Tag: Melbourne Australia

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.

 

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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.”

New Video: Up-and-Coming Australian Producer and Electronic Music Artist MUTO Releases Cinematic Yet Surreal Visuals for “Tessellating” feat. Oliver Dibley

MUTO is a 20-something, Sydney, Australia-born and-based electronic music producer, who quickly emerged into the national scene with the release of two attention grabbing, incredibly unique yet soulful, chart topping singles “Wildfire,” and “Say Nothing.” The up-and-coming Australian electronic music producer’s first single of this year “Tessellating” will further cement his reputation for crafting slick, soulful and crowd pleasing electro pop — but while pushing his sound in a new, experimental direction as it’s centered around a production consisting of layers of glitchy electronics, arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, weird, asymmetrical textures which Oliver Dibley croons in a sultry and plaintive fashion about the interchanging and confusing nature of a relationship. In this sense, relationships can change and bend dependent on the lens and perspective you’re looking through, much like light refracting through a mirror.

Directed by  Visitor Studio’s Melbourne, Australia-based, award winning duo Lukas Shrank and George Thompson, the recently released video while cinematically shot possesses a surreal and dream-like logic that suggest that love — whether romantic or platonic — can frequently feel like being free fall, and landing in some random place without explanation or reason. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Melbourne-based Punk Rockers Bakers Eddy Release Mischievous and Colorful Visuals for “Good Decisions”

Comprised of CJ Babbington (guitar, vocals), Ian Spagnolo (bass, vocals), Jamie Gordon (drums, vocals), and Alex Spagnolo (guitar, vocals), the up-and-coming Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock act Bakers Eddy initially formed in Wellington, New Zealand. And since their formation back in 2009, the band has made quite a name from themselves across both New Zealand’s and Australia’s punk rock scenes; not only have they opened for Gang of Youths, The Rubens and the Grammy-nominated act Highly Suspect, they’ve received airplay from Amazing Radio, praise from Pilerats and Tone Deaf. And adding to a growing profile, the band has played their homeland’s festival circuit with sets at Homegrown, Rock the Park and Going Global Music Summit — and earlier this year they made their live debut on British shores with a set at The Great Escape Festival (which they followed with some stops in Germany). 

The New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based band’s Tom Larkin-produced EP I’m Not Making Good Decisions was released earlier this year and the  EP’s latest single is 90s grunge rock, power chord bruiser “Good Decisions,” a track that the band describes as ac coming of age tale about “spending all your money on partying so you can’t pay the bills. Making silly decisions!” Unsurprisingly, the song is deeply inspired by the experience of the band’s members relocating from their native New Zealand to Melbourne where they “were all living together for the first time in a new country and probably having too much fun.”  

Directed by Fagan Wilcox, the recently released video follows a day in the life of the band, who quickly suspect that the house they live in was once a swingers pad. “There is a fully working spa bath in the middle of our hallway, you can see Jamie sleeping in it in the video.” the band says.  Throughout, there’s the sense that the band parties hard — harder than most, but the footage is grainy and damaged. And as Wilcox says “the execution was always going to have the footage destroyed. The idea was to make it raw and low budget using effects, but rather than just pop a filter on it with a VHS effect, we used pixel bending and channel blending to add an intensity to the final edit.”

New Video: Acclaimed Alt Pop Artist Vilde Releases Tense and Unsettling Visuals for “Warm Milk”

Best known as the frontman of British-based indie act Kins, the Melbourne, Australia-born and now Stockholm, Sweden-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer Thomas Savage received attention with his solo recording project Vilde, which found Savage’s sound and overall aesthetic drawing from Radiohead, Wild Beasts, TV on the Radio, BØRNS and Tim Hecker — but with a warm take to the moody atmospherics that he dubbed “study-dance.” Now, if you had been frequenting this site last year, you may recall that Savage’s full-length debut eschewed the traditional album release format in which an artist releases a few singles, then puts out an album several months later; rather, much like JOVM mainstays The Raveonettes and Rene Lopez, he released a new single off the album every single month, and one of those singles, the Kid A-era Radiohead-like “Maintain” was a bit more of an uptempo affair with arpeggiated synth chords, a propulsive rhythm section and Savage’s plaintive, falsetto vocals floating over an icy mix.

