Collective PEG


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This round features a very special group of Australian artists that contribute to our fine musical landscape via a visual medium. A sprinkle of directors who have made videos from many of Australia’s most successful byproducts including Midnight Juggernauts, The Jungle Giants, Boy and Bear, Otouto, Alpine and the amicable Boomgates among many. These directors often go unnamed but are critical in the promotion and elevation of the artists you love. So we thought we’d let them tell you about some videos and tracks that they’ve been diggin’ on for this month’s C̶o̶l̶l̶e̶c̶t̶i̶v̶e̶ Director’s PEG.





Directors Christopher Hill and Lachlan Dickie aka ‘Chris & Lachlan’ aka ‘Krozm‘ have been directing music videos since 2006 for bands including, Cut Copy, Architecture In Helsinki, Midnight Juggernauts, Miami Horror, Jet and Sarah Blasko. They have been directing commercials since 2011 and in 2012 won a Cannes Young Directors Award.



Owl Eyes – ‘Closure’

Director: Jackson Dickie

The video for Owl Eyes ‘Closure’ probably represents a conceptual minimalism realised to a standard rarely seen in the Australian music video world. Not only does it look good, thanks to cinematographer Germain Mcmicking, but it also has a strange emotional weight and a simple, concise concept that actually pays off at the end. There’s also an instinctual attraction to the elegant yet ridiculous extremes in facial and body contortion… something we can personally relate to.



Midnight Juggernauts – ‘Ballad Of The War Machine’

Director: Vincent Vendetta

We’re always a fan of a strong concept and the balance between subtlety, detail, extremism and the ridiculous. Speaking of which this low-fi video directed by our friend Vincent of the Midnight Juggernauts another recent favourite. The shots of the Juggernauts in uniform dancing in Russia and on various military hardware could perhaps qualify as genius.

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Anthony Salsone

anthony salsone

Anthony Salsone is a freelance video director and producer from Brisbane, Australia. He has worked with artists such as The Jungle Giants, The Medics, Dune Rats, Holy Holy, and more. Anthony is currently aspiring to learn a second language and find a real job. Let’s hope he never succeeds on the latter cause we need him making cool videos instead, eh.



The Trouble With Templeton – ‘You Are New’


For me, one of the most satisfying parts of listening to music is hearing an artist mature from one release to the next. Case in point, The Trouble With Templeton. TTWT’s new record Rookie sees front man Tom Calder navigate away from the singer-songwriter sound and into a much more dynamic and honed ensemble.

Their recent single, ‘You Are New’ waltzes from beginning to end, adding and subtracting well-crafted layers that, together, create an effortless drive. Its purposeful simplicity tells us that this group has nothing to prove—comfortable and secure enough to favour melodic song writing over delay-soaked guitar hooks.

The production is equally enjoyable. Here again, Matt Redlich shows us why he is working with some of Australia’s most talented artists. Throughout the album, Redlich pulls some of the warmest and sexiest drum tones I have heard in a long time.

TTWT is one of those bands that very obviously put a lot of thought into each of their clips. For this reason, you can consistently rely on them to produce something worth watching. This track’s video sees the band continue their fruitful creative partnership with director Josh Calder (Tom’s brother). Here, Josh does exactly what he needs to, matching the clip to the track’s mood and pacing. Combine this with the on-screen charisma of his brother Tom, and we arrive at a very enjoyable music video.

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Gus Kemp


Gus has been in the desert for 9 weeks shooting a cultural/ adventure documentary & listened to almost no music in that time. Just big big spaces, freezing nights and lots of stars; strange coloured dirt and sand, sometimes some dingoes howling. But mostly, always a fire; and a place to come back to. It rained a lot too and the atmosphere was super electric. Back in the city, he has a hearth, a studio, and great collaborators.

He was in Mauritius earlier in the year shooting a drama in a cyclone. Now he’s working on a screenplay for a film in the desert. Not something that arose from any recent experiences there, but something very strange that happened there, in the past. He only likes being behind the camera when there’s a story unfolding in front of him.

“There’s nothing more interesting in the world than a good yarn. The stranger the better.”



Montero – ‘Adriana’


I actually like this song a lot because of the video. It’s got rocks and wool and mime. Hardness. Softness. Horns. Maybe it reminds me a little of The Olivia Tremor Control. Not in a direct way, but more in a way of how I may have loved them once because of where they took me – strange places, other worlds, though not uninhabited.


Facebook / Soundcloud



Paul Andrew Rhodes



Paul Andrew Rhodes (aka par) is a music video animator/director from the ‘swing-seat’ of Sydney’s west (we’re so politically aware). He started Negative Films, and has made videos for Audego and Boy and Bear amongst others.


Jasper – ‘Dr No (ft Simo Soo)’


Jasper has been making music in Sydney’s inner west for ages. Previously working under tonnes of pseudonyms and with various bands, he’s now releasing new work as Jasper Clifford Smith. I was hooked instantly when he dropped ‘Dr No’ – a collab track with Simo Soo. The Tipping Dollars EP is available at his Bandcamp page.

Facebook / Bandcamp




Luci Schroder


Luci Schroder is a film director currently based in Melbourne, Australia, with a background in Fine Arts. Schroder received much interest after making music video clips for Australian artists Donny Benét & Alpine. Schroder garnered several award nominations and a commissioning by British photographer, Nick Knight of SHOWstudio, for a film on fashion fetish. Schroder’s last music video took place in Paris with the French band Juveniles.



The Night Terrors – ‘Lazers For Eyes’


‘Lazers For Eyes’ is no slow-wave, sleep inducing fair. It sounds and feels like a futuristic nightmare. It would be a pleasure to create a world for such a nightmare; grandiose and sprawling.

When I saw The Night Terrors play, they were supporting Italian band, Goblin at the Melbourne Town Hall (the one with the gargantuan organ).

Goblin is perhaps most acclaimed for creating the soundtrack to classic Dario Agento’s 70’s horror films, films like Tenebrae, Deep Red, Suspiria, Phenomena – which I must admit was the reason for me being there. But after the show, I couldn’t stop thinking about The Night Terrors, and stories that would make justice to this big ass sound. Not to mention the theremin magic performed by Miles Brown.

Definitely a big fan.


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Mia Mala McDonald



Mia is a photographer, whose work has appeared in the The New York Times, Frankie and Golden Plains among others.

