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LISTEN: North Arm – ‘Lately’

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North Arm are a Sydney-via-Newcastle-via-North Arm four piece who have been producing spaced-out folktronica since early 2013. The band’s new single, ‘Lately’, is an ethereal combination of front man Roderick Smith’s whispery vocals and a finely picked acoustic guitar, which floats atop a crescendo of percussion and synths.

‘Lately’ is decidedly more folk than the spread of lo-fi dream pop tunes on debut EP Thought Lines. I’m not sure which I prefer, but the production is ace all round – preventing the finely layered atmosphere of ‘Lately’ from turning into the ‘omg we get it’ overwrought boredom of some dream pop outfits.

The careful manipulation of traditional rock song structures gives North Arm an edge that I’m keen to hear more of on their next EP, Life Cycles, due out later this year.

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PREMIERE: Hollow Everdaze – ‘Ominous’ video

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Hollow Everdaze

Adding a string section to your lineup might make you Warren Ellis – or a damp Celtic jam band. Hollow Everdaze recently added violinist Myles Anderson to the bill. Spiccato never hurt nobody, but I went along to a gig last week with doubt cloud looming. Watching a garage band with a string section is like running IRL with 3D glasses – many dimensions, cinematic feelings, general anxiety. As it goes, the violin did end up being a decent match for the the band’s starry-eyed psych laments, and even the slight jazzy breaks they’ve been spotting lately.

Below is Hollow Everdaze’s new clip for ‘Ominous’, a new track off their upcoming EP. There’s a church jam session and minor participation in other brooding activities the track title commands, like patting farm animals and wheelbarrowing down slopes.

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Hollow Everdaze are launching ‘Ominous’ on Saturday, 4th of October at Boney with supports from Contrast and Peter Bibby and His Bottles of Confidence.

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PREMIERE: Massimo Jones – ‘Bone Dry’

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Entertainer, conman, itinerant, sleaze, Massimo Jones is a veteran and an auteur, the washed-up bastard son of the Italo-Australian underground.

The halcyon days of his youth – the dance floors of Milan, the Blue Light discos of the outback – are over, but Jones hasn’t lost his optimism. On debut album Jonesin’, he brings you proto-punk gloom shot through with the bright strains of Eurodisco.

His brand new release, ‘Bone Dry’, is a dispiriting tale of heartbreak and creeping nihilism. The track’s mournful synths and strangled vocals, while at first oppressive, give way to a hazy steel drum breakdown – a glimpse of the LED dancefloor illuminating the Mediterranean nights of Jones’ imagination.

‘Bone Dry’ is the follow up to ‘Ladies Man’, ‘a hot little number about doing time as a con-man in the 70s and gettin’ tangled up in the kind of ménage à trois that can turn a man half-mad just tryin’ to keep his head’.

Stripped back and lonesome, ‘Ladies Man’ reveals a fella half in love and half nauseated with the course his life has taken: ‘Can’t you see I’m getting sick of watching actors fight? Finding blood in my jacuzzi every other night’.

Massimo Jones is currently wandering lost through the south of Spain, but rumours are circulating of a return to Australian shores this summer and a string of performances to follow. Keep your ear to the ground.

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LOOK: Sunbeam Sound Machine

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Sunbeam Sound Machine did the Melbourne to Sydney run last week, playing a show and stopping over at FBi Radio on the way. Lachlan, their drummer is handy with a cam and took some snaps for us. The band have been busy working on their debut album which lead vocalist Nick Sowersby received an Australia Council recording grant for.

Sunbeam Sound Machine are playing their first headline show in a year tonight at Shebeen in Melbourne, with supports from I, A ManHollow Everdaze & Chips Callipso. Tickets are available here.

The band’s debut LP Wonderer is out in November through Dot Dash / Remote Control.

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PREMIERE: Owen Rabbit – ‘Violence and Degradation’

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Last month we introduced you to Owen Rabbit, a kid who got his start playing bush doofs in WA and ended up composing trip-hop-inflected indie pop in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

‘Violence and Degradation’ is the follow up to first single ‘Police Car’. An extended live recording of the new track has been doing the rounds for a while now, showing Owen piece the sound together from a panoply of equipment – synths, samplers, drum machines. The final version has now been laid down and returned from the mastering studio, and will be released very soon via Catch Release Records.

Thematically, ‘Violence and Degradation’ is a neat sequel to the earlier 7″, moving from a tale of delinquency to one of addiction and destitution. But where ‘Police Car’ was sparse and strange, ‘Violence and Degradation’ is lush and soaring, layers of strings, keys and shuddering snares.

Owen Rabbit has a bunch of shows coming up in NSW and Victoria:

Wed, 8 Oct – The Evelyn, Melbourne

Fri, 17 Oct – FBi Social, Sydney

Sat, 25 Oct – The Evelyn, Melbourne

Thurs, 13 Nov – Wesley Anne, Melbourne

Sat, 14 Nov – Babushka Bar, Ballarat


WATCH: Wives – ‘Buried’

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Wives (formerly known as Sweet Shoppe) are your new favourite post-punk band. Like all great post-punk bands, they were bred out of the sewer of manipulation, deceit and backstabbing – also known as our nation’s capital of Canberra. With experience and talent on their side, Wives contains members from other flagship bands such as Assassins 88, TV Colours, Sex Noises and Beach Slut.

The band’s newest single is ‘Buried’. The music is severe, and plods with the doom of an undertaker about to make some bank. There’s a lot of elements at play here: the thwocking bass, submerged yelps and that angular, neurotic guitar piercing skin again and again. It’s an uneasy track, and the best part about it is that you can’t quite make out why.

The video only adds to the track’s vague yet encompassing nature. It’s kind of like someone dropped a kaleidoscope in a vat of acid and then was granted the power of neon heat-vision. Whatever is going on behind the shifting patterns isn’t all that obvious, but the intrigue is all part of the fun.

Wives launch ‘Buried’ in Sydney at Black Wire Records on Friday the 26th of September, with support from Bare Grillz, Hence Therefore, and Roland Major. They follow that up with a hometown show at The Phoenix with a support slot at Mere Women‘s album launch on the 27th.

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GL is a Melbourne-based synth-pop duo formed by Bamboos alumni Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson. The pair is about to release the Love Hexagon EP via Plastic World, a Sydney imprint run by Vic Edirisinghe of Astral People and James McInnes of Future Classic.

With a focus on the kind of forward-thinking, club-oriented acts that don’t seem to have a natural home on existing local labels, Plastic World has, in its short life, dropped releases by Tuff Sherm, Cassius Select, Retiree and Alba. The label’s curatorial nous is reflected in the remixes they’ve scored for GL’s upcoming release, including work by Detroit house legend Terrence Parker and Gerd Janson of Running Back Records, which has released music from the likes of Todd Terje, Theo Parrish and Tensnake.

‘Won’t You See’, the first cut to surface from Love Hexagon, started doing the rounds back in July. Though it’s body music with a killer hook, overwhelmingly the track comes off as a 1980s genre exercise, its drum machines and tightly coiled synths zapping like lasers.

GL’s new single, the more sultry ‘What Happened to Us’, draws on a similar palette – but here Thompson’s vocal performance pushes the sound to a higher plane. Her voice flutters and cracks as she delivers the yearning lines, ‘Don’t push harder/You can push harder/But it’s not like before’. As it heats up, ‘What Happened to Us’ rivals the retro-pop grandeur of Solange’s Dev Hynes-produced tracks, equal parts strength and lightness of touch.

Love Hexagon  pre-orders will be available soon. Check out the video for ‘Won’t You See’ after the jump.