Posts By Alex Watts

Founds, Tin Sparrow & Tigertown @ FBi Social


Founds (sans Jamie)

Last night I went down to the Kings Cross Hotel for FBi social and caught Tigertown, Tin Sparrow and Founds – or more should I say, they caught me. Fanboy Alex is on the prowl, again…

Openers Tigertown were totally harmless, rolling out some of the smoothest indie-folk around. The seven piece bask in a couple of  indie cliches – mandolin, extraneous floor toms, pan-pipey keys – but executed them with class & aplomb.  At points I felt like I was floating in and out of an indie dream, nursed by these sweet, rolling tunes. Therein lies the fault of Tigertown – instead of occasionally challenging the audience, they stay firmly within a (albiet, very comfortable) formula. The set seemed to melt into itself at points and lacked discernable climax as a whole. While each song was a catchy piece of indie-folk sweetness, there was no release, and very little development of emotional tone.

Maybe I’m just afraid of things that are pretty, but I don’t want this to happen again. Watch the space, either way.

Tin Sparrow were up next. They’re one of Sydney’s best folk-acts and are really in their prime right now, playing an exceptionally tight, dynamically gorgeous set. Spinning in off the back of their latest EP (and tour), they delivered a whirlwind set. Their performance is laced with emotion and energy, pushing out a sound much bigger than the shape of the band. They also prove that, contrary to popuar belief, drummers can write AND sing songs, following Mark Piccles (the drummer) belting out an amazingly powerful track. Great band, great set.

Now to Founds. They were recently announced triple j unearthed winners of the Bigsound opening spot – and their set proved they deserve it. They’re unique in the Australian music scene, combining indie-folk with soaring Scando-ambiance and subtle post-rock, merging many styles into something unbelievably solid. In some ways, they remind me of Melbournians Alpine – but with balls, and a better drummer. That said, they resist classification so strongly that I’m loathe to compare them to anyone.

Combine all that mystery with a fantastic live show and you’ve got something special. Their opener was a brief and chaotic instrumental piece, really setting the “epic” tone that permeates their set. Their latest single, Holograms, is an absolute killer live – it’s not pop or folk or rock – it’s just a sparkling piece of music, absorbable no matter how you cut your cloth. There wasn’t a single track they played I didn’t love.

Founds are amazing for what they’ve done in such a short time. After twelve months together they’re producing and performing music that is unmatched – and perhaps unmatchable – in Australian music. I’d love to see what happens as they grow as a band and as performers. This is a space that I’m watching, so you should as well.

More photos after the break.


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Keiiko & MeltPhace – 'Germs'

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I have an undeniable love for artists who use ph (as in phat) in their names. They’re walking a firey knife-edge, balanced between self-deprecation and community disdain – they’re martyrs for naming, blazing a trail for us all.

MeltPhace continues the proud creative tradition in his name and, partnered with Keiiko, has produced some fantastic minimal electronica. There’s a taste of 65dos & Baths – as well as just about any miscelaneous electronic post-rock you can name – which I dig. There’s a dearth of tastey post-rock in Australian music at the moment, as well as a flood of non-committal, bland electronica. Keiiko and MeltPhace are two artists individually & collectively holding the fort for us all.

You can check out Keiiko’s solo stuff here and MeltPhace’s here. It’s not the first time they’ve worked together, either – they both play in Founds, a delightfully undefinable (but nonetheless fantastic) sextet from Brisbane. Good to see they’re spreading the love.

They’re too cool for Facebook.

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Charlie Mayfair – 'Tell Her' (video)

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Charlie Mayfair are the indie-kids you bitch about in your corner of the local hipster tavern, cradling your broken egos over cider and tacos. They’re a reminder that you’ll never be quite as cool or as successful – or as beautiful and surprisingly charming. Unfortunately, they’re also genuinely gorgeous & fantastic musicians who are producing great tracks without fail.

This is the video clip for Tell Her, a song I covered earlier in the year. Director Jefferton James and cinematographer Byron Quandary have delivered a visual feast that compliments the emotional turmoil expressed in the song itself. While it dives into one or two cinematic cliches (e.g. the Sixth Sense dead but don’t know it standard) it’s precisely executed and lovely despite its (tiny) flaws.

I particularly love the moment in the picture below. Words cannot express the hipster poignancy that laces this moment. Plus that not-quite-shaggy-definitely-well-maintained facial hair is delightful to see in real life.

Check Tell Her out, and Charlie Mayfair as they tour near you in the nearest of futures.

P.S. I’m a fanboy, so what? You probably like The Living End and still live with your parents.

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The Jungle Giants @ MUM

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The Jungle Giants are a rolling force of indie-superpop, infused with afro-rhythms and youthful gusto. They’re currently charming their way across the east-coast on tour, hitting up a bunch of quality venues.

When I caught them on Friday night I was blown away – they delivered a rocking show with more class & engagement than many bands with much more experience. It’s very easy to forget how young they are when they take the stage – between their outrageously tight delivery & captivating live presence, they feel like a much older band. Their age isn’t a gimmick, just a side note to some fantastic music.

They’re a real standout in a scene flooded with hipster-pretention. Catch them (live) if you can, or get their new (and glorious) EP.

More photos after the jump.


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Jordie Lane – Not From Round Here

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Jordie Lane is not Angus Stone. He’s got far too much lyrical depth and seems to be able to write songs that are, well, enjoyable. Live, he’s got a certain roguish charm – as well as a pseudo-self-defeating attitude, and a reluctant acceptance of the inevitable comparisons to the brother Stone. He’s one of Australia’s best, and I love his music – especially the track War Rages On from his first album.

Not From Round Here, the first single from his new album Blood Thinner, is visually delightful, crisp & clear and full of shots of open roads and rolling plains. If it was a tad more pastel, it would be a hipsters dream – but as it stands, it’s a great piece of filmmaking, conjuring all kinds of emotions & images. The song itself shows Lane at his best, a consumate songwriter telling modern stories in a classic way.

He’s launching his album soon, so you should check it, him & his sneaky banjo out.

Jordie Lane on FB

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Tank – 'Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion'



Tank – ‘Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion’

Listen to

‘Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion’ by Tank is an in exercise super sweet ambience, strung together with violin & heavy reverb (as well as a tasteful dash of autotune). Tank’s new to the scene but already producing reliably listenable music. Some of the best up-and-coming chillwave in Sydney.

He’s currently working on an EP, so keep an ear to the ground – or just the computer screen, if you want to keep your ears clean.

Tank on FBSoundcloud

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