Jumbledat – ‘Fiends’
Last weekend my band and I ventured down to Katoomba, a little town in the Blue Mountains, to play support for a band we had never heard of, Jumbledat. As we came into the bar to escape the cold, we were introduced to each member of the group one by one, and it just kept on going! It soon all made sense; Jumbledat are the kind of party funk band Sydney could only pray for, boasting a horn section, percussionist, Fender Rhodes player and two MCs in their ranks.
With an average age of only 20 years old, these kids play way too well live to be consigned to Blue Mountains obscurity any longer. Not that they’re complete unknowns; the boys have made a couple of trips to the big smoke playing with local bands like King Farook and bluejuice. But that Friday night, they were in their element, playing to a home crowd of over 250 people for over two and a half hours without switching off the power for one second. I was in awe, and if you have a listen to their music, you probably will be too. It was produced at the bar (Triselies) in-house studio, which clearly gives good results because the recording is as crisp as a fresh apple.
The rhythm section is impeccable, creating the perfect groove template for the rappers to go ballistic over. Just like bluejuice, it’s always refreshing to hear a distinctly Aussie flow coming out of your speakers. Especially given that so much US hip-hop is lamentably awful nowadays. I predict big things for Jumbledat, they’ve got the style and the substance to go far in the music game!
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Darryl Beaton Band – ‘Shoulders’
I thought it was high time someone blogged on these boys, seeing as they are ludicrously talented and need some serious exposure upon the release (finally!) of their album. Sydney-based band leader Darryl Beaton is pretty well known in muso circles; he writes tracks for everyone from Aussie Idol Guy Sebastian to Ego-Maniac Kanye West.
Essentially, that means that he’s the bomb. But no bomb works without a fuse, which in his case is his backing band, with whom he plays at Melt Bar in Kings Cross every Thursday night. Largely comprised of the Chilean Martinez brothers (who play bass, keys and guitar), this outfit is a sight to behold. Though Darryl is largely steeped in the soul genre, these kids have latin-funk coursing through their veins, and you can hear it all through through their debut, especially in the syncopated rhythms of drummer Kevin Mendoza. Anyone who loves sweet soul music will dig this. For fans of Prince, Jamie Lidell and Stevie Wonder.
Bonus points: it’s safe to play around your parents, and you’ll enjoy it too. If you live in Sydney, you’d be mad not to check them out. After all, they play for free and continue on well into the wee hours of Friday morning. And who really does anything on a Friday, anyway?
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Dan Segal – ‘Revelation’
It feels good when somebody from your school is doing good things in the music world. My place of learning has produced a fair swag of highly successful commercial artists, including Valentino-cum-Juggernaut Dan Stricker, Macromantics, bass wunderkind Tal Wilkenfeld and, of course, Ben Lee. Next in line to the graduate crown is Dan Segal, a highly talented, multi-instrument-playing generally lovable kind of guy.
Dan used to front the funk band Camera Four, who were moderately well-known but eventually stagnated, prompting Segal to pull the cord and go it alone. In hindsight, that was a very good decision. In a solo context, Segal can fully spread his wings, taking on lyrics, vocals, guitars, bass and whatever else he can fit in a song, recording it all on his home computer in Maroubra (for international readers, yes, that is where The Bra Boys come from. Please note that Maroubra isn’t really such a scary suburb in reality!) Segal is a bass player at heart, and that comes through in all his writing, which are guitar-lead but really bass-heavy. Ever the wounded romantic, most of his tracks centre around unrequited love, or love gone sour. But sometimes, as in this case, Dan just feels like waxing lyrical about life itself.
‘Revelation’ is the kind of track you want to play at your next party. It’s got that killer, pogoing bass line, MSTRKRFT-esque handclaps and some seriously whack vocoder shit going on. It’s like a ballad in an electro song. If that sounds interesting to you, that’s probably because it is. And there’s a seriously Daft Punk moment about two and a half minutes in, where the effected guitars go mental and it feels like ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’ all over again. God knows we all need more Daft Punk in our lives. Dan’s also a designer, so he creates all his own cover art, and even has a patented ‘Pixelman’ concept which I can’t reveal or I will be gunned down outside my house. He’s doing an album launch at Will and Toby’s in a few weeks, with his band, who are cutely labelled ‘The Pocket.’ If you dig this track, head to his myspace or hit up the show. Rock on.
