Free Time is a project of Dion Nania from Melbourne, the lineup around him rotating depending on whether he’s here in Melbourne or back in New York. The current lineup for his second album, In Search Of Free Time, includes Marty Frawley (Twerps), Zachary Schneider (Totally Mild) and Joe Alexander (Terrible Truths), making Free Time currently the most in-form super group in Melbourne.
Free Time caught our attention in 2013 with the release of the single ‘Nothin But Nice‘, a track that would go on to place at #34 in our The Top 100 Melbourne Tracks, 2011-2015 post. Their latest single ‘Who Owns The Moon?‘ lives up to the hype of the newly-formed super group. While we wait for the full length album to be released later this year via Bedroom Suck in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and via Underwater Peoples internationally, have a read and a listen to which local tunes Dion Nania has been listening to recently.
The Garbage & the Flowers – ‘Sandy Skies’
“The Garbage and The Flowers operate on The Garbage and The Flowers time, which is why there are gems like this (from, I’m guessing, early to mid ’90s) coming out this year – hopefully.”
Blue Chemise – ‘Abstract Gaze’
“Trapped in futuristic Boiler Room vibes.”
The Shifters – ‘Captain Hindsight’
“Enjoy this cool track from the debut cassette of The Shifters, a new band from Melbourne.”
Great Outdoors – ‘I Look Back’
“Zach from all of your favourite bands has a new project to add to your favourite bands list. The album’s out in a few months, do yourself a favour.”
Mad Nanna – ‘My Two Kids’
“Great song, great video. This is Mad Nanna‘s ‘Hotel California‘.”
Ripe’s Australian Chart is back for 2016. Once again we’ll be posting an update each week on our top tracks recently uploaded by Australian artists, ranked all the way to #1. You’ll find our chart below, and a weekly playlist on the Ripe SoundCloud.
We start this week with an old track from Melbourne’s own Thrupence, who uploaded the down-tempo track ‘Thought 02‘ from his 2012 album Thoughts. It was recorded in 2010 and is an interesting retrospective insight into the progression of one of Australia’s currently most respected electronic musicians. Next we have the Melbourne producer Andrei Eremin, who made ‘?̸̷̶♩̸̶♫̸̷̶⁽ؙ?♬♩҈҉҈̸̷̺̩̩̩͞͞͞ͅͅͅͅ٫̷̸⠀ ♪̶̷ ҈̞҉̝҈̽҉̽҈̻̾҈͟҉͟͝҉̼͡҉̺͠͝҉͛͝҈̸̼̺҈̷̵̼͢͟͡͞҈̻͟♯̸̶..‘ while waiting for his air conditioning to get installed in his apartment.
At #18 Spookyland out of Sydney have released the second single ‘God’s Eyes‘ off their upcoming debut album Beauty Already Beautiful – it’s expectedly climactic. Melbourne’s Roland Tings has remixed another Melbourne artist Banoffee at #17, by stripping away most of the vocals and crafting ‘With Her‘ into almost an original track that could easily feature on a new Tings album.
Govs from the Gold Coast provides a soft, groovy, yet deep track at #16 with ‘Let’s Go‘. A slick number filled with textures that really shine through quality speakers. Melbourne’s Wabz does an impressive impersonation of Actress at #15 with ‘Forest Of Feels‘. It even sounds a little like the experimental and thought-provoking moments of Death Grips.
Eastern Seaboard Electric Soul Ensemble aka Melbourne’s Esese provide a slow, sensual RnB jam to the playlist at #14 with ‘For Nuria‘. The debut single by the mysterious Melbourne producer Letran titled ‘71221325-02‘ makes it in at #13, sounding a little like ’90s techno, but more like the future. Continuing the Melbourne run, Smile deliver another track from their upcoming sophomore LP Rhythm Method with ‘Holiday‘. It’s a rather sombre experience, especially if you’re expecting a light summer song as implied by the title.
The 19-year-old Sydney producer Blake Gilray makes it in at #11 with ‘Coolabah‘. After also impressing us with ‘96‘ and ‘B-Side‘ a few months back, Gilray may just be the best teenage producer in the country. Coming in at #10 are Mangelwurzel, led by Jaala – although you’d quickly figure that out when you hear her distinctive voice. The Melbourne band even got Stu Mackenzie and Mike Young to help with the recording of the debut album Gary, which contains ‘I.O.U.‘. That’s already three positive ticks on this project so far.
