Posts Tagged ‘australia’

Splendour In The Grass 2016 // Review

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Sun, cider and outrageous dancing, coupled with some damn good quality music, basically sums up Splendour 2016. As festival-goers nation wide begin to experience the post Splendour blues, I thought it would be best to recap the highlights and the hilarious life lessons learnt throughout the weekend.

Day 1// Can I pay you in magic?

Day one was top quality to say the least. Armed with falafel chips, staminade and vodka concealed in pringle packets, I joined thousands of enthusiastic punters making their way to SITG16. Thankfully the unspeakable mud-quandary-of-2015 quickly became an ancient memory, as the sun worked it’s magic and kicked off the weekend with nothing but blue skies all round. By the time we wrestled with our tents and got our lives in order, we headed in to see the timeless Aussie greats, the DMAs. As always they managed to fill the amphitheatre despite their early set time and didn’t disappoint. To the crowds delight Tommy O’Dell smashed out their ultimate jewel ‘Delete’ early on, followed by ‘Lay Down’, which even managed to get the hill dwellers up and grooving. Basically, the dorky dad like group lived up to expectations. The day rolled on with several highlights including Hayden James and Melbourne’s electronic quintet Total Giovanni, who got the entire crowd into an energetic dance fest. But it was the end of the night that made the day for me, with Brisbane’s Violent Soho cramming so many party-goers into the amphitheatre that security had to close entrances. The night ended on an ultimate high courtesy of The Strokes, who although started over 20 minutes late, performed a noteworthy set. Their last song ‘Last nite’ left us breathless and showed that these guys really are the cream of the crop.

Day 2 // It’s a bottle of white to start the night, a bottle of red to get to bed.

Waking up on day two, we were faced with difficult life decisions – whether to cue for showers for 2 hours or choose the ‘optional’ hygiene mindset of our fellow splendour goers. Thankfully we chose the latter, as we were able to experience an unforgettable performance by In loving memory of Szymon. An incredibly emotional and heartfelt performance was delivered from this tribute band to the late Australian singer-song writer, Szymon. Heartbreakingly, Szymon took his own life at the young age of 23 and in a move to keep his loving memory alive, his friends and family came together to create this beautiful music that entranced the entire crowd- it was truly special. As a polar opposite, we next went to King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard who pulled one of the most energetic crowds of the entire festival. Watching from the hill, we witnessed dust whirlwinds spiralling out of control as fans formed an outlandish dance ring as ‘Robot Stop’ played out. It was Gang of Youths who really stole the show, with their lively performance, crowd surfing and sea of confetti. Lead singer Le’aupepe’s characteristic dance moves, struts across stage and refined vocals made you fall in love all over again with Australia’s favourite indie rock band.
The only comment I have on Ball Park Music – absolute perfection, I think I actually lost a few kg’s from all the dancing.

Although they couldn’t completely fill the 3-hour time allocation, The Cure solidified the night with their 30 song playlist. It became pretty apparent early on that this was going to be a marathon of a night, mixing classics with new material like ‘it can never be the same.’ Although I did find myself struggling to keep my energy up towards the end of the night, these Brit indie greats highlighted what pure legends they’ve become.

Day 3 // I am having fun. I am having a lot of fun.

Last but not least by any means, Day 3 was my favourite of the whole festival. I was happily introduced to a new artist Lapsley, whose vocals were through the roof and made blokes around the nation melt with her Bristish accent. At one point she commented, ‘I heard you can domesticate wombats, I think I’d like one.’ There’s a particular magic about being entranced and surprised by new artists and Lapsely’s chilled electronic vibes made a huge impression. Another new act for me was the Melbourne SKA orchestra, who were an orchestra with a difference. This 18 piece band displayed some of Australia’s finest musicians and the crowd reacted to them in waves. They had the entire mosh turning and waving at dwellers on the hill, with conductor Nicky Bomba directing the crowd ‘to turn on the count of four and dance like you’ve never danced before.’ Also of note, The Preatures delivered a heartfelt set, sending off their guitarist Gideon Bensen in true style.

