Tag: Melbourne Australia

New Audio: Up-and-Coming Melbourne Pop Act Huntly Releases a Slick and Glossy Video for Club-Banging Single “Wiggle”

Comprised of Elspeth Scrine, Charlie Teitelbaum and Andrew McEwan, the Melbourne, Australia-based trio Huntly have received attention across their homeland and elsewhere for a minimalist take on electro pop. The trio’s latest single “Wiggle” may arguably be the most dance floor friendly track they’ve released to date as the track is centered around a wobbling bass line, a percussive Afropop-like groove, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a sinuous hook. Scrine’s sultry lead vocal celebrates  space and freedom, of knowing when its time for a relationship to end while Teitelbuam, acting as a second vocalist offers a murkier, moodier counterpoint to the proceedings. Interestingly enough, the song recalls classic house anthems — with a clean, hyper modern sheen. The trio is working on a full-length debut that’s reportedly slated to be released some time in 2019 and as Scrine says in press notes, “‘Wiggle is the poolside-banger track of the record.” As the story goes, Scrine took an early demo of the song to McEwan, who immediately said “let’s make a luxe banger you could drink an aperol spritz to.”

Scrine adds “Musically, it is a homage to all the incredible women making clean, evocative dance music right now like Yaeji, Tirzah and Smerz. Production-wise, this meant an exercise in absolute minimalism.”  – 

Directed by Gianna Mazzeo and shot by Amy Dellar, the recently released video is a slick, glossy and neon-colored fever dream that immediately brings fashion photo shoots and 90s house music videos to mind. 

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New Audio: Tame Impala and Theophilus London Team Up on Two Synth Funk Bangers

Led by singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind Kevin Parker, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych pop act Tame Impala received international attention with the release of their first two albums, 2011’s Innerspeaker and 2012’s Lonerism. Interestingly, 2015’s Currents was centered around some of the most emotionally direct material he had written to date while expanding upon the sound that first caught attention with the material sonically drawing from synth pop, prog rock, R&B and psych pop to create a nuanced, textured and difficult to pigeonhole sound. 

Theophilus London is a Trinidad and Tobago-born, Brooklyn-based emcee, singer/songwriter and producer, who first emerged into the national and international scene with his 2011 debut EP Lovers Holiday, which found the Brooklyn-based emcee/singer/songwriter and producer collaborating with TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, Tegan and Sara’s Sara Quin, Glasser and Solange Knowles and his full-length debut 2011’s Timez are Weird These Days. Both of those early efforts quickly established London’s crowd-pleasing, genre-mashing sound and approach, which draws from soul, pop, post-punk, electro-pop, electro R&B, hip-hop and R&B — and that shouldn’t be surprising as London has publicly cited Michael Jackson, Prince, Kraftwerk and The Smiths as influences on his work.  2013’s sophomore effort VIBES found London collaborating with Jesse Boykins III and Kanye West, who was the album’s executive producer — and from album single “Tribe,” the album’s material further cemented London’s reputation for club-banging, synth pop-influenced hip-hop. 

So in some way, it shouldn’t be surprising that both genre-defying artists have collaborated together in a project informally dubbed Theo Impala, which has already released two singles — the first single, the swaggering “Whiplash” is a thorough and seamless amalgamation of their sound and approach, as it features London spitting fiery bars over layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Parker’s ethereal backing vocals singing a sugary pop-meets-soul melody. In some way, the song recalls 80s hip-hop, 80s synth soul, Crime Cutz-era Holy Ghost! and Dam-Funk among others. The second track is a cover Steve Monite’s Nigerian boogie hit “Only You” and while their cover is somewhat straightforward, it manages to possess a contemporary production sheen that gives the song a retro-futuristic thump. 

New Audio: Melbourne Australia’s The Putbacks Release a Blazing Western-tinged Bit of Psych Soul

Comprised of founding members Rory McDougall (drums), Tom Martin (guitar) and Mick Meager (bass), Simon Mavin (Hammond organ) with Justin Marshall, funk and soul, instrumental act The Putbacks feature some of Melbourne, Australia’s most accomplished musicians as members of the band have played with Hiatus Kaiyote, The Bombay Royale, D.D. Dumbo, Swooping Duck, The Meltdown and The Black Arm Band.   The band which can trace its formation back to the early 00s has long been the unofficial house band of Australian label  HopeStreet Recordings, taking cues from the legendary house bands of 60s and 70s soul and funk studios — in particular, The MGs, The Meters and The Wrecking Crew, as well as film composers of David Axelrod and Adrian Younge.

