Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Like a shaken can of soda; post-punk/noise-rock from Kaurna Land, Through a juxtaposition of experimental feedback, dissonance and rich vocal harmonies, Placement deliver a ferocious and often partially improvised live show, influenced by performance art. The debut single from Kaurna Land/Adelaide-based group Placement. ‘Harder‘ is an excellent song to introduce us to the band, ‘Harder’ bleeds with that “fuck off” attitude we love to hear, with the song written about the unwanted conversations customer service workers have to go through on a day-to-day basis. “At work you often can’t respond as you may want, but instead must provide the customer with a sanitised response to whatever they talk at you. I might not ever have said what I wanted to their face, but I’m saying it now” vocalist and guitarist Malia said of the song.

My favourite part of the song embodies this, coming right after the first chorus – “Get stuck into your daily tour of all the people who can’t say ‘fuck off’ to your advice” followed by the melodic chemistry of the guitars, bass, and percussion that play so well together to drive the themes of the song home. It’s a song to listen to on the way home from work on the busy roads, thinking about all the dense interactions you’ve had that day.

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The song seemingly comes to a close at the two-and-a-half minute mark in a crash of feedback guitars and cymbals, before the band bring us back for one more finale, getting you all excited for what the band will bring us next. The track has a post-punk frenzied guitar attack that has an interesting mix of spoken word vocals and a more art-rock vibe, like a cross-between U.S. Girls, Protomartyr, and Dry Cleaning.

Released January 8th, 2021

Vox/guitar: Malia Wearn
Guitar/backing vox: Alex Dearman
Bass/backing vox: Kim Roberts
Clarinet/Sax: Stu Patterson
Drums: Braden Palmer

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Australian five-piece Mt. Mountain are today announcing their fourth album, ‘Centre’, and sharing the first single ‘Aplomb’. Hailing from Perth, Australia, Mt. Mountain deal in a sprawling, motorik psychedelic rock sound that journeys between tranquil, drone-like meditations and raucous, full-throttle wig-outs that’ll blow your mind as much as your speakers. Now signed to Fuzz Club Records, ‘Centre’ is due out February 26th check out the first cut, ‘Aplomb’, below.

Taking cues from Krautrock pioneers like Neu! and Can whilst existing in a similar world to contemporaries like Moon Duo, Kikagaku Moyo and Minami Deutsch, Mt. Mountain are formidable torchbearers of the minimal-is-maximal tradition. Out today, ‘Aplomb’ was one of the first songs written for the album and marked a conscious shift of focus towards more rhythmic patterns within their music. Stephan Bailey (vocals/organs/flute) reflects on the song: “‘Aplomb’ is essentially the voice that I hear in my head, reminding me to not rush and slow down, and to have the confidence to bring this into practice in everyday life. We wanted there to be this clear contrast here between the tempo of the song and the lyrical content, an approach which appears throughout the album.”

Mt. Mountain is :
Steven Bailey (organ / vocals)
Thomas Cahill (drums)
Glenn Palmer (guitar/synth)
Brendan Shanley (bass)
Derrick Treatch (guitar).

Releases February 26th, 2021

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Romero are From Melbourne, Australia , with a nod towards Sheer Mag, Public Practice,  Breakneck tunes that could make even the cleanest of spaces feel like a grimy dive bar made for moshing in. You’re going to love them: Their riffs might be front and centre and turned up loud, but this Aussie bunch can’t hide their big pop hooks. Frontwoman Alanna Oliver possesses a voice that’s rich and subtly theatrical, adding both an air of class and urgency to the walls of sound that have already scored Romero a hefty slice of attention, despite only having shared three songs so far. Spoiler: they’re all ridiculously infectious and ready to rock out to.

Check out the other highlight track ‘Troublemaker’

There’s a high to ‘Honey’ that is immediate and habit forming – the sweetness belies the addictive element. It’s endlessly playable, which means there’s a good chance I’m still returning to this song by year’s end. Romero’s set the bar high, not only for themselves moving forward, but everyone else existing in a similar power pop space. Speaking of need, this is the kind of bright spot that we could all use.

Romero – “Honey” available through Cool Death Records ‘’Honey’’ is a record for the freaks and geeks alike. Hell, it’s for anybody that needs to be picked up and reminded that’s it’s not all completely terrible.

