Video: Rainbow Chan – Work

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Rainbow Chan has always been excessively cool, but this new song and clip has taken her to a new stance of god-like proportions. After listening to and watching “Work”, I feel the same way about Rainbow Chan as I do Beyonce – just mouth-agape, holy shit, that’s what a fucking boss sounds like. She just oozes with this effortless aura of chic that would make Fonzie’s head spin.

“Work” has everything you could want from a pop song – a stomping beat, a flourishing workout of percussion and potentially the best dance sequence since Kevin Bacon was gyrating his way through an abandoned warehouse in Footloose. Add in an abundance of leather, two notably boss backup dancers, and Rainbow Chan’s absolutely stunning vocals snapping necks to attention faster than a karate chop from Chuck Norris, and you’ve a whole new level of pop masterpiece.

Rainbow Chan’s debut album Spacings will be out on Silo Arts on August 26th. Catch Rainbow Chan bringing her incredible moves to either the first night of Volumes Festival on August 26th, or her album launch at Newtown Social Club on September 16th.

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Album Review: GL – Touch

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Every now and then, I get asked to DJ. It’s always heaps of fun for me, but it also sucks for everyone else there because they have to suffer through a ginger kid awkwardly fading between The Replacements and Dinosaur Jr. for hours on end, complete with long and arduous gaps of silence between each song as I attempt to figure out how the CD-J’s work.

The saving grace for these poor bastards locked in a room with me has always been GL. When all hope seems lost, and even half-priced rum ‘n’ cokes aren’t enough to enthrall even the most sturdy of boozehounds, I’ll drop some “Won’t You See” or “Grip”. Instantly, the room is a flourishing wetland of dancing figures and people that suddenly don’t hate my guts. They might not know the songs, but fuck me if folks can’t resist cutting shapes to GL. And who can blame ’em? This is boogie music, through and through!

After a few years of EP’s and singles, the duo of Graham Pogson and Ella Thompson have released their debut full-length. Never before have slap-bass, trickling synths and a drop-dead gorgeous voice been combined so effectively before – each song hits like a speeding train of propulsive rhythms and deadly pop.

The instrumentation of Touch sparkles with crystalline production, each synth burbling with a joyful soul and the bass riffs squelching with particular enthusiasm. Every time another bass slap rockets through the speakers, you can’t help but let out a little involuntary ‘Ooo!’!

However, the star of the show has to go to Ella Thompson’s vocals; her voice acts as a beacon amongst the thick production, summoning from the dance floor, a battle cry for the good times you risk missing out on if you ignore the call. Thompson has proved herself one of the best vocalists, doing time with everyone from Dorsal Fins to AXOLOTOL, but with GL, she delves into a well of talent, unleashing a full-blown pop powerhouse on songs like “Grip” and “Number One”.

There’s a reason why the music of GL goes off so well at my otherwise uneventful and uninspired DJ sets – they just know how to make really great pop music. This duo from Melbourne just ‘get’ it, the same way that Cyndi Lauper and Whitney Houston and Prince ‘got’ it. To do anything but allow yourself to become an obsessive disciple of their music is to deprive yourself of the best local pop band going around right now.

Touch is out now through Plastic World and Midnight Feature. Catch GL when they play Newtown Social on September 17th!

New: Collarbones – The Cut

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Not too long ago, I was part of a heaving audience at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, one of many who were caked in sweat and adoration for our hometown heroes Collarbones. On that night, they dropped their yet unreleased “The Cut”, and instantly there was a presence that had been unfelt until that point – something dangerous and sensual.

A few months later, and Collarbones have unleashed “The Cut” to the world, and it’s exactly how I remembered it. Beginning with a few tantalising moments of Marcus Whale unwrapping his desires in that transfixing way only he is capable of, followed by a thudding garage beat that pours salt into the fresh wound Whale just opened up.

“The Cut” warps and shifts, successfully fusing the tranquility of Collarbones’ earlier work with the savage pop stabbings of “Turning”. Not only does it make for exciting music, but it pulls out the Bic and boils the blood in anticipation for whatever Collarbones will pull out next.

New: Holy Balm – Fashion

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A few months back, Holy Balm showcased a new single they’d been working on in the Triple R Live Studios. Since seeing that video, I’ve been hounding for the release of a tangible single or record, something that isn’t a dodgy Youtube rip front ended by 30 seconds of jazz.

