March 2013 archive

The Raffaellas – Words

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Melbourne folk rock four piece The Raffaellas are sure to explode onto the music scene with the release of their ridiculous fun and bouncy tune ‘Words‘.

‘Words’ is a super catchy little folk rock tune that is absolutely bounding with energy. The cascading guitars, rolling drums and jaunty beats combine fantastically well to deliver an upbeat bouncy sound that is bound to have you flicking the iPod onto repeat. I am also a big fan of the strong rustic vocals of their lead singer who just thrusts this tune into the top echelon of folk rock tunes circulating the country right now. Keep your eyes and ears on these guys, because based on this song, I’m feeling big things are on the horizon.

 

Kathryn Rollins – Reckless

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Following on from her catchy debut single ‘Who Shot The Bird Down’, WA songstress Kathryn Rollins has returned with her equally soulful second single ‘Reckless‘.

The song features the once more powerful vocals of Kathryn Rollins which drives this song through its paces. Lyrically deep and with quite the emotional tinge to the vocals, the lightness of the backing instrumentation creates a strange atmosphere to the track. On the one hand you’re drawn into this heavy story, yet the light drum patterns and jazz infused swagger give ‘Reckless’ a real element of coolness. It’s a real grower, and its touch of class suggests that it is best served with a good red and good company. Two singles in and I’m pretty keen to see the first full release from this promising singer/songwriter.

George Maple – Fixed

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Sydney lady George Maple (Jessica Higgs) has been collaborating with some wonderful and highly acclaimed artists such as Flight Facilities and most recently appeared on Flume’s track ‘Bring You Down’.

So it’s time that this stunner-of-a-girl and stunner-of-a-singer released her own stuff! And she has, with her second solo single, ‘Fixed’. This electro-soul track reeks with striking vibes that remind me of Flume; dreamy and haunting vocals that lace around the edgy sound.

The most exciting aspect of this tune is George Maple’s vocals. She’s got a great bluesy resonance to her voice, and it not only sounds amazing, but also has such a unique blend of sounds that becomes something that will stick in your head for hours and hours.

Maple is currently recording new material in London, and it’ll be exciting when us proud Aussies can hear more of her stellar music, but in the meantime, check out ‘Fixed’, as George Maple’s captivating music will keep you listening and have you wishing for more.

 

Nantes – Beingsbeing Album Review

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Sydney act Nantes have just released their brand new debut album ‘Beingsbeing’ and I will be upfront, based on their previous EP it was very different to what I was expecting from the lads.

Having been a huge fan of the breakthrough track ‘Fly’ and the EP track ‘Charlie’, both more bouncy guitar driven indie rock, it was a bit of a shock to see Beingsbeing have a strong synthetic undertow to it. Ok, so it wasn’t a total shock with the already popular Triple J played singles ‘Avid’, ‘Drones’ and ‘Unsatisfy’, giving some inkling that Nantes were expanding their sound. But it the effectiveness in which the guys had incorporated their synth done so that was the real surprising pleasure.

The album builds on the bands indie rock roots and as mentioned mixes things up a good variation of pop and heavy bass/synth vibes. The surprises were the tunes ‘Alice’, which is a little reminiscent of a Phil Collins number with brooding atmospheric drums and hazy vocals, and Awayke Dream which incorporated some interesting sampling. ‘Beingsbeing’s more predictable poppy tracks included the radio numbers ‘Avid’,‘Drones’, bouncy key number ‘Potrisis’ and my personal favourite the percussion laden ‘Lost Children’. Yet,  you did get the impression that somebody had been drinking too much whisky and listening to too much Phil Collins, as throughout the album there was a real reliance on slow churning bass lines and synth overlays, which did give some tracks a bit of a similar sound. I guess I was still pretty surprised at the defection from melodic indie rock the guys had undergone.

After several listens you also cannot help but decide there is an element of melancholic disappointment, or perhaps a stoned punkish anger seething through the album. The happiness of their EP has been replaced by a slightly more intense emotional vibe, perhaps a realisation of the difficulties of cracking the big time. Nonetheless, Nantes have definitely honed in and enhanced their sound and despite the aforementioned emotional intensity ‘Beingsbeing’ is an album that grows on you with every listen.

 

 

Gig Review – First Degree Tour at Uni of Wollongong

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Kicking off the night was The Griswolds who’s energetic live show never fails to disappoint. Loud, upbeat and showing off the kind of stage presence that leaves you wondering why they are still opening shows for other people, they delivered a pretty awesome set. ‘Heart of a Lion’ went off, the freshers loved it, and were pretty keen for the night to kick on.

Drapht came out and did his thing.  Not a huge hip-hop fan, but credit where credit is due, the man did his thing well. I was pretty surprised by how many of his songs I knew, and may have even had a bit of a head bop going at one point.

The next act where Strangetalk who blew me away with their set. Having listened to Strangetalk a bit and knowing the classic crowd favourites ‘Climbing Walls’ and ‘Eskimo Boy’ I was amazed at how well the guys made their sound come through live, it was so much rockier than the albums. They danced, they sang and had the girls swooning of every word. The guys were really energetic and really fun, and had everyone well and truly pumped for The Last Dinosaurs.

With supports like the above, it was going to be a hell of a show for the Last Dinosaurs to outdo them. But rising to the occasion, they rocked it.  ‘Andy’ made a pretty early appearance and the crowd formed what could only be described as a washing machine of death when the slightly heavier ‘Zoom’ came on. Add some crowd surfing and another stellar rip through their debut album playing the favourites ‘Weekend’, ‘Honolulu’ and ‘Time and Place’ and the boys genuinely earned the encore they got. Treating us to a song that I have not heard before – nonetheless it was a pretty rad night that left all in the mood to kick on (which we did)…

 

Q and As with The Snowdroppers

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With their new album ‘Moving Out Of Eden’ dropping at the end of the week, we caught up with The Snowdroppers to see what they have in store for us. 

