09 Nov WORLD’S END PRESS @ The Toff – November 5th

Melbourne Cup weekend is always an interesting one. Aside from the regular antics about a shitload of horses running in a circle, there’s always a plethora of great shows and gigs to choose from over an epic four nights. This year was no different, and World’s End Press stood up at the Toff in Town to an assemble one of the best party lineups I have seen in a long time. As I arrived at the venue, there was a clear sense that on the final night of the long weekend, the barrel had been chased and the party was in full swing. Playing to an alarmingly sweaty crowd, Client Liaison had everything under control. The playful but intense party vibe really impressed me. The lead singer was shirtless, dripping with sweat, and hitting some incredibly confident notes. I spent the 10 minutes following the set ruing what could have been a serious revelation had I witnessed the entire set. Watch out for these guys.

After making my way through the excited crowd to the front, I observed a band I regard as a diamond in the rough of the Melbourne music scene. World’s End Press have this incredible and rare ability of connecting with a crowd, and despite playing a lot of material not yet released, the packed crowd rollicked and appreciated every subtle detail of the driving, deep and euphoric set. As the show moved on, WEP adopted a live DJ-set-non-stop vibe, with some inspired transition work leading into ‘Second Day Uptown’ before absolutely murdering with ‘Drag Me Home’, which I can’t wait to hear for myself upon it’s release.

Frontman Rhys Richards was quick to express appreciation for the warm reception after “having not played for a long, long time”. The band recently took time away from the country to make tracks on a debut LP with the guidance of DFA/Mo’ Wax legend Tim Goldsworthy. After reviewing World’s End Press at their last show in late June, I can definitely say that the excitement of releasing a debut LP is fanning the flames of the outrageously fun and technically skilled live show.

After the final song concluded (I still can’t get that piano house melody out of my head), it was up to Modular’s recently signed Otologic to bring the party home. And that they did. Spanning through a variety of genres ranging from deep house, techno and acid, the duo once again reminded us why they are Melbourne’s late night specialists. Every set is a different experience and I couldn’t recommend them more highly to anybody interested in delving into something a little more involved than your run-of-the-mill DJ set. I saw the future on Monday night.

One final thing that I will say is this – World’s End Press operate as a whole in complete synchronicity and with an unwavering passion for sharing happiness through their music. For me, this is what it’s all about. If you haven’t seen them live before, be sure to catch them at the Falls Festival in Lorne or on their next tour with Collarbones (!!). Dates below.

Tix: 

Falls Music & Arts Festival
Lorne (VIC) 28th Dec – 1st Jan (SOLD OUT)

The Good Hustle, Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne, Saturday 1 December
Tickets via http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=35639

Good God, Sydney, Thursday 6 December.
With Collarbones and Polographia
Tickets via http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/collarbones-worlds-end-press/61589

Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, Friday 7 December
With Collarbones and Mitzi
Tickets via http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/mitzi-worlds-end-press-collarbones/61294

 

REVIEW BY SCOTT ARMSTRONG 

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02 Nov City Calm Down – Movements EP

I first had the pleasure of seeing Melbourne’s City Calm Down at The Workers Club about three years ago. It was a support slot which absolutely blew me away. I remember thinking “these guys are going to be huge.” The technical aspect of the live show alone was enough to blow my mind, let alone the passion and skill that they possessed as young musicians. Having just signed to Melbourne’s beloved I OH YOU label, City Calm Down has taken a much-deserved stride into the limelight. The first single off of the Movements EP titled ‘Pleasure and Consequence’ has been given a welcome run on radio stations such as triple J in the last month.

Sense of Self’ lets the pop sensibilities shine through. The track allows lead singer Jack Bourke to really hold each note to the vocal melody, and the chorus is incredibly catchy. This is one of the finer moments on this outstanding EP.

Burn Slow’ and ‘Dare’ have been tweaked to reflect the sound of the new EP, they are presented in a much more concise format – something I didn’t think at all possible after having rated the Dare/Burn Slow EP as one of the better EP’s early 2012.

Stay’ is guitar-driven in its foundations. It ebbs and flows and employs a driving synthesizer layering very well. Bourke’s passionate vocals really set this track off to create an almost overwhelming sense of euphoria during the last verse. This is one to wait for if you’re catching them live.

Title track ‘Movements’ creates an airy, atmospheric canvas. With soft vocals, it’s a nice addition to the EP and provides contrast and purpose for the other tracks, which are a lot more dance-oriented.