Her first time as cinematographer was working with director Emma Freeman on the video for ‘Gallows’ for ‘freak folk’ duo CocoRosie. Since then, she’s shot clips for Boomgates, Darren Hanlon and most recently worked on the SKYWHALE project for artist Patricia Piccinini.

Her excellent video for Dick Diver’s ‘Calendar Days’ was her first outing as director and cinematographer. Impressive.



Beaches – ‘Send Them Away’


It’s so hard to nail the vibe in a clip that suits the band. Ben Monitor recently got it so right with his animated video for Beaches. It’s a beautiful layering of muted colour and light hearted images of puppies, a special Beaches pinball machine, big adventures, mini adventures and a true celebration of amazing hair.

The video takes you back to childhood as it is reminiscent of cartoons on Saturday morning. It’s textural, combining hundreds of Ben Monitor’s illustrations. Al from Beaches mentioned that “Ben had many friends help him get it finished” – perhaps this is why the video is so warm and and so full of beautiful imagery.

Ben Monitor is a illustrator/artist and it is so exciting seeing his work as moving images. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

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Check out previous editions of Collective Peg HERE.



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It’s back to the bloggers and industry pals this month for Collective Peg #7. The hardest working man in online music journalism Darren Levin, Editor-in-Chief at Faster Louder and Mess + Noise brings the goods this month, as does Huw Nolan from independent online music site The Ripe.  The very sharp Jonny Nail from Polaroids Of Androids makes a cameo, as well as posts from the lucked out editor of The Orange Press, Piri Rutherford and the sparkly Monica McClure, another of one our good buds over at Acid Stag. Yep. Another onslaught of great talent and the best curated roundup of Oz tunes you’ll probably find on the interwebs, at least for another month.


Darren Levin

darren levin

Image supplied generously by Carbie Warbie.

Darren is Editor-In-Chief of Faster Louder and Mess+Noise.


Ooga Boogas – ‘Sex In The Chillzone’


The thing I like most about Melbourne’s Ooga Boogas is that it’s never really clear when they’re taking the piss. ‘Sex In A Chillzone’ is so beguiling. There are three definitions of “chillzone” on Urban Dictionary. The first includes multiple references to “butt rape”, so we’ll ignore that. The second uses the acronym BAMF, which I don’t understand because I’m outside the demographic that uses zeitgeisty acronyms in everyday conversation. And the third, “a zone filled with chill”, is like defining a fruit and vegetable shop as a “establishment that sells fruit and vegetables”. To me, a chillzone conjures up this room I saw at Mona Foma in Hobart earlier this year, with a big white igloo pieced together with oyster shells. It’s a place people went to “chill out”, but on the last night some guys started taking their pants off and I’m pretty sure some kind of weird convict sexual bonding experience took place. What were we talking about again?







Jonny Nail




Jonny was born before you but he’ll die after you. And in-between he’ll (probably) keep writing words in sentence format at




Bit By Bats – ‘Sir! Beat Sir’

bits bats

Some/me would argue that Adelaide’s Bit By Bats are a national treasure, deserving of being stuffed and mounted and preserved forever alongside Bradman’s bat, Merv’s ‘stache and Bingle’s discarded 180-carat engagement ring. It’s criminal how unappreciated they are in the scheme of things, especially when you consider the fact The Temper Trap are waltzing around town with Arias, lucrative Pepsi endorsements and Golden Globes hanging from their necks.

But in the wise words of Flava Flav (long before he fucking lost it and became a reality television star) – “what the fuck is success?”. Maybe Bit By Bats hung up their (marvellous, red, shiny) boots because they’d achieved everything they wanted to. They’d recorded an album. They’d purchased a top-of-the-line theremin. They’d travelled to Sydney millions of times and seen the satisfied faces of the 12 people who regularly attended their shows.

I was one of The Triple B Dozen and between 2003 and 2007 I saw Bit By Bats play more times than I had cooked dinners. Sure, times were tough back then – 7% interest rates, the dot com bubble, MySpace – but it doesn’t make it any less of an achievement. Especially given the distractingly large volume of post-Strokes wannabes flooding the Coathanger City at the time.

I guess I probably should mention something about their sound. Panicy, that’s probably the genre. Your hips will gyrate involuntarily like Alfred “Griggsy” Griggs (circa 2005). It’s frantic and unsettled, yet sounds completely natural and unforced. Pure undiluted “indie” pop. From a beautiful time before Kingsmill trademarked that expression than made it such a filthy descriptor.

Here’s one of their best songs. It’s from their 2004 debut self-titled EP. Sadly, their back catalogue is kinda hard to find. Nothing exists on iTunes. Maybe futurists that use those industry-crushing streaming services have access to something. Either way, hunt it all down (2 EPs and an LP), then shoot me an email and say thanks.

Listen to

Bit By Bats – ‘Sir! Beat Sir





Huw Nolan



Huw Nolan is behind Melbourne music website The Ripe, co-founded by himself and close friend Tom Pitney in early 2012. The Ripe gives new and upcoming local artists a chance for their music to be heard alongside more established names. The snazzy music site features guest mixes, live recording sessions, weekly playlists, photography alongside great reviews. Huw has now also stepped into Artist Management and PR roles due to the work he is doing with The Ripe.





I’lls – ‘Plans Only Drawn’


I’lls are one of those acts that personify nostalgia. Even while listening to them for the first time, their songs make me feel some sort of lingering emotion. I get reminiscent of major landmarks in my life; a triumphant occasion or more than likely some stupid decision that brought about sad consequences.

I first heard I’lls during a support slot for Chet Faker’s first live show at The Toff In Town in 2012. Lead singer Simon Lam’s vocals sucked me in and I was transfixed on their hypnotic brand of dreamy electronica. This new offering is titled ‘Plans Only Drawn’ and begins where their last EP Thread left off. The track is a melancholic soundscape with layered instrumentation including vocal sampling, off beat drums and haunting guitars. I’lls unpredictability is refreshing, and as the song builds it engulfs me just like the first time I saw them play live.

Their forthcoming EP, A Warm Reception is set to be released this year and I cait wait to sit down and listen to it.


Facebook / Bandcamp




Piri Rutherford


Piri Rutherford originally came on board the good ship of The Orange Press a week or two after it went live in mid 2011. As the ‘beats’ editor and head contributor alongside site founder Nick La Rosa and Lily So. Piri digs balancing his day-job, promoting local talent and skateboarding in whatever free time he has. Middling (at best) careers in DJing, DJ Booking and Music Production have fallen by the wayside, to allow a fuller focus on the day to day running of The Orange Press. Piri still takes DJ requests.




