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11 Aug Premiere: Pregnancy – ‘First Kiss’





Local band Pregnancy‘s debut single ‘First Kiss’ is like the unexpected Melbourne sun shining through the clouds on a cold overcast day. With its fluttering pop synth, sunny guitars of jangle pop and a vocal that nods to the likes of Paul Kelly, the band have delivered the perfect antidote to the grim winter weather currently bestowed upon us.

Only into their first trimester of gigging, Pregnancy are the unexpected love child of various other Melbourne acts – The Ocean Party, Totally Mild, Ciggie Witch, Cool Sounds, and Arthur Penn and the Funky Ten. Inspired by the disco-infused post-punk of the late 70’s, ‘First Kiss’ ends up sounding half way between the new wave aesthetic of Talking Heads and meaningful moments of 80’s pub rock, delivered with the bands’ own brand of indie pop.

Lyrically, the song explores themes of independence and progress, with vocalist Zac Denton singing about challenging times that have ultimately lead to growth and development. This is complimented by lusciously interwoven harmonies of vocalist Ashley Bundang, creating a layer of sincerity over the sunny guitar melodies and grooving beat.

‘First Kiss’ is our first taste of Pregnancy‘s forthcoming album that is due out early 2017.


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15 Jul Premiere: Friendships – ‘It’s Vermentino Dickhead: Edits, Cuts & Tools’ EP





Melbourne audio-visual duo Friendships have just dropped an unexpected EP It’s Vermentino Dickhead: Edits, Cuts & Tools.

Nic Brown: This is a collection of edits, cuts and tools I have made to use in club/DJ sets. I want to keep the club conscious, have all my influences easily accessible, and be able to have my favourite musicians and poets fit into a club environment and fall into our sound. I want to hear Abe Nouk or Yorkston/Thorne/Khan at 3am. It’s important to keep a place of escapism somewhat aware.

T R A C K L I S T
Abe Nouk x Oscar Key Sung ‎– ‘My Apology x All I Think About pt 2’
SHOUSE ft. Habits – ‘Whisper (friendships remix)’
Thelovelyme x Friendships- ‘Escapades’
Kirin J Callinan – ‘Embracism (Friendships Otra Vez edit)’
Yorkston/Thorne/Khan – ‘Knochentanz (Friendships edit)’
Friendships – ‘Fuq em d00d (What Don’t I Sling) VIP Original Mix’
Milwaukee Banks – ‘Pluto Bounce (friendships Post-Apocalypse Grave-Rave Remix)’
Fortunes – ‘Bomber (Friendships in tune death remix)’


 

The diverse range of local artists remixed, such as SHOUSE, Kirin J Callinan, Milwaukee Banks and Fortunes explains what makes Friendships a hard duo to categorise, and why every new release is exiting and not routine. The dark dramatic ending to the remix of ‘Bomber‘ by Fortunes in particular sees Friendships apply their signature twilight and frightened sound to create quite a gripping experience.

Two originals also feature on the eight track EP, a sign of good things to come for their debut album LP Nullarbor 1988-1989 which is set to be released September 30th.

See below a video from their live set at Golden Plains earlier this year – a real highlight for the duo this year.



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29 Jun Premiere: Tram Cops – ‘Dan Bilzerian’




Tram Cops are a new five piece band from Melbourne that are made up of the members from the now defunct, dream-pop project Laurence. Tram Cops combine the melted-tape recording sounds of Mac DeMarco with the low key vocals and slick guitar interplay of the Melbourne indie supergroup Free Time.

Today the band has released a five track self-titled EP that is filled with instantly enjoyable little gems. The first song refers to the name of an Instagram star – ‘Dan Bilzerian‘ – and is a song about a dream where he falls in love with someone before he “even knew her name”. Although I am unsure about the reference, ‘Dan Bilzerian’ is a nice short sample size of what to expect from Tram Cops.

The album is barely 12 minutes long across the five tracks, however in those 12 minutes it manages to leave its mark, teasing you into wanting to quickly listen again and milk it for every second it’s worth. My personal favourite track is ‘Hollywood Space Rocket‘.

You can listen to the full self-titled EP below.


