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PREMIERE: Hideous Towns – ‘Heart Attack’

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hideous_towns

I saw some shoegaze bands on Thursday night. It’s awesome watching people in the crowd contort their bodies to music, especially when there’s a shrouding wall of reverb covering any semblance of a beat. I can’t dance to this music. If I pull out Stella Luna or revisit a Slowdive record, it’s somewhere with dim lighting and a massive doona where I can revel in being a recumbent, moody fuck.

Anyway, not everyone listens to music in near darkness. Melbourne’s Hideous Towns are back with their new single, ‘Heart Attack’ – a bright follow up to last year’s self titled EP.

It’s crisp track; guitars are tender; drums are hit with economical purpose and Alana’s hopeful vocal traverses in equal stride alongside the rest. There are simple pow-wows in the verse about the parallelisms of love and its undoings. Hideous Towns might have been quick to gratify the shoegaze zeitgeist in their earlier recordings, but their previous EP showed the band’s capacity to be tender and edgy all at once (without drowning in vocal/pedal fanfare).

In ‘Heart Attack’, Hideous Towns turns up the pace of their last release, but keeps the status quo. It’s quite a peppy tune actually. Maybe your new pump-up jam. It doesn’t wade in the euphoric shell pool for much of it, but even for the lack of passiveness here, I would love to hear a bit of Monika Fikerle bite happening in the rhythm section. The guitar stutters have been mixed to a clean pulp around the 2:10 mark, but I dig it. Could wax on about this track and how I’ll probably go for a run and order a pizza afterwards, but you should probably just listen to it.

It’s 2015, but still a great time to be a sad guy/girl with a loud amp.

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‘Heart Attack’ is out tomorrow digitally and on vinyl via Lost and Lonesome. The band will be heading out on tour across the country at the end of the month. Dates below.

27th June – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane w/ BottlecockThe Bag Heads

28th June – The Time Machine, Sunshine Coast w/ FlotsamjetsamPermateens

10th July – Hotel Metropolitan, Adelaide w/ The SystemaddictsPonytail Kink

25th July – Oxford Arts Factory, SYDNEY w  /The S-BendsAloha Units, Hunch 

8th August – Bar Open, Melbourne w / Pure MoodsHAWAII94Parading

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PREMIERE: Slowcoach – ‘Beneath the Board’

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Slowcoach

‘Beneath the Board’ is the debut single from Melbourne dude Dean Valentino, aka Slowcoach. Despite never having heard this before, I feel like he could be an old friend. That’s the kind of track this is: warm, assuring, forward-looking without leaving you behind. It’s confident and solid, and at every point where Valentino could have slackened off and let ‘Beneath the Board’ drip into the abyss of toothless indie rock he revs up, adding a bass lick here, a twanging guitar there, and piercing synth punctuating it all.

By three listens in I was spinning around the room SO SURE that someone was whispering to me, but that turned out to be one of the track’s many neat layers (production help from Michael Belsar of Melbourne calypso rockers Twinsy), that by chance put the fear of God in me…and made me listen to the song another three times to make sure I wasn’t going batshit (1.27 guys, promise it’s real). Such is the effort Valentino has gone to to produce a track that leaves no melodic lead or dreamy production trick unturned.

Attention must be turned to Valentino’s voice, because after I recovered from my ghost scare/religious epiphany I could have sworn that was Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell walloping me with his restrained power ballad vocals. Pair that with a War on Drugs rhythm wall and Slowcoach have put together a really fun, effortless sounding track.

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VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Marcus Whale

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Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Illustrations by Lucy Roleff 

We’ve teamed up with Feral Media for Virtual Mixtape – a series where we ask musicians to create a mixtape based on a genre, artist or theme which they’re passionate about not necessarily associated with.

Our third instalment comes from musician Marcus Whale, known for his work in Collarbones and Black Vanilla. Whale has chosen a selection of tracks from experimental American composer/songwriter Scott Walker, who came to prominence in the late 60s and still receives acclaim for his unorthodox sound musings.

 

 

Marcus Whale - Virtual Mixtape - WhoTheHell

Words by Greg Stone: 

Although only in his early twenties, Marcus has been involved in the Sydney music scene for many years. When I first met Marcus, he was sixteen and reviewing for post rock website The Silent Ballet, and writing music under his recently retired Scissor Lock moniker, which over the years evolved from shimmering ambient guitar pieces to processed vocal soundscapes to woozy, sample-heavy electronica.

Marcus is best known as one half of electronic duo Collarbones, or as a member of R’n’B-tinged, dance music upstarts Black Vanilla. But aside from these more pop centric projects, Marcus has also remained heavily involved in the experimental music scene curating and performing at events including the Now Now festival, Underbelly Arts and Electrofringe; releasing works on New Editions and Room 40 imprint A Guide to Saints, and also running his own short-lived label CURT Records.

Considering this dichotomy, it’s rather fitting that Marcus has chosen Scott Walker as his mixtape theme, with Walker himself evolving from 1960’s pop balladeer as front man of the Walker Brothers, to his current status of avant-garde royalty.