With the release of a handful of 7 inches through HopeStreet, the band received attention across their native Australia; however, it was Dawn, their 2014 collaboration with Australian Aboriginal soul singer/songwriter Emma Donovan that found the members of The Putbacks with a growing international profile, as the album received attention outside of their homeland. Since the release of Dawn, the individual members of the acclaimed band have bee busy with a number of projects while managing to find the time to write and record their soon-to-be released Paul Bender-produced self-titled debut, slated for a November 9, 2018 release Now, as you may recall, the album finds the band collaborating with a number of internationally renowned artists including singer/songwriter and neo-soul pioneer Bilal and violins and arrangements from Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. The album’s first single, the cinematic, film-noir-ish “The Ways” was a scorching bit of psych school featuring Bilal that recalled  The Roots and Hot Buttered Soul-era Isaac Hayes but with an improvised, free-flowing air.
“Oranges,” the self-titled album’s latest single sound as though Ennio Morricone managed to compose an unreleased psychedelic Western Sci Fi soundtrack — thanks in part to the composition being centered around a blistering Western-influenced riff that begins with the organ and a thumping backbeat, with the other instrumentations playing off the riff. Of course, the end result is a hypnotic and propulsive groove that also manages to nod at Tinariwen and others, complete with a larger-than-life vibe and sensibility. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay REMI teams up with Black Milk, Razia Biza, and Baro on Upbeat Yet Politically Charged “Runner”

Over the course of late 2016 through last year, I had written quite a bit about the Melbourne, Australia-based emcee REMI, and as you may recall, along with his producer, DJ and longtime collaborator, Sensible J, the duo rose to national prominence with 2014’s critically and commercially successful  effort Raw X Infinity, an album that was named  Triple J‘s Album of the Week and the Independent Hip Hop Album of the Year by the Australian Independent Record Association, and received international attention from OkayAfrica, JUICE, laut.de, NPR’s All Things Considered, and several others. Adding to a growing national and international profile, the Melbourne-based emcee was named “Australian Breakthrough Artist of the Year” and as a result the duo wound up touring nationally and internationally with Danny Brown, Vic Mensa, De La Soul, Joey Bada$$ and Damon Albarn.

2016 saw the release of the duo’s critically applauded full-length Divas and Demons, an album that revealed a supremely talented emcee and adept lyricist and storyteller, whose stories possessed an earnest, soul-baring honesty.  Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about the Melbourne-based emcee; but recently he released a collaborative EP Black Hole Sun that finds him teaming up with Hamilton, New Zealand-based Raiza Biza, Sampha the Great, Black Milk who contributes production, and Sensible J, who mixed and curated the entire affair. The EP’s latest single “Runner” is a collaboration that features the duo teaming up with fellow Melbourne-based emcee Baro — and the track find the trio rhyming over an upbeat production that’s centered around thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, explosive hi-hat and a looped flute sample and an infectious hook; but unlike their previous work, the track finds the collaborators spitting fiery and incisive bars about racism, racist stereotypes and fears; deception and bullshit by teachers and political leaders, while being defiantly and boldly pro-black. 

Directed by Tig Terera, the recently released video is primarily centered around the trio’s exploits breaking into a closed shopping mall and then a closed hair salon and while shot in a way that brings the trio’s friendship to light, it allows each individual artist to shine in a variety of scenes. 

New Audio: Renowned Aussie Folk Duo Oh, Pep! Returns with a Jangling and Hook-Driven Take on Americana

Comprised of Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs, the renowned Melbourne, Australia-based folk duo Oh, Pep! can trace the origins of the group to when they met while they were were both studying at a music secondary school, and as the story goes as soon as the met began writing music together. Now, as you may recall with the release of three critically praised EPs, the duo received a rapidly growing national and international profile — they played a series of attention-grabbing, widely praised at the CMJ Festival, which were praised by  KCRW, and NPR’s Bob Boilen, who later invited the duo and their backing band to perform a NPR Tiny Desk Concert set. The duo also made appearances at a number of prominent folk festivals, including The Woodford Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, The National Folk Festival in Canberra, and Folk Alliance International, Kansas City, and at the 2014 The Age Music Victoria Awards, the duo was nominated in the Young Folk Performer of the Year and Best Folk Roots Category, winning the nod for Young Folk Performer of the Year.

2016’s Daniel Ledwell-produced full-length debut Stadium Cake found the duo subtly expanding upon the songwriting approach and sound that first won them national and international attention — their uncanny ability to write buoyant and ethereal pop with an underlying bittersweet sadness, centered around fully-fleshed out characters, who suffered from self-doubt, heartache, confusion, crippling indecision and a seeming inability to figure out how to move forward with their lives, all while their cohorts rush past them with successful lives. 