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29 Jun Premiere: Andrew Samuel – ‘Sitting Here With Nothing Owing’




So, I don’t know much about Andrew Samuel from Sydney, but I think I’ll just refer to him as Australia’s answer to Destroyer – a more optimistic, content, less sappy version of the Canadian singer (also without the brass instruments). Andrew may not have the impressive 20 years of consistent releases behind him, but what I do know is that Dan Bejar would happily feature ‘Sitting Here With Nothing Owing‘ on any of his albums.

Andrew’s upcoming EP Hissing Bitterness, to be released in August, was co-produced with Ryan Brennan (Phantastic Furniture) and features this new release. Apparently after he scrapped a different, highly overproduced single earlier in the year he decided to strip everything back and recorded ‘Sitting Here With Nothing Owing’ in the hallway of his house. The forced nature commonly associated with the pressures of a studio recording aren’t felt here, and it definitely shines through and gives the song a gentle pace.

Lyrically he avoids any cliché lines about nothing, and his inclusion of several subtle pauses along his approach never sound calculated or over-rehearsed. These delicate touches, also found within the instrumentation, make ‘Sitting Here With Nothing Owing’ a highly calming experience that comes with every listen – over and over again.


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15 Jun Premiere: Contrast – ‘Vanishing Point’

The photo Contrast uploaded with the YouTube link of their latest single ‘Vanishing Point‘, features fisherman in the sun wearing jackets, and it sums up the 2016 Melbourne winter so far.

It’s been surprisingly sunny, yet typically windy and jacket worthy weather. The photo is also a perfect description of ‘Vanishing Point’, where the guitars are glistening in the sun, yet the band sound nostalgic for summer and are wrapped in warm layers of dream-garage rock sounds in the form of Beach Fossils album Clash The Truth. Next time you’re walking around Melbourne this winter in the sun with your headphones on, put on ‘Vanishing Point’ and you’ll understand what I’m struggling to put into words.

‘Vanishing Point’ is the second single off Contrast’s forthcoming new album and it features flute by Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard) and backing vocals by Steph Wilson. They’re hoping to tour Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne around July or August this year.

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30 May Premiere: No Local – ‘Thinking The Wrong Things’

‘Thinking The Wrong Things’ is a glimmering display of the potential of a new Melbournian outfit No Local – formed by The Ocean Party duo of Snowy and Zac. Instead of four minutes occupied with a lo-fi haze, wrapped in hair and ego, the duo have delivered a delicately-constructed track containing musical and lyrical honesty.

The song is built upon a driving, rambunctious bassline that is gradually layered upon. Synth and guitar create a joyous ’80s sound and catchy rhythm, held together with understated keys and percussion. No Local shine through their tight, precise production. There’s a guitar solo, and there are vocal harmonies, but the effect of this is never one of parody. The song may be catchy and light, but it’s also honest and proud.

Everything balances between airy pop and something grittier, as if recorded by an Australian Belle and Sebastian.  “It never really feels like I’m gonna be around for long”, they lament, but No Local can be assured of their longevity if they continue in this direction. More please.

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20 May Premiere: Lucy Cliche’s Good Manners Mix

Sydney electronic musician Lucy Cliche has put together a deep, dark mix for us ahead of her live set tonight at Boney for our pals at Good Manners Weekly.

Lucy has been on fire recently, her blinding set at Meredith cementing her as one of the country’s premiere electronic artists. Signed to NOISE IN MY HEAD, she’s on track to have a massive 2016, and the snug dancefloor of Boney is an ideal spot to catch her live.

She’ll be playing from 2am, surrounded by a talented crew of resident DJs including friendships, Amateur Dance, Darcy Baylis, Planète and The Harpoons. More info can be found on the event page.

Tracklist:

K. Leimer – A Spiritual Life
Scraps – Touch Blue
Anne Clark – Sleeper in Metropolis
Dan White – Buckley’s Escape
Peeping Tom – Fear without consequences
Matthew Brown – Sedulous Palter
Nicky Crane – Hara Sloj
Container – PERIPHERAL
Privacy – Query B
FEMMINIELLI NOIR – Exotico
Not Waving – Face Attack
Basic House – Pyre of Bro
Pye Corner Audio – Electronic Rhythm Number One
Mosfets – The Great War

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10 May Album Review: Au Dré – Self-titled EP

 

 

I have been following this Melbourne act fairly closely over the past few months, each release and each show surrounding them with more and more thrill and momentum. Having already released ‘Climax‘ and the opening track ‘Wanna Know‘, their self-titled EP release exceeds my anticipations. Though the duo are involved in multiple musical projects, as Au Dré they are proving their dynamic and refined musical identity. There are so many reasons to love the sound, energy and emotions the pair bring with their art.

