Tag Archives: australian

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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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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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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The Very Best Of 2014

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It’s almost the last day of the working year at my day to day; and as you can imagine, as things wind down, cranking out some decent tunes in the office becomes a big part of the vibe leading up to Christmas. Looking through the 2014 playlists, it’s very clear that this year has been one of the best years in a long while for music, in particular Australian music. We’ve had some sure-to-be historic debuts, some impressive first time interstate players, and the expectations put on many emerging artists for their scheduled releases this year shattered with an unprecedented amount of consistently high quality records.

Now, this is down to pure personal taste, and if you would also like to input, you can either email suggestions next year or start up your own blog. But I’d like to take a silent minute to just respect the year that’s been, and deliberate on the very best of the year that was 2014.

Acoustic Cover of the Year: Bad Suns (Calif.) – Cardiac Arrest

Among the slew of emerging artists this year, Bad Suns stood out for their unreal ability to craft a pure pop song with all that raw rock vibe imbued inside of it. Cardiac Arrest was perhaps the best example of this, the single off their debut Language & Perspective, because of the sinister lead guitar hooks and impressively spot-on vocals. That was made entirely clear when they played it acoustic, knocking it out of the park vocally, while the band plays nice and tight.

Live Show of the Year: The Griswolds @ The Metro, October

Sydney was treated to some sweet as live acts passing through this year. Among the slew was St. Lucia, CHVRCHES, Kishi Bashi, Circa Waves, Bombay Bicycle Club and a huge amount of increasingly noteworthy locals. But by far the most incredibly performance was when Sydney natives The Griswolds returned home from their huge touring schedule in the US in October for one of the best live performances I’ve seen yet. Their latest single If You Wanna Stay absolutely brought the house down.

Emerging Artist of the Year: Coach Bombay (Melb.)

When I say “emerging” artist, you might not think Melbourne’s Coach Bombay fits the profile. They’ve been around for quite a while. But it’s surprising to note that this year in September was the first time they ever played live outside of the state of Victoria. We interviewed the man and reviewed his Sydney performance at the time and you wouldn’t believe they only started touring as a live act in the last year or so. They were so tight, so huge, dancey but humble. His unique brand of happy times electro-pop deserves a tip of the cap and we hope to see them doing big things in 2015.

Australian Artists of the Year: Northeast Party House (Melb.)

2014 was a really awesome year for a lot of Australian bands. I’ve followed Northeast Party House closely for over two years now and anticipated their debut Any Given Weekend for a long time. Well this year it was released in line with a stretch of hectic tours up the east coast of Australia. The album and their shows were true to the consistently and beautifully shambolic nature of the boys themselves, solidifying their spot in my party playlists for years to come.

International Artist of the Year: Ghost Beach (New York)

Ghost Beach have been busy little Brooklynites this year, with the launch of their record label “Crazy Heart Records” and the debut release from their signing PROM. Alongside this, they used billboard space in Times Square to open a discussion on music privacy. In between all this, they released in Australia their kick ass album BLONDE complete with some of the most original songwriting I’ve heard in a long time together with killer iconic vocals. Ghost Beach were easily the band that made the most profound impact of 2014 to anyone that was into them.

EP of the Year: Great Good Fine OK (New York) – Body Diamond

Great Good Fine OK got their break through the blog-o-sphere with one of our favourites, “The Wild Honey Pie”, who further pushed them in 2014. The release of further singles after last years You’re The One For Me, got me ridiculously excited for the EP, and they delivered with epics like By My Side and Not Coming Home. In an EP there is little room for mistakes, and this one was as flawless as they come.

Single of the Year: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (Detroit) – Run

I’ll be honest, I didn’t take quite as much notice of this song when I first heard it, and although I deeply regret it at least I came around and that’s the main thing. Joke was on me, because Run is a stellar single, released in January of this year from the 2013 album The Speed Of Things, it involves a very unique style of songwriting and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. in the best form they can be. When their mellow, wacky lyrics join hands with their strangely elusive yet fun electro-pop style, amazing things happen.

Album of the Year: RAC (Portland) – Strangers

Anyone who reads this blog knows I froth over RAC. So it’s no surprise that his debut full length of originals brought me to my knees this year. Strangers was a collaboration with many of my favourite vocalists, Speak, Tokyo Police Club, Kele, St Lucia and Alex Ebert to name a few. But it was those I had never heard of that really broke the roof of this album. Tracks like Ello Ello (Ft. Body Language) and Cheap Sunglasses (Feat. Matthew Koma) made this an album that I will never forget, and will most likely still be pumping on some futuristic sound device 40 years from now.

