16 Jul Trading Tunes with Grand Prismatic

Brendan Clarkson AKA Grand Prismatic has been off the radar for a couple years, so it was a surprise when I randomly saw he had uploaded an EP on SoundCloud in late May titled I Put The Salt In The Sea. It only took two minutes into the first track ‘Safe As Houses‘ for me to know I was going to really enjoy this EP. There was this immediate deep sense of fragility in the guitars, played at a pace that assumed nobody would be listening. The kind of introduction that draws you into a mysterious new movie with an intriguing actor you’ve never seen before.

Other tracks such as ‘Meet Yer Maker‘, ‘Wit’s End‘ and ‘Landslide‘ have layered vocal harmonies that don’t feel as lonesome, rather a cowboy who picked up some comrades on his journey to find himself. Brendan trots along, he’s not zooming off into the sunset, he’s taking in everything around him, he’s very observant. Vocally Brendan reminds me of Lambchop with the careful pacing of Timber Timbre. It’s one of those EP’s could easily just be filed “most underrated Australian EP of 2019” but that would be mistake, as it’s actually “the best Australian EP of 2019” — well at least so far. ‘I Can’t Sleep‘ I’ve played as many times as any Australian track this year. The most stunning part is that I Put The Salt In The Sea is just a clearance release while Brendan has been working over the past six months on his first proper solo album, which is almost complete and he’s apparently very excited about it, which actually means something here, because Brendan’s attention to detail comes across as somebody whose biggest critic is himself.

While I eagerly await this debut album, Brendan has kindly sent over a Trading Tunes with the theme of Meditative Music:
“I’ve always been an anxious person. Since becoming a Dad I’ve become hyper sensitive about the state of the Environment. The Political Climate. The general Horror Show Vibe on Planet Earth. In the New Age of Abbott/ Dutton/ Morrison/ TRUMP/ Climate Crisis Endgame, etc, my angst is relentless. Consequently I’ve found myself gravitating towards gentler, more meditative music. I just can’t stomach too much aggression in music now. There’s enough of it out there in the world. These are five key songs that help me quiet my mind. To attain those crucial little moments of Tranquillity. Introspection. Elation. Aspiration.”

Steve Gunn – ‘Way Out Weather’

Steve Gunn is a Dreamboat. I only became aware of him in 2018, and subsequently became truly obsessed. He convinced me to pick up the Acoustic Guitar again after a decade of mindlessly bashing Electric Guitars and Keyboards. This song is a sublime, sun-kissed, gentle current.”

Weyes Blood – ‘Movies’

“This song slays me. The first time I heard it I was washing dishes, and I became absolutely transfixed. Motionless, hands in the sink, mouth wide open, heart thrashing. That voice. Those submarine synths. When the song really started to crescendo I was so moved it was almost unbearable. This is not a song I can listen to regularly.”

Kurt Vile – ‘That’s Life, tho (Almost hate to say)’

Kurt Vile is other-worldly. I haven’t gone a day in 5 years or so without listening to his music. I could talk about him for a month. This song is absolutely flawless. Every time I hear it I’m transported. Musically. Lyrically. Outer Space. Inner Space. It’s hard to convey just how important this man is to me. And this particular song.”

Frank Ocean – ‘Self Control’

“There’s not a lot I can say about Frank that hasn’t already been said. He’s just Perfect. This song is just Perfect. It’s relatively minimal, but still manages to get remarkably cosmic at the climax. I Love Frank.”

Brian Eno – ‘Golden Hours’

“There’s certainly nothing I can say about Eno that hasn’t been said many, many times before. Eno is everything. Everything is Eno. This song is a Masterpiece.
Peace In. Peace Out.”

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10 Jul Trading Tunes with Emma Russack

Melbourne based songwriter wizard Emma Russack just released her fifth album Winter Blues on July 5th via Osborne Again Records with the background help of publishers Native Tongue. Winter Blues is still introspective, all-questioning Emma Russack, but there’s some newfound sunlight and optimism, which creates an interesting progressive arc off the back of recent previous solo albums In A New State and Permanent Vacation.

