New: Julia Jacklin – Leadlight

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Obviously, this blog isn’t super infatuated with folk, singer-songwriter and country music. I get that they’re both huge music genres, with fanbases that extend far wider and higher than that of a lot of the music I post about. But it’s rare for me to become completely infatuated with the adult-contemporary side of things; I’m impatient, and the music I lean on reflects that.

But when there’s an undeniable talent that can just strum a guitar and curdle your blood with a voice, it’s a sick thing to get hung up on genre, and not fall head over heels for an objectively fantastic artist. Take Kath Bloom, or Marlon Williams, or Will Oldham – it doesn’t matter what kind of music fan you are, these are characters that demand attention for their stories.

Julia Jacklin is the latest introduction to my stable of quiet artists who’s music screams loudly without having to necessarily turn up the volume of their guitar.  “Leadlight” is only her second official single, but there’s a gentle richness in her vocal chords that twists my neck out of it’s usual headbanging posture. There’s an intimacy in Jacklin that is far, far, far too rare; she confides in gentle, twirling whispers, and you, the listener, should be so lucky!

If you’re like me, you’ll do the right thing and head along to her single launch next week at Newtown Social Club on Thursday 28th of July. Middle Kids (!) and Allan Smithy will be supporting as well!

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New Electronic Music: Angel Eyes + Liars + Oscar Key Sung x Naysayer & Glisun + Snakadaktal x Just Kiddin + SBMRGE + Fielded

Usually, this shit will start off mad, cool, and chilled out. Fuck that. Let’s get weird.

 

Angel Eyes-Heave

Please, just…fuck, please don’t get Angel Eyes mixed up with Angel Haze. Just…just don’t do that to me. When I see shit like that happen, it’s like someone hearing ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen, and then they start rapping ‘Ice Ice Baby’. Its so wrong on so many levels.

Anyway, rant aside, Angel Eyes, another stunning  ambient project from this sunburnt land (another way of saying I have no idea where this enterprise is actually from) have released a new track called ‘Heave’. And its eleven minutes long. Shieeet. Although ‘Heave’ comes with a warning that it’s ‘…not representative of anything I’m putting out in the near future…’, its a fine fucking thing to listen to. Heave it does, wishing and washing its way through a Terminator blowjob sound, as mechanical failure sets in and oblivion rears its ugly head. Even though it’s probably the longest song you’ve heard since Green Day put out ‘Jesus of Suburbia’, you’ll finish it, and immediately want to play it again. The same cannot be said for ‘Jesus of Suburbia’.

 

Liars-Mess On A Mission

Liars? By the sandpaper-tounge of Matthew McConaughey! Aren’t they, like, a post-rock band or something?

Actually, when they can put out this sort of scream-rave track, who even gives a fuck? This thing is both grating and gyrating, the kind of thing that would get played in the token club scene of any indie movie. This is the kind of thing made to sweat to, rotate your head to and abandon logic to. If this song were a celebrity, it would be Jennifer Lawrence-pretty sexy, and I have no idea why I adore it so much.

As a matter of fact I do: that sudden pause between the dull ‘Fact is fact, and fiction’s fiction’ and all out screams of oblivion amidst intense beats that drop to the floor harder than Point Break extras during a bank robbery scene. Liars=1, Jennifer Lawrence=0.

 

Oscar Key Sung-All I Could Do (Naysayer & Gilsun Remix)

Although the original, with its anthemic chorus, and super-sensual vibe, is undoubtedly never going to be beaten by the remix game, Naysayer & Gilsun have certainly had a fair go at trying to better Oscar Key Sung’s stand out single.

Aided by wispy loops and the gilded female moans, N&G add a rythmic balance to the track that it may or may not have been missing. This is less the sort of thing you sway to and more what you’d empty-mindedly grapple with on a dance floor. The seething beats, the sharp edge feel-it all combines for a damn good attempt at Oscar Key Sung’s crown jewel.

 

Snakadaktal-The Sun II (Just Kiddin Remix)

Damn, this song was made to be danced to in a dingy-lit nightclub just off of Oxford Street at 2 in the morning. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a compliment of the highest order.

Just Kiddin get this remix just right, adding some silky smooth layers of danceability to the track without treading into weird rave territory. With the high hats, wind-in-your-ears synth, and bass line that puts the listener in a funk chokehold, this kind of remix reminds of artists like Touch Sensitive and Kavinsky. And that fucking rules.

