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LISTEN: Flower Drums – ‘Bad Websites’

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Flower Drums

It’s been a big year for Perth’s Flower Drums. The four-piece made their breakthrough at Laneway Festival in February thanks to Triple J Unearthed, and have since released a string of impressive singles. While their latest single ‘Don’t Wait’ looks set to propel the band off into a Flume-ian trajectory, ‘Bad Websites’, their previous single is also an intriguing listen.

‘Bad Websites’ opens with the kind of hiccupy rhythm you’d expect to hear sputtering from a bastardised Casio. However the track quickly changes course – dropping some lush synth pads that fall on just the right side of chill-out soundtrack cheese. Leigh Craft’s cooing vocals and gentle guitar ramblings blend subtly into the chorus, which is a near-perfect synthesis of delicate falsetto, silky-smooth synths and funky guitar licks.

With their debut EP 28 Mansions due for release early next year, it’s looking like 2015 could mark the start of even bigger things for Flower Drums.

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SEQUENCE: Klo

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Klo, a fresh electronic duo out of Melbourne, are kinda a big deal. They’ve had a litany of press, been shot by the right photographers and contacted by major labels the world over. Their debut single, ‘Make Me Wonder’, set the ball rolling, even drawing them attention from BBC Radio One’s Zane Lowe.

This is no small feat for cousins Simon Lam and Chloe Kaul, who recently released their EP, Cusp—and it’s largely thanks to the mothers who brought them together in the first place. For this electronic duo, playdates have given way to rehearsals in Simon’s home studio, which we were lucky enough to be invited to.

Located in Melbourne’s sandbelt, Simon’s shack, tucked behind his parents’ house, is something of an enigma in a region renowned for Alex Perry-laden housewives, Liz Hurley cameos and lads.

Kaul’s voice is also an enigma of sorts, sharing a lineage with the likes of Yukimi Nagano (Little Dragon) and Martha Brown (Banoffee)—artists who have demonstrably shifted R&B vocals into new contexts.

One of the most striking things about Klo is Kaul’s vibrato. It really does hit you like a train. Klo’s minimalist electronic palate aids this to a degree, but even on less vocally oriented tracks like ‘False Calls’ Kaul deploys an understated range with precision.

Their influences are more or less a melange, spanning Fantasia and James Blake to early cuts by the Streets.

Lam’s studies in audio engineering are readily apparent in the EP’s production. The intricacy of Kaul’s layered vocal parts is in no small part thanks to Lam’s experimentation, which you may have previously heard in his work with I’lls.

Next time you chuck on the velveteen textures of ‘Make Me Wonder’, please pay your respects to Mama Lam and Mama Kaul.

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LOOK: Paradise Music Festival 2014

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Photography by Bec Capp & Ed Gorwell

A friend described Paradise to me as a combination of his three favourite things: Lake Mountain, clubbing, hot chicks. That aside, shooting Paradise Music Festival was a photographer’s wet dream. The best aspect of the festival was the landscape, and the local bands and artists who filled the giant mountain clearing with some great tunes. The toboggan run turned amphitheatre is surrounded by dead white snow gums from the 2009 bush fires. Despite the stark reminder, it’s a dramatically beautiful setting. Compared to larger local festivals, the humbler crowd numbers meant for ample lounging during the day, and elbow space in the crowd at night. Festival creature comforts were all there; flushing toilets, hot showers (!), good coffee, lentils for dinner and a three level indoor ‘club’ inside a ski lodge.

Femi, Klo and Rat and Co played leisurely daytime sets, while Young Franco and Oscar Key Sung were first night standouts. I think most who attended would agree that arranging I’lls, Kirin J Callinan, Total Giovanni and Kirkis‘ back-to-back sets on Saturday night was curation goodness. Retreating indoors after midnight for an eight hour dance was fun and was a great way to beat the cold temperatures at night. Otologic and Harold closing Clubland to the backdrop of the sun rising over the mountains was more of a good thing that any dank city basement could afford. It may only be in it’s second year, but Paradise did live up to its name.

 

 

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MAP December 2014

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Melbourne garage rockers ScotDrakula are the Australian submission for this month’s Music Alliance Pact, the excellent ‘Shazon’ featuring alongside tracks from around the world – from Denmark to the Dominican Republic.

Check out all 17 entries below, and keep your eyes peeled for Robbie’s Mapcast, coming soon to Soundcloud.