First up, who are The Snowdroppers and how did the band start off?  

London(bass), Cougar (Drums), Johnny (vocals, banjo, harmonica), Pauly (guitar).London, Johnny and I (Pauly) all originally met at uni and we met Cougar when Johnny and I were involved in the same burlesque/variety shows as him which would have been in 2006 then we started theSnowdroppersin 2007.

The Snowdroppers is a pretty rad name – what inspired it?

It was from a book about old gangs in surry hills – a reference to cocaine originally. Then later we found out how it’s a word for stealing underwear as well.

Say somebody stumbles across you guys playing a live set. How are they going to describe your sound to their mates. What other comments might they make?

Loud/stripped back/punkish/blues-rock perhaps? I’d be glad if they used the decription “farken siiick mate” or similar. If it’s a  woman she may comment on the handsomeness and general well-dressed look of the band. I’d like to think so. Depending on where the gig is they might comment that we look like a “farken bunch of poofs”. We’ve heard that too. From men and women. We’ve heard it all! Someone even had the audacity to call us a folk band once!

What do your record collections look like? Which bands have had the biggest influence on your sound?

I think its always going to be hard to judge your own influences from the inside out (unless you’re say wolfmother or airborne or someone). I think it’s a pretty mushy blend of where punk meets blues (Johnny or cougar would possibly nominate bands such as jim jones revue or the blues explosion, nick cave) and then also trying for a more classic radio pop/rock songwriting approach (we’re fans of billy joel, talking heads, the kinks, XTC, the police, huey lewis, etc). I think there’s an important distinction not all bands make between having a punk ethos and just being a lazy songwriter.

How do you compose your new songs? Do you rely on the same method, or do you mix it up?

A thousand different methods. Sometimes start with a riff, sometimes with a chord progression, sometimes with lyrics. A lot of the time I start with a drumbeat. Songwriting is fantastic and horrible, but I won’t go into that. I’ve always looked at it like fishing – you could sit there in the boat for days and not catch anything, but you have to put in the time to even have a chance of catching something.  And then when you hook something, there’s no guarantee you’ll get it in the boat or that it won’t turn out to just be an old boot, or something. And then if you manage that, then you’ve got to take your fish to market, and make a big racket about why someone should buy your fish rather than the thousands of others that are out rotting in the sun, and maybe it turns out people don’t want to eat fish this week, they feel like hamburgers?  And that’s why it took us three and a half years to get this new album done.

You guys were on the soundtrack for an ad for target (from memory – correct me if I’m wrong). What was it like to turn on the television and hear your music being played to people across the country?

We were on a Channel V ad and an ad in Norway for a business school. We were on a plane the other week and there was a McDonalds ad came on the TV and you could seeSnowdroppersposters on a wall in the background of the shot. Not a red cent for that one!

I wouldn’t mind if we had our music on a Target ad. People who are against bands using their music in commercials like to quote Bill Hicks, for instance, on a comment he made in the 80s,  but I think people lost the right to judge how musicians try to make money right about when they started torrenting albums by the truckload. The only ad we’ve gotten money from so far was the Norwegian one, 100% of which went into paying off debts the band had accrued from touring and promo.

 Your about to drop your second album, ‘Moving out of Eden’. How would you describe its sound, and what were the driving forces that really motivated the tracks we are going to hear?

I think it’s definitely a progression from the first album. These words are always bandied about for second albums, but, perhaps it’s more cohesive or mature. It still has our sense of humour, but we’ve moved from single entendres to doubles. The driving forces would be our last few years of touring, I think we became a louder, more aggressive band in some ways. A large chunk of it was written whilst I was broke and on the dole and not having much luck romantically so perhaps that came through as well. Although I disagree with the idea that you’ve got to necessarily “live” your art. What about having an imagination? Do you think that Brett Easton Ellis murdered a pile of prostitutes? Or Shakespeare was in a murder/suicide pact with his girlfriend? Or jesus actually did all those wacky things they wrote about in the bible? They used their imaginations!

You have some touring lined up to support the new album. Where are you playing, and are there any shows you’re particularly keen for?

We’re doing a short album launch tour on the east coast, also Bluesfest inByronBay(always keen for that one) and planning a big national tour later in the year. Here’s the details for the album launch gigs:

Friday March 22: The Standard, Darlinghurst NSW
with Little Bastard & The Pieter Van Den Hoogen Band
http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/the-snowdroppers-moving-out-of-eden-album-launch/63722

Friday April 5th: Northcote Social Club, Northcote VIC
with Little Bastard & The Stiffys
https://corner.ticketscout.com.au/gigs/1157

Saturday April 6th: Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine VIC
with Little Bastard
http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/moving-out-of-eden-album-launch-tour/63669

Friday April 12th: The Zoo, Brisbane
with Little Bastard & Moses Gunn Collective
http://zoo.oztix.com.au/default.aspx?Event=32684

Saturday April 13th: Woombye Pub, Woombye with Little Bastard & London Bureau
http://thewoombyepub.com.au/whats_on/event/222/

Aside from the new album and tour, what does 2013 and the future have in store for The Snowdroppers?

I guess it all depends how this album goes! Either way, we’ll just keep playing and writing and travelling around.

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