Monthly Archives: March 2015

Gang Of Youths – Radioface

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I’m getting the vibe that Gang Of Youths are the latest hot topic on the Australian scene. Lots of coverage from the boys at Triple J, including an epic cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” for Like A Version recently. They’ve been releasing a bunch of new singles in 2015 so far, with the damn sexy epic “Radioface” shining bright and getting a lot of attention from the right people.

Melancholic vocals are a staple of this outfit, and they cling to the body of this track like a spider web. Lurking throughout the track is this very eighties rock style that seems to shake its origins and become an entity in itself. Straight forward guitar parts plug safely within it all, but it’s really the emotive energy that makes this one pop. All I can say is that the hype is well justified and we’re very excited to see what else the Gang has got.

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Sly Fox Will Be The Home Of Sydney’s Latest Indie Club

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…And they’ll be kicking it off with a bloody brilliant line-up on Friday the 24th of April. Some of Sydney’s finest local indie acts will be gracing the stage at Enmore’s Sly Fox  on the debut of music PR Agency Rare Finds’ indie night. Pop afficionados Jenny Broke The Window are the headlining act for this first instalment, dishing out their seriously sick brand of happy-go-lucky, old-school tunes. If that wasn’t enough for you, also on the bill we’ll see locals Food Court, who nailed a cool little set supporting Catfish And The Bottlemen earlier this year, as well as Hedge Fund and Winston Surfshirt, with their slick brand of seasoned, funk-like indie.

The Rare Finds night is set to showcase a curated line-up of Australia’s most-promising emerging talent on the last Friday of each month. Rare Finds has been operating since 2011, with some of the coolest talent to hit Australia in the last few years, including personal favourites The Griswolds as well as Millions. The show is FREE, so there’s no reason not to go…

FRIDAY APRIL 24 | THE SLY FOX, ENMORE NSW
Jenny Broke The Window, Food Court, Hedge Fund, Winston Surfshirt
Free Entry | 8pm

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Reptar – Easier To Die

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Reptar are back seemingly out of nowhere with their latest LP, Lurid Glow, delivering some more of that obtuse sound they’re known for in the indie circles. Following some small successes from their debut effort Body Faucet, it’s hard to think that anything will top it, and first listens have us somewhat on edge.

There’s a few shining stars scattered throughout this piece. Tracks like the chirpy “Easy To Die” take the spotlight, bringing a pop edge to their odd vibes and give us something to properly sit back and enjoy. We’ve only really had a preliminary listen to the record and knowing Reptar like we do, it’s going to take a lot more than one listen to get into it. But once you do, you’re hooked for a very long time. If there’s a piece of advice to be attached to this band, it’s to take the easy to digest tracks like “Easy To Die” and get acquainted before diving into the bolder songs on the album.

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Japanese Wallpaper – Forces (Feat. Airling)

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I read a post yesterday announcing this new track from Melbourne kid Japanese Wallpaper, saying he’s still high school age. With a single sneaking into the Triple J Hottest 100 this year and collaborations with some incredible Aussie artists, this a seriously impressive resume for someone who may not have even written a resume in his short life.

The new track “Forces” is a breezy, seductive number with the free-flowing vocals of Airling pushing through with dreamy ambience. Japanese Wallpaper has been putting out these sorts of sounds over the past year to a solid reception from fans, peering his uniquely Aussie eye into the world of dream-pop and spinning gold from everything he’s touched so far. Suffice it to say, we cannot wait until he delivers his first full-length.

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Dalaro – Synthetic

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UK based Dalaro released the single “Synthetic” recently and it lives up to it’s name. Although being quite full-sounding, it’s got something slippery about it. It’s a very Beat Connection-esque sound they’ve got going on here. Tropical, or at least foreign sounding guitar melodies permeate the track from beginning to end, with whispy vocals a constant throughout. Even when they rise into the chorus, there’s still something a little hollow about the whole ordeal. Not a surprise given they’re named after a small part of Stockholm in Sweden.

I’d imagine live would be a whole other ordeal, with a hugely packed climax hitting towards the end of the track. It’s all a bit stunning and even more so exciting.

