Three words – a band name and a song title – and you’re hooked. What kind of freak can suppress their joy over seeing misspelt milk and a song that seems to bemoan the plight of those who just want high-speed broadband at a decent price?
The perceived product and what’s actually delivered, however, are totally different beasts. Instead of some slacker rock moping about the Internet, Milkk provide a beautiful instrumental piece, cold and subdued. Spreadeagled over nearly five minutes, ‘ADSL Blues’ has almost nothing in common with the buffering signal that comes when setting up your wireless network. There’s no pain, no stress – you can just sit there, suspended by Milkk’s slowly intertwining noise.
The newest signing to Wollongong-based record label No Safe Place, Milkk prove that the label is entirely impossible to pin down. The instrumental trio join noise-poppers Solid Effort, earnest rockers Beast & Flood and ambient folk artist Obscura Hail, to name but a few. However, the difference between Milkk and the label’s other bands is that these guys are doing something that feels relatively untouched – in Sydney, at least. Solid Effort, Beast & Flood, and Obscura Hail are all unique in their own distinctive and incredible ways, but Milkk sounds like nothing else out there at the moment. ‘ADSL Blues’ takes you on a slow, meandering journey that all good Internet providers should aim to supply.
Milkk will be launching their EP, Open Signals Cast, on 31 October at Black Wire Records in Sydney. They’ll be joining Cull, who are launching their own debut album. In the meantime, Milkk will play a set at Lots of Bands V at the Croat in Newcastle this Friday, 2 October, and are supporting Miners at their EP launch on Saturday the 3rd at the Record Crate in Glebe.
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For this month’s edition of the Music Alliance Pact, we’ve selected a grand track from Jack Colwell – because the world needs to see and hear more sauna based choreo . You can grab a September’s full 18-track compilation through Dropbox here.
Our new MAPCAST podcast is out too. Robbie’s a riff-nerd, so he’s selected the best new tracks from guitar-based bands from around the world. Check it out below:
Argonautas – Perfecto
With a career that spans more than 20 years, this independent prog-rock band from Ramos Mejia, a Buenos Aires suburb, performed a couple of shows last month after being inactive for quite some time. So we thought it was a great opportunity to share this fine track from Argonautas’ third album, also called Perfecto.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Jack Colwell – Don’t Cry Those Tears
On his latest EP, Only When Flooded Could I Let Go, classically trained musician Jack Colwell blends the popular and the arcane to stunning effect. He has a grand vision and the chops to pull it off, creating compositions that dabble in everything from chamber-pop to doo-wop. Don’t Cry Those Tears, a tribute to 60s pop, brings together strings, organ and a small choir with the seamlessness of a jigsaw puzzle. As a vocalist Colwell is often compared to Nick Cave and Patrick Wolf, and his performance on Don’t Cry Those Tears is an expert balance of melodrama and levity. He is undoubtedly an artist to keep your eye on.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Emicida – Mandume
Brazil’s most famous rapper, Emicida, has just released a new album in which he explores themes about urban life in his homeland, mixing it with African rhythms. In Mandume, he’s surrounded by a group of new Brazilian MCs: Drik Barbosa, Amiri, Rico Dalasam, Muzzike and Raphao Alaafin.
Melbournites Zone Out are back – albeit in a slimmed down and re-imagined form since their 2013 debut, with Ashley Bundang (Totally Mild, Ciggie Witch) and Dove Bailey (ScotDrakula) at the helm. Where they once relied on jangly riffs and Bundang’s soft vocals, their new track ‘Inside’ transposes the latter over plush, clean synths and dreamy guitars. It’s bright and sharp, like they’ve scrubbed up their earlier lo fi sound and found some melodic gems hidden underneath.
Zone Out’s new direction is a nice time capsule of how indie-pop has changed over the last few years, with Bailey and Bundang moving from the garage-centric sounds of their other aliases to sunny synths and programmed drum beats.
Prior to today, the lone track on Zone Out’s Soundcloud was a cover of ‘7 years’ by mid-noughties post-hardcore band Saosin. In addition to being my favourite song ages 14-present, it is also the last track I would have imagined Zone Out wrapping their understated synth pop around – but they bloody nailed it. Those beautiful French admirers of everything Australian at Beko Disques were pretty keen on it too, chucking it on their blush-worthy oz do it better vol2 compilation earlier this year.
