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INTRODUCING: Lovely Head / Teenage Mustache

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On, the collaborative EP from Lovely Head’s Vivian Huynh and Teenage Mustache’s Evan Hill Porteus, has a cinematic sparseness carried by a solid undercurrent of apocalyptic minimalism. Huynh’s vocals are an ethereal counterpoint to Porteus’ (of the excellent Newcastle band Bare Grillz) pounding synth breaks. Opening track ‘Kennedy’ is a case in point, setting you up for an interesting listen indeed.

The solo work of both artists is a good indication of their collaborative direction, flexing their No and New Wave muscles respectively. It’s an odd combination that they manage to pull off across On, and the result is some pretty dark, innovative post-punk.

The EP definitely creates a solemn mood, its No Wave experimentation evident in the crashing percussion and industrial echo. It can be a little intimidating, but the closing track ‘Alleviate’ does just that, with Huynh’s vocals and Porteus’ production agreeing to relieve us of the atonal darkness (but holding onto the hollowed-out drum machine rhythms) to create a haunting melody that rounds out the sonic scope of On.

The pair are launching On at Freda’s Bar in Chippendale on 31 July. RSVP on Facebook.

Keep an eye out for the debut Teenage Mustache record, due out on Y202 Records mid-year.

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INTRODUCING: Zaped

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Zaped is the side-project of Brisbane-based producer, Jordan De Pasquale, whose specialty is lush and layered electronica. The Palindromes front man has moved from a live band setting to a more intimate configuration for Zaped – and ‘intimate’ has to be the best descriptor for the music De Pasquale’s making under this new moniker.

‘Paradise’ is his newest single and best creation to date; an ode to the highs of passion and the desire – or the need – to attain a heightened state of pleasure. This is a song thick with atmospherics and a comforting yet exhilarating feeling; one that ascends to lofty peaks then gently places you back in reality.

From the beginning, a stark and beautiful piano loop helps set the tone for what is both a sensual and melancholic affair. Quivering drum samples help shape the opening moments of this meandering, synth-driven track before everything comes together in a peak that’s equal parts delicacy and power. Phenomenal singer Georgia Potter adds enormous amounts of energy and passion with her sublime RnB-influenced vocal.

This melodic composition is a step in the right direction for the producer. In a genre packed with talented contemporaries Zaped has some stiff competition, but with tunes like ‘Paradise’ he should be able to fill a spot in the upper tier nicely.

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INTRODUCING: Alyx Dennison

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Alyx Dennison is probably best known as half of Sydney duo kyü, who released their first album in September 2010 and disbanded shortly thereafter. Dennison went on to work with psychedelic oddballs Richard in Your Mind and Jonathan Boulet, amongst others. She then spent some time overseas, where she began to pen some solo material – dropping a little teaser, ‘LAX’, mid-last year.

Dennison has never claimed to be a particularly skilled instrumentalist, and on ‘LAX’ a lightly picked guitar operates as a simple framing device for her dexterous voice, which swoops and trills almost like a bird.

A debut album, recorded by David Trumpmanis (Sarah Blasko, Bluebottle Kiss, Peabody), is due out in August through Popfrenzy. The first single is ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’, another sparsely constructed track which, led by Dennison’s powerful voice and the pounding of what sounds like a single tom, is reminiscent of kyü’s neo-primitivism. The drumming functions like a barometer of Dennison’s mood, rising and falling as her intensity builds and wanes, the song ending in a crescendo as the two elements are looped and layered atop one another.

Keep your eyes peeled for album launch dates in August.

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PREMIERE: Tempura Nights – ‘RIP Chix’ (video)

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A couple of months ago we featured Tempura Nights’ first single ‘R.I.P Chix’ (spoiler: it’s excellent), and now we’re premiering the Brisbane trio’s first foray into video format.

Keeping up the dreamy theme that runs through the washed-out track, the video is like the daydream you have when you’re three hours into an eight-hour shift – the kind of fantasy where you lay around with your good-looking mates and smoke cigs and play music and have pillow fights and braid each other’s hair. It’s total wish fulfilment, but done with the kind of wink-and-nod, tongue-in-cheek attitude that makes Tempura Nights so likeable. (Look at those white cut-off shorts and tell me this is a band who take themselves too seriously).

The video looks a hell of a lot better than your average DIY clip, with some pretty, sun-drenched shots by director Jennifer Embelton of Somersault Visuals. It’s clean and striking; the perfect visual introduction to a band that’s well worth watching.