The Band: Vocals: Alanna Oliver Guitar: Adam Johnstone Guitar: Fergus Sinclair Bass: Justin ‘Murry’ Tawil Drums: Dave Johnstone

Hachiku, a.k.a Anika Ostendorf, 26, writes and produces dream pop with an avant garde twist from whichever bedroom she is currently inhabiting. Coming from Australia and on the glorious Milk Records is the one and only Hachiku. I got to see her earlier this year opening for labelmate Courtney Barnett on a brief solo tour in the winter. Right away she gripped my ears with her playing and song writing and it’s on full display here. “I’ll Probably Be Asleep” is an absolute scorcher to start the record off, sounding like it came out of the 80’s with a new wave vibe that ends with a guitar solo that climaxes as the song abruptly ends. From there we get a quieter affair in “Busy Being Boring” and “You’ll Probably Think This Song Is About You”. The former is about destroying everything around you and the later is about how to deal with a new love.

She writes in a way that makes you feel like you’re having a private one on one conversation and I find it refreshing. The sweeping guitar riffs in “Bridging Visa B” feel like she borrowed some ideas from Courtney on that winter tour this year. The production she does on the record is so great. There are backwards loops, dropping her voice down a few octaves (“Dreams of Galapagos”), harmonizing with herself. I love when an artist sits down and makes almost an entire album by themselves. It ends with “Murray’s Lullaby”, a song to the dog, Murray, who was at the farm she was on to get her Australian Visa and it’s a sweeping beautiful ode to the companion.

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All instruments & vocals by Anika Ostendorf, except
The Band:
Georgia Smith – additional guitar (song 1 & 3)
Jessie L. Warren – bass (song 1 & 3)
Simon Reynolds – drums (song 1)

All songs written, produced and recorded by Anika Ostendorf

Released November 13th, 2020

Hachiku Anika Ostendorf new album Ill Probably Be Asleep

On Hachiku’s debut album, Anika Ostendorf and collaborators build on the lo-fi foundations of their earlier material, making atmospheric yet achingly visceral off-kilter pop gems. While the familiar vintage keyboards and minimalist drum machines still punctuate throughout, there’s a gritty dynamism that anchors ‘I’ll Probably Be Asleep’, propulsive rhythms and distorted guitars underscoring its dreamy melodies and Ostendorf’s softly sung vocals.

Loss, long-distance romance, arguments with climate change deniers and bureaucratic immigration processes: On ‘I’ll Probably Be Asleep’, the debut album from dream pop artist Hachiku, even the topics usually relegated to inflammatory newspaper op-eds take on new depth and heart.

The project of 26-year-old Anika Ostendorf, Hachiku emerged onto the local Melbourne scene in 2017 with a suite of minimal electronic songs inspired by the folk artists she aspired to emulate as a teenager. On her 2017 EP and successive singles – all released by Milk! Records, the label whose massive merch operation Ostendorf runs with her partner, photographer Marcelle Bradbeer  the now-signature Hachiku sound began to take form: Hopeful keys, occasionally anxious production and Ostendorf’s cynical lyricism, so clear-eyed you felt it had the capacity to permanently change its subject.

But even Ostendorf admits that sometimes the ideas occupying her mind aren’t clear at first. Like sediment in a glass of water, the true meanings need time to settle. Two years after subconsciously processing her grandmother’s death in a song on her EP, she noticed a “lyrically obvious” reference to it that has previously passed her by. The same is true of the territory she covers on ‘I’ll Probably Be Asleep’. “Thematically, what each song [on the album] would be about is so all over the place,” Ostendorf tells NME from her home in Melbourne. Over Zoom, I can see she’s tucked in the corner of what looks like an all-purpose room – there’s a couch next to her and on the other side, instruments she used to record a sizeable chunk of the new album.

That sonic turn pairs perfectly with the album’s themes of loss and grief, the exasperating experience of being a young woman in the world, and displacement (Ostendorf explores the limbo of waiting to be granted permanent residency on album highlight ‘Bridging Visa B’). The album charts a timeline of around four years, but is punctuated less by dates than the places Ostendorf found herself: “Some songs would be [written] while doing long-distance. Some were when I was back in Germany and while my dog was passing away.”

While the sense of place isn’t always noticeable for listeners, it informs Ostendorf’s understanding of not just where she was in her life when writing each song, but where in the world, too. Ostendorf was born in Michigan, grew up in Germany and studied in London before a university exchange gave her the choice to spend a year in either Singapore, Auckland or Melbourne. On the advice of her worldly grandmother, she chose the city with the fewest major cultural differences and most promising music scene.