Merry Christmas and look forward for more tunes in 2015!

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Sans Parents – Coming Back To You

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Following the disbandment of the epic Australian indie pop outfit Hungry Kids of Hungry, ex-members Kane Mazlin and Ryan Strathie have formed new project Sans Parents with Sydney-based session player/Andy Bull collaborator Alex Bennison. The new three piece have just delivered their debut single ‘Coming Back To You’ which is a crunchy and aggressive number, reminiscing on the days of garage rock.

Originally setting out to assist each other on new post-band solo projects, they discovered that the chemistry displayed through their collaborative efforts sparked a song-writing synergy that has already eventuated in a near-completed album recorded by Brisbane’s Matt Redlich (Ball Park Music, Emma Louise).

Sans Parents will also be announcing shows for 2015 in the coming weeks.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Pepa Knight – Hypnotized Vol. 1

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Side-tracking from the successful ethnic-pop collaboration that is Jinja Safari, Central Coast native Pepa Knight released his debut EP Hypnotized Vol. 1 last Friday and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Alongside an exciting start to his solo act, just over a month ago the man welcomed a baby boy into the world, which would be sure to inspire any regular man let alone a musical maestro. Perhaps a lot of that life affirming, dawn-of-a-new-day type of thinking shines through in the new work. Perhaps it’s just a really great listen. The way this EP reaches out and grabs at your heart and mind, I think you’d be a fool to listen to it and believe it’s anything but the first option.

The record introduces itself with the opening track “Hypnotized”, beginning the journey that is getting to know Pepa Knight, because that’s what a lot of this collection actually feels like. A journey and an experience. Sounds wanky, I know. But seriously, listen to it and tell me I’m wrong. It’s probably why his live performances are well complimented by 3D glasses and are commonly held in teepees. It’s something you need to actually feel to believe. The title track is littered with world music inspired strings and percussion, brought together in a likeable collaboration in large part thanks to Pepa’s pop infused vocals, which add that much needed element of familiarity. Near the end we hear the words, “Do you feel alive?”, offering an eager clue at the tangibility of what’s to come.

The most obvious choice for highlight of Hypnotized Vol. 1 would be the debut single “Rahh!”. Feeling like an incoherent and passionate scream at the world, there’s something very Gotye-esque about it, with much catchier undertones and use of the signature sitar and thumping drums. It’s an uplifting, life-affirming collage of travel, freedom, love and loss. A cacophony of every feeling you’ve ever felt meshed into one. With this number, I suggest you just put your ear-buds in, close your eyes and listen. You’ll fast find that you love wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.

“The Desert Guide” and “Fortress” continue on with the ethereal, wispy vocal style Pepa seems to have patented throughout the recording process. While the EP doesn’t exactly hit its peak at this point in my opinion, these tracks provide good fodder for a respectable first offering. It’s here where the experimental nature of the whole project shines through, and will earn big points with fans of his previous stuff.

The latest single release, “Coyote Choir”, is a happy little tune, giving a courageous nod to harder times. It’s a very solid number, perhaps the easiest to digest on the collection if you’re into simpler pop tunes. That’s not to say it’s actually “simple” in any recognisable way. It’s just very heightening. Again, intensely busy percussion sections mix with an uncommon mix of string elements to create something truly unique. Not just because of the fact that this is a style of music not often heard on the Australian circuit, but because Pepa somehow manages to mix his pop prowess with the unknown in such a masterful way. Honestly, in songs like “Coyote Choir”, the most unique part about it is that when it comes to pure likability and respect for musicianship, you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

I know this is supposed to be an album review. But it feels like an injustice for someone like me to talk about Pepa Knight’s Hyptonized Vol. 1 in terms of the music. The man is a fucking talented virtuoso, way outside of my ability to describe. It’s much easier to listen to the album and just get happy about life.

*****

8.7 / 10

Hypnotized Vol. 1 is available now. For more information visit the online store HERE

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Born Joy Dead – Hey Blood

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This is exciting. A side project from someone from Hungry Kids Of Hungary. I got into them when I lived in Canada, so it brings back some fun memories of cruising around on a snowboard listening to Scattered Diamonds.