Look out for Tempura Nights’ first EP White Whine, which will be out in the coming months.

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PREMIERE: Sagamore – ‘Feelings’

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Here is a brand new bit of twangy rock from Victorian group, Sagamore. The group have reportedly been working hard, putting together a 2nd EP after only launching their first EP in December. In a perfect example of striking while the iron is hot, Sagamore have given us a tease of their next collection with lead single, ‘Feelings’.

‘Feelings’ is a slow, meandering piece of music that walks the line between easy listening and head-bopping groove. It’s a pop song, with trace amounts of blues and country pulsing through its veins. It sets an easy pace, with enough in the works to make it really interesting without pushing too hard at the boundaries of its structure.

The guitar wobbles with perfection and the intertwining chords blend nicely with harmonica and breezy country-tinged vocals. It’s got melody, it’s got balance; if the rest of the songs off the 2nd EP are similar, it will earn a steady rotation in the car (on that note, ‘Feelings’ would be great in any road-trip mix).

Their first EP was made with the help of a string of able musicians (from bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Eagle and the Worm and Perch Creek Family Jugband); the second EP, Longer is a solely band-made effort and will be a true indicator of what kind of chops they have as a unit. With ‘Feelings’ as a first taste, we can’t help but be optimistic.

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WATCH: Scraps – ‘Projections’

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Laura Hill has been performing under the name Scraps for some time now, consistently putting out some of the most interesting soundscapes in Australia. Her music is like 80’s synth-pop seen through a surrealist kaleidoscope lens.

Her vocal delivery changes from high-pitched, angelic wails to robotic, deadpan monotony. With this in mind, her brand of electronic pop seems equal parts sunshine and danger. The blips and beeps form an amazing dichotomy with the pulsing and sometimes unsettling beats that she works with, together creating a vibe of dystopian satisfaction.

A perfect example of this juxtaposition is the clip for ‘Projections’, her latest creation, which was filmed at Brisbane’s notorious Toowong Cemetery. The song is another classic effort from Scraps, with retro, VHS-style footage of Christmas lights from years past interspersed with a graveyard performance.

It’s safe to say that Scraps is enthralling; anyone who enjoys beautifully skewed music will like this song. Her back catalogue is extensive and is filled with ethereal oddities; any newcomers are in for a real treat.

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EXCLUSIVE: Aldous Harding

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New Zealand’s Aldous Harding has quite the origin tale. Busking on the pavements of South Island town Geraldine, trying to earn enough for a ticket to see Maori roots artist Anika Moa, Harding was overheard by Moa herself – and ended up not only catching the show, but performing in the opening slot.

The full story, however, goes back a little further. Harding, whose mother is a folk singer and whose father plays the blues, got her start in Lyttelton, a port town on the outskirts of Christchurch (and, incidentally, the setting for Peter Jackson’s ’96 schlock horror film, The Frighteners). There she was discovered by Kiwi country stalwarts Ben Edwards and Delaney Davidson playing under her own name, Hanna Harding, alongside band The Easterns.

Harding’s self-titled debut, co-produced by Edwards, was released locally in April, on Lyttelton Records. Today we can announce that the album will get an Australian release through Spunk on 25 July. To celebrate, Harding will showcase her music on a string of dates along the east coast. The tour, in support of fellow New Zealander and Spunk signee Tiny Ruins, will include two free solo shows – one at Melbourne’s Public Bar, the other at the Midnight Special in Sydney.

Streaming below, Aldous Harding lead single, ‘Hunter’, has been characterised by Harding as a ‘gothic fairytale’. This is folk music, simple and bleak (not unlike Melbourne’s own gothic country band, Jimmy Tait), with Harding’s fragile coo reminiscent of retiring, 60s-era folk singers Vashti Bunyan and Linda Perhacs. ‘Hunter’ seems to occupy a place outside of time, opening with the refrain, ‘He’s a hunter, he’s a good man/Be brave when he brings you nothing home’ and closing with a vision of blood streaming down a river.

You can catch Aldous Harding on these dates:

Tuesday, 1 July – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane w/ Tiny Ruins

Wednesday, 2 July – Newtown Social Club, Sydney w/ Tiny Ruins

Thursday, 3 July – The Midnight Special, Sydney (free)

Sunday, 6 July – Public Bar, Melbourne (free)

Tuesday, 8 July – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne w/ Tiny Ruins

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