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LISTEN: Carla Dal Forno – ‘Fast Moving Cars’ / ‘Better Yet’

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carla dal forno

Carla Dal Forno has previously released stuff as part of Melbourne/Berlin experimental acts Tarcar and F ingers, who’ve got those  ‘bleak’ ‘dark’ ‘cold’ ‘difficult’ tags stuck on so tight, mostly only weird dudes can really be bothered to get into them.

But I reckon you could get pretty into this track, weird dude or no. In ‘Fast Moving Cars’ Dal Forno is having one of those calm ‘this is how I feel, take it or leave it’ conversations that you have in your head but which never come out right in real life. But somehow Dal Forno’s made it come out perfect; you know exactly what she means when she’s telling whoever to ‘do something exciting’ and ‘yeah, come on, be reckless’. The song’s all subterranean bass and vocals, with an undercurrent of spacey buzz. Taunting vocal melodies delivering lines like ‘I get turned on by fast racing cars’ bring a bit of attitude – if not exactly ‘personality’ to her hypnotically monotone delivery.

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The video is simple and cool, too – for a song that’s about the desire for new experiences and the exotic and exciting, it has this typically Australian bush setting, recognisable from school trips and family trips and friend trips. It’s nostalgic but kind of spooky, following a girl as she walks down a path through the trees, into the river and swims away. Probably just to the other side but ~who knows~?

The B side, ‘Better Yet’, is maybe a little more typical of the cold electronic stuff we’ve been hearing a bit of lately, but it’s even more spookily beautiful – hooded robes/ candles/ ‘trying to find your way out of windowless rooms’ shit. It give me an intense feeling of unease.

 

Dal Forna lives in Berlin these days, ‘Fast Moving Cars’ is out on London label Blackest Ever Black and it has about 11,000 views on YouTube by now, so she’s already doing better than me or you. Still, have a listen.

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WATCH: Chelsea Bleach – ‘Public Safety’

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chelsea bleach

“What’s mine is mine” states lead vocalist Emily Gayfer on the long drawn wailing choruses of Chelsea Bleach’s latest single ‘Public Safety’. Chelsea Bleach have been working their feminist riot grrrl punk stylings in a ‘legit’ sense since late 2014 (unless of course you count the various impromptu gigs and house party performances), and they’ve carved out a beautiful little niche for themselves making punk music for anyone who isn’t a straight white male.

You can watch the brand spankin’ new video for ‘Public Safety’ below, produced by Sorcha Mackenzie; but if you really want to get a taste of beautiful 90s punk nostalgia, you ought to head along to the tune’s official launch at the Old Bar on May 20th (where you can also enjoy the wonderful talents of Wet Lips, Two Steps on the Water, and HABITS going off at the DJ booth).

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LISTEN: Tim Richmond – ‘Come to Papa’

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Tim Richmond Come to Papa cover 300

A chef and a publican (he co-owns the lovely Longplay in North Fitzroy), Tim Richmond has been composing songs, slowly and steadily, since 2008, using a guitar he first bought as a teenager. His last record, Dot, consisted of stark, skewed guitar pop, as idiosyncratic as you might expect from a businessman with the freedom to experiment, tinkering determinedly after hours.

Richmond’s first two solo records were made with local stalwarts like Declan Kelly, Nick Huggins, Kishore Ryan and James Cecil. For the latest Tim Richmond Group release, What’s in the Middle?, he’s convened another all-star team, with Mark Monnone of the Lucksmiths, Monnone Alone and Lost & Lonesome Recording Co. on bass and Joe Alexander of Terrible Truths and Bedroom Suck Records on drums.

Lead single ‘Come to Papa’ sounds slick and dense compared to Richmond’s earlier work. In place of Dot‘s spidery riffs, he’s opted for bright chords and effects pedals, and a characteristically agile bass line from Monnone is well paired with Alexander’s featherlight drumming. Cheerful, wry and just a little creepy, the track’s basically a football anthem for cool dads – with a sneaky change of time signature to underscore the strangeness of this chorus: ‘Come to papa / Bada bing bada boom … Booya!’

