Julia R. Anderson began uploading bedroom experiments to Soundcloud during her high school years in the sweaty Queensland town of Bundaberg, aka that place where rum and your worst decisions come from. Anderson has since made the southward trek to the Big City Light of Brisbane to study music, all the while tinkering away at her unassuming swirling psych sound, and her ability to move from across the psych spectrum from folk to garage is proof the constant development is paying dividends.
‘In the Beginning’ is Anderson’s first proper release and continues very much in the same vein of her sizeable Soundcloud output to date – it’s music to daydream to. The video is exactly what I wanted it to be: a lush, strange trip through the park, featuring body craft and snippets of singing birds chime in behind her own confident drawl. I’m coming up stumps trying to think of Australian female vocalists with a similar sound, but I can definitely hear a bluesier Melody Prochet, the French artist behind Melody’s Echo Chamber.
‘In the Beginning’ is the first look into her debut album to be released next year, which will consist of a selection of old favourite from her Soundcloud page and new music and I’m hoping the infectiously upbeat dream folk track ‘Learn and Play’ makes the cut. It shows off Anderson’s ear for detail and feels as though it’s been composed from whatever musical bric-a-brac was on hand at the time of a creative burst. There is a hazy summer optimism about the song that holds your attention with it’s bubbling positivity where ‘In the Beginning’ loses a little steam.
Whatever your take Anderson has plenty of material to rummage through, and by the sounds of it 2016 will only see the proliferation increase.
Ross Manning is an installation artist exploring the kinetic interplay of light and sound. His sculptures are made of ordinary materials like plastic sheets and fluorescent bulbs that skitter and spiral, powered by mechanisms as simple as a belt attached to a ceiling fan. A musician as well, Manning is a former member of noise duo Faber Castell and Brisbane experimentalists Sky Needle, who make ‘primitive clunk’ on homemade or found ‘unstruments’. (His credits on Sky Needle records include ‘string panels’ and ‘electric dustpan’).
On 11 December, Manning will release a new solo work, Interlacing, via acclaimed experimental label Room40. Like the ambient compositions of label head Lawrence English, Manning’s music aims to reveal the strange flickers and frequencies usually buried at the peripheries of human attention. The songs on Interlacing shift unsteadily between the persistent thrum and squeal of electromagnetic-tape recordings and custom electronics, and the undulating, organic sounds of rope, driven by a slipstream, striking clock chimes and boards of nails.
‘Sinew & Cats’, the latest track to emerge from Interlacing, is piercing and dissonant. The sound moves from a needling electronic signal towards (as the title suggests) a kind of disembodied mewling. Though less tactile than previous single ‘Expand/Scatter’, with its random, percussive flourishes, ‘Sinew & Cats’ feels inherently spatial – like a sonar exploration of a dark, underwater cavern. See Manning’s visual interpretation below.
Craft is transient, as are its makers. When the creative hunch strikes, it’s not uncommon to move as far as we can from familiarity – but more often than not, we seem to return back to the places from where we begin. We spent a day driving around suburbia with Melbourne based alt hip hop group RaRa for our new ‘Suburbs’ series, which aims to shine a light on local musicians and their ongoing relationship with the places where they live.
Nestled in the cosy suburbia that is Melbourne’s inner east is Doncaster; more commonly known to locals as ‘Donny’. A leafy, working class suburb bordered by Eastlink and the Yarra, ‘Donny’ is marked by prams, modified Commodores and rendered 80s brick family dwellings with sloping double carparks.
Middle class Pleasantville seems miles from the the stomping ground where you would have expected RaRa’s slanted genre-bending hip-hop to have taken shape. But from what we saw driving around the neighbourhood; touring empty swimming pools, wandering into unused houses that were former party sites and visiting the family homes the boys still reside in – even if the four boys claim they’re “from another planet”, this will still be home.
Director / Film: Anthony Juchnevicius
Photography: Bec Capp
Animation: Nelson Armstrong
With thanks to: RaRa, Bec Capp, Annie Toller, Oscar McMahon
Featuring: RaRa (Ll’vo, The Lovely Me, KL, River Deep)
RaRa are launching their new EP Planet 2016 at Shebeen in Melbourne on the 19th of December, supported by ESESE & friendships.
The team at Melbourne Music Week are notorious for transforming spaces. Previous years have seen the refit of former printing press the Argus Building and the Queen Victoria Market transformed to host shows. This year’s MMW saw the Royal Women’s Hospital restored to host a roller disco, lunchtime gigs and some serious late night parties. The corner of Grattan and Swanston St acted as this year’s festival hub, fitting so seamlessly into its surroundings that it was almost hard to remember what the corner previously looked like.