Last the act we were all waiting for: Flume. “I just have to stop the music for a second,” he told the absolutely sardine-packed crowd in the amphitheatre. “This is just too surreal for me! I watched the pixies headline here in 2010 and now I’m here. Let’s fucking do this Splendour!” Basically from that point on, his set was flawless with multiple first class guest singers and his sneaky “Fuck Pauline Hanson, GOODNIGHT,” topping off one of the most diverse and impressive festivals in Australia’s calendar.

To recap, Splendour in The Grass 2016 was a weekend jam packed with the finest artists from across the globe, highlighting a diverse range of genres, ages and cultures. My only complaint? Our generation will now have severe hearing issues for the rest of our lives – something I’m certainly willing to sacrifice for such an epic weekend.

Thanks Splendour, until next time.

The Dead Leaves – If The Shoe Fits

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Believe it or not, The Dead Leaves initially began as a solo project with the band getting together to help produce music for the bands vocalist, Joe Gow but quickly evolved into a group project with the The Dead Leaves first album, Cities on the Sea, being due for release February10. Until then the band have released the single ‘If the Shoe Fits’ to get us started.

The band is quite rightly built around Joe Gow’s deep , husky, baritone vocals, which are absolutely amazing, and sound very similar to Matt Berninger of the National. It is one of those voices that just commands respect, and you associate with those good looking people who wear suits, drink scotch, eat caviar and drive Maserati’s – several which appear in the ‘If the Shoe Fits’ music video below.I mean no disrespect to the other musicians in the band, guitarist Andrew Pollock, drummer Joel Witenberg and bassist Cam Grindrod, whose music is also first class, its just that I find the vocals so incredible. In fact the supporting music should be given more credit with the washy guitars and soft drumming providing the perfect platform to allow Gow’s vocals to sound as good as they do.

Although slightly criticised for their similarities to The National, The Dead Leaves still deliver a great sound and are not some made in China cheap knock off. And as The National only tour every 3 to 4 years, I am quite happy to go to my local music venue and catch these guys for a fifth of the price. Hopefully their forthcoming album will show enough diversity to cement their own identity.

Slightly Left of Centre – Melbourne Pop Rock

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In a time where peoples ears are being inundated with indie-pop-rock, Melbourne band ‘Slightly Left of Centre’  have, as their name suggests, managed to distinguish their sound from the rest of the pack.

In fact their debut single ‘Glorious Way’, which was released in August of 2010, has been one of the most played songs on my iPod in the last week or so since re-discovering it. I love the layering of the track. You get sucked in by the emotional piano work, then the driving beats kick in to get you running and before you know it your in the middle of a cracking track with a short but sweet guitar solo, waning bass and some thunderous work on the drum kit. The vocals delivered by Christian Murphy are smooth, deep and loud enough that in the glorious commotion of the instruments aren’t overshadowed. Overall the track mixes all its aspects so well I currently can’t get enough of it.

So the big news is that after a year in the making, SLOC are releasing their first album ironically called ‘The Right Direction’. It is due out later this year and given that they have had a year to work on the album and the musical prowess shown in ‘Glorious Way’ I am pretty sure that SLOC will deliver.

The Guppies

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This Novocastrian 3-piece have managed to put together a song that everyone can relate to, its called “I Never Liked Mondays”.

Since being Triple J Unearthed High Finalists last year, an impressive feat considering the band only formed for the purpose of the competition, guitarist (and vocals) Lachlan Morris, drummer Angus Geraghty and bassist James Hodgett have been busy working on an EP they hope to release next year.

Despite the EP release still pending, the boys have managed to produce several raw indie tracks, which you can check out in full on their soundcloud and unearthed profiles found here/here. The aforementioned and coincidentally most popular song “I Never Liked Mondays”, has a real stripped back sound with twangy guitars, loud simple drum patterns and scratchy vocals. Yet despite being a little simplistic, the song works, its catchy and you cant help but enjoy listening to it.