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 17-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Pablo Dacal y Fer IsellaLos Caminos

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Singer-songwriter Pablo Dacal (MAP February 2009) invited fellow musician and friend Fer Isella to perform a concert together. In return, Isella proposed that they record an album. After years of conversations they finally got together, then the two artists visited Ulises Conti (MAP March 2009) at his Buenos Aires studio and invited him to produce the album. Right there, the newly-form trio recorded piano, vocals and other arrangements. The resulting album is called Los Caminos and here’s the self-titled first single.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
ScotDrakulaShazon

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Steeped in a love for fuzz and 60s rock’n’roll, Melbourne trio ScotDrakula transcend the novelty of their name with songs so catchy they make Gangnam Style look about as appealing as week-old haggis. The band has just released their debut album and it’s drowning in two/three-minute garage super-soakers. Shazon is irresistibly charming, enough to convert the stalest individual to a headbangin’ conqueror of the dancefloor.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
LYONCut Me Loose

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Cut Me Loose is the latest track from Toronto’s Lauren Malyon aka LYON. It’s a difficult one to get out of your head once you listen to it, like the girl next door you can’t forget.

Hear the full list after the jump:

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PREMIERE: Cool Sounds – ‘Headset’

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Melbourne sextet Cool Sounds come from that wonderful part of the world (read: Brunswick) that gave us Ciggie Witch, Zone Out, Velcro and the Ocean Party. Predictably, lad-about-town Liam Halliwell – aka Snowy Nasdaq – has got a piece of the pie, joining the band on saxophone.

In August Cool Sounds released their debut LP, Melbourne Fashion – a title that, like the band name, suggests these guys aren’t entertaining any self-aggrandising ideas. In their own words, Cool Sounds are ‘jangle enforcers’ producing ‘stadium dolewave’. They write about all the big issues – Degrassi Junior High, Katie Holmes movies, friends having babies, friends going away for the week, ‘cringe-y’ love stories. Their latest track is a blow-by-blow account of waiting on hold to speak to a telco operator.

‘Headset’ is the first single from Cool Sounds’ forthcoming record, Healing Crystals. It’s brighter and cleaner than the washed-out tracks of Melbourne Fashion, but it’s still got that heat-shimmer effect – sustained by layers of vocals, sax and whammy bar.

Healing Crystals will be out on 9 January through Beko Disques, the French label that’s put out material from locals Day Ravies, Nathan Roche, Parading and Wizard Oz. (Check out their recent compilation of Australian jangle, Oz Do It Better!).

Cool Sounds have a bunch of shows coming up in support of the new album, including a Sunday afternoon residency at the Tote for the launch of ‘Headset’. Details below:

20/12/14 @ The Shadow Electric, Abbotsford w/ Dan Kelly, Civil Civic (UK) and Bayou

02/01/15 @ Purple Hen Winery, Phillip Island w/ The Ocean Party

04/01/15 @ The Tote w/ Juicy Lolstar (Lucas Heenan) & Ciggie Witch

11/01/15 @ The Tote w/ Crepes & Good Mornings

15/01/15 @ Phoenix Bar, Canberra w/ TBA

16/01/15 @ The Record Crete, Sydney w/ Black Springs

18/01/15 @ The Tote w/ Full Ugly

25/01/15 @ The Tote w/ Palm Springs & Tam Vantage

04/04/15 @ Boogie, Tallarook

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INTRODUCING: Kids of Zoo

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Not to be confused with kids at zoo, a search for which will inevitably lead to compilations of kids laughing and pointing at a chimp that hates itself, Kids of Zoo are a Melbourne punk band that sound like something your mum would absolutely hate. They’re loud, brash and more sneering than I imagine Tony Abbott would’ve been when making his cuts to those hippies at the ABC and SBS.

Kids of Zoo have been around since early 2009, when their first 7″ was released, and they’ve had a constant stream of material since. They’ve just put out second album Welcome to Parrot Eyes on legendary punk label Every Night is a Saturday Night Records (Batpiss, the Spinning Rooms, Bad Vision).

But classic Green Day puns are not all that’s amazing about Kids of Zoo. Welcome to Parrot Eyes boasts one-and-a-half-minute punk bliss, straight up ragers – like Refused compressed to an even more frantic pace. If Eddy Current Suppression Ring wanted to be Die! Die! Die!, they would’ve tumbled into what Kids Of Zoo are now. They fit in well with the current scene of thrashers in Australia, such as Us the Band, Heads of Charm and Super Best Friends.

Songs like ‘Drop the Penny’, ‘A Clean Shave’ and ‘Young Children’ are punk rock revellers, brutal and impassioned, but still incredibly fun. For those who have their necks switched to permanent headbanging position, Kids of Zoo are perfect.

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