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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Too bad I love easy/sleazy listening. I cultivated this when Portishead was apparently a thing, when torrenting Ministry of Sound’s ‘Chillout Sessions’ catalogue was a thing and more recently when someone ousted me for listening to Sade’s greatest hits after leaving my Spotify on public.
Anyway, new Sydney duo Twin Caverns (Louise Millar and Michael Macias) recently did nice things to my ears and feelings. The pair draw similar parallels to other beat/vocal heavy duos like Alta and Audego – and more recently, every internet person’s rework of that Japanese Wallpaper x Wafia tune. Millar isn’t related to fellow Sydney vocal cameo star Nicole Millar, although the two do share an affinity for making a soundtrack for pool days and vanilla coated vocals.
Twin Caverns recently released their second single ‘Undiscover’. Similar to previous track ‘Swell’, the duo lean towards a more simple equation. That incandescent treble guitar line that starts the track off leaves Millar’s vocal refrain hanging from the ceiling. Thankful that this is probably one of the few decent duos that aren’t milking the drop vocal effect or the Flume formula which makes every downbeat sound like it’s being wrung through the ass end of a Microsoft vocoder. Twin Caverns need to give themselves a big midi hi-five here. Slick composition x thoughtful chords work perfectly together. This needs to happen IRL.
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Last year Sam ‘Rusty’ Crockett and Richie Shilton of cassette label Peking Tapes decided to collect a stash of their friends’ unreleased material for the Summer Lovin’ 2013 compilation. Coincidentally, Rusty and Richie’s friends play in just about every band in Melbourne, so they had loads of stuff to trawl through. The result is a fascinating document of the workings of this thriving little scene from Brunswick, and hopefully a sign for the future.
Summer Lovin’ features old mates Lachlan Denton from The Ocean Party, Curtis Wakeling of Velcro and Zone Out’s Ashley Bundang, who, as usual, has the reverb turned up to ‘desert mirage’. There’s also Wizard Oz’s excellent chillwave cover of TV Colours’ ‘Bad Dreams’ that had the kids frothing at the mouth in 2013.
But there are a number of revelations in here, too. Most exciting is the work coming from the sub-constellation of musicians around the band Big Tobacco, which features Peking Tapes honchos Crockett and Shilton alongside Tom Bradbury and Cam Hassard. Hassard’s contribution, ‘New York’, is far and away the highlight of the compilation. Channelling Bruce Springsteen without a care, Hassard belts out a tale of American wanderlust replete with bangin’ 80s-style sax solo, which is performed by Cam himself. As far as I’m aware, no other solo material by Hassard has yet been released, but here’s hoping.
Big Tobacco also do the 80s just the way it should be. They sound like the Jesus and Mary Chain meets the Church on their track ‘Broken Telephone’, with vocals from Bradbury that have just the right amount of ache to make the song feel anthemic.
‘Happy’, Bradbury’s own track, comes from his 2011 EP, Dream About a Girl. Its buoyant melody is underscored by a churning acoustic riff, with some low-key strings to round the edges.
As for the remaining contributors, Jordan Thompson of the Ocean Party offers a synth-interpolated alt country ballad which is the other clear standout here. Romantic but not a love song, ‘The Carnal Embrace’ seems to be about the disappointment of sex for its own sake; a track in the tradition of ‘The Wrong Girl’ (but better), with Thompson singing, ‘I don’t wanna know what he said/don’t wanna know what she said/don’t wanna meet a girl like that’.
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Impressively spearheaded by Donovan Miller of No Anchor and Innez Tulloch from Tiny Spiders, Roku Music are a Brisbane four piece who make heavy shoegaze music that feels drawn-out, but always bloody tough.
After a few lineup changes, the band now feature bassist Jody Gleeson of Brisbane throwback girl-group The Madison and Thomas Roche of The Rational Academy on drums. Late 2013, the band entered the studio (Miller and Tulloch’s own) to record their first album. ‘Collider’, the name of the band’s forthcoming album and first single is the most solid statement of intent we’ve seen from this band yet.
Miller and Tulloch are both formidable guitarists. Both get an incredible amount of power out of their instruments; layers of distortion turn to whirlpools under a sweetly expansive vocal. The production here is epic and tense without ever being cluttered – and the track still weighs down around your shoulders, but in way that’s more comforting that claustrophobic.
Roku Music’s debut album Collider will be released through Sonic Masala Records in March.
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When a band emails you claiming they sound like Grinderman and Television, you take everything at a half-truth really. Melbourne’s Rabble Rouser aren’t quite crude, doom-slaying middle agers just yet (truly, no is quite as frightening as Warren Ellis in my mind anyway). On their split double A side featuring ‘I’m a Human Blues’, So Damn Tired’ and the blunt, 43 second ‘Wicked Chair’, the band sway from grovelling noise punk to tender, square-eyed pop like some kind of bipolar Tom Verlaine.
Rabble Rouser aren’t just a bunch of surf chumps fiddling around the psych-punk circuit though. As soon as that speckled treble guitar emerges from catacomb of an intro in ‘I’m A Human Blues’, Nick Allbrook’s soul takes flight with the wind – and in a moment of tenderness and absolute chaos, all seems all and right with the world. The guys are currently recording a five track EP in Blairgowrie to be released in the coming months. For now, catch I’m a Human Blues // So Damn Tired as a free download at Rabble Rouser’s bandcamp.
