Here’s the best new song you’ll hear this week and it’s a Sound Doctrine exclusive! That’s right, this is the only place on the entire internet you can hear this song for the next 24 hours provided that you’re using some form of contained intranet, you don’t have any mobile devices and you’re not subscribed to any streaming services. Right here folks, a bonafide Sound Doc exclusive. It’s called Clouds & Rain and it’s by a very talented Sydney artist called Charmian Kingston working under the moniker of BUOY. If you’ve seen her perform live then you’ll know that these vocals are no studio trick and this vibrancy is directly replicated into the live incarnation but none of this is to say that she doesn’t work with some top-tier musicians. The track was produced by BUOY herself, Christopher Port (who similarly has a little something new coming, though you didn’t hear it from me) and Jack Grace who is, in the opinion of this humble wizard, one of the most talented producers working in this country at the moment. And if the name Jack Grace is familiar its because I’ve championed his guts out any chance I’ve had and because he is a level 32 cogni-mage with the ability to permeate your dreams. The track is more energetic than anything we’ve heard from BUOY prior, eschewing the devotional weight of past singles to embed this thing with more fizz. She has this wonderful habit of alternating between puncturing bursts of intense vocal and gentler sung sections so as to give the song a richly fluctuating dynamic. I like this one, yessir I do.
You may also remember BUOY from this Spirit Faces song she featured on and Jack Grace from that remix swap he did with fellow Sydney beat monster Anatole so there’s some real TEEF family love to be allocated in this post <3
Call it a premiere if you want but I’d rather just call this a case of a fella just happening to be first to post about a ripping great song and now my good fortune is yours. You get the privilege of listening to this before the rest of the commoners over at Big Jack’s Music Blog Emporium whose scattershot approach to music curation besmirches our fair internet daily. Together we make a beeline to this one particular song from Reunited’s debut Teardrum EP called ‘Devices’ which caught my ears by virtue of those super warm console tones. They remind me of a particular song from the Final Fantasy X OST (Besaid Island I think?) and a minimalist take on Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. ‘Devices’ stands out amongst the EP’s four tracks in that the vocals are treated a little differently. They have less of the drone that guides the other three songs into a trance over their minimum five minute durations and it lends itself to a more exuberant listen, particularly as the songs break down into those gorgeous post-chorus instrumental sections (see again Final Fantasy X).
Reunited is the performative moniker of Melbourne’s Patrick McCabe who cut his teeth across a miscellany of Brisbane guitar bands through the late 90s and early 2000s. He’s taken a new tack with this project enlisting good friend and Sydneysider Chris Yates and between the two of them they’ve drawn out elements inspired by artists like New Order or Arthur Russell or even Blood Orange, artists who shattered the dichotomy of live and programmed. The EP is out through Sydney based Strong Look Records which is one of the flowers blooming over the grave of glorious former music blog Polaroids of Androids.
For a long time after the Middle East ceased to be an active band, I tracked the movements of its various members. Not too closely, nothing too geographical, just a general eye cast over their respective projects to see who was doing what. Rohin only ever managed a song or two but one of those songs was a work of extreme merit and potentially even the one of the best songs of 2012. Bree played a bunch of instruments in Matt Corby’s band and released an EP and it seems like there might be an album on the way. Mark didn’t take too long to release his own full LP under the moniker of The Starry Field and by now he’s almost overdue for new music again but his time is split between engineering other people’s records and running his own label. It’s Jordan we’re here to talk about though because Jordan seems to have been the most prolific of the team since they called it a day. He released a solo record under the name Stolen Violin that was undeniably lovely and now it seems he’s a member of this here band Soda Eaves. It’s probably not a new development but I TOLD you, I’m no longer 100% across the bands projects since they’ve managed to remove their GPS trackers from their flesh (which is to say it certainly isn’t a new development since they’ve already released an entire nother record in 2013). Murray Darling is the record they released last week (thankfully available on wax too even!) and it’s only in listening to this that I remember how incumbent Jordan’s voice is in my memory, its roots having grown through my conscious into that thicker soil of the nostalgic subconscious. He’s always had a way of writing lyrics that were bodily and earthy, natural and coarse, speaking in language and sounds that felt more small town than tertiary which perfectly compliments the instrumentation on Murray Darling.
I wonder however if this is the product of his pen as my minor research has suggested that the project is primarily the work of Hot Palms guitarist Jake Core which is now making me question if that’s even Jordan’s voice and now I’m crying and confused and it’s 8:24pm on a Sunday night and I don’t know what to do. Anyway though, there’re stray violin parts and piano sections but it’s largely the acoustic and electric guitars that entangle Jordan’s (maybe) voice. I guess I’m a little bit sorry to Soda Eaves that I’ve framed this within the narrative of the Middle East because this record is a work that shouldn’t be in the shadow of another now defunct band but it’s the framework of my experience and they really were one of my great musical loves. So go into this knowing that there’s a vapour of that original Middle East threading through this record but take it as a new thing, the product of mostly new people and something to make its own memories and emotional connections. Listen to it while driving somewhere special or next to someone significant and embed it with your own context that marks it as a new beast because it’s both new and beautiful.
Prep your thickest goggles and don your protective visors because you’re in the presence of an intemperate face melter. Sydney’s Party Dozen may have just become my new favourite band and one of the first domestic records of 2016 to knock me flat on my ass without the sense of decency to offer a pillowed landing. At least I had the fortune of starting with ‘The Living Man’ (the first song from this Party Dozen two-tracker). It gave me time to incrementally aclimmatize myself to the palette of sound that Jonathan Boulet and Kirsty Tickle utilised here. Waves of guitar-sounding-synth or synth-sounding-guitar roll against cleverly dynamic drum parts and wild sax improvisation. By the end of the track the synth sounds have established themselves as guitars and don’t you feel like an absolute burke for ever confusing the two. But this is the start of our journey friends, this is where it begins. Now you’re entering the ‘Wide World’, a thundering bison of a track that threatens to trample you at its commencement then uhhhh… well then it tramples you, true to it’s omens. More distorted saxophone that’s also shed any clear sense of identity which I’ve realised is something of a production trope on these tracks. The two of them have taken traditional instruments and bent their sounds into new angles so that it’s never quite clear what’s what. Anywho, listen in order and then it’s of paramount importance that you text me with your opinions on this track. Hit me with your most informed cool thought, drop it square in my text-centre, share with me all the clever things you thought up in your cubical you worthless swine. Hell, these records gone and got me all jazzed up now, I better go.
‘Glow’ seems an appropriate title for a song that’s filled with synth noises and programmed beeps that seem to bloom with life and pulse rythmically across the song’s few minutes. Each signal rises from the flattened plane in slow gradient, pulling upward and then smoothing downward, not unlike (and I’m stretching here, but bear with me) the curvature of braille itself. Small undulations across a level surface that each hold meaning should you be willing to invest some time in the medium. Sheets of ambient sound are the bed from which the vocals and blips swell from and they’re sometimes solid, sometimes quavering with uncertainty. It’s a great a first step forward from Melbourne label Spirit Level who relaunched last week with news of Braille Face’s signing.
Bonus fact for my regular readers (if this is your first time here please look away, this is a members only fact): Urban dictionary taught me that braille face is someone with an intense pimple population and I for one am going to wield this term like a claymore going forward.