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INTRODUCING: Blonde Tongues

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blonde-tonuges

Oh, you’re bored of shoegaze are you? Well suck it up for five minutes because Brisbane’s Blonde Tongues have released a couple of tracks that might just bring you back round to the dark, reverby side.The two singles, ‘Wedding Bells’ and ‘Kisses’ work well as teasers for a forthcoming album. Sure, they’re a bit rough, but both tracks are a clear indication of a band with strong ideas and the guts to back it up (if that seriously wacky lead guitar in ‘Kisses’ is anything to go by.)

Lead single ‘Wedding Bells’ is dense and strangely uplifting – building and then crumbling, with melancholy vocals buried under the rubble.The band have also adopted the genre ‘twee-gaze’, which is definitely one of the more fun arbitrary labels I’ve seen recently. A cool and worthwhile addition to a maybe-not-just-yet saturated scene.

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LISTEN: Tropical Strength – ‘Not There’

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Tropical Strength - Not There

You’re rowing down the tunnel of horrors in that scene from Willy Wonka when Gene Wilder’s creep-face is magnified threefold. Instead of facing sleepless nights and years of therapy ahead, replace all those terrifying things with fairy floss, unicorns and Kermit the Frog asking you about your day. That sums up the new tune from NSW’s Tropical Strength, who feature members of Shining Bird. The chimey, 60s regalia here ensures Tropical Strength are here to make sure your day is off to the best possible start. Even if you find out your significant other has been cheating on you with a transvestite, you owe millions in tax and your local pub is closed for the day, ‘Not There’ has the ability to pick you up from the dumps. ‘Not There’ is a delectable track that’s just as impressive as the severely liquified cover.

Go to your happy place by bidding on this track over at Tropical Strength’s Bandcamp

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INTRODUCING: LUCIANBLOMKAMP

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lucianblomkamp

Watching television the other day, I had the most depressing thought. All the athletes on screen – you know, the ones poised to make millions and millions of dollars – are younger than me.  At 21, I’m past it; I’m old news. I’m never gonna grow those few inches in height over summer.

And then comes LUCIANBLOMKAMP, a 19-year-old straight out of the heart of inner-city Melbourne. LBK, besides making me question my life’s accomplishments (I mean, my Arts degree was supposed to get me somewhere, right?), is quickly coming up in the world. Having supported the likes of XXYYXX and Rat & Co, the kid’s already got an EP to his name and a debut album coming out soon.

His sonic palette might not be revolutionary, but the eponymous five-track belies LBK’s age. In lesser hands songs such as ‘Lehsan’ could easily fall into mindless club fodder, but when that smooth, R’n’B inspired beat comes in alongside a cut up acoustic guitar sample it’s evident that LBK is taking his music in directions that few others have the imagination to do.

There’s also a deep sense of patience to the EP. The piano sample in ‘Rooms’ is enough not only to hook you right in but to carry the entire track – and it doesn’t even appear until well over a minute into the song. Even on ‘You and Me’, where the vocal line is front and centre, LBK adds subtle, unexpected turns to the production. As he intersperses the more pop-oriented track with pitch-shifted vocal harmonies and well-timed points of silence, it’s clear that this young producer isn’t content to let his melodies do all the heavy lifting.

There are more than a few electronic artists out there right now relying on a formula. In some ways that works: knowing when the fat beat is going to drop is part of the fun. However, that style also lends itself to lazy repetition and copycats, leading to a multitude of tracks that seem to blend into one. LUCIANBLOMKAMP, thankfully, is not part of that crowd. It takes time (and good headphones) to notice all the subtle touches on this EP. Above all, it shows potential and a willingness from LBK to push his craft.

Do yourself a favour, and get the whole EP as a pay-what-you-feel download on Bandcamp. And keep your eye out for new music from Lucianblomkamp dropping real soon.

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PREMIERE: Vowel Movement – ‘Hotel Sorrento’

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Vowel Movement

Urban Dictionary informs me that ‘vowel movement’, aside from being a terrible pun, is the sound that comes out when you’re too drunk to talk but try valiantly anyway. It seems like a logical choice of band name for these guys once you hear singer Jack Stavrakis’ slurred diction on debut single, ‘Hotel Sorrento’. Better yet, the video – a quaint, homemade affair – stars a bunch of their mates getting boozy and doing unspeakable things to sausages at a backyard barbecue and cricket match.