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There are plenty of punk bands out there with revolting names; Saliva, Cumstain, Begging For Incest. But hey, those bands kinda suck. Breaking the vile name, shit band category are Melbourne locals Batpiss. Kicking around in Collingwood since around 2011, Batpiss have honed their craft of sluggish oblivion into something that would make Buzz Osborne from the Melvins blush. Although the band released a self-titled cassette in 2012 via Popular Favourites Records, the true gnash of their sound is most apparent on last year’s debut LP, Nuclear Winter.
Starting with a gyrating riff accompanied by a close imitation of Black Flag’s ‘My War’, Batpiss’ ’Burn Below’ is a punch to the face. It starts with gnashing guitar and buckling bass/drum combinations all come to a halt halfway through the track. It’s only a brief moment of respite though. The band are intent on ploughing through with the incendiary goal to blow out your brain cells – and they’re close.
Batpiss will turn heads, rip off those same heads, stamp them into a bloody mess all over the stage. More please.
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Mark Zito aka. Fractures has had an interesting ride since releasing his track ‘Twisted’ at the end of 2012. Apparently, irony spares no expense – Fractures actually fractured his neck (SRSLY) after a fainting incident at the breakfast table last year. While this sounds like the foundations of some beguiling press story, cracking vertebrae is no laughing matter. Zito was forced to cancel his upcoming tour and spent most of last year harmonizing in an Orthotic halo. Zito’s now made a full recovery, with Fractures selling out a headline show at the Workers Club back in November. Champ.
This recent acoustic video of Fractures’ track ‘Embers’ was filmed at the Queen Vic Markets in West Melbourne. It’s a mile different from the recording, Fracture’s vocal and sparse arrangement is worth your ears.
Catch Fractures at one of the dates below:
25th Jan – The Toff, Melbourne w/ Yeo
1st Feb – Brighton Up Bar w/Goldsmith
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MAP – the giant worldly music compilation behemoth we’ve helped chip at for 5 years has arrived again for January. Cool tunes from where your ears wouldn’t usually take you. Argentina and India’s picks are particularly impressive this month. Also, if you haven’t heard our recent MAPCAST wrap-up podcast from Robbie, scoot over to our Soundcloud.
We choose our MAP submissions by the 25th of each month. If you’re an Australian artist and think that the folks from Brazil to Iceland should hear your stuff, submissions are welcome – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 27-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
Queridas – Drama Bomb
Andrés Yeah is the lead guitarist of Mi Nave, an up-and-coming band from Rosario’s independent music scene. Queridas is his solo project, full of songs with melancholy, reverb and shoegaze guitars. Drama Bombo is one of our favorites.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Head Clouds – Mirror’s Image
Head Clouds are a Gold Coast band who have been busy working on their debut LP for more than a year. Mirror’s Image may be the first track we’ve heard from them but it’s definitely no wallflower. Jaykke Maddison is a less erratic version of Wild Beasts’ Hayden Thorpe; there’s hardly room for shirking away with that falsetto. A glorious trumpet crescendo and thoughtful lyricism lights up this track. A band to watch.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Boogarins – Lucifernandis
Os Mutantes, the psychedelic tropical band from the 60s, is one of the main influences of Boogarins, besides affinities with contemporary artists such as Tame Impala and Of Montreal. Lucifernandis is the opening song of their debut album, As Plantas Que Curam, released in 2013.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
Teledrome – Boyfriend
Calgary, Alberta, best known as the home of an annual Stampede and being firmly rooted in cowboy culture, may be the last place you’d expect a synth-based power-pop-punk outfit to emerge from. But Teledrome is the latest cultural contradiction to come from Cowtown, and perhaps one of its finest. Boyfriend is a sample of the synth-laced solemnity offered up on their soon-to-be-released album.
CHILE: Super 45
Kinetica & Motivado – Hoy Quiero
Kinetica & Motivado brings together Chilean producers Emiliana Araya and Mario Martinez. Although we have previously highlighted both projects separately, their joint work deserves its own limelight. Mixing Kinetica’s mysterious, nocturnal vocals with Motivado’s tropical beats, their collaboration gives rise to sensual, intelligent electronic music. Their first single, Hoy Quiero, was released on Chilean label Discos Pegaos.
Click below to hear the full playlist.
It was raining on the beach yet our Austrian visitors still decided to swim naked. On the drive home, we listened to Seagull’s new album Ocean From Above. Through the car’s air conditioner, I could smell that someone was burning off in the distance. As we crossed over the West Gate, I tried to place Seagull’s sound. There’s a little bit of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy in there, a little bit of Sleep Decade, of Elliot Smith. As the album progressed I often felt as if I was listening to a darker version of Low; a haunting melody slowly (always slowly!), shifting with that typical Kishore Ryan (Kid Sam, Otouto) minimalist-style drumming.
Yet, Written Word – and the album as a whole – strays into ambience much more than it ever does into darkness, or dissonance. Take the vocal track on WW, about two minutes in that cuts and loops over itself after Christopher Bolton mutters: “Soon enough, I’ll be on medication”. And to say that WW is dark is to discredit the odd bits of humour that surface in Seagull’s lyrics. Bolton pauses as he sings “The end of our connection / came with The Age…. of civilisation”, as if to play on the image of society’s severed connections arriving with the morning paper.
As we reached home, unpacked the esky and the blankets, it struck me that Seagull doesn’t necessarily remind me of a particular band, but a mood. There’s a certain sadness inherent in their sound, in those delicate guitars and sparse melody lines. Yet Seagull don’t offer colossal, cathartic finishes. Rather, their form of sadness hangs around in an anti-climactic, repressed manner. And, as the opening seconds of WW started up, as Bolton’s voice began to waver, the only thing I can think of were naked Austrians running into the water, a long drive home and the smell of burning wood.
Listen to Ocean From Above in full here.
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