08 May Trading Tunes with Ferla
Ferla caught our attention at the start of the year with the single ‘In The Night‘, a sexy track that resembles the work of Lower Dens, Timber Timbre or Twin Shadow. Slick, shiny guitars sizzling for five minutes while Ferla makes his presence felt — definitely one of the more complete Australian songs released so far this year. Ferla followed it up with ‘Wasted On You‘, which features more lively synthesisers (think Depeche Mode or Pet Shop Boys) and meticulous detail in the instrumental arrangements and hooks.
In the next few weeks we’re going to be treated to more tunes from Ferla, via the single ‘Breakups‘ on Thursday (11th of May) and his double EP release on the 26th of May. But what’s even better are Ferla’s live performances — they’re entertaining and full of life, so be sure to head down to The Tote on the 16th of June to experience it for yourself. Until then, delve in to these five tracks he has been obsessing over for the past month in today’s Trading Tunes.
Brian Eno – ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’
“Another Green World is an album that I have been repeatedly told to listen to because I “would just love it” — and so I’ve avoided it for a long time. I’m glad I waited. Apart from a couple of songs where the bass player is jizzing everywhere, it’s an incredible album. I made my way to it after becoming obsessed with Bowie’s Berlin trilogy of albums, then I bought a pack of Oblique Strategy cards and read up on Eno. There is a good Pitchfork review goes into Eno’s ethos of album making in greater detail (found here) but basically Eno was all about process over outcome, which is something I admire and aspire to. Listen to this record and get obsessed. But maybe skip the first two songs which are just total bass jizz.”
Cocteau Twins – ‘Cherry-coloured Funk’
“Another example of a band that I’ve been told to get into but haven’t ’til recently. Liz Fraser sings really gorgeous nonsense. It’s all glossolalia, but some kind of meaning gets across.”
Gareth Liddiard’s Cocktail Favourites – ‘Vincent Van Gogh’
“This is a cover of a Jonathan Richman song. It’s an example for me of how music can be redemptive. I think it’s made more redemptive by the fact that Gareth Liddiard is singing it. At the moment in Australian music there seems to be a very dark undercurrent and lots of free-floating anxiety. It’s fine, it’s good even. It’s cathartic. We’re living in uncertain times and Australia is an anxious country. Recently I saw Neil Finn perform at Golden Plains, and for the second time in the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre I cried singing along to his music. And I wasn’t alone, it seemed like everyone was crying or was deeply affected by his music in some way. I think it’s cos his music is redemptive and he is like a conduit of positivity and everything’s-going-to-be-alrightism. World’s fucked but 10,000 people can still get together and have a singalong.
Van Gogh suffered from bipolar disorder and cut off his own ear in a fit of mania. He committed suicide when he was 37. But Richman doesn’t sing about any of this. Van Gogh is the pre-eminent tortured artist, but Richman sings about how much Van Gogh loved colour. The song is a compounded love letter, about Van Gogh loving colour more than any other painter, and Richman loving Van Gogh in his dewy-eyed way. And now Liddiard is joining in on that conversation and it’s really sweet.
There’s so much in this song that speaks to me about art and why art is important and why I love music and want to make it for the rest of my life. I’m obsessed.”
Charles Ives – Piano Sonata, Concord Mass III ‘The Alcotts’
“What is this? Ragtime impressionism? I don’t even know. But it’s so sweet and expressive and full of surprises and it gets nice and abstract as it goes on. It’s ambiguous. I got turned onto Ives after watching Leonard Bernstein‘s lecture series (found here), which is another thing to get obsessed with.”
Dead Or Alive – ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’
“Solid pop music. There’s something so aggressive about this song. It has a kind of aggressive sexual energy. Also: Pete’s voice.”