The duo’s soon-to-be released sophomore album I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You . . . is slated for an October 26, 2018 release through ATO Records, and the album reportedly finds Hally and Emmerich exploring the melody-rich expanse between indie pop, alt-folk and folk but through the prism of a women who have both come of age and have seen quite a bit of the world. They’ve accomplished most of their goals and dreams rather quickly  — and when that happens there’s this overwhelming sense of “Well, now what? What’s next?” And typically, there are two responses: you contently sit back and rest on your laurels — or you push yourself out of comfort zone. “This album is a darker form of pop than we have played before,” Pepita Emmerich says in press notes. “Basically Liv wrote a bunch of hits.” 

After touring to support Stadium Cake, Olivia Halley had become an in-demand songwriter. “With this album, in particular, I did a lot of sessions with other people. They weren’t necessarily sessions that were for the album. But every now and then, I’d be writing a song and take a fancy to it, then Pep and I would Oh Pep!-ify it together,” Halley says of the album that was written in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and Melbourne and was largely inspired by her travels over the course of 2017 and 2018.  Interestingly, I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You . . . ‘s third and latest single, the jangling and anthemic  “Your Nail and Your Hammer” was inspired by words written on her wall in Nashville,  and the city’s long-held reputation for being the home of country and Americana — with a pop leaning, hook-driven sensibility; but while further cementing their reputation for breezy and infectious songs, the song evokes the sensation of someone’s mind whirring and grinding with the obsession over a brief and perhaps fleeting moment with another that leaves you wondering for weeks afterwards.

New Video: Darling James Releases a Colorful and Trippy Video for Upbeat and Swooning Album Single “You’re The Only One I Need Now”

James O’Brien is a Melbourne, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, best known for being the frontman of renowned Australian act  Boat People, and with his solo recording project Darling James, O’Brien has received attention both nationally and internationally for hook-laden yet sophisticated take on pop — his single “God’s Graffiti” featured lyrics that were metaphysical musings, paired with a shimmering and atmospheric production that reminded me a bit of Reptile Youth‘s Away EP — but with an earnest yearning for meaning, for more

Now, as you may recall O’Brien’s sophomore Darling James effort MOOD EYES was released earlier this year and the material was initially written, pieced together, then auditioned, revised and culled from a series of songs and song ideas that made the cut for the album. He then took the initial recordings to his long-time collaborator Robin Waters, and the duo recruited additional musicians to flesh out the material while Waters began sorting through and mixing the reams of synths, vocals, string arrangements and samples that O’Brien had thrown together. And while seemingly being a hodgepodge creative process, the album thematically focuses on wide range of things from regret, acceptance, burning the candle at both ends, the joy and pleasure of leaving a party — and hell, the party scene — for a loved one and so on. Album single “Silver Bullet” further cemented O’Brien’s reputation for creating shimmering and atmospheric pop centered around lyrics that carefully examined a relationship and situation in which there was no easy answers, just increasing confusion and anxiety — and absolutely no one to save you or help. 

Interestingly, MOOD EYES’ latest single “You’re The Only One I Need Now,” is centered around an atmospheric and trippy production featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, O’Brien’s yearning yet ethereal vocals, thumping beats and a soaring hook — and while continuing in a similar vein as the album’s preceding singles, it’s a swooning, upbeat, heart-on-the-sleeve sort of love song written and sung from the perspective of an adult, who has grown from blind lust and desire to dealing with another person through shared values, respect, comfort and company. It’s a comforted sigh of relief in a difficult and cynical world. As O’Brien explains in press notes “I wanted to make a song that was simple enough to be taken as what it mostly is – an un-self conscious ode to that special person in your life – but also to allude to how you get there, from teenage desire to young adult drunken escapades to shared values and respect. The song is necessarily musically and lyrically uncomplicated but at the same time it’s textually quite dense. Similarly, the clip is in one way very direct with a person singing to camera most of the time but it also utilities complex and layered effects at its core.”

New Video: The Putbacks Team Up with Bilal on a Trippy and Cinematic Bit of Psych Soul

Comprised of founding members Rory McDougall (drums), Tom Martin (guitar) and Mick Meager (bass), Simon Mavin (Hammond organ) with Justin Marshall, funk and soul, instrumental act The Putbacks feature some of Melbourne, Australia’s most accomplished musicians — as members of the band have played with Hiatus Kaiyote, The Bombay Royale, D.D. Dumbo, Swooping Duck, The Meltdown and The Black Arm Band; in fact, the band, which formed back in the early 00s is the unofficial house band of renowned Australian label HopeStreet Recordings, and they reportedly take their cues from the house bands of 60s and 70s soul studios — in particular, The MGs, The Meters and The Wrecking Crew, as well as film composers of David Axelrod and Adrian Younge.

