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28 Sep REVIEW: Seekae – Turbine Blue



Seekae have returned from a two year break with a stunning track that could herald a new direction of things to come for the group. The first release out of their recording time at Berlin’s Funkhaus Studio, ‘Turbine Blue‘ is a brooding yet strangely optimistic piece drenched in the atmospheric sounds one would expect from such a recording experience.

As with any Seekae release, the lyrics are beautifully ambiguous but strong themes of vulnerability and longing shine through. The band recently described the track as “a confessionary love song, full of hope but laced with the sheer dizzying heights of the risks involved in a confession”. These lyrical themes pair themselves alongside a slow but commanding beat that caries almost as much emotion.

If ‘Turbine Blue’ is the first taste of things to come, it’s obvious Seekae still have a lot to offer.

 


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26 Sep Premiere: A. Swayze and the Ghosts – ‘Reciprocation’






I have been waiting for Hobart to have a new flagship band, and I may have just found them. They go by the name of A. Swayze and The Ghosts, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been this curious about a Hobart band’s potential. But they don’t just stand out in Hobart, ‘Reciprocation’ is one of the best first singles by any recent Australian band. The song displays a full range of emotional transitions via a raw, lo-fi energy that’s hard to pull away from.
Throughout the 10 minutes, the band moves back and forth between influences of Eddy Current Suppression Ring to a brief, darker moments of Total Control. There’s also traces of Silversun Pickups and Cymbals Eat Guitars in the dry guitar playing, and Parquet Court and Ought in the verse section talking-style deliveries – a comment on how well they’re able to deliver their own versions of each component, and a credit to their music talent.

They avoid sounding too formulated, and a lot of that is due to recording the sound live and mixing then mastering it themselves, avoiding the overproduction trap a lot of musicians can fall into. The band’s eager ambition isn’t restricted by another voice telling them to make it ‘radio friendly’ – this is what the band wants and they know you’ll enjoy it too. For example, this song is off a double EP with, apparently, the follow up LP already recorded, so you know the band is loaded with creative juices right now.
‘Reciprocation’ deals with the feeling of a relationship, where one side is giving more than the other. The singer initially appears to have patience, stating “take my time” and “reciprocation is all I ask”, but by the end he’s screaming “give it back!” and “why am I waiting for you?”.

I highly recommend checking these guys out on October 1st at The Grace Darling in Melbourne or on the 14th of October at Schmorgasbaag in Hobart.

 


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18 Sep REVIEW: Venus II – ‘I Want U 4 Myself’ (Official Video)






Having dropped their debut album just under a month ago, Venus II are now starting to grab the attention of trained ears around the internet. Their unique, quirky blend of both electronic and jazz sounds gives their music the ability to move across any number of genres within the one track. The diversity in their song-writing is easy to recognise when comparing their two lead singles – the cosmic ‘Inside Your Sun’ and the more lo-fi number ‘I Want U 4 Myself’.

It’s the unconventional, off-kilter sound of this recent release, ‘I Want U 4 Myself’, that has caught the imagination of Adelaide film-maker Young Black Youth. His cinematography in the recently released film clip helps visualise the bizarre charisma of the track. Through a montage of ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock‘ inspired imagery and psychedelic B-roll, the film clip perfectly riffs on Ella Thompson’s guest vocals and the sporadic moments of saxophone that are layered throughout the song.

Similarly to the audio, the video has a charming, self-aware DIY-feel that is offset by a clearly well-considered composition.


 


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16 Sep REVIEW: Amateur Dance – ‘You Give Me Butterflies’ + Anjunadeep Explorations 02






British imprint Anjunadeep has been at the forefront of explorative dance music since its launch in 2005. For the past 10 years, it has acted as a platform for many respected house musicians to launch more experimental and forward thinking records, and notably their recent project ‘Anjunadeep Explorations’ is testament to their strong commitment to find a wider audience for these new artists and sounds.

On recent release Anjunadeep Explorations 02 it was exciting to see local Australian talent Amateur Dance was included with his track ‘You Give Me Butterflies’. It opens the four-track EP, giving listeners a great taste of his evolving, fluid production. The track’s hypnotic combination of melody and samples fills the seven-minute run time effortlessly, making it a wonderful opener to an all round excellent EP.

Not only does it sit well amongst the other international producers on the release such as, Luttrell, Tontario and Gacha Bakradze, but it is a definite highlight, and proudly presents a confident snapshot of Melbourne’s local talent to the world.

 


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15 Sep INTRODUCING: Leafy Suburbs



In more recent times, a plethora of electronic producers and artists have come from Perth, with names such as Ta-Ku, Lower Spectrum and Sable becoming far more well-known and recognised for their outstanding releases nation-wide.

