Monthly Archives: February 2015

Twin Shadow – I’m Ready

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Brooklyn native Twin Shadow has always been quite a unique entity. His upcoming album Eclipse is one of the most anticipated releases announced this year, and the singles he’s released leading up to it have justified the excitement. Last week he released another of those singles, in the anthemic “I’m Ready”, a track whose complexity is masked with pop intentions.

The song, unlike the other releases so far, at least has a bit of structure to it. In the same vein of something like Bleachers, it sprays with a sort of eighties high school movie vibe mixed with inner city dreams. It’s a tragic love song and you can really, truly feel it when you listen. As someone who enjoys Twin Shadow, but is not exactly a crazy fan, I’d say “I’m Ready” is his best work yet. I’ll be listening for some time.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Coach Bombay – Sunshine (2015)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Melbourne’s Coach Bombay AKA Terry Mann has been busy over the past few years transitioning from a bedroom recording project to a fully fledged pop monster. His previous full length Pops kicked serious A, but with no live CV and a humble social push it was received lightly (albeit impressively) by the small group that were paying attention. Since then, he’s formed a tight live act, toured the East Coast and even hit viral fame this past Australia Day with a mock-take on Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, entitled “Straya”. This week his new album Sunshine was released in Australia, giving the local scene something to seriously pay attention to.

Sunshine is the musical equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Not simply because it’s awash with bubblegum pop licks, but also because of the sheer imagination Coach Bombay has brought to the record. It’s a fucking ride. It’s no easy feat to bring to life a sound like this with tasty electronic fillings and hooks to inspire ever-lasting happiness. This vibe is staple-gunned to you when you hear the second track “Sunshine”, a tune that just bursts with immediacy from the first second. A dreamy chime sequence turns into a formulaic rise and fall procession of synth as the vocalist enters, spitting positivity imbued into some of the most memorable melodies of the year.

I half expect somebody may have discovered the wonderment of love this year. Tracks like “Silly Sweethearts” and “(So Fucking) Beautiful” drop clues throughout the record. The coach has always been a happy guy, but this is something different. It’s focused, and whether or not that statement is true, it’s something that contributes greatly to the output you get from the listen. The latter mentioned track is scattered and brooding but in a hopeful way. It’s a sweet listen and a necessary break from the insanely chirpy set you have before that point.

The cheekily named “Funtitled” could be liken to something like Architecture In Helsinki’s work, running through that kind of bright colours and bounce-dancing feeling. “Party Kitchen” is a god damn rager. Taking notes from eighties staples like Talking Heads The Coach spins a good yarn with the story of a crazy party heading all the way to the kitchen. Out of all the tracks on the record this has the biggest bravado of all. It’s got all the makings of a good party anthem, with crunchy electronics, vocals masked with attitude and a sweet post-chorus synth breakdown. It’s even got beer samples in it! My word, it is good.

The singles leading up to Sunshine, “Cool Thing” and “Girls” are old favourites, and although they’ve been out for a little while, I’ve been listening to them on and off and loved them every step of the way. Absolutely nothing bad to say there. But for those who haven’t heard them, they’re classic pop tunes. “Girls” is another formulaic procedure, streaking with a day-dreamer’s chorus and the kind of instrumentals that could potentially drive you crazy when they eventually get stuck in your head for months.

The big take-away from Coach Bombay‘s Sunshine is happiness times infinite. At its core is a likeable procession of pop tunes that don’t get old. But on deeper inspection, it’s a masterful collection of well-written, instrumental genius complemented by vocals that are purposefully morphed to fit the vibe. I sincerely hope 2015 is huge for this guy; Sunshineis the best album of the year (so far).

8.9 / 10

*****

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POP ETC – Running In Circles

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I am just loving POP ETC at the moment. Following a collaboration with Yoko Kanno, the artist has released the single “Running In Circles” recently, showcasing a track that could be mistaken for something on the cusp of the eighties and nineties. That is not a negative thing, by the way.

With the same stellar vocal arrangements as usual and staggering lead guitar creeping up and down alongside an adventurous bass line, it’s a great tune and a tribute to the capabilities of a true industry highlight. They only released the track on New Year’s Eve, so we’re hoping for an announcement of a full length album soon. For now, enjoy.

