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The Ruby Suns – ‘Cranberry’

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The Ruby Suns – ‘Cranberry’ (mp3)

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Another fine New Zealand band here penetrating our loose definition of ‘local’ music (especially loose on my behalf it must be said). But hey, for an island with a population only %20 the size of Australia, they sure have an insanely large output of rad music. (See: The Mint Chicks, Bachelorette, Batrider, The Clean albums from ’09).

It won’t take more than a cursory listen to notice the similarities between the latest Ruby Suns track and the mega-in vogue likes of Animal Collective (ie. Beach Boys meets electronica meets tribalism). That said, this doesn’t just sound like a pastiche of indie music c. 2009. ‘Cranberry’ is a track that’s inventive and catchy in it’s own right, with the hooks suitably buried beneath a wash of reverb.

A good sign for the upcoming album, which is reported to feature a lot of guitar trickery and lots of bass. The latter element isn’t exactly on show here, but that description + ‘Cranberry’ + Ruby Suns’ last album Sea Lion = a good reason to get excited.

Photo Review of 2009: Live Shows

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Eddie Current Suppression Ring @ Billboard

Sherlock’s Daughter @ The East Brunswick Club

Oh Mercy @ The Corner Hotel

Bridezilla @ The Hi Fi Bar

Violent Soho @ The Espy

Illzilla @ The Corner Hotel

Rushcutter @ Roxanne

Decoder Ring @ The Hi Fi Bar

Crayon Fields @ Trades Hall

My Disco @ The Lounge

Firekites @ The Corner Hotel

The Drones @ The Laneway Festival

The Devoted Few @ The Northcote Social Club

Yucuna – ‘Bogota’

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Yacuna – ‘Bogota’ (mp3)

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Yucuna are super fresssh. There’s little information about them floating about, no shows or release dates on the horizon and a Myspace less than a month old at the time of posting. That said, they clearly haven’t just materialised from nowhere – the quality and production of the above track suggests that these guys (how many I don’t know) have been quietly working together for some time.

Beginning with a lush bed of what I suspect are sampled or at least looped harp/guitar/piano/plucked string figures, the track soon introduces a distorted hip hop beat and floating, icy vocals that could be lifted from a restrained Sigur Ros track. Despite the obvious effort that went into the track’s production – replete with a shitload of digital reverb – the track sounds surprisingly organic, like it should be soundtracking a montage of landscape pics shot by some indie kid took on his vintage polaroid camera. This is fucking impressive. Look forward to some shows/releases one day.

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.