Tag: Melbourne Australia

New Audio: Rising Aussie Electro Pop Trio Haiku Hands Release a Thumping, Old School Hip Hop Inspired Banger

Splitting their time between Melbourne and Sydney. the Aussie indie electro pop act Haiku Hands, which features a core trio of Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mie Nakazawa have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that draws from hip-hop, electro pop, dance music and house music. Interestingly, the trio is part of a larger collective that engages with and explores social norms with their lyrical, musical and visual content. 

Now, as you may recall last year was a breakthrough year for the Aussie electro pop trio: their high energy club bangers “Squat,” “Jupiter,” and “Not About You” amassed over 3.5 million streams — and as a result, each single landed spots on iTunes charts across the globe. Adding to an enormous year, “Jupiter” was included on Matt Wilkinson‘s Best Songs of 2018 So Far list, and received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Radio X. Continuing on  the momentum, the members of Haiku Hands went on a month-long North American tour with CHAI that featured stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, an opening date for Cupcake in Chicago, and appearances at a handful of SXSW showcases. 

The Aussie indie electro pop trio’s highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release next year through Mad Decent and Spinning Top in Australia and New Zealand. In the meantime, the trio’s latest single, the Mad Zach-produced “Onset” is a brash and infectious banger centered around a glitchy and thumping 808-based, old school hip-hop production reminiscent of Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force’s “Renegades of Funk” and Missy Elliott paired with the trio delivering equally brash and dexterously flows that nod at Khia’s “My Neck, My Back (Lick It),” schoolyard rhymes and chants. As a child of the 80s, this song brings boom boxes, shell toe Adidas and B Boys breaking — but with a modern touch. 

New Video: Rising Aussie Pop Star Elizabeth Returns with a Languorous Sofia Coppola-like Visual for “meander”

Starting off her musical career as the frontperson and primary songwriter of acclaimed Melbourne, Australia-based pop act Totally Mild, an act that recorded two albums before breaking up, the up-and-coming Aussie pop artist Elizabeth has stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist. Interestingly, as a solo artist Elizabeth has been able to reimagine and reinvent who she is an artist — essentially turning herself into the patron saint of anguish, heartbreak and woe. Naturally, that period of reinvention has led her to develop a unique sound, completely apart from her previously released work.  

Elizabeth’s highly-anticipated, solo debut, The Wonderful World of Nature is slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Our Golden Friend. And as you may recall, last month, I wrote about album single “beautiful baby,” which was centered around a Wall of Sound-inspired production featuring shimmering and twinkling keys, gently padded drumming, strummed guitar and the Aussie pop artist’s achingly mournful vocals reminiscing about a recently lost love — and the lonely and uncertain attempt to move forward. Interestingly, The Wonderful World of Nature’s latest single “meander” is a shimmering and anthemic pop ballad reminiscent of Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” but imbued with lingering and confusing emotions — namely, desire, lust, shame, guilt and uncertainty.  

Directed by Julia Suddenly, the recently released video is a languorous and slow-burning visual that stars Elizabeth and a handful of women as pretty and achingly sad sisters in frilly 70s-inspired outfits and a Brady Bunch-like home, perpetually grounded by their strict parents. “This song is honestly about a distraction fling, taking a lover outside of your primary relationship and hoping it will solve all of your problems,” Elizbeth says of the song and the video. “The last lyrics of the song (‘a band of gold what a thing to hold me back/a band of ash what a thing to crash this party’) were written in a tiny piano room in the middle of Sydney CBD, sobbed out through gallons of frustration tears.

“I am so happy to have my beautiful band in the video with me. We play the saddest and the prettiest sisters, trapped in a 70s Coppola-esque dream house by our strict parents. We eat jelly, we tend to our bonsai, we find joy only in music, bonnets and each other.”

Initially formed as an ambitious octet that played at the London Jazz Festival and other venues across London featuring founding member and creative mastermind Leo Appleyard (guitar, music), Agne Motie (vocals, lyrics), Duncan Eagles (soprano sax), Piers Green (alto sax), Hoagy Plastow (tenor sax), Paul Jordanous (keys) Holley Grey (bass) and Chris Nickolls (drums), the London-based act Urchin has evolved to become the solo recording project of its founding member and creative mastermind. 
Last year, Appleyard took a break from his life as a gigging musician and relocated to Melbourne, Australia, where he took in the city’s renowned music scene — in particular house, disco and modern jazz from the Fitzroy and Brunswick districts. Unsurprisingly, his most recent EP, Take Time, which was released earlier this year is a reflection of the time he spent in Melbourne, soaking up a new scene while drawing from the likes of acclaimed British acts like Bonobo, Maribou State and The Cinematic Orchestra. The EP’s latest single “Night Light” is a breezy and up-tempo dance floor friendly track centered around strutting Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a soaring and infectious hook, thumping beats and atmospheric electronics. Sonically, the song bears a resemblance to When the Night-era St. Lucia, as it’s indebted to 80s synth pop — but with a clean, modern sheen.



