I wish there was an easy way to describe the brand of instrumental music that Pivot makes. It’s densely layered and the songs are progressive and lacking in formal song structures. In a vain attempt to assign Pivot into a genre, they’re possibly organic experimental electronica – how’s that for a description! Pivot include healthy doses of synthesisers and laptop wizardry, but there’s also guitar melodies, driving bass lines and Laurence Pike’s amazing drumming.
I’ve seen these guys live only once and they blew me away, I can’t wait to see them again. Their debut album Make Me Love You was nominated for the coveted inaugural Triple J album of the year award, The J Award. If you want to hear how good these guys are, we’ve got the title track right below this sentence!
Pivot – ‘Make Me Love You’ (mp3)
Continuing on the 60s sound wagon, The Brunettes are not exactly Australian but come from nearby southern neighbours New Zealand. I first saw these guys three years ago on a random online tip of their show at the Hopetoun Hotel in Sydney. Leading Brunettes Jonathan and Heather are two former lovers who still display great chemistry on stage… sometimes it’s hard to believe they’re not together. Their repertoire of songs range from daydreaming in a guitar shop to cute clap along love anthems to envying best friends.
The Brunettes employ a playful array of stage instrumentation including glockenspiel, clarinet and even a toy drum kit, though the last has been replaced with a full kit in their most recent tour. I can’t help but think how much harder it is for a band to be based in New Zealand, with less gigging opportunities, but these guys have scored a support slot in the UK with then obscure Ben Gibbard side project The Postal Service. Their record has been picked up by Sub Pop in the US and they seem to be touring non stop since the year began. Loopy!
The Brunettes – ‘Loopy Loopy Love’
Belles Will Ring – photo by boudist.com
This five piece from Sydney is one of the many 60s revivalist bands gigging at the moment that draw so much from of Brian Jonestown Massacre school of psychedelia, such as The Lovetones and Dolly Rocker Movement. Belles Will Ring are not without their charms however, as their performance on Saturday night at Home Nightclub proves, opening for Death Cab For Cutie. Their songs are full of harmony buildup, chimey guitars and head nodding rhythms. Featuring the cutest tambourine girl of the scene, the band seem to be doing well with their track ‘The Coldest Heart’ getting decent airplay throughout the nation. Signed to the Architecture label who have released records by Death Cab, Spod, Further and Bit By Bats.
Belles Will Ring – ‘The Coldest Heart’ (mp3)
Gotye – ‘Out In The Cold’ screen cap (directed by Jacob Simkin)
Gotye, whose real name is Wally de Backer, has managed to release what is close to the best Australian album for 2006, Like Drawing Blood. I love the press release – “Take two and a half years, four share-houses, 757 op-shop records, a few thousand dollars lost to dodgy housemates, 2565 hours of community library customer service, 20,000 km of round-Australia travel, countless computer crashes and one critical hard-disk failure, and you have a rough diary for the recording process of the new record by Gotye (pronounced ‘gore-ti-yeah’).”
Instrumentally, Like Drawing Blood is a cut-and-paste affair, in a similar vein to DJ Shadow sans the hip-hop. All of this is topped off by Wally’s immaculate vocals. The end result is a fusion of genres and styles that’s a joy to listen to. We’ve got the track ‘Thanks For Your Time’ for your listening pleasure.
Gotye – ‘Thanks For Your Time’ (mp3)
Good music should transcend fads, fashions and genres. A good song is a good song, no matter what. One should keep this in mind when listening to Many Machines on Nine (MM9 for short). It’s true that their brand of industrial metal meets electro dance isn’t so hot right now… but goth trends are infiltrating mainstream fashion, so maybe there’s something there…
Many Machines On Nine
MM9 have been around for a couple of years now, and they’ve got some fairly notable members. Vocalist Dan Sutherland was involved in a solo project under the moniker Switchkicker, and drummer Ben Ellingworth is arguably the best rock drummer in Australia (sounds like a big call until you see this guy play!)
They’re an excellent band, and the cruel irony is if they were playing in America, they’d be signed by now. However, they’re still pulling roughly the same size crowd they have for the past few years. That signals to me that it’s the non-music side that the band is struggling with. They’ve got the songs, they now have to work on marketing themselves better, be it more radio play, better planned gigs, more media advertising, whatever… but for now, enjoy a sample of their song ‘Smile’
Many Machines on Nine – ‘Smile’ (mp3)
I officially hate the streets of the Sydney CBD. Why have so many “No Right Turn”, especially when it’s down the street that I want to go! Anyway… Triple Treat was on at the Civic Hotel, and all the indie scenester kids were there. Aside from that fact, I was able to catch, for the first time, two excellent Sydney bands by the name of Young and Restless and Pinky Tuscadero
Young and Restless – photo by band
Young and Restless have been getting a heap of hype generated about them lately, thanks to everyone’s favourite friend, MySpace. They’ve been touted as Australia’s answer to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs… which I guess comes from their frenetic energy and vocalist Karina Utomo’s sweet-to-screaming vocals. It’s a mish-mash of indie and punk… funky, danceable rock with a kind of hardcore edge. They’re good. Not great, but give them time… and while you’re waiting, have a listen to ‘Satan’.
Young and Restless – ‘Satan’ (mp3)
Pinky Tuscadero – photo by boudist.com
So if the B-52s dropped more acid in the late Seventies than they did, they probably would have come up with something like Pinky Tuscadero. It’s got the experimental pop feel of bands like the aforementioned B-52s, as well as Split Enz, and has a underlying punk anarchistic feel. Their live performance is energetic and if I was drunk I would of be dancing like a crazy fucker. An interesting band if you like interesting things. Check out the track ‘Frank Sinatra’.
Pinky Tuscadero – ‘Frank Sinatra’
OK, so the name 1QA does suck. It’s a terrible band name… but then again, so is Red Hot Chili Peppers, but when you make good music, it doesn’t matter what you’re called. Emigrants from New Zealand to Melbourne, I’ve never seen these guys live. But when they list awesome cool bands like Mogwai, Swervedriver, Cornelius and Godspeed You! Black Emperor as influences, they get my vote… despite the fact that they sound nothing like those aforementioned groups. They have a release out entitled All The Colours, go check it out… we have a song called ‘The Jackal’ below for your listening pleasure!
1QA – ‘The Jackal’