What’s in the Middle? is out on 1 July via Lost & Lonesome. You can catch Tim Richmond Group supporting Cool Sounds at Hugs & Kisses on Saturday night, and at Lost & Lonesome’s Gasometer residency on Tuesday, 17 May.

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LISTEN: Kane Ikin – Modern Pressure

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Kane Ikin

Melbourne-based producer Kane Ikin has been crafting his brand of brooding, slow burn electronica for a number of years. After a run of solid releases for the likes of 12K and This Thing, he finds a suitable home for his latest album on experimental UK label Type Recordings.

His new album, Modern Pressure, follows on from EPs Warehouses and Circular Tip, both of which saw Ikin’s sound emerge from the delightfully swampy murk of his earlier work, juxtaposing crisp sonic details with his hazy signature style.

As the title suggests, the album was created during a difficult period for Ikin. Pressures both financial and otherwise inspired a condensed period of creativity, with majority of the album written in quick succession. These struggles permeate the sound of the album, an unsettling twinge of anxiety underpinning each track.

Like Warehouses, Modern Pressure sounds like music for large concrete spaces, the cold sheen and ghostly echoes evoking stark industrial areas where programmed machinery replicates object after object with flawless precision. From the techno pulse of opener ‘Partial’ and ‘Tap Tap Collapse’ to the lumbering stumble of ‘Pulp’, the rhythmic elements play a more prominent role on the album, propelling the buried melodies along as if caught in their slipstream.

Modern Pressure is another impressive entry in Kane Ikin’s stellar catalogue, his sound growing and evolving in all the right ways.

Watch the stunning clip for ‘Tap Tap Collapse’ below and be sure to grab a copy of Modern Pressure pronto.

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LISTEN: Hollywood Models – ‘Fare Evade’

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hollywood models

It’s the kind of conversation you’ve seen played out hundreds of times over social media or during shit small-talk at parties where you don’t know anybody. Fuckin’ MYKI, mate.

Like the time when you got done for having your feet on the seat, and spent the rest of the day trying to fathom why anyone would make it their job to police that sort of thing. Or when they introduced on-the-spot fines but the bloke that got you before you could jump off at Vic Park to touch on neglected to mention the new system, positively bursting with righteous glee as he slapped your ignorant ass with a $233 fine.

Don’t worry though, Hollywood Models feel your pain; they get it. Melbourne natives all (with some members of punk outfit Chelsea Bleach), they’re a kind of novelty garage pop outfit that’ll remind you of something like the B-52s. On their debut track, ‘Fare Evade’, they extoll the pitfalls of being a poor uni bastard with a written-off car, using up 20 percent of their pay check to even get to work in the first place.

It’s pretty clear from the first mashed organ chords and fumbling bass that Hollywood Models aren’t necessarily trying to be ‘good’ in the same way most other bands working in Melbourne right now – and truth be told, that uniqueness stretches out to virtually every element of the Hollywood Models experience. Just take a look at their Facebook page: FILTH PITT on vocals? GLENN STEFANI on the mysterious ‘guitar twang’? Who the fuck are these people?

‘Fare evade on Christmas, fare evade on Easter, fare evade on New Years Eve,’ sings backing vocalist Svetlana Del Ray, as a sort of catch call holding the whole thing together.

Hollywood Models aren’t the kind of band you’re going to be linking your friends in your *~ V-SERIOUS AND COOL MELB SCENE MUSIC ~* Facebook group, though. They’re clearly more of an exercise in ridiculous aesthetic and stereotype than anything else – the tradie drummer, the beatnik bassist (?), the dorky scientist on keyboards and pads. Plus, they write songs about fare evading, so there’s that, too. Seeing the whole thing explode into life live is the right way to go – and you can, at their single launch on 29 May at the Workers Club.

