Monthly Archives: August 2013

Thank Moon-Bear It’s Friday Mixtape: August 30th

Back this Friday with another irregular mixtape for your listening pleasantries, this time all thanks to that magical moon-bear that my sister designed one time.

This week’s mix is a tasty collection of folk, dream-pop and indie classics in the making. Highlights from the blog include the latest track from RAC featuring Kele from Bloc Party and MNDR and the latest track from Chela who has acted as special feature for a lot of cool acts including Goldroom and Clubfeet; now stepping out on her own with the release of her debut EP Romanticise.

Let me know what you think in the comments below and bloody enjoy this weekend. It’s gonna be great.

Darling Dearest

I received this recommendation on Spotify with the tagline, “You liked Jonquil and Penguin Prison..you might like this.” Not even close Spotify. But I’m glad you did it anyway. Xylos are a cool little Electronic/Pop group straight outta the hub of anything remotely cool, Brooklyn, NY.

They sound a little 80’s, a little dream pop, a little drunken haze and a little romantic. Whatever you’re into, Darling Dearest has so many angles in it you’re sure to find one or two reasons why it’s your new favourite song.

A brief History of Panic

Now, last time I posted an “Old News” blog I was a little bit embarrassed. If you read regularly, or just look below, you’ll know that it was on the Swedish wonder-horse Theo Berndt. It was meant to be a positive spotlight on a band that has had the record out for over a year, but I can understand how the title might make you think it means that they’re irrelevant. Anyways, Theo retweeted my post and upon realising the implications it might hold I was a little red in the face.

In that case, when I’m putting the spotlight on The History Of Panicwho released the stunning album, Fight! Fight! Fight! in 2012 I’ve decided to leave out the title despite the time they’ve had the album out. I really can’t stress enough how freaking amazing this album is. I love the concept art, I love every single track from beginning to end.

Just check out some of these tracks and decide for yourself, but they’ve only got 227 fans on Facebook. I mean, what the hell, get amongst it guys.

RAC, Kele & MNDR. Sold.

Do I really need to write a couple of paragraphs explaining why you should be friggen excited about the latest track from RAC featuring Kele & MNDR? The other thing is, Bloc Party have recently released a new EP and this just blows any of those tracks out of the water.

They had a great run and I love older Bloc Party but I honestly think it’s clear from this track who Kele should be teaming up with. RAC (Remix Artist Collective) is, in my opinion, indie’s best remix artist. After releasing a collection of stunning indie remixes through 2012, he released his first original in the track Hollywood featuring Chris Glover (AKA Penguin Prison) and it was an impressive tune showcasing exactly what RAC’s own voice might look like as a writer and not just a “tweaker”.

Let Go is the second original track to be released and we once again see the boys teaming up with some pretty well regarded indie icons to play lead in what is yet another mind-blowing indie-pop tune. Although he is a new artist when looking at original songs, he’s already developed a competence and professionalism that not a lot of seasoned artists attain in years of touring. From the looks of the first two tracks, you should be excited. One thing’s for sure. He’s consistent.

GIG REVIEW: CHVRCHES @ Oxford Art Factory – 2nd August, 2013

CHVRCHES leading lady and serial heart-stopper Lauren Mayberry

So this is a bit of a late one, but some of you might care to know that I was witness to the brilliance of that Scottish synth-pop powerhouse, CHVRCHES the other week when they stopped by Sydney on their first Australian tour.

First of all, the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney is one of my favourite spots to watch live music. It’s a combination of everything that makes a good venue. Intimate enough to serve the music lovers, gritty and ‘underground’ enough to cater to the hip kids and the drinks menu is godly enough to shoot the most hardened alcoholic straight back to his teenage days.

City Calm Down lead singer, Jack Bourke.

