Posts Tagged ‘Australian’

Normally we don’t like ghosts, but The Australian A. Swayze & the Ghosts is a fine exception to this rule. The band around front singer Andrew Swayze blew a fresh new wind through the punk landscape in September with their debut album “Paid Salvation”. Their high-profile combination of cut lyrics and raw instrumentation produced twelve razor-sharp songs that become even more powerful with each listening. Paid Salvation is an almost flawless debut full of highlights (“Connect To Consume”, “Suddenly” and “Beaches”), with which A. Swayze & the Ghosts has earned its place in the Best Of 2020.

Since their earliest entrance back around the cusp of 2016/2017, you had the feeling A. Swayze & The Ghosts were in it for the long run. Their 2017-released, self-titled debut EP presented a vision you wouldn’t expect from a band just starting out; the band’s namesake and frontman Andrew Swayze leading the rest of the Tasmanian-raised outfit – Hendrik Wipprecht, Zac Blain, Benjamin Simms – through the highs and lows of DIY, rough-around-the-edges alt-rock with the rush of their sound at its most manic but also the subtlety of them when stripped-back and intimate.

Since then, the group have shared singles at a near-yearly rate – one at a time, emphasising quality over quantity – and it’s clear it was all paying off; the group soon crossing into international waters they are now a mainstay of the rock/punk festival world, performing at institutions such as The Great Escape and Shaky Knees Festival. Back home in Australia, they’ve played everything from Splendour in the Grass to BIGSOUND, and their recordings show why they’ve become such a favourite on the live stage – it’d be hard to see their live show as anything but explosive, considering the work they put out.

They’re a group that have put in the work to break free of Australia’s isolation shackles and emerge in the greater international rock market; every move they do – from singles and tours to festival appearances and god knows what else – reflective of a band that have this clear vision and will put everything into making it become real-life. On their debut album “Paid Salvation” – which arrives after a lengthy, incredibly hyped wait this all begins to pay off, at least on a level A. Swayze & The Ghosts haven’t seen in the past.

Paid Salvation is a definitively A. Swayze album so jam-packed with their charm and spirit that it would be impossible for anyone else to make the exact same record. Across the space of 12 tracks, they encapsulate their career thus far and the sounds that have gotten them to the point they’re at today – full of energy, flavour and just down-right fun – while showing potential future paths, always keeping things open as they dance in their versatility and range that on this record, stretches from the foundations of 90s-era rock worthy for a stadium right through to punchy punk and the slightest smattering of indie.

It’s an album that’s always concise and focused, rushing with an energy and pace that’s full of these blink-and-you-miss-it bursts of brilliance. “Nothing Left To Do” whips up a storm of thick-layered guitar and frantic percussion that quietens down before just three minutes, while “Marigold” – a song that would unexpectedly slap you for six and leave you rattled – doesn’t lose its rush until its sudden end. Every song is as fierce and elevated as it can possibly be, but at this point, would you expect anything less from a band that have come to champion this over the last few years?

It’s why A. Swayze & The Ghosts’ debut album feels exactly like a representation of the band’s most brilliant moments distilled into 12 tracks. It’s not afraid to tackle the big stuff – the tall poppy syndrome encountered being an international break-out; social media’s grips on the world; herd mentality and echo chambers – but it’ll always do so with a ruckus-inducing fun that charades its often-heavier lyricism, encouraging you to listen it when you want to, but just kick up and have a great time when you don’t want to think about all the worries in the world.

“It really shits me off when bands have this pedestal and they have the ability to influence so much around them and they waste it by singing about stupid shit. If you’re given this audience, I think you have to have something to say. And I definitely intend on abusing that right,” says Andrew on the record. “I want people to go, ‘I love that song it makes me dance but I also appreciate the honesty’. I want the melodies and the instrumentals to be accessible for people from all sorts of backgrounds, but I also want everyone to fucking listen to what I’m saying as well.”

