Monthly Archives: July 2013

Old News: Theo Berndt

I’ve decided to start a non-regimented mini-segment called Old News. Simply because I often find a lot of really cool music that I want to yarn about but it sometimes turns out the song or artist has been out for quite a while. I never committed to completely “new” music. At least I hope I didn’t, because I don’t really keep promises too well with my blogging.

With that said, the first installment is a presentation of another lovely Swedish artist going by the name of Theo Berndt. He’s relatively unheard of (600 facebook fans) and unlike some of the other artists I’ve highlighted lately, Theo Berndt with his 2012 album, F.E.A.R.S is a beautifully happy indie-pop collection that jumps about spontaneously from song to song, never quite sure where it belongs but always pleasing. The latest track to be released, entitled Artwork, is definitely rougher than a lot of other stuff but seriously awesome.

Similar to American smiley-pop extraordinaire, Kyle AndrewsBerndt’s brand of indie ranges from jumping-on-the-bed exciting with songs like the aforementioned Artwork, to the more inspirational digi-ballad, Blueberry Clouds. He deserves a lot more attention than he’s currently getting so eat up.

The Naked & Famous Are Back

I love these guys. Even if it is mainly because they remind me a lot of my time living in Canada. But of course, also because they’re pretty epic. The Naked & Famousin case you’ve recently been in a freak super-modified-shovel-racing accident (yes it’s a thing) and found yourself trapped in a coma from early 2008 until this specific moment, are a brilliant (apparently) post-punk revival outfit from Auckland, New Zealand.

Their debut album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, was a thing of beauty, rearing instant festival classics like Punching in a Dream, Young Blood and an amazing electro-ballad that turned out to be my personal favourite, No WayThe album reached a height of #25 on both the UK and Australian charts while peaking all the way to #1 in NZ.

Just yesterday, exciting happenings happened when the band debuted their latest track, Hearts Like Ours, across various social platforms. The single is in line with a lot of their previous stuff. The sound is equally as huge as their previous summer anthems and just as enjoyable, with brilliant melodies and harmonies spanning the chorus enforced by grunge-toned guitar and  passionately paced keyboard.

The new album, entitled In Rolling Waves, is set for a September 16th release.

A couple of years ago, they also released a really awesome remix of Austere by the similar sounding Canadian favourites, The Joy Formidable.

Last Dinosaur Standing

Founding Member Of Last Dinosaurs Quits Band

Since the release of their 2012 masterpiece In A Million Years…Brisbane based indie four-piece, Last Dinosaurs have been highly regarded in Australia, playing string after string of sold out shows to adoring crowds around the country who lapped up tickets like a herd of thirsty llamas.

But disaster has struck this week. Whilst in the middle of being bunkered away to work on the already anticipated sophomore release, it was revealed that Bassist and founding member Sam Gethin-Jones will be leaving the outfit, announcing his departure via the band’s facebook page. In the post, he says, “…Sam here. I come with the unfortunate news that I will no longer be a part of Last Dinosaurs. For the band to move forward in the strongest way possible it is best that we part ways now. I can honestly say that the best experiences in my life have been with the guys, and I’ll always be grateful for the memories we’ve shared.”

Now, this is sad news indeed. When The Indie Rock Summit was still playing it old-school and hosting our biz on blogger, I highlighted In A Million Years…as album of the month in July 2012 (I think?) and have been very keen for the follow up ever since. There’s always that tightening of a fan’s stomach when an original member leaves as thoughts of hopelessness and despair cross our minds, especially when it’s a band with a short catalogue like Last Dinosaurs. Will the rest of the band fall apart? If not who will replace this memeber? Will the music go down the drain? I’m afraid of change!!

The band, and Gethin-Jones himself, assures us that the second album is still on track and is sure to “blow our minds”. Whatever it turns out to be, let’s just hope that the departure of young Gethin-Jones doesn’t make the hugest impact on the all important second release, which is sometimes the decision maker on whether a band stands the test of time. Will this departure bring on the threat of extinction in the long run? With gems like these from the first album, I certainly hope not.

And The Award Goes To…

Family of the Year aren’t necessarily new or anything. However, I’ve never really paid them much notice until now and I figured it’s about time we took some time out from the magic of Euro dream-pop and focused again on some holiday indie.

The band came to the attention of some pretty prominent indie favourites such as Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons and other more unknown sorts like, cough, Ben Folds (never heard of him) after they launched their debut album, Songbook (2009)Band members Joseph and Sebastian Keefe are brothers of course, with a name like Family of the Year you kind of have to expect them to have some sort of sibling foundation.

