Behold! ‘Everyday’, the debut video from Geelong surf rockers The Laughing Leaves, is finally here. The single is taken from the band’s Everyday EP, a sharp little collection of psych and garage gems released in March last year.
These guys clearly have a thing for Nuggets and The Kinks – not to mention an avowed devotion to Pet Sounds – but it’s rare to see a young band pull off old songs with such flair: this is no orthodox 60s exhumation.
There are shades of Wake in Fright in the new clip, and it’s not just the analogue 16mm footage. The boys visit a country pub (the Meredith hotel, no less), where they’re co-opted by a creepy local into skolling a few too many rounds of ale.
The Laughing Leaves have a few gigs coming up in Melbourne and Geelong – and if our warehouse party last June is anything to go by, they’re well worth catching. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming album. In the meantime, you can still grab the Everyday EP on Bandcamp.
Here are those live dates:
Saturday, 15 February – Bassment Sound, Geelong with Ausmuteants, Chook Race and DJ Bum Trip. RSVP on Facebook.
Friday, 28 February – The Tote with Smile, the Ocean Party, the Good Morrows, the Vacant Smiles and Zone Out. Tickets here.
Saturday, 12 April – Alia Arthouse with Rolloways.
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Edward Francis is the lyric-based songwriting project of Melbourne-born, Berlin-based composer and sound designer, Edward Gould. In October last year, Gould dropped a two-track album, Saxophone: the first part, on Bandcamp. Though it received some attention in Germany, the release was almost completely passed over by the Australian blog machine, and it’s only now beginning to get some serious plays on triple j.
Recorded and arranged on Gould’s laptop, the tracks are made primarily for guitar, vocals and, unsurprisingly, saxophone. They evoke the work of Blood Orange in their restraint and downright steeze, as well as the chamber instrumentation of Rhye’s smooth, organic R’n’B.
Single ‘This City’ features fellow Aussie expat Phia (Sophia Exiner) on vocals. (The beat programming also appears to make use of some of her trademark kalimba loops). My favourite track here is the pensive opener, ‘Hose Rock Love Song’ – if only because I find the romantic overtures to Berlin on ‘This City’ a little cloying. Both tracks, however, are intelligent and light of touch, focusing on the play of tension and release rather than on any conventional pop structure.
Gould has also released a minimal house track as Francis George called ‘Float This’, which, like Saxophone, uses a palette of woody timbres and muted beats. His Soundcloud profile also features some conceptual sound art pieces and cello-based compositions, including a remix of Gabriel Prokofiev’s ‘Float Dance’, as performed by celebrated cellist Peter Gregson.
The most recent upload is an Edward Francis reworking of the lead single, ‘Do You Ever’, from Phia’s forthcoming record. Gould’s version is delicate and expansive, opening the original song up and taking it from sweet to graceful.
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There are definitely hints of Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the style of Queensland’s stodgy new overland, Campbell Newman. As self-appointed censor, he’s certainly been doing what he can to thwart development of the arts up in the sunshine state, but it seems he has not, as yet, deployed the storm troopers against Brisbane’s music underground. In fact, the damn thing’s thriving – as evinced by this little gem from brand new label Tenth Court, which features two tracks each from local upstarts Martyr Privates and Thigh Master.
Three-piece Martyr Privates formed in 2011 in the then flood-ravaged suburb of Milton. Their contribution to the cassette consists of loud, repetitive sludge rock, not unlike the swampy dirges of Kim Salmon’s the Scientists or Sydney newcomers Ruined Fortune. ‘Black Light’ and ‘Pale Lunch’ have been mixed with greater clarity than the songs from the band’s 2012 7”, with punchy riffs carrying along these otherwise heavily distorted drones. (Martyr Privates, by the way, have an album coming out on Bedroom Suck and the UK-based Fire Records in March – check out the lead single here.)
Thigh Master’s offerings, meanwhile, are urgent and unkempt, band members flailing through ‘Goon Punch’ and ‘GAB CAB’ as quickly as they can while guitar strings bend and a bratty wail sails overhead. But, as a look at their tight live set demonstrates, Thigh Master’s approach is more focused than it may seem upon first listen. The tracks are melodic and to the point, and never overstay their welcome.