It’s difficult to coat heavier themes like the ones Paid Salvation embraces with another lightness that people will still want to listen, but A. Swayze & The Ghosts do it with ease. Take a dive into the band’s heralding moment of a debut album below, and underneath, learn about the album’s inner themes and creation with a track-by-track walkthrough from the band themselves.

It’s Not Alright

Starting in 2017, women were forced to travel from Tasmania to Melbourne in order to have elected pregnancy termination, and upon arriving they’d potentially be accosted by imbeciles protesting against their right to have the treatment at all. I believe in a person’s right to have autonomy over their body; I consider abortion to be a part of that. On face value, this song seems to be very ‘pop’ and lyrically shallow, but I like the accessibility this style gives the listener while delivering a message they can choose to read into however they like.

Suddenly

Written in one session, listening back to the original phone recording, not much has changed. It’s really important to all of us that we capture the urgency of our live shows on record, and with Suddenly we found a balance between some of our more garage-y punk roots, and the more complex and interesting writing styles that we have been striving for.

Nothing Left to Do

I don’t generally write love songs as they’re so predictable and can bore the shit out of me. This one was tough to finish, it took me months and tens of iterations before I ended up coming full circle and sticking to the lyrics and melody I’d first written.

I’m conflicted between two entirely different personalities which can produce a lot of blurred lines between fact and fiction and then what I choose to present to people. The sole person who has complete access to behind the scenes of Andrew Swayze is my wife Olivia, I cannot hide or look away from her.

Connect to Consume

We have exchanged honesty, beauty, ugliness, boredom–reality–for an abstract museum inside a digitised screen, curated by big business but sustained by us. We have volunteered to pace the halls blindly, loudly. We are promised the pain of life will numb. We are given a rule for everything. We submit, we succeed. We do not feel; we do not need to anymore. We have accepted the prison and adorned the uniforms under the guise of convenience. We have connected and now we will consume.

Marigold

I read an article published by the BBC that made me feel nauseous. In August 2018, two men, Ricardo Flores and his uncle Alberto Flores, were beaten and burned to death by an angry mob in a Mexican town called Acatlán – a place known for its marigold and walnut trees. The two men were falsely accused of kidnapping children in the local area. As it turns out the kidnappings didn’t even happen. It was all just vicious rumours and community hysteria trafficked through WhatsApp and Facebook. The men were thrown onto the steps outside the local police station where they had been housed for their own safety, then executed. There was no trial, just violent retribution – all because of a rumour.

Paid Salvation

I took the theme of a great flood, which takes place in the Bible, and imagined it as a reality in the world we live in today. The selection process of people who would make it onto “god’s” ark is a simple one – the wealthy and the self-appointed religious, who’ve killed god and used its name to justify action/inaction. These false-profits would survive while the poor and disadvantaged become martyrs in the drowning of the planet. The people on the ark paid for their salvation while we all die along with our belief in the morals they preach.

Mess of Me

This song discusses inheritance. Not the conventional heirloom, but the type of negative trait you may learn as a child voyeur of your surroundings. Hendrik brought the song to us with the chorus “you’re always trying to make a mess of me”. Since I don’t have any saboteur but myself, I changed his lyrics and wrote the rest around the new chorus.

Rich

Tall poppies.

Our band comes from a small community, which is generally supportive but some members can also very quickly brand you as a sell-out with any kind of commercial success. It’s petty, but I hate that shit so much and I wish their keyboards would burst into flames and engulf them. When we started touring more and getting played on the radio we’d hear things people would say about our band behind our backs that were so inaccurate it was actually comedic, hence writing this song completely tongue-in-cheek as if to “submit” to their accusations of our motives.

Funnily enough one of the people I wrote this song “for” came up to me after a set we played and told me he loved the track… I couldn’t be happier hearing that.