Melbournites City Calm Down were the first and only support act for the night, jumping in head first (to my astonishment) with the single from their Movements EP, Sense Of SelfIt was a gutsy start to say the least. The song shone brilliantly as an opener, but with not a lot of back ups for the crowd to cling to interest waivered for a lot of the set. But this isn’t a review of a crowd, this is a review of a kick-ass band and their kick-ass set. Which it was.

They didn’t lose a single step throughout, stampeding with confidence through tracks like Stay, oldies like You Can Have It Better and the finisher, Dare, letting loose their unique brand of smooth decisive vocal melodies and runaway synth. Darein particular, was a highlight as the closer. It’s a personal favourite from the album and that clangy catch-up guitar riff gets my head bopping every time.

Now, in the big scheme of things, CHVRCHES are pretty lucky to be playing the type of shows they are at the moment. Not to say they’re not worthy of them, but that they sky-rocketed to popularity on the back of a series of singles in a short time that quite visibly has caught them off guard, in the modest interviews they give and the quality of their set. Before they came out, the crowd too seemed unsure about the level of faith they were willing to invest in a band with such a short catalog available to the general public.

Without any bullshit opening stunt, they crept out onto the colourfully lit stage and waved hello. They opened with Lies which to be brutally honest isn’t my favourite track by them, which was also a reason I was stoked they got it out of the way early and loosened their nerves on it. Second up was We Sink which hasn’t been released apart from a live studio performance on YouTube. It was the first time I’d noticed the male synth player sings and I was widely impressed by how much they not only got away with it, but came out with a properly gnarly track considering his voice isn’t the absolute best I’ve ever heard.

One thing was clear from the start; it’s quite obvious that the quality of the music from CHVRCHES does not yet match up to the quality of the performance. Despite delivering what was, to me, an impeccably intense performance musically, they were pretty timid physically, presenting an odd image when paired with the giant pop tunes they’ve put together to make an incredible set.

The new album, The Bones Of What We Believedoesn’t surface until September 23rd, so a lot of the set included top numbers that were new to the crowd, but by that point in the show they were delivered with such confidence and received with so much love. It was great to see the mild mannered synth player shimmy out the front to take over lead duties and throw down what was one of my favourites of the night.

CHVRCHES backup front guy, Martin Doherty

Towards the middle of the set we heard the Triple J favourites that some might consider to have launched the Scottish triplet into the Australian scene Recover and GunBoth were intense to witness live. The anger and desperation encased in both songs screamed out with even more intent when played live, and lead singer (and keeper of my heart) Lauren Mayberry presented such a vulnerability in her performance that Sydney came together to carry her through it.

Reminiscent of the end of a Mortal Kombat fight, they had a crowd taken off guard, stunned and widely impressed at their mercy as they delivered what can be regarded as the “finishing move” of the CHVRCHES repoirte, The Mother We ShareThey pulled at the crowds strings all the way through the set as said crowd jumped to the parts that rocked, swayed to the parts that moved and sang along like obedient choir boys to the whole fucking rest of it. I mean, if you had have compared the first song to the last, it was almost like a whole separate show. I was honestly impressed by the command and mastery that developed before our eyes.

As they simply said “Bye” and packed up shop all that can be said is that CHVRCHES are well worth the visit and well worth the praise they’ve received regardless of the short time they’ve been together. Make sure you follow the release of the debut album and watch them sky-rocket to a polished success. When they come back again in February next year for Laneway Festival 2014, I think we’ll see a completely different band altogether.

Obviously my smartphone wasn’t enough to be able to film anything worthy of posting, so for those of you who can’t paint the picture based on this review, check out a live clip of The Mother We Share by CHVRCHES below, taken from Detour in Scotland.

Join The Club…

…the Gemini Club that is. The sexily named Indie-Electronica group from Chicago have been around and making killer tunes since their 2009 debut, Future Tidings, and struck back again in 2012 with the brilliant follow up Here We Sit. So the question begging for an answer is why has it taken me this long to find them? My bad.