For the uninitiated, consider this mixtape your personal guide through Walker’s intriguing musical career; but more importantly take in Whale’s insightful musings on a true artistic pioneer.

 

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‘It’s Raining Today’ from Scott 3

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The arrangement of the ambivalently atmospheric ‘It’s Raining Today’ from 1967’s Scott 3 is I think proof that you can be both completely dedicated to middle of the road Adult Contemporary radio format, as well as to sonic innovation. The techniques used in the string arrangement mirror that of some contemporary classical composers of the 60s, notably the Polish composer, Penderecki. His great string orchestra work ‘Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima’, written in 1960 has provided a blueprint for countless other composers (and pop musicians) in the ensuing years. How appropriate for a chromatic cluster to turn up on the exact cultural opposite end of the musical spectrum seven years later.

 

‘Boy Child’ from Scott 4

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‘Boy Child’ is another example of Scott Walker’s tendency toward excessiveness in arrangement, strings drenched in reverb. I’m not sure exactly what ‘Boy Child’ speaks to lyrically, but it feels as if it could only be about the second coming of Jesus, a kind of romantic desolation.

 

‘The Cockfighter’ from Tilt

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Fast forward almost thirty years to 1995 now, and the form of orchestral soft pop that brought Scott Walker to fame has long faded in popularity. What’s left for Walker, is just the theatre of it – the power of instruments to surround his voice with a world. Notable to me is not necessarily that arrangement in ‘The Cockfighter’ is harsh at times, but more that once Walker prioritised songwriting above aesthetics, his interests immediately took him through zones that required treatments as dark as this. Among fairly dated 90s rock band arrangements are industrially rendered pulses, white noise, squealing strings and horns, uncanny field recordings – all serving to echo Walker’s diabolical vision…

 

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MAP June 2015

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music_alliance_pact_ MAP

MAP – our monthly round-up of new music from around the world returns again, courtesy of some of the fine folk who run the best new music blogs on both sides of the equator. Our June submission, (picked by our Mapcast host Robbie) features some gorgeous electronica from Sydney’s Bicentennial. Get some bilingual action in your white-bread music collection by downloading the 20 track compilation right here.

 

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Ciudadano TotoEsta Canción

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Last month Argentina’s independent music scene mourned the sudden death of Adrián Nievas, aka Ciudadano Toto, lead singer of electro-pop group Adicta. An all-time favorite of Zonaindie, Adicta was perhaps one of the most underrated bands of the last decade, so if you never listened to them you deserve to (all their albums are one click away). This month’s MAP song is a home-recorded cover version of Cuban legend Silvio Rodríguez that he used to open his recent solo concerts. Sophomore album Flores, Brillos y Arcoiris was released just a couple of months ago). RIP.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
BicentennialSleeper Train

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Hailing from Marrickville, a suburb in Sydney’s warehouse district, Bicentennial (Jess Cooper) writes and produces dark but delicate soundscapes layered underneath reverberated chant-like vocals. She cites backpacking around the globe as a major inspiration to her music, which is easy to see in this track’s title with any remaining inspiration coming from her white pet parrot Jai-Chai, whom she claims is never far from her shoulder.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
CíceroIsabel (Carta De Um Pai Aflito)

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This song is from Cícero’s third album, A Praia, released a few months ago. Its lyrics are about a father regretting the loss of his daughter, who left home to experience life. The album has elements of traditional indie-rock and Brazilian popular music, usually referred to as MPB.

 

Listen to the full mix below.

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LISTEN: Good Morning – ‘A Vessel’ / ‘Radiovoice’

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good morning

Two-man recording duo Good Morning are undoubtedly masters of understated, dreamy psychedelia. Their music oozes warmth and is filled with luscious sounds without being cluttered, each new sound wriggling its way in at a lazy pace and wandering off without making a big deal of itself.

Their latest release, the two-track A Vessel / Radiovoice, exhibits their tasteful sonic expertise and a late night, restrained grooviness. ‘A Vessel’ offers a beautiful lope, with scatterbrained guitars backing at times indiscernible vocals. ‘Radiovoice’ is reminiscent of a lost Sparklehorse track, complete with soft synth lines and fragile vocals. Both tracks opiated and enveloping, Blair and Parsons are certainly aiming to get you zoned.

Both tracks will feature on the first half of an upcoming vinyl release on Solitaire Recordings.

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WATCH: Sunbeam Sound Machine – ‘Wandering, I’

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Sunbeam Sound Machine, the moniker of melodic psych wunderkind and WTH favourite Nick Sowersby returns to our attention with an overwhelmingly colourful video for ‘Wandering, I’.

The track’s moody tone is countered by footage washed in over-saturated sherbet pink and green. Sowersby’s glowering mug and performance footage invites us into his hazy musings, presented with VHS warping and pulsating between frames of static. A beautiful, brief piece of mind-manifesting pop which may evoke repressed 90s memories of popping your favourite tape in the VCR only to realise its been ravaged and rendered useless by time. And Disney told you that only happened to pirates….

‘Wandering, I’ features on SSM’s album Wonderer, available both digitally and for vinyl order from Bandcamp.

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