Snakadaktal – Dance Bear (Ta-ku Remix)


There are so many tunes I could’ve gone with, but this seems most appropriate for a TOP writer to push, with it’s Indie roots and Beats elements. It sees Perth up-and-comer (possibly he already came) Ta-ku slicing and dicing ‘Dance Bear’ by Indie kids Snakadaktal, with predictably awesome results. This dude is a machine, just take a look at his soundcloud, he seems to average a new tune every couple of days, and his remixes in particular are deadly. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy too, which I personally rate as an important character trait in the music industry, rare as it is. Just to slide a few more in there, Hiatus Kaiyote’s ‘Nakamarra,’ Jones Jnr’s ‘Don’t You Know’ and anything off the last Hermitude would also be right up there. Funnily enough they’re all beautiful people too! I’m actually a Kiwi, and there’s loads more I could mention from there as well, Home Brew is the first outfit that come to mind-get familiar. We did a top picks list for last year, take a gander. There is so much talent in Australasia!


Facebook / Soundcloud



Monica McClure



Monica McClure is a Sydney-based contributor/doe-in-residence at Acid Stag. She holds very strong opinions about grammar, women’s rights and cheesy lyrics.




Pigeon – ‘Encounters’


It doesn’t seem to matter how much music as I listen to or how much industry opinion I hear, I still frequently feel confused about why certain songs or bands become popular and other artists are, in my opinion, highly underrated.

Case in point: Pigeon. I really like them. I got sent Pigeon’s EP Fortunes for review last year and instantly felt a connection with their music, which is something that doesn’t happen very often for me. It was a heady, love at first sight kind of thing. Current single ‘Encounters’ is my favourite off Fortunes.

I think the thing that makes me appreciate ‘Encounters’ so much is that I can just listen to it and enjoy it in a totally non-cerebral kind of way. I tend to get slightly grumpy and critical as a reviewer, so it’s almost a relief to experience a song without trying to analyse it or intentionally form an objective opinion. I just like it a lot.


Facebook / Soundcloud





Check out previous editions of Collective Peg HERE.



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COLLECTIVE PEG #6: 2013 Picks

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Collective Peg 6

Yeah, new music gets us off…but that doesn’t make us any less indecisive when it comes to everyone’s favourite numerical categorizing system, the end of year ‘BEST-OF’ list. All of us decided to take simultaneous holidays interstate and overseas last December to even try and avoid it. For your curiousity, our ‘list’ would have probably included D.D Dumbo‘s self titled, Grand Salvo‘s Slay Me In My Sleep and perhaps a mention of Bored Nothing‘s track Shit For Brains – titles of which all aptly sum up how we feel about the whole situation. So now you know. We don’t like numbers.

When we attempted to rank all the records from 2012 based loosely on which made us sweat profusely, who made us cry, who we spent all our money on – we realised it’s now Feb and that no-one cares about that shit anymore (unless you’re compiling ‘TOP 10 DRUMMER FAILS’ for <unnamed music press> each week).

In the absence of our ‘Best of 2012’ list, we’re instead celebrating five diverse Australian artists who we predict will be having an excellent 2013.

We’ve selected ex Parades/Colours offspring Au.Ra, ambient/electronic kinfolk Rat & Co, This Thing conspirator Wooshie, Sydney slackers Camperdown & Out and songwriter Jay Kranz aka Brighter Later.

Good influences play a big part in creating great tunes, so we asked our 2013 predictions to curate their favourite local artists for this month’s edition of Collective Peg. We kinda missed the ‘Best-Of 2012’ train, but here’s a cluster fck of a musical daisy-chain for you to enjoy in the new year instead. Happy listening.



Au.Ra are Tom Crandles and Tim Jenkins. Crandles was a member of Sydney based group Colours, while Jenkins played guitar in sadly no-more Sydney band Parades (who Who The Hell’s co-founder Jerry formerly managed). Both songwriters, the duo met by chance while studying in Sydney. After a few bedroom jams with two guitars, a drum machine and one mic, they immediately “discovered songs amongst the noise”. Check out Au.Ra’s clip for their latest track ‘Morning’ here.


Day Ravies – ‘Double Act’

I like this Day Ravies for their ability to mould unconventional melodies and rhythms into sweet and warm sounding pop songs. The guitar and drums seem to be at a constant push/pull with each other at the centre of a dream created by Lani’s floating vocals. Day Ravies LP will be out on Popfrenzy records real soon.





Rat & Co started out as a bedroom project for Joshua Delaney (Red Berry Plum , Chet Faker house band)
Two years ago, Delaney travelled to the USA With close friend and guitarist Kaia McCarty-Smith, further sparking his interest electronic music and cinematic soundscapes. When he returned back to Melbourne, Delaney’s music seeped through the thin walls of his Carlton sharehouse tempting drummer Nick Park to jam along from his adjoined room. Guitarist John Waller soon joined, and when Kaia returned from overseas, the guys formed Rat & Co.

Rat & Co put out their debut album ‘One (壱) Uno (壹) Ein’ last week (note: it’s awesome).




Coober Pedy University Band – ‘Moon Plain’

“Coober Pedy University Band are going to be the next biggest thing” – one of our mates.

Combining the funky Lewis Day (Tornado Wallace), songstress Tom Moore (OTOLOGIC) you get powerhouse disco sensation Coober Pedy University Band. They have just released an EP titled Moon Plain on Kinfolk and it is one of the grooviest things we have heard ever come from Aus. Enlisting good buddy Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker to do vocals on the title track, CPUB channel their name through into the track, carrying an air of early australian dance music. The beat chuggs along like a train through the desert, whilst the 80’s piano stabs ring out with a definite certainty. Really keen see a video or a live performance from these legends. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do. Moon Plain EP is out on 10″ through Kinfolk.







Wooshie is producer Dylan Michel.

After releasing a handful of beat tapes and a 7” on Meupe Records in 2007, Wooshie made the move from Perth to Melbourne and established the beatfeak collective //THIS THING//. While he’s casually taking his time to release an LP, Wooshie’s inclination to explore beyond straight loops has already attracted the ears of international listeners like the Gaslamp Killer and Carlos Nino. Wooshie released his EP Boyfriend Material last year. We think he should get onto that LP soon.