 

SBMRGE-Masked

We’ve already heard from Pilerats Records via their debut release of Sable’s ‘Feels So Good’, and the new lable show no signs of slowing down, having just released their third track by an artist known as SBMRGE. Listening to this track, there’s no doubt of the influence of SBTRKT. If you hadn’t picked it up from the name, then just a small snippet of the smoother-than-cream-made-of-silk soul of the track should convince you pretty quick smart.

However, there’s also a little of that Australian vibe through artists like Kilter and Yahtzel. However, with SBMRGE’s smoothness, he trumps those guys brash knob-tweakin’, and comes on top this round. You go SBMRGE!

 

Fielded-City of the Dayzed

At the very beginning of the track, Fielded (aka Lindsey Powell) immediately splits shit up by infiltrating a quiet, timid voice with rushing, raindrop-like xylophone sounds. However, that voice comes back in a big way very quickly, amping itself into some sort of Mariah Carey-influenced brand of The xx. Woah, right?

‘City of the Dayzed’ has just some of the strongest female vocals I’ve heard in a long, long time. If it were behind some sort of cheesy, bullshit thing, this track would’ve both been lost on me, and gone to the top of the Billboard Charts for approximately a week, and thousands of radio hosts would find a way to mispronounce Ms. Powell’s name. Instead, the shuffling, trembling music we get instead provides a lush background that completely allows the song to hit its absolute fucking peak.

Video(s): Scott & Charlene’s Wedding + Oscar Key Sung + Jon Hopkins + World’s End Press + Ariel Pink & Sky Ferreira + Kramies

Videos. Joke about MTV. Slight snicker, or at the very least, you breathe more air out of your nose than usual. With the introduction done, a small segue is used to seamlessly transition into the article, the reader satisfied by the author’s air of originality.

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding-Charlie’s In the Gutter

By now, you’d know Scott & Charlene’s Wedding as that super awesome dole-wave band that’s part Melbourne, part New York City. On ‘Charlie’s In the Gutter’, there’s that traditional slacker vibe of rejecting bullshit that Craig Dermody does so well, but there’s also a little more electricity in the guitar. Meanwhile, scenes from the life you wish you had flash by in the video.

Oscar Key Sung-All I Could Do

The rhythmic wizard that is Oscar Key Sung proves why he’s one of the most enchanting producers in Australia right now with ‘All I Could Do’.A little bit xxyyxx, a little bit Jon Hopkins, it swishes around on those little stilts of synth magic. But Key Sung’s own voice of melted chocolate and his compatriot on the ‘hmm’ sample make this song more delicious than an explosion at the cotton candy factory.

However, the video really takes centre stage here. Its like an exploration into African tribalism and unused Hollywood sets. Starting out with 80’s glitch leftovers and moving into a cloud-covered Coliseum, this video is both trippy and alluring.

Jon Hopkins-Collider

Speaking of Jon Hopkins, its Jon motherfuckin’ Hopkins. In the spiritual video sequel to The Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, ‘Collider’ shows the dark underbelly to all that trancey stuff your kids are listening to. Look, there’s a party going on here, but its so violent and diluted by other forces, you wouldn’t know if you’d actually go there. The music just accelerates the unease, Hopkins’ signature shuffling minimalism that comes off screaming harder than any Bring Me The Horizon track.

World’s End Press-Drag Me Home

Aaaand, we’re back in Australia, by way of Melbournites World’s End Press. These cool fucking cats released their debut self-titled earlier this year, and although I haven’t had a chance to check out the entire thing, what I have heard has been pretty mindblowingly great. ‘Drag Me Home’ is that case closed. Like their contemporaries Jagwar Ma, World’s End Press fully embrace the style of Madchester  love, bringing the half-rave, half-cheesy love song format that made Happy Mondays so famous.

As is par for the course of a World’s End Press video clip, a whole bunch of interesting shit happens. There are scantily clad women, nerds, fingernails and unnaturally stretchy spines, all bathed in sleazy neon lights.

Ariel Pink & Sky Ferreira-My Molly

Man, this is a team-up that makes one question why the fuck it didn’t happen sooner. If Sky Ferreira wasn’t going out with the main dude from DIIV, she should have totally hooked up with Ariel Pink aka the greatest, weirdest musician this planet has right now (slightly above Dan Deacon)  because this energy is what the world needed after Sonic Youth stopped being cool weird, and got French weird.