News

I don’t have a problem with people consuming news or their need to remain updated. I do, however, have an issue with pseudo-journalism and a flow of information directed by corporate or political agenda. It’s not their fault, but people base far too much of their opinion off bias hand-fed to them by media outlets without questioning who benefits from the spread of this misinformation.

Beaches

Hendrik and I wrote the guitar parts for this song one afternoon on his bed. Originally it comprised of two guitars interlocking throughout the track, though when playing it as a band I couldn’t manage to keep up while singing too. Hendrik messed with the tuning on his guitar so he could play both his and my part simultaneously.

Lyrically the track has themes of subservience, politics, ecocide and immigration. All very topical in modern-day Australia and infuriating to witness. The chorus vocal delivery is the most brutal amongst the record – it had to be an anger-fuelled explosion from me to the listener to stress how fucked the people and policies are behind these topics, while the middle section is slow and moody to emulate feelings of hopelessness and defeat.

Cancer

There’s no point in trying to give meaning to this song, it’s meaningless.

I love this track’s elements of early house music in it’s Oberheim DMX drum machine, repetitive bass-line and guitar silence in sections, which were suggested by our producer Dean. The original version of the song was far more ‘rock’, and frankly not nearly as interesting. With the change of style it just needed a fun melody, so I gave it one with a focus on phonetics rather than what’s actually being said.

Evil Eyes

This was brought to us by Hendrik one night at in our studio as a short fun song he’d written years before. The lyrics were his too. I’m fairly sure they alluded to the paranoia you feel when smoking pot, but I read into them as a weird homage to the delusions of mental illness so I re-worked them and added the ‘psycho passion’ section to fit that description.

“Paid Salvation” released on Sunset Pig Records under exclusive licence to Ivy League Records Released on: 2020-09-18  A. Swayze & the Ghosts

RINSE, the solo project of Brisbane artist Joe Agius, who also produces, co-writes and plays live with Hatchie, marks its beginning by revealing its very first slice with the infectious debut single ‘Tell Me Tell Me Tell Me’. Brisbane, Australia’s RINSE collaborated with fellow Australian Hatchie on this dreamy single. It’s the first off Rinse’s debut EP, Wherever I Am, due out March 5th, 2021. “I originally started writing ‘Back Into Your Arms’ as a possible song for Hatchie last year,” Joe Agius says, “but enjoyed singing it too much myself and decided to make it my own. Harriette’s vocals sounded so great accompanying mine on the demo we decided it would be a perfect opportunity to make her an official feature, since we both loved the song so much.”

Incredibly excited to announce my debut EP ‘Wherever I Am’ will be released March 5th 2021. The 12” Splatter Vinyl is now available for pre-order only via Bandcamp along with a whole heap of limited items depending on your pledge including a hand-made zine, sticker, signed fold-out poster, original demos and 10 signed unique hand-painted test pressings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGR-GdhFPJU

Back Into Your Arms feat. Hatchie is out now in Australia & everywhere else at midnight!

After swapping hemispheres, Australian outfit Death Bells have found a new home in Los Angeles, emerging with a new album of fervent guitar-driven rock, stripped of gloom and punching through with a new sense of positivity. “New Signs of Life”, their debut for Dais Records, finds Death Bells using a DIY pedigree to plunder the conventions of “rock music” with a saxophone along for the mission. Rather than leaping genres or formats, New Signs of Life is refined and nuanced—a methodology built on process, craft, and perspective.

Following their 2017 debut, Standing at the Edge of the World, and follow-up single “Echoes,” Death Bells left their hometown of Sydney for the United States. Energized by impulse, extensive touring and exploration led to the formation of an ambitious six-piece band that eventually coalesced as a collaboration between founding members Will Canning and Remy Veselis. With Canning and Veselis becoming the engine, Death Bells began to employ several underground mainstay musicians to complete their live presentation, including Cortland Gibson (Dock Hellis), Colin Knight (Object of Affection), and on occasion Brian Vega (Fearing).

