June 2014 archive

The Holidays, Step Panther / Wollongong Uni Bar

Holidays

An end of semester bash at Wollongong Uni Bar recently afforded me the opportunity to catch Sydney local’s The Holidays coming off the release of their fantastic second studio album, Reel Feel. The night began with supporting act Step-Panther, a local garage-pop trio, delivering a fast-paced, unapologetic set. Although their offering of gritty lo-fi tracks seemed to have a somewhat polarising effect on the crowd, I was definitely digging their brash riffs and raw sound.
The atmosphere changed for the upbeat when the aptly named, indie-pop outfit The Holidays emerged on stage to deliver a slew of vacation-reminiscent sounds. After milling about eagerly during set-up, the crowd responded to the sensory delight that these guys had in store by erupting in a joyous sea of rhythmic movement before the end of their first song.
With the release of a second album, the group has established a substantial library of much loved songs, all dripping with fanciful, soul-pop sounds and to the delight of an energetic crowd, they threw most of them our way. The set was highlighted by the percussion-heavy ‘2 Days’  from their debut release and ‘All Time High’, a dreamlike single from their latest release that really showcased frontman Simon Jones’ adept vocals. These were followed by the sounds of ‘Home’ which, aside from getting them some serious play on the national airwaves, gave everyone a reason to cast disposition aside and bust an unconditional move.

Mammals – Circles

MammalsMammals has returned with his long overdue second single ‘Circles’, and boy is it worth the wait.

I remember Mammals bursting onto the scene a year or so ago, playing Laneway Festival and his track ‘Move Slower’ blowing my mind. So I am pretty happy that the eventual follow up ‘Circles’ is equally as epic. His low-fi, chilled, ensemble of sounds just resonates with me, with ‘Circles’ being the perfect amount of dreamy and not overstepping the line into the category of slow wait for it electro pop. This is one talented dude, get on to Mammals now.

Airling – The Runner

AirlingThe term indie pop masterpiece is thrown around pretty liberally these days, but the term is more than appropriate for Airling’s second single of the year, entitled ‘The Runner’,

I am in love with Airling’s distorted, ethereal pop. There is something about her vocals that just caresses my ears and soothes the soul like nothing else. Musically, it sounds like Airling recorded using some sort of electric waterbed which is out of equilibrium. Her music just flows and squirms through this melodic and addictive form of synth pop. ‘The Runner’ is another great tune from Airling.

Orphans Orphans – Orphan

artworks-000079372020-kfmwv9-t500x500Brisbanites Orphans Orphans have announced themselves releasing their debut name inspired single ‘Orphan’.

The band is an ode to orphaned songs, and Orphans Orphans have a bit of pedigree behind them, being made up of Sam Hales (The Jungle Giants), Lewis Stephenson (The Belligerents), Spencer White (Morning Harvey), Aidan Moore (Moses Gunn Collective) and Steve Kempnich (Audio Engineer/musician & former touring member of Last Dinosaurs and Millions).  First taste, and these guys are dropping grungy rock vibes delivered in a bouncy gritty manner, and we like it. With plenty of guitar solos, and a truly thumping melody, these guys have managed to combine that raw 80s rock feel with the modern niceties of indie rock to create a truly compelling listen. ‘Orphan’ is their first public display of work, and has left me keen for more of this catchy rock.

Interview with The Holidays

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Barely a month after their successful national tour for their latest full length offering Real Feel, The Holidays, fronted by Simon Jones, will be setting off again on an East Coast Tour, coinciding with the release of the albums third single, Tongue Talk. Simon tells us what it’s like to play the big rooms and how long he can hold his breath for.

We really dug your cover of The Preatures’ Is This How You Feel  for Like A Version the other Friday, it was better even than the Wolf Like Me Like A Version from a few years back, how much time goes into putting one of those together?

We spent a while on it. For our first one, the Wolf Like Me one, we literally found out the week before that we were going to be on the show so we left it until the day before and just came up with something really quickly.

This time we had heaps more warning so we spent about three weeks mucking around with ideas for it. We knew we wanted to do that song but we didn’t know how we wanted to do it, so we tried a few different ways, made some recordings and went with the slowed down version, which was fun to make.

So will you be putting that in a live set soon?

Possibly, we haven’t actually discussed it yet but we could. I’d actually like to put a cover of Sexual Healing into the set, or we might be able to do a more extensive sort of mash-up.

You’ve said touring your debut album Post Paradise was the best year of your life, how has touring Real Feel compared?

