Archive for September, 2012
A few weeks back, Channel V sent me to BIGSOUND to write about my emotions. We saw Gung Ho play at Black Bear Lodge on the Tuesday night before the official BIGSOUND had actually commenced and while I don’t want to go too deep into this I think they were the victim of bad mix and a surly crowd. There was a sizeable gap between performer and patron and the three piece looked small and alone in what wasn’t even a large venue to start with. The set sounded more like a sloppy I Heart Hiroshima where I expected to hear the crafty vocal melds that are present on their recordings. As I said, it might have just been a dud night for them.
Gung Ho – ‘Twin Rays’
The two most recent singles the Brisbane three piece have made available are far less tense than their live set was and the perfect cure for a case of the Mondays. I don’t know if there’s an EP/record on the way but the group would be remiss not to take advantage of the musical vulnerability created by raised temperatures and lowered windows, the appropriate physical setting to their slacker/surf rock.
Gung Ho – ‘Side By Side’
I usually try to steer clear of the overblogged Triple J favourites but a tune’s a tune, you know? So on that note, here is a bonus track from Jesse Davidson of Adelaide, Unearthed High finalist and future Matt Corby.
Jesse Davidson – ‘Flaws’
I am posting this because MT over at WTH sung it’s praises so loudly. No, that’s not fair. I hit play on it because she said it was dynamite, I’m posting it because it is dynamite. The EP is unmissable if you’re hoping to hear the shape of things to come for Australian music/all future playlists I make. Here’s ‘Steps’, the first track I heard from Mansion, Alaska, along with the EPs introduction track ‘Lune’, which is a smooth welcome to the five tracks I’ve had on loop all day.
I’ve forever been a proponent of a snare and cymbal heavy drum sound so the drumming on ‘Steps’ was always going to buy the group some credit in my ledger. They’re unafraid to spend time instrumentally, building not to a vocal crescendo but to the patient in and out of radio static.
Downloadable via Triple J Unearthed, here’s just one more to whet your appetite.
Wheat Fields have been on my radar for a few weeks now but hearing ‘Heaven Is A Place Where Nothing Ever Happens’ on FBi this morning was the straw that killed two birds. I should never have (metaphorically) slept on these dudes.
Before that though, can we talk about ‘lo-fi’ for a second? At least 50% of the EPs/demos/streams that land in my inbox on any given day cite a ‘lo-fi’ aesthetic. I have three immediate issues with this.
1) ‘Lo-fi’ is no interchangeable with ‘out of tune’. Seriously, if you have an iphone, you have a guitar tuner, get on that.
2) If your music is clear hi-fi and your press release claims it’s lo-fi (as if that’s a selling point) I’m pointedly going to assume that you’re making excuses for awful songwriting and start a smear campaign about your band’s sexual behaviours.
3) Maybe, just maybe, your music might sound better if you recorded it properly. We’re not talking about high end studios here, we’re talking about any schmuck with a laptop. It could be that the fuzz and crackle is stopping us from that glorious harmony that would have been outlandishly good had you let it be audible.
Wheatfields – ‘Heaven Is A Place’
I’m not going to pretend to know the first thing about audio engineering but even the untrained ear can identify a fabricated sound. To Wheat Fields though. Everything I’ve just mentioned is not in reference to Wheatfields. It’s actually the opposite to in reference to Wheat Fields. Ocassionally a band will get it right and broad lo-fi strokes will enhance a track. There isn’t a negating fuzz over the top of this, just a padding that draws out the guitar parts rather than masking them and Maddie Harriott’s plaintive vocals are enough to break the hardest heart. Take it as a free download below or with a couple of others over at Wheat Fields’ bandcamp.
The Blue Mountains never sounded so good.
Midway through the week, this appeared in my inbox. I’ve played it through a few times now and each time it’s willingly yielded something I hadn’t heard on prior listens. The record is called Watercolours by Melbourne’s Mechanical Pterodactyl. The email I received was filled with words (pretty stock standard) telling me things (not unusual again) about the album. One such thing was that it was a home recording, which if you’d care to click play on either of these two tracks right here, seems entirely bizarre. I can possibly see this being a truth if it was recorded by a sound engineer residing in a live-in recoding studio. That would make sense to me.
Tap into your biggest, best emotions and let that ‘Watercolours’ bassline tenderly massage your feeling caves open again, ensuring that you’re properly equipped with appropriately flavoured soothers to mellow that red and inflamed throat, the product of your fetal position, sob inducing, three minute forty soul exploration. Let it all out big guy, there you go. You’re free at last, winter came too fast, something something something.
How’s that digital Berlin Wall track though, right? It’s like a slow-motion Caribbean Gang of Four nailing harmonies for the first time. Nailing though. Nailing them. The whole record has a tendency to overindulge in hyper-emotion but I can forgive that given the prevailing quality of the tunes. Listen to the whole album through, this isn’t a hear-one-heard-’em-all situation. Record here, Facebook here, pizza here.
I tried so hard to resist Donny Benet. Couldn’t do it. I saw write-ups on a whole swathe of hot dollar Australian and Sydney music blogs, listened, liked, fought against, maintained, but the walls have come crashing down. Seven times around the city of my mind, the trumpets (read: snyth) sounded, and that was the fall of my cerebral Jericho. Benet conquered and invaded my hallowed halls like the deviant he almost certainly is, plundering at will, taking his full share of the cash and prizes. The guy deserves to be paid though. I fought so hard because for the longest time I considered him to be little more than a gimmick artist, an 80s themed Jinja Safari but it’s become apparent that the dude can write the ass off a song.
Single ‘Gimme Your Heart’ has been given the video treatment and it’s a sight to behold. The track itself also goes alright. Don Don cuts loose some rising synth bars that are part 80s power-pop, part Zelda (NES, not that Ocarooney business) sample. THEN, just when you think it’s safe to step out again, he caps the thing off with a quiveringly sexy solo. Oh my. Oh me oh my. Stylistically you’d never guess he was of Sydney (or of 2012) but here we are. Show some love for a dude just doing his thing.
Electric Love is out TODAY through RICE IS NICE, get on it.
Here’s another from Electric Love: