Monthly Archives: March 2014

Believe The Hype: Talking with Step Rockets

Minnesota natives, Step Rockets certainly gave new meaning to the phrase, “Believe the Hype” when they released the single Kisser. Almost overnight, the track blew up online thanks to that musical darling Hype Machine and the tonnes of blogs that fueled the fire with glowing reviews of the tune and the band to produce itMost of us like to wait it out before declaring a band the next big thing, and whilst I’m probably not going to use that exact phrase on account of hating it, judging on what I saw from them at Audiotrees live YouTube showcase this past week at SXSW they have plenty of fodder to continue to sky rocket (see what I did there?) into the ear-buds of tonnes more fans.

We were lucky enough to get a hold of them just before their domination of SXSW to find out about the surprise success of their trackthe latest remix from RII, a little bit of romance, and a first release story that was not unlike the novel Tomorrow When The War Began (I guess kind of similar to Red Dawn for American readers) – obviously subbing out the threatening soldiers for hordes of adoring fans of course. Bad metaphor? Don’t care, still leaving it in.

 

Your single Kisser got a big push from all the indie blogs on its release and topped the Hype Machine charts pretty much immediately. Were you surprised by this level of support in the first few weeks of release? 

Absolutely. Right after we released “Kisser” the band went camping in the B.W.C.A in the northern woods of Minnesota. When we got back to civilization, “Kisser” was climbing the hype machine chart and getting thousands of plays a day. The response has been incredible. We are so happy that our music is connecting with people and we are able to share our art with a larger audience.

 Kisser brilliantly showcases the level and style of song writing you guys are capable of and is quite impressive vocally. Do you think a similar vibe rolls into a lot of your other tracks or should we expect something completely different in upcoming releases? 

We are influenced by a wide range of styles and those influences come through in our music. We focus on strong melodies and production that let people escape to another world for a few minutes.  I guess the answer would be that we have both. We have sexy love songs as well as a little more edgy and psychedelic material.

You’ve recently outed the RII remix of Kisser. What do you like best about the rework? 

RII was the first remix we got back and they nailed it. They kept the vibe intact and did an excellent job with the change of tempo and that fat bass line.

You’ll be playing at this year’s SXSW festival for the first time with a big list of equally talented acts. What do you bring to your live show that makes Step Rockets stand out at a festival like this? 

Step Rockets has been a band for about 2 years but we’ve known each other for much longer. We have all played in different groups together and have played hundreds of shows together.  Something that is different about us is that we keep the crowd guessing where we are going to take them next while maintaining strong dance-able grooves and changing instruments and vibes. Brady and Josh also love to take guitar solos. Not many guitars solos out there in the Indie world these days.

What’s on your SXSW bucket list? 

Seeing and meeting as many talented people as possible. There will be so much talent in Austin we are just excited to be a part of the experience.  We just played with a cool band from France called La Femme, as well as the Canadian artist Lowell.  We can’t wait to see and meet more incredible bands. Washed Out and Little Dragon are a few groups at the top of our watch list.

When should we expect a debut full length from Step Rockets

We are planing on releasing a new single called “Heat Attack Again” at the end of March.  As for a full length, we haven’t set the date quite yet.

Kisser seems like a bit of a tragic love song. On the topic of love, what does date night with Step Rockets look like? 

There is a gorgeous spot in Minneapolis called Saint Anthony Main.  You can walk across the Mississippi River on the Stone Arch Bridge and arrive at this little place called the Aster Cafe.  They have a tiny stage for jazz groups with excellent wine and craft beer with a movie theatre next door. A ton of local inspirations play there on a regular basis as well.

Aside from the obvious money, tour organising issues and actual logistics. What would it take from Australian fans to convince Step Rockets to come to Australia? 

We would love to play Australia as soon as we can! The best thing for Australian fans to do right now is just spread the word.  If you are digging the jams then let your friends know about it; call in to your favorite local radio station to let them know about us.  As soon as we have enough people that want us there we’ll be there.

