Tag Archives: melbourne

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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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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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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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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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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I Know The Chief – Sahara

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Yesterday marked the release of the debut EP from Melbourne’s I Know The Chief and although it feels like it came out of nowhere for me, Disco Demolition Night has been a long time in the making. I heard Stay Coloured way back and let it slip under the radar so I’m glad I managed to snap onto this one quickly as they’re probably the coolest, truly new act to grace the Australian scene this year.

I’ve heard the single Sahara be compared to shades of Gold Fields and I’d have to agree in the vocals particularly, although they bring into it parts of Last Dinosaurs and the overseas indie act that started this style in the first place, Two Door Cinema Club. It’s fast, it’s dance-y and fucking catchy. You’ll be playing some kind of dorky air guitar like me by at least the sixth listen, it’s impossible not to.

They describe their euphoric sound as ‘Jungle Disco’. Have a listen and see if you agree. I’d say that’s spot on.

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Twinsy – Tear It Down

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Apparently for the latest release from Victorians, Twinsy, they were locked in a studio for 12 hours (standard band stuff), and fed only pizza and corn chips (also standard band stuff) to see what sort of shit they would come up with. Did you expect anything but this to happen in the film clip? The single itself, Tear It Down, is as messy as the film clip; a surreal mix of hollow group vocals, bassy electronics and misplaced effects.

Tear It Down is in anticipation of their forthcoming EP Espiritus which is out October 31st of this very year. Mark it in your calendar.

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Japanese Wallpaper Ft Jesse Davidson – Between Friends

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To keep up the theme of dream-pop I’ve had going of late, I thought I’d introduce our international friends to Melbourne man Japanese Wallpaper, an unreal collaboration producer who has already worked with highly regarded Australian artists such as Pepa Knight (of Jinja Safari fame)racking up hundred of thousands of plays on Soundcloud in the meantime.

The latest track, Between Friends features Jesse Davidson and it has a very FEAR-CLUB-esque sound to it. Chimes and other sorts of tinny percussion vibrate the walls of this vessel, with passive electronics and very unpretentious vocals landing us in a very sexy entanglement.

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From Bedroom Recording Project To A Cool Thing: Talking with Coach Bombay

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This article first appeared on The AU Review

For many Australian acts the age of the bedroom recording project is in full swing and Melbourne’s Terry Mann, aka Coach Bombay, is perhaps one of the best examples around at the moment. Dishing out chirpy electro-pop tunes since 2009 from within those four walls of his, the Coach has built a reputation on fun, all the while claiming an inspiring fan base before even playing his first live show. With the latest single Girls impressing everyone it comes in contact with, Coach Bombay has been trekking about the east coast for a few shows to support it, and Jesse Lewis chatted to the man behind it all about finally going live, what makes up a bedroom recording and of course, the Ducks.

How’d the show go in Melbourne last Friday?

Oh yeah, it was a bunch of fun. So great to play with Halcyon Drive and The Twoks, so it’s always really exciting to have a really fun line-up too. We haven’t had a live show since April, so it’s been a little while. It was so great to be playing again.

Yeah, wow. On that, you’ve been around since 2009…

Yes, so I’ve been kind of doing it – as a lot of them are – as a bedroom producer project since 2009. The first song that I had a go at in this kind of style got picked up out of the blue from the Triple J people and there was a bit of buzz around it. I’ve just been putting out heaps of music really and it was only the last year I finally got the live version up and running.

So you’ve only started playing live shows since 2013. How come it took so long to get that going?

Well I’d always imaged it kind of coming together a little bit sooner. It’s not that I hadn’t been thinking about making it live, it just turned out to be quite a long process really. I guess the process of finding the people to go ahead with it this time around, getting those people together, rehearsing it up and figuring out which songs are going to work the best probably took almost a year before we were around to the very first show. There was always a lot going on in my mind about how to how to get all the millions of layers in the songs translated to live. What to keep and what to get rid of. Whether to put extra live things like guitar in there. Because there is guitar in the live show, but there’s not in the recordings. So yeah, it took a lot longer than I ever expected to before it was a live project, but I’m really glad I’ve done it now.

