Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Maq’

How Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq made <i>Pleaser</i>, her debut solo album

Georgia Maq has released “Pleaser”, a solo album produced with Katie Dey and Darcy Baylis. It’s a pop record that sounds like “Paul Westerberg meets Robyn.” “Is it real?” Georgia Maq is standing patiently in the front bar of Melbourne’s Tramway Hotel while I gape in awe at the Louis Vuitton handbag that sits under her arm. It’s a beautiful object that feels especially glamorous considering its owner — the lead singer and guitarist of Camp Cope, one of the most popular and prominent punk bands to come out of the Melbourne DIY scene in a long while.

Maq’s caustic vocals and frank, powerful lyrics have made her an indie rock celebrity of sorts, and while she often flaunts a compelling and idiosyncratic sense of style on her prolific Instagram account — a lot of leopard print, a lot of Calvin Klein — the pristine LV piece still throws me. “It’s real,” she tells me gleefully in her now-familiar drawl, “I got it on Facebook Marketplace. You should definitely buy one.”

The eight-track record is a sharp left-turn from a musician who many have assumed to be punk through and through; produced by Maq alongside Melbourne-based experimental luminary Katie Dey and Melbourne-born, Berlin-based producer Darcy Baylis, it’s a sleek, wounded pop record that crackles and pulsates like an exposed tesla coil. Released today through Boston indie label Run For Cover, “Pleaser” is perhaps best thought of like that secondhand baby LV under her arm: a pop record with all the glamour of the real thing and little of the unsettling capitalist intent.

Written and produced over the better part of 2019, Pleaser is shockingly and wonderfully unfamiliar territory for a musician familiar to scores of die-hard fans. These are songs that soar and swoop, fitted with repeated phrases and expansive choruses — elements that have never really been present in Maq’s past work. Camp Cope’s music is typified by Maq’s narrative-based storytelling and her distinctive sing-speaking, while Pleaser finds her flexing a newly-trained voice and a knack for writing sticky, surprising melodies.

The product of a period in which Maq found herself pining after someone who didn’t love her back, Pleaser offered the chance to, in her words, “repetitively scream about how I feel” — in other words, perfect conditions to write a pop album. The finished product doesn’t squander Maq’s first step into this shinier, more surreal corner of the music world; as evidenced by songs like the record’s title track — the chorus of which finds Maq sighing “I am dooooomed to be in love with yoooou,” elongating her words like the best stadium divas — Maq sounds as powerful as she’s ever been

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Camp Cope’s newest album How To Socialise & Make Friends released on March 2nd 2018. The follow up to their 2016 self-titled debut kicks off with the instantly remarkable bass line of “The Opener,” an explosive diatribe against the sexist double standards of the music industry at large. What follows the lead single are a collection of songs that anchor on the cycles of life, loss and growth through resilience and those moments of finding and being yourself. The second album from the Australian trio hums with rage and retribution, executed with biting specificity and vast emotional range by singer Georgia Maq.

Throughout the nine songs on How To Socialise & Make Friends it becomes clear that if their debut was the flame, this is Camp Cope rising from the ashes, stronger and more focused than ever. Camp Cope wrote How to Socialise before the #MeToo movement really took off. But reckonings don’t just fall out of the sky, and not since the alt-rock boom of the ’90s has music felt more ripe for a revolution. Camp Cope’s windswept punk feels both retro and right now, like Courtney Barnett covering Tigers Jaw covering Ani DiFranco. Their sound is jangly but unpolished, folky but not crunchy. Maq’s voice, decorated with Australian diphthongs, ably meanders from shouty to soft, conjuring an inexplicable mashup of Joe Strummer and Joni Mitchell.

‘Sagan-Indiana’ track taken from ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’ LP/CD/Digital via Poison City Records.

Wurst Nurse

In addition to fronting the jangly indie-punk band Camp Cope (who recently released a great new album), Georgia Maq also fronts the more driving, aggressive punk band Würst Nürse, who just released their debut single “Dedication Doesn’t Pay The Rent.” Georgia’s voice here is even more snarling than it is in Camp Cope, and she sounds great over this kind of dark, beefed-up, minor key punk. It’s the first taste of an upcoming four-track EP, which was recored by Ben David of Georgia’s collaborators The Hard Aches, and that EP will be out at a later date via Damaged Music.

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How can something so furious feel so life-affirming? There is so much love and passion in Camp Cope’s debut album that, even after a million listens, I still find myself stuck to the chair and gripping onto the table as those drums kick in. Singular and unrelenting, the fuzz drums, magic bass lines and Georgia Maq’s voice , these 8 short songs are everything. Not only was this an incredible debut, it also felt like the start of something. From the now, sadly, kinda legendary “girls to the front” incident, and the subsequent #ItTakesOne campaign, it felt like this year Camp Cope changed from being just a local band that released a great record, to a scene-changing force for good – breaking faces, and absolutely-no-doubt inspiring.

Their latest single The Opener, from the band’s forthcoming album, features lyrics that take on gender disparity over a swaggering bassline, insistent drums and urgent guitars: “You worked so hard, but we were just lucky/To ride those coattails into infinity/And all my success has got nothing to do with me/Yeah, tell me again how there just aren’t that many girls in the music scene.”

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Taking some time out from recording last month, bass player Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich wrote a guest editorial piece for the monthly edition of The Music and discussed Camp Cope’s “overall experience being non-male in the music industry”. “In this music world we have all been made to feel less important, less listened to and deserving of space because of our gender,” Hellmrich writes. “This continues together as a band where we are constantly facing discrimination and sexism and then criticism when we are outspoken about it. There have been people asking us if we knew how to use our equipment or if we write our own songs,

And as the year draws to an end, the band were voted “This Year’s Girl Band” Camp Cope had already retaliated in the best way possible, dropping new songs “Keep Growing” and “The Opener” pounding and fully focussed, ready.