City Calm Down have produced a stellar EP. It’s been a long time coming but it’s definitely been worth the wait. The production exceeds that of any prior material that they have released and it’s very clear that the song writing has taken a step up in many aspects. They play at Liberty Social Club tomorrow night (November 3rd) with supports from Midlife, Rat & Co and DJ sets from local heroes Bossman and Otologic. If you haven’t seen CCD live yet, I suggest you catch them while you still can in an intimate setting. Big things are on the way.

 

REVIEW BY SCOTT DANIEL ARMSTRONG

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18 Sep I OH YOU X CONVERSE MELBOURNE HALLOWEEN PARTY w/ Special Guest Twinsy

>> Check out more info on this event in our gigs section

Melbourne trendsetters I OH YOU have teamed up with ever-fresh footwear label Converse (no I’m not getting free shoes for saying that) to bring the party to The Workers Club in Fitzroy tonight!

Earlier today, the already amazing line-up for the I OH YOU Halloween party welcomed the addition of Melbourne dance act Twinsy. Twinsy have only just begun figuring out their live show set up, playing a string of appearances including their latest slot as supports for Last Dinosaurs. Michael from Hunting Grounds and Guy from Yacht Club have been entertaining willing fans in their respective musical ventures, however a new live set up is a whole new ball game. But, by all accounts erverything has gone swimmingly, filling the floor with their unique brand of dance pop.

I OH YOU PARTY Line-up

As well as Twinsy, the line-up boasts a hangover inducing an array of local party starters including the desperately anticipated return of Violent Soho, Brisbane duo Dune Rats, Drunk Mums, Melbourne’s own W.E.P DJs (World’s End Press), Splendour-in-the-Grass-conquering Bleeding Knees DJs, Oscar + Martin DJs, Two Bright Lakes DJs, recently heralded as “signing of the year” City Calm Down DJs, Indian Summer, Airwolf, Jasper, Marquee Moon, Tomderson, and Bossman DJs. The idea for the party is inspired by a haunted house theme, with both levels of the Workers Club being made open to party goers.

It almost goes without saying, the four housemates who started I OH YOU have thrown some parties, but this is not to be messed with. Tickets are not available through presale and are $15 on the door.

 

REVIEW BY SCOTT ARMSTRONG

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12 Sep THE PRESETS – Pacifica

After having wrapped up a hectic schedule of touring and festival headline spots, 2009 saw Sydney duo The Presets wander off away from the public eye to take some time off and to produce their third studio album. Finally, on the 7th of September 2012, Pacifica was released into the world via Modular Records to an incredible amount of hype and speculation as to what the album would hold. Having released the powerhouse that was Apocalypso, my natural instinct has been to draw direct comparisons to one of the best Australian albums of the 2000’s, but in doing so found that this album takes a step away from the sound they popularised so widely.

Youth In Trouble” is the first single from this album. It really shows the appreciation Julian and Kim have for older techno tracks and there’s no doubt it’s a statement and signifies the new direction they are taking. Julian’s vocals are used as a focal point for the track above the minimal club beat until it builds up to the point of complete ecstasy. I truly believe that this is one of the most important EDM tracks of the year, but in the context of Pacifica, by no means should it be the first track on the album.

From here the album unexpectedly takes a deviation into left-of-field pop music. “Ghosts”, having not quite grabbed me the first time, really took well on the second listen with its consuming anthemic chorus. Whilst this track is easy to tap your feet to, I do tend to question the vocals and the preaching sailors ballad nature of its essence. “Promises” is unashamed dance pop and is quite derivative of the Pet Shop Boys material that they love to reference. One of the interesting parts of this track is the vocal layering which gives Julian a chance to really hold the song, which is important given his ability and outstanding vocal strength. Interestingly enough, this is one of the only tracks on the album that adheres to traditional pop structures.

Push” really harks back to that Beams unique style, something that was missing on Apocalypso, and it’s fantastic to see the subtle nod for any older fans. “Fall” is packed with subtle drama. This upbeat disco number could very well be the next single off the album, and with very good reason. It’s dramatic, euphoric and oozes style. You could be forgiven for thinking that this track was straight from the cutting room floor of the Apocalypso sessions, and at times it almost sounds like “Aeons”. Moyes and Hamilton have absolutely nailed the synths in terms of creating an atmospheric sound, this is a summer anthem waiting in the wings.