In regards to the song I’ve plucked for this post, St Croix, taken right from their latest album, Loma Vistait sounds like an Instagram filter looks. Something reminiscent of a summer holiday back when photographs were all stained and yellow-y. As its shell, it harnesses the steady energy of the fun side of the indie genre, whilst brooding with soft, gooey folk on the inside.

I don’t know how to take the chorus line seriously though. “You bring the ocean, I’ll bring the motion. Together we’ll make a love potion.” It’s almost said with enough seriousness that I could imagine a lady swooning at its delivery. You probably won’t agree.

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Don’t Fear The Dream-Pop

He’s been called “The perfect dream pop” artist (according to one image I found on Google images…) and yet is still unsearchable on Spotify? Geez, what is this world coming to!

Robin Huqueleux a.k.a FEAR CLUB is a cool little relatively unknown act from Paris, France who says he’s heavily influenced by the dreamy sounds of Washed Out and, you guessed it, M83. After reading his bio I find it hard to come up with a clever-er way to describe the sound, so in the words of the man himself, …Fear Club aims to capture ‘our nostalgia of sunny days when summer is gone. As it’s currently the middle of winter here in Australia, I can think of no better type of music to be lured in by.

In a similar vein to Mike Landry’s ‘Heartbeat‘, the latest track, Escape, is contradictory in essence. It’s repetitive but catchy; the beat of the drums make it static at its core yet smooth overlaying tones typical of dream-pop purveyors make it mesmerizing to listen to. As FEAR CLUB says, it has the unmistakable tone of a summer memory stained with a dark chill that really could portray any one of the season. But don’t think about it too much, to be honest it’s just a really cool tune.

He also did a remix of Surrender by Lockets that is pretty damn cool…

Looking for the right material

Shame on me for thinking that Shout Out Loud’s were a new thing. Apparently the band from (of course) Stockholm, Sweden have been around and tearing it up since their debut album, Howl, Howl, Gaff, Gaff in 2005. In the gap between the time they first appeared in the industry and when I first noticed they existed, they’ve toured with the likes of The Strokes, The Magic Numbers and many other big names and it’s obvious how they fit into that sort of world.

The song I’ve chosen to highlight, 14th of July, has this kind of dragging vocal that sits on the fence between happy and sad in the fact that while it stampedes through the chorus with such excitement it’s still hard to miss the edge of hopelessness in the lyrics with lines like, “…What’s the point of a sun that never sets, when I can’t forget this isn’t real?” 

That’s what Shout Out Loud’s seem to do best. Their formula reels you in with an excitable foundation of catchy pop melodies and cool, clangy funk-style guitar riffs, but at their core there is something really vulnerable in the lyrics that locks in a connection with the listener that’s hard to break.

The album, Optica, was released on the 26th of April on iTunes and you can buy/listen to it here.

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Dear Fans of M83…

Dear fans of M83,

I don’t know quite know how to break it to you, but there’s a band out there that are doing things very close to their sound and some would debate are doing it better. Now this is of course my own opinion. But I felt compelled to tell you all that, well… you have options now and surprise, surprise didn’t we all know it was bound to come out of Scandinavia.

Scandi-pop is getting huge as of late with a bombardment of properly awesome acts coming to prominence in the indie circuit this year. The likes of Kate Boy, The Royal Concept and Urban Cone come to mind but I’m sure there are many others. Now there’s another cab in the ranks.

Postiljonen are made up of three electro-wizards straight from the big city in Sweden, Stockholm. The official release of their debut albumSkyer, is set for July the 22nd but you can listen to it on Spotfiy right now if you have an account.

The album is a brilliant array of earthy samples and the kind of keyboard melodies that I’d imagine the pioneers of digital effects dreamed about when they invented the stuff. The vocals on most tracks have a similar vibe to M83; that sleepy tonality that drives like a melodic bedtime song but more likely perfect to have on during chill nights in.

Skyer is one wicked album in it’s own right, whether you think they sound like M83 or not. So just check it out and let me know what you think.

In The Digi-Pop Playground

According to their Facebook page, St Lucia’s latest track, Elevate, debuted this morning on Nylon Mag, much to the delight of electro-pop fans worldwide (myself included). In this latest installment, we see the band playing once again in the digital epic playground, sometimes known as the “bring-back-the-eighties-genre”, and indeed elevating their sound well above the heights of previous releases (see what I did there?), creating an infectiously smooth and tasty pop track.

I particularly loved the vocal repetition at the end packed into a three part harmony driving against a brass background, once again reviving everything that made the eighties such a cool cat.

Crystal Fighters – LA Calling

This naughty number has well and truly picked my day right up.