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22 Dec dxHEAVEN releases ‘Define’ / Playing live at Section 8 tomorrow

In my opinion, when I find a song or artist whose genre is hard to define, I consider that to be a positive (in most cases). In the case of dxHEAVEN, it’s possible to hear definite influences – but I believe ‘Define’, like many of his other tracks, transcends standard labels and conventions.

Though the track is lyrically-driven, it meanders through a number of different moods and rhythms that allow the overall aesthetic of the song to evolve. For me, this allowed the meaning and emotion pulled from the lyrics to constantly morph, making this sonically accessible-track a lot more complex and raw than it may seem. One moment you’re bopping along to intricate (and very impressive) percussion, and then all of a sudden you’re feeling the underlying sentimentality in the natural and passionate vocals.

I feel connected throughout the whole track – there are neither hackneyed moments nor repetitious parts. Even the end finishes on a climactic note. The track is full of soul and authenticity and gets me excited about what dxHEAVEN has ahead of him – especially considering he just returned from Red Bull Music Academy in Paris.

You can catch him playing live as dxHeaven (accompanying Au Dré, also playing live) for free tomorrow night at Section 8. The night will also feature Sex on Toast DJs and Moonshine – so be ready for dancing.

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18 Dec The Goon Sax – ‘Boyfriend’ (Video)


It doesn’t take a lot of Sherlock Holmes skills to assume that a band with the name The Goon Sax are Australian. They’re from Brisbane to be precise and they share a similar sound to other bands on the Chapter Music label such as Dick Diver and Twerps. ‘Boyfriend‘ is the second single from their upcoming debut album Up To Anything, that’s due for release March 11th, 2016.

The stripped back arrangement within ‘Boyfriend’, makes its simplicity very easy for the brain to memorise and become addictive. Especially on very days, like today in Melbourne. The sharp and distinct opening guitar line, that follows with band softly crashing behind it, is crafty and effective. Without sounding too obvious or over calculated. After all, the band claim they wrote the song in 10 minutes. Throw in the calm, duel vocals on the catchy lyrics “I wish I had a boyfriend, or anything that’s real”, and you have yourself short, jangling, garage pop in its purest form.

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18 Dec Hypersleep – ‘Boy Song’ (Asdasfr Bawd remix)

Melbourne producer Asdasfr Bawd has gifted us with an early Christmas pressie in this, his remix of ‘Boy Song’ by fellow Melbournian Hypersleep, with whom he played his first ever live show.

This remix has been kicking around in Asdasfr’s live set for a while now, so it’s great to finally hear it in my headphones. While his most recent single ‘Negative Energy’ did its best to work me into a ball of anxiety – dark, dense and unrelenting – this is a lighter affair. The signature stomping drums and tight vocal loops are present, but they instead develop into something a little reminiscent of a victory parade on Naboo (without an accompanying feeling of intense disappointment).

For more along these lines, check out Hypersleep’s original ‘Boy Song’, as well as its accompanying ‘Girl Song’, in anticipation of an EP release next year. Asdasfr himself will also be chucking an EP in our direction too, which I’m very much looking forward to.

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17 Dec Ara Koufax – ‘Adult Concepts’

As the year draws to its inevitable end Ara Koufax have managed to quietly slide in a late submission for one of my favourite tracks of 2015.

Adult Concepts’ is an exercise in minimalism and structure. It was originally written as an introduction to their live set and listens as such with its sparse beginnings and slow building layers. Ara Koufax’s label over the last year or two, Cutters Records, describes it as “driving house music from a bedrock of noise: a hangover of Spacemen 3 worship and lack of restraint.”

‘Driving’ is certainly an appropriate adjective here. A combination of thick bass and plucky guitar lines create a lead rhythm that is instantly memorable but it is the pulsing, atmospheric body of the track that gives it its constant momentum.

‘Adult Concepts’ is out now via Cutters Records.

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16 Dec The Ocean Party – ‘Black Blood’ (Video)


The Ocean Party from Melbourne have uploaded a video for ‘Black Blood‘ off their latest album Light Weight. ‘Black Blood’ is the album’s opening track, the lyrics describing the death of a horse of theirs, and their dream of riding it one more time – no doubt a metaphor for numerous other childhood nostalgias.

The video itself reinforces this as two of them live out their childhood dreams, one a dancer and the other a rock star. A picture of a yellow Ferrari Testarossa and a rather depressing pot plant are no doubt symbolic of their childhood homes; less clear is the purpose of the third band member who makes guest appearances in just his underpants, wiping sweat off the dancer and handing a guitar to the rock star. Perhaps his dream was to be a sexy assistant?

However deep you want to look into the song and video, the instrumentation in ‘Black Blood’ is a fine example of the level of talent and camaraderie present in The Ocean Party.

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15 Dec Arthur Penn & The Funky Ten – ‘Keeping it Together’

It’s been a long time since I’ve chucked on a new tune and instantly had the urge to dance.

After flying around the local Melbourne music scene for a couple of years, self-proclaimed 12-piece aero-funk band Arthur Penn & the Funky Ten have finally released their debut single ‘Keeping it Together’– one of the grooviest, most soulful tunes of the year.