Revitalized and centered, Death Bells released the single “Around the Bend” in 2019, before workshopping material that would eventually comprise their second full-length effort. As much as Standing at the Edge of the World was an energized disclosure informed by fresh naiveté, New Signs of Life harnesses those initial sparks, cloaking the threads of Death Bells with authority, allowing each of the nine tracks which embody New Signs of Life to become lush streamlined vehicles.

The eponymous lead single is a grandiose statement, influenced by the theme song of HBO’s classic television program Six Feet Under. The lyrics are a shopping list of personal neuroses charged with wry optimism, dressed with jagged guitars, brass, and percussion providing a deliberate pace for Death Bell’s new chapter. As method gives way to melody, New Signs of Life exudes an urgent hope laced with drive and verve.

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The first track for New Signs of Life, “Heavenly Bodies,” signals Death Bells’ point-blank delivery of a laconic truth: “We all vanish, anyway.” Sombre and cool, it eases into hushed staccato hypnosis while still finding the tenets of guitar-driven rock. ”A Different Kind of Happy” and “Alison” push the edge of convention, speaking to the power of love in a world gone mad. A nod to their homeland and new city’s surf heritage, “Shot Down (Falling)” pivots playful to a sun-soaked beach strum, layered with shimmer before the horizon fades. As a new statement of purpose, New Signs of Life subverts the band’s moniker, offering breath during suffocation; optimism in chaos with sound over sinking.

released September 25th, 2020

Flowerkid has today announced his first move to obtain global recognition. The 19-year-old Sydney artist came to prominence with his track “Boy With The Winfields And The Wild Heart” and “Late Night Therapy” and has now earned attention from across the globe.

Flowerkid (aka Flynn Sant) will be managed by Wonderlick in Australia in partnership with Best Friends Music’s Danny Rukasin (co-manager for Billie Eilish and FINNEAS) for North America.

Flowerkid’s music is incredibly raw, honest and unique and he has a clear vision for how he wants his music to impact people and to help incite change,” said Wonderlick’s Stu MacQueen.

“It’s very exciting and inspiring to be involved in this project, and now with the addition of the brilliant Danny Rukasin, we have finally completed the amazing international label and management team. We look forward to flowerkid sharing this compelling music with the world very soon.”

“When I first heard flowerkid’s music, a recommended listen from Jason Kramer at KCRW, I was immediately blown away by how special and gripping of a voice he has, and the stories he is telling from a song writing perspective,” added Rukasin. “I am proud to be able to help develop and present this incredible artist to the North American market and to be collaborating with such a world class management and label team to help showcase this artist and his art to the world.” In addition to management, flowerkid has also announced label deals with Warner Music Australia for Australia & New Zealand (with A&R by Marcus Thaine), Atlantic for the US and Parlophone in the UK.

“When I first heard flowerkid’s music, a recommended listen from Jason Kramer at KCRW, I was immediately blown away by how special and gripping of a voice he has, and the stories he is telling from a song writing perspective,” added Rukasin. “I am proud to be able to help develop and present this incredible artist to the North American market and to be collaborating with such a world class management and label team to help showcase this artist and his art to the world.” In addition to management, flowerkid has also announced label deals with Warner Music Australia for Australia & New Zealand (with A&R by Marcus Thaine), Atlantic for the US and Parlophone in the UK.

The song, ‘Late Night Therapy’ is written, composed and sung by flowerkid,

Flowerkid featured in the acts to keep an eye on in 2020

Their new record, “And Now For The Whatchamacallit”, is sitting at the very top of the Australian vinyl charts, and for good reason. They scratch an itch in Aussie music that strikes a rare balance between immediacy and complexity the sheer momentum of their riff-based psych-rock nearly outruns its own anxious underbelly.