The release of a number of 7 inches through their now-long-time label home began receiving attention across Australia; but it was their 2014 collaboration with Australian Aboriginal singer/songwriter Emma Donavan, Dawn which resulted in a growing national and international profile. And since then the members of The Putbacks had been extremely busy with a number of individual projects while finding time to write and record, their forthcoming Paul Bender-produced self-titled debut, which is slated for a November 9, 2018 release. Interestingly, the album finds the band collaborating with a number of renowned artists including singer/songwriter and neo-soul pioneer Bilal and violins and arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. 

The album’s first single “The Ways” is an incredibly cinematic and film noir-ish bit of psych soul centered around twinkling and arpeggiated keys, scorching guitar lines, played through delay and effect pedal paired with Bilal’s dreamy yet husky vocals singing stream-of-consciousness vocals — all within an expansive song structure. The entire song sounds as though it draws from The Roots and Hot Buttered Soul-era Isaac Hayes simultaneously but with an improvised, free-flowing air. 

Comprised of Kyle Fisher, Merrick Powell, Jonny Dolan and Michael Sacco, the Sydney, Australia-based indie rock quartet STUMPS formed last year and  the band quickly exploded into the national scene, “Piggyback,” “This Home is Mine” and “We’ll Do It Anyway,” off the band’s debut EP Another Stay at Home Son all received airplay on Triple J’s Unearthed.  Already, the band has gone on national tours with Dear Seattle and Maddy Jane, and building upon a growing profile, they played a sold out Sydney headlining show, as well as packed shows in Brisbane and Melbourne — and the band will be on another national tour with Trophy Eyes, Maddy Jane and Dear Seattle in October.

Not wasting time or momentum, the members of STUMPS wrote, recorded and released their latest single, the angular post-punk influenced “Conversation Conversation,” which is centered around four-on-the-floor drumming, angular guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section and Fisher’s sonorous baritone punchily delivering the song’s lyrics, which are derived from painfully awkward and overheard conversations and interactions of first and second dates, text messages and dating apps – and while being an  ironic view of dating in our short attention span age, it also is an an incisive stab at masculinity and the pointless (and desperate) attempts people make at impressing others.  Sure, the hook-driven song is danceable and arena rock friendly in a way that recalls Franz Ferdinand, but it points a deeply universal and uncomfortable experience that we’ve all had at some point or another.

 

New Video: Melbourne’s Darling James Releases Trippy and Noir-ish Visuals for “Silver Bullet”

Multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter James O’Brien is arguably best known as the frontman of renowned Melbourne, Australia-based act Boat People, and his solo recording project Darling James has received attention nationally and internationally for hook-laden yet thoughtful and sophisticated take on pop; in fact, EP single “God’s Graffiti” featured metaphysical inspired lyrics paired with an atmospheric yet propulsive production centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths and propulsive drum programming that to my ears recalled Reptile Youth‘s Away EP — but with an earnest yearning for meaning, for more.

O’Brien’s sophomore Darling James’ effort, MOOD EYES is slated for an August 3, 2018 release, and the material was reportedly first written, pieced together, auditioned, revised and culled from a series of songs and song ideas that made the cut. He then took the initial recordings to long-time collaborator Robin Waters, and the two brought in additional musicians to flesh out the material while Waters began sorting through and mixing the reams of synths, vocals, string arrangements and samples that O’Brien had thrown together. And while seemingly hodgepodge, the material on the EP thematically focus on everything from regret and acceptance, burning the candle at both ends, the joy of leaving a party and the party scene for a loved one and so on. MOOD EYES’ latest single is sonically centered around shimmering synths, boom bap-like drum programming, an infectious hook and a motorik groove — and while further cementing O’Brien’s reputation as a solo artist, who carefully crafts his material, the song is also a look into both a relationship and a situation in which there’s no easy or certain answer, just increasing confusion and anxiety, and no one to save you.

Directed by Marz Luckhurst, the recently released video stars O’Brien, who sits in the  neon lit backseat of a car, during a seemingly endless car ride, as he’s singing the song — perhaps to entertain himself or to keep himself some kind of company; but underneath the surface there’s this sense of a man, who’s probably losing his mind. As O’Brien explains of the video’s treatment, “I wanted the clip to show a slow but dramatic change in someone’s mental state like a religious ecstasy where it’s hard to tell if the person is transcending and in the midst of an amazing experience or completely losing their mind and having an awful time. You could maybe call it ‘manic stability’, i.e. a bit of both! In the end the character seems to be saved or at least calmed by this shark image which is perhaps his version of a totem.”