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Kite Club – ‘Royal Gums’

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Kite Club - ‘Royal Gums’ (mp3)

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Like Jonathan Boulet, Kite Club (aka Nicholas Futcher) is a 21-year-old Sydney based solo artist with a penchant for large-scale production.’Royal Gums’ is one of those tracks that grabs you straight away and drags you along for three minutes without stopping to ask your permission. It opens with a beat lifted from Psychocandy and an explosion of layered vocals similar to Ernest Ellis or Boulet but with an extra twist of ‘crazy’ a la Yeasayer. After that, it stays relatively the same, letting the melody and harmonies carry the song. Where such an intense production can sometimes be detracting, Futcher marries the sound and the track perfectly. Kudos.

This will obviously be difficult to translate live but I’d definitely be keen to see him give it a shot. Not that he appears to have many live slots in the near future – I get the impression that this is a fairly new project. Looking forward to seeing where he takes it.

The Temper Trap on New Years Eve in Marion Bay.

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It’s no secret that being popular or striving to be successful, especially overseas, can lead to negative reactions from snarky music fans in Australia. Sadly, popular Australian music forums encourage such chatter and that can sometimes turn potentially new fans against good bands. The Temper Trap had received mixed reviews before heading to the UK to set up camp and release the debut LP ‘Conditions’ internationally. They spent most of the year working hard with a very busy touring schedule and were rewarded with an overwhelming welcome home that included a set at the Marion Bay, Falls Festival. I was holidaying in Tassie and going to the festival, so I took the opportunity to get some shots of these guys, who delivered a short but cracking set. The lead vocalist may have been ill but he didn’t show it and the crowd thanked him as they excitedly sang along to all the songs, not just that one big single.

Check out their myspace for remaining local tour dates here.

The Spirits – The Other Half

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The Spirits – The Other Half (mp3)

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Amidst the clutter and tech-obsession of the Sydney scene, there is an uncomplicated quality and honesty in The Spirits music that has done well to make them a band apart.

“The Other Half” brandishes the typically dreamy, dark and cavernous indie sound you would expect from a band of their influence, yet the real exception here is the light that steadily pours in to become a bona fide flood by songs end. The ebb and flow of interweaving reverbed guitars is accompanied by a truly outstanding vocal delivery, yet the overall vibe is stripped of any excess sonic bramble and goes straight for the heartstrings first and foremost.

In fact, the romanticism here is so well executed that, very awesomely, it actually comes across as right proper genuine. Such sincerity in a young Australian band is so refreshing considering the palpable abscene of such sensibilities amongst their local musical peers. It’s even better to hear on record.

Peon & Stuttah

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Peon & Stuttah – ‘Doodoo’ (mp3)

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Peon & Stuttah are a new beat-making production duo (I assume) from Sydney. Above is their short track, ‘Doodoo,’ which sounds less like a self-contained song and more like one part of a flowing mixtape/album. It’s very much in the vein of J Dilla et al and, despite its brevity, it’s still worth checking out and bodes well for future releases.

The pair have just formed the Blind Boy collective along with members of Seekae, Ghoul and Cleptocleptics amongst others. Some great names from Sydney’s electronica/production scene there so it’s no surprise that their first mixtape is pretty fucking great, which you can get via their SoundCloud account below. And by “you can” I mean “you should.”

Click here to download the rad mixtape.

Richard In Your Mind

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Richard In Your Mind – ‘Sumertime Boogie’ (Do The) (mp3)

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Richard In Your Mind’s latest digital-only EP is full of the oddball, scatterbrain sounds we fell in love with on their debut and is their first offering on rad new label Rice Is Nice (Seekae, Talons, Spod, Traps et al).

This sounds like someone’s cool summer mixtape since it covers such broad sylistic territory. A lot of the tracks  fluctuate between entirely live performances and entirely sample based compositions, while vocals range from early-Beck slacker rap to the tender, folkier pastures. The above track is the opening instrumental number and features a sped up drum break over cut up brass, a dude shouting ‘woo’ a lot, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It’s intentionally hard to tell what’s been found and looped and what’s been recorded live since the track sounds like someone just mic’d up a turntable, but that unified aesthetic is the beauty of this release. It gives the whole thing a warmth that is reason other more-typically ‘chill-wave’/’glo-fi’ etc releases have become associated with summer.

Summertime EP is what happens when you take such an inventive band to the beach; it sounds like the best summer from the 60s mixed with the best summer of the 90s. Make sure you grab it and enjoy it in its appropriate seasonal context.

Svelt – ‘Ghost In Suede’

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Svelt – ‘Ghost In Suede’ (mp3)

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Self-described as a “hard-luck tale with a hard beat,” Svelt’s track ‘Ghost In Suede’ doesn’t disappoint on either front. It’s driven by a loud funk/hip-hop beat over some scratchy blues guitar, squelchy synth bass, and gravely vocals. It sounds more than a little Waits-ish (a good thing) but with some added muscle from the drum kit (also a good thing). Just when the main refrain, ‘baby, you did me real good’ starts to drag they inject some haunted-house backing vox to reinvigorate the tune.

‘Ghost In Suede’ is the better half of a recently-released, super-limited hand-crafted double A-Side that you can only obtain by contacting the band directly. Check their Myspace below for deets etc.