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Fans lucky enough to be in the US can catch them live in Madison, Wisconsin during March and alongside Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Wild Cub, Little Comets and Aussies The Griswolds at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware on June 19th. Advance tickets are currently still on sale.

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Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna

Bombay Bicycle Club need no introduction. They’re verified on facebook AND twitter, so…yeah, big time. Their latest album So Long, See You Tomorrow was released officially in January of this year and is one of the better albums to drop all year. It’s casual at heart whilst remaining an honestly dramatic album. Tracks like the single Luna are infused with powerful tribal percussion whilst others like Whenever, Wherever jump between ballad and rock opera never really sure of where to stand. Then there’s others like Feel that starts off like a cheesy midi file that could very well have been named “Arabian Nights” or something like that, but cuts properly awesome towards the chorus.

Now, in complete contrast to the above paragraph. This is one album that made me second guess my taste in music for a second. I liked it almost all the way through, but couldn’t understand why. It’s refreshing and melodically seductive, yet absolutely shit at the same time; definitely one of those “listen to it a few times before making judgement” pieces of work. The tracks are so consistently interchanging, some parts I’m really digging and some I’m thinking what the absolute fuck is this garbage. For the most part, it’s impressive and likeable. Wait, so did I like it or not?

I’ll just finish by saying So Long, See You Tomorrow is a complex and layered album and it’s best to let it be, don’t try to understand it, just enjoy it…because you will. That’s a yes, I did like it, by the way.

Northeast Party House – The Haunted

NORTHEAST PARTY HOUSE - The Haunted

Lately I’ve had the pleasure of being able to write about so many great Australian bands. Not simply because I’m pro-Australian. I’ve never written about Aussie bands to stay patriotic or to support a local scene (although it’s a nice added bonus when I can write about it). It’s basically because after years and years of it being what I considered sub-par, over the past few years and a lot of soul searching, bands down under have gotten so consistently impressive. The current musical landscape over here is intense. There is so much impeccable song writing, flawless live performances, well-deserved overseas recognition and most importantly, a hell of a lot of fun. I’m proud to say that, to me, fun seems to be the key ingredient at the heart of every great act that make up Australia’s current musical identity.

Although they are definitely just at the starting point of what I hope is a long and successful career, I reckon Northeast Party House is exactly the kind of act at the forefront of this genius bust-out of talent. I saw them play to about ten people back in 2012 in a dingy pub in Newcastle (I actually think my friend and I were the only paying punters there on the night) and I was livid at why more people weren’t there to catch it. After the premier of their new single The Haunted last night on Triple J’s Home & Hosed, I feel like next time I’ll be livid that I can’t get a god damn ticket to their sold out gigs. These guys are the embodiment of fucking fun. They were musically as tight as anything I’ve ever seen while their stage performance makes you want to sink about seven jagerbombs, get loose and cut mad shapes like an idiot on the dance floor, maybe quit your job, go travelling…you know, actually live life. It’s unreal.

The new track that appeared on Soundcloud about an hour ago, the aforementioned The Haunted, is just another notch on the bedpost for the band gearing up to release the all important debut album this year. The first single Youth Allowance was a rebellious party track, while this newbie reeks of something repentant in it’s melody whilst flowing like a track that has all the tell tale signs of…you guessed it…a party track. All I want to know is, where is the Northeast Party House and how do I get an invite?

Great Good Fine OK – Not Going Home

Several great bands released new singles overnight including The Kooks with their new single “Down” (more like massive LET-DOWN – Sorry, somebody already used “thumbs down” on Twitter) and Northeast Party House with their newbie “The Haunted” scheduled to be on the upcoming album. The latter track I was bursting at the seams to hear but missed the premier on Triple J last night, we’ll have a post up about it soon I’m sure but will have to wait for it to hit the web. That being said, as always the best indie discoveries and latest tracks in the past week have been coming out of none other than the legendary SXSW festival.

