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INTRODUCING: The Backstabbers

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The Backstabbers are a brand new duo consisting of Rupert Edwards (Dick Diver) and Amy Hill (School of Radiant Living), with a hypnotic quality that emanates from their brand of morose, drum-less folk.

If you can dig a few tunes that tug at the heartstrings and are less than cheerful, you should checkout The Backstabbers’ new cassette, Shame. I hope I don’t undersell how much impact music like this can have – these songs have a stern beauty and a calmness that eases the mind.

Piano and trumpet fill the space solemnly, as if they were echoing through an empty house. The girl/boy harmony work is especially sweet, taking the edge of the ‘strine in Rupert’s accent, adding an ethereal quality and giving fullness to the sparse arrangements on tape.

Shame dwells on the nature of friendships and the slow meandering of daily life, communicating thoughts and feelings simplistically but successfully. The songs are fully formed, if a bit rough around the edges. Regardless of its lonesome and haunting nature, this is well thought out, touching music.

The Shame cassette is out now on Hideotic and can be purchased through Eternal Soundcheck.

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INTRODUCING: Setec

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Setec is Josh Gibbs, a Sydney-based multi-instrumentalist who stitches together organic samples – guitar loops, hand claps, voice – with field recordings, found sounds and snippets from old records to form nostalgic collages that recall the crackly bowerbird aesthetic of the Books.

In February 2012 Gibbs released the first Setec EP, Longer Letters – three tracks of improvised vocals and field recordings produced over two days in a city studio. A second EP, I’ll Be Good, followed six months later on Wood and Wire. Featuring layers of vocals and guitar loops, the EP is deliberately structured around a few samples and found sounds, and the seams are designed to show. Gibbs treats these foreign objects in the manner of the Avalanches or, say, Jens Lekman – as sources of inspiration to be framed and played along with.

On new single ‘Water or Concrete’ Setec is moving away from abstraction, bringing his voice, a sweet falsetto, straight to the centre and decorating it with a swooping mandolin and the sounds of chattering strangers. It’s his best track yet.

Setec’s debut album, Brittle as Bones, will be released soon, and he’s set to appear on Feral Media’s next Strain of Origin compilation alongside artists like Lower Spectrum and Power Moves. Catch him and his loop pedal playing a set this Thursday at Surry Hills venue the Forresters.

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PREMIERE: The Laughing Leaves – ‘Off Our Tree’ EP

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Man, this is just like the time The Unicorns dropped acid and went with the thematic naming rights on all that followed. Here is a happy thing for your Monday that is the first stream of the Laughing Leaves‘ new EP, aptly named Off Our Tree.

After recording previous EP Everyday in a shed (legit) in Geelong, this time the band bunked up with Joseph Fairburns and Joel Williams with sessions between the Anglesea Scout Hall and the Dandenong Ranges.

The EP is reckless in approach – and so are Laughing Leaves’ shows – but the band seem to have quelled their patience, if just for twenty minutes.

The formula is familiar enough; the choppy revivalist cuts (‘Growing Up’), cavorting hook and bass (‘Tree People’) and enough good, communal four chord schmuck for Mikey Young to clean up (‘Too Much’).

The band are launching the EP with a show at pop up bar Lulu White’s in St Kilda on the 12th and the 1st of August in Sydney at World Bar with Ross De Chene Hurricanes. Do it.

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WATCH: Orchestra of Spheres – ‘Fingerweg’

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Continuing their reign as the weirdest Wellingtonians you’re likely to encounter, Orchestra of Spheres chant, drone and groove their way through the three-and-a-half minutes of freaky goodness that is ‘Fingerweg’.

A self-described ‘ancient future funk’ band, Orchestra of Spheres relish doing anything but the ordinary, employing homemade instruments and left-of-centre vocals to produce some genuinely unpredictable yet always enjoyable musical madness. You’re just as likely to find yourself jumping out of your seat to dance as scratching your chin in contemplation when exposed to their ritualistic tunes, and leaving one of their shows can feel like you’ve just escaped from a very strange but charming cult.

‘Fingerweg’ was recorded during the sessions for their last album, Vibration Animal Sex Brain Music (yes, it’s as great as that sounds), but its release was reserved for a later 7” single. The track showcases Orchestra of Spheres’ most endearing elements, making a clear case for why they’re so fun and easy to love. The vocals are deadpan, the music sounds both broken and grand, and everything is just very, very odd.

The track is accompanied by an equally disorienting and bonkers video that highlights the band’s penchant for really strange outfits and other proclivities. You will very quickly understand how little you understand what they’re up to. I sure don’t.

You can pick up a copy of the ‘Fingerweg/Lost Days’ 7″ single via Outside Inside Records.

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INTRODUCING: Love Signs

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This single is the first chance anyone outside of Brisbane has had to hear the lovely Love Signs, who have risen from the ashes of girl group devotees Johnny and The Fembots and played some very impressive shows around town in the past few months.

‘Wish At Home’ has a  kind of school dance vibe – if school dances were actually about locking eyes across a softly lit room with the love of your life rather than drinking too many Woodstocks and throwing up behind the bike sheds.

There’s a whole lot of sweetness here, but also sophistication – and most of it comes from Izzy Mellor’s voice, which can’t help but take centre stage, it’s so full and classically beautiful. The instrumentation is subtle but distinct, a guitar twinkling away in the background and the rhythm section mixed with a restraint that helps to give the song its gauzy aesthetic.

The romantic feel is complemented by sighing lyrics about heartbreak and loneliness, and it’s an excellent introduction to such a sleek nostalgia band. Hopefully Love Signs have a lot more where this came from.

Talented AND generous, Love Signs have made this track available for free download on Soundcloud.

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WATCH: Rainy Day Women – ‘Mars’

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The clip for Rainy Day Women‘s latest single ‘Mars’ is filled with crackled footage of the lads roaming through vines of over-priced-goon-fruit and lush green fields with front man Dylan Ollivierre’s six string tagging along for the stroll.

The pastel tones in the clip match the tune’s melancholic turn. It’s still well crafted, jangly guitar pop but minus the carefree sparkle that much of their earlier work had. The textured harmonies and brass complement the ever-present guitar melodies to tell a story of longing and goodbyes, all under the group’s telltale Perth sun sound.

It’s the stuff of hazy daydreams, and it features the most ‘strayan outfit in the world – denim, beanie, coat and thongs.

‘Mars’ is the first cut from Rainy Day Women’s forthcoming debut album, to be released in the not too distant future, and the guys say that ‘Mars’ is the sound of things to come.

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