Posts Tagged ‘Melbourne’

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Influenced by primal garage-rock and the hypnotic grooves of African and South American music, Melbourne’s Bananagun have evolved from the home-made ideas of guitarist, vocalist and flautist Nick van Bakel to a full five-piece set-up. Their new debut album, “The True Story of Bananagun”, was born from extended jam sessions and presents a grand vision for their self-professed ‘global tropicalia’.

There’s an enticing lost world exoticism to the music of Bananagun. It’s the sort of stuff that could’ve come from a dusty record crate of hidden gems; yet as the punchy, colourfully vibrant pair of singles Do Yeah and Out of Reach have proven over the past 12 months, the band are no revivalists. On debut album The True Story of Bananagun, they make a giant leap forward with their outward-looking blend of global tropicalia.

The True Story of Bananagun marks Bananagun’s first full foray into writing and recording as a complete band, having originally germinated in the bedroom ideas and demos of guitarist, vocalist and flautist Nick van Bakel. The multi-instrumentalist grew up on skate videos, absorbing the hip-hop beats that sound-tracked them – taking on touchstones like Self Core label founder Mr. Dibbs and other early 90’s turntablists.

That love of the groove underpins Bananagun – even if the rhythms now traverse far beyond those fledgling influences. “We didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing,” the band’s founder says. “We wanted it to be vibrant, colourful and have depth like the jungle. Like an ode to nature.”

Van Bakel was joined first by cousin Jimi Gregg on drums – the pair’s shared love of the Jungle Book apparently made him a natural fit – and the rest of the group are friends first and foremost, put together as a band because of a shared emphasis on keeping things fun. Jack Crook (guitar/vocals), Charlotte Tobin (djembe/percussion) and Josh Dans (bass) complete the five-piece and between them there’s a freshness and playful spontaneity to The True Story of Bananagun, borne out of late night practice jams and hangs at producer John Lee’s Phaedra Studios.

“We were playing a lot leading up to recording so we’re all over it live”, van Bakel fondly recalls of the sessions that became more like a communal hang out, with Zoe Fox and Miles Bedford there too to add extra vocals and saxophone. “It was a good time, meeting there every night, using proper gear [rather than my bedroom setups.] It felt like everyone had a bit of a buzz going on.”

Tracks like The Master and People Talk Too Much bounce around atop hybrid percussion that fuses West African high life with Brazilian tropicalia; the likes of She Now hark to a more westernised early rhythm ‘n’ blues beat, remoulded and refreshed in the group’s own inimitable summery style. Freak Machine is perhaps the closest to those early 90’s beats, but even then the group add layers and layers of bright guitars, harmonic flower-pop vocals and other sounds to transmute the source material to an entirely new plain. Elsewhere there’s a 90 second track called Bird Up! that cut and pastes kookaburra and parrot calls as an homage to the wildlife surrounding van Bakel’s home 80 kilometres from Melbourne.

Oh, and there are hooks galore too – try and stop yourself from humming along to Out of Reach’s swooping vocal melody.


Bananagun are first and foremost a band enthused with the joy of living and The True Story of Bananagun is a ebullient listen; van Bakel – as the main songwriter – is keen not to let any lyrical themes overpower that. There’s more to this record than blissed out grooves and tripped out fuzz though: The Master is about learning to be your own master and resisting the urge to compare yourself to others; She Now addresses gender identity and extolls the importance of people being able to identify how they feel. Then there’s closing track Taking The Present For Granted, which perhaps sums up the band’s ethos on life, trying to take in the world around you and appreciating the here and now.

A keen meditator, van Bakel says of the track: “so often people are having a shit time stuck in their own existential crisis, but if you get outside you head and participate in life and appreciate how beautiful it all is you can have a better time.”

Even the band’s seemingly innocuous name has an underlying message of connectivity that matches the universality of the music. “It’s like non-violent combat! Or the guy who does a stick up, but it’s just a banana, not a gun, and he tells the authorities not to take themselves too seriously.”

The True Story of Bananagun then is perhaps a tale of finding beauty in even these most turbulent of times.

