Melbourne wizard Andras just released a new seven track album titled Joyful via the label Beats In Space Records. A portion of proceeds from this release will benefit the Invasive Species Council as a part of the ongoing Come! Mend! Initiative.
The album was mastered by Mikey Young (like 80% of Melbourne’s best releases this decade), so you know it’s worth getting the sweet, sweet vinyl via Discogs.
Having an entire music festival powered only by the sun, entertaining 1000+ punters, gunning for zero waste and coordinating over twelve hours worth of music and lectures seems like no small task. Luckily the guys at Off The Grid took it upon themselves to prove for the second year now that not only is it possible, but you can have a pretty fun day of it, too.
For the first act of the day, sporting an immaculate up-do and a healthy collection of 7”s, Miss Goldie kicked off the musical proceedings. As one of Melbourne’s most revered soul selectors, the bar was set high, but Miss Goldie didn’t disappoint, dropping gems like ‘Body Fusion’ by Starvue.
Setting up their laptops and gear behind Miss Goldie were Melbourne duo Albrecht La’Brooy. Maintaining a steady build throughout their set, the two artists gave the speakers their first real workout. It’s might be tempting to dismiss a set like Albrecht La’Brooy’s when so much of what they do happens behind a laptop and their equipment, but the two’s improvisational approach wielded a unique sound. It wasn’t until about halfway through the performance a steady 4/4 beat finally broke through the melodic piano and got people dancing.
The first international acts of the day hailing from The Netherlands, Tako and Izabel, went back to back as the sun was high in the sky, without a cloud to be seen. Easing the crowd in with more laid back house tracks to dancey numbers, the pair peaked with Latar Ramasar and a personal favourite – Four Tet’s ‘The Track I’ve Been Playing That People Keep Asking About That Joy Used In His RA Mix And Daphni Played On Boiler Room.’
By this time the crowd had braved the hottest part of the afternoon and were amassing around the solar panel Amphitheatre that surrounded the stage. The stage itself was equal parts aesthetic and functional, the sparse scaffolding housing the panels and the backstage itself, allowing the audience a 360˚ of the performers. Which is exactly what you want when you’ve got the colourful collection of the Senegambian Jazz Band.
Even the sound checks sounded lush, before the band hit full swing. The Senegambian Jazz Band was full of energy and rotating solos between guitar, bongo and the beautifully whacky drum/guitar hybrid of the Kora. Their high energy vibe got people dancing and as the sun began to sit low in the sky, the dust rose up amongst the crowd. Having a five-piece band take the reins for the late afternoon was a definite palette cleanser.
Keeping with the theme of all things eclectic, Andras was set up in front of the stage. The sound did keep cutting out, but that’s completely forgiven as the whole set up was being run off solar power alone. The plastic covers that shielded the turntables did a great job protecting the set-up as well as keeping Andras’ notoriously eclectic selection away from prying eyes like mine. Playing a bit of a heavier set interspersed with obscure samples (was that Australia’s foreign minister talking about Kazakhstan or my imagination?), Andras diligently worked the crowd with dancey numbers.
Taking some time off, I grabbed a delightful sweet potato that of course was cooked by the sun. Speaking of spuds who got roasted by the harsh sun though, I was well and truly sunburnt by this stage even though I had slip, slop, slapped. I noticed I wasn’t the only one either, so my one suggestion for OTG might be some more shade on the dance floor.
Up next were Nozu, a band / collective with a penchant for mesh tops and leather for a golden hour of trumpets, synths, percussion and warped, twisted vocals. The kind of band that really deserves to be seen live, they belted out a dynamic rendition of ‘Ui Yia Uia’ to open and kept vibes strong before closing with ‘Raw Vis Vision‘.
With the sun sitting low in the sky, the music was still going strong thanks to the rock steady combo of J’Nett and Andee Frost. With a record bag a few hundred strong, what track would you pull out to keep the crowd dancing? Bit of ‘Pass That Dutch’ by Missy Elliot, obviously. Clearly there to have a bit of fun, the two were dancing and going heavy on the effects. About midway through, the music died and a dancer took to a podium in the middle of the crowd. Just as the sun was setting, an intricate dance/ritual took place as the dancer’s lithe form swayed to darker, broken beat tracks. Finishing with a beatless crescendo, it was certainly something different.
Then it was back to J’Nett and Andee Frost to close Off The Grid. Given an extra hour to have some fun, the set highlight would have to be J’Nett bringing the heat with ‘Late Night Jam’ by Levon Vincent with impeccable mixing, whilst Andee fanned her down with a record of his own. The seminal 90s house tracks from Big Fun and electro swing, which even got the crowd rocking the Charleston on stage, showed that the two DJs were having just as much fun as the audience.