The song feels pleasantly sunburnt as it recounts a ritual Australia Day conversation – one that’s perhaps no longer relished: ‘Over salad and a few snags / you’ll tell me about Chaucer, about Shakespeare / Always / That’s Hotel Sorrento’.

Vowel Movement are launching ‘Hotel Sorrento’ and its B-side, the previously released ‘Pigeon Feet’, tomorrow night! They’ll be joined by The Primary, Tulalah, Grandstands and James Moloney & the Maddog Harrisons at Alia Arthouse from 9PM.

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LOOK: Saskwatch – ‘Born To Break Your Heart’

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Saskwatch1

It’s mildly comforting knowing that the bands you put on pedestals have ‘normal people’ jobs like the rest of us. I struck up conversation with someone at a friend’s birthday who recalled seeing Saskwatch vocalist Nkechi turn into a howlin’ she-force on the Meredith main stage. The week after, he stopped her in a much quieter setting when he asked her for directions to the history isle at his local library. In the same way, Saskwatch’s new track is a bit of a comedown – albeit a pleasant one at that – the bloody mary / beanchairs respite after the storm. The perky Saskwatch we all know has taken a quick retreat; the horn section has been mulled back a tad; the syncopated beats have been swapped for all the makings of pop panache in ‘Born To Break Your Heart’.


Lochlan FunstonJessica Barclay Lawton went along to set day to take some stills shots from the video. There’s a lot of fake blood and drinking in the bathtub, which is essentially an apt description of the new direction I think this record’s going to take. Saskwatch’s new album Nose Dive is set for an April release.

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LISTEN: Horror My Friend – ‘Nothing’

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horror my friend

There’s something about Adelaide that just breeds a kind of toughness. With Adelaide bands like Bad//Dreems and Summer Flake bringing their sound into the spotlight, it’s clear that Australia’s most maligned city is punching well above its weight.

Horror My Friend (surprisingly not a terrible grindcore band) have joined the fray with their latest singe ‘Nothing’ – a tricky, hook-laden track that lands just on the right side of pop punk. This is only their third single in three years, but judging from the amount of well-crafted riffs crammed into this three minute song, they’ve been spending that time wisely. The production on this track is also great – the vocal cuts through all that shredding without being too clean, and some high tension drumming builds excitement till the very end of the song.

With a few headline shows coming up, it’ll be interesting to see if Horror My Friend can maintain this kind of energy live – and if we’ll see more frequent releases from them in the future. Dates for the band’s upcoming shows are below.

Feb 21 - The Captain Cook Hotel, Sydney

Feb 22 – The Great Northern Hotel, Newcastle, (Tiki Bar) (w/ Maids, Archers and Model Youth)

Feb 27 – Trainspotters at the Grand Central Hotel, Brisbane (w/ Columbia Buffet, and Cactusdemondoom)

Mar 1 - The Loft Chevron Island, Gold Coast (w/ Dead Books, Take Me North and Pirates of the Tempest)

Mar 13 – The Rosemount Hotel Perth

Mar 14 – The Beat Nightclub, Perth

Mar 15 – The Swan Hotel, Freemantle

Mar 21 – Cats at Rocket Rooftop, Adelaide (w/ Pretty City, Archers and The Sunbirds)

 

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PREMIERE: Second Hand Heart – ‘Spending My Time’

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shh

Second Hand Heart have been around these parts for a while. Jamming since 2006, this Melbourne via Ballarat five-piece have ‘spent their time’ (sorry, had to) preparing to release their debut LP. But they’re well on their way now, having just dropped the clip for lead single, ‘Spending My Time’.

While Second Hand Heart have blazoned a sort of sugary folk pop in previous outings, the video sees them adding a striking new dimension to their sound. With unexpected shadows and plenty of snare and rim-heavy percussion, there’s an almost Warpaint-like brooding – or even menacing – vibe to the song. On top of that, the whole thing is really, seriously, well produced. There isn’t a sound out of place or dulled in the mix. Wrap all those goodies into one basket, combine them with the band’s typically strong vocal harmonies, and you’ve got yourself a dirty rock-pop hybrid ready to sell to the kiddies.

Word is Second Hand Heart’s debut will be released mid May. Here’s hoping the album follows in this single’s footsteps.

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