Since the advent of language, all things have needed to be called somethingespecially rock bands. To break out of the psych-rock hotbed of Perth, Australia, a truly absurd moniker was chosen: Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. What does it mean? We have no idea and neither do the fellas in the band. However, like their music, it’s undeniably memorable. Hailing from the same pub and club scene that spawned psych-pop superstars Tame Impala and cult favourites Pond, the Crumpets’ brand of psychedelic rock is decidedly more over-the-top than the fare their compatriots put out. The Crumpets make brash, exuberant music that takes the intrigue and textures of classic psych and injects it with an unhinged, restless energy that feels like peaking on LSD while riding a rollercoaster.

At the core of the Crumpets’ sonic universe is an unabashed love of cartoonishly large and colourful guitars. With their third LP, And Now for the Whatchamacallit, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have created a loose concept album which applies the aesthetic of a 1930s carnival to the turbulent circus that is touring life for a young band. Tracked chiefly in frontman/principal songwriter/guitarist Jack McEwan’s bedroom studio (with some overdubs done at Perth’s Tone City Studios), And Now for the Whatchamacallit is indeed a guitar carnival that revels in dazzling multi-layered harmonies, chunky, fuzz-laden riffing, and delicate ambient passages that’ve been tweaked, warped, or pitch-shifted in interesting ways. Finished with a dash of ’70s glam pomp and a hearty dose of indie-pop melody, the album ticks a lot of hallowed guitar-rock boxes while forging unique territory.

And yet, lead singer Jack McEwan is anything but world-weary. Gleefully sipping a schooner on a Monday morning with the rest of his exhausted band behind him, he seems as stoked as a man could be. With occasional interjections from bright-eyed keyboard player Chris Young, we chat about escapism, how Perth shaped their music, and the way song writing fills the void.

Beyond being a compelling listen, the Crumpets’ latest release is a fine example of how good a guitar-focused album can be without access to expensive gear, or much reliance on tube amps or even high-end modelling rigs. The Crumpets’ musical identity is a by product of Perth’s isolation, where bands are decidedly less overwhelmed by an influx of outside art and additionally forced to use whatever tools they have at their disposal in a place where American-made and/or vintage gear is difficult to come by.

A big fan of the “work with what you’ve got” philosophy, McEwan tracked almost all of his guitar parts in Ableton through DI and employed clever production techniques (like eschewing amp sims altogether for an extremely hot compressor) to get his guitar sounds, which are rarely sterile, despite often sounding like anything but a guitar. While McEwan’s guitars live almost exclusively in the digital realm, lead guitarist Luke Parish is a fan of vintage gear and has hunted down and imported some gems, including a ’60s Sears Silvertone amp and a ’68 Fender Deluxe Reverb, which he used to add organic warmth to McEwan’s digital guitar pastiche. The pair complement each other exceptionally well as guitarists despite having vastly different backgrounds as musicians: McEwan is a converted bass player and Parish came up playing in jazz bands and then followed the typical blues-rock heroes of yesteryear.

With McEwan and Parish riding in the back of a tour van, traversing a Welsh highway. The duo discussed the band’s writing process, unique home-recording techniques, the travails of sourcing decent gear in an isolated locale, and what makes Australia such a fertile place for rock ’n’ roll.

They are certainly channelling some of King Gizzard magic . With its slashing garage rock riff and driving bassline, it starts out like something out of the Gizz’s Nonagon Infinity, particularly with its hushed vocals. This docks it a few points for originality. However, the song’s distinguishes itself a more melodic cerebral second half.

Pic by Jess Gleeson

Australian folk-pop singer and producer Gordi is set to play her official international album launch show for her latest record, “Our Two Skins”, released Friday 26th June. Gordi Performed a full set with her four-piece band, this special one-off event will be Gordi’s debut Opera House performance,

Gordi launched her new album “Our Two Skins” to stunning effect across the weekend, performing in the picturesque surrounds of Sydney Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre.