Those two previous solo albums were full of doubt and concerns, with Emma taking on self therapy through her songwriting. They made the listener feel like they were having a Deep & Meaningful with Emma, not because she needed to vent but because she just had really interesting life questions. She asked what many people would regularly feel, and she would publicly try to answer those questions through her songs, answers most wouldn’t share so earnestly. On Winter Blues a few life changes have turned that thinking into being content with concern, understanding it’ll always be there and how to embrace it. Tracks such as ‘I Could Say‘, ‘Follow My Heart‘ and ‘Floating Seeds‘ are soft and beautiful, the questioning is replaced with joy. There’s still doubt on tracks such as ‘What Is Love‘ and ‘Be Real‘, but even on those tracks she’s on the front foot tackling that doubt, not letting it consume her. Then the album finishes with ‘Never Before‘ a kind, tension free, positive therapy ending track, which makes you wonder what tone the next Emma album will have and continue this ever expanding and fascinating discography.

Emma is going on a mini Australian tour over August and September with super band members Nathalie Pavlovic (Dianas), Liam Halliwell (The Ocean Party) and Dylan Young (Way Dynamic), until then she’s sent us a Trading Tunes to “Quell The Winter Blues”.

Tour Dates:
August 7th: Melbourne at The Jazzlab
August 9th: Canberra at Sideway
August 10th: Sydney at Golden Age Cinema & Bar
September 13th: Kyneton at Major Tom’s
September 14th: Macedon at Macedon Railway Hotel
September 15th: Castlemaine at The Taproom – Shedshaker Brewing

Erlend Oye – ‘La Prima Estate’

“He’s a Norwegian singing in Italian about summer! I love dancing to this song.”

Joni Mitchell – ‘Carey’

“I used to cover this song when I was a teenager. The lyrics remind me of hot, summer
nights, wearing singlet tops and drinking wine.”

Michael Franks – ‘Eggplant’

“I love the lyrics in this song. They make me laugh. It’s all about how his girlfriend cooks
eggplant ‘19 Different Ways.”

Betty Davis – ‘They Say I’m different’

“The Real Queen B.”

Toki Asako – ‘September’

“This is a fun cover of a really fun song. I particularly like this version because it reminds me
of when my boyfriend and I started dating. He was playing this all the time.”

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01 Jul Trading Tunes with Gordon Koang

Gordon Koang may be a reasonably new name to many people in Melbourne, but back in his home country of South Sudan, he’s a legend. All you have to do is look at the YouTube comments in the music videos posted below to see how much he means to the people of South Sudan. But Melbourne label Bedroom Suck understand he also means a lot to the South Sudan community in Melbourne and Australia at large. He’s a great role model, of which not only young South Sudanese people can look to, but people of any culture and background. His warm spirit, master class rhythms and overall nature is something Australia could use a lot more of.

Four months ago he released ‘Stand Up (Clap Your Hands)‘ via the Music In Exile label, a not-for-profit initiative aimed at increasing access to resources and building professional networks for asylum seekers and refugees in Australia. Unfortunately he’s still seeking asylum in Australia, but you could help his case by attending some of his upcoming shows with his new Australian band that features his cousin Paul Biel.

On tour this July:
03.07 @ Labor in Vain Hotel, CHANGES Festival
11.07 @ Smith’s Alternative, Canberra
12.07 @ Freda’s, Sydney
13.07 @ 274, Wollongong
26.7 @ Major Tom’s, Kyneton
28.7 @ Sunny’s, Adelaide

Kang JJ – ‘Freedom’

Sister Angel – ‘Pow Kene Leech’

Michael Pal – ‘Nuer Residence’

Kaiit – ‘Miss Shiney’

Surfbort – ‘Trashworld’

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27 Jun Trading Tunes with Hexdebt

Next week is the second Changes Music Conference in Melbourne. Over 100 speakers, 100 artists, 20 showcase curators and 10 venues will all team up over the course of two nights (July 3rd and 4th) to highlight the importance of progressive discussions within the music community. It’s a very important event in the landscape of what makes the Melbourne music scene more important than just the music itself. And no band on the 2019 Changes bill is more in demand right now than Hexdebt. Their album launch in May was near impossible to get a media pass to, even months out. A good indication that a band is a hot ticket.