PREMIERE: Ciggie Witch – ‘Walking the Tracks’

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Ciggie Witch - Walking The Tracks

‘I’m not gonna try and make everyone happy anymore,’ conclude Ciggie Witch on ‘Walking the Tracks’, the latest single from their forthcoming sophomore effort, Classic Connection.

Ciggie Witch have never really been the kind of band to wrap themselves up in flowery lyrics or attempts at depth via metaphor, and ‘Walking the Tracks’ is no different. It’s a snapshot of a decision: a moment when someone makes the choice between whether they want to live for themselves or everyone else.

While frontman Zac Denton (also of the Ocean Party, mainly) sits most of the actual ‘issues’ he’s facing here (aside from the flu) behind a vague, tried-and-true mantra of getting your shit together, there’s a refreshing willingness to simply follow a meandering trail of thought to its conclusion in his lyricism(‘I should be getting fit from all this walking/have been doing it four times a day/if my parents could see what I’ve been doing/they’d be onto me like vultures to the dead’) – something that often gets swept away in his more grandiose work with the Ocean Party.

The laidback instrumentation – provided by the likes of Ashley Bundang on keys (who you might recognise out from behind the drumset of Totally Mild, as well as her own project, Zone Out) and Joe Foley on lap steel – sways along in the usual Ciggie Witch style, closing out with twinkling keyboard and Denton’s whispered conclusion.

Classic Connection is out 3 June via Lost & Lonesome and Osborne Again.

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LISTEN: Palm Springs, Calamari Girls & Lalic

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palm springs

Erica Dunn debuted Palm Springs just last October, releasing a pair of 7″s that sound like dust-streaked sunlight. Now, the SMB having hung up the fishnet stockings for a little while, Dunn’s been back in the studio, her group rounded out to a trio to record a new cassette. Engineered by the Drones’ Dan Luscombe and mastered by Mikey Young, the Flowers in a Vase EP features an updated version of the sublime ‘Winning & Losing’, a charming Randy Newman cover (with more harmonica than honky tonk, to be sure) and a suite of aching gothic-country numbers, delivered in Dunn’s dusky contralto.

Palm Springs are launching the cassette tomorrow night at the Gasometer Hotel. Calamari Girls will be playing in support (along with Caroline No), so this feels like an excellent opportunity to talk about the Before Darwin Tape.

Calamari Girls features members of Melbourne garage punks Constant Mongrel and the Shifters. Quietly released in July 2015 via Al Montford’s Hideotic Records, their sole release has flown more or less under the radar. There’s not much press out there on these guys; one of the only leads to follow is a cryptic message left on their Bandcamp page: ‘Long live Takashi Mizutani’. It’s a reference to the frontman of Les Rallizes Dénudés, a Kyoto band that operated in the late 60s, making long-form, DIY noise rock inspired by the Velvet Underground. This actually tells you a lot of what you need to know about Calamari Girls. Scrappy but charming, the Before Darwin Tape combines post-John Cale, pre-Loaded Velvets with the naive pop of the Beat Happening. In short, it rules, and it’s available right now as a free download.

While I’m on the subject of cassettes, I found this one mooching around on Bandcamp:

Lalić is led by Melbourne’s Mladen Lalić Milinkovic, a GNC artist who’s been recording under their mother’s maiden name since high school. Milinkovic has described Bed Tape as ‘an interim release’ before a third LP comes out later in the year, and it does have an ephemeral feel – more a collection of textural experiments than a song-driven album. Its palette drifts somewhere between Animal Collective’s early acoustic recordings and the narcotic teen fantasies of Foxes in Fiction. Milinkovic moves tentatively, testing out a melodic phrase, a synthesiser setting, a sample – adding layers almost haphazardly to the mix. The results are surprisingly lovely, with songs that stumble, frayed, then miraculously coalesce: reaching, collapsing and reforming.

Bed Tape is out now through World News Records.