In addition to all the music of the day you had the ‘Palimpsest’ in the morning. The ‘Palimpsest’ brought together a number of very engaging (albeit sometimes brief) talks, featuring architects, performers and activists. Talks from Claire Cousins and Peter Malatt in relation to their triple bottom line approach to housing in the form of the Nightingale project were particularly engaging, as was Paul Gorrie asking us to ‘be comfortable with being uncomfortable’ when it came to addressing the traditional custodians of Australia, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
With live music, DJs, lectures and dance performances, Off The Grid packed a lot into one day, even if it was the longest one of the year. Festivals would be smart to take a leaf out of Off the Grid’s book and start to implement more sustainable practices; from using solar power or even just ditching the disposable cups, it all counts.
Ripe’s Australian Chart is our weekly rotation of the best new music by Australian artists released in the last month. With so much great local music coming out at the moment, we’ve got a huge pile of 40 tracks in this week’s playlist.
We start this week with one of two new inclusions from the Brisbane label Tenth Court. At #37 we first have Mope City‘s latest offering ‘Letterbomb‘ from their new Petri-Dish LP. It’s short and sweet, but it should be enough to put the band on your radar. We head down to Sydney for #36 with Spookyland and their new single ‘Big Head‘ off their upcoming debut LP Beauty Already Beautiful. If you’re at SXSW this week in Austin, Texas, I’d recommended checking out their giant sound live in person.
The second entry from Tenth Court comes in at #35 with ‘Arrive Alive‘ by Wireheads. If you enjoy the meandering and humorous side of Parquet Courts, then keep an eye out for this Adelaide band’s next album, which will apparently feature 20 musicians including members of Bent, Day Ravies and Bitch Prefect. At #29 down in Melbourne we have Good Manners‘ latest signing Gonzo Jones and his first single ‘Misty Dreams‘. The single is off his debut EP Misty Dreams and it has a tropical vibe washed over its dream-pop roots.
The Pretty Littles from Melbourne come in at #28 with ‘Pride‘. If you’re looking for a chorus to shout out loud at a gig, then check out their ‘Pride’ single launch at the John Curtin Hotel in Melbourne this Friday the 18th of March. We stay in Melbourne for #24 with ‘Old Boys‘ by Smile off their second LP Rhythm Method out April 1st on Smooch Records. If you’re looking for a band in the vein of Galaxie 500, then you’ll dig this one.
At #21, Melbourne’s Amateur Dance has cleaned up the song ‘Love Is A Lonely Dancer‘ by Antony & Cleopatra and turned it into a smooth house track – you know it’s a good remix when you prefer it to the original. Next, Chapter Music have just released the debut album by the Melbourne band The Goon Sax titled Up To Anything. The band, consisting of three teenagers, caught our attention with catchy singles ‘Sometimes Accidentally‘ and ‘Boyfriend‘. ‘Up To Anything‘ is the album’s opening track and proves by this point that the band already have a natural songwriting knack at their young age.
Nasty Mars provides some spaced out, lo-fi hip-hop at #19 with ‘Sundaynight‘. The Melbourne artist is often associated with another favourite of ours Baro. Nasty Mars even displays his diverse talents by laying down some additional guitar on the track. Tiny Little Houses caught our attention late last year with their debut EP You Tore My Heart and a standout performance at the Paradise Music Festival. Their new track ‘Milo Tin‘ comes in #18 and it still contains that The Smashing Pumpkins Melon-Collie sound, but it’s less heartbroken than any of the tracks off last year’s EP.
The Melbourne alt-RnB duo Hoodlem continue their promising start with ‘4 Real‘ at #14. ‘4 Real’ is apparently a ‘made for the headphones’ experience, while remaining danceable and sociable at the same time. Their self-titled debut EP is out March 25th. One of Milk! Records latest signings Loose Tooth come in at #13 with ‘Sherry‘ off their forthcoming debut EP Saturn Returns. If you’re a fan of the debut album by Wild Nothing, then you’ll get hooked by ‘Sherry’. Their EP launch is on the 22nd of April at The Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne.
András has dropped a five-track EP titled Untitledvia Superconscious Records and the first track ‘T.N.T.F‘ finds itself at #12 in the chart. He’s jokingly labeled the collection of tracks ‘Horny-Australiana’, and it’s kind of hard to tell how seriously he’s taking himself on this release, but the slick moulding of sonic textures is impressive regardless. Back up in Sydney the duo The Goods have teamed up with Unkle H for ‘Only One‘ at #11. ‘Only One’ channels artists like Reggie Watts, and I don’t imagine this track remaining completely unknown for very long. After one listen, I was actually expecting The Goods to be a big act that I had somehow never heard about. Their debut LP is set for release in April via Personal Best Records.