The always-reliable The Drones drop in at #9, claiming that the new album Feelin Kinda Free is “really out there”. However the music in ‘To Think That I Once Loved You‘ isn’t particularly experimental, which makes me think that he’s instead referring to the bold lyrical statements. Courtney Barnett also returns with ‘Three Packs A Day‘ slotting in at #8. While I know a lot of people are tired of her, ‘Three Packs A Day’ (and her disappointing showing in a certain recent countdown) is a reminder that she’s not exactly a millionaire just yet and, even if she does become one, she’s still likely to sing about regular day to day life.
Coming in at #7 is Liluzu with ‘Gunko‘. The Melbourne producer is known more for his chill mixes, but ‘Gunko’ is both fun and interesting house music for sunny park parties and dark basements. It’s a clever track that you could easily throw in a mix, but it’d also feel at home in a cafe in Brunswick. Sydney rocker Le Pie has managed to get the lyric “and now I’m up all night, but not the fun type” stuck in my head all week thanks to her new track ‘Up All Night‘. She just makes songwriting sound effortless, and takes out #6 this week.
Cale Sexton is part of the Melbourne-based Butter Sessions label, which includes two other favourites of ours in Sleep D and Dan White. His almost 10-minute-long track ‘Open Minded Meltdown‘ comes in at #5. Its dark, subtle progression gives me the itch to spend the night in the dark basement of the Mercat. At #4, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever from outside Melbourne have dropped a video for ‘Wither With You‘, off an upcoming mini-LP titled Talk Tight. It’s old-school rock n’ roll, but it doesn’t sound tiresome; instead it’s full of innocent youth.
No Zu continue their hot streak with ‘Spirit Beat‘ at #3, a track that’s quickly becoming my favourite of theirs and the hardest to critique. Maybe it’s because deep down inside I thought there was a limitation to their sound? Yet they keep proving me wrong and now I’m all aboard the No Zu train.
It was never going to be easy for Good Morning to follow up the front-footed ‘Cab Deg‘, which placed at #8 in our 100 Best Australian Tracks of 2015, so the Melbourne band cleverly decide to follow it up with a track going the other direction completely, titled ‘To Be Won‘. I was already convinced that Glorywas going to be a critics’ darling album, and now that we hear piano at the end of this track and saxophone in another, my anticipation for this album is ridiculous at this point.
The first #1 for 2016 comes from the most in-form super group in Melbourne, Free Time. Consisting of members from Twerps, Totally Mild and Terrible Truths, it’s is a project that most people here in Melbourne still don’t know that much about, being led by Dion Nania who spends more time in New York. However, the upcoming sophomore album In Search For Free Time is off to a promising start with ‘Who Owns The Moon?‘. It’s unclear how long this super group will stay together, but hopefully it’s long enough for Free Time earn some well-deserved recognition.
20. Thrupence – ‘Thought 12’
Uploaded: January 21st
19. Andrei Eremin – ‘?̸̷̶♩̸̶♫̸̷̶⁽ؙ?♬♩҈҉҈̸̷̺̩̩̩͞͞͞ͅͅͅͅ٫̷̸⠀ ♪̶̷ ҈̞҉̝҈̽҉̽҈̻̾҈͟҉͟͝҉̼͡҉̺͠͝҉͛͝҈̸̼̺҈̷̵̼͢͟͡͞҈̻͟♯̸̶..’
Uploaded: January 7th
18. Spookyland – ‘God’s Eyes’
Uploaded: January 20th
17. Banoffee – ‘With Her (Roland Tings Remix)’
Uploaded: January 27th
16. Govs – ‘Let’s Go!’
Uploaded: January 8th
15. Wabz – ‘Forest Of Feels’
Uploaded: January 9th
14. Esese – ‘For Nuria (Lo-Fi)’
Uploaded: January 23rd
13. Letran – ‘71221325-02’
Uploaded: January 13th
12. Smile – ‘Holiday’
Uploaded: January 13th
11. Blake Gilray – ‘Coolabah’
Uploaded: January 25th
10. Mangelwurzel – ‘I.O.U.’
Uploaded: January 12th
9. The Drones – ‘To Think That I Once Loved You’
Uploaded: January 20th
8. Courtney Barnett – ‘Three Packs A Day’
Uploaded: January 11th
7. Liluzu – ‘Gunko’
Uploaded: January 19th
6. Le Pie – ‘Up All Night’
Uploaded: January 19th
5. Cale Sexton – ‘Open Minded Meltdown’
Uploaded: January 26th
4. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – ‘Wither With You’
The local YouTube channel Banalarama, run by Zachary Bradtke and Nick Clarke, put together an ABABCd event on January 8th at The Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne. Presented by Creative Victoria, the lineup consisted of The Harpoons, Mangelwurzel (led by Jaala), Sui Zhen and Terrible Truths.
