Driven by that slow, comfortable bass line, ‘Plaza’ is one of the more unassuming songs to come across my desk/dropbox this year. It’s a conceptual package buried within the simplicity of Lee’s voice and his simple, elegant production. “HOLD ON THERE TOMMY. Who is Lee and how bout you start at the beginning for once?” That’s a fair criticism, I’ll take that. I’ve not gone about this well.
That Lee I mentioned is actually Lee Hannah whose earlier project The Townhouses you may recall, one of the formative signings to the now defunct Sydney label Yes Please. With the Townhouses laid to rest, Hannah founded a label called Healthy Tapes which continues to produce immaculate cassettes containing rereleases and brand new records both. Earlier this year he assumed his third and ultimate form, that of Sessility. Under that guise, he released a collaborative split releases with the inimitable Yeo including what might be my all time favourite take of Bieber’s ‘What Do You Mean?’ (maybe even including the 80s edit. I KNOW.) So that’s Lee Hannah, that’s Sessility, that’s what you need to know and now you’re fulling equipped to receive these noises in your ears.
Today Sessility releases ‘Plaza’, the first single from his forthcoming EP that will feature further collaborations with Yeo and Kira Puru. Lovely piano lines and that aforementioned bass line couple with Lee’s leisurely voice and suddenly it’s 1am and I’m in a sparsely populated Tokyo lounge bar. It’s as smooth as a lake but melancholy in its minor-key, relational sadness. “Well I’ve been feeling down and I’ve been selfish”
Self-loathing surely must be the hardest sort of sadness to cope with right? Where does one go when they’re disappointed by their own self. If you live in Melbourne then probably Revolver at 3am. Yeesh. At least then you’ll be disappointed by some other people at the same time. Nonetheless, there’s a real self-battling sadness here that speaks of the emotional labour that we give to our loved ones. Hear the song, buy the shirt, purchase the ticket to see Sessility at Margaret Court and give yourself a pat on the back. You’re alright.
Hi everyone, thanks for coming. I’ve asked you all here so I could talk to you about something. As some of you know, last year I moved from Sydney to Melbourne making me not just a bandit and a scoundrel but also a turncoat and a global citizen. Since being down here I’ve Found Myself and now realise that I’m actually a 49 year old remedial masseuse named Caramel so it’s already been a formative time. I digress, the main thing I wanted to bring before you is the fact that I’ve been forced to sign a contract which binds me to writing ONLY about Melbourne artists. While this might seem crazy, the SD marketing team assure me that it’s the best way forward outside of sponsored uniforms (slated for a 2017 rollout actually) so with my hands thus tied, I signed it, which was understandably difficult with only teeth to hold my pen. So there, that’s out of the way, onto our scheduled Melbourne information and remember: If you see me write about any music that isn’t from Melbourne, please don’t tell the government. I can’t afford to get shutdown again after the Eskimo Joe debacle of 2008. Anyway, if you sorta think about the expansion of Sydney’s outer suburbs, anything south of Wollongong is technically Melbourne now anyway, I learned that in year eleven georgaphy so try to argue with me about it and see what happens.
Now onto the good stuff. This is Wedding Ring Bells (geddit? Wedding Ring? Ring Bells? Me neither). He is Fergus Miller whose name might be familiar to you if you decided to name any of your children Fergus Miller or had a parent called Fergus Miller. Similarly, it might be familiar to you if you ever listened to a little artist that went by the name of Bored Nothing, whose moniker translated comfortably to his personality. Fergus lobbed Bored Nothing demos onto the internet with the regularity of Stephen Curry three-balls (RIP) and you’ll be pleased to know that he’s brought that same release ethic to this new project. I went on the internet for fifteen minutes today and found that he has already released a galaxy of tracks, which is to say seven. Seven tracks. So here you go then, a record that Jamie Oliver himself would’ve described as lovely jubbly if he were still with us. Bored nothing may be in our rearview but the elements that made it so wonderful are here in full effect. Fergus voice is wonderfully emotive and climbs through some clever melodies neatly resolved. His simple acoustic accompaniment is padded with some drum machine tones but it’s still a lilting heartruiner like the most of his Bored Nothing output.
