Relatively unknown producer Tuscan Ruins launched their first EP ‘Miel‘ on cassette tape last Thursday. With previous work under the name Runsthevoodoodown via Potatoheadz, ‘Miel’ brings an evolution to the Melbourne producer’s sound.The hangovers of their previous work remain – crunchy sounds and a brooding aesthetic – but there is more of a narrative to the most recent release.
Listening to ‘Alone at the Tyrrenhian‘ brings to the forefront of your mind the works of Aphex Twin, especially their ‘Selected Ambient Works Volume II‘. The pulsing rhythm of ‘The Windswept Harbour, Her Curtained Navel‘ punches through the milieu of the other more atmospheric tracks, gravitating towards a more traditional techno sound.
The tape launch at Skydiver Record Store in Collingwood saw a handful of people and some friendly dogs down for a few cases of budget beer (Clue: the name of the lager rhymes with “spun”). Given the meteoric rise of some of Melbourne’s lo-fi artists (such as Rudolf C, Hymns, Shedbug) Tuscan Springs is one to watch.
This is our updated weekly playlist of the 40 best new Australian songs released within the past two months. This week’s guide includes new entries from Den, Caroline No, Jaala, Gabriella Cohen, Courtney Barnett, Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton, Mio, Suss Cunts, Gradi, Cool Sounds, Hatchie, Assorted Pleasures, Leisure Centre, Exhibitionist, Alta and this week’s best new track by Body Type.
Good chance you’ve been there. Lusting for someone on the other side of the planet. Staying up all night messaging across the internet, living in “pixel dreams,” as Otis Thomas describes it.
‘Gina‘ is about that exact situation. In this case it’s Oliver from Otis Thomas, who is singing concerningly about his long distance relationship with Gina. Oliver “just can’t get enough” and he’s “coming apart at the seams.” There’s a good chance that between waiting online for replies from Gina, sitting at his computer with his guitar, he pieced together the outline of this song. Judging by how polished-yet-not-too-polished the track is, he worked on it over multiple online chats until “quarter to four.” That tired haziness audibly wobbles out of his throat.
If you enjoy Dick Diver‘s ability to recap a real life situation like it’s a Sunday morning chat in the backyard, under natural lighting between watering plants and drinking organic tea (feeling wholesome in other words), then welcome Otis Thomas to your share-house playlist.
Otis Thomas are playing with SOOK and SCK CHX for the SCK CHX EP launch at the Botany View on the 13th of April.
The Melbourne existential-neon five piece Curves have kindly given us the honour of premiering their latest song ‘Marcel’s Booth‘, the second single since their 2016 All Made Up EP.
If Total Giovanni is Melbourne’s modern version of Talking Heads, then Curves are Melbourne’s modern Depeche Mode. Curve’s ties to new-wave extend beyond the layers of deep synth sounds to the visual on early ’80’s MTV music videos. Singer Patrick Mooney comes from the film world, which plays an important role in Curves’ music. Every lyric reads like a script, from “Dancing alone in a New York Apartment” to “And everyone’s having fun.”
Curves transcend you to an alternative universe where new-wave revivalists James Pants and Twin Shadow are the world’s biggest stars. Everything is a little warped, the sounds suck you in and out. Even the track title was originally ‘Marcel’s Diner’ not ‘Marcel’s Booth’, so you know exactly where they are, but if you’ve seen Twin Peaks you know that weird unusual things happen in diner booths.
Even the timing of releasing the song on Valentine’s Day adds to the romantic intimate experience, a feeling you can really only get from a movie.
Curves are expected to perform regularly around Melbourne this year and release their second EP, too.
Watch Curves live in the Ripe office back in December 2017.
There’s a fine line when it comes to cryptic lyrics. You can either come off extremely pretentious or you can stimulate curiousity — the second outcome is how I felt after hearing Bōnewoman‘s new single ‘Activ8‘. With lyrics such as “Beautiful mind map explosive aptitude” and “Cultivating a moss heart in a mother of pearl terrarium. Incubating a resilient dynasty,” it’s not super clear what narrative Bōnewoman is describing, unless you really investigate. Which may be annoying for the average music fan, but that level of lyrical depth is fascinating to myself and I’d like to come across it more often in the local neo-psychedelic-jazz scene.
When Lorien sings other lyrics that are a little more relatable such as “be what you want to be” and “move like water,” instead of these being the notable moments, repeated over and over, they’re used to give you enough time to process the more cryptic lyrics. The group vocal delivery adds to the mystery, because the credits actually say only Lorien-Summer Moysey, despite there clearly being layered vocals. Again, the more mystery the better. It’s not just Lorien that’s impressive, the band is both tight and in sync, while containing just enough sporadic energy. Especially the drums, which don’t just keep up the time, but add some oomph and spice to the chorus.
You can hear clear influences or comparison from groups such as Dirty Projectors, Hiatus Kaiyote, early Tune-Yards or even more recently Tetrahedra. But instead of coming across as a poor imitation, there’s a sense of purpose and knowledge behind all their decisions. They’re not just throwing random ideas out there, their cryptic lyrics teases and leaves me curious for future release. I need to know more about Bōnewoman and in their own lyrical words – “A cryptic mind is infinite.”
Bōnewoman are aiming to record a 7 inch in the coming months. The video clip was produced by Lorien with the help of Felix Billington Kleinman and Mark Luman Millhouse. You can catch Bōnewoman at their single launch at The Evelyn on January the 31st.
