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INTRODUCING: Total Giovanni

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Newly signed to Two Bright Lakes and Remote Control, Total Giovanni last week released their debut single, ‘Human Animal’. The band’s reputation for outrageous live shows preceded them, and before the public got a taste of Total Giovanni’s recorded efforts they were booked to play Dark Mofo, Melbourne Music Week, Golden Plains and Paradise Music Festival. But even the on-stage spectacle of five grown men in berets and leopard-print hot pants, performing synchronised dance moves to the strains of crotch-sniffing Italo-disco, could not have prepared us for how accomplished Total Giovanni sound in the studio.

A part of this year’s sweeping boogie revival, ‘Human Animal’ is also heavily indebted to the Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem (its opening lines – ‘I’m having so little impact/I’m having so little impact’ – immediately recall the melancholic jibes of James Murphy’s ‘Losing My Edge’). Total Giovanni jammed together for months before embarking on their many live dates, and they sound great as a result – as ‘Human Animal’ demonstrates. This is smooth, tight and extremely danceable stuff.

Catch Total Giovanni this Friday at Melbourne Music Week’s opening night, and on the final weekend of November, at Paradise Music Festival.

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LISTEN: Teen Sensations – ‘Monster Beach Party’

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Jeremy Neale seems to have a new hobby: releasing what are ostensibly novelty songs, but then making them too goddamn good to be novelty songs. With his solo band earlier this year he put out ‘Stallion Rider’ – a power metal song so outside his usual sound it had to be at least kind of a joke, but done with an obvious love and respect for that kind of music. It was so badarse it gave meaning back to a way overused descriptor: fucken EPIC.

Now with Beach Boys worshipping surf-pop outfit Teen Sensations he’s gone and done it again, releasing the Halloween-themed single ‘Monster Beach Party’ on new Brisbane label Heath Street Wax. Sure, this kind of thing aint for everyone (lookin’ at you, SRS Music fan), and I know, I know – you’re ten seconds in and you’re hearing teen-idol vocals and lyrics about zombies and werewolves and it’s all a bit cute. But then that vocal hook in the chorus comes in, and the wonderful songwriting that makes this band so hard to dismiss as a joke shines through.

Yuri Johnson’s also given it a bit of sad surf guitar in the chorus, which is a smart move because this, combined with Neale’s semi-pleading ‘I avoid the sunlight baby, so stick around’, gives you some emotional pathos that takes this song out of the realm of ‘forgettable fun’ and into ‘Hang on – this is actually good’ territory.

You can check ‘em on tour on the east coast in the next couple of months, on the following dates:

Sat 29 November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane (with Love Signs)

Fri 5 December – The Gallery Bar, Sydney (with The Electric Vogues & Dr. Spaceman)

Sat 6 December – The Toff, Melbourne

Thurs 11 December – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane (with Pluto Jonze).

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PREMIERE: Born Joy Dead – ‘Hey Blood’

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Born Joy Dead

Is that an extended Kanye sample at the start of your track, Born Joy Dead? (Mix it backwards for reference by association, guarantee #1 hit tune). Even sans sample, this new one by Brisbane four piece Born Joy Dead is a bit of a belter, we think. The band’s new track, ‘Hey Blood’ kicks off with a generous lot of pop verve and stadium-rawk merit. There’s no wasting hum-a-long guitar licks and flail-ya-hands in the air choruses when a former Hungry Kids of Hungary member (Ben Dalton) is at the helm here. Happy days!

‘Hey Blood’ will be available on iTunes as of tomorrow.

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INTRODUCING: Motel Love

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Motel Love, now that’s a name. Instantly, seedy images of late-night rendezvous and the seeds of impending divorce spring to mind. Reality bites though – Motel Love are just a new band that like to thrash around (and who probably really, really like The Replacements.)

Besides the obvious indicator as to where these guys grab their sound, they also slot in quite easily with a whole bunch of other Melbourne bands doing heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll really well, such as The Pink Tiles and Scotdrakula.

Unlike their namesake, which is tapered with shitty wallpaper and basic cable, Motel Love are as jolty and alive as an electric chair thrown in a pool. They’re semi-sloppy, but instantly loveable and adorable. Kind of like Eeyore. Or Steve Urkel. They seem like a band ready-made to pump out the singles, with their track ‘Dance On My Grave’ making for a fun entrance to their upcoming debut album, due in 2015.

