Tag: Melbourne Australia

New Video: The Mischievous and Illustrated Visuals for JOVM Mainstays’ Xylouris White’s “Only Love”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about the genre-defying, world music duo Xylouris White, comprised of Melbourne, Australia-born, New York-based drummer Jim White, who’s best known as a member of the internationally acclaimed instrumental rock act Dirty Three and for collaborating with a number of equally renowned artists including PJ Harvey, Nina Nastasia, Cat Power, Bill Callahan a.k.a. Smog and others; and beloved Crete-born vocalist and laouto player Giorgos Xylouris, the son of renowned vocalist and lyra player Psarantonis Xylouris, and who is best known best known for leading the Xylouris Ensemble.
Now, as you may recall the duo can actually trace their origins to when the renowned Cretan and his ensemble was touring Melbourne in the early 1990s. And as the story goes, White was a member of locally-based avant-garde rock band Venom P. Stinger, when he had met and befriended Xylouris, who would later collaborate with White’s then future band, Dirty Three whenever Xylouris and his Ensemble were touring Australia. Unsurprisingly the collaboration between the members of the Xylouris Ensemble and Dirty Three became a rather fruitful collaboration based on a healthy, mutual admiration, as well as the influence of Xylouris’ father Psaratonis and Xylouris’ work and sound had on Dirty Three’s own sound and compositional approach. 

Strangely enough, although White and Xylouris had been friends and collaborators for more than 20 years, it wasn’t until 2013 that they decided that they should directly collaborate together, a process that was accelerated when the duo played together at a Nick Cave curated  All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. The duo’s long-held admiration and friendship constantly influences how they write, record and perform together — with their compositions frequently sounding as though they were dancing, as though at any given point, one instrument leading with the other one following and quickly shifting in a wildly fluid fashion. Goats, Xylouris White’s debut was  largely inspired by their creative approach, an approach that Xylouris poetically described as being “Like goats walking in the mountain. They may not know the place, but they can walk easily and take risks and feel comfortable. Really, the goats inspired us.”

Black Peak, Xylouris White’s sophomore album furthers the goat analogy, with the album’s title being derived from one of Crete’s most famous mountains; however, the album, which was “recorded everywhere,” as Xylouris jokes in press notes and produced by Fugazi‘s Guy Picciotto, found the duo expanding upon their sound as the material possesses a subtly modern take on traditional sounds and motifs — at points sounding as though it drew from classic rock, as you’d hear on album singles “Black Peak,” and “Forging.”

Mother, the duo’s third, full-length effort together is slated for release through Bella Union Records next week, and as Giorgos Xylouris explains in press notes, the album was named to denote “new life.” “Mother is the extension of Goats and Black Peak,” Xylouris adds. “Three things, all part of a whole. Goats are mothers, Zeus was raised on Amaltheia’s milk, Black Peak is Mother Earth . . . Mother Earth is the mother of everything.” Reportedly, the duo will further cement their reputation for having a fluid and mischievous chemistry in which they intuitively known exactly when to listen, when to accommodate, when to lead and get out of the way, and to find something completely new together. “A theme of the album is the significance of simplicity and a child-like approach,” Xylouris explains. “So, we connect mother and child and play instruments as toys. Xylouris White is still gestating.”

Mother’s first single “Only Love” is a rollicking and furiously passionate song featuring a roomy yet simultaneously dense arrangement consisting White’s propulsive rock ‘n’ roll-like drumming paired with Xylouris’ dexterous, power chord, heavy metal-like lout playing, accompanied by Xylouris’ sonorous and plaintive baritone. And in some way, the song evokes a swooning urgency of the pangs of first love, while revealing the duo’s mischievous and improvisational-like compositional approach. 

Directed by  Lucy Dyson, the recently released video for “Only Love” is a animated video featuring cartoon collages of Xylouris and White running to meet each other, riding enormous goats and chasing after anthropomorphic version of their instruments, that also ride goats. At various points, they’re all chased by skulls. It’s colorful, wild and downright mischievous. 

