I’ve always associated the word ‘snuff’ with some mobster sending someone to their aquatic death. You know, setting someone’s feet in cement and throwing them off a boat.
Jamil Zacharia‘s ‘Magic Snuff Box’ I imagine is something far less sadistic. I mean, if he was ever to ‘snuff’ you out, his magic box would probably chuck you an LSD-infused rainbow beforehand. And this should come as no surprise, given his guitar work’s found on tracks from Silentjay, Kirkis and Clever Austin—all musos who seem to write in time signatures straight out of a psychedelic Willy Wonka tunnel ride.
Zacharia’s track is a lot gentler though. You’d be excused for missing out on the multitudes of micro-beats he packs into this, given that you’ll be required to listen to this a fair few times to really take this all in. It’s reminiscent of the aesthetic that Bjork’s Vespertine adopted, a world where a string of intimate samples were used to pursue a wintry sound. This track coming out in the thick of the Australian winter is merely serendipitous, though ‘Magic Snuff Box’ could certainly add a similar cinematic pathos to yours.
Writing on his Facebook page earlier this week, he said writing the song was about “letting go of one’s crapness”, but I’d be curious to hear him explain why. He’s been sought after by influential Melbourne musos precisely because of his talent. And sure, all creatively-minded individuals are bound to go through another existential crisis by sunset, ‘Magic Snuff Box’ certainly says a lot about another Melburnian musician who shouldn’t be worrying about that just yet.
‘Magic Snuff Box’ is the first track off Zacharia’s debut EP, The Soft Tread That Inspires, set for release later this year on his own label, Wabi Sabi.
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Uncle Bobby is the project of 18 year old Melbourne guy Robbie Downie and he’s about to steal you away down his glitch-psych rabbit hole of wonder and WTF. Besides a clear proficiency in psych rock, Downie is adept at constructing melody from a seemingly random assortment of sound, and his latest track is a bloody treat for any Cream Collective fans in the crowd. ‘My Mind is Already Gone’ throws a sitar underneath the glitch and sparse house that crop up on his beaut debut EP, Flick My Switch, building on some of the sunnier efforts of his initial output.
Downie’s latest track floats, ducks, weaves and warps before restructuring itself at the end of this glorious weird trip. For one guy to be able to process this many layers in his head and arrange them in a somewhat-cluttered but still accessible way is pretty impressive. It’s not the first sound you would imagine Downie turning to after his ten track debut, but in reality the breadth of sound on Flick My Switch is so expansive I realised I had no idea what the next logical step would be for this guy who must have to actively fight to keep good ideas inside his head.
Downie could probably squeeze a melody out of a rock, and this self-produced track is an extravagant feather in his cap. The fact that he has already shown such a diverse sound is exciting in this era of psych-wash – he’s original and talented and going places.
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Kitchen’s Floor are practically punk royalty; this is a group that has been around for absolutely forever. They formed in roughly 2007, released their first material in 2009, and for a while kept up a steady stream of records that satisfied many who found a certain solace in Matt Kennedy’s stories of irrevocable sadness and depressed observations of mundanity.
However, after a few years of hearing nothing from the Kitchen’s Floor camp, it seemed as though the band had run it’s course. Five years is a long time to maintain a band, and it’s not like Matt Kennedy wasn’t busy with other stuff: his long running radio program Underground Australiana on 4ZZZ, and label/distro Eternal Soundcheck, have done heaps in promoting incredible Australian music.
So it came as a pleasant surprise to see that Kitchen’s Floor were releasing new music. And on the new Sydney label Paradise Daily, who have put out excellent stuff from Orion, Seating Plan and Video Ezy. However, for those assuming the old Kitchen’s Floor whose sound defined ‘ramshackle’ – please leave those expectations at the door. This new tape is filth and scuzz incarnate. Whereas the seminal records of Loneliness Is A Dirty Mattress and Look Forward to Nothing created sparse, barely audible landscapes of pain, ‘Resident Dregs’ unleashes that pent up frustration that admonishes the very thought of subtlety.
The A-side of this tape, ‘Resident Dregs’ and ‘Strength’ are clamouring snarls; full of resentment and bitterness. These two tracks are allegedly off an upcoming album, which points to something far more aggressive on the horizon for Kitchen’s Floor. The B-side is an eight minute instrumental #exclusive, picking up where the Bitter Defeat 7″ left off – incessant violins, lulled strokes of the guitar and Matt Kennedy’s strangely piercing sorrows.
Whatever Kitchen’s Floor have prepared, this little tape appears to be a necessary stopgap for any fan of punk music.
27th June – Crowbar, Brisbane (supporting Bad//Dreems, Mining Boom)
11th August – Shadow Electric Bandroom, Melbourne (Bedroom Suck Records Presents feat. Terrible Truths, The Ocean Party, Milk Teddy & more)
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Sydney indie pop quartet Set Sail have dropped another single from their forthcoming EP Good Vibes. ‘Girls on Bicycles’ sees the band build on their decidedly more electronic, synth-heavy direction than previous EPs. If this track is anything to go by, Set Sail will definitely be conjuring what vibes Jinja Safari haven’t already milked into oblivion.