It’s part of an EP you can retrieve from his bandcamp if you like what you’re hearing. It’s not even a pay-what-you-want download, it’s only available completely free-like.
I’ve been sitting on this one since nigh on 1943, when a young Japanese soldier insisted I listen to his latest mix that was premiering on Thump at the time. Problematically he’d front loaded the thing with the rawest EDM you’ve ever heard so I couldn’t make it past the first nine or ten tracks but this week I followed up. I listened to the back half of that mix and I discovered this wonderful new one from Melbourne deluxiate Braille Face.
You may remember Braille Face (real name Brad Faće) from when I wrote about his debut(ish) single Glow earlier this year, which was also a reintroduction to Tim Shiel’s Spirit Level label. Well, both label and artist (actual real name Jordan White) are back in tandem with ‘Backwards/Medicated’. The track sounds a whole lot more organic in its instrumentation than ‘Glow’, with percussion seemingly recorded live even if filtered later and piano lines that must surely be the result of fingers hitting levers which then trigger hammers which finally punch down upon strings. The vocal melody resolves itself very nicely and Mister Faće’s tone is pretty damn special. There are few moments where it feels as if a stray gust could blow his voice from the air and leave only silence where it hovered, such is the precariousness of his wavering notes. Worth a few listens at the outset and then see how it’s sitting with you. I’m confident with this one.
A three piece on record and a five piece live is my favourite band format with the obvious exception of Bon Iver’s ‘one man on record to small European nation on stage.’ So Saatsuma have started well before their first note hits Ableton, and better still when you listen to their debut single ‘Storm’, a dark little winner that dropped at the start of this year. Crisp vocals and moody guitar tones overlay a driving synthetic drum beat. However we’re here to listen to ‘Floating’, the newly minted second single from the three-piece. The song’s underlying concepts centre are nocturnal, centering around wakefulness, dreaming and insomnia but I’d suggest that there’s some sense of mortal subtext. ‘Night keeps growing darker’, ‘maybe I can finally let go’, ‘floating out to sea’, these are all rather doomed phrases that bid me think that sleep is being used his as a binary, in its literal sense but also as a metaphor for death. As Memphis Kelly’s vocals float over those gentle rythms, backing vocals flit in and out, a clever mixing decision that keeps you attentively following the lyrics as the dynamics shift constantly. There’re a few chances to see this bunch live, the first of which is tonight supporting Thelma Plum at the Northcote. Unfortunately, it’s sold out because #ThelmaIsLife but I believe there’s a single and video launch on July 09.
I don’t know all the references I need to know to discuss this Tangents song particularly well but I’m a man with a blog and some opinions so I’m as qualified as 95% of all other music writers. The outfit is a fivepiece centering around Ollie Bown, who is a British expat who relocated to Sydney in 2011, presumably for our delightful beaches and a political climate that still seems somehow more palatable than its English equivalent (however unbelievable that might feel this close to an election). There’s also a cellist, guitarist, keysguy and a percussionist though I don’t believe any of those have sought political asylum in the same way that Ollie has.
The band have recently finished working on their second LP Stateless, likely punching out their card with all the style that begets a record like the one you’re about to listen to. It’s something in the ilk of Floatings Points, a record that uses conversational percussion to engage in dialogue with the instrumental elements that my earlier discussed shortcomings leave me unable to identify. Sure, there’s a piano in there, there’s some synth but is there a cello? Or is he playing a loom? That’s an instrument right? An instrument of fashion! HIYO! This certainly isn’t the sort of electronic music that Australia is known for but I’m hoping it’s a direction that gets further explored by the band and their contemporaries. I expect that this is rather a difficult music to make due to it’s reliance on quite technical percussive sections and freeflowing arrangement but clearly worth the toil if ‘Jindabyne is indicative of the rest of the album. The title of ‘Jindabyne’ already tells you that there’s a connection between this music and its country of origin and there’s also a track on here called ‘Oberon’, a New South Wales reference that’s graced the Snod Doxon annals already via the almighty Snakeface.
Anywho, I’m dying to hear the rest of this record because so far it’s one big green tick out of uh… I guess one tick. Not a great metric but please just know that I absolutely stand by this track. Stateless is out July 8 via Temporary Residence.