Tag Archives: Australia

Megan Washington – Begin Again (Jasper Leak Remix)

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Award winning artist and one of Australia’s hugest musical darling, Megan Washington, has released a brilliantly minimal remix of her single ‘Begin Again’ taken from the 2014 sophomore album There There.

Collaborating with producer, Jasper Leak, (SIA, Tegan & Sara) the mix almost sounds a little hollow, sort of drowning out Washington’s hugely powerful vocals in a mix of whitewashed synth that can sometimes make the track sound a bit slurred. Despite this, it’s a largely successful remix that navigates the song through a soundscape of hauntingly sinister beats and samples and adds a curious new element to an inspiring ballad that fans know and love.

Megan Washington has just been announced on the prestigious 2015 Splendour In The Grass Festival Line-up in Byron Bay, Australia and will perform alongside Blur, Florence And The Machine, Tame Impala and many more.

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Fickle Friends – Could Be Wrong

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This article first appeared on The Daily Listening.

The UK has always delivered the best of indie in my humble opinion. In the nineties and early naughties it was certainly true. In recent years, I feel like Brooklyn and LA have borrowed the bulk of the load. Before it gets too out of hand, Bristol’s Fickle Friends are on the case, with golden numbers flying out left, right and centre. Their latest single “Could Be Wrong” was released roughly a month ago and is still taking a little bit of time to get noticed around the world, but it definitely deserves a hefty tip of the cap.

This one is a properly good, synth-pop vessel; the sort of which I haven’t heard in a while. It feels like a cross between LA acts DWNTWN and Golden Coast. It combines the beautiful ghost-like vocals of front woman Natassja Shiner with some straight up sunshine synth-pop, bringing together a brilliantly balanced single that should give them a leg-up to bring their live show to all corners of the earth. Writing this from Australia, I certainly hope it does at least…after listening to “Could Be Wrong” on repeat all day I’ll be sorely disappointed if I don’t get to see at least one gig of theirs…fingers crossed.

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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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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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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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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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Pun & Games: David Coonan from Pygmy Tyrant Talks Life As An Australian Video Games Developer

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

When you say the words “start-up”, thoughts automatically go towards images of a group of wizz-kids creating something ground breaking in their garage (cue Steve Jobs comparison). The underdogs who will eventually go the way of pioneers, if they could only find the people to invest in them. But these days, it seems every company that labels themselves by that humble name has their pick of investors, and hits the surface with a staff of forty and a million dollar marketing campaign.

Well thank god video games haven’t yet been tainted, because there’s a talented and passionate group of Sydney game developers out there who are getting back to the roots of this whole phenomenon and proving there is still some fun to be had in the world of the start-up.

Pygmy Tyrant are an indie video game development company consisting of four young entrepreneurs David Coonan, Trent Naylor, Dhani Wong and Willis Smith. In the past year they’ve released three free mobile games, Meteor Mash, Punfound and 50 Shades as well as one paid for app Bombs and Gems in Space – all from a humble co-working space in Darlinghurst while slugging out separate jobs to keep the dream alive. After some decent success with their second app Punfound both locally and overseas, 2015 is looking pretty solid, and we spoke to co-founder David Coonan to find there’s still some underdogs out there we should get behind.

So tell us about Pygmy Tyrant? How would you describe your company and how did it all come about?

Sure, well really we’re an independent video games studio started by four budding young game designers out of college. Australia is a bit barren in terms of game design work, so we thought the best thing for us to do would be to give it a red hot go and start out own company. So that’s what we did! We knew each other through college, and started working together on our major work and found that we gelled quite well together, so when it all wrapped up it kind of felt natural to not let a good thing stop and just keep it going.

And you’re all still working second jobs at the moment?

Yeah, well we all have to provide alternate means of income, because it’s not a completely profitable thing yet. We hope one day that it will be. We all have our means, Will and Trent do game design teaching on the side and I work two other jobs as well. So we all do what we can.

You’ve released three games across iOS, Android and Windows phone now. What goes into developing a mobile app?