They released their debut album Rule Of Four on April 26th and it’s a whirlwind experience that takes many spins to get an understanding of how to process its power and multitude of tough messages. They blaze fire like Savages, White Lung or Cable Ties, but even with those comparisons, they surpass containment — so much so you’d assume they don’t drive with side mirrors. Actually they probably don’t even drive on the road, they’re more of an off-road 4WD who’ll make your Google Maps app crash. But this isn’t a band trying to emulate the past; they’re living in the now and there’s a sense of how brittle making music can be — go hard or go be an accountant. After the 27 minute album, you’ll need a jug of water, a massage and probably a stroll on the beach to regain yourself and prepare yourself to do it all over again.

You can catch Hexdebt play the Future Popes showcase on July 3 at 11.30pm. Until then, they’ve sent us a Trading Tunes. “We chose artists who we feel discuss issues/ideas in their music or through their live performance that often go unspoken about, and that to us, embody social change within the music industry”.

Briggs – ‘Life is Incredible’

“This one speaks for itself. Briggs has been an incredible force during dark times in Australia, and always deals with difficult subject matter with an incredible balance of humour and severity.”

Chai – ‘Great Job!’

Chai are another example of artists who subvert the stereotypes thrust upon them – in their case, the idea of kawaii/cute and the potentially racist and sexist undertones that come with these labels. Chai’s ‘Great Job’, like Briggs, also has a sarcasm to it that we love. And their rhythm section is incredibly tight!”

Sateen – ‘Finer Things’

Sateen are a married wife duo who are fiercely unafraid to be both outspoken and vulnerable. They have been endlessly touring the US playing pride festivals and raising awareness of queer and trans issues. Their songs are so fun and well produced, and their outfits hark back to a vintage queer glamour that Hexdebt gets around.”

Kaiit – ‘Miss Shiney’

Kaiit‘s music has a classic quality to it, but the earnestness of her lyrics completely embodies change to us. Kaiit discusses every day issues with the weight they deserve, and doesn’t shy away from acknowledging insecurities about her music, even in the music itself.”

Surfbort – ‘Trashworld’

Surfbort‘s commitment to unwavering kindness and friendship can be almost confronting – it’s definitely a surprise to see a renegade group of punks talking about love and friendship so freely. Surfbort seem unconcerned with their image, and frontperson Dani Miller uses her platform to discuss social issues around her without isolating those who might not know about what she’s discussing. We love the balance of anger/rage with the lighthearted/upbeat.”

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06 Jun Trading Tunes with Sweet Whirl

Sweet Whirl is the latest great signing by the ever reliable Chapter Music after previous releases with the fantastic label Bedroom Suck. Working with both of those labels is a good sign, having band members from Total Control, Laura Jean and Gregor’s live band makes Sweet Whirl’s latest EP Love Songs & Poetry an automatic must listen. Love Songs & Poetry was released on May 3rd and it doesn’t disappoint, in fact I’ve had the EP on loop all day, and it keeps getting better each time around.

The EPs mood is dreary, which seems to be a big theme with the best music of 2019 (Weyes BloodTitanic Rising, Sharon Van EttenRemind Me Tomorrow, Julia JacklinCrushing, Cate Le BonReward, Big ThiefU.F.O.F.), maybe in 2019 everyone just feels safe at home looking out the window, the only place they can control the weather and not feel on display. A lot of the lyrics on Love Songs & Poetry could’ve been written inside of a wet window. Singer Esther Edquist sings “I put it into words, cause you never learned to” on ‘Put Into Words‘, the “you” person is unknown giving you the feeling that nobody is currently outside of this wet window. It’s space for your imagination, and when you can’t see, you’re forced to use your imagination even more so. On ‘Rubber Heart‘ Esther sings “down on memory lane, it all goes on in houses”, and this gives us another clue as to her current location and retrospective mind set. And during ‘Ray C‘, Esther gives us a more specific clue location when she sings “the last time I saw you coming up the stairs, it was the last time you turned to me and said, are you, coming up, coming ah, coming apart just a little”.

