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PREMIERE: Perfume Garden – Splintered Time

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Errol Hoffman sprang on to the scene as Perfume Garden in 2013 with the drum-machine backed post-punk of the Light Sail EP. It was a debut characterised by a blend of ominous synth drones and wandering guitars reminiscent of early Cocteau Twins. 2014’s Initial Vision EP followed suit, cementing Hoffman’s six-string prowess while introducing a more beat-driven production style.

Splintered Time is the latest release from the Brisbane producer and serves as both a culmination and departure from his past work.

Musically, Splintered Time builds on layers of grainy Casio chords and distant drums with warped lo-fi leads that would feel right at home in Bowie’s Low or Jodorowsky’s Dune, had it ever been made. Songs like opener ‘Endless Sentence’ push and pull in a slow progression that feels distinctly more cinematic then most modern electronic music.

Hoffman cites several sci-fi film scores as key influences for Splintered Time, including Blade Runner and its anime successor Cyber City Oedo 808. This can be heard in the album’s ‘80s style production, which Hoffman achieves through a mix of sampling keyboards and a healthy dose of reverb.

The record positively revels in the retro-futurism it so proudly wears on its sleeve, calling to mind everything from Vangelis’ film work to the more recent Oneohtrix Point Never. It’s an album that manages to remain dark and brooding without becoming suffocating, approaching the isolation of the 21st century with an eye for beauty, as well as melancholy.

Although Splintered Time is entirely instrumental, it manages to conjure up powerfully emotive images of decaying cityscapes and solitary figures, all the while giving a sense of gloomy romanticism that makes everything seem like its as it should be.  It’s the perfect soundtrack to enjoying your own post-apocalyptic fantasy on these long mid-winter nights. 

Splintered Time is out through Feral Media on the 20th of July.

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LISTEN: Donny Love – ‘Carnivorous Man’

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Gold Coast beach blues quartet Donny Love are sad for your heartbroken arse, ladies. They get it, you’re sick of serial sleazebags but that’s probably just because you live on the Gold Coast. In fact, their grasp of your feels are SO FIRM they slip into your head and sing about your issues in first person towards the end of their latest track ‘Carnivorous Man’.

The track works with the band’s knack for time signature breaks and fast-paced vocal lines. ‘Carnivorous Man’ could be the female rebuttal of an earlier track, which uses a similar structure to deplore the age old ‘good guy needs sex too’ dilemma. Andrew Hodges’s lyricism is a standout, and I’m pretty happy to accept “true love constipation” as the only metaphor for emotional unavailability I will need ever again. His quick-witted snipes are sped along by snappy guitar licks that would give The Growlers a run for their money, in fact I think the room would have reached peak beach goth when Donny Love supported the California ~*dreamboats*~ on a handful of their east-coast dates earlier this year.

The ‘Carnivorous Man’ tour continues at The Bearded Lady in Brisbane this Friday in their finest “comfy sandals”, with shows in Melbourne and the GC to follow.

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LISTEN: Beko Disques – ‘Oz Do it Better – Volume 2′ Compilation

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There’s an innate irony in admiring a French label that’s put together a mixtape of some of the best Australian bands. Like, why is someone on the other side of the world doing this? Shouldn’t WE be doing this? Why aren’t WE doing this? Is this whiny tone harming your ability to focus?

French label Beko Disques have been massive supporters of all things Australian, releasing tapes and records from a variety of Australia’s finest unrewarded music makers, from Parading to Day Ravies, through to TEES and Cool Sounds. Although these bands might be cruelly underrated in their own nation, Beko have taken it upon themselves to sing their praises and publish their recordings from across the globe. Legends? Uh, yeah.

In what is now the second compilation of its nature, (the first can be found here) Beko Disques have brought together a smorgasbord of fine talents from all over this great continent. Moving from well-known Melbourne staples like Chook Race, through to exciting up and comers Hideous Towns, DEAFCULT and The S-Bends, the Oz Do It Better compilation is a thought out and concise encapsulation of a lot of the music that makes this fair country so great to live within.

Not only is this a great discovery tool to find your new favourite band amongst some more established names, but this foreign compilation serves as a reminder of how great we have it. Yes! We do music really well here. We’re awesome. Yes! WE ARE AWESOME.

Grab the compilation here.

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INTRODUCING: Lucola Bang

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Luke Benge is a man of many lives. Astute readers may remember the New Zealand-born musician from his synth-pop swoonings as Rohypnotise or for his infamous exit from Beat Magazine in 2012. After spending the past few years in New York, Benge has returned to Australia to work on new music as Lucola Bang.