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Sans Parents – Loose People

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Ex-Hungry Kids Of Hungary members formed Sans Parents late last year and have been cracking on with some awesome tunes throughout the past couple of months. The latest is entitled “Loose People” and sounds like a uniquely garage-recorded, indie pop delight.

This surely could have been a track out of an early 00’s college or high school movie. You can easily see it in one of those montages where the bad boy who is becoming good gets caught for whatever he planned at the start of the movie, before he truly got to know the girl. You know, where there’s a tonne of shots of each and how they’re so lost without each other during the less than twelve hours since she found out it was all a bet.

However you want to describe it, these guys are coming into their own and once they secure recordings that sound a bit more solid, they’ll be unstoppable on the Triple J chart-e-roons.

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Kid Astray – It’s Alright

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I talk a lot about that Scando-sound on this blog. So many cool bands coming out of that area, but they are usually Swedish or the odd-mention of Finnish boys. But we have another inclusion here with Norweigan six-piece Kid Astray; these guys are truly something special. Sounding more like an LA or Brooklyn style indie outfit, they leave the staples of the deep north behind them and bring something beautifully different to the scene.

Their latest effort, “It’s Alright”, is a true summertime beat. Smooshed between wandering bass and a grounded beat is catchy as fuck synth outlays and solid, easy to get behind vocal lines. They’ve been around for a few years and this is my first outing with the group, but I’ll be keeping an eye on them for a new release. A very exciting Saturday afternoon find indeed.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Great Good Fine OK – 2M2H (2015 EP)

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Great Good Fine OK continue to prove over and over again that they are the most badass, smooth stylers in the world of dance and indie-pop. Following the release of their debut EP Body Diamond last year, I made a point to mention that there’s little room for mistakes in an EP like there is in full length albums, and they smashed it out of the park with a pretty-much-perfect collection showcasing a natural ear for catchy song-writing. In 2015, they’re up to their old tricks as they return with a killer new EP entitled 2M2H (an abbreviation of the title track “Too Much To Handle”), set to come out in Australia on March 16th.

Opening it up with the title track “Too Much To Handle” they lead with a massive middle finger to anyone who doubted they could put together another release as strong as the last. Creeping in with static club-thump style synth and those brilliant dreamlike vocals fluttering around the verses, it leads into the build up to a chorus that spews perfection. This one is a dance track with some proper indie creds. It’s like…if David Guetta was suddenly actually really good.

One tune on this EP that struck me particularly, was the funk infused “Without You”. We continue with the trademark whispering vocals of frontman Jon Sandler which sprint around the backing with the type of precision that leaves you unable to keep still. It’s a very unique vocal tone and one that will be a major factor on whether or not you like this band. But it’s like eating snails. A lot of people are turned off at the thought, but if you like them, you fucking crave them. Creeping guitar parts and deep, probing synth provide a thick backing for what is an epic dance track; one that manages to still portray a heartfelt story of disappointment in failed love while keeping you bouncing around the room with happiness. Particularly around the 3:30 minute mark where it hits the outro, the boys round it off with funky guitar parts like the seasoned professionals that they appear to be.

“Carried Away” is proper old school funk. Taking listeners back to the 70’s with clanging disco style guitars and mixed again with the vocals, it almost resembles a bit of a Bee Gee’s type vibe. Obviously it’s not completely old school, again the electronics dominate throughout, slowing the speed down a little and the output it so sure of itself, and it should be. It’s definitely a sweet “strutting” song, and if you think that’s a terrible way to describe anything, listen and tell me I’m wrong.

If you thought you were impressed with 2M2H so far, wait until you hear that tropical popsters St Lucia are involved. That’s right, they’re a featured artist on the final track “Something To Believe In”, and man this partnership works out. The ethereal, out-in-space synth of Great Good Fine OK when meshed with the tropical-pop stylings of their featured artist just feels right. The deeper vocals of St Lucia frontman Jean-Philip Grobler are a welcome addition. A seductive saxophone solo permeates the outdo of this track , sliding around the slick arrangement like a dodgy carnival game, leaving you sufficiently entertained but wanting more.