As for the future, Zone Out are ploughing ahead with a full-length release slated for early next year. They’re also playing a string of support dates with The Ocean Party in October and with Sui Zhen in November.
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There’s a whole lot of you who read this blog outside of Sydney – and that means you probably take small scale music festivals for granted. Here in Sydney there’s a tendency towards cramming people into inconvenient spaces, charging them a buttload of money then telling them to fuck off once the show is over. That would be fine, as long as the festival was dickhead free, which mostly isn’t the case.
Along comes Small World Festival, set in suburban semi-industrial Alexandria, close enough to everywhere you want to be on the weekend & far enough from the CBD to avoid transportation anxiety. The food in the words of Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction was “some serious gourmet shit”, the crowd was chilled, booze supplied by Young Henry’s and the bands well…we all know these guys are great: Palms, DZ Deathrays, Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders etc.
Small World Festival proved that you can go to see bunch of bands out in a park and still have a damn good time.
(View full set below.)
There are two things we know about Arthur Wimble for sure: he is from Brisbane, and that his track ‘I love my love’ is an effortless downtempo ear-worm. Wimble’s anonymity does absolutely nothing to distract from the strength of this track, which could have been produced by Diplo for all I care – it wouldn’t make it any less beautiful. Wimble is the latest signing to Sydney’s TEEF Records, a solid addition and sophisticated direction for the infant label.
‘I Love My Love’ has a warmth to it radiating from a run of simple synth chords that have a definite James Blake brass-like quality to them, laying a smooth ground for the tinkling glockenspiel, or maybe it’s a triangle or something else Wimble founding lying around in the aux box. The vocal manipulation enhances rather than warps Wimble’s natural tone, with the smooth repetition of the vocal refrain reminiscent of The Internet.
‘I Love My Love’ is almost ruthlessly clean, so much so that it seems cruel for Wimble to have kept this track just under 3 minutes because there’s definitely room for an extended synth build or triangle solo in there. That could also be the James Blake fan in me talking, and if Wimble did go the longer route the track would risk copy-catting the British producer’s schtick. For now though this low-key artist is batting at a 100% strike rate, piquing my interest for both Wimble and TEEF’s future outputs.
Facebook / Soundlcoud / Unearthed
Perth artist Kučka aka Laura Jane Lowther first appeared on the scene with her self-titled debut EP for New Weird Australia imprint Wood & Wire. Throughout its brief but fertile life the label was responsible for releasing challenging, forward thinking music across a broad spectrum of genres making it a perfect fit for Kučka’s unconventional brand of electronica. The EPs mix of post dubstep beats, whimsical ambience and off-kilter songwriting revealed an irrefutable pop heart which caught the attention of French label Nuun Records, who quickly set about repackaging the EP to include her much lauded single ‘Phantasy’ and re-releasing it in 2014.
After a number of highly successful singles, a chance but nonetheless high-profile collaboration with A$AP Rocky, and a slew of accolades Kučka now returns with her Unconditional EP released via new Inertia imprint Midnight Feature. The EP shows a refined, mature sound smoothing out some of Kučka’s sharper edges but leaving her eccentricities intact which should appeal to old and new fans alike.
For the fourth instalment in our Virtual Mixtape series Kučka focuses on the fertile music scene of her hometown WA, compiling her five favourite tunes from Perth.
Illustration by Lucy Roleff
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Lower Spectrum – ‘Levity’
Opening with a repeated harp melody, Lower Spectrum gradually adds pads and a swelling bass synth into the mix and the result is an incredibly beautiful soundscape with cinematic and flowing textures. When the beats eventually drop they are accompanied by an arpeggiated synth creating a frenetic contrast to the track’s beginnings.
Methyl Ethel – ‘Depth Perception’
This track is taken from Methyl Ethyl’s incredible debut album Oh Inhuman Spectacle. Though not a single, this is my favourite track from the release. It begins with warped guitar sounds and hazy samples and gradually builds up with ‘Air’ like chords until the vocals come in towards the end of the track.
Photos by Jess Gleeson
Over the course of BIGSOUND Koi Child, friendships, Cosima Jaala (Manglewurzel /JAALA) and Donny Benet allowed us to court them around some of Fortitude Valley’s least trash-laden alleyways and convenience stores for a few shots. Featuring Donny’s best Kirin J Callinan impression and some serious brotherly love from the Koi Child brood.
(View full set below)