Well we try to do it as much as we think the industry does it, from what we’ve learned. But a lot of it is us walking in the dark at this point, figuring out for ourselves. Typically we’ll have a meeting to discuss what we would want to make, but also what would be the best idea for us to design commercially to find a good middle ground. Then we’ll prototype some stuff, we want to “build the toy before we build the game”, and from there we all go into our respective departments. Dhani will do contents for it, make the models. Trent, who’s our technical guru, will figure out how it will all run. Then I act kind of like a project manager, I’ll give the team tasks and priorities to what will get done. And yeah, then we get into the meat of it, which is the programming, animating, testing and then we kind of cycle all that until we’re happy to release it – which is a whole other kettle of fish. Because we have to wear many hats, one day we’ll be animating, the next we’ll be testing…we all do a lot of work.

So let’s talk about Punfound, how would you describe the game?

Yeah sure, so the way I would describe it to people, is that it’s a word quiz game where you have to solve pun-puzzles. For example, it might be a picture of two hippos talking, and one’s calling the other one fat. And what you’ll see would be “That’s ____ critical”. Then you have to fill in that word from a pool of letters, the answer would be “Hippo critical”. We have about three hundred of those, and that’s Punfound.

It’s easily your most popular release so far, how many downloads are we currently up to in total? (Across all platforms, internationally)

Internationally, it’s up to about 100,000 downloads at the moment. Which in terms of the mobile market, is nothing too amazing but we’re pretty happy with it so far!

Were you surprised by the success of Punfound after such a humble start with Meteor Mash?

Yeah, I mean it’s all baby steps. After Meteor Mash we’re very happy with what we got. We do view it as a success, we’re just taking it day by day and hopefully the next one will be a million downloads rather than 100,000!

You’ve been endorsed by a Nigerian rap superstar? Have you received a boost in downloads or any extra praise in Africa since? Where are you most popular apart from Australia?

Ha, yeah Mr Incredible! He asked Twitter to help solve one of our puns and after that we took off in Nigeria. We’re happy to be popular anywhere but we were quite surprised by that. Botswana was another one, we were number 1 in the game store but that’s kind of plateaued off now. But Botswana, Nigeria, Singapore, those were the three countries we were top dog for a while.

You’ve introduced the “Celebrity Add-On Pack” to Punfound for a small donation of $2.49 ($2 US), and also focused on adding more social sharing elements to your apps. What do you think is the most important thing that goes into creating an app in terms of setting it up for success?

Well, we’re trying to figure that out as we go as well. But I guess our philosophy behind it all is that it needs to be accessible, really simple and you really need to have an idea of who you’re marketing to but at the same time not lose track of why you got into it in the first place. Keeping your passion for it while still making something that’s viable in the market we’re in.

As Pygmy Tyrant grows, will you continue to focus on mobile apps or are you looking to expand into higher-level software development?

Well, for the immediate future our focus is on mobile. Like you said it’s the easiest to develop for now so that’s our bread and butter at the moment. But definitely our plans, or what we talk about all the time of maybe next year or maybe sooner, is developing the bigger type of games. The kind you would see in your Playstation 4 or Xbox One or PC. But yeah, that’s all hopeful discussion at the moment.

We all had that iconic game when we were younger that made us want to make video games for a living (or test them, if you’re me). If you had to pick one game that influenced you as a kid in this way, what would it be and why?

Oh man, I always dread these questions, there’s so many to choose from. I’m just going to say Metal Gear Solid one for the Playstation One. I think that really made me want to get into games because it was just so incredible. The cinematic, the story, not just the gameplay but the characters and the voice acting. I guess it made me realise that games could be so much more and was maybe something I wanted to be a part of. You know, I wanted to see where I could take the medium, where I could find my voice in this thing.

*****

Punfound is available for FREE download on iTunes, Android and Windows Phone, at their respective app stores.

The Celebrity Add-On pack is also available for FREE for a limited time only.

You can follow Pygmy Tyrant’s latest developments on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pygmytyrantgames or on their official website: http://www.pygmytyrant.com/

Pun

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Greg Chiapello – Hot Coffee

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Brisbane based artist and Hey Geronimo / Montpelier collaborator Greg Chiapello has released his debut single “Hot Coffee” in the lead up to a national support slot with the electric Megan Washington. 

The track is a steaming pop tune reminiscent of old school classics like the glorious Fastball or even slightly like some of the more recent Aussie sounds like Hungry Kids Of Hungary. It’s a catchy monster that shows massive potential for the debut EP which is currently being worked on and due for release later this year.