The Band:
Nick Van Bakel – guitar, voice, flute, trumpet, harpsichord, percussion
Jack Crook – guitar, voice
Charlotte Tobin – percussion
Josh Dans – bass guitar
Jimi Gregg – drums
Pierce Morton – alto saxophone
Miles Bedford – tenor saxophone
Zoe Fox – voice
Songs written by Nick Van Bakel.
Released June 26th, 2020

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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.


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.

The Citradels are a band of Melbournites who defy time and space. Sitars, handheld shakers, rattlers and rollers, open-D fuzz jams and unstoppable feedback driven 3 guitar odysseys that force unwary listeners to stare deeply into the depths of an infinite nothingness, The Citradels make some of the darkest, most intense drone music I’ve heard in a long time and make The Black Angels look like a pop group. The latest release from the Geelong five piece, drawing on all the regular spaced out influences from The Velvet Underground to JMC.

Drone music uses the interplay of different musical tones and timbres to create interesting music. In doing so, it fervently avoids things like key changes, melodic riffing or even chord changes in some instances. This means that listening to a drone album is like stepping into a black hole.

Tracs is the 10th album the band has produced in 7 years. Recorded over the space of a year in their home studio in rural Victoria, this album we have stripped back a lot of the instrumentation of our previous releases, taking songwriting and arrangement inspiration from the likes of Neil Young, The Band, The Byrds, Big Star and Cut Worms. We hope you find enjoyment listening to it.

The dark themes and hymn-esque vocals of the beginning of the album, this time revisiting the musicality of the entire album in one short mix. By short, I mean 8 minutes. There’s sweet atonal organ licks, some bent, screaming lead guitar and splashy, cymbal heavy percussion –


The band have been launching their LP relentlessly all over the east coast and have already cracked out the 12 string acoustics, the teardrops and the sitars to start production on their fourth album. If you’re into prolific psych jams, check em out and pay some money for their album – lord knows they deserve it.

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Melbourne-based band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever will release their highly-anticipated second album, “Sideways to New Italy”, this Friday,  June 5th via Sub Pop Records. Today, they release the album’s fourth single, “Cameo,” which follows previous tracks “Falling Thunder,” “She’s There,” and “Cars in Space.”

“Cameo” begins with open guitar strums and Fran Keaney’s sweet, assured voice. Then, it thrums with plucking bass, crisp percussion, and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.’s signature ability to create a stirring, anthemic track. Undoubtedly an album high point, “Cameo” shows a band at the peak of their power, both instrumentally and lyrically.

“This is a love song. It’s about reaching through time portals,” says Keaney. “The lyrics were pieced together over about a year like a little puzzle. I found the first pieces in Rushworth, and the last pieces in Darwin.”

Sideways to New Italy is available for preorder from Sub Pop. Preorders of the LP through and select independent retailers in North America, the U.K., and Europe, will receive the limited Loser edition

Bananagun on

“The True Story of Bananagun” in the form of The Master, Regarding the track, bandleader Nick van Bakel stated: “The Master is kind of about evacuating yourself from the absurd but typical life of working your arse into the ground for someone else and how no matter where you’re working or how high up the ladder you are in that world, there’s always a person up higher bossing you around or someone you’re trying to please. I just hate when people flex too much and don’t respect people; that’s what the majority of people deal with their whole life. It’s miserable and there’s no room for stuff to blossom. The trash that’s suggested in school, movies, and everything; have all your milestones planned out. You wanna make god laugh tell him you’ve got your life planned!”

The track is out now on streaming services alongside previous singles “Out Of Reach” and the BBC 6 Music-playlisted “People Talk Too Much.”

Melbourne 5 piece who dress like Os Mutantes and dance like Bobby Gillespie, but their grooves are impeccable. Let the sunshine in.”MOJO, Jun 2020

Taken from “The True Story of Bananagun” out 26th June

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Alex Lahey has surprised fans today with the release of a new EP. The Melbourne artist has today shared “Between The Kitchen & The Living Room” which sees her reimagine some of her best-known tracks, including “Every Day’s The Weekend, Let’s Go Out, I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of Myself,” Unspoken History and Wes Anderson.

