Archive for June, 2012
Nope, not Australian but my mission statement says nothing about geographical exclusivity so I’m posting it anyway. Hell, I don’t even have a mission statement, that’s the sort of boundless, directionless, cashless institution Sound Doctrine is. It’s Jerry Douglas, the undisputed world champion of the Dobro collaborating with up and comers Mumford and Sons who I heard on triple J once and I think are definitely one to watch. They could get big. It’s the neither of these two that unlocks my heart though, it’s the fact that they’re singing one of the all time great songs by one of the all time great duos. If you know anything about my tastes you’ll know S&G fit somewhere between Sufjan and The Middle East in my spectrum of personal resonance. So I’m going to set this down right here and you can turn up your nose because it’s Mumford and Sons or you can push play and get knee deep in one of history’s greatest songs, even if it’s not being performed by one of history’s greatest bands. But Jerry Douglas right? Right.
This is a pretty affair, there’s no two ways about it. Paddy Mann is Grand Salvo and Grand Salvo is Paddy Mann. They’ve been one and the same for over ten years now and despite a press release that insists that Grand Salvo have received critical acclaim, you’d have to say that the man’s flown under the radar. I can only deduce that this is a cross-media demonstration of solidarity wherein all music writer types have remained quiet on the movements of Mister Mann. It’s like that time Cuba made everyone angry so all the other countries were all like “no one hang with Cuba, they are being crazy annoying” so Cuba got super bored and just made sweet Latin grooves for a few years and but no one cared until the decided that Cuba was alright again and now Buena Vista Social Club are all that. In that analogy Cuba represents Grand Salvo and I represent whichever champion* shattered the embargo because I’m going public on this thing and there’s not a damn thing the UN can do about it. My self-aggrandising behaviour is reaching new peaks but let’s look at it as the necessary evil in the process of Grand Salvo delivery.
The new record is far more rich and textured than earlier releases with percussion, harp, recorder and cello present at different points (and sometimes at the same point!!). The song you’re hearing isn’t actually my first choice from the record but it’s the only single publicly available at this point and it’s no less heartfelt and romantic. I’m not sure if I like much of the contemporary folk that deals with youth and the movement of time. Actually I’m sure, I don’t like it. This isn’t the debut record from an artist suddenly invested in indie-folk though, this is the sixth record from a tested and true Australian folk staple. It’s lyrically mature and the arrangements are punctuated with a weaver’s subtlety. Slay Me In My Sleep may be be far fuller than the lighter acoustic fair Grand Salvo have previously released (see Needles) but it’s still a delicate, unaffected Aussie beauty.
Remember Spiderbait’s ‘Calypso’? That’s what this reminds me of, save that the tropicoso lady lungs are underpinned with the aural equivalent of a lava lamp – suspended goop easing you into a state of goodwill/chill. I just listened to ‘Calypso’ again and no, it doesn’t sound anything like this tune, but I’m going to retain it as my point of reference. Let it never be said that Tommy Faith is a quitter.
It’s the first track from Alpines’ forthcoming debut ‘A Is For Alpine’ and it’s got the internet writhing à la your cousin’s 2009 pavlova OD. That was some heavy juju. Anyway, he’s healthy now and this track is bananas so its a win-win. I’m notoriously dispassionate towards female vocals so my unequivocal support of this track must say something of the total effect it’s having on me. The Ivy League Records roster is looking stronger with every passing moment/release and the impending record from these Melbournites is going to be another strong arrow in their already fantastic quiver (Catcall, The Rubens, Sures). Apologies for saying plenty and nothing at the same time but seriously, the track is a lava lamp. Think about it.
Here’s a quivering mess of an EP with more pent up energy than little Johnny Ritalin, bane of teachers, curse of parents, ruiner of educational outcomes. The group is Phobiac and this isn’t the first release they’ve rel… -put out, but it’s the first I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Vocal styling that maybe makes me think of the Medics, or even Royal Headache (it’s a stretch), is the most understated element of the noisy shamozzle. Delayed guitar clangs around itself like the earlier mentioned child in a caravan kitchenette and the whole thing is recorded, as the youth keep saying, ‘lo-fi’.
The drums sound like machine gun bursts in ‘Triangle Song’ (probably my favourite from the six-tracker), a tune which spends the last twenty seconds pulsing with what might be the richest moments of the EP. Phobiac seem to be at their strongest when they build up a head of steam but their slowest songs have a poppier, shoegazing sensibility that will better lend themselves to radio play (which they will have when awareness of this EP comes). They’re based in Surry Hills, which has no shortage of no-talent grunge so it’s nice to see something sturdy come out of the place. That was rude. I actually really like you Surry Hills, you’ve given me some good times and I meant that as a compliment. Let’s never fight again. Allow me to make this clear, this EP is fantastic and undoubtedly some of the best rock’n'roll I’ve heard this year. It’s a free download or $5 for a physical copy so whichever you choose, just choose. While we’re talking choices, I probably could have picked a different image for this post. At least you get to see it a full three times this way. People are into repeat images, right?
Tricky-finger Tim is the new name under which Tim Fitz has been operating the past few months, by virtue of his astounding piano chicanery and his unexpected decision to have it legally changed. It certainly sounds good though. Good and professional. Tricky-finger Tim. That’ll stick. Along with a fictional new name, Fitz has a legitimately new song and it sounds exactly as you’d expect for a Tim Fitz track, which is to say it sounds nothing like anything else he’s released.
At this point it isn’t really clear if the following is a strength or weakness but Timothy Fitz cannot make music of any consistency. Hold there, I’m not say that there are variances in quality, I’m saying that this business is hard to classificate (it’s a word, look it up). The only feature you may recognize is that of the piano part, which if you’ve listened to Fitz before (and you damn well better have since he’s 20% of what I post about) you’ll know is something of a staple. It adds a spectre of lucidity to a tune that would otherwise rumble like a queasy stomach.
No news on what’s next for Tim Fitz but if you haven’t already had a listen then take this chance to hear his award winning sophomore EP here. Almost ran with this when I couldn’t find a good press shot and still sort of thinking I should have.