Tenth Court is hosting a shindig across three Brisbane venues from 21-23 February. Martyr Privates and Thigh Master will both make an appearance on a terrific bill that includes Cobwebbs, Keep on Dancin’s, Multiple Man, Orlando Furious and Per Purpose, plus label signees Barbiturates, Dag, Shrapnel, Screaming Match, Yoghurt Blood and heaps more. Weekend passes are available here, or you can get tickets on the door.
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No Sister are a Brisbane four-piece who’ve been around for less than a year. They haven’t played many shows, and have only released two songs. Those two songs though? Pretty cool.
The first half of ‘Portrait In A Rearview Mirror’ is the kind of the almost-shoegaze, downer alt-rock that’s showing up more and more in Brisbane lately. The track really steps up halfway through and becomes way more excitingly punk, buoyed by Tiarney Miekus’s youthful but direct and icy cool vocal, speak-singing disaffected lyrics about ‘watching people watch themselves’. There’s also something of The Eternal era Sonic Youth in the guitar too. This track is dripping with attitude and spite, in a way that not a lot of young bands can pull off.
You can download this track, as well as ‘Muscle Beach’ on the band’s Unearthed page.
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The Cathys could be called a supergroup, in the same way that Boomgates or Total Control are a super group. In reality, they’re just a bunch of mates fucking around, and it just happens to be noted that these mates spend their free time in amazing bands.
The bands that The Cathys share members with Day Ravies, Oprenda and These Vagabond Hours. But don’t get into that frame of mind where you think you can expect something that sounds exactly like the bands previous outputs. It’s not exactly sterling shoegaze but it is humorous rock ‘n’ roll . The Cathys debut EP Long Lend, recorded by Day Ravies honcho Sam Wilkinson, could be considered a bunch of spiritual Mac DeMarco demos that were perhaps lost.
Three songs long, there is nothing on Long Lend but cool silliness. The Cathys are basically just strumming along with a couple chords and the deepest, weirdest jizz-jazz voice in Sydney. Right now, that’s a great thing.
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Grand Prismatic have been pretty quiet since the release of their debut album, Birds and Beasts, back in 2012. They have been dabbling, mind you – a couple of tracks came out early last year, and singer Brendan Clarkson and percussionist David Freudenstein both featured on the Peking Tapes compilation that we reviewed last week.
But today they’re back with the first single off their forthcoming EP: an ode to Melbourne’s inner west called ‘Footscray and Fancy Free’. The track comes on strong right from the start with a swaggering intro, before slowing to a folksy canter that has the cheerful circularity of a drinking song.
Grand Prismatic show a different kind of chutzpah here than on the Supergrass-style kook of earlier single ‘Bells Will Ring’. The new one’s all about the sing-alongs and the horn accompaniments, the whole circus led by Clarkson’s eccentric vocal (think Tim from Dappled Cities, minus the acrobatics). Expect some more bombast from these guys soon – the Footscray and Fancy Free EP is due out in March.
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I first met Mladen Milinković after he played a show with his instrumental band, Amanita. Impressed enough with Amanita’s set, I thought it would be fair if I cornered Mladen to grill him about his guitar pedals. Since then, Mladen has become that guy I see everywhere – at festivals, gigs and random Thai restaurants. Yet Mladen doesn’t just hang round Brunswick St heeding questions from gear-nerds, he also records under the electronic moniker, Lalić. Keeping busy to say the least, he has now released new single ‘Story Goes’ from his upcoming seventh (yep, seventh) solo album.
The track begins and ends in ambience, with what sounds like a pitch-shifted nylon guitar panning between your headphones. Yet, while Lalić’s previous albums have floated around as largely instrumentals, between the ambience of ‘Story Goes’ sits a folk-ish guitar driven track, held together by Mladen’s heavily reverbed vocals. I usually get a little put off when my favourite instrumental bands begin to add vocals, but this is a cool switch for Lalić. The vocals don’t seem tacked on, rather they are reminiscent of some of Bradford Cox’s more spaced out works.
Word is that the new album will drop shortly. But if you like what you hear – or if you’ve got some serious essay writing to power through, check out the back catalogue and get a head start.
