Sydney artist Bilby (aka Blinky Trill, aka Harry Moxham) returns with a new EP, Walkin 2 the Lake, a precursor to the full-length follow up to 2016’s Botanicals. Here Bilby enlists the help of US producer Meltycanon, whose whimsical beats meld seamlessly with Bilby’s playful rhyme schemes and silky hooks.
Across its 5 tracks the EP finds Moxham playing many roles; Bilby the romantic on opener ‘ILY+YLM’ (released on Valentine’s Day no less), Bilby the blunted jokester on ‘Barnaby Joints’, or Bilby the critic on ‘Sydney Rapper’. The latter a commentary on his disillusionment with the local rap scene, a sentiment no doubt shared by many of his fans. And why not? There is very little common ground with Bilby’s music and the regurgitated clichés present in a lot of Australian hip hop. His eclectic musical taste and their influence on his own music makes more sense for it to be pegged as indie pop, or some other less restrictive genre tag.
But it’s on closing track, ‘Sittin’, where we see yet another side to the artist, a contemplative, almost despondent side that gives new meaning to his emo-rap prince title. That’s not to say he hasn’t dabbled in raw emotion before, in fact his candour is what makes his music relatable, but there’s a level of introspection on ‘Sittin’, that we’ve yet to hear from the artist.
On his upcoming full-length, Shade, Moxham takes on all writing and production duties, further developing the Bilby sound heard on Botanicals and 2 High 2 Sign High. And with the artistic growth displayed here, the album promises to be something very special.
Walkin 2 the Lake is available as a free download via Yes Rave here.
In the hubbub of year-end lists we’re keeping it simple with 10 great tracks released over the past 12 months. This list does not attempt to be definitive in any way, it is simply a bunch of great tunes created by some amazingly talented artists. If you’re not familiar with any of the music listed, do yourself a favour and give it a spin, consume it in your preferred method and hold it forever in your heart/mind/soul/other intangible essence incomprehensible to human beings.
Mere Women – Big Skies
Mere Women’s album Big Skies is a more sombre affair than its predecessor, the darker mood giving their distinct brand of post-punk a rich new depth. While tracks like ‘Tin Rooves’ and ‘Curse’ saw the band exploring a more spacious, restrained sound, the title track finds them in full flight. Murky guitars, driving rhythm, and a commanding vocal delivery which charts the full gamut of Amy Wilson’s range, from brooding baritone to urgent caterwaul.
Kirin J Callinan – Friend of Lindy Morrison
Kirin J Callinan delivered (at long last) his divisive second album, Bravado. Equally complex and simple, Bravado was an assured statement from an artist not content with repeating himself. While the tongue-in-cheek humour throughout the album makes it difficult to embrace at times, there are moments of sheer brilliance which transcend any questions of the artist’s intent.
‘Friend of Lindy Morrison’ is a stone cold classic. The music could be ripped from a 1980’s pop songbook with Callinan and guest Weyes Blood trading vocals in spine-tingling fashion.
Yon Yonson – Pattern Recognition 1
Yon Yonson’s quirky and eclectic blend of electronic indie pop hit a new high point with the release of their cracking album Yes No Sorry earlier this year.
One of the edgier moments from the album comes in the form of ‘Pattern Recognition 1’, with its sleek synth bass line and tough hip-hop beat giving Andrew Kuo a chance to deliver a punchy vocal performance.
Lovely head – Show Up (Rebel Yell remix)
This dream pairing fully lived up to expectation with Rebel Yell transforming Lovely Head’s dark experimental pop track ‘Show Up’ into a pulsing industrial stomper.
Rebel Yell and Lovely Head have each had a pretty flawless strike rate to date and the future certainly looks promising for both artists.
Shady nasty – Upwardsbound
Equally influenced by post-punk, hardcore, and jazz, Sydney-trio Shady Nasty make heavy, cathartic music punctuated by the searing vocals of front man, Kevin Stathis.
Lead single, ‘Upwardsbound’, is more melodic than the rest of the trio’s self-titled EP. Cascading guitar, crawling tempo and dramatic, soaring vocals. Exciting stuff from these newcomers.
Phile – Deadzone
Phile are Sydney duo Hannah Lockwood and Gareth Psaltis, whose harrowing techno creations are not for the faint-hearted.
‘Deadzone’, the final track from their self-titled EP, begins with a squelching, syncopated acid rhythm, but just as you start to get comfortable you enter the darkness. Sinister synth chords envelop the rhythm providing a suitably haunting end to the duo’s killer debut.
Total Control – Laughing at the System 2
In the death throes of the year Total Control managed to sneak a new (mini) album into the world. Much like 2014’s Typical System, the band continue to laugh in the face of conformity jumping from insistent post-punk, to modular synth experiments, to more conventional (in Total Control terms) garage rock.
The album is bookended by alternate versions of the title track, the opener a brash cacophony of clanging chimes, fuzzy guitar and synthetic drums. But it’s the album closer which finds the band at their scuzzy best. Urgent, scrappy and loads of fun.
Jikuroux – Cradle Bay
Hot on the heels of her Ruptured Pulse EP, Sydney producer Jikuroux aka Jess Lavelle returns with another solid effort on Cradle Bay.