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Miami Horror – Love Like Mine (feat. Cleopold)

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Back in the days that Melbournites Miami Horror first launched, I wasn’t stupid crazy about them like the rest of the world apparently was. With other acts like Cut Copy and The Presets at the height of their festival fame, Miami Horror seemed to take a backseat, at least when it came to my regular playlist. But late into last year I had the pleasure of interviewing frontman Ben Plant and it got me listening more and more in prep, and I fell absolutely head over heels for their latest efforts.

I don’t think past me was a bad judge of song, or that their old stuff was particularly bad. It’s just that these new efforts are iconic. “Wild Motion (Set It Free)” was liken to something from Talking Heads with catchy hooks streaking through its system, definitely one to be remember for some time to come. The latest release, “Love Like Mine”, came out late this week and it’s another ode to the eighties with a modern day twist, spruiking itself with confidence and a free love vibe. I could try and describe the actual music and what’s involved, but I feel like the best way to sum up the track would to say that if it were a stereotype of a person, it would be a California girl in a neon yellow one-piece swimsuit rollerskating down Venice Beach with a boombox cassette player blasting over her shoulder. Listen below, you’ll see what I mean.

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Lime Cordiale – Hanging Upside Down

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Sydney boys Lime Cordiale have been in that “up and coming” category for quite a while. With promising pop singles like “Sleeping At Your Door” flourishing through their repertoire it has been hard not to take notice. They also made a trip over to the states last year to put on some seriously cool showcases, and the hype keeps on coming. Well, they’ve released a new single in the very Aussie-indie sounding “Hanging Upside Down”.

The track shows a darker side to the usually cheery sounding Lime Cordiale, filled with lyrics that would have ended with a mouth washed out with soap as a child, and following a tale of sexual debauchery. It’s a slow, urban-like track yet it retains all the same sort of likability that made the music industry flag this act on the way up. Hopefully there’s a new album to be announced soon for a release in the next few months.

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Circa Waves – T-Shirt Weather

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I’m just going to be up front in this short write up. This is, without a doubt, the best Circa Waves track to have been released to date. I know that’s a huge statement, I mean, “Stuck In My Teeth”, “Young Chasers”…”Get Away”! But I’m willing to put it all on the line for the newbie, “T-Shirt Weather”.

I feel like something they’ve been missing so far has been a moody twist on their brand of fast paced, shambolic brit-pop. This one has a sort of Wombats-esque twist to their standard form, bringing us something that has more longevity than perhaps a lot of their other songs do. I can see this being played over and over, and chanted and sung at parties until we have no breath left to give.

The debut album Young Chasers is out on March 20th, and available for pre-order now, so mark it in your calendars guys!

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Penguin Prison – Never Gets Old

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Penguin Prison is back with another piece of pop gold in the lead up to his next album due out later this year with the track “Never Gets Old”. We’re all very excited for it. The man has obviously been getting a lot of inspiration from RAC (or the other way around, we’re not sure), and he’s putting that to good use.

The song is a pretty standard formulaic one, with the vocals not trying too hard and a verse, chorus, rinse, repeat sort of vibe. But Penguin Prison knows how to do this with style and maybe it’s true. Maybe it will never get old. I guess we’ll have to wait for announcement for dates on the album. In the meantime, check out the new track below.

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Geographer – I’m Ready

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 The first single off the upcoming album, Ghost Modern, is “I’m Ready” and it’s a sweet little pop tune with chiming synths and smooth vocal lines. Allegedly the last song to be written on the upcoming 12-track the song makes itself immediately known as a Geographer presentation, with unique vocals and minimalist pop.

Ghost Modern is set for release on March 24th via Roll Call Records.

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Natural Animal – Our Love

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This one’s a newbie to me. But if BIRP vouches for them, they’re OK with me. I was impressed by a few songs in this months playlist, and Natural Animal’s “Our Love” stood out as a proper highlight in amongst the usual hit-and-miss style playlist. It’s a funky, straight forward tune liken to other Indie Rock Summit favourites like French Horn Rebellion’s “Caaalifornia”.