New Audio: Aussie Sibling Quartet Stonefield End 2017 with a Prog Rock-like New Single

Over the past few months, I’ve written about the Darraweit Guim, Australia-based sibling psych rock quartet Stonefield, comprised of Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass). And as you may recall, the siblings began playing together when they were all at a rather young age — with the youngest being seven and the oldest being 15. The band’s eldest member Amy recorded their first song “Foreign Lover” for a school project, and then reportedly she entered the song into Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought; however, much to her and her sisters’ surprise, Stonefield wound up winning the contest. Within an incredibly short period of time, the Findlay sisters had two singles receiving regular airplay on Australian radio and an invitation to play at the Glastonbury Festival.

Since then, the members of the sibling quartet have released two EPs, their self-titled full-length debut and their sophomore effort As Above So Below, which was released earlier this year through Rebel Union Recordings/Mushroom Records. And adding to a growing profile, the Aussie, sibling quartet have opened for a variety of internationally renowned touring acts including Fleetwood Mac, Meat Puppets and a Stateside tour with countrymen and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard earlier this year. Interestingly, the Findlay sisters end 2017 by signing to Flightless Records, the label home of the aforementioned King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and The Babe Rainbow, and to celebrate that announcement, the band’s first release on their new label is “Delusion,” the follow-up to their sophomore effort. 
“Delusion” finds the Findlay sisters moving away from the heavy psych rock and psych pop of their earlier releases towards a dirge-like, 70s prog rock and metal sound as the song finds features some down-tuned power chords, dramatic, twisting and turning synths, tubular bells, some sinister mellotron and an enormous, arena rock-friendly hook within a sprawling and hypnotic song structure that features changes in key and mood. As the band explains in press notes, the song is inspired by the “overwhelming feeling of knowing you are a speck in the universe, getting lost in your mind.” 

Rohan Newman is a a Melbourne, Australia-based producer and electronic music artist, best known in electronic music circles as Roland Tings, and back in 2012, as a relative newcomer, the Australian producer and electronic music artist caught the attention of renowned electronic dance music label, 100% Silk Records, who released his debut EP.  And unsurprisingly, thanks to the cosign from the renowned Southern California-based label and the international attention he received, Newman quickly became one of Melbourne’s go-to producers and DJs, performing at some of the city’s most raucous house parties and basement jams. With an even larger profile, Newman quickly signed to renowned Norwegian electronic music label Internasjonal, founded by alt-disco, electronic music star Prins Thomas, and the label released Newman’s 2015 full-length debut, an album that Triple J named their Feature Album of the year.

Newman’s sophomore Roland Tings effort, Each Moment a Diamond was released earlier this year, and the material revealed a subtle yet decided change in his songwriting approach: Newman rented a studio located in Melbourne’s industrial backstreets and treated the entire songwriting and production process, much like a 9-5 job in which he deliberately developed a routine around a repetitive and dependable schedule — every morning, Newman ate the same breakfast, rode his bike along the same route to the studio, spent hours writing and revising and when finished, he’d hang out with the same group of friends at the same places. Being at the studio all day every day was psychologically demanding. For each good idea I had, there were maybe 30 bad ones, which is hard to face when you look back on months of work and realize the majority of the material will never make the record. Eventually though I was able to see each ‘failure’ as a crucial contribution to overall whole,” Newman reflected in press notes.  “The routine also allowed me to grasp good ideas when they surfaced -– when something was different, when something sounded great, I quickly noticed and was able to follow each thread. Another valuable realization from this process was knowing when to stop, when to let go of an idea, power down the studio, get on my bike and head home.”