There is something exotic about the music of Jikuroux, the melodic elements coming off like some mutant new-age music, while the hard-hitting beats keep it firmly rooted in the modern-day bass music landscape.
The title track captures this fusion nicely with sharp synth stabs and tight rhythms counterbalanced by a smooth melodic undertone.
Setec – Cotton Bones
The first single from Setec’s forthcoming album (due out next year) further refines the delicate intimacy of his debut, Brittle As Bones.
The melancholic ‘Cotton Bones’ opens on a minimal piano loop, with spectral echoes dispersed among pitter-patter rhythms. The song gradually blooms into a bright singalong moment, as vocal layers are added atop a typically gauzy and nostalgic sample.
Ptwiggs – Exuviae
Ptwiggs’ debut EP, Purge, is a provocative and uncompromising take on bass music. A white-knuckle ride through fierce sonic territory.
The second track, ‘Exuviae’, steps up the anxiety factor with a propulsive urgency that could soundtrack some futuristic chase scene, a scene where there is little reprieve for the poor soul being chased.
Body Promise, founded by Doug Wright of Fishing fame and current FBi Radio music director, Amelia Jenner, started life as a radio show on the aforementioned station’s digital outing, FBi Click. Their passion for new and interesting club music and penchant for expertly curated guest mixes made the show a hub for forward-thinking producers across the club music spectrum. The duo has since expanded, dabbling in show promotion, making the move to FBi’s Sunsets slot, and most recently becoming a fully-fledged record label.
Drawing from their experience as purveyors of exciting local and international talent, the first outing for the label was Harmony from a Dominant Hue, a compilation showcasing the who’s who of the local Australian club underground. Just a little over 12 months later Body Promise present Fantastic Effects, which picks up right from where Hue left off. Pulling together another stellar list of primarily local artists, Fantastic Effects explores a more percussive palette, spanning outright rollers from the likes of Hot Wavs and HED Ardennes to more esoteric contributions from DIN (Rainbow Chan & Moon Holiday) and fake (aka Cassius Select).
Elsewhere, Melbourne heroes, friendships, turn in the distinctive and expansive ‘GUT ROT’, while Sydney mainstay, Tom Smith, dishes out a couple of rhythmic workouts, firstly under his T.Morimoto moniker, then later as one half of new duo Poison with fellow Sydney-sider DJ Plead.
Having already left an indelible mark on the Australian club music landscape it will be exciting to see how Body Promise grow and diversify in the future. For now, grab your copy of Fantastic Effects and while you’re at it grab a copy of Harmony from a Dominant Hue too and really set yourself up for the summer.
Sydney producer, Ptwiggs’ Debut EP, Purge, released via exciting new Sydney imprint Deep Seeded Records, is a white-knuckle ride through fierce sonic territory. A neon-lit dystopia where skulking, ambient synth pads are juxtaposed by a relentless rhythmic assault. Where woozy melodies and sampled Japanese vocal snippets collide in nightmarish distress, and it’s all you can do just to hold on.
Twigg’s maximalist approach shares common ground with a new breed of uncompromising bass music experimentalists like WWWINGS, Amnesia Scanner, and fellow Sydney-sider Grasps_ (with whom Ptwiggs and WA?STE recently collaborated on the track ‘Praying Waiting’). The music seems like a response to a sensory overloaded society on a seemingly inexorable march to tipping point.
The EP follows a string of equally impressive singles, ‘Cry for Ikari’, ‘Hypno Game’, and ‘Clarity’, each one adding another layer to the determined aesthetic vision which now reveals itself fully with the arrival of Purge.
These are futuristic dancefloor productions with little regard for the actual dancefloor. Refreshing, ambitious music that bullies you into the passenger seat and locks the door from the outside.
Purge is available digitally and on vinyl via Deep Seeded Records here.
Renowned Sydney cellist, Peter Hollo, has built a solid discography over the years. Aside from his work as a member of FourPlay String Quartet and Tangents, he has become somewhat of a go-to player for recording artists when strings are required. This has seen him play and record alongside a countless list of both local and international artists including Oren Ambarchi, Seekae, Holly Throsby, Lisa Gerard, Philippe Petit and many more.
His solo work and collaborations have been consistent over the years; however actual releases have been more sporadic to the point where his latest full-length, the night is dark, the night is silent, the night is bright, the night is loud, feels like his first fully realised album.
Under his Raven guise Peter’s layered cello creations draw from far-reaching influences including neo-classical, ambient, post-rock and various forms of electronic music. At times his playing is intimate and personal, at other times expansive and dramatic. His chops as a cello player will come as no surprise for those familiar with his work, but what is unexpected are the sparse, ambient pieces, peppered with delicate piano and electronic flourishes. These explorations showcase the breadth of Peter’s influence and abilities as a musician.
The epic ‘descent’, is a perfect example, beginning with sprinklings of piano set against scrappy percussive clatter and eerie pads, before a sinister synth growl threatens to swallow the piece entirely. After the turbulence subsides the growl still looms in the periphery. A territorial predator preserving its turf.