Look – musically, I think this is a great track, crafted to inspire torrents of sunshine-laden happy good-time chill thoughts. Power to the boys for not just pressing CTRL+C on the bright as hell guitar pop on their first two EPs. I just take issue with any male songwriter who channels the ‘girls just wanna have fun’ vibe. Not even on a political level; I just think it makes the song sound cheap.
As always, vocalist Brandon Hoogenboom’s honeyed drawl is a highlight, and melodically this song is right – that opening harmonised chorus, the funk-laden guitar riff, and is that a flute I hear? Hopefully. But I fear the boys may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater – their first EP had such beautiful acoustic guitar builds, with arrangements that really supported the pop songwriting (see ‘the Warm Up‘). Comparatively, this track has pushed the accepted levels of vapidity in pop songs over the line.
Regardless, ‘Girls on Bicycles’ is 2000% guaranteed to be a hit with their fan base, so kudos should be dealt on that front. I foresee a swathe of savvy bike shop owners engineering a ‘Beach Babe Starter Kit: Buy 1 pastel coloured fixie, receive matching floral headpiece’ deal when the EP drops. Whatever you make of this track, Set Sail are flexing every fibre of their well-trained pop muscle and the new EP will probably be nothing less than a rose-tinted excursion.
Good Vibes is out in July.
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‘Window’ is the first track from Melbourne 4 piece NAFASI: a smooth downtempo, RnB-influenced pop track which feels like one of (what I’m really hoping is) the first in a budding Australian future soul scene, trickling down from the success of Hiatus Kayote. Although they definitely give off Little Dragon vibes, ‘Window’ is not panning to any particular sound or scene, preferring to build on the band’s clear affinity for alt-pop and developing something fresh.
It’s surprisingly well put together for a debut single, which makes more sense when you realise NAFASI came about after the band met studying music at uni. The track’s lyricism is a highlight, with the song sounding like your super eloquent mate who never quite has their shit together: ‘Forgot to come home last night / still walkin’ in my Saturday best.’
They resist the urge to clutter the track with unnecessary frills or fiddling with Phoebe Webster’s sultry velveteen vocals too much – which while we’re here are clearly cause for a throw to Yukimi Nagano. The instrumentation lets the vocal melody carry the track which Webster does admirably, the jumping chorus line is a nice contrast to her tame croon in the verses. Although literally the last thing in the world I ever want to hear outside of my shower is an acoustic mashup of Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce, NAFASI did exactly that earlier this year and Webster’s vocals are just so damn suited to it I willingly listened to it. Several times. To put it simply, Nafasi have produced a clean, well-rounded debut.
They are launching their single at Hugs&Kisses tonight, so get down for some smooth, slow jams.
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Look, it’s a well known fact that Brisbane has the best music scene in Australia. It’s tough to admit that being from Sydney, but hey, it’s true. And Melbourne, don’t even start it with your “musical capital of the world” shit. Congrats, you’ve got The Tote. But Brisbane has got Blank Realm. Checkmate, mate.
The latest in a series of excellent releases churned out of the hottest city in Oz, both in climate and greatness, is a split 12″ from criminally under-known noiseniks Danyl Jesu and BARGE with an antenna on it, an album that’ll climb right into the beds of fans of Zeahorse, Heads of Charm and Batpiss. Released on Sonic Masala Records – one of the greatest blogs that mankind has had the pleasure to embrace, and a damn fine label to boot. Their track record is impeccable, having churned out the goods from Gazar Strips, Dollar Bar, Roku Music and Tape/Off, to name but a few.
The latest release that Sonic Masala have prided us with is a doozy. Both bands approach music in much the same way – delirious, rabid and venomous. However, Danyl Jesu take time with their compositions, harnessing dizzying layers of fuzz to create a tower of carnivorous, shredding power that topples the listener over. Meanwhile, BARGE prefer to lock into mayhem mode as quickly as possible, creating their cacophony with dehydrated patterns of noise that stay consistently unruly. The total result is an LP every bit as sticky and gorgeous as the city that spawned it.
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Zsa Zsa Lafine has enlisted serial collaborators Simo Soo and Brendan Maclean for some seriously brash bump ‘n’ grind goth-pop for her new single ‘Milk’ – the first track off her debut album, slated for release later this year. In an unsolicited rebranding of milk as the drink most likely to inspire sexy thoughts, Lafine, Maclean and Soo have pulled an ambitious amount of influences together – like lazers, desert-bound acid trips and probably even some musical influences too.
The first time you hear Lafine drop that sultry milk-appreciation refrain it is so deliciously inviting that the coarseness of Soo shouting ‘WAKE UP TODAY LIKE I OWN THIS SH-’ completely blindsides you – for about a second, and then you eagerly await the next round to join the lyrical ruckus.
It goes without saying that the production is the real hero of this audio dish. The club-ready bass line is over-dubbed with camera flashes, screeching tires and a bunch of other fittingly dark-kawaii sound bites that have been neatly pieced together with the precision of three musicians who make simple work of the humble Banger. If the inoffensive cute of PC Music has got you all emo about the future of Internet-as-art electronic subgenres, let these guys re-assure you that there are still musicians out there making abrasive, high-octane tracks without compromising their Tumblr weirdness.
Catch Zsa Zsa Lafine at Oxford Arts Factory on July 2nd. BYO dairy.
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