The special launch show featured Gordi performing to an empty room at the iconic venue as part of its From Our House to Yours digital program, which has seen fans gifted exclusive content from the venue’s archives (including this performance from Empire Of The Sun). The album has received critical acclaim and many blogs have it as their Album Of The Week, describing it as “a ten-song story of love, acceptance and self-discovery”.

Setlist:
Introduction 00:00 Aeroplane Bathrooms 01:36 Volcanic 07:57 On My Side 11:25 Can We Work It Out 16:16 Extraordinary Life 20:56 Heaven I Know 26:16 Sandwiches 32:51 Unready 37:47

Our Two Skins chronicles the intense and impossible time Gordi spent renegotiating who she is and how she fits in the world. The writing of the album began after a nervous breakdown while pacing around an Etihad flight from Australia to Europe in late 2017. Sophie Payten, known professionally as Gordi, had finished exams to earn a medical degree and after trading her “nice, safe relationship” for a new one, she began coming to terms with a new truth in her identity. That identity struggle and her new relationship, which played out against the backdrop of the marriage equality plebiscite in Australia. Gordi’s versatility as a musician combined with her open and disarming disposition have helped establish her as an in-demand collaborator. Payten has collaborated with artists including Bon Iver, Alex Somers, Julien Baker, The Tallest Man On Earth, Asgeir, Fleet Foxes and many more, helping shape her artistic voice.

Album single Unready’s music video also featured a very special cameo appearance from Family Guy and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’s Alex Borstein.

Gordi is set to embark on an Aussie tour in October, ‘Our Two Skins’ out June 26th Jagjaguwar Recordings.

AC:DC - Back In Black

Rock’s biggest-selling album ever — AC/DC’s Back in Black — is turning 40 years old this month,. In a joint effort with Gibson Guitars, we’re presenting “Back in Black 40th Anniversary: A Virtual Celebration”. The online stream will take place Friday, July 24th, premiering at 5:00 p.m.

Going into 1980, it most certainly seemed like it would be smooth sailing across the finish line for AC/DC. After several years of slowly climbing up the ladder of success Stateside and in Europe (they were already gigantic in their homeland of Australia), 1979 had perfectly set the stage for a bona fide worldwide breakthrough in the new decade.

Their last album, Highway to Hell, had peaked at No. 17 in the US and went gold (while the album’s anthemic title track reached No. 47 on the singles chart), and the band — then comprised of singer Bon Scott, guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams, and drummer Phil Rudd — were about to make the transition from opener to arena headliner. And then …tragedy struck.

Well-known for his fondness for partying and in particular, for alcohol, Scott was found dead on February 19th, 1980, at the age of 33 in the backseat of a car in London (his death certificate lists the cause as “death by misadventure” — for many years it was assumed caused by alcohol, but in recent times, the possibility of a heroin overdose has come to light). A decision was eventually made by the surviving members to carry on, with former Geordie singer, Brian Johnson, officially being named Scott’s successor on April 1st. Soon after, Johnson and his new bandmates (and the producer behind Highway to Hell, Mutt Lange), congregated at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas to get to work on AC/DC’s next studio LP. By May, the sessions had wrapped up, and on July 25th, the world was given one of rock’s all-time classic (and largest-selling) recordings, Back in Black.

AC/DC’s landmark 1980 LP, Back in Black”, turns 40 years old on July 25th, and they’re marking the occasion by releasing vintage videos from the era on YouTube. The newest one is a performance of “What Do You Do for Money Honey” from a February 1981 show at Nippon Seinenkan in Tokyo.

Original AC/DC frontman Bon Scott died slightly less than one year before this show in Tokyo, and this was their first time on the road with singer Brian Johnson. It’s a rare live video where Johnson isn’t wearing his trademark newsboy hat. He is wearing an Ohio State University shirt, which he probably picked up when the group played Columbus, Ohio, five months earlier.