Yeah nice. Well, the 2012 album Pops came out when you hadn’t yet played live shows. Have you found a difference in the reception from fans for the new tracks like Cool Thing and Girls since you’ve started playing live?

I guess the main difference is that you can see how it works in a room full of people – which is a completely different thing. You can see the response you get in a much more exciting way rather than hearing about people enjoying the recording. I always love hearing about what people think of the recording, because that’s where it all started. But seeing people’s response to a live show is just that extra level exciting.

You mentioned before that it began as a bedroom recording project, and I always wonder when people say that. How much of the actual process between writing to finished project is actually done in the bedroom?

I never thought about it that way actually, about just someone being in their bedroom getting it done. Almost sounds a bit sexy. I think it’s the production side of it that definitely happens in the bedroom, that’s where your computer is. But writing all the different melodies and lyrics and all the elements that go in can happen all over the place. If I’ve got a strong melody going and I wanna develop it into a song and get the lyrics down, a really good place to do that is riding a bike. You can have the melody floating around in your head and while you’re trying to figure out the lyrics you’re also getting all this oxygen into your brain. So, it’s definitely not all happening in the bedroom.

Ha, cool. Well I think what I’ve heard from you so far is about the happiest sounding tracks around. What inspires you day to day for you to make that kind of electro-pop music?

Something that clicked with me one day years ago is that I’d be looking through my iPod for an album that was just feel good happiness without being completely terrible, from start to finish. I realised that there wasn’t something, that I knew of and really liked, that I could go to for that. And I thought, I kind of wish there was. So I thought wouldn’t it be great to endeavour to make something like that. To see if its possible and see if it can be done well. So I guess that combined with the general feeling that I think positive thinking is the most undervalued resource in the world made me want to just do this and pursue it for a while.

Nice, well I think you’ve got it down pretty well. You’ve gone through a massive transition in the last year, finally playing live and releasing the new singles. What is Coach Bombay about now?

It’s definitely about the positive thinking and feelings. In our live show we try to channel that as well. If we’re just about to go on stage we don’t really say to each other, “Make sure you hit this note, or do this thing or remember the way we rehearsed it”. We just try to have heaps of fun out there. It’s a completely different situation to being in a rehearsal and hopefully that translates.

The film clip for Cool Thing is an epic collaboration of old connery-era James Bond films, and it just fits so well with the song. Did you have Bond in mind when you wrote it?

Unlike a lot of the other ones that could be about personal things, that one kind of was about a made up character really. I wanted to make a character that is kind of like that Bond, that charming guy who’s also a bit of a bastard that girls can’t resist. The Bond style of character was floating around in my mind when I was working on a song. So when I was thinking about what to do for a video that popped into my mind. I do really like editing video, that kind of archival stuff or whatever I can get my hands on. I had many hours trawling through the first four Bond movies to find the right shots to fit the lyrics.

Well it’s a top clip, you can’t really go wrong with Connery’s Bond. So yeah, for the remaining legs of the tour for “Girls”, you were at BIGSOUND in Brisbane as well as Sydney this weekend. Is there any you’re looking forward to playing particularly?

Well I’ve never played a Coach Bombay set in Sydney or Brisbane before, so I’m just looking forward to playing interstate for the first time. Wherever we would be playing I’d be excited about it, but it does sound pretty fun to be down at Bondi playing near the beach and hopefully it will be nice day and evening.

So now that we’ve got all the music related questions out of the way, I figured I should ask a question I’ve personally wondered about. What’s your favourite Mighty Ducks movie out of the three?

Ha, yeah, I don’t think anyone could say the third one, it’s pretty forgettable. It’s gotta be number one really. Except I’m always tempted to say number two just because of the implausibility of how far they’ve gotten and still being from pretty much the same neighbourhood and all of a sudden they’re deemed the best in the country. And for the scene where Coach Bombay is eating ice cream with the enemy, Iceland’s assistant coach and having a bit of a flirt. That was a pretty excellent scene.

******

The single Girls is available on iTunes and Spotify right now. Coach Bombay’s tour in support of the new track continues this weekend, Saturday, 13th September in Sydney at Beach Road Hotel, Bondi.

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