The band really shows its punk side in the much darker “Murder in the Dark”, “Glass Jaw” and only semi-darker piece “Pea Soup”. Compared to “I Never Like Mondays”, these tracks have heavier drum beats, a larger bass presence and vocals that seem to be  slightly yelled as opposed to sung. The band do show shades of ‘Nirvana’ particularly in “Pea Soup”, stated as one of their influences on their unearthed site, but you can’t help but feel “Murder in the Dark” is influenced by the early stuff  from ‘The Living End’.

It will be interesting to see whether ‘the Guppies’ will particularly opt to embrace their raw indie or punk sides as they develop. Regardless we will enjoy watching these small fry as they grow into bigger fish.

 

Them Swoops

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Coming out of Melbourne is indie threesome ‘Them Swoops’, comprising of drummer Adam Hengstberger, guitarist/vocals Dave McGann and Chris Goff on bass, who have produced several super catchy tracks in the lead up to releasing their debut EP in the first half of next year.

Describing their sound as “sharp, fuzz guitar-psych wig-out chaos-pop from the future of your past”, you aren’t really sure what to expect until you actually listen. Strangely their description isn’t that obscure, as fuzz guitars are one of the featured instruments, producing retro style rifts which ‘the future of your past’ is probably in reference to. The music is pretty chilled, that’s the wig out bit. The only part that you don’t quite get is the ‘chaos pop’ reference. If anything these guys aren’t chaotic at all, instead producing tracks that are on the whole pretty well layered and smooth, with no jerky off-beats.

“Work Around It” is a super catchy track combining a breezy guitar loop with tuneful drumming and faded vocals, and really hits the spot. Lyrically the song stands up as well, its an interesting love ballad about the girl who got away (always a classic), because she couldn’t just ‘work around it’. It really gets the fingers tapping and head swaying.

The same can be said for their other songs, “Take Your Time” and “Too Fast for Love”. Both great indie tunes that get you bopping to the beat. “Take Your Time” also has a great keyboard injection to give the track a bit of diversity and uniqueness to it. “Too Fast For Love” features some clever breaks and changes in tempo but maintains the same fuzzy upbeat feeling as their other songs. In fact this song reminds me very much of ‘The Kooks’ first two albums, in terms of the guitar riffs and general style.

Hoping to have an EP out in the first half of 2012 and full length album in the second half, I’m sure there will be more of ‘Them Swoops’ to come.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=jZyX75nsFZU

Palms – Remnants of the Red Riders

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Sydney two piece ‘Palms’ have not yet been together for a year, but are no strangers to the Aussie music scene with both members Tom Wallace and Alexander Grigg having formally been in Sydney band ‘Red Riders’ which broke up during the 2011 winter.

Whilst the rest of the band went on to other things, Wallace and Grigg kick started new project ‘Palms’ because they realised they liked making music too much to stop, which is a pretty good reason to be honest. Whilst ‘Red Riders’ music was a constant barrage of sound with off-kilter rhythms, waning guitars and distortion style bass, ‘Palms’ is a little less intense and more in the surf-rock category with bands such as Wavves.

Their first released song, ‘Summer is Done With Us’ is the ultimate anti-summer song, best characterised by the lyrics “Lets go where it (summer) can’t follow us”. The track has a real 60s feel with the waning guitars, step-laddering keyboards and energetic drumming, and contains more instruments than the members can play, which suggests that Tom and Al may have some recruiting to do. The vocals are somewhat reserved and mix well with the instrumentation, with the track swapping between times of music and then vocal domination. Its a pretty spritely and upbeat track, and luckily can be downloaded for free here at Palms unearthed page.

Given that ‘Palms’ love making music, I doubt it will be too long before a demo tape, first official single, or EP is released. Until then I’m going to encourage the arrival of winter by listening to ‘Summer is Done with Us’.

 

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