Now if you were following this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about two of Each Moment a Diamond’s singles — the Zonoscope-era Cut Copy inspired house music track “Higher Ground” and the Larry Levan-era house meets Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves-like track “Garden Piano.”  Interestingly, Newman has managed to make 2017 an extraordinarily busy year, as he just released follow up single “Eyes Close,” a song  inspired by his recent relocation from Melbourne to New South Wales’ Central Coast, and the song which features layers of shimmering arpeggiated synths,thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and twinkling, cosmic ray-like electronics will further cement his reputation for crafting sleek, assertive yet chilly house music; however, unlike his previously released material, this particular single manages to swoon with a sense of exhilaration and freedom, as though a weight as been slowly lifted — or of closing your eyes on a sunny day, craning your head towards the sun to feel its warmth on you, and then opening your eyes to bursts of light.

As Newman explains in press notes, “I wanted to make a song that would capture what I could only describe as cold euphoria. The exhilaration of being feeling untethered after a long time in the same routine. The intoxicating smell of eucalyptus after a long time in the city.” He continues,  “I wanted to make something that captured the beauty of that coastal landscape in winter. The way the trees on the windward side of the headland grow with twisted branches, braced against the southerly storms. I wanted to make something that sounded like total release, coming out of a dark place into somewhere filled with light.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release Trippy Retro-futuristic VHS-like Visuals for One of Their Most Expansive and Unusual Singles to Date

Throughout the past 12-15 months or so, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock sextet King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard have quickly become JOVM mainstays over that same period, and as you may recall the Melbourne-based sextet, comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums) have firmly cemented their long-held reputation for being incredibly prolific; in fact, the members of the Australian psych rock sextet have released four full-length albums this year, including their recently released album Pollygodwanaland, an effort that the band has encouraged everyone to download that includes instructions on how to convert and format the files to CD or vinyl.

Of course throughout their time together, the band has revealed a restlessly experimental tendency throughout their work, and while their earliest albums found the band blending elements of 60s surf rock, beach rock garage rock and psych rock with their later albums featured the band blending elements of film scores, prog rock, folk and soul with their two previously released albums — Flying Microtonal Banana and Murder of the Universe pushing their thematic concerns and sound in new, and darkly trippy directions.

“Crumbling Castle,” Pollygodwanaland’s first single will further cement the Australian psych rock outfit’s long-held reputation for expansive and unusual song structures; in fact, repeated listens reveal some of the most nuanced guitar playing I’ve heard in some time paired with a sinuous bass line, some ominous and menacing layers of arpeggiated synths, ethereal flute, complex polyrhythms — and while nodding at Thee Oh Sees, Rush and others, the track may arguably be one of their most expansive and experimental, as the song consists of several different time signatures and disparate sections twisting and turning over each other, in a hallucinogenic fashion. 

The recently released video continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Jason Galea, who has created trippy, retro-futuristic, VHS-like visuals that seem to undulate with the music. 

Comprised of four long-time friends James Donald, Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell and
Tom Shanahan, the Melbourne, Australia-based quartet Mildlife, largely inspired by the likes of Can and Herbie Hancock, bonded over the desire to push musical boundaries as far as possible. And interestingly enough the quartet developed a reputation locally for completely live improvised live sets based around am incredibly unique retro-futuristic sound that draws from, prog rock free jazz, jazz fusion, 70s and 80s synth funk, house music, dream pop and krautrock, while also nodding at contemporaries like Floating Points, Caribou, Drakkar Nowhere and others.

Although the members of the band will openly say that they’re not they’re not a studio band, they did spend 2014-2015 off from live shows so they could figure out how to accurately replicate their live sound within the studio — without losing its complexity and nuance. “It makes the performance, the composition, more malleable,” says guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Adam Halliwell. Bassist Tom Shanahan adds “It feels more authentic. The energy can be in the song rather than sitting on top of it. We wanted to leave a lot of room for improvisation.”