Friendships – ‘Ur A Drag’ (ft. Skinimin)

A problem I have with a lot of the new music I listen to is that it’s just not very good. It’s fun.
It’s somewhat of a guilty pleasure, but most of it doesn’t go much further than that for me. I get kind of obsessive and puzzled by trends in music, always trying to predict what’s coming next but also equally as confused as to why people liked whatever it was the first place.

Nick’s unique personality and sensibility still comes across in his productions. Even though his work is based around post internet trap cliches – the early 90’s rave and sea punk aesthetic, his own sound is completely recognisable (even if he is just playing an 808 snare once every 2 bars).

The very ‘internet’ sounding ‘Ur a Drag’, the opening track from Friendships’ debut EP is a perfect example of this. There’s something about how simple and badly mixed /mastered this beat is that gives it even more personality. It’s amazing how something so formulaic and cliche with little mid-range can still sound incredibly emotive and unique.






Camperdown & Out are a Sydney-based four-peice who specialise in lazy-ryhmes, chords and rhythms.
They openly call themselves the most “unambitious band of 2013”. They one day hope to cover ‘Religious Experience’ by Kevin Ayers but this is unlikely as the band wishes to recruit new members to fulfil their positions in the band before the end of the next financial year.
Applications now open.




Woollen Kits – ‘Sussanah’

Nathan Roche: Woollen Kits are one of those bands that you go and watch and find yourself singing along to every song of the set.
‘Susannah’ off their record Four Girls has been one of my live favourites since the first time I heard it. We were lucky enough to support the band for their album launch in Melbourne a few months ago. I remember being very, very drunk and grabbing the saxophone mic off the stand and singing backing vocals like a rambling derelict at the front of the stage. All members of this band are extremely kind and genuine people – and boy can they can write damn catchy pop songs. This one is a highlight for me. Buy their record instead of ours.





Jay Kranz has done a lot of things. She’s written and published fiction, worked in radio and penned songs all over the world — behind the hum of plastics factory in the middle east, by freight tracks in Louisiana and singing to empty wharf sheds. After spending time in New Orleans, she returned to her native Melbourne to study music and write songs. Kranz set up shop in a converted church in Melbourne’s West doubling as an underground concert venue and Kranz’s home. With the help of a three piece band, Kranz’s forthcoming record as Brighter Later titled The Wolves drops next month. Listen to previous single ‘The Woods’ here.




Human Face – ‘Bottom Of The Hill’

‘Bottom Of The Hill’ is the first outing from newbie Melbourne four-piece Human Face and it made me instantly curious about what else they’ve got up their sleeve when they head into the studio soon to record the rest of their LP. I love the grainy static-riddled synth that keeps us company from the get-go, propelling the song forward and spawning permutations mid-way through. It manages to be its own character in the song without ever obscuring Dan Fox’s winsome, sometimes melancholic vocals.

There’s no fear of being epic here. The beautiful breakdown moment towards the end recalls Beach House and Fleet Foxes for me, though I love that the 80’s and 90’s influences are worn with equal boldness. Just when you think it’s over, it all comes back. And though we have “heard it all before”, it gets going just enough and stops just soon enough, to require me to hit repeat.




See previous editions of Collective Peg HERE.



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COLLECTIVE PEG #5: Who The Hell Edition

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To coincide with Who The Hell’s recent relaunch, we invited our founders and a few of our previous contributors back to the blog to have a spiel for this month’s Collective Peg. All the people featured in this post have made a huge contribution to the blog since it started in 2006. By huge contribution, I refer to these guys volunteering all their spare time trawling through the internet, pressers, band rooms etc, to share new Oz music. Since departing, everyone here has gone on to do great things. No one’s really changed their style though – Johann still chooses a party feeder, Sophie’s choice contains an obligatory power-riff and Matt’s pick will probably be all hyping all internet and beyond sooner than you can utter s-e-e-k-a-e_fanboy. Biggest thanks goes out to our founders Jerry and Dom, for without their efforts harking all the way back to ’06, this blog wouldn’t exist. It’s been six years of sharing new Aussie tunes, local artists and the rest of the good stuff. Keep on keepin’ on!




Who The Bloody Hell Are They? was started by Jerry Soer and Dom Alessio in July 2006. Dom has left to concentrate on his radio show Home and Hosed on Triple J, and Jerry is now a full time artist manager. Currently based in LA, Jerry makes up one half of music tastemakers Vitalic Noise managing a roster spanning Miami Horror, Goldroom, Chela, DCUP, Grafton Primary, Knightlife, Viceroy & Good Night Keaton.


Kat Vinter –  ‘Stoneheart’

Australian-born-Berliner Kat Noorbergen is Kat Vitner. I’ve been following Kat’s work beginning with her time as Cassette Kids, and then more recently as a writer for various producers. ‘Stoneheart’ is a perfect slice of her pop writing skills mixed with trendy SBTRKT style beats. The track is available as a free download on Soundcloud.




Dom Alessio (@domalessio) is the host of triple j’s Australian music show Home & Hosed. He’s also a writer, a failed musician, a newly minted West Wing fan and he may or may not still hold the 100m sprint record at his high school. Along with Jerry Soer, he co-founded this very blog.

DOM: I remember Jerry and I coming up with the idea for Who The Bloody Hell Are They at a Gomez concert in 2006. I also thought ‘New Kids On The Blog’ would have been a great name, but we liked the idea of referencing the tourism campaign that Lara Bingle starred in. Looking back through the archives, we covered a lot of different stuff. The blog definitely got me involved heavily in Australian music. I never could have imagined that it’d turn into a job on radio, but life’s funny like that I guess.



Brothers Hand Mirror – ‘Bus Tickets’

“Skip-hop” used to be the pejorative thrown at anyone in Australia who was making hip-hop, our cultural cringe condensed to a hyphenated slur. But now trying to define what Australian hip-hop is is like trying to define what indie sounds like. As the genre has grown, from Def Wish Cast‘s groundbreaking Knights Of The Underground Table to the EDM leanings of 360‘s Falling & Flying, and more people have come to accept and even love Australians rapping in an Australian accent, it’s opened the gate for different influences and experimental ideas to infiltrate hip-hop. Just like indie – some of it’s great, a lot of it’s shit, and only a small number of artists make something genuinely original and exciting.