Melbourne, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Harmony Byrne grew up in a Mormon family, the third of seven children. Early on, she was instilled with a love for church hymns and rock ‘n’ roll, both of which would heavily inform her own life and later, her own music. After enrolling into Melbourne’s Waldorf School of the Arts, Byrne devoted her time to learning guitar and piano, eventually developing her own original material.

Slated for a Spring 2020 release, the Melbourne-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s Jim Eno-produced, 10 song full length debut Heavy Doors reportedly features material that evokes the work of Jeff Buckley, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin. Although to my ears, the album’s latest single, the incredibly cathartic  “Come Down vs. Calm Down” manages to bring John Lee Hooker, The Black Keys, PJ Harvey and Heartless BastardsErika Wennerstrom to mind, as the track is centered around a looping and shimmering 12 bars blues guitar line, simple yet forceful percussion and Harmony’s expressive and searing wailing, which effortlessly evokes heartache and triumph within the turn of a phrase. It’s a song that comes from lived-in experience, so the hurt and the catharsis at its core are familiar and real.

“In essence it’s a song about mental health,” Harmony says of the track. “It started as a cathartic vocal improvisation, allowing whatever came to mind to be sung. Through this process, words that kept reoccurring later became lyric. I feel there is darkness hidden in our minds that often engulfs us, which although hard to talk about, is important to express. 

“I wanted to convey this in the song and for it to feel like a victorious roar of will, showing that through really digging in and knowing who we are and how we deserve to be treated, that we can overcome our monkey minds. It may seem like it’s an angry break up song, but really it’s about the different voices in our heads that we battle with every day.”

Initially formed in 2007, as the solo recording project of Melbourne, Australia-based DJ and producer Benjamin Plant, Miami Horror eventually expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Daniel Whitechurch (bass, keys, guitar) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) and with their earliest releases — 2008’s Bravado EP  2010’s full-length debut Illumination and 2015’s sophomore effort All Possible Futures —  the Aussie act established their own sound, which drew from Prince, New Order, Todd Rundgren and Pink Floyd, as well as from house music and electro pop. Interestingly, the act’s most recent effort, 2017’s The Shapes EP was a decided change in sonic direction for the act with the material largely indebted to 80s neon-colored pop and New Wave.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Restless,” the first single from the acclaimed Aussie indie electro pop act in over two years, a single that found the project returning to its collaborative and production-based roots, as the act’s new incarnation. “The Shapes was always meant to be a one-off conceptual project, so once that was complete I began moving back towards the original creative process that Miami Horror started with; a simpler approach to production and a continued emphasize on outside vocalists.” Plant says. “For me, music has always been about completing a vision and trying to make something stand out. Allowing outside collaboration really opens me up to complete that vision without being restricted to my own skill set.”

Now, as you may recall “Restless” was a breezy and summery track centered around shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, tons of hi-hat and a plaintive and sultry vocal contribution Kevin Lavitt. And while retaining the slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production that has won Plant international acclaim, the song seems indebted to 80s Quiet Storm R&B — in particular Cherelle‘s “Saturday Love,” and Mtume‘s “Juicy Love” immediately come to my mind, as the song possessed a similar sophisticated sexiness to it. “Luv Is Not Enough” the acclaimed Aussie act’s second single of this year is centered around shimmering guitars, a funky, two-step inducing groove and Clear Morifee’s alluring vocals, presenting a romantic vision of empowerment and self confidence. While being in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, Plant cites artists like The Internet, Kaytranada, Anderson .Paak and Calvin Harris‘ 2017 single “Slide,” which he says caused a big shift in perspective.

“We hadn’t really been into much new music. Everything was feeling dull and minimal,” Plant says of the writing of “Luv Is Not Enough.” “Then when I heard ‘Slide,’ it was a seemingly revelatory moment. It was refreshing to hear a song that was based around the simplicity of a good bass line and chords. It made me realize that maybe we’d been overthinking things, as those had always been two of our favorite and highest prioritized elements when we started out.”

Along with the single comes the announcement that the project will be releasing their highly-anticipated, third full-length album next year — and that Miami Horror will be embarking on a 17 date North American tour with an all-star lineup, a sextet that will include vocalists Reva Devito and TC Milan and Melbourne’s Queen Magic on guitar. The tour will include a November 27, 2019 stop at Webster Hall. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
Oct 31: Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club
Nov 1: Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
Nov 2: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Nov 6: San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
Nov 8: Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
Nov 9: Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
Nov 13: San Diego, CA @ Music Box
Nov 14: Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
Nov 16: Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital Festival
Nov 20: Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
Nov 22: Chicago, IL @ Park West
Nov 23: Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
Nov 24: Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
Nov 26: Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Nov 27: New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Nov 29: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Nov 30: Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry

New Video: Melbourne, Australia-based Pop Artist Elizabeth Releases a “Twin Peaks” Inspired Visual for “beautiful baby”

Starting off her musical career as the frontperson and primary songwriter of acclaimed Melbourne, Australia-based pop act Totally Mild, an act that recorded two albums before breaking up, the up-and-coming Aussie pop artist Elizabeth has stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist. As a solo artist, the emerging Melbourne-based singer/songwriter has been able to reimagine and reinvent who she is an artist — turning into the patron saint of heartbreak and woe. And naturally that has led to her developing a sound apart from her previously released work. 

