Tag Archives: Sydney

Live Review: Rare Finds #1 Feat. Jenny Broke The Window, Food Court, Hedge Fund + Winstorn Surfshirt @ Sly Fox, Enmore (24.04.15)

IMG_20150426_120205

This article first appeared on The AU Review.

It’s no secret. Sydney has been extremely good to indie bands and fans of the genre in the past few years. I have no idea where it came from, but acts like Hungry Kids Of Hungary, The Griswolds and Jinja Safari are just a few of the names that come to mind when I think about the huge ground-swell that surfaced, and has shown no signs of stopping. That’s what brings us to Rare Finds #1, a new indie club that launched last Friday at Enmore’s Sly Fox. Seems like a simple concept, right? Sydney loves indie, Sydney should have a dedicated indie night.

As the first band began setting up, the flaming red neon foxes behind the stage glared eagerly at the crowd, lighting the floral decor spanning the roof. Sounds like a wanky way to describe the interiors of the Sly Fox, but I feel it’s necessary to set the scene for this one. This is no dingy cavern where the bands and fans are stashed away in the back room like the IT department. It’s a pretty stylish dig for this part of town.

The night kicked off with a laid back set delivered confidently from seasoned support act Winston Surfshirt. Their unique take on the genre is hard to peg, but brilliant to watch. Zoning in on the deep, grumbling trombone like most punters would, you’d maybe say it’s like if a brass band decided to do wicked covers of funk or hip hop. Their smooth licks set a surefire “cool guy” tone for the night, bouncing off silky falsetto vocals here and there while somehow coming across a little sinister. I’d say the best thing to do when you check out Winston Surfshirt is not analyse it too much and just enjoy, as it’s essentially fun as fuck.
Hedge Fund were up next, showcasing as the only one of the four acts actually on the Rare Finds roster. I’ll tell you what though, the agents sure know how to pick ‘em. Busting out in a fury of gritty, kind of 80’s style new-wave; they were able to pump things up a bit and get the Friday night crowd ready for a big night ahead. The boys wailed from screaming highs to brooding lows throughout their set, always giving off a sort of suburban vibe in everything they did. The single “Look Who’s Back”, similar to a lot of the set, comes off almost physically confronting in a way. Not in a bad way, it’s actually quite special. You really feel these guys when they play.

Yet another group of Sydney locals, Food Court appeared up next with their backyard punk, spraying the crowd with dirty rock anthems. These Sydney natives exhude the inner-city suburbs with everything they do on stage. I think they were even wearing the same clothes from the last time I saw them play in January. All in all, it’s the epitome of punk in Australia.

The set glided on without a hitch, some of it sounding like the glory days of Greenday, but all of it lighting the way for a good thrash about, if only space permitted on the dance floor. Food Court have built up quite a loyal and enthusiastic following in Sydney, and it’s no wonder why. Judging by the crowd reactions, there would be no volume that was loud enough, and they were rewarded with top notch singles blasting until the end.

To cap off what had been a grand night at that point, Jenny Broke The Window hit the stage in a blaze of fury, knocking down my personal favourite two tracks as the first songs in the set. “Rum N’ Cola” and “See You At The War”, although spurted out a bit prematurely in my opinion, bounced about seductively as a service to the crowd. Not a second was wasted and their smooth presence was noticeable as they played catchy as fuck tracks the entire time they were on stage. Mid-set, Jenny Broke The Window slowed it down with the latest single “We Could’ve Done This Grant”, a chirpy and plucky tune that saw a bit of diversity hit the program and certainly boosted their musical creds. The recorded version is pretty sweet, but it takes a lot of talent to pull off such an awesome rendition live of such a well put together track and these guys nailed it.

By the later parts of the set, the dance floor is packed with people sharing that same euphoric state and not a single person looks ready to leave. They all know the same thing, we’ve found it. That indie night Sydney was screaming for. The one we all knew should have come so much sooner. It’s here. By the looks of the line up of the Rare Finds #2 showcase, happening on 29th May at the same place, this was no fluke. If you’re a band based in Sydney, this will be where you want to get a foot in the door.

Rare Finds #2 will feature Hey Geronimo, Sea Legs and Polish Club at the Sly Fox Hotel in Enmore on Friday, May 29th at absolutely no cost.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sly Fox Will Be The Home Of Sydney’s Latest Indie Club

Snip20150331_7

…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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sans Parents – Loose People

SP_bandphotoRGB150dpi.013123

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Conics – Burning Up

1403598_1087437697940365_3669191465102111518_o

Sydney’s Conics have long been on my radar. Since I caught them supporting Gold Fields back in 2012 they have been producing some amazing singles and snippets, to mixed success for a band at their stage. The single “This Moment” was a brilliant electro-pop tune that actually ripped through my playlist for at least a solid year. The latest effort “Burning Up” is a fantastic, catchy track, even if it does leave me thinking it potentially could have been done better by a Cut Copy or a Van She. 

Don’t let that statement scare you off though. “Burning Up” is on point. It uses repetition in exactly the right places, leaving room for a cheeky chant if you’ve decided you’re that into it. It’s sly poppy enough to feature a few hooks here and there, and chorus fires with the confidence and musicianship you hear in some of the biggest electro-pop icons. They will surely be out with some more new material this year so head over to their Facebook page and keep a look out.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Lime Cordiale – Hanging Upside Down

static1.squarespace.com_

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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

IMG_0128

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

401C9452

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.

401C9372

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LIVE REVIEW: The 1975 & Circa Waves – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney (16.01.15)

640x480xthe1975.jpg.pagespeed.ic.AoUb7ZteqZ

This article first appeared on The AU Review.

