11 Dec PEKING DUK – The Way You Are

I love the way you are Peking Duk. You have managed to fill my Christmas stocking with rad electro beats before Santa can even contemplate shovelling down lumps of sooty coal.

The hipster boys hailing from the ACT have just released their latest dance anthem ‘The Way You Are.’ An ‘electro mind-fuck’ is probably the most suitable description I could give. It’s astonishing that these up-and-comers have found the time to produce such gold, considering their heavy workload over the last few months including Stereosonic and Foreshore Festival.

Peking Duk are locked in to play Falls Festival and The Bloody Beetroots Big Day Out Sideshow this Summer, just to name a few key gigs where they will flaunt their swagger. The release of ‘The Way You Are’ could not have come at a better time for the boys and it is the perfect tune to increase their domestic and international scope.

Peking Duk is a must on your Christmas list this year.

 

REVIEW BY AL PRICE

 

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04 Dec SEVEN YEAR ITCH – Byzantine Coat


Mellow, surfy, indie-rockers Seven Year Itch either claimed their name from the iconic 1955 rom-com featuring Marilyn Monroe or have been under duress from an infection for some time now. Although the foundation of their name is still a mystery to me, their soft and sweet Vampire Weekend-like vibrations are not, as I cannot get ‘Byzantine Coat’ off repeat at the moment.

‘Byzantine Coat’ is recommended with a frosty brew at the beach as the idyllic Victorian sun gets ready for bed. The placid high-riff guitar is coupled beautifully with the simple yet transfixing bass guitar lines in the background, much like the trademark of Vampire Weekend. This piece is a wonderful relaxant that has “holiday” written all over it. As much as I love Vampire Weekend’s ‘Holiday’, Seven Year Itch paints the scene more realistically and blissfully, not that they are in competition.

Seven Year Itch are due to release their new EP later today or tomorrow. Chuck it into the cassette player on the next road trip.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE

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27 Nov Imogen Heap – Just For Now (OZZIE x Huccie Remix)

What’s with this new musical genre all the kiddies are calling “trap”? I have no idea, but apparently OZZIE x Huccie‘s quaint remix of Imogen Heap‘s oldie ‘Just For Now‘ samples the new fad. Honestly, the only addition to the original is a little more treble and snare drum. As a particular fan of Imogen Heap’s tantalising vocals, I have come to appreciate this soothing remake. However a little over 2 minutes is no where near enough time to have my thirst fully quenched.

I hear that trap is the new dubstep, a meaningless award in my eyes. There may be a slight sampling of trap in this remix,  but it’s Heap’s original that conveys 95% of the brilliance. This nice and simple construction represents easy-listening to a tee, unfortunately the sensation is basically over before it starts.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE

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08 Nov TIN CAN RADIO w/ ANIMAUX @ The Workers Club – November 2nd

“Talk about a hard act to follow” was the first thing that came out of Tin Can Radio frontman Tom Wearne‘s mouth last Friday night at the Workers Club. Wearne was indeed referring to the youthful and vibrant Animaux, the seven strong jazz-pop pre-act. He couldn’t have been any more accurate, unfortunately for Tin Can. If you are looking for an impressively catchy sound to fill the void in your library then anything by Animaux will do the trick. I see them as a perfect fit for Falls Festival on the first day, playing an uptempo and exciting 45 minute session that will set the tone for the entire festival. ‘This Time‘ is just one of my favourites from the kids out of Wesley College in Melbourne.

With that in mind, Tin Can Radio took to the stage and so began their seriously eclectic mix of genres. They brought with them a fancy array of instruments including some hardcore synth combination. One minute Tin Can would sample their soft alternate-pop sounds featured in tracks such as ‘Recklessness‘ and ‘Somebody‘, whereas the next minute the Workers Club would be completely transformed into a hardcore rave with some serious head-banging going on. Their most recognised track from the new EP Open Ears, Open Minds, It Goes On‘ (which features some great artwork from local designer Sam Chirnside), was a little bit of an anti-climax by not displaying the depth and strength portrayed in the recorded version. This was a shame as I had previously commented that ‘It Goes On’ displays one of the catchiest choruses of 2012.