From Here‘ brings out a new energy without sacrificing what has now become their signature sound. They carve a smooth and fresh niche for themselves despite drawing inspiration from multiple genres, and the new tempo and mood of this second track adds a lovely complementary shape to the EP as a whole. While each track stands alone, the atmosphere is balanced and cohesive throughout. Audrey Powne‘s striking voice glides gracefully yet powerfully atop the power ballad percussion of the chorus.

Though the rhythm changes notably in ‘Other Woman‘, the flow between the two tracks feels natural and exciting. The novel vocal melody juxtaposed with sharp speech brings out the same charisma you notice from the pair live, while the rolling hi-hats and half-time mix things up nicely. I am in awe of JamBau‘s production as well as Audrey Powne’s trumpeting, especially in ‘Give and Take‘ – Au Dré are masters in the art of drawing on iconic elements of new jack swing, boogie and RnB of the ’80s and ’90s, without ever sounding clichéd. Their musicianship refreshes the sound, paying homage while making the sounds their own.

The EP closes on a high note. As Audrey climactically and emphatically sings “and it’s over now”, you realise, oh, she’s not joking. At this point I didn’t want it to end, but at the same time they’ve managed to fashion an EP that feels utterly complete. Now, I can’t wait for the launch party.

 

Catch Au Dré alongside DxHeaven (also launching an EP), CC:DISCO and Cocoa Noire this Friday at the Gaso – details here.

 

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04 May Video: Nearly Oratorio – ‘Tin’

 

Simon Lam received a few Radiohead comparisons during his time with former band I’lls, so it’s funny that the video for his beautiful, humble little track ‘Tin’ would release on the same day as Thom Yorke & Co. pull the trigger on their much-hyped ‘Burn The Witch’.

Rather than a carefully-manicured stop motion epic, the new Nearly Oratorio piece is a glimpse into Lam’s past, filmed over two years ago by his I’lls/Couture bandmate (and Solitaire Recordings co-owner) Hamish Mitchell on his then-newly acquired VHS camera. It draws back the veil on Simon with its earnest home video quality, lyrics printed for all to see and ponder.

Many artists of Nearly Oratorio’s age would shudder at the thought of releasing something recorded this long ago, not content with press shots taken mere months ago. But ‘Tin’ sounded wonderful then, and now.

The Tin EP is out now, and is available to buy here.

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03 May Premiere: Jackie Brown Jr – ‘Lake Loser’

 

Jackie Brown Jr are a five-piece funk, soul and rock crew from Sydney’s inner-West, who caught our attention with a sound that scratches a similar itch to fellow horn-dogs Animaux‘Lake Loser’ is one of two singles on the way from the young outfit (the other being the intriguingly-titled ‘Sauvignon Bogan’), and it’s a promising start to their 2016.

‘Lake Loser’ begins as a gentle stroll for your morning coffee, evoking sunbeams through half-closed curtains as Madeleine Mallis delivers her husky narrative of finding one’s feet. Kicking into a canter around the midpoint, the rest of band get to stretch their legs a bit, bolstered by some sleek horns. The instrumentation never quite throws out any real surprises however, mostly leaving Mallis room to do her thing alongside the supportive howls of a rambunctious audience.

It’s here that the band can continue to develop as, while the track is immaculately-polished, it’d be great to see these guys really cut loose a bit more and leave us with a few frayed edges in keeping with the honesty of the lyrics – the gritty eyes and fuzzy head that always come with those mornings. In this instance though, we have an accomplished tune with a very enigmatic vocal as its centrepiece, showing bags of potential.

JBJ will be launching the two singles at Tokyo Sing Song in Newtown on Friday June 3. For more music from this pack, give their four-single concept release from 2015 a look, titled ‘The 44 Project’. ‘Lake Loser’ is up for download on iTunes, as well as streaming on Spotify and all the usual haunts.

 

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