It’s Cool” contrasts nicely to the rest of the album with its downbeat nature. Its a melancholic piano ballad that slowly comes into its own with a great vocal structure, definitely one of the more somber moments on Pacifica. “A.O” is one of the most peculiar tracks on the album. It rests on a recurring ‘A.O!’ chant with brooding vocals and a slowly teasing build which continues until you find yourself being hit in the face with a incredible abrasive wall of sound which could easily be mistaken for something Swedish House Mafia have put their hand to, but in a good way.

Despite what the masses may say about this album, I find Pacifica to be a logical and natural progression from Apocalypso; the subtle nuances of the dance pop tracks really use the finer elements from previous work to create something new, fresh and completely uplifting. The only criticism I have for the album is that the ideas and themes haven’t been sequenced to produce the best effect. Starting the album with “Youth in Trouble” followed by “Ghosts” and “Promises” created a completely different expectation to what I ended up experiencing by the end. Quirky? Yes. Peculiar? Yes! That’s the Presets though; they’ve become one of EDM’s all conquering duos and I can only hope that they will move forward to create more LP’s in future.

You can catch Julian and Kim headlining the Parklife Festivals across Australia on the following dates:

  • Parklife Brisbane
  • Saturday 29th September – Riverstage and Botanic Gardens
  • Parklife Sydney
  • Sunday 30th September – Centennial Park
  • Parklife Perth
  • Monday 1st October – Wellington Square
  • Parklife Melbourne
  • Saturday 6th October – Sidney Myer Music Bowl and Kings Domain
  • Parklife Adelaide
  • Sunday 7th October – Botanic Park, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide
  • Pacifica is out now on Modular Records and is available through iTunes and all good record stores.
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09 Sep REVIEW: THE XX – Coexist

After The XX won the Mercury Music Prize in 2010, Oliver Sim, Romy Madley-Croft and Jamie Smith (after bandmate Baria Qureshi was removed) came out and made it clear that they felt no pressure to deliver a follow up album, and if there were one, it would be on their own terms. Whilst this was a worrying sign, it was the perfect example of how The XX are different to most other bands who have reached this level of fame, and unsurprisingly, this album is as unique and multifaceted as one could hope for. The pressures, which the band faced to deliver on this album, were increased by the popularisation of the work Jamie XX has produced on both the Gil-Scott Heron collaboration and with his remix materials, and thankfully these works permeate perfectly into Coexist to create something truly special.

First single off the album “Angels” slowly contrasts Madley-Crofts amazing vocals with swirling guitars and pulls at heart strings immediately with slow chord progressions as she laments “they would be as in love with you as I am”. This track has that minimal feel whilst still retaining incredible intensity and emotion that the band achieves so consistently.

Chained” is a song about two people in a relationship questioning why they are growing apart. This track marks Oliver Sims entrance onto Coexist and it isn’t without spectacular results as they head back to the duet style, which was so prominent on “XX”. As the track progresses, there is a slow build up and introduction of each element and Smith’s percussion work is simple and provides a real drive to the track.

Both “Try” and “Reunion” are tracks on the album where the Jamie XX influence is very evident. In my opinion this was a move that was absolutely essential in terms of capitalizing on the popular sound which he has carved out in the last few years. The only disappointing aspect of “Reunion” is that the live rendition of this track has a much heavier and overpowering club beat behind it, which really created something brooding and dark as opposed to the finished product on the album.

Sunset” is one of the biggest tracks of the year. It explores the idea of seeing an ex again and the shift in relationship which a breakup can cause in such a deep way. Basically, this song is a more refined and personal “Somebody that I used to know”, hopefully without the Glee cover. Again, the formula of intertwining male and female vocals works so cohesively to really create a melancholic masterpiece, and the shift in pitch toward the end creates a very desperate and jaded wave which

Missing is Oliver Sims moment on this album, it works so well off of the “my heart is beating in a different way” vocal motif, with Madley-Croft’s distant echoing vocals cushioning the arrangement perfectly, the synths used in the later track are simple but refined and provide a great refrain. This one is definitely a highlight.

Swept Away” is one of the dancier tracks on this album despite its modest beginnings, the dramatic piano plays off of the kicks to really establish a polished bass for the track to progress and as new elements are introduced it comes together to the point where the vocals become secondary.