Joining this stronghold of electronic music to come from the west, Lyndon Blue (aka Leafy Suburbs) who has been releasing music for the past four years, popped up on our radar as his exploration of eclectic sounds and structures, psychedelic twists to electronic prodution and influence by artsits such as Laurel Halo, Oneohtrix Point Never, Tim Hecker, Aphex Twin, Black Dice and Holly Hendorn, draws you in from beginning to end throughout every track.

The sound of Leafy Suburbs has evolved and varied immensely throughout his career. Using multiple whacked out synths matched with traditional keys, percussion, guitar and obscure field recordings gives a rich tapestry of sound that cannot be predicted.

Since his first release CS-40 in early 2012, he has independently released all of his music via Bandcamp and Soundcloud. CS-40 – a split EP with Sacred Flower Union – gathers darker, glitchier atmospheres and combines them with tribal percussion, creating an eccentric broader theme which sweeps from one track to the next. His unique production skills are strong throughout this EP, and you can see their evolution in his later releases.

The two year gap between CS-40 and his debut album, Slow Light, reflects both the evolution of his sound and more personal experimentation. Slow Light creates an almost zen state in the listener, with calming and thoughtful sounds offset by quirky rhythms and soundscapes. Each individual track is unique, however maintaining the quality of a free flowing collective album.

Leafy Suburbs continued playing with various BPM timeframes on his next release, the Psychic Lease EP. Experimenting with both beat and beat-less production, Psychic Lease takes you on mysterious, tropical and ancient psychedelic journeys – perfect for relaxing or dancing, depending on your mood.

Lyndon Blue’s exploration of niche electronic production has for years only been recognised by a few. His varying styles, sounds and structures seamlessly fall together, creating a calm state of consciousness with familiar worldly atmospheres and intelligent attention to detail. Leafy Suburbs’ production is intriguing and skilful, on par with the aforementioned artists who have influenced him.

Catch Leafy Suburbs supporting Lower Spectrum on his Atlas Tour, September 22nd at The Bird in Perth – tickets available on the door.

 


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12 Sep Video Premiere: Tam Vantage – ‘High Definition’



Last year the one-man do-it-all machine Tam Vantage (from Pop Singles and The Stevens) released the album Life In High Definition. This is a video for the opening track ‘High Definition‘, via the producer Matt Cribb (produced videos for Teeth & Tongue, The Ocean Party, The Newsletters), which is visually somewhat similar to the video for ‘Last Laugh‘ by Hollow Everdaze.

‘High Definition’ features a lot of white technology in a white room, with Tam Vantage dressed all in black, wearing a turtle neck and gazing down the lens of the camera (Robert Smith of The Cure style). He stares at the clock, grasps the radio, before letting out his frustration with modernism, stomping on the computer and destroying the technology. The video captures everything that the song is about. It’s almost too perfectly matching, leaving no room for surprises, but I won’t fault Tam for being a perfectionist.

Tam Vantage plays the guitar, piano, drums, synthesizers, bass and sings. His overall talent, combined with his consistently solid writing chops, makes him an artist with a lot of upside – and he’s currently looking for a new record label (hint, hint). Apparently he’s recorded his new album with producer John Lee (Lost Animal, Pikelet, Free Time) and with the right help, Tam Vantage will find himself a wanted commodity real soon.



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02 Sep Premiere: Suiix – ‘Pacific Dreamer’




It’s finally the start of spring, but I can’t help feeling that Sarah Jullienne, AKA Suiix from Sydney, recorded the angelic ‘Pacific Dreamer‘ during Autumn, the season where we are relaxed from summer but the inevitable cold of winter is just around the corner. Although it doesn’t get that cold in Sydney, Sarah says she was watching the ’70s Russian film Rusolochka while writing ‘Pacific Dreamer’, which explains the dreary atmosphere and sirens at the start.

Sarah also told us that it’s about that feeling you get when you are helplessly swept away when falling for someone, and the impending dread of emotions that follow that realisation. She encapsulates that state of concern perfectly with the euphoria throughout ‘Pacific Dreamer’. The song has the airy vocals of Julianna Barwick, the bleakness of Grouper, and the bold production of Zola Jesus. In the end, it’s a unique package, especially in Australia, where the dark and moody acts aren’t as common as I’d like.

‘Pacific Dreamer’ will feature on an upcoming debut EP. Until then, you can catch her at BigSound in Brisbane next week playing at the Heya Bar on Wednesday night at 8:20pm.

