The Parking Lot Experiments have been making music in Melbourne since time immemorial, since before Docklands was a dollar sign in a developers eye, Courtney Barnett was still ghostwriting for Boomgates, Tomomaji was still Timomatic (RIP) and Jake Cleland was still junior vice deputy senior intern at adamNOTeve. Those were simpler days weren’t they? Even then though, The Parking Lot Experiments were in their forties. Now in their sixties, they’ve released the appropriately titled ‘Live Long’, recorded and mastered by Jonathan Boulet, the man, the legend. It’s building, swelling, corker of a track that sounds like some mix of Cloud Control and the Polyphonic Spree and a few other things that don’t yet exist. Good on me for writing about them just after they played their Sydney release show so unfortunately that boat has sailed. I have to get on to the next post though, because I haven’t written about any #greataustralianmusic for a long time and now there are lots of songs backed up so treat yourself below and use the hashtag #SoundDoctrineDoesItAgain if you want to discuss this on social medias. Keep it snappy, keep it viral.
I thought the vocal was what was dragging me into this track but that synthetic organ is actually the main drawcard here, tonally glorious and artfully manipulated into staggered rythm. Or it could be that vocal which is similarly filtered and by the end of the track, layered over itself a whole buncha times. Maybe it’s the video though, a binary tale of a Tokyo micro-chef and a Tokyo businessman-organist who work in the same dive bar. That’s the work of Natalie Erika James, and she’s unexpectedly found a video that does justice to the track. You’re looking at and listening to a triple threat here people, this is a true Hugh Jackman of a track. Hugh can sing and probably dance though I haven’t checked that second bit. To look at him you’d have to think he can dance a bit, you’d have to. And just like Jackman, Life Is Better Blonde (real name Nathan) is from Melbourne, which is the same as Hugh who is from Sydney which might as well be Melbourne because we have small bars now. It’s just science. There’s more on the way from LIBB and just as well because this has whet the appetite
A highly specific situation that speaks to a broader social experience and feeling. The alternative is a track like Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cards.
“If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?”
Immediately those phrases mean everything to everyone. Would you lie here with me and just forget the world? Weirdly the mostly specific thing in that entire idea is The World and, now correct me if I’m wrong here, I do believe the world is fairly large, at least compared to my apartment which isn’t altogether enormous, particularly given that we’re paying $6,400 per week in #sydney rent. There are no proper nouns, no person or place is mentioned, just empty house painted in the faintest beige so as we can all agree that we could happily fit our own furniture in it. “It’s perfect for me!” So in summary, that Snow Patrol song means everything and nothing to everyone and noone, which is actually harder to do than you’d think, at least with any degree of success. That first sort of song though, that’s the work of Courtney Barnett. That sort of song is lyrically pinpoint specific while still entertaining a bigger concept like nostalgia or loss and translating that smaller element so as it might speak the bigger idea to a broader audience. That’s Barnett, that’s what she does and that’s what she’s done. The imagery is perfect put together to be altogether familiar in it’s discrete specifics. You know those jars, you know what a railing in the shower implies and you know where Preston is even if you don’t know where Preston is, and if you don’t, then you do. Right? Wrap it up Tommy. The track itself sounds like it would fit admirably on the Middle East’s one glorious LP I Want That You Are Always Happy. The forthcoming CB LP is going to be quite some record, it seems.
I’ve never written about Lanks (real name Will Cuming) for a variety of reasons. He’s only one EP deep so far so we’re not referring to a lifetime of omission, but nonetheless he’s been heavily present on quite a few Australian music blogs and websites these past few years. Present enough so as that he was unmissable in the world of the aus music blog, which at some subconscious level must have contributed to my failure to pen. The truth of it is that I was never so struck by his music that I couldn’t not write. His singles have been solid since ‘Rises And Falls’ dropped a year ago and even Beach Houses from a few months ago challenge my static hand. This newest single Hold Me Closer though, that’s the one that demanded attention. It’s Will’s best vocal performance and some of the most assured songwriting + structure he’s put on show so far. Here’s the thing though. It actually doesn’t matter a lick that Lanks never features on Sound Doctrine because the guy’s work ethic has driven him to the top regardless of the thirty six extra plays I could have offered him. Now for the song.
Reminds me of some sort of Oscar Key Sung and FKA Twigs hybrid whilst those those rolling toms drive some energy into the track when its pulse starts to slow. She’s got the voice, the production is great, the songs are strangely alluring and everything feels good to go for 2015, here’s hoping the rest of 2015 is as on board with this project as I am. For the uninitiated, Moon Holiday is Sydney’s Alex Ward – she’s dropped just the one EP way back in 2010 but she also featured on the deluxe edition of Flume’s record and if she has the Streten tick of approval then who are we mere mortals to ask questions? Absolutely nobody, that’s who. This is the second single from her next EP which is already two from two and looking likely to fulfil some rather high hopes.