‘Snakes and Ladders’ is the first offering from his debut EP What Of It? and finds the multi-instrumentalist refining the wistful charm of his early work into a rolling heat-wave of warm synths and sticky-sweet bass lines. Fans of Kiwi contemporaries Boy Crush and Leno Lovecraft will find a lot to love in the new single as Benge’s hushed vocals permeate clouds of reverb-laden strings and bells.

With a new music video by avant-garde director Rhys Mitchell on the way and the EP out in full in September, we’re excited to have Benge back on this side of the planet.

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INTRODUCING: Shiny Coin

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Hands down, the best part of my childhood involved stumbling upon a coin in the street. The glimmer of a $2 coin was like a lighthouse beacon shimmering across a windy storm for me. I was a sailor, barely surviving in the storm that was kindergarten and early bedtimes, and this coin was my safety, my portal to dry land and a cheeky can of Coke. Screw you 6pm bedtime, you will never take me alive.

Melbourne’s Shiny Coin remind me of those days – their gorgeous lo-fi tunes are the right mixture of slacker and power pop that throw back to both the happiness of stumbling across a rare coin, as well as the shock-effect that soft drinks have on a child, and which garage bands have on a man-child.

Two EPs in, and not a single track that these guys have written breaks the three minute barrier. Isn’t that such a beautiful sentiment? The track names are pretty fantastic as well – ‘Mr Tofu’, ‘My Friends’ and the sharp ‘C*nt’ are all fantastic jams that insist on being played as loud as possible.

For people that have been craving some of that Speedy Ortiz/Joanna Gruesome action in Aus, well, here’s your opportunity. Shiny Coin kick tremendous amounts of ass, and are an essential addition to any lover of fuzz pedal.

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PREMIERE: Jamil Zacharia – ‘Magic Snuff Box’

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I’ve always associated the word ‘snuff’ with some mobster sending someone to their aquatic death. You know, setting someone’s feet in cement and throwing them off a boat.

Jamil Zacharia‘s ‘Magic Snuff Box’ I imagine is something far less sadistic. I mean, if he was ever to ‘snuff’ you out, his magic box would probably chuck you an LSD-infused rainbow beforehand. And this should come as no surprise, given his guitar work’s found on tracks from Silentjay, Kirkis and Clever Austin—all musos who seem to write in time signatures straight out of a psychedelic Willy Wonka tunnel ride.

Zacharia’s track is a lot gentler though. You’d be excused for missing out on the multitudes of micro-beats he packs into this, given that you’ll be required to listen to this a fair few times to really take this all in. It’s reminiscent of the aesthetic that Bjork’s Vespertine adopted, a world where a string of intimate samples were used to pursue a wintry sound. This track coming out in the thick of the Australian winter is merely serendipitous, though ‘Magic Snuff Box’ could certainly add a similar cinematic pathos to yours.

Writing on his Facebook page earlier this week, he said writing the song was about “letting go of one’s crapness”, but I’d be curious to hear him explain why. He’s been sought after by influential Melbourne musos precisely because of his talent. And sure, all creatively-minded individuals are bound to go through another existential crisis by sunset, ‘Magic Snuff Box’ certainly says a lot about another Melburnian musician who shouldn’t be worrying about that just yet.

‘Magic Snuff Box’ is the first track off Zacharia’s debut EP, The Soft Tread That Inspires, set for release later this year on his own label, Wabi Sabi

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INTRODUCING: Uncle Bobby

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Uncle Bobby

Uncle Bobby is the project of 18 year old Melbourne guy Robbie Downie and he’s about to steal you away down his glitch-psych rabbit hole of wonder and WTF. Besides a clear proficiency in psych rock, Downie is adept at constructing melody from a seemingly random assortment of sound, and his latest track is a bloody treat for any Cream Collective fans in the crowd. ‘My Mind is Already Gone’ throws a sitar underneath the glitch and sparse house that crop up on his beaut debut EP, Flick My Switch, building on some of the sunnier efforts of his initial output.

Downie’s latest track floats, ducks, weaves and warps before restructuring itself at the end of this glorious weird trip. For one guy to be able to process this many layers in his head and arrange them in a somewhat-cluttered but still accessible way is pretty impressive. It’s not the first sound you would imagine Downie turning to after his ten track debut, but in reality the breadth of sound on Flick My Switch is so expansive I realised I had no idea what the next logical step would be for this guy who must have to actively fight to keep good ideas inside his head.

Downie could probably squeeze a melody out of a rock, and this self-produced track is an extravagant feather in his cap. The fact that he has already shown such a diverse sound is exciting in this era of psych-wash – he’s original and talented and going places.

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