Well, today is the day – this otherwise uninteresting Wednesday marks the official release of new Holy Balm material. “Fashion” is a song that springs alive on the back of warring synths, one squelching like its trudging through a muddy field, the other buzzing like an organ on ecstasy. Both circle and bite, only coming together underneath the gorgeous vocals of Emma Ramsay, who’s ethereal voice stands high and mighty.  Altogether, it’s weird, and cool, and decidedly alien, especially when that climbing staircase of sax enters the picture. It forms Holy Balm as the house band for an intergalactic discotheque –  Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes hopped up on D.A.F. records – where the only surefire thing is that Holy Balm are far too cool and otherwordly to possibly have come from this planet.

“Fashion” is the first single from Active, the forthcoming sophomore album which will be out in August on Chapter Music.

New Electronica: Rainbow Chan + Dro Carey + Broadway Sounds + Ara Koufax + Kllo + OCDANTAR + Cliques + TEES

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If you head to the club tonight, and the DJ doesn’t drop one of these sick beats, then sorry, you went to the wrong club and your DJ sucks.

Rainbow Chan – Last

Rainbow Chan recently dropped “Nest”, the first single from her upcoming debut album, which showcased an even stronger willingness to incorporate all those pop leanings hinted at on her first few tracks. Now, “Last” doubles down, with rippling pools of synths spurred on by constantly evolving percussion from chimes to spliced hi-hats. Plus, there’s a chorus in there that was surely custom-made in a pop warehouse featuring a cast of ex-Destiny Child’s ghostwriters. That syrupy “Honey, honey” chant is enough to melt steel beams.

Dro Carey – Dark Zoo EP

Dro Carey has to be one of the most impressive electronic artists in Australia, right? He’s been doing that sort of complex and paranoid take on UK Garage for a few years now, but this EP sees a new extension to the Dro Carey dynamic, with a Kucka collaboration that showcases his poppies stuff yet. Still, “pop” is a loose word for “Queensberry Rules” – it’s still murmurs and bubbles with a twisted aesthetic. The EP also features that stellar single “Grow Lithe” – like a migraine pulsing underneath your skull, this thing distorts aggressively; a surefire way to keep a dance floor contorting at 3am.

The Dark Zoo Ep officially drops next week on the 20th via Soothsayer – plenty of other hits on there, so get on it.

Broadway Sounds – Exclusive Love/Digital Influence

Broadway Sounds are heading to Glastonbury! How great is that!? But also, not in the least bit surprising, considering their constant stream of good-time funk/electronica/disco/afrobeat/fuck knows banger salads. Just listen to “Exclusive Love/Digital Influence”, a song that can’t sit still for a millisecond. It jumps around upon a perky, unpredictable spray of disco synth that bathes in the titular commandment of “EXCL-USIVE LOVE / \ DIGITAL INF-LUENCE”. This song is an authoritative gesture from the Gods of Getting Down, and who are you to deny them?

Ara Koufax –  Kissy Fits

As soon as “Kissy Fits” kicks off, it becomes clear that you’re in for some jaw-clenched, fists-bundled techno. Ara Koufax stretch tension over their six minutes, chewing on football samples and murderous beats. It’s heavy stuff that remains menacing and intensive, but never overextends into something cartoonish.

Kllo – Bolide

Kllo are back with an extra letter and a serene new single in “Bolide”! The team up between Simon Lam (I’lls, Nearly Oratorio) and Chloe Kaul has just gotten hypersensitive – this is the kind of song you put on after you fall asleep in the sun, and end up with third degree burns all over your body, and you need something even more soothing than mere Aloe Vera.

OCDANTAR – Time in Flux EP

The solo project of Josh Delaney (Rat & Co, SMILE, Smooch Records Co-Head Honcho) has just put out an EP of slow-burning, Jon Hopkins-esque atmospheric electronica. It’s slow, sparse and beautiful stuff, full of texture. If it were a .jpeg, we’d call it high-res, a bare minimum of 300 pixels. The biggest highlight has to be “Sad Child”, a crisp, delicate mourner led by haunting vocals more mournful than the Adrien Brody’s natural facial expression.

Cliques – Dotted

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Cliques are the Anglerfish of the electronic world. They sit in near silence, in a place so dark you wouldn’t be able to see anything even if you had a trusty Bic. Then, a small, dim light appears…faint, bouncing, happy. It feels wrong to approach it, dangerous even, but it’s so beautiful. It bobs closer and closer, but something doesn’t feel quite right. It’s so close, and so bright, and then…the jaws open wide, terror rises to its haunches, and you’re vacuumed into the stomach of one of the world’s most unique predators.