Coexist, whilst abiding by the same formula of the first record, provides a creative shift that firmly plays toward the strengths of all three members. There is no radio friendly poppy hits like “Crystalized” waiting in the wings, more so this is an album geared to the more patient and involved listener and when given the time, Coexist far exceeds the strength of it’s predecessor. The XX have stated they are coming back down under early next year, and given the strength of the Forum show in July, it won’t be one to miss. 8.5/10

REVIEWED BY SCOTT ARMSTRONG

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05 Sep HOT CHIP – How Do You Do (Todd Terje Remix)

Dance music heavyweights, Hot Chip, have grown before my eyes.  From seeing them play the 2pm slot at Big Day Out to an electrifying, late Mix Up slot at Splendour in the Grass 2010, each album has projected them into a playing field that few other artists of the genre will experience.

Take Hot Chip, and Norwegian disco heavyweight, Todd Terje, and you have some serious chemistry. Teaming up for a remix of “How Do You Do?” on the 2012 album In Our Heads, Terje brings a layering space-disco assault, which slowly builds deep bass, teasing high hats and synth arrangements that ebb and flow whilst still holding the spirit of the original track.

The vocal layering of this re-imagination is one of the changes I like most. It’s not too overpowering and yet it still provides a unique driving feel as the different layers intertwine to create a symphony of what I can only describe as 4AM bliss. The breakdown slowly teases and foreshadows what’s to come, but doesn’t detract too much from the organic arrangement that makes this track so easy to really involve yourself with.

Luckily for us, Hot Chip will be heading Down Under to play at the Lorne and Marion Bay Falls Festivals. Todd Terje will make his way to Melbourne fresh from Harbourlife to play Smalltown at Liberty Social Club on 7 December.

CATCH THE EVENT ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/175858955883379/

REVIEW BY SCOTT ARMSTRONG

 

 

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22 Aug BLOC PARTY – Four

It’s been four years since the last album “Intimacy” from London indie-rock quartet Bloc Party, and new release “Four” couldn’t have come quick enough. I have to admit, I am a big fan of the band and when I heard about the hiatus that commenced in 2009, I was definitely ‘hoping for a miracle’ (sorry) and a new album before the curtain drew on the career of a quintessential Indie Rock band of the 2000’s. Kele Okereke, Russell Lissack, Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong are no strangers to pushing a new sound, which has often garnered criticism and constant comparisons to the 2005 debut, “Silent Alarm”, and whilst this album harks back to that sound more than any other album since, there is also a big deviation into what can only be described as heavy rock/metal on many tracks.

Opener “So He Begins to Lie” wastes no time getting down to it, setting the tone for a very live sounding album. The guitars are undulating and light and the bass deep. There are some big moments on this track, but the shock of the new sound is almost as overwhelming as having the band back, as lead singer Kele swoons “the cameras are watching”.

3×3” has an epic-driving feel throughout the track. Kele shows his vocal range more than ever and the recurring “no” – “yes” motif is a great lyrical build toward the latter stages. I’m only going to make this comparison once, but this is the “She’s Hearing Voices” of 2012.

Octopus” is one of my tracks of the year. It has such a fresh sound with the constant guitar looping, playful lyrics and an infectious chorus that is still stuck in my head from Splendour in The Grass a few weeks ago. The yawning at the beginning of the track could be taken to symbolise the awakening of the beast (either that or I can hear the dreaded “4.9” Pitchfork reviewer from here). Russell Lissacks guitar solo may sound like Daft Punk, but it fits so seamlessly into this first single off the album and is a perfect example of the new direction the band are taking. It took some time, but this is for me.

Real Talk” is a relaxed affair, layering guitars and what sounds like banjo behind a simple beat. Ultimately I don’t feel like this is a track that will symbolise the album for me.

Kettling” is heavy duty. This is the sound of “Four” that had Lindsay ‘The Doctor’ McDougall musing on triple j, “I thought I had pressed play on the wrong song, this can’t be Bloc Party?!” I can’t say I can totally see where this sound came from or where it can possibly go, but something about it is endearing, maybe the anthemic chanting or 17 year old rebelliousness which shines through. This track is easily paired with “Coliseum” which creates a western-esque soundscape before launching into some seriously heavy guitar work. It’s not that these songs aren’t musically inspired, or even that they’re poorly executed, it’s more that they don’t seem to fit any mould or strive to fall into any growing genre, as “Intimacy” did so well.

