Tag Archives: electronic

Girl Friend – Monte Carlo

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Man, it has been a VERY long time since I’ve heard a dance track this fucking seductive. I’m talking like full-on song abuse. Hitting the repeat button, over and over. The single by Girl Friend, entitled “Monte Carlo”, came out almost a solid month ago, and sadly I’m only just getting around to posting about it now. But don’t worry, it’s not a flash in the pan type of thing, so no matter how late you find it you’ll still be listening forever.

The track is literally about dancing, love and travel, so really there’s no bunch of themes that could be more enticing. It’s fast paced with a kind of skip-hop beat that you might hear with Two Door Cinema Club, although they certainly have their own tweaks going on. The tone of the vocals really hits a sweet spot for me. Nothing too amazing by professionally trained standards, but the kind of voice that just really sounds sweet, with smooth sliding tones all up in there. The chorus will hook you within the first split second.

Going off Facebook, these guys are quite small. But with a hugely original and just plain awesome sound, they’re sure to hit big things very soon.

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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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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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Purity Ring – Begin Again

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Now this is Purity Ring at their fucking greatest. “Begin Again” is the first time in recent memory I have heard the Canadian darlings put together a tune that actually sounds like it has some sort of pop-like structure. I mean, they received huge popularity off the format they had before, but this is a change for the duo that is hugely welcome. The track is classic Purity Ring with angelic, sweet and fragile vocals and huge apocalyptic synth, drum and bass.

The Canadians announced earlier last month their upcoming album Another Eternity which will be out on March 3rd via 4AD. They have also announced a world tour that will reach all sorts of places around Europe and America. Australia hasn’t yet been announced but fingers are crossed over here that we’ll get to see them again.

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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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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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Adam Snow – All I Need

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Adam Snow is a relatively unknown producer out of Washington D.C. with a very humble following on Facebook (I’m talking like one or two likes on every post, poor guy). His new track “All I Need” dropped like five hours ago, and you should all seriously stop what you’re doing and check this shit out.

It’s a short but sweet blend of electronica, with touches of dream-pop reaching for a little RnB. It’s emotive, impressive and one of those tracks that just makes you feel a little bit. For something that was only released a few hours ago, it’s getting quite a bit of buzz and it’s not wonder why. This guy will be a festival-hold name very soon so get in while the gettins good!

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Night Drive – Young Rivals

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Some exciting news on the new-find front as Austin duo Night Drive’s latest track, Young Rivals hit just over 24 hours ago via Sound Control Records. The dark, synth-heavy electro pop shines through in this 80’s style number complete with David Bowie-esque vocals and New Order style melodies. A lot of bands have decided to bring back that retro feel in the last year, and it’s a seriously good move. But if you’re going to have a proper crack at it, at least be like David Bowie.

Apparently Night Drive toured with Gold Fields last year, which peaked my interest initially, quickly garnering a reputation as a must see, high energy live show. The duo are also currently prepping a remix of Young Rivals from producer ASTR and an official video for the single.

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Great Good Fine OK – By My Side

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About a month ago I posted about The Wild Honey Pie’s solid live recording of Great Good Fine OK’s next track from the upcoming EP, called By My Side. The song has just been premiered for Earmilk and it’s a very similar rendition, although I kind of preferred the urgency and energy in the live version a bit more.

The long awaited debut EP Body Diamond is out at the end of this week and inclusive of the summer hits You’re The One For Me and Not Going Home, along with By My Side and new one Say It All which further showcase the band’s incredibly infectious synth-pop melodies and funky falsetto vocal lines.

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