TEES – Got the Feeling

Look, if this came out in the 90’s alongside Underworld and Orbital, TEES would probably be the biggest things in the world. Actually, it doesn’t really matter about context – even coming out in 2016,  with “Got the Feeling” and that top notch propulsive dreamy house beat, I fully expect TEES as headliners for the next Coachella.

 

New: Scraps – Touch Blue

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I’m late to the Scraps party, so I didn’t know what to expect when I saw that the always dependable Moontown Records had chucked something new up on their Soundcloud. Maybe some broken pop, or the sounds of deranged noise punk? Instead, Scraps is a refreshing six minutes of washed out, gooey disco, paired with blitzed synths, and a voice that could cause world leaders to weep.

It’s soft, comforting music in the vein of Holy Balm and Superstar, slow enough to sink into but still full of little jabs here and there to keep you awake and interested. It’s hypnotising, calming, a way to take that heart beat from a potential seizure to a rate that resembles something normal. At the very least, it’s a way more effective comedown alternative than that hippie kale diet yoga shit that those fucks from Bondi keep squirting on about.

New: GL – Grip

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Look, here’s the deal – GL are bloody perfect. They are as perfect as finding out that you and your Uber driver both share a love of Madonna, and busting out multiple renditions of “Like A Prayer” all the way back to your house, and the harmonising was so good that your Uber driver actually ends up giving you money.

Look, full disclosure – “Grip” isn’t in the same league as Madonna, but fuck they’re close, aren’t they? This is damn good music to gyrate a pelvis too! The duo of Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson are fearsome, and they’ve just been pumping out consistent gem after the other, the kind that makes your lips involuntarily twitch in excitement over. “Grip” is just the latest, a song that begins with a throbbing bass, and jabs of sensual synths, before falling away to allow all of the room for Ella Thompson’s blatantly gorgeous voice. That’s the kind of voice that otherwise law-abiding citizens would commit vocal-chord robbery for. Seriously, can that woman be any more incredible? Can we nominate her as the supreme overlord of pop already?

Fucking hell, what a bunch of goddamn geniuses. If GL can repeat this sort of magnificence on the rest of that debut album they’ve got up their sleeves, that question of lords of pop fiefdom won’t be a rhetorical one on some shitty Sydney blog, it’s going to be the real fucking deal. ALL HAIL GL!

 

New: Braille Face – Glow

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I’ve been watching a lot of that show Daredevil lately, and lemme tell ya, that Matt Murdock knows how to kick some ass! Also, in case your knowledge of Marvel’s B-grade superheroes isn’t as sharp as it should be, Daredevil is blind, and with that comes a lot of close up shots of Murdock reading braille, subtle bumps on a page that translate into words. Anyway, I find that whole concept of a written language for the blind as cool as those scenes of Daredevil absolutely smelting some bad motherfuckers with his fists.

That idea of something that’s nearly invisible having an enormous impact is reflected in Braille Face’s new single “Glow”. First of all, a round of applause for that segue. Secondly, you definitely need to get on this song: it’s paranoid, stark, and minimalistic. The small, jilting sounds that BF works with makes it that much more impactful. “Glow” will feed on your anxiety, sink its teeth into your fear, and hypnotise you with BF’s magnetic vocals. If you feel like being consumed by some really dark and beautiful electronic textures, fuck Kid A off and listen to this.

New: Nutrition – Advice Needed

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I love Nutrition so much, that I nearly went to Bondi to go see him. BONDI! Can you believe it? BONDI! Oh, what a time would have been had. And now, I’m almost wishing I did go, because then I would’ve been privy to this new jam, “Advice Needed”!

Dredged from a forgotten military laboratory on the edges of the Mariana Trench comes “Advice Needed”. So dark that it could have only come from a subterranean lair, “Advice Needed” is a dark piece of electronica that has been emphatically tampered with by Mr Hyde. Nutrition’s latest thumps with a demonic swagger.

New: Lower Spectrum – Proxima

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You ever wanted to know what would be playing on the stereo of an ultra cool political assassin who looked like George Clooney? This. This fucking song would be on the stereo, blaring out of the alien version of a Ferrari. “Why am I doing this? What purpose does this serve? Am I evil, or just a product of a society that looks suspiciously like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner?”. All these questions and more stir around our protaginist’s mind as the deep groove of Lower Spectrum “Proxima” beckons from the speakers.

The inner turmoil rages, and the only hope to drown the questions out lies within “Proxima”  Shades donned, silver fox hairdo slicked back, blaster pistol tucked into a pair of expensive jeans, and a piercing gaze that would have us all bowing in submission, the saving grace of our anti-hero lies within the lush stare of Lower Spectrum.