The New York chic sheen that covers this track pokes through the grime, and the drug-fuelled, fuck-you charged ‘My Molly’ becomes a little jail cell for Pink and Ferreira to jump around in and do their best Courtney Love impersonations. The video is pretty akin to that description, lots of lazing around, staring into the camera seductively and acting like Runaways-era Joan Jett.

Kramies feat Jason Lytle-Sea Otter Cottage

And finally, ‘Sea Otter Cottage’. This one is a tad quieter and less vibrant than the previous entries, but no less amazing. Kramies bring the melancholy poetry hard and fast on their drooping miser ‘Sea Otter Cottage’. Every time you think the track’s about to fall, it is suddenly picked up by some new instrument, like macabre organ chords or vaudevillian guitar. Perhaps its the influence of Jason Lytle of Grandaddy fame that muddles and murkies their sound, but it comes off fantastically.

Album Review: Snakadaktal-Sleep in the Water

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There’s no way humanly possibly you could have escaped the name Snakadaktal at this point. They won 2011’s Triple J Unearthed High, their debut EP was like watching Superbad for the first time (unhumanly amazing and layered) and they’re signed to one of Australia’s best labels, I OH YOU, which is home to the likes of DZ Deathrays and Violent Soho, amongst others. So yeah, with heavyweight singles like ‘Dance Bear’ and ‘Air’, that are actually so light in sound, that they float like Muhammad Ali’s fists during a title round, I would say that you’ve probably heard of them before. Also, with a name like Snakadaktal, they kinda stand out from the crowd, even without hearing their music. However, once heard, they raise themselves from simply indie wonderkids, to the best thing to happen to indie music since XL Records formed.

Anyway, ‘Sleep in the Water’ is a truly awesome debut album. It’s got all the elements that Snakadaktal established themselves with-breezy, blissful tunes, infectious melodies and dual vocal missiles; and then add some sophistication and maturity to the mix, for a smooth and decadent ride that is way better than any debut album should be. Fuck me, it’s actually scary to listen to the genius on display here. Albert Einstein teaming up with Grimes couldn’t concoct the toxic potions delivered on ‘Sleep in the Water’.

What’s the secret? How can almost every track on a debut album be a potent drug of a tune? Well, my theory is that Snakadaktal have branched out their musical tendrils, picked up a bunch of influences and added it to their stirring pot of already magnificent musical expertise. It’s like what Cloud Control and Big Scary have done on their recent albums, the upcoming ‘Dream Cave’ and already released ‘No Art’, respectively. But it’s slightly more impressive when Snakadaktal do it, because of both their age and the fact they’re doing this on their debut, not their sophomore, like the aforementioned acts. ‘Feel the Ocean Hold Me Under’ starts like a sullen rave, ‘Ghost’ is tranquil chillwave at its best, and ‘Fall Underneath’ has a drum beat straight out a Roots track.

Musically, the twin vocals of Phoebe Cockburn and Sean Heathcliff have never been better. There’s less of the shared vocal duties going on, as was the case in most of their previous singles. On ‘Sleeping in the Water’ they more or less take turns singing individually on the songs, but everything is still flawless and beautiful in their voices. The instrumentation is a complex mix of deep and murky music, that pushes and sways the listener like a buoy in the aftermath of a storm.

I really, really, really cannot stress how amazing ‘Sleep in the Water’ is, both in and out of the context of a debut album. At points such as recent single ‘Hung On Tight’ and the whispered ‘Union’, there’s nothing more you can do but let the current of the song drag you along wistfully, like the world’s least deadly tidal wave. Then there’s other moments, the soulful ‘Isolate’ and mesmerising ‘Too Soon’, that shake off the morning dew, and shimmer in the best wide-eyed way possible, the kind of songs that force you to tilt your head and take notice. That’s a damn impressive skill set, a spark that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the Gallagher brothers lost a long time ago. To be able to capture attention in most tracks on an album (a pretty long one too, coming in at 13 tracks) is a mighty impressive feat, one that you have no choice but to respect, like how you still respect Mr T, regardless of his lack of significance in modern times.

You should go buy ‘Sleep in the Water’, especially if you’re a fan of not not not shit music. Also, if you want to feel bad about how little you’ve achieved in comparison to them, Snakadaktal are going on tour August/September. They’re playing at the Metro in Sydney (All Ages) on August 30. I saw them there last year, and it was a pretty great gig. In a smaller venue like that, their sounds really have a chance to shine, so its a gig that I wouldn’t recommend missing. Finally, if you need a little bit more convincing, here’s two of Snakadaktal’s older tracks from their first EP, off their Triple J Unearthed Page, available for free download.