If anything, Motel Love, besides The Replacements, recall a throwback to an easy, no-pressure summer fling, where everything’s bright and sparkly, and the hedonistic tendencies are layered on thick. I’ve never had one myself, but who ever said Grease wasn’t educational?

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LISTEN: ScotDrakula – ‘Shazon’

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After last month’s single ‘O’Clock’ took the foot off the gas slightly, ScotDrakula are straight back on blistering form with this track ‘Shazon’, also off their forthcoming self-titled LP. Though still not quite as seethingly explosive as ‘Break Me Up’ or ‘Burner’ (ages) before it, ‘Shazon’ makes up for it in almost dangerous levels of head-nodding catchiness (though I was momentarily disappointed that they hadn’t named the song after everyone’s favourite aunt ‘Shazza’, as I thought on first glance).

The immediate, exciting bass riff that we’ve come to expect from these guys is back – as is Matt Neumann’s yowling, drawling vocal which always hits a perfect balance between deranged and relatable. There’s no superfluous parts or fat to be trimmed – the biggest appeal of a three-piece. Where a lot of psych-y garage-y bands are choosing to manufacture excitement by packing the stage full of members and the recordings full of superfluous jams, Scotdrakula keep everything tight and in constant motion. This is get up and shake it as confidently as your social anxiety will allow kinda music, and this band is one of the first I’ve seen live in ages where their set left me wanting more, rather than more than ready for a break and a beer.

Have a listen to the digital version of the ‘O’Clock’ / ‘Shazon’ cassingle here, where you can also go on a waitlist for hardcopies, since they sold out real quick. You can also check out the nostalgic (presumably, otherwise someone went to A LOT of trouble) found-footage video below.

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LISTEN: Ara Koufax – ‘Brenda’

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The second single from Oceans Apart, a 19-track compilation showcasing Melbourne’s diverse club scene, mixed and curated by Cut Copy, dropped last week. If the other tracks are anything like as good as this one (and NO ZU’s contribution, the no-wave pilfering ‘Raw Vis Vision’ – replete with sax, disco whistle and cowbell – is a pretty fair attempt), then Oceans Apart could do great things for the local underground.

Ara Koufax is a new project from old hands Sam Gill and Luke Neher of Naysayer & Gilsun. It’s largely the result of a working beach holiday the pair took a little over a year ago to thrash out some new ideas. While Ara Koufax isn’t unrecognisable as the work of Gill and Neher, the sounds here are more expansive, less clean and monochrome, than the pair’s earlier material.

Their first single, ‘Converge’, is a warm, textured house track, with scuffed loops and a vocal that could have been plucked straight from a sweaty dancefloor in 1980s New York. ‘Brenda’, which unfolds in twice the time, is a much lighter affair. It sails along, with euphoric vocals taken from the late, great Brenda Fassie riding atop bubbling percussion and ascending keys.

Ara Koufax’s debut EP will be out soon on Downtime. Meanwhile, Oceans Apart is due for digital release on 11 November, via Cut Copy’s own Cutters Records, with vinyl samplers to come on 18 November. Preorders are available now from iTunes.

Don’t miss the Oceans Apart launch party at Melbourne Music Week on Saturday, 15 November, featuring Cut Copy DJs, Andras & Oscar, NO ZU, World’s End Press and heaps more.

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PREMIERE: Super Magic Hats – ‘BRB’ (Kitty cover)

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Super Magic Hats

Savvy to the task of remixing, err….‘emo-bounce’? Super Magic Hats aka. local electronic producer Rob Masterton has done it. He’s covered Kitty’s ‘BrB’ (with vocals courtesy of Bonnie Morrison), minus the bad underwear and ‘bae’ refs.

Masterton grew up on the Isle of Man in the UK, but now resides in Melbourne. Kumori is a criss cross between electronica and all variations of it. This kinda stuff usually slants towards more a introspective body of sound, but the general vibe on Kumori is all glitchy positivity – almost as what you’d imagine Tim Shiel giving a motivational talk to be like. Once you get past the intro in ‘Slopes’, listen closely. You can kind of hear ‘Time of My Life’ over the instrumentals….‘cause that’s how all good electronica is meant to make you feel, amirite?

Kumori was released recently via Washington based Hush Hush Records. The EP is available for download or on cassette to add to your stack. The tape version features and extra track and the cover below. 

If you like what you hear, you can revisit SMH’s older releases over at his Bandcamp.

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