15 door

with Fishing
The Townhouses


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