Knightlife (aka Melbourne’s Mike Gamwell) has been releasing his recent material on Cut Copy‘s label Cutters Records, who also look after other favourites of ours such as Ara Koufax, NO ZU, Statue and more. He returned late last year with the VII12″, which featured ‘Solstice‘, a killer track that would end up landing in our 100 Best Australian Tracks of 2015 post, and spend a good amount of time around the top of our weekly Australian charts.
He has sent us this, our latest guest mix, feature a tight selection of international and local tracks. In almost an hour, Mike manages to weave a wide variety of styles into a smooth flowing mix. While we wait for his new EP later this year, we can get to know what makes Knightlife tick.
Paranoid London – ‘Line Up Meltdown’
Klein & M.B.O. – ‘Last Call (Unreleased Instrumental)’
Charlie – ‘Spacer Woman’
Ame – ‘119 BPM’
Alien Alien – ‘Soter’
Kelton Prima – ‘Ecstasy Au Paradis’
Palms Trax – ‘Sumo Acid Crew
Knightlife – ‘Mangusta’
Junior Boys – ‘Big Black Coat’
Jimmy Edgar – ‘Burn’
Rex The Dog – ‘You Are A Blade’
Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force – ‘Looking For The Perfect Beat’
Adonis – ‘No Way Back’
Mike Simonetti – ‘Bossa Nova Civic Club Bootleg’
András & Oscar – ‘I Know What You Want’
Harvey Sutherland – ‘Oscillate’
On February 12th at Hugs & Kisses in Melbourne, I OH YOU are hosting an event titled Lover’s Rock ~ Valentine’s Dance. The lineup features four local favourites of ours, including the fun and rhythmic sounds of Broadway Sounds; the carefree, country garage rock vibes of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever; the witty and punctual songs of ScotDrakula; and finally, the tasteful The Harpoons are also set to DJ.
It starts at 10pm and is only $15 on the door, making it a bargain post-Valentines day dinner gig.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
The Harpoons (DJ SET)
Rainbow Connection DJs
I OH YOU DJs
Please note: Hugs&Kisses is a members only club. Guests are encouraged to click here to join.
Overproducing an album can often be a sign of perfectionism, but just like any food manufacturing process, it can result in a loss of natural goodness. Many musicians love to write music, but they just aren’t natural songwriters and need to overproduce in order to achieve anything substantial. Then there’s Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons of Good Morning who, just like the titular character in the movie Good Will Hunting, are so naturally gifted and yet may not even be aware of their own potential.
Even other respected Australian songwriters such as Courtney Barnett or Marty Frawley (Twerps) may appear to write songs straight from a pure stream of thought, but even they need to chisel away at their craft in the studio. Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons often sound like they’ve just woken up, written a song, nailed it, and then recorded it straight away. The EP’s first track is even titled ‘Overslept‘, where they sing, “What in the world should I say?” They’ve recorded the song before they’ve even realised it’s recorded.
This isn’t to say that the duo are stumbling buffoons who keep getting lucky. They’re clearly talented guitarists who, by the end of ‘The Great Start‘, had me convinced that they had travelled from the future with an arsenal of stolen guitar parts. Then there’s the endless amount of memorable melodies that would make Mac DeMarco jealous because they sound far less formulated than Mac’s. That dreamy, soft, Brooklyn lo-fi period between 2008-2012 is definitely an influence on the duo, but whereas many of those bands were style over substance, Good Morning are substance over style.
You can’t often clearly hear what they’re saying outside of song titles, but it works as an exclamation point, in the same way you might think to yourself before making a statement out loud. When the band could just ride the assertive guitar hook in ‘Cab Deg‘ to carry the song, they pull off a catchy duo harmony in a way only conjoined twins should be able to pull it off. If you’ve seen their stage banter, which consists of regularly making fun of each other without any possible threat of truly insulting each other, you’d think they were brothers.
I’ve seen them cover the Victory Curtains & Blinds jingle at Paradise Festival, but it’s not all fun and games. They sing, “I’ve been drinking / It doesn’t change how I feel” in ‘Give Me Something To Do‘. ‘To Be Won‘ paints of the picture of a sorrowful person, staring out of a window while it rains outside, an image that actually featured on their first EP cover. There’s a longing for something more in the distance. The young band already travelled to NYC last year to perform. The ambition is there. The songwriting is there. The talent is there. Just exactly what Good Morning want to be is still a work in progress. The two main influences I keep hearing, Broken Dreams Club EP by Girls and Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter, are positive steps in an interesting direction. I’ve even seen the guys attend several electronic events in Melbourne, which would bring another dimension altogether to Good Morning.