At #5 we have the return of Melbourne’s King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard with ‘Gamma Knife‘. Their next album Nonagon Infinity will be their eighth album in four years, and while their psych-jam sound can at times feel limited, it’s hard not to enjoy ‘Gamma Knife’ when it really sounds like the band themselves had fun recording it. They went into the studio apparently looking to focus on what felt good live, and that’s a smart move if you’ve ever witnessed their memorable live sets. The Melbourne label Solitaire Records, run by the members of the former group I’lls, continues to dominate Australia in 2016 with the release of Asdasfr Bawd‘s EP Underpass. Asdasfr Bawd is a classical composer at Melbourne University who apparently also knows how to easily create a house banger. The production on the EP’s title track is a lesson in fine art. It’s heavily-detailed on a micro scale, while ultimately still able to get anybody dancing immediately.
This week’s track of the week comes very close to nabbing the #1 spot in the chart. I didn’t know anything about Sydney’s Julia Jacklin until last week, and while she may sound a lot like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, ‘Pool Party‘ is almost impossible to dislike. It’s wholesome, rich in tones, and Julia can flat out sing with character. I wouldn’t change a single thing about ‘Pool Party’. She’s currently playing all week at SXSW in Austin, Texas and then you can catch her back in Australia touring Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney starting late April.
40. Bent – ‘Skeleton Man’
Uploaded: February 29th | Last Week: #34
39. Tourist Dollars – ‘Horse Girl’
Uploaded: February 29th | Last Week: #31
38. Great Earthquake — ‘Thought Broadcasting’
Uploaded: February 21st | Last Week: #29
37. Mope City — ‘Letterbomb’
Uploaded: March 9th
36. Spookyland — ‘Big Head’
Uploaded: March 10th
35. Wireheads – ‘Arrive Alive’
Uploaded: March 14th
34. Blake Gilray – ‘Guru Glock (Preview)’
Uploaded: March 1st | Last Week: #26
33. Ariela Jacobs – ‘Lost’
Uploaded: February 29th | Last Week: #25
32. Milwaukee Banks – ‘Reincarnated’
Uploaded: February 24th | Last Week: #24
31. Lucianblomkamp – ‘The Overman’
Uploaded: February 24th | Last Week: #23
30. Arvo Tanty – ‘Forget This Mourning’
Uploaded: February 26th | Last Week: #22
29. Gonzo Jones – ‘Misty Dreams’
Uploaded: March 8th
28. The Pretty Littles – ‘Pride’
Uploaded: March 23rd
27. A.M. Limonata – ‘After Midnight Special’
Uploaded: February 28th | Last Week: #18
26. Wax Witches – ‘Morning Flowers’
Uploaded: February 17th | Last Week: #17
25. Tiny Little Houses – ‘You Tore Out My Heart (Anatole Remix)’
Uploaded: March 2nd | Last Week: #16
24. Smile – ‘Old Boys’
Uploaded: March 9th
23. Low Lux – ‘Girls (Royal Headache cover)’
Uploaded: February 21st | Last Week: #15
22. Bad Vision – ‘Goons’
Uploaded: February 29th | Last Week: #14
21. Antony & Cleopatra – ‘Love Is A Lonely Dancer (Amateur Dance Remix)’
Uploaded: March 12th
20. The Goon Sax ‘Up To Anything’
Uploaded: February 24th
19. Nasty Mars – ‘Sundaynight’
Uploaded: March 11th
18. Tiny Little Houses – ‘Milo Tin’
Uploaded: March 13th
17. Rainbow Chan – ‘Nest’
Uploaded: March 3rd | Last Week: #13
16. Mall Grab – ‘Down’
Uploaded: February 29th | Last Week: #12
15. Lower Spectrum – ‘Masquerade’
Uploaded: Febraury 19th | Last Week: #11
14. Hoodlem – ‘4 Real’
Uploaded: March 11th
13. Loose Tooth – ‘Sherry’
Uploaded: March 4th
12. András – ‘T.N.T.F’
Uploaded: February 17th
11. The Goods ft. Unkle H – ‘Only One’
Uploaded: March 11th
10. Snake And Friends – ‘Missus And The Masses’
Uploaded: February 21st | Last Week: #9
9. Summer Flake – ‘Wine Won’t Wash Away’
Uploaded: February 27th | Last Week: #8
8. Ciggie Witch – ‘Meet Me In The Middle’
Uploaded: March 2nd | Last Week: #7
7. SHOUSE – ‘Support Structure’
Uploaded: February 24th | Last Week: #6
6. Cosmic Rays – ‘Teen Bank Robber On Heroin’
Uploaded: February 22nd | Last Week: #5
5. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – ‘Gamma Knife’