Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

The Goon Sax

Still in high school when they made their first album Up To Anything in 2016, their brand of awkwardly transcendent teenage guitar pop took them into end of year lists for BBC6, Billboard and Rough Trade, and earned them raves from the Guardian, Pitchfork, Spin, Uncut, Rolling Stone and elsewhere. According to Metacritic, Up To Anything was the 8th best-reviewed debut album anywhere in the world in 2016.

Up To Anything, their 2016 debut from Brisbane, Australia group The Goon Sax, was a brilliant reminder of indie pop’s effectiveness when it’s distilled to its simplest form: loose, jangling guitars and wry, understated vocals. But when it came time for the trio to record what became their second album, We’re Not Talking, each member of the band found themselves pondering the definition of “pop,” and how it related to the ways they wanted to develop their sound.

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“Pop’s a really odd thing,” says bassist/guitarist/vocalist Louis Forster (who is the son of Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens). “I think some people just see [pop] as something sounding polished and ultimately very accessible. But I think pop’s something that exists in a lot of forms, in all kinds of music. On jazz records, there are parts that are really poppy. I guess our idea of pop is a very westernized thing, and it comes out in funny forms; to me, [pop] satisfies something human and subconscious—or it should.”

Accordingly, We’re Not Talkingbalances the band’s usual laser-focused emotional acuity and economical instrumentation with a more expansive take on pop formalism. The keening opening song, “Make Time 4 Love,” boasts insistent cowbell, delicate strings, and jaunty horns; “Sleep EZ” joins delicate, harmony-rich choruses indebted to ‘80s U.K. dreampop to a contorted bridge that boasts a spurt of disco-punk beats, wherein Forster stutter-sings like a skipping LP; and the fierce, emotionally wrecked highlight “She Knows” charges forward on turbulent strings and livewire bass grooves. Even the more straightforward, strummy acoustic-pop songs boast more (and different) hues; the lovely “We Can’t Win,” for example, adds mournful piano and glassy twinkles of percussion into the mix.

“We wanted to make this record more collaboratively,” says Forster. “We had more ideas and more things that we wanted to try out.”

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We’re Not Talking shows how much can change between the ages of 17 and 19. It’s a record that takes the enthusiasms of youth and twists them into darker, more sophisticated shapes, full of lines like “When the bus went past your house and past your stop my eyes filled with tears” and “I’ve got a few things above my bed but it feels so empty, I’ve got spaces to fill and we’re not talking.” Relationships are now laced with hesitation, remorse, misunderstanding and ultimately compassion.

Strings, horns, even castanets sneak their way onto the album, but We’re Not Talking isn’t glossy throwaway pop. Sounds stick out at surprising angles, cow-bells become lead instruments and brief home-recorded fragments appear unexpectedly. This is a record made by restless artists, defying expectations as if hardly noticing, and its complexity makes We’re Not Talking even more of a marvel.

Forster and his bandmates bassist/guitarist James Harrison and drummer/vocalist Riley Jones were determined to push themselves on We’re Not Talking. Forster cites Scott Walker’s Scott 4 and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds as inspirations, as well as the work of ESG, Liquid Liquid, and Jenny Hval. “I really like how [Jenny Hval’s] record had those bits where everything sort of drops back, and it’s just spoken word,” he explains. “We were very obsessed with making something very honest, and she does that really, really well in her lyrics. They’re incredible.”

Jones spent much of the recording sessions trying to funnel her love for Tall Dwarfs’ Chris Knox into the final product. “I’d always be like, ‘Chris Knox reference, Chris Knox reference,’” she laughs, “and it just didn’t really come across. I don’t know if anyone else was behind [the idea], but I was just very inspired by him as a pop songwriter.”

The slippery definition of “pop music” was another topic of intra-band debate during the recording process. On Talking, the group worked with outside producers—Architecture In Helsinki vocalist Cameron Bird and the band’s former drummer/keyboardist/guitarist James Cecil.

“We wanted it to be more polished and poppier than the last [album],” Jones says. “We tried to explain to them what we wanted, but I think they really had different ideas about it, so it was a bit tough sometimes. We were all pushing for things, and we couldn’t communicate or couldn’t find a middle ground.”