The Melbourne-based quartet’s full-length debut Phase is slated for release sometime early next year through Research Records and the album’s first official single “The Magnificent Moon” is rooted around a expansive and kaleidoscopic composition featuring layers of tight, arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line and a propulsive backbeat that’s roomy enough for some funky jazz-like guitar soloing and a cosmic ray-like synth solo, a trippy bridge and razor sharp hooks — and while being decidedly retro-futuristic, the song reveals the members of the Melbourne-based quartet to be among some of their homeland’s most adept and finest musicians, as they manage to walk the difficult tightrope between a deliberately crafted composition and free-flowing improvisation in a way that’s intriguing.

 

 

 

New Video: Miami Horrors’ Joshua Moriarty Releases Surreal and Dream-like Visuals for “R.T.F.L.”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the years, you’ve come across a few posts featuring the Melbourne, Australia-based, internationally renowned, indie electro pop act Miami Horror, and as you may recall, the act, which initially formed as a quartet comprised of founding member Benjamin Plant (production), along with Joshua Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Aaron Shanahan (guitar, vocals and production) and Daniel Whitchurch (bass, keys, guitar) released two critically praised albums — their 2010 full-length debut Illumination, which was praised for a sound that drew from Cut Copy, New Order, Prince, Michael Jackson, E.L.O., and their 2013 sophomore effort All Possible Futures, a breezy and summery club banger, inspired by the time the quartet spent in Southern California.

After touring to support All Possible Futures, the band went on an informal hiatus with the band’s Benjamin Plant becoming an in-demand songwriting, co-writing tracks for Client Liaison and Roland Tings, among others. And somehow, the exceptionally busy Plant managed to also find time to write new Miami Horror material — material that would eventually comprise their conceptional EP, The Shapes, an effort that found the newly constituted trio’s sound drawing from Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, Caribbean funk and African percussion while retaining elements of the sound that won them international attention, as you’d hear on the hook-heavy single “Lelia.”

Interestingly, although he’s best known as the vocal behind Miami Horror, Joshua Moriarty has stepped out from behind the band with the release of his solo debut album, War Is Over and while the album’s second single “All I Want Is You” leans much more towards the his work with Miami Horror with nods to Giorgio Moroder-era disco and Tame Impala-like psych pop, the album’s first single “R.T.F.L.” is a decided change in sonic direction with the song leaning towards contemporary electro pop and electro soul — and while there is a plaintive and carnal sensuality within the song that feels expected, the song also manages to possess a thoughtful earnest, based on actual, lived-in, personal experience.

Directed by Thomas Russell and filmed by David McKinner, and starring Joshua Moriarty and Morgan Rayner, the recently released video is  a surreal and feverish dream that undulates with a carnal vulnerability and need. 

 

If you had followed this site throughout the course of 2016, you would have come across a small handful of posts featuring the genre-defying, world music duo Xylouris White, comprised of Melbourne, Australia-born, New York-based drummer Jim White, who’s best known as a member of the internationally acclaimed instrumental rock act Dirty Three and for collaborating with a number of equally renowned artists including PJ HarveyNina NastasiaCat PowerBill Callahan a.k.a. Smog and others; and beloved Crete-born vocalist and laouto player Giorgos Xylouris, the son of renowned vocalist and lyra player Psarantonis Xylouris, and who is best known best known for leading the Xylouris Ensemble.

Interestingly, the duo can actually trace their origins to when the renowned Cretan and his ensemble was touring Melbourne in the early 1990s. As the story goes, White was a member of locally-based avant rock band Venom P. Stinger, when he had met and befriended Xylouris, who would later collaborate with The Dirty Three whenever he was touring Australia. And unsurprisingly, the collaboration with Xylouris and The Dirty Three was a rather fruitful collaboration based on a healthy mutual admiration and the influence that both Psaratonis Xylouris and his father Giorgos had on the Melbourne-based trio’s sound and compositional approach.

