Tag Archives: america

Diamond Youth – Thought I Had It Right

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For those of you who feel like messing things up a bit right now, Baltimore’s very own Diamond Youth have just released a very grungy pop number “Thought I Had It Right” that will help you on your way. Spitting with frustrated lyrics and a similar musical vibe to something like a Surfer Blood, it’s a good time to be this sort of band.

It feels like 90s is the new retro. About ten years ago all the bands were rocking synth-pop like it was the mid-eighties again, but here we are playing catch up and using the lessons learnt from the era to bust through the genre, bigger and better. “Thought I Had It Right” certainly proves that notion to be true, with impressively physical tones and non-chalant melodies powering through the entirety of the three minute track.

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Jack Garratt releases Synethesiac EP

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British singer, songwriter, musician and producer Jack Garratt releases his latest EP entitled Synesthesiac via Interscope Records this week.  Synesthesiac is currently available for digital download through iTunes and Spotify. Synthesthesiac was produced by Garratt and features his previous single “The Love You’re Given,” plus three new tracks, “Chemical”, “Synesthesia Pt. 1” and “Lonesome Valley”.

Garratt hasn’t made it to Australia yet, but has enjoyed a bit of play on Triple J following some huge praise in the UK after his debut Remnants EP, which also racked up over a million plays online and led to several sold-out shows in London. “Chemical” received its first airplay in the U.K. on influential BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe’s show.   Garratt’s powerful songwriting and incredible vocals have led to numerous festival appearances including this summer’s prestigious Reading and Leeds festivals in the U.K.

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ON AN ON – Drifting

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ON AN ON were one of the surprise attacks of 2013, cutting through the barrage of indie bands to appear during that year with an absolutely incredible debut album Give In featuring memorable hits like “Ghosts” and “Every Song” that are still in my playlist today.

The new track “Drifting” pulls it back a bit, even by ON AN ON’s folky standards, showcasing a hollow, melancholy tune with real feeling and emotion. Something similar to the standards of Matt Corby or Tan Vampires, to an extent. Some impressive picking and vocal melodies prove a seductive combination, drawing you in with every sad twist and turn.

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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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ALBUM REVIEW: Glowbug – Headhunters

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

In previous years, Daniel Anderson A.K.A Glowbug hasn’t made too much of a fuss about his releases. As a member of rap outfit Hyro Da Hero as well as Idiot Pilot, there hasn’t been much room for his solo outings. 2012’s Suit Of Swords was a masterpiece of reverb infused electro-pop with an interesting mix of grunge, yet he released it for free download on Bandcamp with a heads up to fans from social media accounts, but nothing noticeable. But Glowbug’s new full length effort Headhunters is hard to look past, no matter how coy he might be about marketing it.

The opening track “Webs” is passionate and anthemic, brimming with dangerous sounding synth and empty falsetto vocals. This track will immediately flag one thing up front for listeners, if you don’t like reverb in your vocal track, you won’t like Glowbug. What started out as a bit of a production faux pas for me, turned into a loving, long-term relationship, and now I couldn’t imagine a world where singers didn’t use reverb profusely. The hollow spike in electronics and desperation in the vocals signify the outro of the track, catering to both electro lovers and the heavier sorts as things get fast paced and screamy.

“I Need A Lover” is your more standard rendezvous with the poppier Glowbug, starting with an infectious melodic line and easy to relate to lyrics about life and love. The guitar solo in this is the first one I’ve heard on a Glowbug track and it’s pretty damn sweet too. It’s the single “False Metal” that shines through the most, though. The first song on the album of many to sport a featuring artist in Josh Holland and it’s a welcome addition from the reverb soaked vocals of Daniel Anderson. Holland’s beautifully high-vocal range headlines the track in a call-and-response arrangement, adding an impressive new element to what we were previously used to from the bug. The tune has attitude, emotion and the uncanny ability to get stuck in your head, which is a rare quality for a sort-of-heavy song.

One of the other highlights on Headhunters (besides the album artwork) is a featuring spot from rapper Hyro Da Hero. The track, “Blood In The Waves” adds a beat reminiscent of Tinie Tempah, and come to think of it Hyro sounds pretty similar to the UK rap superstar too, and that is in no way a criticism. The song is tight. “Death Of The Party” is another one of Glowbug’s staples, the retro track that then throws us off course with a screamo chorus. The intro to this song sounds like something that could’ve played on the “Breakfast Club” soundtrack, but then it veers right out of control, giving us a hell of a breakdown, with sirens and screaming to top it off. Also, I should mention that the film clip is one of the most confronting things I’ve ever seen, although it fits the song quite nicely. It’s a really harsh mix of tropical fun and grotesque depravity, watch it (at your own risk) and see what I mean.

When “The Night My Heart Stopped” kicks into play it’s like the musical version of the panic and confusion you see when a fire alarm goes off in an office block. It’s a ferocious song featuring Sean Smith from The Blackout that packages the electro-hardcore vibe of Glowbug quite nicely. “Haunted” and the ending track “All In” takes the act in a much needed melodic direction, as a break from some of the more confronting tracks. Inclusive of female vocals from Lourdes Hernandez, the latter tune even takes a turn that could be described as “mellow”, a stark contrast from the rest of the collection. That’s where the artist hits his stride. It’s such a diverse collection, going from bravado, to fucking panic and into a straight forward, chill-out, electro-pop track and some tracks on cruise-control to even it out. And it works. I feel like if he stuck with just any one of these styles the whole collection would have become a bit tiring. But what we have is an album that just straight-up works.