For me, Brothers Hand Mirror are one of those artists because they don’t sound like anything that’s come before them. The music is introspective, alien but it totally makes you want to dance. The beats are courtesy of Oscar Key Sung (a.k.a Oscar + Martin‘s Oscar Slorach-Thorn), all skittish and industrial. The voice of the duo is HTML Flowers (a.k.a Grant Gronewold), who also suffers from Cystic fibrosis. His life expectancy is severely reduced. They don’t play live much because of his health. So basically they’ve channeled that into a handful of stellar releases over the past few years that they’ve put out on Bandcamp. Muddy Now is the latest EP from Brothers Hand Mirror. If you thought you had “skip-hop” all figured out, listen to this.




Sophie Benjamin (@sophbenj) is a writer, bumbling photographer and occasional musician. She used to work as a journalist for the ABC and commercial radio in Queensland, but has since fled to Melbourne. Check out her blog at


High Tension – ‘High Risk, High Rewards’

I’m a little loath to contribute to the hype surrounding High Tension, but if past experience is the best predictor of future performance, the Melbourne four-piece probably has the goods. Former Young + Restless frontwoman Karina Utomo is back on the mic, with fellow Young + Restless alumnus Ash Pegram and members of Heirs and The Nation Blue rounding out the lineup.
If you like any of those bands, you’ll probably dig this.

Their digital EP is out now and a 7″ will arrive early next year.






Johann created Melbourne music company I OH YOU in late 2009 when he received a final notice for an overdue gas bill and in a last ditch attempt to pay it off decided to throw a house party and charged a ‘donation’ fee.

Since then I OH YOU has thrown parties all over the east coast of Australia and hosted acts like Foals, Yeasayer, OFWGKTA and The Drums.

The brand has also extended to function as a record label that releases DZ Deathrays, Violent Soho, Snakadaktal, City Calm Down and Bleeding Knees Club while also promoting tours for international acts such as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Bass Drum of Death and The Death Set.


Naysayer and Gilsun –  ‘In Mind’ (ft. Simon Lam)

Luke Neher and Sam Gill first started making waves in Melbourne as mash up DJs under the name ‘Naysayer & Gilsun’ a few years ago and quickly developed a strong and loyal following as they created their own brand of party. Moving with the times the two friends then turned their focus to developing a killer AV set which has been welcomed by their ever expanding fan base, seeing the duo begin to sell out rooms of 900+ capacity in Melbourne. Now Naysayer & Gilsun have shifted their focus to releasing original material and premiered the first offering in the form of a track titled ‘In Mind’, an expansive beat driven jam which features the melancholy vocals of Simon Lam (I’lls). It’s a trip which is perfect for late nights or (very) early mornings. Get around this!





Matt is a former Who The Hell editor. He tries to squeeze in time for writing outside of working for the man and being a perennial student (of life, and also more specifically of economics). Follow him on Twitter at @shirley_bassey.


Light Giant – ‘Waste of Wine’ 

Wasting wine is a terrible thing to do. Every time you pour wine down the sink, an angel loses its wings. Fortunately, if you then listen to this song, that angels gets them back. Such is the glory of this tune that it not only restores the power of flight to holy beings, it also manages to alleviate the pain of living in a post-Parades world.

Some friends of mine have an apartment south of Bondi. It looks a bit like a crack den but has an entire wall of windows. Not to get too poetic, but this song reminds me of seeing a huge storm roll in over the ocean from that place – it’s calming in that all-encompassing, inevitable way; brimming with kinetic energy and the tension of a potential eruption. Parades had a gift for using the studio to add to already-strong songs and that remains true here. ‘Waste of Wine’ is more straightforward than some of Parades’ best moments like ‘Loserspeak in New Tongue’, but it has that uplifting and (excuse the cliche) life-affirming characteristic that was all over their former band’s first and only album.

I was originally going to post something off the new Townhouses or Fievel albums (you should still check them out), but the above song seems most appropriate despite being half a year old. Not only is it the most accurate representation of Australian music I’ve been listening to this past week following the demise of Parades, but that band remains one of a few I’ll forever associate with this blog on account of my falling head over heels for them during my tenure as a contributor. Thankfully, they’re also the first and only of that holy trinity (filled out by Guerre and Seekae) to call it quits. Parades were also managed by our esteemed founder, Jerry, adding to the nostalgic/love-in vibe of this post.

I don’t listen to lyrics all that much, which is why my catalogue of contributions to Who The Hell consisted mostly of instrumental, electronic or weird guitar music and not a lot of hip hop or folk (also because Aussie hip hop is the worst – I feel like it’s finally time I got that off my chest). This means I’m incapable of pulling out a lyric from the song to tie in with this whole reunion and close off the post the way a better writer might do. Instead I’ll just say that Who The Hell lives on stronger than ever, and hopefully the members of Parades can also continue climbing to higher peaks in their various new bands.




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Andrew McMillen (@NiteShok) is a freelance journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. He writes for Rolling Stone, The Australian, The Global Mail and Qweekend, among others. Find an extensive collection of his work here:


Urthboy – ‘Empire Tags

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This is a classic example of telling an Australian story through hip-hop; a vision of the local version of the artform at its strongest. It’s my favourite track on Urthboy’s fourth album Smokey’s Haunt, released October 19 via Elefant Traks.From instrumentation and production through to lyrical content and message, this is simply a killer track. The Australian flag issue gets nudged every few years and I’m glad that Urthboy is doing the same through a contemporary medium.”From a time when the empire tagged the globe / We ain’t cleaned that graffiti off the front of our home,” he raps; in the album liner notes, he writes, “Let’s keep it simple, the flag of another country sits in the corner of ours and that’s some shit straight outta the 18th century. We’ve been staring so hard at the past maybe we’ve gone cross-eyed.”

I feel pride when I listen to this: for my country, for our freedom and ability to question the status quo through song, for Australian hip-hop, and for Urthboy himself. I’ve followed him since his 2004 debut Distant Sense Of Random Menace. It’s been a pleasure to watch his talents grow and grow. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.



A.H. Cayley (@ahcayley) is a Sydney writer, editor, broadcaster, and, evidently, hat-feather collector. She is the deputy editor of PAN Magazine, curator and host of quarterly live-reading night Confession Booth, a presenter on FBi Radio, and a contributing writer for publications like Time Out and The Big Issue, but she devotes most of her words to local music over at Mess+Noise. Her personal work found here:


Lower Plenty – ‘Nullabor

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I broke up with the man I was supposed to marry a few months ago, not long after Lower Plenty’s Hard Rubbish came out. The whole situation was so hard and so sad, and for nights on end, lying paralysed in the dark on my best friend’s sofa bed while he tried to find a new place, and pack up the life he’d shared with me, and come to terms with the bombshell I hadn’t been able to hold any longer, this song, playing on repeat through a set of battered earbuds, felt like all I had in this world.