While we were unfortunately unable to make it down to this one, the footage is thankfully online now, and it’s a great insight into the variety of sounds currently coming out of Melbourne on a regular basis.
A mysterious electronic producer from Melbourne, LETRAN (real name David Tran) has sent us his debut track ‘71221325-02‘. If you think that track title looks more like a file number than a final song title, it all makes sense when you hear the track, which sounds like a million tiny little robotic parts, beautifully working together in the search for something.
What exactly ‘71221325-02’ is searching for is unclear, but it makes me curious to hear more work from LETRAN. His sound sits closer to Aphex Twin than, say, DnB. It contains the breakneck speed of the latter, but it isn’t completely reliant on adrenaline to be enthralling. I’ve spun this track at least 15 times, and I still can’t remember all the twists and turns packed into its 4:41 body. That’s a good sign.
Le Pie out of Sydney have released her first original recording since last years And He Said Honey, You Look So Fine EP. Which caught our attention in February when we heard the opening track ‘Secrets‘. ‘Up All Night‘ finds Le Pie now on the front foot with a beefed up recording around her.
‘Up All Night’ has all the rock chick confidence of Sleater-Kinney or Ex Hex and the guitar riffs rip just as hard as those savvy rock bands. “You’ve got me up all night, but not the fun type” shouts out the now confrontational Le Pie, especially when compared to ‘Secrets’, which I described as “soft garage-pop” in my review. What both tracks make rather clear is that Le Pie has no problems constructing multiple, melody hooks within one song. Overall another positive move forward for Le Pie.
The tropic-beater Liluzu from Melbourne has uploaded the second track ‘Gunko‘ from his two track Heliotropic EP. Where as the previous track ‘Waiting On U‘ took a more mellow, pondering approach. ‘Gunko’ is lively and spry.
‘Gunko’ takes on parts of early sporadic Lone and even the bubbly side of the retro act Todd Terje. The term outsider-house comes to mind, because the arpeggios moments sound improvised, unrestrained and aren’t bass heavy, making them perfect for afternoon sets in the hot sun (A.K.A. park-parties). Overall ‘Gunko’ is played out like one big piece of string waving up and down in the wind, where you know roughly where it’s going, but it’s unpredictable enough to still be fun to chase.
The ’80s influenced alt-pysch, jam band NO ZU out of Melbourne are gearing up for the release of their second album Afterlifeand ‘Spirit Beat‘ is the third taste of it. We’ve already heard and featured heavily ‘Raw Vision‘ and ‘Ui Yia Uia‘ on the site, making ‘Spirit Beat’ a refreshing experience. It doesn’t stray too far from the sounds of the previous singles, but it doesn’t indicate that the group are short of ideas within their sound.
What No Zu do really well for a big band is sound concise and focused, even when all the layers are flying in and out in close proximity. Every No Zu song (including ‘Spirit Beat’) has a core structure, like a dancer performing on stage with lights, lasers, smoke machine and streamers, but instead of blazing all of these tools at the time, each one is used in quick small bursts in order to highlight the dancers presence at the centre. In other words No Zu are clever choreographers of their own sounds.
Afterlife is available February 5th via Chapter Music on vinyl and digital.
Free Time are back with their first single ‘Who Owns The Moon?‘ off the upcoming album In Search Of Free Time. The band is the project of Dion Nania from Melbourne and the lineup currently features other Melbourne musicians from Twerps, Totally Mild and Terrible Truths.
‘Who Owns The Moon?’ actually manages to fuse key elements of all the projects the new members come from. The strong guitar lead of Totally Mild, the lo-fi clanging drums of Terrible Truths and the Sonic Youth sounding moments of Twerps. The least distinguishable character is in fact Dion Nania. That’s not to say that he’s lacking character, he’s just not demanding attention, despite strong emotional sentences such as “She opens that door to my heart, when I’m with you, it’s like an elevator to the moon”. The lyrical staying power is present, the band sound tight here and sounded even tighter when I saw them live at The Tote in Melbourne last month. I just hope this translates through to the full length album.