Daniel Anderson is a bloody great musician and producer, and it’s never been more clear then inHeadhunters. There’s a lot of personal angst here, and not the type that keeps teenagers in their bedrooms writing in their diaries about why Dad will never understand. This is the type we can get behind. A man putting his whole life into music at the sacrifice of the simple things that make most of us happy. The album screams redemption throughout the course, with lyrics like “I really thought about giving up” and “I wanna live life again” exuding from the singers mouth. This is a Glowbug taking all the things that made him good, and ditching all his ghosts to create his best work to date. Perhaps the best part about it, though? He’s still giving it out for free. It truly is a good time to be a Glowbug fan.

9.2 / 10

*****

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ALBUM REVIEW: Clockwise – Dancing World

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

The latest EP from Australian-born, LA based artist Clockwise, Dancing World, is an unlikely arrangement. I say unlikely, because despite being labelled “Indie-Pop” on the ol’ Wikipages, if you listened to their collection here you would immediately peg the outfit as electro or synth-pop or another of those new-aged genres that continue to pop up in the wave of innovative, non-traditional acts that spout keys, synths and digital effects as the main feature in their musical arsenal. There’s a tinge of traditional indie or folk that shines through what is predominantly a dance record. It’s unique enough to earn it a tip of the cap, and a cheeky tag to keep tabs on as they continue to develop into a powerhouse act in years to come.

Strings permeate the introduction of this EP, in the form of the title track “Dancing World”, welcoming us to a five-track that is elegantly rough and streaked with attitude when combined in full. Vocals from the man behind the moniker, Andy Clockwise, spit with persuasiveness in between the staccato plucking of strings, samples of static guitar and wispy electronic samples, all contributing to make this a solid opener, setting the tone for the rest of the EP.

The deep, grumbling electronic bass lines in “Hopeless” take us into the urban soundscape of LA. As the moody vocal lines carry us through each verse, it contrasts wildly against the ethereal falsetto female vocals that break between the verses and choruses. It’s a tune spouting a theme of giving up with bravado. The type of messy, out-of-control stage before the clean slate, complete with beautiful falling chime synth chopping up the second verse. It was a good choice for the single on the EP, as it’s easily the most likeable and recognisable song on the EP. The outsider, “Murphy’s Law” begins with the best parts of indie. Carrying on with sounds that we may have originally heard from acts like Two Door Cinema Club if they collaborated with legends like Talking Heads. It’s a musical journey with a clear beginning, hardships and a solidifying end.

Every EP has to have the token softer song, although not always an acoustic ballad as such. Dancing World has two. “Steam Dreams” chugs along at a slow pace with emotive energy and those brilliant female vocals here to help again. It has a very old school feel that’s familiar and folk-like while shifting the format enough for the modern day music lover to take notice. We end on another slower track, a seven-minute doozy entitled “War Story Part One” (Part Two TBC). This concluding song builds on the whole electro-folk thing Clockwise have going on and absolutely nail it to the wall with their stamp firmly printed. If you stripped back the electronics it could’ve been a folk-epic back in the day, and it’s uncanny how much it kind of sounds like “You Are My Sunshine”.

Although I feel like the title “Dancing World” is a little misleading for an EP that is mostly crafty, delicious electronic folk tunes, some of it does have that head-bopping feel and I guess that’s what Clockwise has done with this effort. It’s a collection of positive, electronically tinged, folk / indie tunes that have an obvious feeling of a personal journey, or a personal state of mind. Whether you interpret it as your own or stick with the narrative, after finishing this EP beginning to end, you’ll have no troubles stepping into Andy Clockwise’s Dancing World.

*****

8.1 / 10

Dancing World is available now for purchase through iTunes or streaming with Spotify.

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Wild Party – Life’s Too Short

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We posted about Wild Party a long time ago with their wonderful pop track “When I Get Older”, and although we’re a bit late to the punch on this one, you could forgive us as their debut album Phantom Pop is STILL not available in Australia! Or at least not to Spotify users (screw iTunes). So I had to get on the backfoot here and scope it all out on YouTube, and picked out “Life’s Too Short” as the star track from the CD.

It’s an old school indie-pop tune, a-tune with classic acts like Rooney. Ten years ago and Wild Party could have very well been playing on an episode of The OC! It’s pretty straight forward, but that’s where these guys hit it best. It’s a bit romantic, very melodic and the good news is they always seem to sound like they’re partying, true to their name.

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Smallpools – Karaoke

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Nothing cooler than a smooth tune about getting loose and crazy in claustrophobically built dark rooms with nothing but a basic mic and a plasma , singing at the top of your lungs to an oddly placed makeshift video of a guy looking sad on a train ride while the worst cover of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ bursts your eardrums. Yeah, I think we can all agree Karaoke is pretty sick.

Honestly though,  Smallpools have done some pretty catchy tunes in the last year, and in the lead up to their next album coming out in a few days, they released “Karaoke”, as the follow up single to “Killer Whales”, and it’s a perfect insight into what to expect out of these guys. A familiar verse and easy to digest chorus make this nothing but slick, likeable pop tunes for days.

It’s also the creepiest thing ever that the lady on the cover of the single looks eerily similar to my Mum. Like mannerisms, love of karaoke, everything.

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The Chain Gang Of 1974 – You

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The Chain Gang Of 1974 is the indie-electronic project of American musician and DJ, Kamtin Mohager. His debut album Daydream Forever was released in January of this year (a little late to the party, I know) and it’s absolutely phenomenal.

Standout track, You is filled with Naked & Famous vibes and hectic electronic sparks. Their overall sound is the perfect mix of indie rock and polished production that only a seasoned DJ would know how to spin. The album in its entirety is really solid so I suggest you check it out but for the moment, this shit should get you through the rainy night.

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