‘Nullabor’ kicks me in the guts and makes me feel suffocated and restless and tired, but at least that’s something. It inherits a place as distant, desolate and lonely as the inhospitable stretch of country after which it’s named, and it’s just as beautiful; it’s as stunning as the whole outback. That nodding, mournful beat sits heavy around your neck while Al Montfort’s unique, wavering voice tells such an immense story in so few words. For the purity of its sadness, ‘Nullarbor’ is at its heart an optimistic song; it’s about letting go, and it’s about freedom, as painful as it can be. Even in the depths of its apparent hopelessness, there’s still that glimmer of hope in its protagonist’s eye; that brief but steely reassurance that says you’re doing the right thing, and that keeps you driving on, numb, through the dust.




Marcus Teague (@MarcusTheVine) releases and plays music under the moniker Single Twin.
His previous band Deloris released four albums throughout the ’00s and he is currently recording with a new project, Near Myth, who are set to release their debut album in 2013. He co-founded Mess+Noise and is currently the Deputy Editor of


(DAVE: Rules are meant to be broken and sometimes pegs don’t fit; so we went with all three of Marcus’s PEGs this month. Mostly because I couldn’t decide which ones to cut… I mean, could you?)

Collarbones – ‘Hypothermia

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I have a tendency to either listen to a song once and move on or just loop things over infinitely. As with this. What I like so much about ‘Hypothermia’ is — apart from that weird whirring sound that hums throughout, like a generator next to the bins out the back of a bar, which in turn perfectly illustrates the late night, just-outside-of-everything fuge state that the song has in store — is that I don’t think even it knows what it’s doing. I couldn’t say if there’s a verse and a chorus. It’s propulsive and arch and longing and melancholic. It could be your party jam or your breakup song. It could be background music or you could learn all the lyrics. You could play it on a guitar or in your rock band. Everyone concerned sounds effortless. It scans as a true and an entirely self-generating four and a half minutes of music. I don’t know if people realise how hard that is to create. I can’t really think of anything better you could say about a song.


Grand Salvo – ‘The Boy’s Story Of His Faithful Family Dog

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Grand Salvo—Paddy Mann— is consistently making some of the most focused, technically incredible, and melodically and lyrically gifted music in the country/world. It’s just true. His musical universe is wholly contained and to be treasured. I’ve said it before, but if Paddy was from the UK or the US or, I don’t know, Iceland, he’d be globally revered, no doubt about it.

While his strength will always be finding nuance in simplicity, Paddy’s music has been getting more complex and layered across his six albums, although fundamentally his great gift is honing in on simple motifs and tweaking them, to the point of unearthing some crucial element that was hidden before. Or up ahead. His latest, sixth album ‘Slay Me In My Sleep’ is probably the Grand Salvo world at its most baroque, so I get that the passing listener might think it sounds fluffy or twee. Maudlin, maybe. Those people are wrong and idiots and missing out.

‘Slay Me In My Sleep’ is not a collection of standalone songs. It’s a self-referential, circular work that requires multiple listenings. So it’s hard to pick one song from the album. But the fact that he calls his dog a “teenager” in this is incredible.


Ballads – ‘Your Mistake

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Disclosure: I’ve been in two bands with the singer in this band. He never sang in my bands because he said he couldn’t sing. Even with a microphone in front of him on stage. He sent me these songs and I wrote back “Sounds great! Who’s singing?” He said it was him and I got really mad. Because he never sang in my bands and because I wasn’t in this band.

Ballads are all friends from Newcastle who came together in Melbourne and they’ve only released, I think, four songs, including a 7”. ‘Ballads’ as a band name makes more sense after you’ve heard their music. They’re not a folksy “woe is me and her” band. More forlorn and doomed. There’s a definite sleepy, half-drunk/broken Grizzly Bear vibe here. If you don’t want to skol shots and slink underwater in the bath looking up at the woozy light here I don’t know what would do it. They’ve got a Wurlitzer in the band and it makes me want one. I’m still a bit mad.



Megan Gordon (@groupiemagazine) is the unashamedly keen Managing Editor of Groupie at Pages Digital. She once dressed as Dobby the Elf at a Harry Potter screening she helped organise at Sydney University. She’s also spent some time in Montreal were she was cold, drank bad coffee, spoke terrible French and worked at in her spare time.


Pear Shape – ‘The Coca-Cola Kid

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Pear Shape is one oddly sculpted sound situation you want to happen to you! The Sydney band crafts a decidedly exuberant brand of pop.

Their tune ‘The Coca-Cola Kid’ is as joyful as an advertisement for its namesake, only way less calorific and 100% more genuine. The band is also respectfully corporation free, producing their new EP (also named The Coca Cola Kid) independently.  Underneath the playful hooks, there’s a serious commitment to solid musicianship. These boys may play silly, but they’re dead set committed to their craft Their songs are crisp, structured and lyrically strong.

‘The Coca-Cola Kid’ is one of the best pop songs written by an Australian band this year; it’s a real shame that it isn’t on repeat across more stereos. But as the sun starts to shine stronger, I have a feeling people’s thirst for this tune will grow. Drink it in kids.



Dan Azzopardi (@dan_azzo) is the director of Sydney-based artist management and publicity agency, Mammal Sounds. Two years ago, he co-found Acid Stag, a music blog specialising in local and international indie and electro. Every Saturday night, catch him on FBi Radio, laying down sweat-inducing disco.


Elizabeth Rose – ‘Give In

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Admittedly, I’ve given a lap-dance to this song. The electro pop jam sports seductive vocals and a deep, grind-worthy bass-line, making it a total boudoir anthem. ‘Give In’ is the opening track to debut EP Crystallise from talented Sydney producer Elizabeth Rose. Due to its accessibility, it’ll likely be the 21-year-old’s next single release, and subsequently picked-up by mainstream media.
Do me a solid? Imagine your dream date straddling your lap whilst the following lyrics are being sung in an innocently breathy tone: “It’s too late to cool it all down; especially when the wheels are in motion, I can feel a reaction to the words coming out; and if you feel the need to survive, I got answers tonight, you just tell me how; why won’t you give in?”
If you reacted to the above with a stir in your loins, don’t feel ashamed – you’re not alone.

