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Alps – ‘Goosebeak Whale’ / Tour

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Alps – ‘Goosebeak Whale’ (mp3)

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Alps (sometimes Alps of New South Wales) is one of the many artists I was introduced to by the invaluable resource that is New Weird Australia. Mixing elements of shoegaze, ambient, and drone with pop music, Alps produces music that’s both structrally and texturally compelling.

Alps is about to heard out on tour with Zack Kouns from the US. Dates for those shows (which are sure to be pretty face melting) are below:

Thursday 22 Brisbane – Step Inn – 186 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Friday 23 Newcastle – Croatian Club – Albert St, Wickham
Saturday 24 Sydney – Serial Space – 33 Wellington St, Chippendale
Tuesday 27 Melbourne – Make it Up Club – Bar Open – 317 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Wednesday 28 Hobart – The Alley Cat – 381 Elizabeth St, North Hobart
Thursday 29 Melbourne – Sunshine and Grease – 9 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill
Friday 30 Adelaide – The Exeter – 246 Rundle St, City
Saturday 31 Canberra – Smiths Alternative Bookstore – 76 Alinga St, City

www.myspace.com/alpsalps

Matt’s best of 2k10 (so far)

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Over the last week I’ve been putting together my personal list of fav albums so far this year. Because everyone loves a list. This is what I came up with after some chopping and changing. Not sure about the other contribs, hopefully they can weigh in as well.

1. Tame Impala: Innerspeaker

‘Solitude Is Bliss’ (mp3)

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I don’t know what more to say about this album. Some people predicted greatness – for me, it came way out of left field. It managed to cut through a cloud of hyperbole and get me excited about guitars again. Deserves to be number one because it really is an “album” – it works best as a whole and rewards repeated listens.

2. Vorad Fils: The Warmest Static

‘Lioness’ (mp3)

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This is solo project of John Hassell from Seekae. I love Seekae, and a lot of the stuff I love about Seekae is retained here, yet Hassell feels joyously free from the icy aesthetic that defines his main band’s music. As a result, we get track’s like ‘Lioness,’ which are no less technically impressive but far warmer and inviting. It’s the most immediate thing on there, but not even the best. Delve deeper if you enjoy the above.

3. PVT: Church With No Magic

‘Window’ (mp3)

I think technically this album is released in July so shouldn’t be counted, but I’ve had it floating around since May and I’m already well familiar with it’s glory. Above is ‘Window,’ the track that will probably take PVT to as large a following as they’re likely to ever amass. There’s other songs on there to equal its pop prowess – and extended jams to appease the older fans – but all you need to know is this album is kinda the balls.

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4. Parades: Foreign Tapes

‘Loserspeak in New Tongue’ (mp3)

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Foreign Tapes is a dense album and it took a few listens to sink in. I knew the first few tracks prior to diving in, but beyond that it all seemed a bit messy and it kind of washed over me. The genius of this one dawned on me about a week after first listening, and it began with the song above. I came to realise that there’s nothing messy about Foreign Tapes, just a lot of intricacies to the arrangement and some impressive stylistic diversity. And yet somehow the whole thing hangs together extremely well as an album. ‘Loserspeak in New Tongue’ is everything I love about this album in one song.

5. Super Wild Horses: Fifteen

‘Mess Around’ (mp3)

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Another one that I’m pretty sure is technically not the first half of the year, but it’s all I’ve been listening to this past three weeks so it deserves a spot. I actually reviewed this album for the next issue of JMag and gave it a positive but not entirely gushing review. Having lived with if for a couple of weeks longer (and freed from the deadline constraints of print media), I can happily say that this album is proving to be much more of a gem than I first credited it as. Give it time and it may even climb higher up my list. Honestly, I can’t fault the first five songs on this album – they’re as solid as anything else I’ve heard all year from anywhere in the world.

Just miss out: Pikelet, Gentleforce, Ernest Ellis, Richard In Your Mind, Otouto, Seja…

My picks for the best up-and-coming Aus acts and international albums after the jump:

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Cascadeer – 'The Wind'

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Cascadeer – ‘The Wind’ (mp3)

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Growing tired of the Canberra chill, in 2007 Cascadeer frontman Kieran Ryan (not to be confused with Kid Sam vocalist of the same name) headed north to Brisbane to focus on his theatre endeavours. After spending his formative teen years in Canberra shrouded in angsty pop punk bands, he found himself in the midst of the burgeoning Brisbane scene, where him and five other like minded alt-folk troubadours formed Cascadeer.

