Before I’ve listened to a note (but also I’ve listened to a few of them already if I’m being honest, because Tim Shiel just spun the whole darn track on Something More) this song has me onside. Within the name is a cute little language gag, a split spelling of the word fifty that has that same disrespect for the English language that people say George Bernard Shaw did (though apparently it actually WASN’T his concept) when he argued that the word fish could be spelt ‘ghoti’ using existing english phonemic structures. And indeed why shouldn’t it be spelt phiphti? If one band has earned the right to spell anything, any way they damn well wanna, it’s I’lls.
There’s a little faint click track across the first minute fifty of the track, there to remind you that no matter how little the band care for spelling, less still will they show regard a comfortable time signature. I’m pretty sure this song is written in thirty one / five, a former favourite of celebrity woman Paris Hilton as well as the late Bonhoeffer, the first for it’s ability to satirise ‘the It Girl lifestyle’ and the second by virtue of its moral purity. So you’ll understand my excitement when I see the hallowed thirty one / five at play here. There are those seriously beautiful I’lls chords that spend periods all bunched into long padded warmth and other times tweaked into stacatto pips and pops. There’s shades of King Of Limbs but it also reminds me of what would happen if three of Melbourne’s best musicians decided to make five and a half minutes of craftily patient slow-release that didn’t assume itself as quick as KoL. It’s a real numbers game this Fifty-Phiphty so it’s with a certain respect that I award the hallowed Sound Doctrine ‘Five Dreams Out Of Five’ (if that doesn’t make it to the press kit then nothing will) and I offer a monetary reward to anyone who can graphically represent that rating.
The business of Sound Doctrine is the business of drip-feeding you songs or bands that have hopefully not been made popular by somebody else before we get around to them. We bag a couple of similes, talk about our process and spend the last quarter of the article in facile assessment of the music. (CATS OUT OF THE BAG)
Well we’re at it again folks because last week Bored Nothing released Some Songs and came back into your arms like the cashmere rug your nan knitted that your mum accidentally put in the washing machine (hand wash only on cashmere mum!) and it unravelled. Then what happened was that your mum fixed it again, and now you have it back. That period of unravelling is representative of the interim period between Bored Nothing records, you see.
On Bored nothings eponymous debut record in 2013 Fergus Miller was brash and confident, like a drunk man standing at the front of the RSL stage yelling, “I won the meat tray, I’m moving to Ipanema, ya dickheads!” except not really like that at all. More like a guy putting out a record full of solid pop songs that had gristle and urgency and lo-fi thrust. If you didn’t already though, imagine living in Ipanema as a special reading interlude. A few years later, Fergus still writes solid pop songs. Some Songs might sound like a flippant title, but like my dad always said, “that’s where the flippancy ends, boy”.
While the individual tunes on the first record presented an idea or ideas and took it in one or three or five directions, these ideas are now carefully explored over the course 2 minutes and 30 seconds, realised in a new way, taken to their closing. In parts Some Songs is downtempo, navel gazing, lonely and the space around the edges is full of your fears, right to the end. But in other parts he skips it into hook heavy guitar pop and everything is clean and beautiful again and you realise that life is not what you made it, but what you want to make it. Sure, sometimes he still loses his mind and control of the gain on his distortion pedal, but even when you’re lost in the waves of squall you feel the return of control, and the guitars chime again.
So what’s the take home? Some Songs is total pop, it’s total Australia, it’s team Australia, somebody needs to play this for Tony Abbott and then maybe we’ll see the changes this country so sorely needs. But first, play it for yourself.
Some buoyant electronica from Sydney’s Sails in the form of his Coastal Mixtape. I’ve had this through the headphones at work today and my productivity has seen extreme increases to the point that I’ve already been twice promoted and now have my own team of boffins, the seven of them all listening to the Coastal Mixtape themselves. Prediction: We will either have destroyed or own Google before next Wednesday, either way there’s going to be some big changes to the digital landscape when we’re through. Clever samples and movement inducing basslines are the order of the day here. Sidenote: I was going to reference something along the lines of “a young Fishing” for this post but then I realised Fishing are a young Fishing. What a funny market we see ourselves in at the moment where an artist as reasonable recent as Fishing feel old when compared to newer, younger beatmakers. What even is four years in the grand scheme of life? The record is out through the legenary Skydreams and if you buy the casette version you’ll also load up with a whole bunch of remixes free of charge.
Nite Guise is a two piece from Sydney featuring Mark Holland and some other guy, probably his younger brother I reckon, or maybe a son from an early highschool relationship. We can’t possibly know but even if it’s not a blood relative I’m 100% that they get on pretty well because this song sounds like a LOT of fun and it’s weird to imagine two people making this jam and not being pretty positive the whole way through it, so I’m not gonna. The beating heart of the song is a series of syllabic howls, boomed into the air through litres of reverb and the guitar lick that introduces the chorus may even be as fun as that Liam Finn tone from a few months ago. Reminds me of Unit era Regurgitator and Japandroids. In fact that’s a pretty decent reference for the whole song, let’s run with that. Any song that declares its arrival with “Here we go, the beginning is now” is gonna work for me I think. Even DMA’s can almost get away with their “Chorus Now!”
Yon Yonson was a two piece until recently, a format that had room for Nathan Saad and Andrew Kuo but live band performer Rick Scully couldn’t really fit. There wasn’t enough space in the band and unless the duo had a sudden breakthrough hit, they were never going to afford the renovations necessary to accomodate for Scully’s immeasurable musical girth. I think they must have crowdfunded the thing or something but all of a sudden they had room and now they’ve crammed him into the band, sort of up the back a bit but definitely right in there. If you’re not in the know, Scully’s live role is ‘knob-tweaker’ so everytime you hear a sample or a doorbell or something, that’s him. His presence in the recorded product is very clear here on what is probably his first track as an official member of the band and ‘Water’ sounds polished as all hell. This is the second single from what is likely to be a diverse LP coming either at the end of this year (fingers crossed) or at the start of next.