New Electronic Music: Sui Zhen + I’lls + Milwaukee Banks x Friendships + Leisure Suite

I talk a fair bit of shit about the ol’ wub-wubs on this blog of the Gods, but this stuff I’m about to unveil is for the sophisticated dance lovers. It’s for those who have a Gucci pinga purse, and wear their bum bags with a seal fur lining. These people can afford speed-dealers from the top rack of the 7/11, and use Evian bottles for their bongs, not those pesky Mount Frankies or Gatorades. This is for the intelligentsia fist bumpers:

Sui Zhen – Infinity Street

There’s a slew of female R&B/production virtuoso artists floating around at the moment, from obvious nods at BANKS, to local legends KUCKA, Rainbow Chan and Banoffee. But Sui Zhen, man, she takes the cake. She also takes all the other delicatessen delights, because goddamit, she’s earned herself a righteous snack. “Infinity Street” is the first single from her upcoming debut album, and it’s a tight Grimes-esque bubblegum explosion of pink synths and icy claps. It’s Grimes brought to an even more wide-eyed innocence, cuter and more surreal than anything that’s popped up recently. This music is gorgeousness incarnate, more charming than the Prince himself.

I’lls – Fifty-Phiphti/ Asakusa

I’lls, a Melbourne electronica group that sound like The King of Limbs under a muffler of sleep, have quietly but surely returned with a brand new 7″. Two tracks long, the result is a shuffling escapade of lite electronic pattering, more Jon Hopkins-esque that any of I’lls work before. The opener “Fifty-Phiphti” builds upon slow-burning layer after layer, Flying Lotus’ ‘When The Quiet Comes’ acting as a bit of a influence soundboard. There’s a lot of cool jazz occurrences, and they’re moulded delicately and expertly into wordless samples, taking what Seekae exposed the world to on their debut, and revitalising it for a modern audience. Follow up “Asakusa” continues the dreamy beats that combine the noises of outside with the technical proficiency of someone who’s spent a while inside. The ensuing 8 minutes is something you want to check out.

Milwaukee Banks – Pluto Bounce (friendships Post-Apocalypse Grave-Rave Remix)

Apparently, Milwaukee Banks are a ‘cloud rap’ group, and whilst I don’t know what the fuck cloud rap is (nor do I care), I do know that these guys are crazy talented. The amount of chemistry apparent in their EP and music is something that even someone with only the faintest idea of good music will instantly be drawn to it.

Another Melbs group going by the name of friendships have contributed to a remix EP (featuring previous remixes from LUCIANBLOMKAMP and Andrei Eremin), and they’ve completely flipped and distorted the original track until it resembles an exoskeleton of its former self. Whereas the original could only be described as “dope-ass”, this renewed track harnesses the shuffling dance-floor potential, scooting eclectic sounds across a dark and moody atmosphere that must have involved some voodoo magic.

Leisure Suite – Leisure Suite EP

For the most part, indie acts add electronic flourishes with one of two possible outcomes occurring. One, the band could end up completely sucking (see: RUFUS, Chet Faker’s album, Alt-J). However, there’s another chance that the electronic stuff brings to light the intricacies of the band, and such is the case with Leisure Suite. Absolutely stunning, every song on this far too short EP is arresting, a straightjacket of subtle but emotional jams. Leisure Suite are sincere and gorgeous, and this EP is a surefire success indicator.

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New: Black Lips + Gazar Strips + Casual Sex + Jugu + Tincture + Chalk And Numbers

Okay, a fuckload of new songs, all of them good. Its like Christmas. Lucky you.

Black Lips-Boys In the Wood

If John Travolta from Grease combined with John Travolta from Pulp Fiction, you’d have an idea of the swag overloads on this new Black Lips track. This song is so urban cowboy, its like a Clint Eastwood/John Wayne combination, a thought so impossibly awesome, if you dwell on it for more than a couple second, your brain will explode. The Black Lips tried, and only through the power of their sheer amazing could they pull through. From their experiences, they formed the new track ‘Boys in the Wood’. Supernatural avoidance of brain explosions are pretty fucking awesome, as is this song. It just makes sense.

Gazar Strips- Oversight

Okay, so this is how shit went down. Imagine if you were some shit little Padawan, then all of a sudden, fucking Chewbacca rocks up and gives you mad props on your lightsabre skills and offers to personally teach you how to use a Wookie crossbow? Well, that’s a great allegory for that time my favourite Aussie music website, Sonic Masala, asked me to check out their debut single on the record label the guys just launched.

At by fuck, is it not just the greatest thing you’ve heard in a while. Gazar Strips from Brisbane play a fudgey, slick combination of Joy Division, The Jesus and Mary Chain with, wait for it, Primus-like bass riffs. Those things just jump and strut like they’re coming straight out of ‘Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver’.

The song soon descends into this Sisters of Mercy goth thing, scraping up the barrels of blackness off the Brisbane band room floor and throws them down in a terrific show of angst. Man, this song is fucking killer!

Casual Sex-Then Again

Oh man, oh man, oh man! This shit is like eating a fuckload of chilli, having the entire rim of your mouth completely seared to a deathly pain, and somehow, Casual Sex turn that into an enjoyable feeling. Their sound is a kindly of sickly, oozing, vampiric take on The Horrors. If that band’s early stuff was molested by the likes of The Cramps, then you’d have something along the lines of what happens in the spine-tingling lies of ‘Then Again’. Both seducing and horribly terrifying at the same time, you’ll never view one night flings in the same way again.