Thud is Savage’s first proper album, and the album which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release found the Australian-born, Swedish-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer superimposing the album’s overarching themes onto the material’s lyrics — and as he explains in press notes, that was an altogether much more natural process. “I hadn’t any idea for a theme in the beginning, the conscious element in the process is quite limited. It’s mostly reliant upon feeling resonance in the words rather than a specific line of thought. Sometimes I bring in more conscious thinking, but if I really succeed, they somehow manage to fall into linear coherency. I’m in it for the feeling of experiencing and what poured out of me afterwards, rather than attempting to express any sort of certainty. If I was certain about something, I supposed it’d be better as a novel.” Interestingly, throughout the writing and recording of the album, there was a recurrent element — “our relationship to technology and social media. I feel like the record almost became a plea for people to down their phones and speak to each other, or to just sit and think,” Savage adds. “But if this is the future for us, one should just accept it right?”

“Warm Milk,” Thud’s latest single is centered around a propulsive, motorik-like groove, shuffling beats, shimmering electronics and Savage’s plaintive vocals — but unlike his previously released material, not only does the song bring Peter Gabriel 3 and Security-era Peter Gabriel, Barbarossa and others to my mind (at least to my ears), it’s a deeply unsettling track meant to evoke the creeping dread and anxiety of being alone — and yet, when we’re constantly plugged into the digital realm, we’re always alone and never truly connecting with others.

Created by Elin Ghersinich and Thomas Savage, the recently released video is claustrophobic and unsettling as its centered around imagery of liquids being poured — at one point, the aforementioned white milk but cut with footage of Savage shot in an tightly cropped closeups in a dark, almost dungeon-like bathroom, full of self-loathing, regret and desperate loneliness. When we see Savage, it’s much like seeing a man struggling with his own warped, fractured psyche and emotions — and losing.

New Video: Introducing the Jangling and Anthemic Guitar Pop of Australia’s BATTS

Tanya Batt is a Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the recording project BATTS — and with release of last year’s 62 Moons EP, Batt quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that has drawn comparisons to Angel Olsen, Courtney Barnett, Mazzy Star, Sharon Van Etten and others. Adding to a growing international profile, Batt received airplay from BBC Radio 1, KCRW and Triple J.

Building upon a growing profile, Batt toured her native Australia with Didirri, and she recently played her first UK shows with Cub Sport as part of the Communion Music tour; but more important, Batt’s newest single is a jangling bit of guitar pop that manages to nod at Fleetwood Mac-like AM radio rock, complete with an anthemic rock but underneath the easy-going and self-assured vibes of the song is an urgent desire to change things for the better — although in a lot of cases that’s impossible. After all, the human condition is to be endlessly disappointing. There’s also this desire to go off and colonize someplace else, and start over with different rules — that maybe it’d better on Mars, Jupiter or someplace else. 

Directed by Dyllan Corbett, the recently released video for “Shame” stars Tanya Batt, Olaf Scott, Daniel Moulds, Nkechi Anele, Melanie Scammell, Megan Kent and Alice Kent, and as Corbett explains of the video treatment “Thematically, we were after a sliding door effect of having two separate outlooks/moods and the outcome that each one has on your happiness.” 

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Dan Sultan is an acclaimed Fitzroy, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started playing guitar when he was four and wrote his first song when he turned 10. As the story goes, his mother’s friend gave the young Sultan an old electric guitar, and he began playing gigs at local pubs. In 2000, Sultan met a fellow singer/songwriter and guitarist Scott Wilson at a Williamstown, Australia pub and the duo began writing songs together. As Wilson recalled in an interview “What struck me at first was that he [Sultan] could play piano and guitar, and he was a great foil for what I was doing . . . After a while playing together, he said, ‘Can I Sing this one?’ I said, ‘Do you know the words?’ . . . [he had a] mighty voice. A lot people can play guitar . . . not many can sing like that.”

Sultan’s  Scott Wilson-produced, full-length solo debut, the genre-defying Homemade Biscuits was released in early 2006 and consisted of tracks written by Wilson or co-written by Sultan and Wilson, and a featured number of local musicians and collaborators, including Lazare Agneskis, Neil Gray, Elijah Maiyah, Lochile McKlean and Ben Wicks. Sultan’s debut also featured two attention grabbing tracks — “Your Love Is Like a Song,” which won a 2007 Deadly Award for Single Release of the Year, and “Rosyln,” a song Sultan wrote about his mother, who was a member of the Aboriginal “stolen generations,” which he performed during 2007’s National Day of Healing concert. Adding to a growing profile that year, Paul Kelly invited Sultan to record a cover of Kev Carmody’s “This Land Is Mine” for a compilation tribute album of Carmody’s work titled Cannot Buy My Soul — and with a backing band of Eugene Ball (trumpet), Ben Gillespie (trombone), Joshua Jones (bass), Peter Marin (drums), Ash Naylor (guitar) and Gina Woods (keys), Sultan and company played Australia’s festival circuit over the next two years or so, including set at the Sydney Festival and the Queensland Music Festival.