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Little Red – ‘Coca Cola’
I sincerely doubt that there’s any real music lovers left in this country who haven’t heard of this band yet. However, there is still a disturbingly large amount of Australians who get their music knowledge from Video Hits and So Fresh compilations, so for their benefit, here is Little Red. Comprising of five school aged boys from Melbourne, Little Red embodies everything that made pop music great in the ’60s; multi-layered vocal harmonies, tight-ass clean guitars and more hooks than you can throw a stick at. And in an age when ‘It’s too late to apolo-giiiiiiiiise’ has become a mainstream phenomenon, it’s nice to know that there’s still a band around that are happy to sing pretty little ditties about girls and love and soda and stuff.
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Yves Klein Blue – ‘Polka’
I had never heard of this band in my life until I got stuck with them for a double bill at Candy’s Apartment one quiet Thursday night last year. These boys (I think they might have hit the 18 mark by the time of writing) played to a practically empty house and, god bless their cotton socks, they rocked out with the conviction of stage veterans. A couple of months later Brisbane act YKB are signed to the awesome Dew Process, home to two of my fave artists, The Grates and Sarah Blasko.
They’ve re-recorded their debut EP Yves Klein Blue Draw Attention To Themselves, and from what I can hear, invited every session player they know into the sessions to have a blast. There’s pianos, trumpet fanfares, Latin percussion and a whole lot of other crazy shit that definitely wasn’t there on the hand-scrawled disc they hurriedly gave me last November.
Word is they’re getting a lot of FBi love, which is understandable, as they’re kind of our answer to Belle and Sebastian-meets-Franz Ferdinand, with light pop tunes and edgy rockers all comandeered by that powerfully unique voice in the front. There’s no pretension here, just four kids from Brisvegas playing the kind of music that everyone else wants to hear. Trust me, you want to hear this.
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Lovers Electric – ‘Honey’
This is one of those bands that you see live and you just know that they’re going to be mega in a couple of months. Lovers Electric are made up of childhood friends David Turley and Eden Boucher, who have toured extensively overseas in recent years spreading their wares to New Yorkers, Berliners and all kinds of crazy foreigners.But for now, they’re back in Australia having recently inked a deal with SonyBMG which probably locks them in for the next twenty five years. I saw these guys playing at Will and Toby’s in Darlinghurst last week and what attracted me instantly was how well these two command the stage, usually with only an acoustic guitar for accompaniment. Eden has an ethereal voice that is at once mysterious but also immediately Aussie, kind of like Missy Higgins but with about 10% less ‘ocker’.
The band sings pretty little pop songs with the kind of harmonies that make you want to hug the nearest person in the room. For some songs they’re also joined by an ’80s Casio keyboard, which spits out cutesy synthesized drumbeats in lieu of an actual band. Recorded however, Lovers Electric are an entirely different animal. Gone are the live tricks as they are supplemented for big studio gloss, real drums, bouncing pianos and distorted (just a bit!) guitars. It kind of ruins the illusion for me, but then i suppose they couldn’t go in an record an entire album with a piece of shit keyboard and an acoustic guitar.
My problem is that sometimes the vocals take the backseat to the session band and this is one group where the melodies should be front row centre. That being said, the songs are still sweet little pop gems and worth checking out.
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Dead Farmers – ‘The Suns of Thunder’
You know, with all this electro going down in Australia, I say it’s high time we shed our bright pink jeans and got back into our rock roots. Dead Farmers, with their unique brand of scuzz-punk madness are just the men to brink us back from the brink of fluoro madness.
Their tracks are non-stop blasts of distortion, with drums that sound like they’ve been recorded in the back of somebody’s truck and a whole lotta screaming. Remember when you used to jump around to Nirvana and yell like an angry chimpanzee in heat? Well I do (I was approximately fourteen and a half) and this kind of ‘who-gives-a-fuck?’ garage music takes me back to the days when ‘indie’ didn’t automatically mean The Strokes. Lead singer/guitarist David Akerman is on a one man mission to make as much noise as possible come out of an amp without blowing the thing up. If you haven’t seen these guys live, I highly recommend it. It might rip your eardrums in half, but hell, the point of being young is to screw up your hearing so you can pretend not to hear your own kids’ offensive music when you grow up!
Dead Farmers have supported The Black Lips on their Vice Party tour in January and are fixtures at a number of house parties and clubs across Sydney and Melbourne. They’ve got a debut 7″ EP out now (if there are any left!) and are currently recording an album. Listening to this stuff is the equivalent of drinking a glass of Tabasco Sauce. You have been warned…
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