Jugu-All the Girls

Something a little less dark, but by no means outside of the territory, this holds a little bit of pixie Amanda Palmer to it. Everything’s still doused in black, but now there’s a mystic sheen running all over it. Its incredibly attractive, but in the back of your mind, you just fucking know there’s a catch. Good luck trying to find it in the textually dense track. There’s those sprite-like vocals, dancing xylophones, and clarinet-or something weezing. Those constant, circular keys that wrap themselves around you, those are the final killers though, ensnaring you like a she-devil python. Jugu proves herself to be the anti-matter version of Sia, and I prefer it that way.

I’lls-Outright (Tincture Remix)

Holy fuck, now things are about to slow down to zanily over-the-top pace.We need to get Jim Carey or Adam Sandler in for this or something, because after the relatively breakneck darkness, there’s a remix of I’lls that I’ve in no way prepared you for. Off their sophomore EP from earlier this year, ‘Outright’ turns into a freezing, glacial monolith, albeit one that starts to get scaled by millions of climbers all searching for some holy shrine, right about 2:08 mark. As specific as that description is, I think its fitting, and I’m the one who’s writing this shit, so deal with it.

That one was by Tincture, the Brisbane maestro who shocked and awed with his track ‘Tryst’. You can grab it for free at I’lls Bandcamp, along with remixes by Rat & Co, Naysayer & Gilsun, Ktsche and Wabz.

Chalk And Numbers-Jump Up

And now for something really, really, really, exploitatively different. This is a track from the band Chalk And Numbers. They sound good, they’re critically acclaimed, they’re underground, yep, they’re from New York. Anyway, this is their contribution to a compilation coming out really soon based around Fraggle Rock songs. There’s only two people that watch Fraggle Rock, and that’s kids under 5, and stoners/trippers out of their fucking minds.

Anyway, the song is a sunshine-splashed, old school garage pop gem. Very girl-group, like The Mama’s & The Papa’s, but minus The Papa’s.

HSC Trials Study Playlist

A lot of people are struggling with the Trials at the moment. I’ll make this brief: here’s a bunch of music that you can study to and will hopefully help you not fail. Nothing too weird or unsightly, nothing energetic, just really smooth relaxing music that will put you in a good mood and help you not go on a killing spree. 

1. Hebronix-Unliving

2. Twerps-Who Are You

3. Bearhug-Cinema West

4. Nite Jewel-One Second of Love

5. Modest Mouse-Baby Blue Sedan

6. High Highs-Open Season

7. Telling-Stella

8. The Beta Band-She’s the One For Me

9. The Flaming Lips-Do You Realize??

10. Elliot Smith-Ballad of Big Nothing

11. Portishead-The Rip

12. Elvis Depressedly-I’m Never Going to Understand

13. Laura Marling-Ghosts

14. Dick Diver-Water Damage

15. Shining Bird-Distant Dreaming

16. Ciggie Witch-Back Aches

17. I’lls-To: All the Blurred

18. Naysayer & Gilsun-In Mind (feat. Simon Lam)

19. Chet Faker- I’m Into You

Album Review: I’lls-A Warm Reception

ImageI’lls have just dropped their new EP ‘A Warm Reception’, and it really see’s the outfit coming into it’s own skin. Whilst the previous ‘Thread’ EP was fantastic, it did feel a bit awkward in some parts, however this brand new material shows a comfortable side to I’lls, and with that comes the reward of a really, really good record.

If you’re a fan of Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows,and Kid A Radiohead, then you will absolutely froth over this EP. Same goes if you enjoyed the recent Thom Yorke/Flea/Nigel Godrich/Joey Waronker project Atoms for Peace. Now, there are a shitload of bands that parade around saying that they sound like Radiohead, but most of it’s bullshit. I’lls are the real deal, and they prove that without a doubt on ‘A Warm Reception’.

The songs on the EP are a silky, ambient spool of soft electronica, the complete opposite of the recent Go Yoko album I reviewed. It’s a gentle, soothing swaying record that is as light as it is warm. The opening track ‘Speak Low’ is a placid whisper, rain-patter guitars mindlessly rubbing against lossless vocals and swirling piano. Another dreamer is  ‘To: All the Blurred’. If you enjoy stuff by the likes of James Blake, Nicolas Jaar, or Shlohmo, get in on this. It’s a delicate, exuberant track that expresses itself in the minimalism rather than assaulting the listener. Wavy vocals that enjoy barely audible lyrics jut out on top of dry, intense waves of sound that wash the listener in a pastiche of disturbance. It’s a track that shifts from part to part easily, dragging itself like a zombie, albeit the prettiest fucking zombie you’ve ever seen.

Overall, I’lls have proved themselves to be at the forefront of Australian electronica. Forget Flume or Touch Sensitive, with their club-ready pounders. This is more in lieu of Oliver Tank, something that wraps it’s cold fingers around you into an unsettling embrace. It’s a fantastically unstructured and lurching soft-electronica piece that has protruded in my mind as something more than just your average midnight production jam on FBi radio.

You can grab the awesome new EP here, for free, off Yes Please Records Bandcamp. It’s worth more than a 2am Kebab, and it costs less.