Straggly enough, although White and Xylouris had been friends and collaborators for more than 20 years, it wasn’t until 2013 that they decided that they should directly collaborate together, a process that was accelerated when the duo played together at a Nick Cave curated  All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. And unsurprisingly, the duo’s long-held admiration and friendship have found a way to influence who they write, record and perform together — with their compositions frequently sounding as though they were dancing, as though at any given point, one instrument leading with the other one following and quickly shifting in a wildly fluid fashion. Goats, Xylouris White’s debut was  largely inspired by their creative approach, an approach that Xylouris poetically described as being “Like goats walking in the mountain. They may not know the place, but they can walk easily and take risks and feel comfortable. Really, the goats inspired us.”

Black Peak, Xylouris White’s sophomore album furthers the goat analogy, with the album’s title being derived from one of Crete’s most famous; however, the album, which was “recorded everywhere,” as Xylouris jokes in press notes and produced by Fugazi‘s Guy Picciotto, found the duo expanding upon their sound as the material possesses a subtly modern take on traditional sounds and motifs — at points sounding as though it drew from classic rock, as you’d hear on album singles “Black Peak,” and “Forging.

Mother, the duo’s third, full-length effort together is slated for a January 19, 2017 release through Bella Union Records, and as Psaratonis Xylouris explains in press notes, the album was named to denote “new life.” “Mother is the extension of Goats and Black Peak,” Xylouris adds in press notes. “Three things, all part of a whole. Goats are mothers, Zeus was raised on Amaltheia’s milk, Black Peak is Mother Earth . . . Mother Earth is the mother of everything.” Reportedly, the duo will further cement the duo’s reputation for having a fluid and mischievous chemistry in which they intuitively known exactly when to listen, when to accommodate, when to lead and get out of the way, and to find something completely new together. “A theme of the album is the significance of simplicity and a child-like approach,” Xylouris explains. “So, we connect mother and child and play instruments as toys. Xylouris White is still gestating.”

The album’s first single “Only Love” is a rollicking yet passionate stomp of a song featuring White’s propulsive drumming, which gives a lot of room for Xylouris’ incredibly dexterous, heavy metal-like louto and an infectious hook, accompanied by Xylouris’ sonorous baritone, singing lyrics in Greek — and while possessing a swooning and urgent passion, the song reveals the duo’s mischievous, free-flowing improvisational-like nature.

New Video: Teeth & Tongue’s Jess Cornelius Releases Haunting Visuals for “Jealousy” Off Her Forthcoming Solo Debut

Over the past year, I had written a bit about the critically acclaimed, Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock/indie pop act Teeth & Tongue. Comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jess Cornelius, guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey, the quartet initially began as a solo recording project of its founding member Jess Cornelius, and over the course of the four albums, the band developed a reputation for restless experimentation with their sound morphing from an ambient and textured sound to a wiry, dance floor-friendly post-punk inspired by Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz!, as you would hear on Give Up on Your Health, an album that received attention both nationally and internationally — it was nominated for a J Award and the Australian Music Prize, named Album of the Week on 3RRR and Featured Album on Double J, as well as features in Rolling Stone, The Fader and Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.

Adding to a growing profile, Cornelius has played at some of the her adopted homeland’s and the world’s major music festivals including Laneway Festival, Meredith Music Festival, Falls Festival, Boogie Woogie Festival, SXSW, CMJ, Perth International Arts Festival and Darwin Festival, toured with acclaimed singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett and Vance Joy, opened for J. Mascis, Sons & Daughters, EMA, Juana Molina, The Dodos, The Mountain Goats, The Drones and Laura Marling, as well performed as a musical guest on several episodes of SBS‘ Rockwiz.
 