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After spending the last two years touring on-off across Scandanavia and Europe (and developing a penchant for snus and Henrik Ibsen), Emma Russack is back with a new single.‘You Shouldn’t’ is the first track from her new LP You Changed Me.
2012‘s Sounds Of Our City and her earlier Peasants EP introduced us to Russack’s plenary lyrics and earthy alto. Russack, Alec Marshall (who Russack plays alongside in Hot Palms), Cameron Potts and Jake Phillips recorded the new album in rural Yowrie, south of Russack’s hometown of Narooma in just four days. More hands helped to bring record together in Cairns, including Jordan Ireland of The Middle East on backing vocals.
‘You Shouldn’t’ is either a meditative on regret or a smug note-to-self. Russack’s lyrics are frank, even obvious at times – but there’s something both strange and familiar about her delivery, almost like an old friend singing barefoot in your lounge room. That warm wah-guitar chimes in and out like photographer’s bokeh – and there’s enough two by two on drums for a slow dance with a former flame.
You Changed Me is out via Spunk on April 4th, but if you already like what you hear, the record is available for pre-order here.
Emma Russack is playing a handful of local shows this week in diverse places…including a bowling club with Cass McCombs and WTH faves Shining Bird & The Ocean Party, and a house somewhere in Coledale. Details are below.
Feb 4th – Scarborough Wombarra Bowling Club, NSW (w/ Cass McCombs, Shining Bird & The Ocean Party)
Feb 8th – House show, Coledale, NSW (w/ Bree Tranter). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for full details.
Feb 23rd – Old Bar, Fitzroy, VIC
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Here’s something close to my heart: this EP was forwarded to me with the words ‘Dolewave from your hometown’. Of course, Territory (despite the nomenclature) recently moved from Canberra to Sydney – and apparently they’re forming bonds with the inner-city set, one of these elegiac tracks going by the name of ‘Cleveland Street’.
The attachment to place is one of the most endearing things about the Territory EP. The short set is rounded off with a delicate instrumental called ‘Narrabundah’, and the cover art depicts one of those generously proportioned backyards that characterise this stretch of the capital’s inner south, with its vintage telephone poles, bleached back fences and non-committal winter sun.
Territory make dolewave feel pretty agile, with gorgeous riffs that would give Matt Mondanile a run for his money. Opening tracks ‘Distant Night’ and ‘Raincoat’ are the sharpest, but each song is lovely – kind of like dozing on a Sunday midmorning, feeling fairly pleased with your lot even though there’s another week and a bit till your next Centrelink payment comes through.
Stream the whole EP below.
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I was a couple of glasses of wine down on a packed Friday at the Evelyn, when Mangelwurzel, hit the stage dressed in costume. There were flowers, disco-balls, smiley-faced bras – everything a tipsy twenty-something could want. Mangelwurzel even brought an actual mangelwurzel*, celebrating in style for the release of their debut EP, Dead Pets.
The EP clocks in at just under ten minutes and wastes no time getting things done. Each track seems to subvert itself half-way through, careening off in different directions before finding its way back to the opening phrases. There’s a sporadic, almost bi-polar feel to the songs and the EP as a whole, where the seven-piece will swing from surf rock to hip hop, from smooth jazzy pop to heavy cymbals and distortion. Yet, there’s a complete coherence in the tracks as well. It’s like when someone walks into a messy room, cries “HOW CAN YOU FIND ANYTHING IN THIS DUMP?”, and you reply “Shit, mum. I’ve got this”.
While each of the tracks are great in their own little right, the actual recording of the songs is a little underdone. It’s short of bedroom-style production, or rather (and in the nicest possible sense) there isn’t any production. During their set, the band revealed they recorded on an eight-track straight into Vegas. It’s a shame really, as there are points in the EP where the dense layering or dynamic shifts in the tracks could really have been strengthened by some extra production pointers. However, Dead Pets is indicative of Mangelwurzel’s potential and ability – a band that will still manage to sound great on a live recording when most others wouldn’t stand a chance.
If you have an opportunity to see Mangelwurzel live, drop everything, bring some friends, and do just that.
*Did you know these things even existed?!
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