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All our Collective PEG contributors last month were all dudes. Nothing wrong with that, but hey – I’m all for gender balance in music and beyond.

So here’s Collective PEG #3 – slightly more femme themed, but still with the usual helping of new and interesting Aussie tunes to get you through your month.

Big thanks to our lady-pals who curated this month: Isabella Manfredi, Jenny Valentish, Courtney Barnett, Holly Friedlander Liddicoat & Paris Martine.



Isabella Manfredi fronts Sydney Goth Soul band The Preatures. She is currently undertaking the Tracy Anderson workout DVD challenge in the privacy of her own home, and likes listening to Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman back to back.


Seekae – ‘Gnor’

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Sometimes you have that catastrophic moment when you realise somebody you’ve assumed is just a nice, normal guy is actually a genius, or in a really, really good band. This happens to me a lot. It happened last month when I saw Seekae live and my brain caved in (a definite improvement). The Preatures have shared a studio with Seekae for almost a year now, and by tunnel vision and ignorance we had no idea who we were living with. To me they were just handsome John, handsome Alex, and George. George doesn’t need an adjective. But last month they invited us to see them play the first of 3 sold out nights at The Basement in Sydney. I expected it to be loud and overwhelming, but stepping up to the stage among the people, I started to part with my anxious body. The music whitewashed my mind clean as a cold tile, and everything around us moved with the same purpose like the release and tension in a kaleidoscope. It was artistic, and extremely beautiful. But more than that, it was the epitome of beauty; like the synchronicity of particles, the meaning of the universe, the purity of math. It was a complete relief from my own way of making music. That’s why, after one live show, they’re my favourite Australian band.



Holly Friedlander Liddicoat is the sole writer/owner at East to West, a blog which focuses 100% on Australian electronic sounds. She also writes for Portals and No Fear of Pop, but at the moment is taking some time off to get reacquainted with nature and the world outside of the internet. You’ll occasionally catch her on the Allnighter on FBi Radio, so if she digs your tunes that is where they’ll end up.


Kharkov – ‘Rise’

Based in Melbourne, Kharkov and his label Brother Sister have been great championers of all things minimal/powerful and exciting in our Asia Pacific region. With some great compatriots based in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, the calibre of tuneage coming out of these guys is unreal. Kharkov himself is a standout, his track Rise being featured on the ‘IO’ compilation, which showcases a stack of the Brother Sister artists and is well worth the couple of bucks on Itunes. It’s dark and shimmery and energetic, and really is a great representation of the talented minds behind the young and blossoming Australian dance music scene.




Paris Martine is a band booker best known for bringing the good stuff to venues around Melbourne. She’s done stints for Roxanne Parlour and Billboard The Venue and has booked everyone from Vanilla Ice to Peaches, and Beach House to Roland S Howard.  Paris was the first booker at The Workers Club and put the venue on the map by programming bands on the verge of big things, as well as heritage acts who she persuaded to play on the small stage. She’s also known for starting up Melbourne venue Phoenix Public House.

And to add to her long resume, she’s chalked up the coordinating arm too – running events for myriad of businesses including Lifelounge, Three Thousand, MTV, Laneway Festival, Future Entertainment to name a few. More recently, she’s assisted in booking acts for Melbourne Music Week and delegates for Face The Music conference. Paris is also band manager to Francolin.


No Zu – ‘Fa Foma Fi’

What do I like? Lyrics. Jarrod Quarrell‘s golden lung. Kirin J Callinan’s lewd ‘Thighs’. Or Teeth and Tongue‘s ‘Unfamiliar Skirts’. There is usually an element of cynicism and playfulness to the music I like. This is why Francolin interested me, they use music and lyrics to, as David Nichols so aptly put it, “cast a critical and withering eye on their world and their part in it”. Lyrical themes about good natured slackers found in Lower Plenty, Dick Diver’s ‘New Start’ and Bitch Prefect‘s ‘Bad Decisions’ – my music taste starts to take shape.

Maybe my love of lyrics is why I never completely connected with jazz or funk and although I dig beat-based music, it’s rare for it to stick to me.  I make all of these observations to magnify how rare I find Nicolaas Oogjes’s project – No Zu. No Zu combine genres of music that haven’t had a lasting effect on me and they distort language with nonsensical lyrics and yet the result is music that I LOVE.  I know this track is not spankin’ new and I really should try harder.. But hell, I don’t get asked what I like often enough to waste this opportunity.

Here’s a sack of stolen words that describe No Zu’s life; delayed trumpets, obsession with the ideas of ‘exotica’ and ‘Australiana’, tribal beats, psychedelic texturing, the avant-garde 80‘s, and endless David Byrne references that come from the use of interpretive vocals.  The album is classy. Nao has done a sublime job with the recording.  My only bone is Daphne’s vocals should be up in ‘Fa Foma Fi’.  Daphne can’t help but stand out in any project. She is like a cat amongst the pigeons. I once asked her to make me a mix tape and it was studded with trashy, questionable 90s dance anthems.  She is also responsible for introducing me to the brilliance that is Mark Ronson’s ‘Somebody To Love Me’ ft. Boy George. Guilty pleasures.

Around I go dancin’ bout architecture… wearing a bulletproof expression made for people who are not great at music journalism.  The song I am dancin’ to is ‘Fa Foma Fi’. It’s in the background. Drown me out & turn it up up up up!


Courtney Barnett plays guitar and writes songs. She put out her first EP I’ve Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris this year. She also plays with Immigrant Union and Jen Cloher.


The Merri Creek Pickers – ‘Starlight Dreammaker’

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The Merri Creek Pickers wrote this 11 minute opus in the bungalow at my place. Over the few months it took them to finish their epic journey I saw them spiral into an obsessive musical hole fueled by tea and the dead. A Guernica abyss. However, where Picasso’s masterpiece was born from war and torment, ‘ Starlight Dreammaker’ was born from a label on a mattress.



Jenny Valentish is the editor of Time Out Melbourne and former editor of Triple J Magazine.


Dune – ‘Shoestring’

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When Jade MacRae found herself in the unenviable position of relaunching her career – having taken time off to support husband Phrase and rethink her public persona –  she had to acknowledge that her name was no longer considered current currency by some sectors of the industry.