While all 10 of the album’s tracks crediting both the Young brothers and Johnson as the sole composers, it later surfaced that Scott had some sort of involvement in the genesis of the material (at the very least, playing drums on a few demos — with others going so far as to allege he may have contributed a bit lyrically). But either way, the end result was simply stunning, as Back in Black (whose title was an obvious nod to their recently deceased bandmate) rocked hard from front to back — one of the rare albums where not a single weak track was included. probably more so than on any other AC/DC album, the classics outweigh the lesser compositions, including four songs that have never left their setlists (nor rock radio playlists) since their initial unveiling: “Hells Bells”, the title track, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”. And then there are tunes that would probably be most other bands’ A-listers — “Shoot to Thrill”, “What Do You Do for Money Honey”, and “Have a Drink on Me” .

There was initially some skepticism about whether or not AC/DC could flourish without Scott, but all doubts were put to rest the second that Back in Black hit. It was their biggest album to date, and songs like “Hells Bells,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Back in Black,” “Shoot to Thrill,” and “Rock & Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” have been at the center of their live show for the past 40 years. “What Do You Do for Money Honey” has gotten slightly less love. They last played it on the 2001 Stiff Upper Lip tour.

The future of AC/DC is somewhat of a mystery at the moment, but there is photographic evidence that the group spent time at a Vancouver recording studio in 2018, suggesting that drummer Phil Rudd, bassist Cliff Williams, and Johnson are back in the fold. By the conclusion of the Rock or Bust tour in 2016, they had all departed from the group for various reasons. There were widespread rumours of a new album and tour earlier this year, but it’s quite possible that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their plans.

unlike certain rock albums that storm the charts and then become largely forgotten over time (or sound increasingly dated as the years progress), Back in Black has possessed incredible staying power in the consciousness of rock fans. So much so that at last count (December 2019) the album has sold a staggering 25 million copies … in the US alone. Looking back on Back in Black 40 years after its original release, it remains impressive both how the band was able to assemble and record the album so soon after the death of Scott and also how they happened to locate the perfect replacement behind the mic (something that is quite difficult to do in most cases.

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Then on the heels of two stellar EPs, Melbourne’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever first appeared on our radar at SXSW 2017. The marvelous quintet piled on guitars unapologetically in each of their breezy pop songs with life on the world’s roads and skies laid ahead for them. Their excellent 2018 debut LP, Hope Downs, solidified their status as a touring powerhouse, but the grind eventually made the band turn inward when writing “Sideways to New Italy”. “We saw a lot of the world, which was such a privilege, but it was kind of like looking through the window at other people’s lives, and then also reflecting on our own,” says singer/guitarist Fran Keaney. “She’s There” opens almost unconsciously with a nasty guitar hook that threads into a song about longing and pondering someone’s absence who might be thousands of miles away. “Falling Thunder” is a more traditional pop groove that’s still heavily stacked with guitars and asks “Is it any wonder? We’re on the outside / Falling like thunder, from the sky.” And while RBCF is shifting to make sense of their place in the world, they’re still very much committed to doing so while absolutely shredding.

Just two years ago, This Australian indie pop band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever rose to international prominence with the release of their critically acclaimed debut LP ‘Hope Downs’ which found an eager audience around the world. Showing absolutely no signs of second album fatigue, they make their welcome return with the newly released ‘Sideways To New Italy’.

Inspired by the New South Wales village of the same name where drummer Marcel Tussie grew up and spent his formative years; nostalgia plays a major part in this wonderfully wistful record which channels the melancholy and turns it into a dynamic explosion over ten tracks.

It also reflects on how immigration is increasingly becoming a contentious issue thanks to the dangerous rhetoric of popularist politicians, which contrasts sharply with the bands views who see the benefit of blending cultures as proven by the Venetians who came to New South Wales in the 1800’s and brought their rich history to their new home.