The track that I fumbled on was a doozy by the name of Strangers. This one, for me, is reminiscent of a very small section of the We Are Scientists collection for some reason. I’m extremely hooked on the extreme power-pop vibe shining through the high-pitched grinding of electro.

A brilliant way to pick up your weary face from the desk this Monday.

 

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Sombear: Incredibly Still

Sombear’s, Incredibly Still was published onto YouTube two days ago and it’s incredibly infectious. A lot of my music blogging brothers have already been talking about this cat for a couple of days now so I feel like I’m well behind the hype. The lesson is that sometimes it’s OK to jump on the back of the bandwagon, especially if the alternative would mean you miss out on this. If you don’t listen to this song you’ll never be able to forgive yourself. Or you might, if you haven’t heard it then I guess you’ll be none the wiser. Just do yourself a freaking favour and get amongst it.

The second track to be released from the debut album, Love You In The DarkIncredibly Still is hazy throughout like a very pleasant dream. The kind of song that would lend itself well to a live performance decked out with multi-coloured strobe lights and a shit-tonne of smoke machine effects. One thing that I really dig about it, in one part, are the lyrics. “At 25, you’re still young they all said.” An electro-ballad for that weird in-between generation that I am now a part of. Thanks, Sombear.

 

Related Links:

Infectious Magazine: http://www.infectiousmagazine.com/sombear-release-incredibly-still-music-video/

Coog Radio: http://coogradio.com/2013/08/music-video-sombears-incredibly-still/

Alfitude: http://alfitude.com/2013/08/12/new-music-sombear/

Move Over David Arquette, It’s Tan Vampires

Last week, Tan Vampiresbarged back onto my radar with their latest EP, Ephemera, which despite  the wanky name is a pretty sweet 6-tracker jam packed with ambient folk pleasantries.

Their debut album, For Physical Fitness, was a welcome surprise for me during a time when electronic indie had claimed in me a sort of musical favouritism. Tracks like the simply romantic I Found A Body, the harmlessly rebellious Digital Rot and the clearly flowing desperation in I Can Hear Them In The Dark made me curse out loud the jerks that weren’t following them yet on facebook. “Give this band your urgent and immediate attention!” I cried via this blog! Sadly, no one actually reads this blog.

Not only do I love this band because their lead singer kind of resembles a young David Arquette, but with songs off the new EP like, Into The West, it’s just so damn hard not to appreciate.

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Thank Rick Moranis It’s Friday Mixtape: August 9th

Damn I love Fridays.

Not just because it’s the last day of the work week but also because it’s seriously the best day to really get into a bunch of good songs. We hope this get’s you into a sweet mood to head out to whichever watering hole you’ve decided to wet the old whistle at tonight.

Introducing The Indie Rock Summit’s Thank **** It’s Friday Mixtapes series.

If you would like to see more of these mixes as they’re developed, you can head to http://8tracks.com/users/jessesmonster

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Fenech-Soler: Last Forever

Well folks, the next few months look like they’re going to be quite a ride. So far, an incredible amount of amazing bands have announced either debut or follow up albums to be coming up during these early spring months, so have your wallets at the ready. Just to name a few, we have:

CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe (September 23rd)

The Naked & Famous – In Rolling Waves (September 16th)

St.Lucia – When The Night (October 8th)

HAIM – Days Are Gone (September 30th)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – The Speed of Things (October 8th – Watch out St. Lucia!)

I know you’re thinking, “Shit, that’s a lot to take in.” But believe me, there’s more. Which brings me to the latest track to be released last week by one of my favourite acts at the moment, Fenech-Soler. We all heard their first release off the upcoming album, Rituals (to be released September 2nd), entitled Magnetic. It was a magical blend of urban-style anthemic, brilliant indie and delicious pop and while that got me pretty excited for the debut album, their new release is even better. Last Forever is the band gone rock. While they still have their standard elements of electro and those god-damned vocals I love so much, they’ve hit a brilliant pace that almost gets you head banging if those melodies weren’t so bloody beautiful.