Sultan’s sophomore album 2009’s Get Out While You Can was a massive, commercial success as it charted on the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100, eventually reaching #1 on the independent Australian charts and was a Triple J featured album. Along with that, Sultan won ARIA Music Awards for Best Male Artist and Best Blues & Roots Album, and Australian Independent Records Awards for Best Independent Artist and Best Independent Blues & Roots Music Music.

In early 2014, Sultan opened for Bruce Springsteen‘s Melbourne and Hunter Valley shows during his Australian tour, which Sultan promptly followed up with the release of his third full-length album Blackbird, an album that reached #4 on the ARIA Albums Charts and spent 13 weeks in the Top 50 — and the album won a Best Rock Album Award at that year’s ARIA Awards. Building upon an impressive year, Sultan released the Dirty Ground EP, which reached the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100. Sultan’s fourth album, 2017’s Jan Skubiszewski-produced Killer was nominated for three ARIA Awards — Best Male Artist, Best Rock Album, and Best Independent Release.

Interestingly, Sultan’s soon-to-be released Killer Under a Blood Moon was recorded over the course of four days and while it continues Sultan’s commercially and critically successful collaboration Skubiszewski, the EP finds the duo collaborating with some of their country’s brightest and talented, up-and-coming artists, including  A.B. OriginalCamp CopeMeg Mac and Gang of Youths‘ Dave Le’aupepe to reinterpret a series of tracks from Sultan’s fourth album as a way to give his material new bodies, new ways of being while having a good time doing so. Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about Sultan’s reworking of “Drover,” which featured Gang of Youth’s Dave Le’aupepe taking over vocal duties on a swaggering, arena rock-friendly blues centered around power chords, stomping beats, a looped choral sample and a muscular and anthemic hook reminiscent of The Black Keys.

The EP’s latest single is a reworking of Killer‘s album title track “Killer” that features Meg Mac — and while the original is a shuffling yet anthemic rock song with an infectious hook, the EP’s rework turns the song into a Fleetwood Mac/Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks-styled duet that retains the hook and melody but adds a sultriness to the song’s heartfelt vibe.

 

 

 

New Video: Renowned Australian Singer/Songwriter and Guitarist Courtney Barnett Releases Psychedelic Visuals for Expansive Album Single “City Looks Pretty”

With the release of her first two, critically applauded EPs, I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Farris and How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose, the Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Courtney Barnett quickly received attention from the North American, British and Australian press witty and rambling, conversational lyrics delivered in an ironic deadpan paired with big, power chord-based indie rock. And although to the casual observer, it may have seemed like overnight success, it actually wasn’t. In fact, Barnett has long been considered one of Melbourne’s best guitarists as once played in Dandy Warhols’ Brent DeBoer’s side project Immigrant Union and had  guest spot on Jen Cloher‘s third album, In Blood Memory.

2015’s full-length effort Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit continued a run of critically applauded releases, and the album’s lead single “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party” was promoted with a unique promotional campaign that included scores of giant billboards, posters and murals spontaneously posted around the world — and all of them declared the same unattributed statement in the same exact font. As for the song, it found Barnett and her backing band pairing thundering drumming, dense layers of swirling guitar chords and a scorching guitar solo and Barnett’s bemused and ironic deadpan delivery with a rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like hook. “Elevator Operator,” which I also wrote about on this site, was a stomping and shuffling T. Rex-like song that featured twisting and turning organ chords, handclap-led percussion, and a mischievous yet anthemic hook that described incredibly neurotic people, who are beaten down by boring and soulless day jobs, including one character, who escapes to peer over a rooftop for a brief moment of clarity while dreaming he was playing Sim City.  (If you’ve worked at a boring and soul crushing day job, that song may well be your anthem during the workweek.)

Last year, saw the release of Lotta Sea Lice, a critically applauded and commercially successful collaborative album with renowned guitarist and vocalist Kurt Vile; in fact, the album landed at #5 on the Australian charts, #11 on the British charts and #51 on the American charts. Building upon an incredible run of critical and commercial success, Barnett’s third full-length album Tell Me How You Really Feel is slated for a May 18, 2018 release through Mom + Pop Records, Marathon Artists, and Barnett’s own label Milk! Records — and the album’s third and latest single “City Looks Pretty” finds Barnett eschewing traditional song structures in order to focus on a motorik-like groove, razor sharp hooks and an expansive psych rock-like vibe that’s roomy enough for what may be some of Barnett’s most inspired and bluesy guitar work she’s recorded to date. The song lyrically is an exploration of friendship, place and home centered around the irony of friends treating you like a stranger and strangers treating you like their best friend. 