Great Good Fine OK are the Brooklyn based duo that stormed the interwebs a short while ago with their debut, You’re The One For Me, complete with weird but kind of sense making ode-to-sandwich film clip. Well they’re storming back in with the follow up single Not Going Home showing fans worldwide that the original hype behind them is well deserved. The release comes at a very smart time while they’re hitting SXSW over the next few days. With the absolute bum-load of talent littering the streets of Austin this week the new track will surely be a golden drawing card to kids tossing up between seeing generic indie band A or coolness incarnate a.k.a these guys.

The track is bloody high and mighty, lending itself well to Great Good Fine OK’s now (pretty much) trademark almost whispered yet surprisingly powerful vocals and the symphony of electronic melodies are reminiscent of a more dark or emotional version of St Lucia’s, Elevate. If you’re lucky enough to be in Austin, TX right now, please don’t make me hurt you – go see them. Oh yeah, and like us on FACEBOOK here.

Great Good Fine OK – SXSW Dates

March 13th – Red Eyed Fly – 12:15PM

March 13th – La Barbeque – 4:30PM

March 14th – Sidebar – 1:30PM

March 14th – Maggie Maes – 9PM

March 15th – Empire Garage – 8PM

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St Lucia – The Way You Remember Me

I find it incredibly hard to believe that Sky Ferreira, as much as I would love to see her play live, has gone under the radar and sold out in Sydney without me even knowing there was a show. Even more so, while her show is sold out, tickets are still on sale for St. Lucia’s show (with support from none other than The Griswoldsin early April! This is a fact I have trouble believing but am in no way complaining (I’m still hanging out for pay day in a few days to pick up a ticket for myself).

I think part of the reason it’s taken me this long to get excited about the event and bring myself to buy the ticket was because of the theatric build up behind the debut album When The Night and the less than exciting splash it made to a fans like myself who discovered on it’s release that they had already heard over 50% of the album. To think I almost went to the “Listening Party” at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney I was that excited about its release. I would’ve arrived sporting my finest hawaiian shirt, brimming with excitement and ready to bow down to St Lucia’s brilliance, no questions asked – only to find out the album included but five new tracks (one of which seemed to be a lazily put together introduction to the CD). The standout tracks had already been released, some as long as two years ago!

Don’t get me wrong, this seems like a write-off of St Lucia rather than a write-up. Couldn’t be further from the truth. All the aforementioned tracks are amongst my all time favourite, I simply had a personal crisis where my enthusiasm for the release and new tracks didn’t match up with what was delivered. With the show in Sydney fast approaching, I decided to have another crack at the five tracks I dismissed in frustration and it seems my patience paid off.

Introducing, about five months too late, The Way You Remember Me. A stunning and uplifting tune that shines bright with all the standard elements of a St Lucia tropical-retro epic. It’s huge. The chorus just keeps driving up and up with an energy like it belongs in some sort of classic rom-com scene where the pretentious and popular yet somehow friendly and like-able cheerleader finally realises her boyfriend is a jerk and extends a hand to dance with the average guy who’s good nature was only clear to the audience up until now as a result of the movie being from his perspective. They dance, they’ll probably date a little bit afterwards but you know it won’t work out in the long run. Don’t shed a tear for them, they’ll always have this song…

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The Indie Rock Summit Is On The Facebook

facebook

You heard it folks. For a long while, we have avoided creating a page on the Facebook, purely because the editor couldn’t be arsed to manage it. Well, suddenly he be arsed. He be very arsed. The page is now live and will soon be bountiful with more good music and banter than you can flap a half eaten kebab at!

That being said, we will need YOUR HELP to get it cracking. As the old adage goes, if a Facebook page is epic and no one is around to see it, does it truly exist? Head over to the page, like it, talk to it, feed it and take it for walks. Don’t make this like my 8th birthday when Mum invited everyone in the grade and only that weird kid Andy showed up (not disclosing last name cause I’m not that horrible eight year old I once was). Get involved, be my friend.

Oh, and here’s a song I like at the moment by the brilliant Gardens & Villas off their brand new album entitled Dunes.

www.facebook.com/theindierocksummit

Circa Waves – Stuck In My Teeth

There is nothing on this earth that is better than a bit of indie-pop on a Friday afternoon. British four-piece Circa Waves have released their latest track Stuck In My Teeth in what is a welcome addition to their classic brand of fucking fun, chilled out summer tunes (bit late/early for summer I know…just go with it OK).

