As far as I’m concerned, the weirder that Collarbones go, the better. Their 2011 record Iconography was laden with out there beats and chopped and sampled vocals and didn’t sound a whole lot like anything else at that time and evening seemingly at this time. They’ve since dropped a lot of the instrumental sections from their recordings and it’s become largely about Marcus’ voice (which can be a great thing) but producer R&B outfits aren’t a rarity at the moment and I want to hear Collarbones being the rarity they were. To keep on with that phrase, I reckon this new Collarbones track is rarer than some of their more recent recordings have been and I think all the better for it. It’d be easy for me to focus on that Oscar section but Marcus’ first half and conclusion both ride the beat gloriously, almost closer to his work with Black Vanilla than other Collarbones songs.
These past six months of work at the label at which I work at for work have been a rollercoaster ride of promotion and relegation. For a few weeks I was the Deputy-Head of Lunch Breaks before being demoted to Acting Junior Music Sciences Liaison. A few weeks ago though, I took on the mantle of Remix Authoritarian and quickly stamped my mark with two of the damndest remixes you’ll ever darn well hear this week.
We’ll start domestic with youngblood Dylan Tainsh aka The Sugarsynth aka Scarpeggio aka (but also exclusively known as) Dugong Jr. He’s a Melbourne dude who’s been at it a few minutes and is getting some traction now with a single called In Love but I honestly feel like this remix might be one of the best things he’s put online right yet. He’s taken a sit-down with Thelma Plum’s ‘How Much Does Your Love Cost?’ and the resulting jam has been awarded an honourary five star rating from the NSW Hotel and Tourism board for outstanding comfort and excellent service. The original M-PHAZES produced track had some some venom to it and Tainsh has leeched some of the poison to leave it brighter and warmer while still retaining plenty of the residual heat. Dude has something going on here because this song is really, really good and I’ve listened to it a whole damn lot. I tried to imagine where a track like this would sit in the Australian music landscape if it weren’t considered a remix and I really think, if considered on its own merits, it stands out as something remarkably different.
A hard act to follow, sure, but not impossible if you’re a stone cold sample manipulating JAPANCITY colossus with Boiler Room cred and Red Bull Music Academy stripes on your lapel. Yosi Horikawa relaxedly walks into the wilderness, records what he hears, pitch shifts, manipulates the resulting sounds into beats and after planting a flag or two, usually annexes smaller nations as part of the process. The resulting songs are astounding sharp, precise down to the final minutiae and laden with organic samples. ‘Young In Love’ was already my favourite track from Thelma Plum’s Monsters EP but doubly so now that this new Horikawa edit is here for the listening. I’m not bold enough to say it’s improved upon the original but if it hasn’t, it’s certainly come close ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Shoutouts to both these dudes for improving both my job and my iPod.
Yon Yonson are the quintessential music for the sake of music outfit that prolifically release excellent records independently of demand or market. There’s no slow release campaign to build hype, just releases dropped without fanfare and without pride, each one pushing against through boundaries like a young Kim Kardashian while the band have fun with it like a young Kim Kardashian and get by on work ethic and performative quality (like a young Kim Kardashian, you know?). Here’s are my two favourite cuts from their BRAND NEW RECORD called It’s Natural that dropped this very day but I highly recommend sending them some money and having yourself a download of the thing as a whole. Diversity of samples, sounds, lyrics and a beautiful combination of organic and synthetic sounds across this mean it’s a certain yes from me. Just a couple of western Sydney dudes doing it right. See you at the end of year best ofs, Yonnies.
Bilby’s Funderstorm is a fairly weightless jaunt through the triple vice of drinking, smoking and having fun and unless you’ve set your ears for maximum twee you’re not going to be adequately prepared. I’m speaking here of the single song but then the EP/abum of the same name can equally fit within the same bunch of descriptors. It’s a dry, stacatto record made from guitar runs and unprocessed vocals and it has the same sort of guileless charm that characterised early (and indeed current) March Of The Real Fly tracks. Back to Funderstorm the song here though, which you can listen to just underneath these words and feels like the sort of melody and lyric you’d concoct drunkenly around a fire and sing until it became overwhelmingly irritating. The redeeming featuring of the simple melody and lyricism comes in the ambling guitar section that polishes the vocal part in the verses while following and emphasizing it in the chorus. This is simple fare but it’s sort of gorgeous in an outsider-art way.
I have this image in my head when I listen to Joy Division – a big empty warehouse room with a person crouched in the corner, hands over their ears. Their songs usually start with some kind of chugging or pulsing, a mechanical sound, something like the machinery of the world relentlessly working outside, all around. Then the guitar comes in with high distorted melody lines, the primitive scream emanating from the mouth of this defeated individual. Ian Curtis usually then sings a monotone monologue; the thoughts going through the head of this figure. There’s a similar impression when I listen to Benevolence Riots.
Though GOY have an inherent catchiness that’d be out place in a Division tune, this song starts with that mechanistic chug and the primordial guitar scream, and Dave’s vocals then cutting through with the same world-weary drawl that we’ve come to know and love so well. Equal parts metaphysical and urban, equal parts gritty and etherial, GOY have some of the most interesting textures that I’ve heard for a while. Lots of lost layers slipping in and out, floating up to the sonic surface and fading into the depths. And of course the cacophonic racket at 1:40 is the only real way to get away with doing a guitar solo these days, the Jackson Pollock of guitar playing.
This is conceptual rock. It’s brave to write a song that tries to be more than we (the audience) expect. It’s brave (for you the listener) to then engage with that song until you find that something in it that was meant just for you, even if it isn’t immediately evident. But if you can’t find it in 5 listens, maybe it wasn’t meant to be and there’s always Bon Iver for a fallback.
He’s still a thing right?