While ostensibly in Melbourne to continue studying biology, she could already feel herself being pulled in a different direction. “I had already told my parents, ‘I actually don’t really want to do biology. I kind of want to do music instead.’” She recalls, “I think I told my father first, because he’s always good at giving life advice. And, I think growing up, he would have always wanted to become a musician if he hadn’t grown up in Germany in the ’60s and ’70s.”

Ostendorf describes hers as “a Ford family”; grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles alike all went to work for the company. It’s the reason she moved around so much as a kid, and she thinks that the stability of life with the auto manufacturer left her father with a lingering sense of ‘what if?’, exacerbated by the knowledge that childhood friends found success as professional musicians. “I think there’s always a little bit of like, ‘Ooh, that could have been me, but if I had done that I wouldn’t have met my wife, I wouldn’t have my children, I wouldn’t be financially stable’,” she muses.

Ostendorf’s father was both her greatest encouragement and “probably one of the best guitarists I know, actually”, but her mother wasn’t far behind. She plays the accordion and takes opera singing lessons, and as a teen Ostendorf played in her band, a troupe of IT staff at the Ford factory that performed pop songs they hijacked and rewrote about the inner-workings of the office.

“They play in a duo at friends’ birthdays and sing songs together,” Ostendorf says of her parents. “They always wanted me to start learning an instrument early on and join the choir. Never discouraging, but never pushy.”

The perfect balance, it sounds like. Ostendorf describes her father taking her to a studio when she was 17 so she could record a CD. Influenced by Regina Spektor and Fleet Foxes mostly, but also featuring a cover of a song by hardcore band Fucked Up, the formative record set her on a course as an artist – even if the medium didn’t stick around. “My dad would be happy if you mentioned this, because we still have around 800 of those CDs left that we made,” she tells me. “I don’t know why we made a thousand CDs; for our upcoming album, we only made 500.

Recorded over years spent flitting between focusses and countries, ‘I’ll Probably Be Asleep’ feels nonetheless resolved and settled. The song ‘Busy Being Boring’ is testament to that. Ostendorf wrote it in 2018 while applying for a partner visa to stay in Australia for a further two years. “At the start of being here I’d never really seen myself as being in one place longer than two years. For some reason when I’m not stimulated with a new thing, I get distracted really easily.”

She imagines the life of a professional dabbler: “Ooh, I can do two months of farm work! Ooh, afterwards, maybe I could move to Iceland and just work on a wind farm, or like maybe I could go to the Maldives and become a professional diving instructor!”

‘Busy Being Boring’, Ostendorf says, is her coming to terms with staying still after a lifetime of moving. “Like maybe it’s OK to just be… determined to make something work and stick with something because you think that it is worthwhile and not be so cynical and negative about it.”

She saves the cynicism and negativity for the record’s title track, which is also its opener. In a press release, Ostendorf explained the song: “In essence, it is like an escapist’s testament about the wish to gain sovereignty over your thoughts. Freud’s id vs superego. The thought of wanting to be part of something but the idea of it being way more enticing than the reality.”

The record’s only song recorded with the full Hachiku band – guitarist Georgia Smith, bassist Jessie L. Warren and drummer Simon Reynolds – ‘I’ll Probably Be Asleep’ is murky and cheeky, channelling a beautiful inner brattiness. Like much of the record, its driving motivation is want.

But where tracks like ‘You’ll Probably Think This Song Is About You’ and ‘Dreams Of Galapagos’ project that wanting outwards, here the song wrestles with itself internally. There is a delicious kind of petulance at play, as if having lived a life full of options has left Ostendorf with just one thing left to do: stay in, stay still and sort through her stockpile of confrontational conversations and tough experiences until, in time, she’s ready to have the last word.

I’ll Probably Be Asleep’ is out now on Milk! Records and Marathon Artists. From the forthcoming album ‘I’ll Probably Be Asleep’ released November 13th, 2020.

The prolific Melbourne band played their biggest-ever headline show to date at the 10,000-capacity venue in the capital, with the promise of “a new set, new songs and a whole new visual experience” being made by the psych-rock troupe. This was an anomaly. An Australian psychedelic rock band, blessed with the kind of name a 14-year-old comes up with during a particularly boring double maths lesson, sells out the 10,000-capacity Alexandra Palace with little radio support and no hit records. What’s more, their latest of many albums since 2012 (they released five in 2017 alone) is a ferocious thrash metal concept piece about ecological disaster called Infest the Rat’s Nest. No focus group would come up with the King Gizzard approach to musical success.