“A few weeks ago, I found myself with all my plans taken away from me in exchange for more time than I knew what to do with. Looking forward felt too daunting, which made me flustered and upset. So, I decided to look back,” explained Lahey.

“Between the Kitchen and the Living Roomis a small collection of songs I have already released and played hundreds of times around the world, but through a new lens. In light of having to cancel my US tour, which is supposed to be under way this very moment, I decided to bring these songs home and let them find new parts of themselves.

“I engineered and produced all of these recordings within a week in a small room in my mother’s house – which is where I have been living since I didn’t continue renting in anticipation of touring for most of the year. Funnily enough, said room also happens to be the exact place many of these songs were written some years ago.

“As much as I can’t wait to go back to all the things I love doing under regular circumstances, it has been nice to embrace the boundaries. Really nice. And I hope you like what I made within them.”

“Let’s Go Out” has taken on a different meaning , with Alex taking a fan favourite sing along party tune into a chilled out moody piano ballad.
Performed By: Alex Lahey

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Stonefox’s “Time” acoustic video invites us to dwell in a moment of hopelessness and hurt, fracture and fragility. There are numerous ways to create intimacy through music, and Stonefox know them all very well. The Melbourne indie pop trio have been creating safe spaces full of sonic and emotional depth for years now, and their latest release is only the icing on the cake: Raw, vulnerable, and stripped-down.

Stonefox’s new song “Time,” originally released April 9th via Seeking Blue Records. The latest single off the band’s forthcoming EP (due to release in early August), “Time” finds the Australian indie band in a particularly contemplative headspace – waxing philosophical over purpose, place, and meaning, the group wonder aloud in a sea of “what it’s all about” and “why we’re here“.  They’re classic questions, for which there are no answers; and yet, these topics never go stale.

Nuance and poignance have long been a part of Stonefox’s ethos: Their very first single, 2014’s “All I Want,” introduced Jenna Russo, Monica Spasaro, and Tim Carroll as a minimalist, introspective musical project along the same vein as The xx and Daughter. Six years after their debut, Stonefox retain that intimate composure and minimalist edge that makes so much of their earlier work as compelling as they are engulfed in feeling.

“Time” is, in all respects, a quintessential Stonefox song. “’Time’ is about looking at a difficult time in your life from an outside perspective,” Stonefox’s lead singer Jenna Russo “It describes the second stage of being hurt, feeling hopeless and defeated. One of the more philosophical moments on the record, it’s about feeling so low that everything you do in life seems like wasted time. Like looking at the night sky and feeling insignificant in the scale of it all. It’s about realising that everyday life can be exhausting and wanting to have someone alongside you to go through the motions with.”

The “Time” acoustic video marks a special moment for the band, as it is drummer Monica Spasaro’s first time on lead vocals. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a little while now but the right moment hadn’t really ever presented itself,” Spasaro explains. “When we had the idea to make the acoustic video we were all sitting around our home studio deciding the best way to pull it off, and there was this moment we all looked at each other, a little smirk on Tim and Jenna’s face. If I was ever going to try my hand in backing vocals this was it. It was nice that there wasn’t ever any pressure, Tim and Jen gave me lots of great pointers and were always encouraging about it all, and practising and singing three part harmonies with them just seemed to work.

All of that hard work paid off for Spasaro and her bandmates, as she so beautifully wraps listeners in waves of haunting emotion. Stonefox tap into a moment of a raw clarity in their chorus, as Spasaro bears her soul:

Shot at Princes Pier in Port Melbourne by Dan Parish (The Hybrid Minds), Stonefox’s acoustic performance is truly a knockout. Stonefox have completely transformed their song without tampering with its core – it’s as pained and aching as its more dressed-up, electric alternate.

“The song is all about looking at the bigger picture and coming at things from an outside perspective during difficult moments. We wanted the setting to be vast, moody and capture the message behind the song,” Russo says of the video concept. “As songwriters we draw a lot of inspiration from the ocean and there are a lot of references to it throughout the EP.”

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Melbourne four-piece Jade Imagine have returned with their brand new single, “Coastal Pines”. The track is their follow-up to their debut album Basic Love and last year’s tour that included support slots with Pond across the U.K.