The Toronto based self-describe their stuff as “sex music” and plan to deliver a whole other bunch of pearlers within the coming year, so keep tabs on these guys.

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Passerby, Overseas Life and Folking Around: Talking With Luluc

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

To say 2014 was a massive year for Aussie folk act Luluc would be an incredible understatement. Alongside the release of their critically acclaimed album Passerby, they’ve been touring incessantly, playing alongside with some pretty big names and were named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the Top 15 albums of 2014. With an East Coast support of First Aid Kit coming up as well as a support slot alongside Sarah Blasko at the Melbourne Zoo Twilight Series next week on February 6th, Luluc took a moment out of their busy schedule touring the UK with J Mascis to answer some of our questions.

Congratulations on all the accolades over the new year for Passerby! Wall Street Journal, of all publications, you must have been pretty stoked with that?

Thanks. And sure, it is lovely to receive accolades for your work. But it’s really an added bonus and not what drives the work. You do of course hope people will get to hear your records, so that kind of exposure is very helpful.

The album was released halfway through last year, what have you been up to since it launched?

It’s been a busy time. And somewhat upside down in that we really began touring and doing radio etc after ‘Passerby’ was released, having being bit delayed in our travel plans. But once we got back to the US in July last year we started off doing Tiny Desk at NPR, and live session at KEXP, and then began some serious touring late September with J Mascis around the US. I’m a huge fan of his records, so it was a great first tour to do around the US and now the UK. 

2014 was certainly a big year for you guys. What was your favourite moment of the year?

Hmm, never good at faves, too many! One thing that happened a bit on the J Masics tour was seeing people in the audience singing along to our songs, in places like Denver, Colorado – that was pretty wild. The idea that our music and records had reached people there. Pretty lovely. 

And you’ve relocated to Brooklyn. How do you think the scene there has affected Luluc as an act?

There’s an openness or freedom that comes from being away from home. And to be in amongst a city like New York – such a big, brazen and brilliant collection of people and ideas. It really allows a lot of creative liberation. Very important for artistic work and it’s always changing so it’s a big well to draw from.   

Folk as a genre has absolutely rocketed in the last few years, it must be an exciting time to be releasing music with such widespread love coming in from all angles. What are your thoughts on its rise to popularity?

 Not sure I have any, don’t really follow the mainstream. I’ve always enjoyed great songwriters and ‘folk’ music.

That said, Luluc definitely isn’t a ‘heard-it-before’ type act, what do you think sets you apart from other up and coming folk acts?

 Again not really for me to say. I don’t feel confined or defined by the folk genre. Really our intention artistically is to make our own records, of course inspired by all manner of music and by many other things, books, films etc. But how you put it all together, your own unique take, is what makes any work interesting. To me anyway, that’s always the work that stands out.

Songs like the title track “Passenger” and “Small Window” have been described as ‘fragile’ and ‘deeply emotional’. It’s a rare talent, but what do you think you put into your writing that allows the listeners to actually “feel” a Luluc song?

 Well, I guess I work with my ideas and songs until I feel they are complete. So that my emotions, frustrations, inspirations etc have all been explored in the song, to the point where they don’t burden the work. They are the kind of songs I enjoy, where the writer allows you your own space with the song, whether it’s a personal narrative or a character’s perspective.      

And you’re currently touring the UK with J Mascis, that kicked off last night – how has the response been?

It’s been so great touring with J. And this is our first tour around the UK as I mentioned. The crowds here have been fantastic, very appreciative audiences. Looking forward to coming back and doing our own tour.  

Australia-wise, you have the Sarah Blasko show coming up for The Melbourne Zoo Twilight Series on February 6th followed by a short East Coast stint with First Aid Kit, you have to be excited about coming home with those guys by your side?

Sure, they should be great shows. Looking forward to some more summer too. 

You know when you go overseas, everyone has that one obscure thing they miss about home (vegemite, Tim Tam’s, a certain coffee shop). What is it for you?

Chai. It’s not really a thing in many other cities like it is in Melbourne. It’s usually pretty awful. Think we might need to tour in India. 

Luluc will be playing the Melbourne Zoo Twilight Series with Sarah Blasko next Friday, February 6th. You can book your tickets here.

Passerby is available to purchase now on iTunes.

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