Numerous reversions to heavy electronic dub-step made it really hard to get into a constant groove. One thing I did learn was that having ridiculously long curly hair makes for some serious head banging, an area in which Tin Can Radio is not lacking. There definitely would have been some sore heads after their short and sweet set. The highlight of their set would’ve had to have been ‘Hot Trash’, another of my favourites for the year.

All in all it was a successful night out. An exciting new prospect in Animaux, some really nice sounds from Tin Can Radio, and a great first impression of the Workers Club on Brunswick street.

There is much less variation in Tin Can Radio’s sound on the new EP so I would advise purchasing it if you are a fan of ‘It Goes On’.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE 

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13 Oct PANAMA – It’s Not Over

Aussie quintet Panama are back with their first work since releasing “Magic” way back in March this year. Frontman Jarrah McCleary excelled in classical piano as a child, but Panama’s new track “It’s Not Over” possesses a completely different flavour. This flavour is not constant either, like an ever changing Bertie Bott bean.

“It’s Not Over” strays away from the nostalgic sensations found in Magic. There is an overriding tropical theme running throughout the piece, elicited by the fancy marimba work. At 2:11 we are hit by this dense synthetic bass line which takes “It’s Not Over” to the next step, and has propelled Panama up the ranks in my highly prestigious watch-list.

Check out the official video clip below to see for yourself why Panama is creating such a storm.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE

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10 Oct SUMMER HEART – I Wanna Go (MAU Remix)

Danish/Portuguese group MAU, have added a few alterations to one of my favourite songs of the year, “I Wanna Go” by Summer Heart. The original muffled lyrics are all still there, so the remix instantly gets my tick of approval. “I Wanna Go” has simply been repackaged as an electro-pop dance number which is fun. However, this remix lacks that addictive, dream wave-like sensation that stems from the original.

Nevertheless, MAU have produced some encouraging work. The synth line running through the track is generic but I’m a sucker for it. Luckily for Summer Heart, they need not worry about the remix surpassing the original.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE

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02 Oct GOLD FIELDS – Dark Again

Eureka! We can all breathe a sigh of relief as Gold Fields have finally announced that their debut LP Black Sun will be available in January next year. The musical prospectors out of Ballarat have been ridiculously busy this year, touring the States with a few acts by the names of Crystal Castles, Crystal Fighters and Metric.

Dark Again” is the first single to be showcased off the upcoming LP. Their sound does not seem to have changed all that much from their last self titled EP, but doesn’t the old adage say that ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it?’ The synthesised guitar sounds produced in this one closely resembles that generated by Van She, especially in their pop-hit “Idea of Happiness“. If I were a DJ then I would definitely try to mash these two together.

Lead vocalist Mark Fuller has ironically described “Dark Again” as a song specifically aimed at ‘pulling a relationship out of a rut.’ So for all those who are currently questioning whether to change their relationship status from ‘In a relationship’ to ‘(hey everybody I’m) single (again)’, perhaps you should have a listen to Gold Field’s new single and you may be positively swayed.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE

 

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28 Sep Mystery Jets @ The Corner – 26/09/12

For those Mystery Jets fans amongst us that just couldn’t wait to rock out to some of their catchy-pop-rock tunes, both old and new, Wednesday night’s performance at The Corner Hotel really hit the spot.

After being thoroughly warmed-up by Northeast Party House’s atmospheric synth stylings, smooth vocals and high energy bass lines, the half an hour wait for Mystery Jets was spent getting pushed further and further into the middle of the room as patrons packed in to mark out some dancing room in anticipation of some serious shoulder boppin’.

The Mystery Jets, over-dramatic as usual, eased us into it with the slow starting “Someone Purer”, one of their bigger hits from their latest album, Radlands which got a lot of tripple j play when it came out in May this year. It wasn’t long until they had everyone singing along to the Woah-oh-oh style chorus and mantra “give me rock and roll”. What a great way to start the show!