“Coastal Pines” is perfectly timed to release during the emerging summer months, with a groovy psych-infused jam that just radiates a cool sun-soaked warmth and free-spirited imagery.

Talking about the single, frontwoman Jade McInally describes Coastal Pines to be:
A song about the head verses the heart. For me, it’s the never ending struggle between the city and the ocean pulling in two different directions.”


Coastal Pines is the first single from their upcoming EP “You Remind Me Of Something I Lost” due on the 5th June.

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Originally starting as The DIY home recording project of Angus Lord and Claudia Serfaty, The Stroppies have now evolved into what some might call a “proper band”. Following on from their 2017 demo cassette and a sling of singles, 2019 saw the release of their debut LP Whoosh!, a studio-based affair that evolved The Stroppies sound, underpinned with a newly discovered melodic classicism. Look Alive!, their latest effort which was recorded only months after the bands return to Australia after their second European tour of 2019, represents a marriage of the two different styles of Stroppies recordings and rounds out an incredibly productive twelve months for the group.

Look Alive! Is the sound of The Stroppies honing their craft under new and unfamiliar conditions. Written mainly on the road then finished and recorded at home with whatever was on hand with only three of the four members present, it is according to the band’s singer/guitarist Angus Lord, “an EP forged in circumstance. A sum total of fleeting vignettes on scraps of paper, voice memos and iPhone notepads all collated between soundchecks and long stretches in a tour van pieced together over weekly jams. We didn’t want to waste much time when we got home so we opted to record it ourselves”. For a band who began with the initial idea to create “open-ended music, collaged quickly and pieced haphazardly together”, it is in some sense a return to their true self. 


Lead single ‘Holes In Everything’ presents the band at its pop best: “If I could disappear into the atmosphere, I would be around you all the time” sings Lord, before swiftly throwing shade on the sentiment in the chorus, “It’s always frightening what I think”. It’s this penchant for push and pull of light and dark splashed against the backdrop of trepidation and humour that make The Stroppies records so endearing and open-ended. Though undeniably pop structure orientated, the bands propensity for re-inventing and re-appropriating their recording and writing process ensures that nothing starts to fossilize. Indeed, Look Alive! is that most intriguing of records precisely because it represents two ideas at the same time – the sound of a band in flux, but also the sound of a band becoming more sure footed as they walk their crooked line.

Releases June 5th, 2020.

Much to the excitement of myself and ‘Gizzheads’ around the world, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s first ever feature-length music documentary is finally here. Bought to you by PHC Films and Flightless Records, “Chunky Shrapnal” is a ‘musical road movie dipped in turpentine’ filmed during the band’s 2019 tour across Europe and the UK.
Concerned about the self-congratulatory behaviour around creating a ‘behind the scenes’ film centred on themselves, the band were initially hesitant. Luckily for their humble souls, having their dear friend John Angus Stewart direct Chunky Shrapnal assured the film was authentic Gizz from start to finish. Having worked closely with the band on music videos for ‘Planet B’, ‘Self Immmolate’ and ‘Organ Farmer’, John says the film was a natural evolution of their work together, and I was lucky enough to ask ask him some questions about shooting the film entirely on 16mm, picking perfect moments, and more.

The Movie Chunky Shrapnel, It’s from a lyric from the Gizzard song, ‘Murder of the Universe’. It means vomit.reminded me why I love the band so much; The atmosphere at their concerts. the awesome community and of course the excellent music! . There is nothing quite like 16mm. First of all, I knew I wanted certain types of colours and highlights that are impossible to achieve digitally. Another reason was the practical restrictions. There’s a far better atmosphere backstage when you can’t shoot forever, you gotta pick the right moments. It’s like playing Russian roulette but you want the bullet. And having a single camera was also an import call for us. The normal four-camera set up thing for live music just doesn’t work for Gizz. You have to be on stage with them, it’s the only way. And plus, normal on stage coverage is like watching paint dry.


This album is the phenomenal soundtrack to it. No Paper Maché, sadly, they did record a few songs at the show in Cologne but they’re absent from the album.

released April 24th, 2020