So the next time it’s wet outside your upstairs window, and you’re feeling retrospective, throw on Love Songs & Poetry and you’ll never feel alone.

You can catch Sweet Whirl launching the EP on June 14th at The Tote Hotel. To get a little more insight into Esther’s influences, she’s kindly sent us a Trading Tunes with the theme of “‘How To Catch A Killer Track’, – “all my blurbs are about personal history as a songwriter.”

Penguin Cafe Orchestra – ‘In A Sydney Motel’

“I had this song on a mixtape from my friend and ex-bandmate Kieran (from Superstar) – when James Vinciguerra (from my band and also Total Control, Trevor etc) used to borrow my car he got really obsessed with this song and wanted us to do a cover of it. I could never get my head around how to cover it though – it’s super evocative of Potts Point, in the rain, in a more lonely time.”

Palace Music – ‘Gulf Shores’

“When Liam (Barton) and I started working together on recording Sweet Whirl we were trying out different drummers, and one sweetie who joined us for a day was the fabulous (and fabulously busy!) Karla Way from Beaches. She mentioned this song to us as a reference and we both became obsessed with it – it was precisely where we were at that time in regards to the Sweet Whirl band sound.”

Morning And The Sleepy Kids – ‘Works In Savers’

“This Tassie band was released by Albert’s Basement back in 2010, and I have a hazy memory of seeing them play a reunion gig sometime between 2014-5. This album, “Songs 2004-2007” has some remarkable stuff on it, this great lyricist with her Robert Forster in a dress-up-box style theatrical vocal delivery, and the lean harmonies and melodies, home recording roughness but essentially great songwriting that captures a whole feeling of a time in a life.”

Arthur Russell – ‘”Instrumentals” Volume 1 (Part 1)’

“A track I first heard via Liam, walking into his studio and saying, “what the hell is this, Sufjan Stevens?!” But it was Arthur Russell being beautiful in the 70s. Pure sad joy. We both couldn’t believe we’d never heard it before. Another cherished reference for ideal music.”

Joanna Newsom – ‘Swansea’

“Recently I revisited this album Milk-Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom, which I was rather obsessed with when first it came out. Her lyrics were probably one of the most influential benchmarks I acquired as a young songwriter – yes, Morrissey‘s dark humour, but also Newsom’s deeply literate, intricate and whimsy wordplay impressed me so much, and left an indelible mark on my own writing. ”

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01 May Trading Tunes with Honey 2 Honey

The new A Taste Of EP by trio Honey 2 Honey is one of Chapter Music‘s most recent releases and its four tracks feel like a forbidden exploration of a large prop warehouse. It’s dark, but not scary. It’s a little creepy, but also harmless fun. It’s silly, but only as fun as your imagination. It’s not always easy to understand exactly what’s happening throughout A Taste Of, but that’s often when life is its most stimulating, when humans can’t look away until they understand what’s happening. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it didn’t stop Honey 2 Honey from releasing a mix and matching of ideas that others would only keep in a secret folder on their laptop. Deep stern vocals like John Maus, minimal foggy atmospheres like Dirty Beaches and snippy keyboards with nicking hi-hats like Gang Gang Dance. By the time ‘Colony Music‘ rounds out the EP, you’re certain that they’re teasing you, and that they must have many more tracks and ideas than just these four in those secret laptop folders.