Featuring a thumping brass intro fit for any big city crime show, a fat booty-shaking bassline, and vocal deliveries that will saw you in half (e.g. “mama on the line”), it sees the band’s sound teetering somewhere between a smoky jazz lounge bar and a funky roller disco nightclub, perfectly capturing the spirit of their always-entertaining live shows.

If you would like to hear more, be sure to check out the single’s B-side ‘Flight Deck Freak Delight’, which takes their brand of funk down a more psychedelic path that is still fun for the whole family.

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10 Dec Introducing: The Goods – Strong Man Ft. Lo Five

The Goods is the new musical collaboration between  Boris Bangaltar (Jarrol Renaud) and Rosario D’Awesome (Rosario Ferraro) both experienced musicians in their own right having performed with OmarTouch Sensitive, Dereb the Ambassador and George Maple.

Now the combination of their musical minds has culminated in their debut single ‘Good Man’. This loaded first offering packs a lot into its three and a half minutes. Moments of ‘low-swung house’ permeate the overriding RnB tones and vocals (provided by Lo Five) throughout the majority of the song.

The track is both heavy hitting and reminiscent of 90s slow jams all at once. It will be interesting to see where The Goods go from here.

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02 Dec Premiere: Problems – ‘Pretending’

Problems out of Adelaide have made no small ground in 2015, as they’ve continued to back up each release with something new. Their latest, ‘Pretending’, combines the thick electric harmonics they’ve become known for with a more stripped-back indie sound.

These guys are beginning to strike a nice balance between electronic and traditional tones, something their upcoming December 10th live shows with Neon Indian will bring to the stage for all to see. It’s on tracks like ‘Pretending’, however, that you can start to see their skills as live musicians and producers working best together. The various vocals fit perfectly within the crowded yet well-measured production, resulting in a track that – while complex – is still enjoyable for your ears to pick apart.

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19 Nov MK Grands – ‘RXSSIA’

MK Grand is an Australian producer/singer who has come across our radar as someone to keep an eye on as 2016 quickly approaches. His combination of skills in production and on the mic give him a unique edge over the masses of artists vying for attention online.

His latest track ‘RXSSIA’ is a great example of these two elements of songwriting coming together. The track is a rich and textured wall of eerie electronic synths, permeated with moments of delicate melodies. His RnB-inspired vocals sit perfectly atop this wall of sound and have a richness within their own right, accentuated through their layering.

This brand of soulful (perhaps even melancholy) electronic/RnB production has seen many artists such as Oscar Key Sung and Andras Fox create some beautiful sounds of late. With only three tracks online at the moment, hopefully MK Grand can continue to build his presence within this space.

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13 Nov Premiere: Plum – ‘Black Doris’ EP

Black Doris feels like an important record.

It has this thick air of pensiveness surrounding it, a hazy mist of textured shoegaze, with layer upon layer of instrumental melancholia.

The bedroom project of Caleb Jacobs (The Cathy’s), Plum is not a sound easy to tie down. It’s ponderous without seeming mopey, a trap that many shoegaze artists fall into. Yes, you can hear elements of Slowdive and Ride in their synthesised walls of sound, but there is also the jangle of The Go-Betweens present, and a touch of Beach House in the construction of the guitar harmonics.

The Beach House relevance is perhaps most pertinent in the opening track, ‘Tiny Feet’, where the layers of warm synths are intruded upon by a syrupy guitar line that sways with Jacobs’ vocals. Much like Alex Scally of Beach House, Jacobs does not give great variation to his guitar melody, allowing repetition in the riff to add to the washed out aesthetic of the track. Similarly, the lack of coherency in the vocals gives it the enigmatic tinge that would no doubt draw the comparisons to other shoegaze luminaries and influences.

Built around lo-fi production that crackle and pierces, ‘Reveal’ is the strongest of the EP. “I wanted something that you could feel/how did you know where to find me?” helps maintain the ambiguity that surrounds the EP, a chorus that holds elements that one could relate to, without making a whole lot of sense. The hook seems basic however has you returning, and the sound of the track jumping in the opening to some degree introduces the world of ambient and experimental music. ‘Pavement’, although not as hook-laden, still nestles itself within your subconscious, a melody that simply won’t leave your head. What I love about this track is its sudden, jarring and overdrive-heavy synth patches, that only last a second or two, but leave an imprint upon the otherwise gentle first single.

The final track, ‘Giv.’ works beautifully as a closing track. Opening with an acoustic twang that evokes memories of Cool Sounds ‘Control’, the track introduces a subtle strain to the vocals of Jacobs. Others may find such a strain to be countering against the very framework of the EP, and whatever genre one may choose to place it within.

However, it is touch of reality that brings the EP together, in that it slices through the near otherworldly sounds of Plum. Without it, Black Doris could have stumbled into the pile of monotony that surrounds dream pop and its offshoots. However, it is the strain of the vocals and the crackle of the production that screams the authenticity of a bedroom producer, and it is this authenticity that makes ‘Black Doris’ rather transcendental in its sound.

 

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