S House is a new collaborative project consisting of Ed Service of IO and Jack Madin of The Harpoons.
The duo are set to debut this Thursday at The Tote in Melbourne for the Suiix headline show, which also features Martin King and Golden Girls. To get people excited, S House have sent us a guest mix filled with tracks from influences in the Melbourne dance scene, with the aim to highlight new and overlooked artists, DJs and producers.
The name ‘S House’ comes from the architect Yuusuke Karasawa, who built the house in Saitama, Japan with a labyrinth of wall-less, interconnected rooms where any neighbour or passerby can look right through it – although it also relates to the ’90s Safety House program in Australia, which helped keep suburban kids safe. Some of those kids may even be making it down to The Tote this week.
You can catch them this Thursday the 7th, and more info can be found here.
Track list: Fatima Al Qadiri – ‘Shanghai Freeway‘ Floorplan – ‘Never Grow Old‘ STL – ‘Silent State (Feat. Sadowick)‘ Percussions – ‘KHLHI‘ S House – ‘Support Structure (Feat. Mohini of Habits)‘ DJ Nori – ‘Happy Sunday‘ Jamaica Suk – ‘Qurated‘ Pantene – ‘Don’t Touch Me I’m Dancing‘ Lucy Cliche – ‘Passing Time‘ Avalon Emerson – ‘Sword and Rose Forever‘
I had never attended the Melbourne venue Howler on a hot night, let alone on a day that had hit 42 degrees Celsius, and was still above 30 during Roland Tings’ 12-1am set. I guess I just expected one of Melbourne’s newest venues to be well air conditioned, but even Howler struggled to handle the heat, and it didn’t help that the show was packed out. However, what saved the night was Roland Tings’ flawless set, which made sweating out 10 litres of bodily fluids absolutely worth it.
Another aspect that was unusual for Howler on this night was the fact that the lineup also consisted of other house artists such as Chiara Kickdrum, Bronze Savage and Dan White. This turned the crowd into the sort of wild party scene that you’d expect from other Melbourne clubs like Mercat or Boney, rather than the well-behaved music-loving crowd Howler would usually draw for bands. After all, the stage features a stack of foldback monitors, making it as wide as average festival stage, and a better fit for bands than DJs. Rohan Newman knew he had to take full advantage of it, and he brought in the A/V duo Friendships to provide the spot-on VJ’ing visuals in the background – which I’ll dissect shortly.
Photos by Sarah Chav’ (facebook.com/sarahchavphotos)
Rohan boldly took the stage in a top buttoned-up shirt and with a bottle of champagne in his hand, but after just ten minutes he was already already feeling the heat, and resorted to drinking water for the rest of the set. He had only introduced a few kick beats, patiently taking his time, and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand – I didn’t hear one person complain throughout the introduction. As tracks from his debut album began to slide in, it became clear that every track was a slightly extended or more layered form of its album version. ‘Organic’ would best describe Roland Tings’ transitions, with no sharp turns or startling moments, but he also challenges the listener from time to time with buzz noises and slow downs.
While he had everyone dancing, jumping around and climbing up on top of the couches at the back, there was another element to this show that made this Roland Tings set feel like a steal of an entry price – the visuals in the background. Aware that pastel colours and simple shapes are Roland’s aesthetic, Friendships morphed them perfectly to the music, never trying to do too much or lose your interest through repetition.
The visual highlight and moment of the night was the drop during ‘Pala‘. A single elephant casually walked around the screen throughout (coincidentally fitting the hot theme of the night) and then, when the drop finally happened, the elephant exploded into several faster moving siblings – and the crowd literally lost their minds. Rohan even took a break to dance and turn around to appreciate the visuals. Everyone was loving it, and the entire crowd appeared to know all of Roland Tings’ tunes from their very first beats, smelling blood frequently before even my sober self knew which track was emerging.
The night really proved how big a difference well-executed projections can make, and that Roland Tings needs to make this a regular live feature – the red LED lights and smoke machine did the job during his Paradise Music Festival set, but weren’t particularly memorable. This set’s only negative, on the other hand, was that there wasn’t more of it.