For me, the back end of this album is where it’s at. The airey “V.A.L.I.S” builds in waves and the result is a lush, melodic track that doesn’t try to be too much at any time and clearly works towards the bands strengths. “Team A” builds with light guitar loops as Kele sings with a certain tone of desperation until, out of nowhere, we are back to the heaviness of Kettling and the screams of “I’m gonna ruin your life” are echoing out of the distorted mess. The track blends so well to build to the point of ecstasy that it really just works.

Despite a kooky opening, “Truth” (as heard at Splendour In The Grass, to rapturous response) is fresh and is lyrically revealing. Backing vocals are used to the best effect during the chorus and at its core, it’s brilliant! I would expect to be hearing this as one of the next singles off “Four” given it’s likeness to many tracks on “Silent Alarm”.

The Healing”, whilst basic, is sonically very dense and I really love the way the song ebbs and flows as it slowly creeps on. This is a great track not only on it’s own, but as a part of the greater album to provide contrast and calm, if anything, “Four” could do with more moments like this.

Finally, “We are not good people” is one last ditch at the fast paced, emotionally raw and guitar shredding heavy style that the album has been characterised by for me. It’s not totally my thing, but then again, I don’t make the mistake of thinking that great albums are meant to be understood the first time around.

On the whole, I think that the album is classic Bloc Party. There’s not much bullshit and it has a clear direction. I definitely didn’t anticipate the stylistic diversion from where “Intimacy” left off, but this is going to be an album that I cherish for a long time to come. Not because it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard, but because we so easily may never have had the chance to hear it. If you’ve listened to the band in the past, I definitely recommend having a listen and next time they’re down, be sure not to miss what is one of the best live bands I have ever seen.

REVIEW BY SCOTT ARMSTRONG

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24 Jul Interview: Single Parents

Single Parents are an Alt-Rock band out of Sao Paolo, Brazil. I was lucky enough to have a chat with frontman Fernando Dotta about the band, plans for the future and what the scene in Brazil holds for bands trying to make their way. After releasing their debut album Unrest in March through their own label, Balaclava Records, the band have been on the road touring and have just released a live video for their track “Unrest”.

***

Scott: Fernando! Thanks for taking the time to catch up. Give us an idea of what the next year holds for you guys as part of the process of playing the album and recording in future.

Fernando: We are still focusing on this year’s agenda. There is a lot to work on still for this album…gigs in Sao Paulo and the countryside, other cities, local festivals and chances to tour in Europe any time in the second semester. In terms of next year, that will be the time to write and record new songs, if not before that.

You just released a video for your single “Unrest”, MTV Brazil have featured it and the clip has gained a lot of traction online, how did the idea come about for the style you chose?

The idea for the video “Unrest” was to mainly capture the energy from our live performances…small clubs, band next to the crowd, strobe lights to warm the ambient, loud and noisy rock. It’s our second video for this album and we still have a lot more work to do in terms of the videos we want to release.

I think it’s a really fascinating thing to compare and contrast your influences with those of say, Australian bands, simply as a method of understanding the differences in scenes. What are your main influences and how has the Brazil scene had an impact on the album?

Our influences are mostly 90s, shoegaze, lo-fi bands and college rock. We’ve got a lot influences; lots from the 80s and 90s. We try to be conscious of what’s happening nowadays, but there is no intention to recreate any specific kind of sound. We play what we enjoy to do live and like any band, that’s a result of loving and exploring music from all over the place. Brazilian music in its roots is not a big influence for us, but we share a stage with loads of bands from around the country that are influenced by Manchester and Seattle sounds. Most rock Brazilian bands known here were influenced by 80s bands, such as The Smiths, The Police or the punk scene; Ramones and Misfits.

When it came to the album, what was the recording process like?

The album was recorded and mastered in New York and the recording was at Seaside Lounge during march 2011. Same studio where bands like The National, New Pornographers and Beirut recorded some of their works. As for the mastering, we choose someone that had worked with artists we are influenced by. Matthew Agoglia had previously worked on the Arctic MonkeysHumbug” and Spoon‘s “Transference“. We thought it could bring some good results, we are really happy with the finished product, which is such a great feeling for us.

Thanks for taking the time, we hope to catch you down under at some stage for some shows!

It’s been a pleasure, we hope so too!

***

Having just played as support for A Place To Bury Strangers (USA) in Sao Paolo, things are definitely on the rise for Single Parents. Catch the clip for “Unrest” below. The album, released in March, is available worldwide through iTunes here:

http://itunes.apple.com/br/album/unrest/id522124917

INTERVIEW BY SCOTT ARMSTRONG

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