Those clashing ideas didn’t undermine the final product, but they did give the band more insight into the ways they approach their career—and the possibilities available to them as a result. “When I said we wanted it to be more poppy,’ they were like, ‘OK, poppy,’ and then they had this completely different idea of pop,” Jones recalls. “I just had no idea that things could be that clean and so produced.”

Adds Forster: “Sometimes you forget that there are words that other people have a very different version of, you know? To us, ‘pop’ probably meant something worlds away from what other people would think. We think quite similarly sometimes, the three of us—we often think that because all three of us are on the same wavelength about something, it must be very obvious to anybody else, when it’s not.”

This deep, personal connection dates back to before the Goon Sax’s 2013 inception, when Forster and Harrison forged a fast friendship thanks to their shared musical interests (the Raincoats, the Clean, the Fall, Marine Girls) and—to borrow Jones’ phrasing similarly “silly” personalities; five years in, those personal bonds continue to provide a much-needed buffer against the trials of being in a band. “After the last tour, I was like, ‘Oh my God, can’t wait to get away from these guys,’” Jones recalls, adding with a laugh: “[I was] really ready for break, and then on day two, I was like, ‘Hey guys, are you doing anything today? Do you want to hang out, maybe?’ I just missed them.”

As the Goon Sax gear up for yet another tour—they’ll be spending the fall playing throughout England and North America—they remain cognizant of (and confident about) where they want their band to go in the future. To that end, We’re Not Talking is not so much a bridge to the next career milestone: it’s more like a roadmap.

“I definitely learned that I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do anymore,” Jones says. “We really thought, like, ‘Oh, we’re young, we probably need some grown-ups giving us some good advice.’ But I just want to be free to create stuff naturally, and to push it really far.”

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Moaning Lisa is the product of four Canberra-based music grads who find purpose in making loud noises together. Their music operates on the edge of the grunge genre: somewhere between composed restraint and fuzzed-out, life-affirming alternative rock. Moaning Lisa create an atmosphere entirely of their own, in their raucous live shows that see them consistently pack out venues across Australia’s East Coast.

Do You Know Enough?, the band’s new EP, is the journey of a queer girl navigating her early 20s. It follows the organic passing of milestones like yearning, love, heartbreak, self-assurance and reinvention. Each track plays a crucial role in the forming of an emotional narrative, leaving no stone unturned. Musically, the songwriting was organic and gradual; dipping into punk, shoegaze, and heavy alternative rock across the five tracks. Each song harnesses their own anthemic qualities; “Carrie” being a punk call-to-arms of queer women; ‘Good’ a rich feel-good shoegaze love song; “Lily” a heart-wrenching rock ballad; “Comfortable” a momentous ode to single life, and “Sun” a mammoth adventure into seizing the next chapter. Do You Know Enough? poses a question that seems obviously answered throughout the five tracks, but leaves yourself open to the possibilities of the future.

Releases October 19th, 2018

BATTS – ” Gun “

Posted: September 10, 2018 in MUSIC
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BATTS, the project name of Tanya Batt, has been in featured ever since our we heard of her single ‘Shame’, back in April. ‘Shame’: “That layer, in this song, makes it unique. It’s ‘folk, plus’. Where not only just a lazy layer of attempts are arranged, but the delectable honey of Tanya’s folk talents just enhance the pop bleed, into another level.”

The melancholic debut of her EP ’62 Moons’ is out Now, and demonstrated by her tact on each and every part of each single. And as always, the best part of BATTS is well, Tanya’s voice, It is magnetic, strong, with the kind kind of empathetic ’causes’ that singers like many country & contemporary ballad singers of the past.

“I wasn’t feeling inspired by my own life, and didn’t feel any urge to become self-destructive like I had in younger years to create,” Tanya explains. “I remembered how much I loved to write stories as a child, and thought I’d start writing fictional stories into songs, and creating the music to set the vibe and world around it.”

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The ‘sadness’ of ‘Gun’ is heartfelt and beautiful to listen to. Despite our antics in our posts, we really dig and respect the kind of lyrical construction Tanya does so well. Her work is mesmerizing, truly.