After a charismatic “hello Melbourne” from frontman Blaine Harrison, whose stage presence definitely isn’t affected by his  Spina Bifida, they kicked straight into the catchy title track from their 2010 Album Serotonin, before throwing back to Radlands for “The Hale Bop”. This song really shows off the depth Mystery Jets have acquired in their music since their last album.

Hailing from the poetically named Eel Pie Island in London, a lot of their sound, particularly their earlier albums, owes much to their UK pop rock heritage.  It’s impossible to miss The Beatles circa Revolver influence in their sophomore album Twenty One from which hits like “Young Love” and “Two Doors Down” had their birth. Radlands however, was recorded and produced in Austin, Texas and brings a new kind of country, Neil Young vibe to their sound. Songs like “Sister Everett, which, we were told, comes from lead guitarist William Rees encounter with a missionary who tried to convert him to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, were obviously directly influenced by their Midwest US experiences, and their music is the better for it. This song also showed off the Rees’ vocal talents, as a break from the Kooks-esque sounds of Harrison.

Loads of bands out there are trying to sound retro, but it’s rare to find one that actually succeeds in sounding like they could have played in the 80s or 90s (or even 60s).  Part of Mystery Jets’ appeal is the constant references to artists who have influenced their music. Every time I listen to them I hear something new, from The Beatles or Bowie, to Elton John or The Carpenters, their music has a depth that gives them a timeless, if ephemeral, appeal.

The highlight of the night was when Blaine announced he would sing us a love song, namely the song “Flakes, from Twenty One.  This was a veritable ballad, and had the crowed chanting along and joining in with a slow iPhone wave (the modern version of holding up a lighter). The chorus is so earnest and the feelings conveyed so transparent that it wasn’t hard to believe that Harrison’s dreams really were falling through his fingers, even though it’s clear they’re just taking off.

The band ‘finished’ after this one, going back to a nostalgic note with the “Lost in Austin” reprieve ‘take me to the end’, but for true fans it was obvious that it wasn’t the end and they came back out to play what is arguably their biggest hit, “Two Doors Down” (‘I think I’m in love with a girl’).  This emphasised my only criticism for the night- a slightly disingenuous note, evident in clichés like ‘you’ve been the best crowd of the whole tour’ and their obviously planned encore.

For me, their song “Greatest Hits” summed up the tone of the night. Mystery Jets is the type of music you listen to on a Sunday while making breakfast as a happy reminder of the best times you’ve spent with a person. They delivered what I expected of them – a fast and furious charge of finger snapping merriness full of exuberance, romanticism and a whole lot of British pop rock.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON JOHN

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20 Sep CASEY LALONDE – Champion!

23-year-old Casey LaLonde has just released his new EP, Paper Heart. Hailing from the United States, Lalonde is known for his eclectic array of interests and abilities, including pioneering artwork, music production, and his love of fine coffee.

Opening track “Champion,” is an extremely compelling synthesis of several genres. The fusion of electronic synth sounds with a country twang is certainly a fresh sound to my ears. This vocal-less track is as soothing as it is hard-edged.  It is a remarkable instrumental construction. “Champion” seems to represent LaLonde’s all-around lifestyle to perfection.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE

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06 Sep YOLANDA BE COOL – Change (feat. Nola Darling)

Hola Yolanda, guess who’s back with a brand new track?

Yolanda Be Cool has released the first single off their new album, which is expected in December this year. The boys are ready to break out of the “Americano” shackles and “Change” is a great place to start.

Even though the beginning would blend perfectly with “Party Rock Anthem,” “Change” is nowhere near as commercially viable as “We Speak No Americano.” That is not to say that it isn’t as good. Vocals from Nola Darling complement the wicked bass line perfectly. Yolanda has done a complete 360 with this one.

Change - Yolanda be cool

This track has more swagger than Jagger. Hit it up now.

REVIEW BY AL PRICE

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