Great Good Fine OK’s took all the stuff that impressed us in the first release and went double or nothing, and it certainly worked out. 2M2H is a crazy good EP. Start to finish, it’s filled with happy dance vibes, heartfelt and honestly delivered lyrics and high level, naturally sexy songwriting. With not a single second on the record wasted, they spit hooks all over the place in an effort that will make them your new favourite band. A lot of the time when someone asks you what bands you’re listening to at the moment, it’s real fucking hard to come up with something solid because it’s always changing. But if anyone asks me for the rest of the year, I can solidly say; I’m listening to Great Good Fine OK.

*****

9.2 / 10

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Great Good Fine OK – Without You

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Great Good Fine OK continue to prove over and over again that they are the most badass, smooth stylers in the world of dance and indie-pop. Following the release of their debut EP Body Diamond last year, I made a point to mention that there’s little room for mistakes in such a short release (as opposed to an LP), and they smashed it out of the park with a natural ear for catchy song-writing. They’ve continued with that trend since then with the release of some really fricken amazing tracks in the lead up to a new EP release entitled “Too Much To Handle”, set to come out in Australia tomorrow.

One that struck me particularly, was the funk infused “Without You”, continuing with the trademark whisper-like vocals of frontman Jon Sandler which sprint around the backing with the type of precision that leaves you unable to keep still. Creeping guitar parts and deep, probing synth provide a thick backing for what is a killer dance track; one that manages to still portray a heartfelt story of disappointment in failed love while keeping you bouncing around the room with happiness. Particularly around the 3:30 minute mark where it hits the outro, the boys round it off with funky guitar parts like the seasoned professionals that they appear to be.

The new EP arrives here in Australia tomorrow, so check it out on iTunes and Spotify ASAP.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Karl Kling – Self-titled (2015 LP)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

If you’ve listened to Synth-pop artist Karl Kling here in Australia, like me, it’s most likely as that featured player from the RAC album Strangers. You would be forgiven for that one. Karl is not big by any means, not yet. But as usual, that’s what makes his self-titled debut album so exciting. It was released earlier this month and going off the kind of influences he’s been hanging around, I couldn’t wait to wrap my ears around it.

The intro track “Figurehead” is a slow dance of space-like synth pop. One that builds and builds but never seems to reach the top. Not that it’s bad. It just has the promise of an anthem but instead glides along in a monotone and safe fashion. “I Will Wait” is where it picks up with impressive originality. It just stinks of RAC and that’s an unreal compliment for any musician. It was the first single he released from the album and it’s a humble, fun and slithery number that slinks along with confidence. All the while digi-pop hooks will keep your finger firmly set on that repeat button.

The second single to be released, “Careful” is a happy turn from the cold tones of the first few tracks. It still has a sadness about it but bops along with aggressive enthusiasm nevertheless. It’s a welcome turn into the dancier style of electro I hoped from this album. It’s followed by “All I Want More Than Anything”, a track that could have been straight from the early nineties. A golden tune that’s easily one of the more catchier on the album. Karl Kling finds the sort of Motion City Soundtrack pop vibe in his synth solos and vocal melodies that will put a smile on your face for days.

“The Struggle” is a nice multi-layered and moody track that plugs along pretty casually and seems performed in a real natural style. You could imagine this as a bedroom recording project, with Karl Kling casually strumming along as he contemplates the narrative in the song. It’s here that you kind of realise how authentic this album is. It’s a guy giving his all, from top to bottom. The song “When I See You Again” has this weird garage rock sound to it that is immediately noticeable following the other tracks on the album. It’s a tonne faster than the others and feels liberating from a listeners perspective. Bold and speedy.

“Job Well Done” is a cracking tune. It’s very eighties with talkative verses and group vocals backing him up and choruses with a crap-load of effect pulsing their way to some decent vocal hooks. The outro track “Life On The Run” is another great, memorable track that places its footsteps in the wake of bands like Stepdad and Architecture In Helsinki who have been putting together really fun electronic music for years now.

In the end, Karl Kling bursts out of the shadows of being a featuring artist (in my eyes) and into his very own spot on the path to synth-pop royalty. His unique style of moodier, new season electronic music is a welcome change from the party hard vibe I’ve been getting used to from a lot of artists. Although I found some of the tracks dragged on towards the end, there are some solid tunes streaked throughout the album and it’s well worth a spot in your next backyard party playlist.

 

*****

7.1 / 10

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