The Instant - ‘Drifting Westward’
Here’s the new single of Notes & Errata, the brilliant debut album by The Instant. Yes, who would of thought a plus 10 minute song would actually be a single!
Though the album’s been out for a while, the band are officially launching it tonight in Sydney at Boobytrap (Melt Bar: 12 Kellett St, Kings Cross), with support from Warhorse, Pivot DJs and I’m sure there’s more, but it’s early in the morning and I’m still not functioning at full capacity. But since I can’t go to the gig tonight, you must go instead! Yes – you!
Red Riders - ‘My Love Is Stronger Than Your Love’
Sydney four piece Red Riders have been kicking around the scene for around four years now. Throughout the years they’ve gained a tonne of supports, most notably Franz Ferdinand, The Shins, Kaiser Chiefs and Death From Above 1979, as well as release two popular EPs in Red Riders (2004) and The Plan A (2005). The band’s momentum culminated in October last year, with the release of their debut full-length LP Replica Replica.
The first time I saw the band live I have to admit I wasn’t entirely sold on them. They were one of those bands that had the potential, but just weren’t pulling it together live. But Replica Replica actually surprised me: I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I do. The firsr single off the album, ‘Slide In Next To Me’, went to #96 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown this year. That’s not a bad effort really, considering there’s tens of thousands of songs released a year.
The Red Riders create music with an indie inflection but which manages to maintain a driving pulse; good enough to dance to. They’re obviously influenced by British acts, and you can definitely hear it in the vocals. But their new single, ‘My Love Is Stronger Than You Love’, is one of my favourites off their album. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Warhorse – ‘Kotter’
So you don’t have a significant other to spend Valentines Day with this year? Sydney band Warhorse is staging a St. Valentines Day Massacre to honor the unlucky in love or those in love and want to kill each other anyway. I’m not quite sure what to expect from the night but Warhorse, having been together for about a year and play a type of sub-psyche rock, should be well worth the heart break. They’ve recently come out of the studio where they have been working with Burke Reid (Gerling) recording their E.P, and have played a number of shows around Sydney. Presently going through a change of line up with the drummer, last time I saw Warhorse was at the Snowman album launch show in Sydney and it was a pretty dirty show. If you’re in Sydney, you can catch them this Friday the 16th at Boobytrap at Melt Bar, this time supporting The Instant for the launch of their album Notes & Errata. Jasper is a rather obnoxiously entertaining front man but if you want something other than flowers and chocolate, Warhorse just might be the perfect date.
Wolfmother – ‘Woman’ (Avalanches remix)
Well congratulations is in order. Who would’ve thought they’d go all the way to winning a GRAMMY? From their early gig in Hopetoun, their legendary industry gig at 161 in Melbourne, many many gigs, festivals and radio play later their very first song ‘Woman’ wins the golden grammaphone. Well done boys, and to all the label and management team too of course, was one hell of a good punt!
Oh Mercy – ‘We Shouldn’t Miss The Market’
Oh Mercy are the Triple J Unearthed winners of the Big Day Out competition in Victoria. Two Sundays ago they opened the local stage and played to 500 people which I was told their biggest crowd ever. The band is really Alexander Gow’s vehicle for performing self penned songs and well arranged covers. I’ve seen them twice in Melbourne, both times they manage to gather indifferent punters in the venue and got them standing up and transfixed to renditions of relaxed, down tempo folk tunes that at times borders on alt-country. This command over the audience is largely to Gow’s easy going stage charm and natural troubadour’s swagger, qualities that is all too often missing or worse badly faked in most young singer-songwriters. It is quite a hard genre to stand out of, partly because there are so many players in the game and partly because these kind of songs don’t exactly jump and grab people’s attention. It’s challenging for such a young band such as Oh Mercy, all of whom are under 20, to write folk tunes relevant to most of the genre’s fans because most of the anecdotal experience needed occurs after living through one’s early 20s. Nevertheless this is a very promising start for Gow and his band, and I hope I will keep hearing more from them in the next few years.
The Hiptones – ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’
OK these guys are cool. Not in the modern sense of the word, but more in the vernacular circa 1950s, like “Frank Sinatra is a cool cat”. The Hiptones blend contemporary Australian blues and roots with a New Orleans sense of funk and soul. Hammond organ and guitar thick with slap-back echo create a mood akin to a hazy lounge bar.
Vocalist Snooks La Vie, utilising the great vintage sounds of old-school microphones, has a smoky R&B style voice that suits the retro-inspired music of the band. The 62 T-bird. the clothes and the music all scream retro, and the band are riding the current pre-60s trend that acts such as The Basics are leading the way in. It was through a glowing review of their debut album Right Now in The Brag magazine in Sydney that I decided to give these guys a chance, and it is one of the coolest (there’s that word again) albums I’ve heard in quite a while.
They’ve recently signed to Sony BMG, but from what I can tell this Adelaide four piece has been kicking around since 2001. But info on their beginnings is fairly hazy, but they’ve supported Chris Isaac and played at a number of jazz festivals. They’ve got a previous recording to their name – Meet Me At The Sands – but I reckon you’d be hard-pressed to actually find a copy of it.
The coolest cats this side of the equator.