Greg Chiapello will head out with Megan Washington for four metro city dates throughout February. Tickets are on sale through www.meganwashington.com

 

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LIVE REVIEW: SOHN + KLO @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (29.01.15)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Promotional material for SOHN’s current visit to Australia have mostly led with the whole London born / Vienna based thing, and it’s clear why. The talented multi-instrumentalist’s debut album Tremorswas unique and brilliant, even ground-breaking in a way, in that it took that foundation of a very British sounding electronic indie and swirled it together with an inherently European influence to create something fans hadn’t quite heard before.

His sweet, smooth vocal range and eccentric musical stylings shot straight into the hearts of a diverse range of music fans worldwide and led to sold out shows in Melbourne during his last Aussie expedition. The man is back in the country to play Laneway Festival, and on Thursday he took a detour in Sydney to give the fans a more intimate show at the Oxford Art Factory.

Melbourne natives Klo hit the stage in Sydney for the first time as the crowd began to trickle in. In fact, according to vocalist Chloe Kaul it was only their sixth live performance of all time, if you could believe. They warmed up the middle part of the evening with smooth samples and wispy dream-pop vocals. Synth scattered in and out of the intro track, setting the foundation for a strong set. Their sound in the early parts sounded something liken to indie blog favourites Noble Oak or even Keep Shelly In Athens. Their speedy, melodic meshing of drum and bass absolutely killed it. While their banter was of the shy-guy kind, the duo took to each track with masterful precision, playing a tight set full of catchy beats and an inherent cool-ness that could’ve had the average punter mistaking them for a headlining act, and justifiably so.

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The hooded figure of SOHN appeared, applauding the crowd as he kicked his headliner show off with one of the older tracks, “Warnings”. Deep, stormy grumblings, emotional bass tones and transcendent synth quickly filled the room like a hypothetical drip-tank, step by little step engulfing our ears and minds as the light show flourished around the centre figure. Sweet indie mixed with a sort of R ’n B vocal styling. It’s the kind of futuristic scene I’d imagine would go solid paired up with virtual reality goggles and SOHN (real name Christopher Taylor) played to it well, morphing the Oxford Art Factory into a futuristic theme park of sight and sound.

More melancholy tunes filled the factory floor with the latest single in the arsenal, “The Chase”, and it was clear from the beginning that SOHN has legit the most spot on vocals I’ve ever heard. This kind of performance deserves to be heard somewhere like the Opera House. It’s like, sit down, listen, fucking appreciate. That cavernous, sinking digital work and elevating melodies meshed together like long lost friends. “Tremors” began in the third spot like an old fairy tale, with spotlights fighting for the figure at the centre, an emotional rendition of the title track from his debut album picked up beat and had the crowd swaying and feeling these tunes with honesty.

After a bit of friendly banter, a brooding version of “Veto” played out with dangerous vibes. With the instrumentalist firmly at the front, we got back down to business, and that’s really what he was best at. Churning out perfection with every tune, every note and every tone in his voice, exactly on point. Innocently appreciative beforehand, the crowd stood to attention as “Bloodflows” began to play. The slow, minimalist intro guided by the now rose light show morphed into a furious race to the outdo, accelerated by strobes to pair with the emotion of the tune, blitzing and awe inspiring halfway point. “Tempest” is another one of his more minimalistic outings, in a similar vein to something like Imogen Heap, requiring solid stand-alone vocals. At several points during the rendition the crowd erupted into applause at the simple fact that it was unbelievable how much he just kept nailing line after line.

“Artifice” was a personal favourite of mine, kicking into gear after some of the more moody tunes, firing off with hardly any warning, a simple “Are you guys ready?” from the man at the front and we’re straight into it. Live, this one just transcends every expectation. It’s catchy, emotional, melodic and features electronics at their best. I gotta tell you guys, you can’t beat it. You just can’t.

With fleeting synth and a sweater down, SOHN finished up with “Lessons”, swaying back and forth and feeding off the crowd who were obviously impressed. The track, which spun like a ferris wheel, slipped up and down with a harsh robotic feel. When the breakdown came the whole factory floor were clapping in unison on the beat to take it out. The old fake goodnight scheme was pulled as always and they were back in an instant with their single “The Wheel” and it’s clear why they left the best until last. It’s a beautifully static track that is just mountainous when played live. Uniquely angelic vocals with fluttering falsetto once again permeated the final outing in Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory.

He’s been pegged as a musical virtuoso. And I’ll be honest, from the album recorded, I kind of got it, but I didn’t get it. After seeing this act live, it’s crystal. Fuck cleanliness, SOHN is next to godliness.

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