End Of The Road 2018

Breaking out of Australia with the stark and poignant Boys Will Be Boys, Stella Donnelly was hailed an overnight feminist folk hero. Taking inspiration from the likes of Angel Olsen, and with a slight nod to the lyrical prowess of fellow Aussie Courtney Barnett, Donnelly’s debut and wonderfully titled Thrush Metal EP just got a re-issue on Secretly Canadian with full marks from most music press, including us. Most certainly one to watch and fawn over.

Donnelly played “Talking” in Conductors and Resistance, an art installation by the Israeli artist Ronen Sharabani that’s on display as part of the SXSW Art Program. Like Donnelly’s direct and feminist folk songs.

Stella Donnelly so far has only one EP to her name, but that’s been enough to make her sharp wit come through in sweet, quiet songs that rage loudly. The Australian singer-songwriter’s Thrush Metal EP was recently reissued in the U.S. with a bonus track, “Talking,” which she performs here surrounded by video of wires, a weaving machine and woolen yarns.

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I’ve recently been turned on by this track from another Australian great psyche band; SONS OF ZÖKU’s new EP Can Dead DanceSONS OF ZÖKU’s latest offering Can Dead Dance is full of fuzzy, bright, old-school garage, with no shortage of good times to be found within.

Based out of Adelaide,  SONS OF ZÖKU are made up of Ricardo Da Silva, Ica Quintela, Jordan Buck, and Jacob Otto, who together jump through gloriously fuzzed out, psychedelic-tinged, garage rock. Over the course of the five tracks, the band somehow create a perfect balance between frenzied chaos . On Mauvause Foi, the four-piece belt through bright, jangly guitar chords and incredibly infectious, lo-fi vocal hooks to deliver a truly memorable surfy alt-garage-pop tune.

Yet on Big Rich Man or Wild Eyes they’re hitting more of a saunter; a lackadaisical take on psych that will whisk you off to somewhere you’d rather be. Unsurprisingly, all tracks on the EP were recorded in one day. This comes through in the EP’s charming sense of urgency.

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Released April 2nd, 2018

Ricardo Da Silva – Vocals, Guitar.
Ica Quintela – Keys, Vocals, Percussion.
Jordan Buck – Bass.
Yuk – Drums.

thanks Happymag

DIY pop charmers School Damage release their second album A To X today!

A To X is the second album by Melbourne DIY pop quartet School Damage . The new album focuses their simultaneously sharp and wobbly DIY pop aesthetic, taking in the woozi- ness of Young Marble Giants, the bite of Devo and the busy melodies of the Television Personalities.
A To X comes hot on the heels of School Damage’s instantly loveable 2017 self-titled debut, which earned the band raves from Brooklyn Vegan, Noisey and BBC6 among others.
Formed as a bedroom pop project for Carolyn Hawkins (Chook Race, Parsnip) and Jake Robertson (Ausmuteants, Hiero- phants, Frowning Clouds), School Damage now include Jeff Raty on drums and Dani Damage on bass. They have released cassettes and 7”s on various labels, including a recent single for UK label Upset The Rhythm.
They’ve played King Gizzard’s festival Gizzfest and shared stages with The Bats, Tropical Fuckstorm and NO ZU.
About the new album, Carolyn says: “A To X is about trying (and failing) to find patterns in the overwhelming jumble of activities involved in being alive. We were going to call it In Alphabetical Order but I guess we never quite made it to Z!”
“Charming off-kilter pop” – Noisey
“Like Custard giving The Vaselines a nipple cripple” – The Herald Sun
“Their songs deal with crises of everyday life, set to wobbly pop that recalls bands like Tronics, The Vaselines, and early ’80s Sydney band The Particles.”

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Just over a year since their self-titled instant classic debut, A To X focuses School Damage’s simultaneously sharp and wobbly DIY pop aesthetic, taking in the wooziness of Young Marble Giants, the bite of Devo and the busy melodies of the Television Personalities.
It has already had love from around the world, including BBC 6Music airplay and rave reviews from Brooklyn Vegan, Loud & Quiet, Raven Sings the Blues, Clash and elsewhere.