After several years as a frontperson, Cornelius decided it was time to focus on creating music under her own name, and as a result, Cornelius relocated to Los Angeles to write, and record new material, which included “Jealousy,” the first single off her forthcoming debut EP Nothing Is Lost. And from the single, the New Zealand-born singer/songwriter’s solo work is a marked departure from her work with Teeth & Tongue, as  the material is stripped down to a sparse arrangement of Cornelius’ dynamic, PJ Harvey-like vocals, accompanied by her strummed guitar, dramatic drumming and backing vocals. With a strip down approach of songwriter, vocals, guitar and drums, the listener must not only pay attention to the songwriter’s vocals but to the lyrics as well — and in this case, “Jealousy,” a song based on one of the most hideous yet common human emotions may arguably be some of the more direct, empathetic writing of her career.  You can practically feel the bile and resentment of the song’s narrator, who focuses on what she lacks and what others have; however, the song should serve both as a reminder and warning — after all, you don’t know what someone else had to sacrifice to be in the situation they’re in now, and if you did, you might not have done so.
 
 
Directed by Thomas Hyland at Clones and Clones, the recently released video for “Jealousy” employs a relatively simple yet haunting concept: we follow Cornelius as rides a bike through a suburban development at night. And in some way, the treatment emphasizes the bitter loneliness and spite of its narrator, whose jealousy and resentments seem to fuel her through something that’s both endless and pointless.
 

New Audio: Australia’s The Cactus Channel Returns with a Brooding and Psychedelic New Single

With the release of their first two albums, 2012’s Haptics and 2013’s Wooden Boy, along with four 45s and backing sessions for Mojo Juju and WILSN, the Melbourne, Australia-based funk/soul collective The Cactus Channel have become one of Australia’s best funk and soul acts; however, the band’s third full-length effort Stay A While, the band has gone through a decided change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, partially influenced (and represented) by collaborations with acclaimed Melbourne-born, Brooklyn-based producer and singer/songwriter Nick Murphy, (formerly known as Chet Faker) and with Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromark. And as you’ll hear on Stay A While’s latest single “Leech,” the band’s Lewis Coleman take up vocal duties and while sonically the band retains some elements of the soul sound that has won them attention nationally and internationally, their sound has begun to lean more towards psychedelia to give their sound a hazy, dream-like vibe. 

Interestingly enough, the Australian funk outfit’s latest single lyrically and thematically evoke the internal and emotional wrestling one faces with the linger feelings and resentments in the aftermath of a breakup. As Lewis explains, “Leech” is about “those feelings that don’t go away, and pop up at unexpected times. When something shifts inside, but even your best friends wouldn’t know; your mood is instantly altered, even if you can walk back into the room and nobody notices it externally.” As a result, the song bristles with a bitter uncertainty — the sort that comes from the realization that one never gets over anything; that life generally pushes you forward and against your will. 

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based indie rock duo and JOVM mainstays  Surf Rock Is Dead. And as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Chicago-born, New York based Kevin Pariso and Melbourne, Australia-born, New York-based Joel Wittenberg quickly won attention across the blogosphere for crafting shimmering and anthemic guitar pop with enormous and rousing hooks and a wistful vibe, and for a sound that at times, to my ears at least, channels The Smiths and several other New Wave acts.

The duo’s soon-to be released EP We Have No Friends? is slated for an October 6, 2017 release with a limited edition vinyl run, and interestingly enough, the album’s title is a bit of a running joke between Wittenburg and Pariso and a bitter half-truth. As Surf Rock Is Dead’s Pariso explains “when we formed the project, we would spend late weekend nights jamming and writing music, instead of spending it out with friends. Putting time into a creative project definitely can hamper your social life, but the idea is that the fruit it bears will be worth the sacrifices. ”

As If,” the EP’s second single, which I wrote about earlier this summer further cemented the duo’s reputation for crafting shimmering guitar pop but with some rather ambitious songwriting — while being decidedly hook-laden, the song found the band at what may arguably be their most anthemic. “White Salsa,” We Have No Friends?‘s latest single continues along a similar anthemic vein as its predecessor as the duo pair layers of shimmering guitar chords with propulsive drumming and an infectious hook; but underneath the pristine beauty of the instrumentation, the song bristles with a bitterness of a relationship in which the song’s narrator recognizes a confusing push and pull, and is resolved to walk away.