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Zeal – ‘Clouds’ & ‘Obey’

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Zeal – ‘Clouds’ (mp3)

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Zeal – ‘Obey’ (mp3)

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I’ve been looking forward to Zeal’s debut album since the moment I first heard the stunning ‘Wasps‘ last year. The wait has been (kinda) long but not in vain, because after only a handful of listens I’m already pretty wet over With the Moon Alongside Racing Us Home. It’s a much more patient album than I was expecting but no less thrilling. There’s songs that are rushing, like ‘Wasps’ and ‘Obey,’ but there’s also mid-tempo grooves like ‘Clouds’ and even some instrumental interludes and borderline-ambient passages. Fortunately, Zeal (aka Robert Jarvis) makes it all stick together with lyrical motifs of wasps, moons and clouds running throughout and his distinct, nasal talk-singing. Best of all, you can get this compelling album right now for the price of FREE from right here.

‘Obey’ and ‘Cloud’ are streaming at the top and they give you a good idea of both the quality and diversity on display here. As per my last post on Zeal, I don’t want to be reductive by lazily compare him to the Anticon stable of artists, but there are definitely similarities (of the best kind) that act as a good reference point for those familiar with WHY?, Themselves et al. But With The Moon Alongside Racing Us Home feels way more personal to just be an homage to other stuff. I don’t want to speculate so soon after posting my favourite albums of the year so far, but this is definitely an end-of-year contender.

www.myspace.com/zealtv

Collarbones – ‘Beaman Park’

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Collarbones – ‘Beaman Park’ (mp3)

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Just yesterday I listed Collarbones’ album as one of my most anticipated for the second half of the year. As far as I’m aware, Iconography doesn’t yet have a release date, but we’ve just gotten another taste of the glory in store with second single ‘Beaman Park’ going up on their bandcamp page. It’s more accessible than previous single ‘Kill Off The Vowels’ (clearly advice that PVT took to heart), but it’s still underpinned by the same technical flair and unpredictable beats that made them stand out. But ‘Beaman Park’ eschews icy austerity in favour of warm, cut-up samples and moves them closer towards the realm of chillwave/blog relevance.

It’s worth mentioning that the remixes bundled with the single are also worth your time checking out – especially since all of it is released under the pay-what-you-want scheme. All this has only increased my excitement for the album.

www.myspace.com/collarbonesband

Young Revelry – ‘You and I’ EP

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Young Revelry

Young Revelry – ‘Old Souls’ (mp3)

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Young Revelry’s debut EP ’You and I’ comes at you like some 90s era beast rearing it’s head and gnawing some pretty impressive and noisy chops.

It reminds me of the best things I loved about that era – loud guitars, messy solos, feedback and vocals that carry more weight than just the clever lyrics they repeat. There are some quieter moments tucked away here too – providing enough light to contrast the heavily distorted shade.

Don’t get me wrong though, this isn’t some 90s revisionist act with nothing new to offer. They’ve got plenty fuzz, groove, depth but what’s special is the hint that sometime soon the shit is going to hit the fan and peoples minds are going to shoot out of their ears.

Young Rev have been teetering on the edge of releasing something awesome for a long while now. They’ve been frustratingly close but to give them credit have been holding back until they found the perfect home. The EP is out August 13 on the newly formed Redcat label. Once that’s out keep your eyes on peoples ears.

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