I feel it would be almost cliché to call the album cinematic as this word is overused and tends towards the grandiose, however there is an undeniable film score quality to many of the pieces. The clever, understated arrangements evoke imagery perfectly suited to the moving screen, from the anxiety-fuelled horror of ‘infestation’, to the ramshackle convoy of ‘copra’.
The night is dark… is an adventure which invites you to saddle up with it. It’s music to accompany your next expedition, be it across the globe, or across the street.
Peter is playing shows in support of the new album. You can catch him in Sydney this Thursday at Venue 505, then onto Canberra on October 21st at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery
Electronic duo, Rolling Mass, is a collaboration between Melbourne artists, Carolyn Schofield and Max Kohane. On paper their respective work appears to have few points of intersection musically, Schofield with her sprawling ambient synth explorations as Fia Fell, and Kohane with his exhaustive discography taking in grindcore, modern composition, sample-based beat music and beyond. Their debut EP,Prime Unity, doesn’t favour either camp but instead uses elements from each artists’ sound to explore something new altogether. The result is an intriguing mix of techno and free-form electronica where bubbling samples meld with pulsating synth in an evolving sound world that is both nostalgic and futuristic.
The video for the title track, created by Errol Green (Exotic Snake, Yolke), perfectly captures this world using feedback generated through a 90’s video mixer.
Despite only containing 3 tracks the EP feels expansive, each piece stretching out beyond its own orbit. Prime Unity will no doubt appeal to fans of Schofield and Kohane’s individual work, and should also pick up some new fans ready to take this unique voyage. The EP is available on vinyl and digitally via Brain Dead Records here.
To celebrate the release of their EP the duo have compiled an exclusive mix for whothehell. Featuring tracks from heavy weights like Carter Tutti Void and Jan Jelinek alongside more obscure artists such as Tourist Kid and Body of Adonis, the mix provides great insight into some of the music they enjoy and the music they create.
Heldon – Moebius
Danny Wolfers – Fantasy Or Dream I’ll Take Anything
Suzanne Ciani – Concert At WBAI Free Music Store
Convextion – Distant Transmission
Beatrice Dillon – Poisson
Carter Tutti Void – V 3
Helm – Olympic Mess (N1L Remix)
Helm – Olympic Mess
N1L – Jaget Och Maskerna
Sleezy D. – Trust Track
Suzanne Ciani – Concert At Phil Niblock’s Loft
Home Listening – mixmixmix (excerpt)
Body of Adonis – Gossip/Grooming
Phuture – Acid Tracks
Jan Jelinek – Do Dekor
Tourist Kid – Under Armour Suite
Lukid – Riquelme
Panasonic – Vaihe (Fön)
Giuseppe Ielasi & Andrew Pekler – Yallingup
(N1L – Jaget Och Maskerna)
Helm – Olympic Mess (N1L Remix)
If there was any justice in the world Mere Women would be like, as huge as Smith Street Band but with the critical respect of like, Total Control. I reckon they could have been The Jezabels three years ago if your average Triple J listener liked things that are good instead of things that are bad. I reckon they’re so amazing.
It’s hard to overstate how important Mere Women’s last record Your Town was to me in 2014 as a hyper-dramatic, desperate 21 year old. To hear something with so much fire and fury and power in its naked desire. Made me feel more and more terrifically crazy at the same time. Three years later and there’s another Mere Women album. And it sounds a bit different. And for one second I felt that knee jerk reaction to whine ‘oh but I liked it befooooore’. But just for one second, because Big Skies delivers something broader in scope and sound, that still crackles with the same intense dis-ease as the best of anything they’ve done before.
There’s less of those catch-in-your-throat, defiant guitar melodies that cut all other post-punk aping guitar bands into ribbons. But you already knew they could do that. Did you know they could write huge-sounding rock songs with depth and texture that still sound whip-sharp and lean? Or two in a row, like they’ve given us in ‘Birthday’ and ‘Big Skies’?
The three elements that have always made up the base of their sound remain unchanged; the interplay between strident, aching vocals, white-hot guitar and powerful, eccentrically technical drumming. There’s just more and more sound filling up the space, rounding everything out and making it something less easy to categorise.
‘Drive’, with it’s ‘I give up I give up / pick me up pick me up’ crazed muttering repetition brings some of their old recklessness and desperation. The vocals, roll over each other, the changes in pace and melody building to tense frantic verses into choruses that almost give the closure of a huge release but hold something just back. There’s a lot of disparate, busy and fast-moving parts across this record that could have made a mess out of lesser songwriters. Instead it all sounds – not easy, there’s nothing really easy about the sound of this record – but natural. They even made an echoing piano ballad like ‘Curse’ fit in a way that doesn’t feel shoehorned in.
It feels weird to say that this is a darker album than Your Town, because that was some heavy shit. But I think Big Skiesencompasses more than the kind of obsessive love and desire that drove the older record. They’ve combined personal and political into a generalise feeling of discontent, anger and fear. That all this darkness never drags just shows how fucking good these guys are at writing songs – they move with pace and purpose, beautiful and terrible.
You can purchase Big Skies from Poison City Records right NOW