‘The Wind’ is thoughtful, drifting folk-pop at its best, resonating with a dreamy vapour long after it ends. Kieran Ryan’s pipes take on a lush, gentle character that sparks Paul Dempsey melancholy and Leroy Lee’s modest palate. Harmonising the elements, Cascadeer bottles a kalaidoscope of humble acoustics and folk hued nostalgia. Spilling out in delicate, sunlight tinged reverbs, this is both a light hearted travelling song and a vindicative homecoming. Bliss.

www.myspace.com/cascadeer

En Tout Cas – 'Wait a Long Time'

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En Tout Cas – ‘Wait a Long Time’ (mp3)

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Never really understood the concept of bands dubbing themselves with french names. Is it an elitist thing? Or is it just a justification for ridiculous undercuts and high hung guitars? Whatever it is, it’s probably just as hip as naming your band name after an adverb (En Tout Cas = anyhow in french) or a large expanse of clay (En Tout Cas = synthetic tennis court material).

Lead vox are almost too clean to be taken seriously and the reciprocal lyrics come around like a fly drowning in your beer. However, Cajun Dance Party type hooks paired with some nice percussion and a spontaneous whistle or so were enough to keep me semi-keen for two minutes.

Go spend the weekend ironing your hawaiian shirts,but if I receive one more spam request to join your facebook group, I will spaz.

www.myspace.com/entoutcasmusic

Jez Mead

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Jez Mead – ‘Devil’ (mp3)

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I’ve never heard of Jez Mead before until his manager sent me this track. And have to say I wasn’t too excited upon first listen of the song, that is until the unmistakable Julia Stone decides to lend her voice in the second verse. Recommended for fans of Angus and Julia Stone.

www.myspace.com/jezmead

Lambda/Club House

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UPDATE: There were some errors in press releases etc. The Club House does not re-open until Saturday AUGUST 5TH. Not this coming Saturday. (Also, not that it matters now since the gig was last night but the above poster was meant to read July 8, not June 8). Dates, hey…

The Fans group are some of the best promoters in Brisbane, consistently staging interstate and international bands, as well as giving opportunities for local acts on a weekly basis.

Two exciting bits of news for Brisbane readers re: Fans. Firstly, Fans are giving you the chance to win a two camping tickets to Splendour. Over the next three Lambda club nights (starting tonight) you will be given a raffle ticket on the door (you get one each week). All you have to do is hang onto your ticket and make sure you go to the Fans club night on July 23rd (but you’d already by going anyway ‘coz Richard In Your Mind are playing, right?). You have to be present to win and you have to have your ticket. So get along. Lambda is on every Thursday night at Alhambra and is proudly supported by whothehell.net.

In other good news, The Club House – the Fans club night on Saturdays that’s been homeless since leaving (getting evicted from?) the Empire has reportedly found a new home in the downstairs bar at Tempo (what used to be Dooley’s) (via Rave Magazine). And it reportedly starts this Saturday night. And will reportedly have better sound and lighting and bar facilities (that’s probably a given, since the Empire looked like a crack den – in a cool way). With Gossip, another of Brisbane’s club nights ending this weekend, it’s comforting to know that Fans will step up to fill the gap.

www.fansclubnight.com

Comic Sans – ‘Vixen’

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Comic Sans – ‘Vixen’ (mp3)

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As a central band in what I’m now coining Brisbane’s “brat pack” (TM), Comic Sans have been making waves up here for a year or so now – going from hardworking ever-present support band to the point where they can draw a decent crowd whe n headlining a club night. ‘Vixen’ is their latest single, and I assume it’s taken from a forthcoming release since they’re probably due for an EP/album later this year. It a bit lighter than what we’re used to from these guys – a bit more upbeat with the synth taking a bit more of the lead, a bit more sparse and some major keys etc. It also sounds lighter because of the cleaner production, which comes courtesy of Scott Horscroft.

Comic Sans are one of those bands I started taking for granted because it felt like I saw them 10 times in a few months last year. I only just realised I probably haven’t seen them at all in 2k10. No doubt I’ll be able to catch them around soon and check out if the rest of their set is sounding more like ‘Vixen’ – but then I imagine this probably isn’t as slick live anyway.

Either way, it’s a cool little tune from the boys that will hopefully see them picking up so more air play.

UPDATE the first: Will totally be seeing these guys when they support PVT and Seekae at The Zoo. Solid line-up.

UPDATE the second: Found a sweet live clip of ‘Vixen’ live at Lambda club night. Its below.

www.myspace.com/comicsansmusic

Comic Sans – Vixen @ Lambda Alhambra Lounge 24/6/2010 from Oliver Duncan on Vimeo.