The recently released video by Courtney Barnett features some appropriately psychedelic imagery shot on what looks like digital cameras and an old Super 8, and in some way it brings to mind 120 Minutes-era MTV. 

 

Dan Sultan is an acclaimed Fitzroy, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started playing guitar when he was four and wrote his first song when he turned 10. As the story goes, his mother’s friend gave the young Sultan an old electric guitar, and he began playing gigs at local pubs. In 2000, Sultan met a fellow singer/songwriter and guitarist Scott Wilson at a Williamstown, Australia pub and the duo began writing songs together. As Wilson recalled in an interview “What struck me at first was that he [Sultan] could play piano and guitar, and he was a great foil for what I was doing . . . After a while playing together, he said, ‘Can I Sing this one?’ I said, ‘Do you know the words?’ . . . [he had a] might voice. A lot people can play guitar . . . not many can sing like that.”

Sultan’s  Scott Wilson-produced, full-length solo debut, the genre-defying Homemade Biscuits was released in early 2006 and consisted of tracks written by Wilson or co-written by Sultan and Wilson, and a featured number of local musicians and collaborators, including Lazare Agneskis, Neil Gray, Elijah Maiyah, Lochile McKlean and Ben Wicks. Sultan’s debut also featured two attention grabbing tracks — “Your Love Is Like a Song,” which won a 2007 Deadly Award for Single Release of the Year, and “Rosyln,” a song Sultan wrote about his mother, who was a member of the Aboriginal “stolen generations,” which he performed during 2007’s National Day of Healing concert. Adding to a growing profile that year, Paul Kelly invited Sultan to record a cover of Kev Carmody’s “This Land Is Mine” for a compilation tribute album of Carmody’s work titled Cannot Buy My Soul — and with a backing band of Eugene Ball (trumpet), Ben Gillespie (trombone), Joshua Jones (bass), Peter Marin (drums), Ash Naylor (guitar) and Gina Woods (keys), Sultan and company played Australia’s festival circuit over the next two years or so, including set at the Sydney Festival and the Queensland Music Festival.

Sultan’s sophomore album 2009’s Get Out While You Can was a massive, commercial success as it charted on the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100, eventually reaching #1 on the independent Australian charts and was a Triple J featured album. Along with that, Sultan won ARIA Music Awards for Best Male Artist and Best Blues & Roots Album, and Australian Independent Records Awards for Best Independent Artist and Best Independent Blues & Roots Music Music.

In early 2014, Sultan opened for Bruce Springsteen‘s Melbourne and Hunter Valley shows during his Australian tour, which Sultan promptly followed up with the release of his third full-length album Blackbird, an album that reached #4 on the ARIA Albums Charts and spent 13 weeks in the Top 50 — and the album won a Best Rock Album Award at that year’s ARIA Awards. Building upon an impressive year, Sultan released the Dirty Ground EP, which reached the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100.

 

Sultan’s fourth album, 2017’s Jan Skubiszewski-produced Killer was nominated for three ARIA Awards — Best Male Artist, Best Rock Album, and Best Independent Release. Interestingly, Killer Under a Blood Moon EP which was recorded over the course of four days finds Sultan continuing his successful collaboration with Skubiszewski — but also collaborating with some of Australia’s brightest and most talented, up-and-coming talents, including A.B. Original, Camp Cope, Meg Mac and Gang of Youths‘ Dave Le’aupepe to reinterpret a series of tracks from Sultan’s commercially successful fourth album as a way to give his material new bodies, new ways of being while having a good time doing so. Unsurprisingly, the album is part of a growing trend of artists from wildly disparate genres collaborating together to create music that’s unique and difficult to pin down, frequently challenging the status quo of the major record labels and mainstream genre boundaries.

The EP’s latest single “Drover” features Gang of Youth’s Dave Le’aupepe taking over vocal duties on a swaggering, arena rock-friendly blues centered around power chords, stomping beats, a looped choral sample and an anthemic hook reminiscent of The Black Keys. It’s a marked and muscular departure from the soulful and blues original that manages to retain the song’s bluesy vibe.