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On their second full length record, “Sideways to New Italy”, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have turned their gaze inward, to their individual pasts and the places that inform them. From a town in regional Australia that serves as a living relic to how immigrants brought a sense of home to an alien place, to the familiar Mediterranean statues that dot the front lawns of the Melbourne suburbs where the band members live, the inspiration for the record came from the attempts people make at crafting utopia in their backyard (while knowing there is no such thing as a clean slate). In searching for something to hold onto in the turbulence, the guitar-pop five-piece has channelled their own sense of dislocation into an album that serves as a totem of home to take with them to stages all over the world.

“These are the expressions of people trying to find home somewhere alien, trying to create utopia in a turbulent and imperfect world.” These guys continue to grow as songwriters- there are a ton of catchy melodies across this album, and not a weak track. I can’t wait to see them perform these songs live! . The tightest 3-guitar band I have ever seen, full stop. The dual-lead guitar crescendo in Cars in Space is pure bliss, something Verlaine and Lloyd would have been proud of.

Released June 5th, 2020

2020 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever under license to Sub Pop Records

‘Sideways To New Italy’ is now available on Limited Edition Sky Blue Coloured Vinyl, Standard Vinyl and a Bundle containing both records.

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Australian musician Gordi shares the new single, “Volcanic,” from her new album, Our Two Skins, on Jagjaguwar Records. The release date for Our Two Skins has moved to June 26th due to disruptions related to COVID-19. Following previously released songs “Aeroplane Bathroom” and “Sandwiches,” “Volcanic” fizzles with a sense of urgency and swirling mania. Payten wrote the track in 2018 while in Sweden, when travelling with her parents and grappling with a new truth in her identity, against the backdrop of a Christian family and Australia’s same-sex marriage vote. The instrumentation came out of hours sitting at the piano behind the kitchen at Berlin’s Michelberger Hotel during PEOPLE Festival, the piano of which made it into the final version on the record (if you listen hard you can hear plates, pots and pans clinking from the kitchen). “Volcanic” is cathartic, driven by Payten’s deeply rich voice and frank lyrics.

“It speaks to a rush of anxiety – about why, about what is real and what is not, about the drama of it, about the vortex of it,” says Payten. “When it surges you can feel paralysed and out of control at the same time – ‘shut down’ and ‘manic.’ Its self-destructive nature can be so crippling. I wanted the song to feel like a wave of anxiety. The tempo never changes but the piano solo starts at half-time and rushes until it is double the speed, though the beat never changes. And then suddenly; it’s over.”

The accompanying video was directed by Madeleine Purdy and shot around Payten’s hometown of Canowindra, mostly on her family’s property.

“Volcanic” the new song by Gordi off ‘Our Two Skins’ out June 26th on Jagjaguwar

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Methyl Ethyl showcased why they’re arguably Australia’s finest pop-rock band on last year’s Triage. “The Hurts to Laugh” EP proves they’re not slowing doing anytime soon.

These five tracks were apparently recorded in the same 2019 sessions as Triage. If they were excluded for perceived lack of quality then the decision is baffling, as they are equal to or above the choicest cuts on that album. Single Majestic AF is especially strong, living up to its title with its epic build. With washes of strings and its Eastern keyboard melodies, it feels like it draws from Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir but adds a pop sheen.

Honest follows and is another epic, swapping bombast for yearning as frontman Jake Webb tears at the heartstrings with a passionate vocal. The instrumentation again shows creativity, with a great accordion melody popping up out of nowhere during the bridge. Charm Offensive also does as its title suggests. It is a relatively simple track that nonetheless captures ears on the strength of its refrain.

What Memory Found is the only misstep, a low-key mood piece driven by swelling synths that would’ve benefited from more structure. Closer The Quicker is more successful, similarly repetitive but with much more drive courtesy of its chugging rhythm and ascending progression.

Maybe these songs are better served on a standalone EP after all, better appreciated here rather than having their strength diluted deep in an LP. It’s a testament to Jake Webb and the band’s gargantuan songwriting abilities that they have so much in the bank.