The many individual constituents in this song that are of such extreme merit that it’s hard for me to know where to begin. Do I praise the vocal or elevate the production? Could it be the songwriting that marks this song a determinate monument? Perhaps it’s that each of the three members Middle Kids is a prolific musician in their own right, surely a song steeped in triune musicianship is superior to that of the lone singer-songwriter. We’ve all seen those memes (such as this one) suggesting that a greater number of songwriters guarantee a better song but is it always true? The answer is yes. It absolutely is. To that, it makes sense that Tim Fitz (famous from acts such as March Of The Real Fly and @TimFitzMusic and venerated for inventing the loop pedal), Hannah Joy (famous from acts such as Hannah Joy) and Harry Day (the one I don’t know much about but is surely wonderful if cosigned by the other two) would combine to make something greater than each of their individual powers would allow, in much the same way that five very talented robotic-lion pilots came together to make Voltron. Think on it.
Edge Of Town is the first thing they’ve released under this moniker and it immediately marks itself as something different from the current momentary musical flavours. Hannah’s vocals are as expansive and elastic as Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries so it should come as no surprise that the first has historically looked to the second for creative inspiration. There’s a bridge[like] section toward the end of the song that pans out not into another chorus but into such ballistic vocals from Hannah that they’ve been dialed back in the mix lest they overwhelm the rest of the song and I’m more than a little excited to see how they’re punched out live. It’s a song that speaks of uncertainty and confusion in its lyrics but is entirely assured in its sonic elements. Just as Hannah sings ‘standing face to face with the king of the underground’, I think we now find ourselves in a similar position with Middle Kids. All hail.
Here’s the best new song you’ll hear this week and it’s a Sound Doctrine exclusive! That’s right, this is the only place on the entire internet you can hear this song for the next 24 hours provided that you’re using some form of contained intranet, you don’t have any mobile devices and you’re not subscribed to any streaming services. Right here folks, a bonafide Sound Doc exclusive. It’s called Clouds & Rain and it’s by a very talented Sydney artist called Charmian Kingston working under the moniker of BUOY. If you’ve seen her perform live then you’ll know that these vocals are no studio trick and this vibrancy is directly replicated into the live incarnation but none of this is to say that she doesn’t work with some top-tier musicians. The track was produced by BUOY herself, Christopher Port (who similarly has a little something new coming, though you didn’t hear it from me) and Jack Grace who is, in the opinion of this humble wizard, one of the most talented producers working in this country at the moment. And if the name Jack Grace is familiar its because I’ve championed his guts out any chance I’ve had and because he is a level 32 cogni-mage with the ability to permeate your dreams. The track is more energetic than anything we’ve heard from BUOY prior, eschewing the devotional weight of past singles to embed this thing with more fizz. She has this wonderful habit of alternating between puncturing bursts of intense vocal and gentler sung sections so as to give the song a richly fluctuating dynamic. I like this one, yessir I do.
You may also remember BUOY from this Spirit Faces song she featured on and Jack Grace from that remix swap he did with fellow Sydney beat monster Anatole so there’s some real TEEF family love to be allocated in this post <3
The Goon Sax. Scouring the internet in the manner of the modern beat journalist, a few facts are made clear: this is a three piece band, they have advanced and great taste in music, they are impressively young, they contain one member each of three different families the Jones, the Forsters and the Harrisons. This last point is both splendidly important and crucial to ignore. It’s important because the middle of those names, Forster, is taken from Louis Forster’s father Robert Forster, who was one half of one of the most important guitar wielding bands Australia has ever produced- the criminally underrated, under heard and under appreciated band The Go Betweens (all kidding aside, if you aren’t intimate with them, please become so, starting with Spring Hill Fair). The thing is, it’s also NOT IMPORTANT because I know for a fact that Louis Forster is his own man, and so it doesn’t really matter who is dad is except that he probably has a really cool record collection, and has met more cool people than either you or I are ever likely too.
