Pleased to be able to make your Monday morning with a binary offering from Yujen. The three piece have been chipping away down in Melbourne a couple years now and during that time they’ve produced for other acts (see the first track on TEEF’s Imperium In Imperio compilation) and made waves under their own moniker, dropping an EP through Detail Co. that even features the crooning vocals of label co-founder Chet ‘Big Business’ Faker. The track that announced Yujen [to me] those few years ago was called Heirloom and is still a staple of my playlisting behaviours.
That old EP though, that’s the past, fit only for your sound bin (maybe keep a copy though, it’s actually quite good) because I’ve got the future for you right here and its manner of release is near as interesting as the music. Two songs at once might as well be cyanide pill in this world of cut throat soundcloud domination but that’s the sort of artist we’re dealing with here. Yujen are dropping these things into your earbits and flipping death the bird as they dive deep into the industry abyss, ignore all depth warnings and ‘no cannonball’ signage. Among Others is the official name of the release and it’s open ended in that this two-tracker might be the only release under that name but then it’s equally likely that Yujen will release more ‘Others’ throughout the year. Fingers crossed for the latter.
I’m not bold enough to these a departure from the groundwork set down through the EP but it’s a strong development. I’m not sure which of the three members of Yujen is singing on ‘Sanctuary’ but the vocals are far higher in the mix than they’ve ever been on a Yujen track and ‘Avalanche II’ is eight and a half minutes long, eclipsing any other song they’ve released so far, at least in duration. The tracks are immaculately produced, intricate, nuanced and warm on the ear. I hope this isn’t the latest incarnation of Among Others and that Yujen spend this year developing Other upon Other but regardless, if this is where the release ends then I’ll still declare it a success.
The main, most special single from Snowy Nasdaq & Snowy Life’s newjangle2012. Dolewave2015 is my next favourite track from the record, or maybe even my first favourite, but this is the soundcloud single so I’m going to respect the campaign and we’ll run with this. There’s a six track EP out through French (thought decidedly Oz-obsessed) French label Beko Disques and if you enjoyed this track you’ll enjoy the rest too. Snowy is one of the pivotal voices of Melbourne music ecosystem and features in about 26 other bands including at least 4 that are just him under different pseudonyms.
I’m gambling on this one because I’m not 100% certain that this artist is Australian but I have a very sneaky hunch that he/she is and that they may even be a member of crucial Melbourne outfit Total Giovanni. Just maybe. We can’t possibly know at this point but I have my street team combing the whole of Northcote for clues. If it’s out there, we’ll find it. The primary clue we have to go on (which bids me investigate in a different direction) is the track title ‘Mutombo’. Is there a connection with Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo?
Mutombo is one of the NBAs all time best shot blockers so utilising his name on this track is almost certainly no accident in a time when the Australian internet is facing dangerous censorship at the hands of (and I think you probably already know where I’m going here) one man with a history of blocking. George Brandis. We followed the breadcrumbs and what came up? That’s right, our governor general is spending his down time making lo-fi bedroom disco. Waving his finger in our faces as he makes lighthearted (yet oddly gorgeous) lapt-pop* on taxpayer dime. This is easily the best thing that Brandis has done during his time as GG and frankly the only thing he’s done that I’d be happy supporting. Keep at it boi, tax dollars well spent.
This guy is one of the most promising people of 2015. His EP is one of the most promising releases of 2015. This song is one of the most promising songs of 2015. I think it’s reasonable to refer to a song as promising even after the fact if it doesn’t sum to immediate sensation, if it contains the possibility of growth and later understanding. One can sit and dwell on this song for a while and it won’t necessarily follow the same linear path for everyone. The samples take a long time to resolve into the beat and the beat itself takes time to resolve and even when it does, it bursts apart again forcing your jiggling knees to reassess their movement. Find the tempo again, find the new rythm. That dark, single piano note recurring again and again and again. And again. It’s foreboding and it tells a story unto itself before lyric becomes part of the narrative. Still ignoring lyric though, is that an affected scream or a siren? Wait is that Bruce Hornsby’s EXACT piano tone under the female vocal that started this damn track (it’s back, btw). There’s definitely a tale unfolding but the story arc is so confronting that it’s easy to focus on the structural elements of the track and find it finished before you could consider fully what you just listened to. And there’s an EP of these tracks still to come.
Jack Grace has ghost produced a whole bunch of acts over the past year and been a feature vocal under different names on a bunch of other tracks but the new name indicates new things, the first of which is the unilateral violation of my year’s best of list. Shoe in this, without a doubt.
I just now clocked that there was a new Bilby track on the internet but it’s a tricky little beast because it’s doesn’t live in a traditional dwelling (soundcloud, bandcamp, apartment) but exclusively on Triple J Unearthed*. So even though it’s killing my sound doc aesthetic I’m embedding it because timing is currency and I like currency like I like this song, which is to say heaps a fair bit. Also, if you’re one of the two overseas readers, this might be a nice introduction to Unearthed? Get in there. There’s actually two new tracks (new to me, anyway, it’s been a while since I caught up on Bilby news) and Champion Ruby is the faster of the two. It’s pinned down by a tinny drum machine track and is mixed more murkily than the second but it’s a good illustration of the elements that make Bilby so diverting. Hitting syllables right on guitar plucks and strong refrains that are hard to extricate from your head once there.
The second track is this one Smoak It which is a signpost by which we can once again know that Bilby likes to smoke things. This one is from closer to the start of the year but it’s still more fresh than the last time I wrote about our m8. Bonus news, I was looking through his fb images and saw that he played a show with March of the Real Fly. Isn’t that just perfect though? That show would have been righteous.
*Hey I found it on soundcloud now but I can’t very well just go back on all that stuff about unearthed can I?