A friend recently tried to argue to me that time is a man-made construct and I’m here to tell you today that he is extremely wrong. Time is actually my friend’s name with an extra ‘E’ on the end of it. Time (sp.) is actually a herb. Time is actually the most valuable currency on the planet and based on my current #life situation, I’m absolutely eligible for some sort of governmental time dole. Once I’ve got my paperwork in I’ll be soakingm up those sweet Turbull minutes. It’s the premiere reason that I never wrote about the first song ‘Please’, from this new Huntly EP, which was out-n-out remarkable recording and I deeply regret not addressing its existence.
The universe has given me the chance to rectify my mistakes and today I deliver you another new song from the EP. It’s out through one of my favourite local labels Neat Lawn, which makes sense as it’s the sort of homegrown indie-pop that they’re known to trade in. The whole EP is out today but my favourite (of the ones you’ve not yet heard) is Kate’s Bed. It meanders slowly through comfortable melodies and familiar feeling lyrics, Elspeth’s voice warm and compelling right through to the song’s flip at 2:20. It’s almost a shame they don’t experiment with some stranger production given how riveting that central moment is but then there’s also an art in not overcooking a song like this. Clock the whole EP on Spotify or on limited edition 10″ via the Neat Lawn bandcamp
Here they are then, the band that you elected to be your chosen representatives in 2017. Last year when you went to the polling booths and put Trump in charge of those United States, you luckily did one thing right. You ticked the box the said Middle Kids in the category for ‘Main Band 2017′. It seemed a strange role to put up for democratic process but the decision was validated when you, good voter, picked the right people for the job. And it was close too, we all saw the campaign spend that Diplo put towards his run and Lorde’s smear campaign didn’t feel great on either side of the fence but for one, shining second of 2016, good won out. Some say that Robin Thicke’s public endorsement of Justin Vernon did more harm than good but I’m of the opinion that he sealed his fate the moment he declared Amanda Palmer his runningmate.
Anywho, politics aside, they gone and did the thing they’re meant to do and that’s make a darn fine song. There’s some harmonies in here that are a new addition to the band’s arsenal which, I believe, means that they’ll be recreating Fleet Foxes self-titled LP in it’s entirety in lieu of their own debut album. 2017 you beautiful thing! There’s a latent sentimentality that rings so authentically amongst the lyrics that it feels like it stems from every argument I’ve ever had had with a loved one. Maybe the most marvellous part of all this is that they’re conquering the world from their home constituency of Chatswood. I’m forced to ask a question I’ve asked about a great many people before these; are they great because they live in Chatswood or do they live in Chatswood because they’re great? A real chicken and the egg moment here folks, it doesn’t ever go much deeper than this.
There’s an EP coming via indie giants Domino which is no more than these ones deserve.
Something a little bit out-of-control-gorgie for you right here (that’s ‘gorgeous’ for those of you over 30 and under 26. It’s a specific lingo but we believe in it deeply). Absent is a little bit Tracy Chen in its gently acoustic guitar manipulations but it’s got its own flavor that doesn’t see it treading on any toes, however lightly this song may step. The second and slightly less recent ‘Paper Moon’ is all about this guitarwork (is there any way to say ‘guitarwork’ without sounding like I’m referring to prog-rock?) reminiscent of Kurt Vile’s Blackberry Song (aka one of the most gorgeous pieces of sound you’ll ever hear). Reportedly from Melbourne, I don’t know much about Lue, only what I’ve managed to lift from my favourite Australian MP3 blog Eucalypt who wrote about her last week. Incidentally, if you want to get the drop on what Sound Doc is going to be covering going forward, just bookmark Eucalypt. I plan to have a lawsuit on my hands before the end of the financial year and that means a healthy dose of plagiarism.
post-script, I just noticed she’s following both the Middle East and Stolen Violin on soundcloud and that makes heaaaaaaps of sense to me. Some of these sounds could be lifted straight onto the next Stolen Violin record, if Jordan hadn’t already announced his intentions to shift direction. If you know me half-well, and I should hope you might by now, you’ll know that any Middle East reference is high praise coming from these fingers.
Honestly, I was pretty hooked on this from those early Robert Miles piano bites so once it developed into the spacey, nighttime bumper that it showed itself to be, there wasn’t much choice left for me. There’re a lot of neat little production quirks you can pick out, each adding a little extra texture to the thing, be they clicks, percussive scrapes or carefully applied fades. Its nice to have already found a clever a producer to hang my hat on in 2017 and my hands have seen very little labour in the process. More of this, this year please.
I’ve spent about an hour trying to write the perfect opening line to this review. In many ways, it’s hardest to leave a good first impression. Maybe I should start taking tips from IV League. Having never heard of this band before, I was instantly involved, pulled in by the promise of summer that this song seems to offer.
But before I discuss the song, I should back up a little bit. IV League hail from the greatest city in the world, aka Melbourne (sorry Tommy) [editors note: false]. Self described as ‘progressive pop’, it’s exciting that more and more bands are unashamedly embracing the pop moniker as it becomes seemingly less stigmatized. What a time to be alive, as Future would say.
The track itself comes a year after IV League’s last efforts. Whereas the phrase Ivy League conjures images of polos and trust funds, Bleached is a touch reminiscent of Canadian band Alvvays. Full of a guitar lines that conjure images of the beach and Australia dominating day 1 at the WACA, it pulled me in by virtue of its capacity for cultural referencing alone. Australia has long had an obsession with bands on that slacker/jangle pop tip, and if IV League can keep at this thing, they’ll join such revered bands like The Ocean Party and Dick Diver. Keen for more of this plz.