Cut Copy – ‘Hearts On Fire’
New track from my favourite Modular band, Cut Copy returns with a track that could easily be taken out of Bright Like Neon Love album, and towards the end of the song, a baseline straight out of New Order’s songbook. Perhaps it’s a cue for party djs to drop True Faith? Some might think it’s more of the same, but I’m digging this. No word on the album yet but they’re trekking around the country and Singapore on the Good Vibrations Festival.
Update: I’ve just received word that Cut Copy has released this track ahead of the rest of the album to coincide with their Good Vibes dates and a Nokia promotion tie in. They’re flying to NY after the festival to record their album to be out in July, but before all that happens this Friday (tomorrow!) they are playing a FREE set at Melbourne’s Federation square as part of their Nokia promo to showcase their new material, starts at 7.30pm.
Teenager – ‘Alone Again’
We’ve covered what one half of Pnau, Pete Mayes did with himself, this is the other side / new project. Nick Littlemore has kept himself busy with dj gigs, producing The Valentinos and Damn Arms, and working on this new band Teenager, not to be confused with The Teenagers or even teenagersintokyo. I’m not sure how long the album took to record but it was at least a good year and a half before I heard anything new from them since they released Liquid Cement on a compilation made by Sydney’s FBi Radio. This track features the guitarist Pip doing vocal duties.
photo by Sir Wheatley
Muscles – ‘Ice Cream’
I’m risking overloading on Muscles goodness here, but he’s worth the hype. Last time we wrote on the trance boy wonder I said that he was taking time off to rejig his live set up as a band. That was the plan I believe until he just got more and more gig offers. Now there’s a national tour on the cards in April with a certain big Australian band I’m not supposed to blog yet. Anyway, the thought of seeing him with a full live band is pretty exciting. Last week I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of what his sound/setup could be in the near future.
Muscles was headlining Click Click on Saturday, he’s played there maybe twice before so this time a week before the gig he made an open call on myspace for ‘band members’ to perform the first three songs during his set: Marshmellow, One Inch Badge Pin and Ice Cream. The stage was packed with an 8 (or maybe more) guest musicians including photographer/muso Ryan Wheatley of Learn The Splits, Tranter of Gameboy/Gamegirl, the guys from Julian Nation and Popolice both of whom supported the bill, another band I didn’t quite catch the name off, and resident party animal Phil Burns.
It was quite an impromptu and very candid set up, everyone was given lyric sheets with the major chord changes in it, though I don’t think anyone paid much attention to any of it and just sorta jammed through the set following Chris Muscles’ lead on the keyboard riff. There were no prior rehearsals so some in band weren’t sure when to dive in for their parts, but I must say the rhythm section did very well with Wheatley’s backing vocals giving One Inch Badge Pin a much thicker singalong texture that was a highlight of the set for me.
More on Muscles.
photo by boudist.com
It’s now only three hundred and fifty something days until the next Big Day Out, and if you had the kind of day I did you are going to need every one of those days to recover! Big Day Out 2007 has come and gone along with the entourage of international artists who flew south for the occasion. For the curious, the off shore acts that wowed were synth tinkers Hot Chip and English egos Kasabian.
I arrived with two friends after some very early drinks (in true Big Day Out spirit, though it just happened to be the day of my birth too) though almost instantly I found myself solo. My friends had scampered off ahead to see central coasters Something With Numbers reporting back later that they were surprised at the size of the crowd that were at the stage, (this being a worthy call considering they’ve been long term fans from the beginning). The band was ecstatic to be at this gig, and security could control the fans invading the stage in excitement.
Meanwhile, I made my way to Scribe at the main stage. It was an interesting decision having this huge kiwi rap lord play on the main stage considering he hasn’t released anything since 2005 (his second full length album is due out this year). Scribe made a guest appearance at the Lupe Fiasco side show two nights before and killed it. Though he played too early in the day and isn’t quite a stadium act, he threw everything at the audience, and remains my favourite hip hop artist this side of the world.
Scrabbling still solo through the masses I made it to The Vines who absolutely nailed it, having all beers raised, kids going ballistic and ended the set with a token smash up. The songs have melodies and Craig Nicholls had just enough sanity to maintain them, and so little that keeps a Vines show one of the greatest Aussie grunge acts to date. Perth outfit Snowman were on the same stage later on, and these guys are growing into their live shows very quickly, though the impact of their defining quirkiness was lost in festival fever.
Bob Evans played at dusk and provided the perfect escape from large crowds, evasive rock music and general festival seediness. Most might not even have been familiar with all his tunes but his easy listening acoustic set was just right for those wanting to chill. Finally for the Australian headliners, I didn’t make it to Jet, though I’ve heard from a number of lips that it was perhaps the biggest anticlimax of the day, expressed passionately by so many, I would love to know what went wrong?
Finally, The Presets, who’ve come a long way since their twelve noon Boiler room set just a year ago. Julian and Kim had an all adoring and largely rowdy crowd, articulating their love for the Sydney audience; it really did feel that this massive local gig was perhaps the best show of their career. I jumped when Kim did and left Big Day Out just after, with sore legs and ringing ears; I’m thinking it might just be my last.