The role she’d fallen into, as the sunny soul singer invited to guest on TV shows, didn’t feel authentic to her any more. Lately, the former Sydney Conservatorium student had been composing strange, stark new tracks with a futuristic bent on the vintage synths of her father – a musician who had been embroiled in the 1970s experimental electronica scene of the UK. In order to pursue this, she was willing to go it alone, label-free, as Dune.

At her debut Melbourne show in August, I felt like I was at the beginning of something big. I heard glints of The Belle Stars, Bow Wow Wow, The Go-Gos, Santigold and Warpaint in the steel drums and tribal rhythms, while Jade has referenced Gary Numan and Brian Eno as production influences. She utilised a live rhythm section and projections of initiation ceremonies, Egyptian dances and wild animal footage that emphasised the lone wolf feel. Above all that were her famous vocal chops, still evident even in this new incarnation.

Lyrically, first single ‘Shoestring’ encompasses her willingness to sacrifice everything she’s worked for, both for love and for integrity.


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For those uninformed or who missed the first one (SEE HERE) – at the start of each month we’re profiling five blog/industry pals, harassing them for a mugshot and getting them to curate their favourite local track of the moment.

Big thanks to those who’ve brought the goods for your audio/visual betterment this month:




Simon J Karis is the co-owner/operator of Melbourne’s Polyester Records stores, as well as the recently revived Polyester Records label. He has previously worked at various independent Australian retailers and wholesalers and owns a lot of black tshirts.


Useless Children – ‘Shuffle’

I walk along the same route every day. To work, home, the shops. I also drive my car along the same routes every day. The simplest paths traced exclusively along the narrows of where I need to go – I rarely stray, seeing as little as possible. But it doesn’t matter, because every day I see people, advertising, cars, dead plants, money being spent; everything is at once transient and in transit, constantly. But it’s the people – they move quickly and slowly. They are everywhere, absolute and inescapable, imposing their colours on my world. I drive and walk along these paths I’ve traced every day. And it’s the same every day. I hope tomorrow that it is all on fire and that it is all the same colour.

Useless Children are the best Australian guitar band of the last 10 years and their 2nd LP Post Ending//Pre Completion is the sound of them getting it right, in a highly articulate and expressive musical language, for us all to hear and see.



Joe Hardy occasionally does music-related things, albeit in a very scattershot manner. Some of these things have included listening, gig-going, blogging, promoting and producing. He’s one of the people behind The Gate – keep an eye on it at


Andy Citawarman – ‘No Rewards No Regrets’

Sad reality: Snowman were one of Australia’s finest bands and yet Australia barely knew them. As tragic as their breakup is, the recent solo projects are proving rewarding. Some are aware of Joe McKee’s brilliant LP, but before that album came to light Andy Citawarman had been teasing his new material on Soundcloud for upwards of a year. Andy’s music highlights where a lot of the atmospheric beauty of Snowman came from – his hallmark sounds are dense with grandiose, icy, melodically complex and immersive textures. This recent upload is a gorgeous epic that contains enough to make 6 minutes feel like 20 (in the best way). A fragile prelude, an ominous main theme – the only misstep is the last 50 seconds, which feels like a tacked-on chord sequence that undermines the rest’s exquisiteness. Nonetheless, worthy of attention and the album is likely to be unmissable.



Based in Sydney, Hugh serves as Australian Correspondent for US mega-blog Indie Shuffle where he’s able to share the best Australian music with the rest of the world. He’s also the co-founder of the quirky culture hub, The Awkward Collective. He also likes beards, turtles and bow ties.


Olympic Ayres – ‘The View’ (mp3)

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“We do many things, we span the genres, they call us the genre spanners.”

This self-styled description (extra points for the Mighty Boosh reference) covers Sydney-duo Olympic Ayres pretty nicely – with elements of R&B, electro, world music and indie pop appearing throughout their music. So far, this combination has resulted in two upbeat and stupidly-addictive EPs, with current single ‘The View’ receiving a fair slice of airtime on local radio. Breezy and tropical, it’s got a real mid-90s R&B vibe to it. While that last statement may induce a few raised eyebrows, listen to it and I’m sure you’ll agree it really works for them.

The boys have a third EP on the way later this year, on which they’ll be working alongside in-demand producer Jean-Paul Fung (Last Dinosaurs, Guineafowl, Snakadaktal).



Jonno Seidler is the co-founder of One A Day, an Australian-based, genre-free music blog that has been posting longform analysis of preposterous pop music every day for the last four years. He’s also a columnist and senior music writer at The Vine, a former staff writer for The Brag, and a freelances for Manuscript, Monocle and Rolling Stone. The very first music writing he ever did on the web was right here at Who The Hell back when he had just finished school. He said Sneaky Sound System were great. Don’t hold it against him.


Jahnne – ‘And I Would Again For You’ (mp3)

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Melbourne-based enigma Jahnne told me via Soundcloud correspondence that he literally wrote this song in one evening after dinner. It certainly has that kind of freewheeling spontaneity about it, but also some beautifully lush piano and synth samples melded into the kind of quiet electronic brilliance that’s popping up all over the country this year. It’s a song that’s wonderful not only for what it does say but also what it doesn’t; those achingly crafted loops seem to will a vocal melody into being despite its absence. Evocative and intensely listenable, it’s definitely one of the better things I’ve stumbled upon lately.



Doug Wallen is Editor of the cantankerous Australian music resource Mess + Noise and Music Editor of The Big Issue. He’s also a regular contributor to The Vine, Rolling Stone and several other publications. Once upon a time he lived in America and wrote about music all over the place there, before that cutting his teeth on newspapers and the formative teenage music zine Skyway.


Lehmann B. Smith – ‘I Spy The Morning’ (mp3)

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Lehmann B. Smith has done fine work in Kes Band and Kes Trio in the recent past, but he really comes into his own on Girlfriends. His latest solo record ‘I Spy The Morning’ is the first track from it. It’s only a bit over two minutes yet sets up the album beautifully: the creepy childlike pull of his vocals, the reassuring gusts of choir harmonies, the tongue-in-cheek embracing of early rock ‘n’ roll, the sharp turns of instrumentation and the general oddball surprises on offer. Smith says Girlfriends is as close as he gets to pop, and it’s pretty damn close, in his way. His androgynous voice and crowded slate of collaborators (including engineer James Cecil, formerly of Architecture in Helsinki) might make him seem overly precious or quirky to some, but this is an indisputably unique record that feels very human to me. And a wee bit bawdy, even.


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