The Goon Sax have that lackadaisical charm that’s become a feature of early dolewave and its subsequent spin offs. The guitars wander around, melodies meander, they even have a track about the process of getting up in the morning and not doing much except being a clutz and pining after somebody (‘Anyone Else’). This is all well and and it is good, but it is not the Goon Sax at their strongest moments – these come with a little more focus. A track like Sometimes Accidentally, the first single off the record, is a good example of this. Self deprecating and approachable, there’s a delicacy that weaves it all together, the repetitive guitar riff, the moment of group vocal swell, this is a slight transcendence. It’s this peppering of little moments throughout the record that sets The Goon Sax apart, songwriting criss crossed with intelligence, and maybe something that will develop into real brilliance. They’re already one great record ahead than the most of their peers.
Call it a premiere if you want but I’d rather just call this a case of a fella just happening to be first to post about a ripping great song and now my good fortune is yours. You get the privilege of listening to this before the rest of the commoners over at Big Jack’s Music Blog Emporium whose scattershot approach to music curation besmirches our fair internet daily. Together we make a beeline to this one particular song from Reunited’s debut Teardrum EP called ‘Devices’ which caught my ears by virtue of those super warm console tones. They remind me of a particular song from the Final Fantasy X OST (Besaid Island I think?) and a minimalist take on Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. ‘Devices’ stands out amongst the EP’s four tracks in that the vocals are treated a little differently. They have less of the drone that guides the other three songs into a trance over their minimum five minute durations and it lends itself to a more exuberant listen, particularly as the songs break down into those gorgeous post-chorus instrumental sections (see again Final Fantasy X).
Reunited is the performative moniker of Melbourne’s Patrick McCabe who cut his teeth across a miscellany of Brisbane guitar bands through the late 90s and early 2000s. He’s taken a new tack with this project enlisting good friend and Sydneysider Chris Yates and between the two of them they’ve drawn out elements inspired by artists like New Order or Arthur Russell or even Blood Orange, artists who shattered the dichotomy of live and programmed. The EP is out through Sydney based Strong Look Records which is one of the flowers blooming over the grave of glorious former music blog Polaroids of Androids.
For a long time after the Middle East ceased to be an active band, I tracked the movements of its various members. Not too closely, nothing too geographical, just a general eye cast over their respective projects to see who was doing what. Rohin only ever managed a song or two but one of those songs was a work of extreme merit and potentially even the one of the best songs of 2012. Bree played a bunch of instruments in Matt Corby’s band and released an EP and it seems like there might be an album on the way. Mark didn’t take too long to release his own full LP under the moniker of The Starry Field and by now he’s almost overdue for new music again but his time is split between engineering other people’s records and running his own label. It’s Jordan we’re here to talk about though because Jordan seems to have been the most prolific of the team since they called it a day. He released a solo record under the name Stolen Violin that was undeniably lovely and now it seems he’s a member of this here band Soda Eaves. It’s probably not a new development but I TOLD you, I’m no longer 100% across the bands projects since they’ve managed to remove their GPS trackers from their flesh (which is to say it certainly isn’t a new development since they’ve already released an entire nother record in 2013). Murray Darling is the record they released last week (thankfully available on wax too even!) and it’s only in listening to this that I remember how incumbent Jordan’s voice is in my memory, its roots having grown through my conscious into that thicker soil of the nostalgic subconscious. He’s always had a way of writing lyrics that were bodily and earthy, natural and coarse, speaking in language and sounds that felt more small town than tertiary which perfectly compliments the instrumentation on Murray Darling.
I wonder however if this is the product of his pen as my minor research has suggested that the project is primarily the work of Hot Palms guitarist Jake Core which is now making me question if that’s even Jordan’s voice and now I’m crying and confused and it’s 8:24pm on a Sunday night and I don’t know what to do. Anyway though, there’re stray violin parts and piano sections but it’s largely the acoustic and electric guitars that entangle Jordan’s (maybe) voice. I guess I’m a little bit sorry to Soda Eaves that I’ve framed this within the narrative of the Middle East because this record is a work that shouldn’t be in the shadow of another now defunct band but it’s the framework of my experience and they really were one of my great musical loves. So go into this knowing that there’s a vapour of that original Middle East threading through this record but take it as a new thing, the product of mostly new people and something to make its own memories and emotional connections. Listen to it while driving somewhere special or next to someone significant and embed it with your own context that marks it as a new beast because it’s both new and beautiful.