It’s been kind of similar really, the difference was in whatever year that was (2010) we went overseas a fair bit which was really cool. We didn’t do that this time because a lot of the stuff we’ve done before like SXSW. But that was my favourite thing about that year and we all took time off in Europe afterwards.

For this one we’re only halfway through it but we’ve done a couple of tours in Australia which have been good and the rooms are getting bigger.

That first time around we didn’t manage to get to a room the size of the Metro or the Hi Fi in Melbourne.

 Is that time off in Europe when you wrote this album?

That’s where it started, the bulk of it got done when I got home but I came up with ideas and sketches over there, then it was like lets get home and record it and make it happen.

So you were trying to make this album a little darker, and I can see that on tracks like Japan Window and Voices Drifting, but Home and All Time High seem like the classic upbeat Holidays of 2010. Did you achieve all you wanted to in terms of darkness on this album?

The original idea was to make it darker but somewhere along the way we came back to our sound. There’s definitely a couple of darker tracks but Home and All Time High were more kinda classic Holidays song that we wrote and we felt they had a place there too. We came out with an album that didn’t really fit in any time period scene or anything popular at the moment, it’s tough to know how people are going to receive things but when Voices Drifting was released it kind of went off on a lot of the blogs and we had the feature album on Triple J one week so we’ve been really happy with the reception

You mentioned Voices Drifting, how long were you holding your breath for in that film clip? Is that clip in slow motion?

I can’t remember exactly how long it was, probably about two minutes ten seconds, a really long time.

Are you an elite diver? How did you manage that?

I literally trained for about three weeks and I thought it was fine. After practicing at home, not in water just holding my breath, I started to get up to about two and a half minutes. All you’ve got to do is relax and control your heart rate. But when we went to film our indoor pool fell through so we had to do it in an outdoor pool in the middle of winter, and it was too cold to keep my heart rate down but we got there. I’m glad we got the shot in the end because if I couldn’t do hold my breath for that long it would have just been a very bitter experience.

If the Holidays holiday, where do they holiday?

Probably… Japan, Tokyo, it’s probably my favourite spot. We’ve never played there, we had our album released in Japan but never actually played there so I’ve only been there as a tourist, it’s just like being on another planet which is why I love it.

  So you went to school with the guys from Art Vs Science and played against them in talent comps, who had the upper hand? Who used to win?

 Yeah they were a few years above us I think. I cant really remember, I never used to win so it definitely wouldn’t have been me I’m not sure if they did either. I don’t think either of us won <laughs> some really crappy half assed stuff used to win.

So there’s no lingering high school rivalry between the bands then.

Definitely not, we never went toe to toe. I wonder what the guys who used to win are up to now.

I know you just released an album but do you have any idea when we’ll here more from the Holidays?

We’ve got a lot of songs from Reel Feel that didn’t make it onto the album, and we’re always experimenting with new ideas so I guess it’s just watch this space.

 

 

 

The Middle Names, The Dark Hawks, Angry Beige / Brighton Up Bar

Middle NamesThings began slowly at the Brighton Up Bar for the Remember Me At All Tour that has seen Hobart’s indie pop-rock outfit The Middle Names travelling about. Things kicked off with support acts Angry Beige - possibly the most daringly contradictory band name of recent memory – and The Black Hawks both delivering intense, seductive sets which at times extended beyond the stage as if to spite the dwindling crowd. The Black Hawks boasted some serious post-rock chops with resounding drum beats and delightfully abrasive guitar riffs complimenting the raw, powerful vocals. I hadn’t heard much of these guys going in but I found myself eagerly tapping along with every one of their songs regardless.

By the time The Middle Names took the stage the crowd had really emerged, eager to see the Tasmanian natives – and they did not disappoint. It was a tight set, showcasing the groups musical range, from the fast paced, punk-pop inspired sounds of ‘Full Friends’ that have come to define the band’s sound, to their homage to spaghetti-westerns in ‘You Came Around’, a song that left few able to resist the temptation to contribute to the inevitable dance-floor hoedown. Their newest track, the headlining ‘Remember Me At All’ also showed off the groups dual vocal musings which really added depth to an already interesting sound and left me anticipating whatever comes next from these guys.

There is something infinitely relatable about The Middle Names and though I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, it didn’t stop me, or anyone else at the Brighton Up Bar, from being totally captivated by there playful, unassuming performance. The group’s candid stage presence managed to create a comforting sense of nostalgia that played at me throughout the set and had me anticipating each song as though their’s was the first album I ever owned. In short you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on these guys.

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