It had been a long time since I’d attended a show at the Hordern Pavilion, and I didn’t expect the big return to be for such an oddly mixed bill – by arena standards at least. A massive turnout at the Enmore in 2014, and one sold out show at the Hordern “forced” Manchester rockers The 1975 to extend the invitation to another Hordern-load of fans, with their friends Circa Waves tagging along for the ride.

So here I was, heading to watch two acts that were both experiencing a very rapid-fire rise to fame in the past year and were having to adapt quickly, crafting entertaining shows and touring incessantly while trying to continue the quality of songwriting for upcoming releases. The result, the sweatiest and most inspiring gig I’ve ever seen at the Hordern.

It would be appropriate to say that Circa Waves are all business. A series of short, sharp and frenzied tracks with streaks of likability set a framework to their set and they nailed it in a sinch. “Young Chasers” was the first out the gate and got the crowd warmed up, running riot from beginning to end. A sly spasm of British brilliance that paved the way for a raucous set. The last time I saw the Liverpool lads in Australia, it was the day after the 2014 Splendour in the Grass, playing to a humble crowd of loyal yet justifiably weary punters in Newtown, and the transition to an arena gig is a big step in Australian terms. There is none that could have translated better than Circa Waves brand of fast paced and dirty brit-pop.

The new single “Fossils” provided one of the more classic sounding brit-pop tracks, with hooks-a-plenty and a sort of bravado that really riled up the crowd. After that, the early stages of the night was theirs for the taking. Although most of the tracks had the same gritty stamp on it, they still managed to push through a unique set. “So Long” had crowd members turning around surprised and mouthing, “I know this song!” They then slowed things down with “Talking Out Loud” for a sweet change of pace, packed with emotion and some brilliant minor changes that built on their version of a rock ballad.

Circa Waves came in the same way they went out, honest and humble. Getting the job done with Triple J favourite “Stuck In My Teeth” and “Get Away”, giving us a quick snapshot of a band that should be on everybody’s watch list in 2015. The fans and newcomers fed off it. After all, there’s nothing better than supporting the underdog, and you’re hard stretched to find a more deserved act than this.

A crafty light show introduced the headlining band like a black and white photograph, with singer Matt Healey twirling up front and centre. The immediate impression was that the frontman has this hazy swagger about him that measures up to something like the pop version of Pete Doherty. With a slick bottle of vino in hand, The 1975 opened with “The City”, as the crowd went absolutely insane from the get go. Early on, sleeker urbanised tracks like “Milk” and “M.O.N.E.Y” extended the ethereal sounding playlist, bolstering their songwriting creds outside the list of predominantly straight-forward hits, proving to have musicianship that can’t be pegged.

“So Far It’s Alright” was the perfect pop tune, slow enough to keep a cheeky sway happening in the crowd, and catchy enough for even the security guards to pick up a few lyrics halfway through. My personal favourite, “Settle Down” held a bright spot amongst what was an almost flawless set at that point, with every song bouncing in a unique and catchy way. Older tracks like “Pressure” morphed seamlessly into the newer ones like “Heart Out”, keeping the pace and allowing the fair-weather fans to get intwined with their new favourite band.

Matt Healey played the polite host, taking care of the crowd and making sure everyone was hydrated and going well. It was a confusing fatherly visage, coming from a guy whose silhouette came paired with a bottle of wine at the beginning. Holding a ghostly veil over the arena, songs like “Me” showed real emotion, both in the song itself and the performance portrayed by the band. Moments like this provided true clarity to a bunch of guys that have earned their popularity through the closeness they felt with the music and the moments in their lives that influenced the songs. The “blood and sweat” that went into the making of The 1975, for lack of a better description.

“You” was the rock anthem of the night, bringing every hand in the arena to the sky to clap. Standing on top of the drum set, in the silhouette of the lights, the message was clear. Matt Healey is the next big rock-god. “Girls” hit a note with the crowd as they ripped the roof off the Hordern Pavilion at the mere strike of the first chord. This was where we said goodbye to the days of the mosh-pit and hello to the dance-pit as not a single body stood dormant, resembling more of a warehouse rave than an indie-rock gig. Although not much was to be said about the quality of the dancing (well, on my part at least), those sweaty bodies would not give up until the last “goodnight” was said, and to see that sort dedication towards any act is nothing short of inspiring.

The 1975 half-life was a new one for me, and even after they slinked off stage for the fake-goodnight the rest of us continued the dance party, high on the awesome they had left us with. By the time we noticed, they’re back on and kicking into some more tracks. The encore highlights involved their big hits, “Robbers”, “Chocolate” and finally, wrapping things up with “Sex”. These three together, while definitely being among the best tracks played on the night, again showed the diversity of their set hopping from emotive and heartfelt anthem, to bouncing pop tune to the rugged smash-it-out style rock that sealed a steaming close on the night and left us drenched from head to toe and fighting for the cold night air.

For the older tenants in the crowd dancing like idiots, The 1975 were rejuvenating, life-affirming and refreshing. Like being 18 again. For those under drinking age, it was inspiring and tugged a million heartstrings. I loved this band on paper, but live it was a whole other world. They were Songkick’s “Hardest Working Band” of 2014 and it shows in the quality of the performance, the tightness of the musicianship and the familiarity and appeal of the set itself. No matter what your taste, The 1975 are the type of act that makes you look up dazed halfway through the set and think, “God…I should start a band.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Very Best Of 2014

2014_11_rac

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!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sans Parents – Coming Back To You

BandPhoto7_244dpi.135534

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,