EP Track List:
1. Tone Of Voice
2. Under the Hangar
3. 4
4. Colony Music

Honey 2 Honey are based in Canberra and Sydney, but you can catch them in Melbourne on May 4th at The Curtin with Simona Castricum and Waterfall Person. Until then, they’ve sent us a Trading Tunes with the theme of “touching music”:

Bill Withers – ‘Use Me’

A Bill Withers classic, this song and this performance in particular is a masterpiece of restraint — they are all literally sitting down — nothing showy about it. There is not one note that is out of place, no part of the performance is overstated. Cool, collected and raw as. Amazing.”

SWV – ‘Anything’

“This is the intro track to SWV‘s album Its About Time. It is much more restrained than the rest of the album (which is also fantastic). I really love the repeated vocal harmony which goes behind the lead. The whole thing is just sultry and smooth. The final repeat when everything but the vocals and drums drops out — magic.”

Fafá de Belém – ‘Aconteceu Você’

“This is a song by Brazilian singer Fafá de Belém. I just google translated the title — apparently it means ‘You Happened’. Pretty nice, huh? The beginning of the song is just perfect RnB and then it goes high funk drama. The video is cool, too.”

Holy Balm – ‘Clandestine’

“This is a song by our label siblings Holy Balm. I think this song is pretty amazing. The lyrics are sincere (potentially to the point of irony) and beautiful, and musically the song performs the trajectory of its band — from post punk wonk to thumping vocal house classic. Emotion, groove, and a sprinkling of comedy — perfection.”

India – ‘To Be In Love’

“This clip is incredible. The energy of India and crowd is pretty off the charts even before she starts singing, and when she does it is just mayhem. H2H love a diva. Not much more to say — just watch the clip.”

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19 Apr Trading Tunes with Rambl

This Friday the 19th of April, the Melbourne club Yours&Mine is teaming up with Red Bull Music to present 1800-DOOF and it’s going to be one hell of a party. The line-up featuring Toni Yotzi, Moopie, DJ JNETT, Rambl, Hybrid Man, Makeda, DESTINY71z, Emelyne and Bevin Campbell alone makes the $20 buck tickets seem such a steal it should be a crime. That’s a mini festival of a line-up right there, but because it’s Red Bull Music, who know how to throw an affordable party in any country around the world, the freaking wonder maestro Lone is headlining. Lone releases music on R&S Records, one the most respectable house labels on the planet, and in my opinion he’s their franchise player. Lone is one of the few artists where I would buy a track, EP or album before even hearing it. He just comes back stronger and stronger with every release. Lone tracks will possess you and make you stop whatever you are doing.

To tide you over while you count down the hours until the event starts, local DJ Rambl has kindly sent us his choices for Trading Tunes. Rambl is also a producer, label runner and the electronic stage manager for Meredtih and Golden Plains music festivals. He has 20 years of experience throwing parties at Honkytonks, running the art and music webzine r-n-d.net, producing the RRR FM show City Rises, co-founding the label This Thing and endless other projects that have influenced the local community. It’s people like Rambl who keep the Melbourne dance scene thriving and evolving.

Rambl has picked the theme of the deeper side of dub-techno (Or just Deep dub-techno) and sent us this quote:
“Ever since I first heard the legendary Moritz Mix remix of Model 500’s classic “Starlight” (1995), I have nurtured an abiding love for the deeper side of dub-techno. To me it represents the purest expression of the dichotomy of dance music – simultaneously arresting and hypnotic, rhythmically static yet constantly evolving, minimal in form while texturally complex, and equally capable of drawing you deep into a dimly-lit dance floor, lulling you to sleep on an enveloping couch or eating up the miles on a late-night drive. Before delving into some of my more traditional deep dub-techno favourites, we begin this selection with the abstract, jazz-influenced sound of “Vertical Ascent”, the first album from the Moritz Von Oswald Trio. Enjoy.”

Moritz Von Oswald Trio – ‘Vertical Ascent’

Vainqueur – ‘Ranges’

Convextion – ‘Crawling And Hungry’

Mono Junk – ‘Channel B’

Fluxion – ‘Prospect II’

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21 Mar Trading Tunes with Adriana

The third night of Play On‘s acclaimed Series events will take place this Friday the 22nd of March. It rounds out a magical ‘Series Six’, which has so far included Babicka and Sleep D. Now, it’s Adriana‘s turn to be the night’s DJ while Mindy Meng Wang performs the Guzheng beforehand, combining with Carolyn Schofield and Peter Knight.