Gloryisn’t the album that’s going to make them a household name just yet. Maybe if they had condensed the 17 tracks they’ve released in the past 14 months into one album, that album would’ve made a bigger statement. However, the subtle diversity of Glory confirms that Good Morning aren’t restricted by parameters. Their only restriction is themselves. Once they start taking risks and the vocals become slightly more prominent, they’ll find themselves up the top with Tame Impala and Courtney Barnett.
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. Flume surprised us with ‘Smoke & Retribution‘ at #25. He has Vince Staples and Perth’s own Kučka to thank for injecting new life into his upcoming second album. It’ll be interesting to see if Flume settles into a producer role for singers similar to that of Disclosure and Rustie, or if he aims to remain the focal point of his project.
At #24 River Yarra out of Melbourne is on the Solitaire record label with other favourites of ours Good Morning, I’lls and Asdasfr Bawd. He has uploaded a reflective down tempo track called ‘Song For Tan‘, which seems to be dedicated to the passing of his dog. Rest in piece, pup.
Sliding in at #15 is ‘Mikrowave‘ by S M Jenkins from Sydney’s Step-Panther. The vocals sound like Kevin Mitchell from the ’90s Australian band Jebediah, but the vibe is more in the vein of Dick Diver or The Ocean Party. This is a strong start to his solo project I’d say.
Annika Schmarsel aka Alice Ivy from Melbourne comes in at #14 with ‘Touch‘ featuring Georgia Van Etten. It’s a throwback to artists such as Air France and The Tough Alliance. You can catch her perform in Sydney, Geelong, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart this month.
Adelaide’s Summer Flake caught our attention in October last year with her Time Rolls By EP, and now she’s already back with the first single ‘Shoot And Score‘ off her second record Hello Friends. There’s a heavier grunge element present on ‘Shoot And Score’ then her previous material, and I’m curious to see how the new album plays out live.
At #12 we head up north to Brisbane for the catchiest guitar hook and chorus of the week: Chook Race with ‘At Your Door‘. This very addictive single is the first from their Around The House LP due out later this year via the severely-underrated Brisbane label Tenth Court.
The biggest mover and shaker of the week however is from Melbourne’s Hoodlem with ‘Kintsugi‘. The track has jumped up into #7 with its fusion of oozing bass lines, soul, and soft electronic dabbles. The duo follow in the steps of our local heroes The Harpoons and provide, via sharp craftsmanship, a genuine sexiness that’s often missing from Australia’s music scene. I expect to hear the name Hoodlem a lot more in 2016.
Gold Class are a post punk band from Melbourne consisting of Mark Hewitt, Evan James Purdey, Jon Shub and Adam Curley, their tight and intense live shows comparable to those of Savages. The band only started jamming together at the start of 2014 and last year they released their well-received debut album It’s You.
The album’s ten songs were recorded in just four days, which explains how the band managed to keep the energy high and not sound overproduced. The album highlights include ‘Furlong‘, ‘Life As A Gun‘ and ‘Bite Down‘. It’s still very early days for Gold Class, but the group’s cohesion is as strong as any band in the country right now.
The band are set to play at the White Night festival in Melbourne along with The Harpoons, Sampa The Great, Planète, Otologic and Harvey Sutherland. Before you catch their performance, have a read and listen below to what the band’s been listening to recently.
Faceless Burial – ‘Useless Seed’
“You can’t just sit around listening to Stareway and Expensive Dog forever. Get rid of it. Get out of the house. Of course all roads lead back to The Tote, to that boxy upstairs room, where you clench your teeth and squint into someone else’s maxed-out HiWatt stack, already back on the treadmill you were trying to get off. Trying to get off. Is catharsis real? What is metal? Max Kohane drums in this band.”
Tlaotlon – ‘Spetra’
“A marriage of two of my favourite things: Jeremy Coubrough’s diabolical loop experiments (all of them going at different speeds, all of them danceable, all at once) and Vancouver’s 1080p label (also the brainchild of a transplanted Kiwi). Last time I saw him throw down was at The Mercat a few weeks ago. He had to mix on CDJs, which he had never used before. One minute he was fumbling around trying to turn the thing on. The next minute, boom, best set ever.”
Powder – ‘Spray’
“Michael Kucyk’s description of Powder’s debut record as being one of “world weird and alien electronics” was not only the finest slice of frontier grammar from a music enthusiast since The Negative Guest List, but also descriptive of the world I hope to live in one day: a distant utopia devoid of electric guitars. Powder is a woman from Tokyo who stays up all night every night kicking out exquisite jams like this one.”
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.