Sydney-siders were recently treated to one of the best lineups of this long winter in the form of Volumes 2017. Not only did it feature a massive roster of local talent including The Ocean Party, Oisima (DJ set) and Jonti, but more excitingly (for those in the rest of the country at least) was the remix package the accompanied the festivities.
The festival paired up several talents on the bill, including Mezko taking on Body Type, Gauci vs. Hatchie, and finally Wallace/The Goods taking on the Fortunes’ pants filler; 501s.
Fortunes, normally known for their sexy, understated and synth-y swoons, still fair well as The Goods add a whole lot of backbone in their remix. The reworking of the original keys makes them audibly punch along with a driving kick/snare, clearly written with a packed dance floor in mind.
This steady newfound groove forms the perfect foundation for RnB swooner Wallace to lay down her intimate vocals. Bringing in a new female vocal layer gives the remix a wholly original sound. Wallace’s delivery and sensuality is as powerful as the original, but has a uniqueness to it that keeps the track feeling fresh, despite the familiar chords and hooks found in the beat.
You can suss all the excellent remixes from the festival promo here:
The Adelaide voyaging-garage rock band Workhorse have crafted an exemplary video for their anxiety filled song ‘Alone‘. Not only this, but their debut seven track cassette titled No Sunhas also just been dropped via a digital release, thanks to the Brisbane label legends Tenth Court.
The star of the video is Harriet Fraser-Barbour, whose other band Wireheads makes regular appearances in our weekly playlists. The song expands with exploratory guitars and a twangy sense of freedom, paired with softly spoken vocals and a sense of nervous energy. This energy is met and reinforced with lyrics such as “Everytime I see your face, I get scared of my new age” and “And now I know”. The lyrics capture a sense of concern and realisation, the emotive narrative of the track oscilating back and forth between these concepts.
Fittingly, the video reflects these mind frames, blending the nostalgic and the new. There’s a montage of vertical mobile phone footage inside of 16×9 ratio landscape footage. The vertical footage deals with themes both familiar yet isolating — selfies, mirror shots, skateboarding alone, drinking alone and driving alone. The landscape footage captures something more esoteric and less tied to the every-day, with shots of the outback, animals playing, sunsets and a rainbow.
I’ve likely looked too deep into the video for ‘Alone’, but just like any piece of art, my interpretation could serve others well. The next time you’re feeling alone, play this video to remind yourself to look outside of your own state of mind and experience the world around you.
This is our updated weekly playlist of the best new Australian music released within the past two months. This week’s guide includes new entries from Escape Artist, Principal, Body Type, Tre Samuels, Wireheads, Gold Class, Hymns, Oil, Hamjam, Heart Beach, Saatsuma, Rat & Co and this week’s best new track by Jen Cloher.
Synth-pop duo Pillow Pro‘s new single ‘Sex Appeal’ sounds like you’ve boarded a lux private jet with your lover and flown through a sea of pink clouds in a neon sky, drinking from a bottomless glass of expensive champagne -– the perfect daydream to indulge in as you’re lying on your bedroom floor.
This track is a perfect execution of the way vocalists/producers Christobel Elliott and Sophie Millis merge their vocal styles while sounding disarmingly distant from one another. Over a snapping beat and hazy soundscape, the two shift between reflective spoken word verses — a nod to the likes of Uffie — and sensual harmonies reminiscent of R’n’B artist Kelela.
Lyrically the duo bring sexual expression to the forefront, reclaiming their sexuality in a space where artistic integrity can be so easily dismissed due to the bias’ inherent in the music industry.
You can catch the track above, with the accompanying music video set to be dropped soon.
For those who have had their ears tuned to Eilish Gilligan‘s musical narrative over the years, ‘The Feeling‘ will come as a reward; something sweet to lift the winter blues, packed with all the elements of an Eilish track that keep us craving more.
From the Melbourne artist’s humble beginnings as a singer with a bedroom project and a SoundCloud account, Gilligan has graced international stages with her dreamy alt-pop group Frida, and as touring singer with Japanese Wallpaper.
‘The Feeling’ brings us back to her internal world, mapping instances when feelings get the better of rationality, and you can get a little lost underground. Lyrically, think Joni Mitchell or Bon Iver. Sonically, think Lorde or London Grammar.
Eilish rides the razor edge of sparse yet bubbly indie-pop, with a sprinkling of intense melancholy. If this is your first time hearing her music, ‘The Feeling’ is a wonderful introduction – it keeps true to the bedroom style of Eilish’s earlier work, while undertones of piano-house and dance-pop are indicative of her growth as an artist.
The track itself is as layered as its subject matter, with the Eilish’s musical roots in classical singing laying foundation to the melody. Easing us in, her voice is almost operatic, decorated with static and accompanied only by a simple but viscous chord progression — a moody opening reminiscent of The XX or The Knife. As distorted vocals kick in over a barely-there beat, Eilish casually puts things into gear and reminds us we’re listening to something that can’t be so easily pinpointed as dance track or piano ballad.
‘I’m in the ground / everyone else flies,’ Eilish sings as the building synths lap like waves that push us from wanting to dance to wanting to write prose poetry about heartache. With the mournfully sung ‘The Feeling comes / it comes again / it takes my breath,’ Eilish brings in a dancehall/house hybrid of layered percussions and synths that weave around her flowing vocals in a deceptively simple manner.
‘Deceptively’ being a key word here, as Eilish has an obvious talent for both composition and writing lyrics. There is a lot to be said for the art of boiling down complex emotional narratives into a skilfully crafted, bittersweet pop track, and ‘The Feeling’ does exactly that. Eilish has given us a track that steps onto the dance floor with its head still in the clouds, inviting us to do the same.