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First rule of band names: make sure your name doesn’t contain the genre of music you play. The band’s colossal, eccentric pop/rock sound is undeniably psychedelic and it’s kind of cheesy to have the genre explicitly in the title. After giving them a pass for a corny, playfully ridiculous name, you can let yourself wander in their magical, sweeping soundscapes. Singles like “Social Candy” and “Marmalade March” invoke equal amounts of high-spirited fun and virtuoso musicianship. Listening to their music requires listeners to abandon their inhibitions and embark on whatever gleaming psych-pop joyride they offer. Their sound is accessible and melodious enough to appeal to pop/rock fans while their musical proficiency and wacky euphoria will also gel with diehard psych fans.

This Brisbane-based group taps into the mystic energies of both ‘60s flower power and the 1980s days of wine and roses. Their organ has a nasty bite, their guitars leak fuel all over the place, the drums soundtrack a “youth in revolt” movie. With disaffected alternative vocals moaning lines like “listen up, disengage, fade away” over wah-wah pedals and sitar, it’s not hard to figure out what shrines they worship at. Still, on Trail to Find, they mix together the mysterious and the upbeat with unfettered verve.

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Like a better version of Murder of the Universe, Gizzard’s raw early side is the best. Eyes Like the Sky is the second studio album by Australian psychedelic rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. It was released on 22nd February 2013 on Flightless Records

Not only is the album unlike any other of theirs, described as a “cult western audio book”, the album is narrated and written by Broderick Smith – who tells a story of outlaws, child soldiers, native Americans and gun fights, all set in the American frontier. As it turns out, the roots of Eyes Like the Sky lie in King Gizzard’s debut album, 12 Bar Bruise.

Stu Mackenzie – “the weird, genius savant of that band” – and Smith both share a similar obsession of the Wild West, so Mackenzie approached his bandmate’s father (who is a respected musician in his own right) to pen the lyrics to a single track he had written. When asked about the album’s influences, Stu Mackenzie alluded to the spaghetti western influence throughout the album, stating “I love Western films. I love bad guys and I love Red Dead Redemption. Oh, and I love evil guitars”

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It was the book My 32 Years Among the Indians by Richard Dodge where Smith found his inspiration.

“There was a section in the book called Sam Cherry’s Last Shot… about Sam Cherry who was a scout that was killed by the Indians.”

Smith took that story and narrated it for the band, and that tune became Sam Cherry’s Last Shot on their debut album. When the band looked at doing a second record, Mackenzie simply contacted Smith and asked if he’d like to do a full album. When it came to a story for the album, Smith again turned to American history. Specifically, he looked at a time in Texas in the 1840’s where Comanches (a population of Native Americans from the south) were raiding white settlements and kidnapping the young boys to raise as their own.

Smith tells. Through this historical lens, he created a story not only about American history, but one that also explores the importance and struggles of heritage and identity.

Let’s now turn to the band itself. Formed out of casual jam sessions with mates, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have become a staple on the Australian indie music scene. They have cemented themselves a place among the most ambitious artists in the world today, from having two drummers  to releasing five albums in a single year.

Art As Catharsis is proud to announce the release of Strings, a colourful four-track journey from the mind of Sydney based art-folk virtuoso Bonniesongs.

While drawing subtle influence from Jim Black’s improvised jazz record AlasNoAxis, Bonnie Stewart’s efforts on Strings sit closer to experimental folk. All in all, Strings bears similarities to Joanna Newsom’s fluttering melodies, Cat Power’s more stripped back songs or Carla Kihlstedt’s rich compositions.

Beyond these comparisons, Stewart is also neck-deep in the Australian indie scene – performing with the likes of Emma Davis, Alyx Dennison and many more.

Backed by collaborators Freya Schack-Arnott on Cello and Sascha Bota on Viola, Stewart’s composition dances between conventional and uninhibited. Through challenging modern conventions the Australian folk scene is oft beholden to, Strings in its entirety offers refreshing bursts of complexity and wonder. Stewart’s voice calls as clearly and distinctly as birdsong, while every instrument wonderfully accentuates its surroundings. For lovers of atmosphere, shifts in feeling and distinctively airy vocals, this one is for you.

released August 16th, 2018

Bonnie Stewart: Vocals, effect/loop pedal, guitar, drums
Freya Schack-Arnott: Cello
Sascha Bota: Viola

Bonniesongs is Bonnie Stewart. Strings is a special collaboration with friends Freya and Sascha. Six days after their one-off performance as a trio, they made a recording of their experimental, textural and improvised variations on Bonnie’s songs.