Play On’s unique Series format has delighted Melbourne audiences since November 2016. Having produced five memorable iterations in three years, it’s proven to be a remarkably fresh and innovative event series that features talented classical musicians and electronic artists playing back to back. All of this happens underneath a carpark in Collingwood. This synergy of genres, artists and settings consistently produces authentic and spellbinding performances.

Adriana is the host of  Opalakia  on 106.7FM AKA PBS.FM AKA this amazing show that features sounds from all across the juicy Mediterranean to the vivid sounds of the Middle East and beyond. You’re bound to get a mix or the new and old with Adriana, taking you on a journey not through time, but to a sonic plane new to your ears. Your brain will have expanded by the end of an Adriana experience. And your feet will be very sweaty too.

You can listen to Opalakia on Tuesdays between 7pm and 8pm.
You can also still buy tickets to this Fridays Play On event right here!

Adriana has chosen the Trading Tunes theme of String Of Life:

Joey Newman – ‘The One You Love’

“I have legit played this song in every set of mine for the past six months. Why? Well it works wonders every time. For one, this is a great example of how you can get people dancing without having to reach that magical “128 bpm” that Zac Effron insists upon. Two, people always seem to want to grind and pout their lips to this. Finally, there is the most fire instrumental breakdown that would actually make you burn guitar hero into flames.”

Paco De Lucia – ‘Entre Dos Aguas’

“I opened up my Red Light Radio set with this one last year and therefore this track will always be sentimental to me. Starting off as sweet and tranquil you feel as though you are being serenaded by Paco himself. As the song progresses though, its energy builds, climaxing with intense heat and gusto. This is the song that really made me fall in love with flamenco music.”

Aris San – ‘Dam Dam’

“Known for a lot more than just his music, Aris San was the Kim K of his time. Not only did he popularise Greek music in Israel, but he was also in the tabloids for his forbidden love affair with Aliza Azikri and was sentenced to gaol for selling narcotics in his nightclub. With all that messiness aside, it’s important to pay tribute to the man that created the signature sound for Mizrahi music.

During the 1970’s, Greek music had a huge presence in Israel, especially thanks to pioneers such as Aris San. By switching the quintessential Greek bouzouki for an electric guitar, Aris continued to play Eastern/Greek scales in high pitched staccato mode, modernising the music of his motherland.”

Adriano Celentano – ‘L’Unica Chance’

“The dude who introduced rock ’n’ roll to Italy. Mr Adriano Celentano makes you truly want to bang your head to this one. If you take a squiz at the videoclip you can see how Celentano was known for his charismatic moves, all of which are emphasised beautifully by his backup dancers who rock the most awesome white flared pants here.”

Soft Rocks – ‘Garden Of Eden’

“The first time I heard this track was during a set by Suzanne Kraft at Melbourne party, Daydreams. Back then Daydreams was at I Know a Place, a little space on the border of Fitzroy that fits about 30 people. We were all crammed in and absolutely frothing every tune he laid out for us on this sunny Sunday arvo.
This balearic banger is full of punch, and is another one that just screams Summer to me.”

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05 Mar Trading Tunes with SO.Crates x Nelson Dialect x Alnitak Kid

If you’re confused by the title of this project, than you’re not alone. I honestly thought the very talented trio of SO.Crates, Nelson Dialect and Alnitak Kid had come together to create a project called Sunset Cities where the debut album was self-titled. Instead, the project is simply under the name of the three separate projects. Now that the confusion is cleared up, we can talk why this is one of the best Australian hip-hop album releases, period, and why I’m so keen for what the future has in store for this trio of collaborators.