The heady, inspired, confusing, and addictive path King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard set out on almost a decade ago has led to this point. Announcing – and then swiftly selling out – a headline date at Alexandra Palace, the Australian group took on one of North London’s most imposing venues. A historic landmark, thousands of fans descended on the people’s palace for the show, an indication of just how big these psychedelic outlaws actually are. Rampaging through their leviathan-like catalogue, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard pulled out all the stops for the biggest night of their lives.

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Released December 24th, 2020

Live at Alexandra Palace, London, England, October 5th 2019
Recorded by our sound crew: Sam Joseph, Stacey Wilson, Gaspard De Meulemeester

Drums: Michael Cavanagh
Guitar / Keys: Cook Craig
Harmonica / Vocals / Keys / Percussion: Ambrose Kenny-Smith
Vocals / Guitar / Keys: Stu Mackenzie
Drums: Eric Moore
Bass: Lucas Harwood
Guitar / Vocals: Joey Walker

Mixed by Stu Mackenzie

Short, punchy, and fun, King Gizzard gives a more matured take on their early surf rock sound. Such a sunny treat on this Christmas Eve. Don’t say King Gizz & The Lizard Wizzard never gave you anything. Just in time for Krimbo, the unstoppably prolific Australian eccentrics have done it again, dropping not one but two new albums on their Bandcamp page.

First and foremost of the two is Teenage Gizzard, a collection of early non-album singles and rarities that date back to 2010 and 2011, even before their debut album. Of course, for those who can’t get enough of KG in performance, there’s also Live in London ’19, the latest in a series of self-explanatory concert recordings they’ve dropped this year. You can check them both out below, or click through if you’d like to buy them. Not that you have to shell out: The band have also started up their own Bootlegger page, allowing anyone to download these discs (and several more) and release them — as long as they share. Here’s how they put it:

“Yo indie labels, bootleggers, fans, weirdos. We’ve got a deal for ya… If anyone wants to release these albums, you’re free to do so. Below you’ll find links to audio master files and cover art. Feel free to get creative with it if you like — it’s yours. Only deal is you’ve gotta send us some of them to sell on Gizzverse.com — whatever you feel is a fair trade is cool with us. Ideas: double LPs, 7”, remix, reimagined cover art, bizarre-looking wax, live show box sets, tapes. Or keep it simple — that’s totally OK. Anyone keen?!”

I’m sure they’ll have no trouble finding takers. As for me, I’ll be spending some quality time with these albums over the next few days — and into the new year. Although I’ve been a fan of KG&LW for years now, I’ve resolved that 2021 is going to be the year I go deep into the their back catalogue and truly embrace my inner lizard. Or wizard. Or whatever. Anyway, enjoy.

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released December 24th, 2020

Tracks 1-8 recorded some time in 2010 in Angelsea, Victoria, Australia
Tracks 9+10 recorded some time in 2011 in Carlton, Victoria, Australia Mixed by Stu Mackenzie

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Half Truths is out today! I’m excited to see the singles I’ve released have a little family around them, they feel like they are at home now. They were all written in a similar time and I see them as me throwing off expectations I had of who I am as a person, woman, what my music is meant to be, what life is meant to be. I hope they can bring something new and cathartic to your worlds.

Newcastle-singer songwriter based Grace Turner’s ‘Half Truths’ is a poetic six-song collection that cuts through the noise, making sense of her thoughts by simply singing them aloud.

Powerful and poetic is Grace Turner’s “Half Truths”, her first EP released August 7th, 2020. Written and recorded over the past three years in collaboration with good friends, this six-song collection sets Turner apart, cutting through the noise and making sense of her thoughts by simply singing them aloud.  “I wrote ‘Disdain’ while driving and singing and crying – a terrible combination. I wasn’t driving anywhere in particular, just to feel like I was physically able to leave what I was going through in my life. The original opening line was ‘I want to watch the blood drain from my body’. I sung it live once and my Dad was in the crowd and I just couldn’t do it, so I found a new line which I think is better anyways.

Though based in Newcastle, Australia, Turner wrote and recorded Half Truths in a variety of locations, from bedrooms to studios. And even still, the EP is remarkably cohesive, with key embellishments from her friends Mat Taylor and Shanna Watson, among others; glueing it all together is Turner’s trademark lyricism and self-introspection. “I write music because of the continual untangling of mind, emotions, experience and trying to understand the world at all its micro, meso and macro levels. Sometimes I feel with this collection of songs I am earnestly screaming something at the world and at the same time trying to take it all back again,” Turner says.