Elizabeth’s solo debut, The Wonderful World of Nature is slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Our Golden Friend in her native Australia, and the album’s latest single, the atmospheric and slow-burning “beautiful baby” is centered around a Wall of Sound-inspired production featuring shimmering and twinkling keys, gently padded drumming, strummed guitar and Elizabeth’s achingly mournful vocals reminiscing about a love that’s now lost — and the lonely attempt to move forward. “’Beautiful baby’ is about leaving the chaos of a relationship behind,” Elizabeth explained to Flood Magazine. “It’s about trying to understand how a love that was so beautiful could be a thing that ends. We took a lot of inspiration from the music of Twin Peaks, hoping to re-imagine the magical spell of Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise.”

Directed by Triana Hernandez, the recently released video for “beautiful baby” is split between footage of Elizabeth in a red dress, performing the song in a smoky and lonely lounge club — similar to the great concert film, Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night — and flashbacks of Elizabeth’s sweetest moments with her now gone lover.

“The ‘beautiful baby’ music video is an exploration of Elizabeth’s power and allure,” Triana Hernandez told the folks at Flood. “It’s a break up song that works like a spell and speaks of pain as much as it speaks of moving on. The song is emotionally intense, so for this clip we worked with two of the most visually dramatic inspirations out there: Lana Del Rey and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series.”

New Video: RVG Releases Feverish and Surreal Visual for Anthemic “Alexandria”

In 2004, the Adelaide, Australia-born singer/songwriter Romy Vager left her hometown, a teenaged goth kid runaway drawn to Melbourne, Australia. Upon arriving in Melbourne, Vager’s first band Sooky La La wrote material centered around anger and discordance. They were misunderstood, never found a following and they routinely cleared rooms. Eventually, the band broke up and Vager committed herself to write songs that people would actually like and want to listen to — doing what countless other aspiring songwriters hope to do: match alienation and loneliness to melody and introspection to enormous hooks and refrains. 

For a while, she was living at The Bank an erstwhile recording, rehearsal and performance space that took over an old bank building in Preston, Australia, a suburb about six miles from Melbourne. The Bank was a scene unto itself: bands like Jalala, Gregor and Hearing all played there, practiced there and lived there. Living in an enormous house surrounded by musicians, who were constantly working and refining their work was profoundly inspiring to Vager. 

In September 2015, Vager launched a tape of solo material that hadn’t actually been pressed and landed her first solo show at The Bank’s downstairs performance space. She recruited Drug Sweat’s and The Galaxy Folk’s Angus Bell, her Bank neighbor, Gregor’s and Hearing’s Reuben Bloxham and Rayon Moon’s Marc Nolte to be a one-off backing band. But as the story goes, once they played together, they all realized — without having to actually say it — that they were a band. Initially forming as Romy Vager Group, the band shortened it to RVG. 

The members of RVG recorded their full-length debut A Quality of Mercy live off the floor at Melbourne’s beloved and iconic rock ‘n’ roll pub, The Tote Hotel. Initially released to little fanfare — no press releases, no music videos, no press photos of the band or any other industry standard press push, their full-length debut, featured material heavily inspired by the likes of The Go-Betweens, The Soft Boys and The Smiths and centered by Vager’s passionate and achingly vulnerable vocals. Much to the band’s surprise, A Quality of Mercy won them attention and praise across their native Australia and elsewhere. The band signed to Fat Possum Records, who re-issued A Quality of Mercy, which helped them achieve a growing international profile. And building upon it, the band has toured across the world with the likes of Shame and Kurt Vile.

While much has changed in the professional and personal lives of Vager and her bandmates, the world has become an increasingly dire and fucked up place with hate, pessimism, greater inequality and economic insecurity as part of an old, new normal. Artists across the world are responding in a variety of ways. Interestingly, RVG’s latest single, the Victor Van Vugt-produced “Alexandria,” was part of handful of songs that Vager wrote as a response in the immediate aftermath of Brexit and Trump. And as a result, the song is ardent and urgent. Centered around subtle layers of jangling guitars, pummeling drums, a rousing and anthemic hook and Vager’s plaintive and earnest howl, the new song gives the band a subtle studio sheen without scrubbing the material’s grit and emotional center — Vager’s earnest, gravelly howl. “Alexandra is a song which came together quickly, but which felt like it uncompromisingly needed to be recorded,” Vager told The Fader. “The lyrics, [which] describe a story of personal oppression at the hands of one’s community, [are] an allegory for the broader oppression marginalized people are subjected to.”

Directed by Triana Hernandez, the recently released, brooding and cinematic visual follows the shellshocked members of RVG drive to a local hotel, drinking copious amounts of tea, brooding in various hotel rooms and urgently performing the song in the hotel. It’s a feverish and surreal dream.