There are three elements that standout with this project. Layered production, chemistry and no shortage of lyrical topics. The combination of those three is very hard to find. Often the best producers aren’t huge on lyrical conversations. There’s groups that have chemistry and enthusiasm, but rely too heavily on momentum to make up for other shortcomings. And there’s those lyrical poets, whose best weapon is pen and paper, not keyboards and Ableton. Sunset Cities isn’t perfect, but it masks holes extremely well. Those few minor tweaks (mixing up the verse structures) are easily achievable on further release. Given how busy these three projects are separately, it’s a miracle that they were able to produce a product as polished as Sunset Cities.

The whole album flows seamlessly without blurring indistinguishably (think Toro Y Moi), never drags and keeps you interested until the final decibel without relying on bombarding gimmicks. They don’t put too many cooks in the kitchen either, with just two guest appearances; this sharpens the album’s narrative. Sunset Cities isn’t a sound we haven’t heard before, it definitely traces back to early ’90s New York hip-hop instrumental glides. But I state that as a big compliment, as you could slide any of these tracks into a mix-tape of that era, and nobody would blink an eye. There’s a three track sequence, that made me lift both eyebrows, ponder and look around the room (I would’ve tweeted about it if my phone wasn’t broken). It starts with the interlacing of vocals and instrumentation on ‘Bright On‘. Then the shady, body twitching, ‘Jay Elec‘, that’s its own animal. Reminds me of the production found on Cancer 4 Cure by EL-P, which is high-end fidelity. Then rounded off by ‘Black Tapes‘, which had me not transported back in time, but rather to a studio headspace I didn’t know existed in Australia.

Sunset Cities was released February 22nd via the always trustworthy Bedroom Suck Records label.


Sunset Cities
1. Stay A While
2. Oh Baby ft. Jace XL
3. Bounce If You Open ft. Mike Thesis
4. Know Doubt
5. Burning Slow (Sunsets)
6. Bright On
7. Jay Elec
8. Black Tapes
9. Hemisphere
10. Somebody Believes In You
11. 6-2-6

The trio chose the Trading Tunes theme of favourite VHS songs: “This tied in with our last single ‘Black Tapes’, an ode to growing up in the 80’s surrounded by stacks of VHS tapes, with your eyes glued to the screen late into the night.”


Killpoint (1984) – ‘Opening Theme’

“It has synths, it has terminator drum machines, it has sizzling guitar licks and my Dad stars as random thug #3.”

E-Rule – ‘Listen Up’

“Rap is like pot making. This joint achieves ideal forms.”

Souls of Mischief – ‘Cabfare’

“This track is like a time machine into an old dream on VHS. Hazy cushions of melodies floating above a crunchy drum break with charismatic story telling letting you peer through the orange sun-faded tint back into the 70’s so you can ride in a taxi with Bob James and Andy Kaufman. It’s also just a straight jam.”

Public Enemy – ‘Burn Hollywood Burn’

“”Yeah ill check out a movie, but it’ll take a black one to move me” – Chuck D, Ice Cube & Big Daddy Kane over groundbreaking Hank Shocklee production tearing shreds through the racist Hollywood movie industry. Back when rappers weren’t afraid to tell the entertainment power structures what time it was. Now everyone wants to be Hollywood.”

Wu Tang Clan – ‘Wu Tang Clain Ain’t Nothing to Fuck Wit’

“This one is only linked to VHS in my mind. At some point in high school i taped a hip hop heavy episode of Rage and even though i’d had this album for years, to this day when i hear “tiger style, tiger style” it takes me back to sitting on the floor of my parents lounge room watching and re-watching that tape, breaking it, re-spooling it and watching it again.”

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16 Feb Trading Tunes Martin Frawley

On February the 22nd this month, Melbourne band Twerpslead vocalist Martin Frawley will release his debut solo album Undone at 31 via Merge Records. If you’ve never heard Martin Frawley, let alone Twerps, you can at least trust Merge Records that Undone at 31 will be worth the wait. Merge Records don’t mess around, they’ve probably been the most reliable US indie label for the past 30 years. With album releases from Destroyer, Lambchop, Ex Hex, Caribou, Spoon, Arcade Fire, Dinosaur Jr., …And You Will Know Us By the Trail Of Dead, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Magnetic Fields and not a lot of fillers in between.