The video highlights the notion of time as expressed in the lyrics, “I’m a little too young with not enough time.” The camera circles round and round the band, watching creepy guys in black full-body socks rocking out behind them as shadows. As simple as they are though, the lyrics are pretty cool. How many times have you been told from older peeps, “You’re so young, you have all the time in the world”.  Well, the thing is, we all want or need more time. Especially when it comes to cramming everything you can in to make sure you really enjoy these brilliant younger days.

Circa Waves are touring incessantly across the UK and Europe at least until August so make sure you stop and catch them for a bit of stupid fun.

SOHN – Artifice

I’ve actually known SOHN for quite a while thanks to BIRP! Playlists frothing over him for at least a solid year. Despite usually agreeing with the lads over at my favourite playlist, I didn’t in this case and couldn’t quite catch on to what everyone else seemed so keen about. Not the case with his latest effort.

The Vienna based artist has released the first single of his upcoming debut album, Tremors (released worldwide on the week starting 7th of April), and is a cool prediction of what’s to come. Sounding kind of like a male version of Phantogram’s, ‘Dont Move’, the newbie, Artifice is snake-like, filled with popping tribal percussion carried by an eerie vocal performance that feels a lot easier to accustom to than previous offerings. Overall, it almost sounds like some of my favourite backings from nineties video games folded into an startling opener for the larger record to come. And in case anyone is wondering, I LOVED nineties video game backing music, so this is a positive…

Olympic Ayres – Take Flight

About 6 years ago I used to complain about Triple J for their unconditional love of Australian music, no matter how terrible the scene was back then. Bands like Short Stack (not that I think Triple J supported them – Channel V did though), Wolfmother, Jet, John Butler, Operator Please! and so forth were plaguing the airwaves with stuff that I didn’t particularly enjoy. I looked to the UK for the rush of brilliant indie bands that emerged around that time such as The Kooks, new Bloc Party albums, The Futureheads, Kaiser Chiefs, The Wombats and the list goes on.

I lived in Canada for two years from 2009-2011 where I was absent from new Aussie music for that time. When I arrived home it was a whole new ball-game. At the moment we have more amazing music coming off our shores than we know what to do with. Epic bands are doing live shows for 10 bucks a pop every other weekend. We’ve brandished our own tropical spin on the indie darlings of yesteryear with acts like The Jungle Giants, Last Dinosaurs, Northeast Party House, Coach Bombay, The Griswolds, Clubfeet, Panama and Gold Fields. The list goes on, but the latest to be added to my local favourites list are a young band by the name of Olympic Ayres.

Hailing from my own hometown of Sydney, the boys have just released their latest effort Take Flight drilling some fresh rocking vibes into the dance hits they had with Magic – a track that was featured on the much revered FIFA 2014 soundtrack. The newbie is an exciting development for a band that hasn’t had a tonne of releases yet, they’re striking at almost 100%. Olympics Ayres told me on Twitter that they should be touring Australia mid-year so watch out for some quality nights ahead.

Strangers Pt. 1 Is Out NOW!

rac

Update: Ello Ello (feat. Body Language) can be heard via this link: http://mp3monkey.net/mp3/RAC_ello_ello.html

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! RAC’s debut album (the first part at least) is out as of today. Strangers Pt. 1 features some of the best indie artists teaming up with perhaps the best producer/songwriter around this decade. The latest tracks that haven’t been released before today include support from Canadians Tegan & Sara as well as a sweet spot from Body Language in the epic mover/shaker, Ello Ello.

Although excited as I was, I gave RAC some flack over his last two releases from the CD Repeating Motion and Tear Me Down. In my defense they just started to sound too samey and his style was getting a bit dull. These latest additions to the record however, are a whole different ball game. Apparently the record isn’t available in Australia yet on Spotify but those of you reading from overseas, get into it quick!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/strangers-part-i/id821734095