Intensely personal, Half Truths echoes Turner’s sentiments and intent. The EP begins poetically and drum-driven with “Disdain,” sparking the vision of a late night drive, and the feeling of darkness dissipating, replaced by some sense of gratitude for the ordinary. ‘Disdain’ is such an intense word and meaning and I’m glad to have gotten it into a song. To think of oneself as unworthy. Eventually I took it to a jam with my drummer and he encouraged me a lot that it was a keeper. My guitarist wrote the killer riff for this one. We think it’s so good that when we were in the post production phase of making the record we decided to repeat it after every vocal chorus making it a kind of instrumental chorus. I think it really makes the song.

The chords don’t ever change in this one and melodically it’s pretty subtle in its movement. In post production we also decided to cut the band out in the bridge. I like bringing more intensity to the line ‘what a time to be alive, steadily walking towards our demise’. It feels pretty apt for 2020. I like having a heavy song lyrically that is up beat, it’s really cathartic to play this one with the band. It’s one of my favourite tracks off the record and I’m glad that it’s become a favourite for people too.”

Standout track “Half Light” is instrumentally steady, while Turner belts a brilliant kind of diary entry about the way life is often made up of parts that don’t always fit together. And triple-j featured “Dead or Alive” brings the EP to its most upbeat point; though the lyrics are relative dark, the danceable chorus acts as a push out of that darkness and into warmer, brighter days.

“I chose the title Half Truths as I was going through such a turbulent time and the songs were written whether I stood by what they meant or not, they were spat out of me. I was shedding off expectations of who I thought I was as a musician, woman, friend, lover; questioning it all,” Turner says of the EP. While the six songs on Half Truths do question the world extensively, they also powerfully declare hope for the future. Ending with these words on “Get Your Head Straight,” “try to be good try to be kind, do your best to find peace of mind,” Grace Turner leaves us, and herself, in the sunlight.

Experience Half Truths wherever you listen to music, and take a peek into the full EP 

Grace Turner “Half Truths” Released on: 2020-08-07

For their second EP Push/Pull, Sweater Curse really come out of their shell, amplifying their faint post-punk tinges and sky-high pop hooks. The EP was promoted with singles “All The Same” and “Close,” the band’s two best songs to date. While “All The Same” is a peek into their dynamic, sharper side, “Close” features tried-and-true, big-hearted indie rock. This is the meat and potatoes of any melancholy Australian indie rock band.

But for a promising group like Sweater Curse, this is their victory lap. It’s a stunningly pretty, widescreen tune (written with the help of fellow Aussie indie rocker Alex Lahey), begging to be played a hundred times over, no matter how up or down you’re feeling. Vocally, Monica Sottile goes the extra mile, framing not just each line, but every word with the perfect, affecting cadence.

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Released August 14th, 2020
Performed by Sweater Curse

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Probably best known as a member of Muncie Girls, Lande Hekt first caught our ear with last year’s EP, “Gigantic Disappointment”. That release was recorded in the Adelaide Hills, and when returning to Australia to tour earlier this year, Lande went back to the studio, and working with producer, Ben David, put down the tracks that make up her debut solo album, Going To Hell. The record will be released in January next year, and this week Lande has shared the first taste of it, in the shape of new single, “Whiskey”.

The first song that Lande has shared as an openly gay person, like much of Going To Hell, Whiskey focuses in on the experience of coming out. As Lande explains, Whiskey is, “about learning how to come to terms with being gay or, more accurately, realising that pretending you’re not gay can’t go on forever“. While there’s inevitable difficulties in coming out, here Lande seems to focus on the huge positives, think about, “how there were so many things that didn’t feel right“, and the realisation of the relief of living your own truth. Musically, Lande seems to borrow from a vast array of influences from the driving guitars that are pure Sharon Van Etten to the easy vocal style and the shimmering outro The Twilight Sad would be proud of.

The track concludes with Lande’s repeated pronouncement, “is it the feeling of not having to pretend?”, arriving like a striking realisation that happiness lies in understanding the freedom being yourself can bring.

Ahead of the release of her debut solo album Going To Hell, Muncie Girls’ Lande Hekt unveiled her knockout single Undone. The incredible harmonies, crashing drum cymbals and fiery riffs go hand in hand with the relatable, regret-fuelled lyrics. Describing the track, Lande says: ‘This one is about feeling sorry for yourself when you break up with someone that you weren’t even going out with.’

We’ve all been there.

Going To Hell is out January 22nd via Get Better Records.