Nick and I got along to Live Music Safari, a music tour around Melbourne with fourteen live music venues opening their doors for free parties and gigs. Northside Records honcho Chris Gill dressed up as a disco ball for the Roller Jam x Rizky’s Block Party. We witnessed impressive pre-breakfast air guitar at Morning Gloryville, and decent DJs tearing up some afternoon sets at ‘The Hub’. Melbourne Music Week’s commitment to the independent music community, along with its ability to embody and respect the cities’ spaces makes it a definite week to look forward to when it comes around. Onto the next!
A lot of the time here at Who the Hell, we’re covering bands that are in the larvae stage of their careers: tiny, slobbering creatures who are destined to become some big old butterflies. But in the case of the Chills, it’d be insulting to refer to them as anything but the biggest, grandest, most beautiful bugs in the sky. And yes, I’m aware that butterflies usually only live between one and twelve months, but THIS IS A METAPHOR, SCIENCE DOESN’T BELONG HERE!
Along with the Bats and the Clean, the Chills are one of the bands most closely associated with New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records and their 80s/early 90s heyday. It’d be damn near impossible to find a jangle-pop band in Australia right now (and there are many of them) who don’t cite the Chills as a major inspiration.
Although they’ve been gigging steadily, new material has been scarce. Last month, the band released their first LP in 19 years. It must have been an inspiring bunch of sessions because the Chills have gone right back in and recorded a Christmas single (a tradition that started approximately seconds after people figured out how much money can be made outta these things). Unlike the usual Michael Buble/Mariah Carey drivel, the Chills’ version of a Christmas single is fantastic, living up to the glorious standard of guitar pop that the band have been producing for the last 30 years.
‘When the Poor Can Reach the Moon’ is out on 11 December through the UK’s Fire Records, via Rocket Distribution.
The Chills will be making some rare appearances in Sydney and Melbourne next year, playing the Spiegeltent on 13 January as part of the Sydney Festival, then hitting up Max Watts in Melbourne on Friday, 15 January.
Let’s be clear, any rock song that can recall my years as a closet emo teen will instantly have my cold black heart – no matter how tenuous the connection. And this is pretty effing tenuous. Still, the light dusting of reverb on the opening riff on the latest single from Melbourne four-piece Neighbourhood Youth– ‘For Nothing’, coupled with the morose, hollering vocals were enough to get my attention (but I decided against punishing my face with eye-liner). This bustling guitar rock track is propelled by leading man’s solid vocal work with definite singalong infectiousness.
Aside from the obvious indie rock cred Neighbourhood Youth are channelling, the opening riffs remind me of the hooks off the last Title Fight LP. The melancholic undercurrent of the track reveals itself in the guitar melodies, and the band clearly have a grasp on how to construct a driving alt-rock song. It will be interesting to see how they expand on their ideas in their second EP, due out early next year.
It’s the kind of track that I want to see live as soon as I hear it, there’s a bubbling energy throughout that makes me think the guys would put on a sweet show. Melbourne Music Festival thought so too, slotting the boys in prime position alongside World’s End Press, Tiny Little Houses and Foreign/National last week.
The year has almost rolled over, but there’s no shortage of grand track cuts in this month’s MAP compilation. Our Aus selection this month is Spookyland’s ‘Bulimic’, which is possibly the band’s best track to date. It’s a en epic purge – a bit like ayahuasca without the mess. While you’re there, make sure you check out dancefloor vibes below from Japan’s submission Shigge (behind Yesterday Once More) and Italy’s Dumbo Gets Mad, who’ve just released an album inspired by the man, the mystery – Neil De Grasse Tyson.
Right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 18-track compilation through Dropboxhere.
El Ruido y La Culpa: Una Opereta Lastimera is the band’s fourth album in more than six years on the road. It’s a crazy journey through an eclectic salad of genres, something we’re quite used to with them. Their music overcomes drama, bad mood and guilt with humor, irony and abandon.
Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve. This track stabs it profusely, draws a stake through the middle and stands over watching as your arteries bleed out in 4/4 time. Sorry for the emotional terrorism, but hear this track from Sydney outfit Spookyland and you’ll probably agree it warrants the description. Marcus Gordon’s prose is stark, its delivery brutal at times – but you get the feeling there’s something important to be said beyond the rhetoric. It’s a stoic, turbulent six-minute epic – and the ending is worth the wait.
Museu De Arte Moderna is the title song from Bonifrate’s new album. It has the psychedelic vibe of the whole record, plus some Beck influence that makes it more contemporary. His album is one of the jewels of the Brazilian indie scene in 2015.