Born Joy Dead is the new project of former Hungry Kids Of Hungary bassist Ben Dalton. After making a great impression among tastemakers and picking up national radio play with their debut single, the band are setting out to do it all again with their latest offering Hey Blood. And it’s seriously sick.

Born Joy Dead will be announcing a national tour in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned guys.

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Parties, Pugs & Any Given Weekend: Talking with Northeast Party House

Those of us who were in bands as teenagers know that there are only two ways to reflect back on it. The first one is utter embarrassment. The hair cuts, the immature lyrics and the in-jokes that your 16-year old self thought were funny in an album artwork or song suddenly aren’t as funny to anyone except your 16-year old self. The other is with pride. Remembering those days as among the best you’ve ever had. When you used to do nothing but party with friends, tour, drink yourself silly, sleep on couches that looked more like fallen rubble and laugh as you injured yourself constantly.

Melbournites and long-time good friends, Northeast Party House, don’t shy away from their past shenanigans as they look to drop their very first album, Any Given Weekend, in May. The lead single from the album, The Haunted slotted nicely into the Triple J rotation recently and as tour dates were announced last week, we heard from front man Zach Hamilton-Reeves who talked a little past, present, future and all things NPH (not to be confused with Neil Patrick Harris).

 

Where did the name Northeast Party House come from?

Back in 2008, our good friend Sam Northeast was left in charge of his parents house for two weeks after his Mum went on a holiday to Canada. After a big night out, Sam invited everyone back to the house and the party ended up going on for 2 weeks straight. Technically we should have been called Northeast’s Party House. The name Northeast Party House was an ode to the silliness that went on in that house.

I don’t know about you guys, but I personally have been stinging for this album to come out for a long while. What do you think you’ll do to celebrate when it’s finally out?

Hmm, well other than playing shows around the place, I think we’re going to enjoy some down time.  There was some talk of Karaoke. We’ve all got other little project interests that we’d like to check out, so we’ll see where they get to and maybe slowly get started on [album] number two.

The two singles to be released off the upcoming album, Youth Allowance and The Haunted seem to follow a party focused theme. Is this setting a trend for the rest of the album to come?

The whole album is really about our lives, our friends, loves and the experiences we’ve all had over the past few years. I think the two songs you’ve heard are a pretty solid representation of what’s to come. We’re pretty excited to show everyone what we’ve been doing!

The Haunted is an exciting peek at Any Given Weekend. Why did you choose it to be the lead single?

For the first single we felt it was really important to show everyone the diversity of the band. The Haunted was one of the songs on the album that came together in the short space of a day or two. It’s a track that we’ve all really jelled on. It’s bouncy, with some serious undertones. The track manages to remain restrained and still deliver a bit of kick to your teeth. You know? I like that stuff.

A lot of Aussie bands have shot straight overseas around the time of a release to try spruik their sound. Gold Fields, San Cisco & The Griswolds to name a few. Have you got any plans to follow suit?

There aren’t any concrete plans for overseas just yet, but we are all super keen to get there eventually. For us it’s really about where to go first. I know some of us have our eyes set on New York. We’ll just have to see where we end up, I think.

On your Facebook page, I’ve seen guys in neck braces, guys with bloody noses, people passed out and most recently, Zach sporting crutches. What is it that makes your shows so dangerous?

To be fair, the crutches had nothing to do with our show, but all of our bruzzis get pretty wild. We’ve seen our fair share of obscene behaviour whilst playing. Maybe the bouncers?

Speaking of the live shows, they seem to be getting bigger and better all the time. Is it only big time from here or do you still play the odd mates house party?

Yeah, lately they’ve been getting really full on. We still like trying to make the house parties happen but it’s getting pretty hard. There are a lot of us playing live and a lot of stuff to set up. Lately we’ve been having a lot of fun playing DJs at the small parties and clubs, lots of techno stuff. It’s pretty fun.

What’s with you guys and laser pugs/cats at the moment? (Apart from them just being epic)

Truthfully? When I was about 8 I had a little kitten called ‘Mittens’ and my older brother had a little pug-cross called ‘Dex’. They became quite close. We used to play a game called strap the laser to your pet and make them do battle. We’d put them in a box with those little lasers strapped on the head with the button pressed down, fill the box up with smoke and shake it all around. R.I.P. Mittens, I loved you. I’ll never forgive Dex.

 

Any Given Weekend is set for release on the 16th of May through StopStart Records.

Northeast Party House will be touring Australia to support it over June and July. Tickets went on sale today – you can buy them here.

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