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INTRODUCING: Babaganouj

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Babaganouj

Yet another band to have risen from the ashes of the dearly departed Yves Klein Blue, Babaganouj was formed by guitarist Charles Sale in 2011 – just months after YKB split due to ‘creative differences’. Named after a ridiculous 12-second song by Sydney legends Smudge (not to mention a delicious eggplant dip) Babaganouj has something of a Brisbane all-stars line up. Originally featuring Jack Gleeson of Inland Sea on drums and Harriette Pilbeam from Go Violets on bass, they’ve recently added a second Violet, Ruby, who’s also part of lollypop behemoth Johnny and the Fembots.

Babaganouj draw on bands that represent the rougher side of twee pop: the Lemonheads, the Pastels, the Vaselines. In fact, they’d just about pass as a Lemonheads tribute band, with their boy-girl harmonies, 90s hairdos and derpy sense of humour (the line ‘I fell for you and I hurt my knee’ could rival any of Evan Dando’s silly puns) – if it weren’t for Sale’s genuine knack for writing power pop hooks.

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INTRODUCING: Heart Beach

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Heart Beach

There’s something uncompromising about Heart Beach. Their music is spare but rough, its few elements swiping at you from a blank background in the way a Malevich claws at your vision. The songs all feature Jonathon McCarthy and Claire Jansen’s intertwining vocals – his a caterwaul, hers a disarming coo; a guitar sound like shredded sheet metal; and the restrained, ever-patient drumming of Daniel Butcher.

So far the Hobart three-piece have four releases to their name. The first, 2013′s Holiday/Weather, has a hint of surf rock, but as though it were soaked through by the chilly Antarctic waters that creep up to meet the Tasman. The stark, droning vocals of ‘House’ sit atop an icy layer of feedback that gives the song an illusion of industrial echo. ‘Record’ is short and sharp, a punk tune that’s the closest Heart Beach have come to sounding optimistic. And, from January this year, the insistent, driving ‘Hours’ has to be the band’s most emotive track to date.

Heart Beach have just returned from a stint in New Zealand playing Camp a Low Hum. For now they’re taking a little time to recuperate, but we’re sure to hear more from them soon.

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WTH PRESENTS: Morning Harvey – East Coast tour

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Morning Harvey

 

Brisbanites Morning Harvey are setting out on a tour of M̶a̶d̶c̶h̶e̶s̶t̶e̶r̶ the East Coast to mark the release of their new single ‘Girl Euphoria (Come Back to Me)’.

I used to think that unnecessary uses of parentheses’ were just superfluous things you used when you weren’t really sure if the first line of your chorus was better than the second – or just stupid gimmicks Iceladic people applied for their own entertainment. Beyond the brackets, ‘Girl Eurphoria (Come Back to Me)’ is sharp slice of psych-pop. Much like The Laurels, Morning Harvey aren’t slinging anything ‘new’, but their dreamy re-appropriations are comforting for anyone who finds solace in big melodies, pedal panning and the rest that comes with deft hands and a great sound guy.

The new track follows on from the band’s 2012 debut EP Well For Wishes, which we reckon is worth revisiting if you like what you hear. 

We’re presenting Morning Harvey’s upcoming tour with Spark & Opus and have 2 double passes to give away to the band’s Melbourne and Sydney shows. Email us at editors@whothehell.net.

MORNING_HARVEY-01

Who The Hell + Spark & Opus present:

MORNING HARVEY – East Coast tour

Saturday April 5th – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane w/ Salvadarlings

Thursday April 10th – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney w/ The Jones Rival & Dead Radio

Friday April 18th – Alia Arthouse, Melbourne w/ The Citradels & The New Pollution

 

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LISTEN: Milkshake – Milkshake EP II

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Milkshake

We get a lot of band write-ins that end with many, many kind regards and other polite fluff. Among my favourite are the submissions which leave nothing but a trail of obscure hyperlink crumbs and not much else for us blog-types to deliver accurate, real-time information to the people. Milkshake got our attention late last year after sending us a funny abusive rant. An email apology a week later blaming life on drunk existentialist haiku was also noted.Fergus Miller from Bored Nothing plays guitar in Milkshake. He showed up to our last warehouse party reasonably wasted and spent most of the night scrambling hands and knees on the floor trying to locate his glasses. Fergus fangs around on guitar in here, Matt Connelly of Retro Culture makes nice noise, Geoffrey Thorsen also does the same and some other people do other things in this band which I can’t decipher beyond the flavour alias in the ‘about’ section of their Facebook page. 

To provide some visual context to Milkshake’s second EP, Milkshake II sounds like backflipping through space. Wet snow sock. Murky optimism. Midi sound crackles between dude-chants and rousing chord work make for some soothing listening. Could be the biopic soundtrack to a stoned Jonathan Boulet eating packet noodles in the dark.

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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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