 


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26 Aug Premiere: Backyard – ‘Best View of Dean St.’






Melbourne dadwave (yes, dolewave has evolved to dadwave in 2016) band Backyard have kindly let us premiere their second single ‘Best View of Dean St.‘ from their upcoming debut album. It’s instantly calming, and I want to hear the full album right now. Unfortunately I don’t know when the album is due out, but I thought I’d spend some time at least trying to work out which Dean Street they’re referring to…

*Insert Law & Order theme song before resuming ‘Best View Of Dean St’ on repeat*

So, the song was mixed at Lone Palm Studios in Echo Part, Los Angeles. But it is apparently about Kadric‘s optimistic view of his time in country NSW, where there appears to be eighteen streets spelt Dean (and not Deane). The photograph used for the song features reasonably lush green hills with – potentially – Dean St down the bottom somewhere.

The first six streets I found are in Granville, Greystanes, Strathfield, Caringbah, West Pennant Hills and Croydon – all suburbs which are part of Sydney itself. The next two, in Wollongong and Warrawong, are more beach towns than country towns. The town of Wanaaring looks awesome as fuck, but it’s in the desert. North Tamworth has the background hills, but they are too pointy and not softly rolling like those in the photograph.

While the next six in West Bathurst, Matong, Molong, Mitchell, Casino, and St Georges Basin are all probably country towns, their Dean Streets are more like tiny little avenues than streets – they’re not exactly worth writing a song about having a great view of them. I’ve been to Tocumwal a few times and they don’t have hills, just strawberry fields (zingggg).

Which leaves Wodonga’s equivalent to Shelbyville – Albury. Albury has the rolling hills and a WW1 monument conveniently located in a similar position to the one in the photo. Which begs the question; what’s so special about that Dean St? Which begs the answer: the Indian Chimney Restaurant. They take a while to cook and aren’t huge portions, but dear lord everything there is bloody delicious. As for the location of the photographer, my guess is on top of the Eastern Hill Lookout.

I could be totally wrong after all that investigating, but at least I got to listen to the wonderful ‘Best View of Dean St.’ thirty times in the name of research.

The single launch for ‘Best View of Dean St.’ is on Friday the 2nd of September, at Woody’s Bar in Collingwood, Melbourne.


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23 Aug Premiere: Andrew Samuel – ‘I Still Feel Blue’






Singer-songwriter Andrew Samuel from Newtown, Sydney has sent us the premiere of his new track ‘I Still Feel Blue’ – set to be released on his new EP Hissing Bitterness out August 27th.

Driven by an acoustic guitar ‘I Still Feel Blue’ encapsulates the loneliness and isolation of the middle of nowhere. It’s the kind of tune that you would comfortably play under the stars in the middle of the Australian desert.

Samuel’s whispery, intimate vocals are warmly engaging, teetering somewhere between the warble of The National and the emotional drive of The Tallest Man on Earth. The beauty of Samuel’s brand of folk is that it does not beg for your attention, rather it enters your world quietly. ‘I Still Feel Blue’ stands among a crowd of other local folk music, yet it delicately prevails to be the most beautiful.

You can check out more of Andrew Samuel’s EP this Saturday upon its release, and see him live on his national tour starting August 25th in Brisbane.

 

T O U R D A T E S
Aug 25th, 2016 – Brisbane @ The End
Aug 28th, 2016 – Sydney @ Petersham Bowls Club Aug 29th, 2016 – Canberra @ The Front
Aug 30th, 2016 – Bendigo @ Billyroy’s Blues Bar Sep 1st, 2016 – Melbourne @ Bar Open
Sep 4th, 2016 – Tasmania @ Brisbane Hotel


 


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18 Aug Video Premiere: The Vacant Smiles – ‘Drenched’



 

Melbourne psych-garage band The Vacant Smiles have sent us their new video clip for the immediately exhilarating single ‘Drenched‘. Back in February ‘Drenched’ appeared on our radar and made it to #5 in our weekly playlist.

The single is from their second album You’re Not Really Here. It marked the return of The Vacant Smiles after a seven-month break while their singer was living in Amsterdam.

The video features a heavy montage of lo-fi shots around Swanston St, Flinders St and the Yarra River in Melbourne’s CBD. A man wearing a lizard mask, playing an acoustic guitar, drifts around the city late at night appearing both physically and mentally lost. While the scenario may seem like an unrealistic joke, the fact that barely anyone in the streets notices him, even with a camera following him around, tells you that this kind of behaviour is common in a city – an interesting commentary by the group.

The Vacant Smiles currently don’t have any live shows planned, but you can check out You’re Not Really Here over on bandcamp.

 


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