Merge Records aside, Martin has a very consistent track record himself. Twerps’ self-titled debut in 2011 is arguably the most important Melbourne album of the decade. The album validated the bridge of interest that had been quietly building from Melbourne to New York during the late 2000’s. People who had rightfully stereotyped Melbourne for decades as chord-heavy punk city, were all of sudden open to trying new bands from the city. Such picks included many of the infamous dole-wave bands such Dick Diver, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding and ultimately the Courtney Barnett explosion. Post the Twerps debut album, Martin’s vocals grew a little more in confidence and clarity. Where the instrumentation had shielded him on the debut, the EP Work It Out displayed some grunt and attitude. Martin’s silliness began to come out on the next album Underlay, a more playful period, a side to Martin that’s evident on the upcoming Undone at 31. His most recent release with Twerps in 2015 titled Range Anxiety braced vulnerability and honesty. It was Martin trying to be realistic with himself.

Which leads us to Undone at 31. A good four years since Range Anxiety. He spent a lot of that time overseas trying to find out more about himself inside and outside of music. This is based on his social media, only he really knows what he was doing and how he was doing. One way to find out how he’s doing in 2019 is to catch him live at one of his 14 straight days of sets coming up. The Facebook description isn’t a typo, from March 3rd, every night until March 17th, he’s playing at 7:30pm at an unknown Sydney Road shop for Brunswick Music Festival. This marathon of a launch reminds me of when The National performed ‘Sorrow‘ live on repeat for 6 hours at MoMA PS1 in 2013. However, I much prefer Martin’s idea, as he’ll have far less fatigue and deterioration, and far more creative physical freedom by the end of day 14. Most US national tours are like 25 sets in a month, at least Martin will be sleeping in the same bed every night with no need for soundchecks.

If you somehow can’t make any of those 14 sets, that include special surprise guests, you probably suck at life. Or you may actually be out of town, but back in time for the By The Meadow Festival on March 29th until March 31st. Until then, Martin’s Trading Tunes theme are the tracks that inspired the production for Undone at 31.


Undone at 31
1. You Want Me?
2. End Of The Bar
3. Waht’s On Your Mind
4. Just Like The Rest
5. Smoke In Your House
6. Chain Reaction
7. You Can’t Win
8. Something About Me
9. Lo And Behold
10. Come Home
11. Where The Heart Is


Maurice Frawley – ‘Long Gone Whistle’

“This is a song by my father and his band The Working Class Ringos. Recorded by the genius Tony Cohan. I witnessed some of this being made but was too young to understand. There is so much space and soul in this song, it haunts me. Big Velvet Underground vibes. I hadn’t been able to listen to my dad’s music after he passed away. But once I had the courage, this was the first one I had to hear again. That’s also me playing the tambourine, age 12.”

Brian Eno / John Cale – ‘Spinning Away’

“Don’t recall how I heard this one but I remember it was when I was sober for a period and writing this record, I would sit in my room and just listen to music for hours. This song, over and over. The guitar tone is really cool and the production is spot on. Made me get very excited about production and the idea of exploring new techniques.”

Hermine – ‘I Won’t Make It Without You’

“Simple, sad and beautiful. This one was so inspiring to use a lot of piano on the new record. It also is a sad love message to someone which I related to. And her voice just sounds perfect. If I shut my eyes I feel like I’m in the room with her.”

John Cooper Clarke – ‘I Don’t Want To Be Nice’

“Excellent amount of attitude which I could relate to. The mixing in this track is excellent, it’s a bit of madness but somehow it all works. I loved the guitar fuzz and tried to replicate it. Also the stomping piano driving it all along.”

Mariah – ‘Shinzo No Tobira’

“This song is fun at any time of day. I wrote a song the morning of going into the studio whilst listening to this one, hopefully its not to obvious. The drums make me want to run and also dance at the same time. Such a nice skin sound.”

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