CAMP COPE ‘The Opener’. Taken from forthcoming 2018 album – via Run For Cover (EU/UK/USA) and Poison City Records

 

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Camp Cope have made a fiery comeback with the first taste of their upcoming second album.

The empowering punk trio pretty much instantly found their musical voice – loud, fearless, sincere – on their self-titled debut album (which was nominated for a 2016 J Award).

Now we get ‘The Opener’, Camp Cope’s first new music since last year’s ‘Keep Growing’, which doesn’t mess much with the sound you’re used to but it does cement their status as a vital voice in the music scene as they simultaneously call out the hypocrisies within it. ‘The Opener’ bites back at the phoneys in a male-dominated industry who’ve told the band to do things every other which way but their own.

“It’s another all-male tour preaching equality,” bellows singer-guitarist Georgia Maq in a line dripping with acerbic determination; her cutting lyrics coiling around Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s mercurial bass melodies and Sarah Thompsons’ sturdy rhythmic backing.

The song is also the first taste of Camp Cope’s upcoming second full-length record. No title or release date yet but the LP is due sometime in 2018 (via Poison City Records)

CAMP COPE ‘The Opener’. Taken from forthcoming 2018 album – via Run For Cover (EU/UK/USA) and Poison City (Australia/ NZ/ Asia).

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What’s most startling about this Melbourne, Australia trio Camp Cope’s self-titled debut is not its collection of tightly played and written indie rock songs. It’s the sneaking, sinking feeling you get from pouring through someone’s well-hidden diary while listening to the damn thing.

In the record’s eight tracks, singer Georgia Maq lets us in far past the point of oversharing; her frustration, fear and grief expressed in “Lost (Season One)” and “Song for Charlie,” delivered through her thick Aussie accent and complemented by her bandmates’ ragtag percussion, it all feels like the kind of things we learn to keep locked up in private. You could call that radical transparency, or tenderness, or both. But it makes for startlingly good singalong fodder. Particularly impressive is Maq’s pen. Her knack for reworking lengthy, unwieldy thoughts like “I’ve been desensitized to the human body / I could look at you naked and all I’d see would be anatomy” (“Flesh and Electricity”) into effortless hooks is demonstrated all across Camp Cope, through songs that tackle sexual harassment, personal tragedy. But through its heavy subject matter, Camp Cope’s inaugural statement of a debut album is, above the mud and murk, to persist and survive

In the same way Benji was about “death” and 69 Love Songs was about “love,” Camp Cope’s enthralling debut is an album about “shame.” There are dozens of times where Georgia Maq, leader of this Melbourne trio, recognizes the subtle way shame has goes viral in real time, tinting and tainting almost every one of her interactions: The discomfort and depression she feels after passing by a homeless man in the park, getting catcalled at a construction yard or busking in the streets. Each encounter is processed as a projection of her emotional state or payback for the original sin of having been born. Maq’s emotional intelligence is off the charts here, but in that aspect, she might admit she’s too smart for her own good.

On “Flesh & Electricity,” Maq exhales, “I’ve been desensitized to the human body/I could look at you naked and all I’d see would be anatomy,” like she just might sink so far into her couch that she disappears. When she modulates the chorus a few steps higher, she sounds even wearier; the effect is like watching someone force a smile in a crushingly repetitive job. It’s perhaps the saddest of Camp Cope’s eight songs because it was inspired by her actually trying to do good in the world; Maq worked as a nurse during the writing process of Camp Cope, but her altruism might have just been shame management: “My father says it’s atonement for my reckless years,” she says in “Flesh & Electricity.”

Camp Cope’s sound is, increasingly, the sound of indie rock today: a divergence from the too-cool VUthe FallPavement lineage that embraces the effusive, empathic and emphatic qualities of emo, with some pop-punk (Tigers Jaw and UV Race are namedropped in “Stove Lighter,” WHY? is paraphrased in “West Side Story”) and a social awareness that negates any of the aforementioned’s previously questionable politics. You can tell from the stock chord progressions and loudly projected vocals that Camp Cope used to be Maq’s solo project, but if it’s folky at all, it resembles the superlyrical the Front Bottoms or the Mountain Goats rather than any roots music.

It’s a testament to Camp Cope’s unique magnetism that they never cheat towards the catharsis typically expected to balance out such heavy subject matter. They often use deadpan humor instead: “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams” references nutball 9/11 conspiracy theories, but uses it as part of a pattern where any authority condescends to you, whether it comes from the NRA (“the only thing that can stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun”) or the victim-blaming inherent in most sexual assault investigations.

The most powerful moments on Camp Cope come when Maq shows a willingness to take some kind of power back after being talked down to her entire life, by parents, by teachers, by partners (“Hey, I was looking for a reason to leave and it’s you”), friends and peers in the punk community. There are no revelatory epiphanies for Maq, just valuable growth spurts that feel like acceptance. In “West Side Story,” Maq gets closest to the “survive and advance” thesis statement of Camp Cope:  “It all comes down to the knowledge that we’re gonna die/find comfort in that or be scared for the rest of your life.”

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Poison City have a reliable nose for urgently melodic punk bands, and Camp Cope fit that bill perfectly. A Melbourne trio fronted by Footscray songwriter Georgia Maq, they recall the raw, barking release of Waxahatchee, whom they’re supporting in Melbourne this month. The terrifically named ‘Lost: Season One’ finds solace in bed-bound binge-watching and manages to squeeze in a Dogs in Space reference amid all the cutting lyrics.

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