Gig Review: At First Sight Festival

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What kind of world do we live in that some fucking ginger kid with the social etiquette of Todd Carney on a handful of pingas can make out with a copy of Slayer’s Show No Mercy AND boogie to NO ZU in the space of a single day> It’s a truly  barbaric thought, and it’s one that came true just a few days ago. At First Sight Festival, curated by Marty Doyle of Dusty Fingers fame, happened over the weekend, and it was a truly glorious time for all involved.

Full disclosure – I was involved in some aspects of this festival, but not anything that could be considered important. Nope, Count Doyle did it all, from booking an incredible lineup which somehow deviated from the usual Tkay Maidza/Hilltop Hoods/Sticky Fingers combination, to the promotion, scheduling, and other organisational duties that no sane person should be willing to take on. Instead, I was tasked with trapping a member of Blank Realm in a car, and chewing his ear off for hours on end. It did mean missing the early portion of the festival, but according to multiple eye-witnesses, Rolling Blackouts and Royal Sitars were best on ground.

The first moments of At First Sight that were seared into my eyeballs belong to the explosive set of Palms. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to their new album Crazy Rack, then fuck off and do so. There’s no reason to continue reading, just plug yourself into this masterpiece for the next half hour and only return when you’re finished. Done? Fucking hell, so you’ve come to the realisation that these Palms dudes would sound alright blaring out from a fuck-off, huge mountain of speakers, yeah? Because that’s what happened; Palms ploughed through all the hits from their two records to date, smashing “This Last Year”, “Love”, “Bad Apple”, and “Beatdown” with the kind of howling ferocity that forces you to lift a fist (IF NOT BOTH) in the air with mashing glee.

TEESNicholas Allbrook and Lucy Cliche all swiftly followed with impressive sets. TEES provided a dreamy set that showcases that their dreamy pop material works just as gorgeously on a stage as it does in .mp3 form, and Nicholas Allbrook brought the weirdness in leaps and bounds. Literally, the man cannot stay still – although his set suffered from such sporadicalness, shifting manically and at an unpredictable whim, the POND frontman remained enjoyable. Lucy Cliche was a bevy of intensity, her thudding, sharp dance music transforming a small bunker at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon into a thriving hive of hungry gazes and shuffling feet. Do yourself a favour, and make yourself as familiar as possible with her work.

This next passage might seem hyperbolic, but it’s not. If anything, whatever words I type next will be under-representative of the insanity that is NO ZU. An eight piece hydra indebted to raising the heat of a room by several degrees, the Melbourne collective had pulses racing at an unhealthy rate. Folks should have been having heart attacks from all the exercise that was going down, but sheer joy and anticipation for what NO ZU would pull out next forced them to party on. They remain to be one of the funnest, strangest, most exotic things on this planet, a laboratory of thrilling genres mashed into a sweaty dance-floor filling experience. Forget heroin, NO ZU are the most addictive substances on the planet.

Still reeling from NO ZU, Nun continued the legacy of Melbourne acts putting on exhilarating performances. A member was wearing a Gutter Gods t-shirt and that wasn’t even the most punk thing on stage. Front woman Jenny Branagan is fucking mental to watch. She is the greatest thing to happen to a stage since our prayers were answered and Dave Growl fell off of one. She jumps, dives, sprawls, screams, thrashes and delivers shriek after shriek, her band’s domineering wall of synth punk throwing jabs from behind her. Incredible – if you haven’t picked up their debut album then fix this gaping mistake in your life with a little bit of this.

Following Nun are Brissy’s Blank Realm, who have been awarded the very prestigious honour of “BEST FARKIN BAND IN AUSTRALIA”. They get this award because they a) wear Pere Ubu t-shirts, b) rock keytars like Duran Duran didn’t fuck it up for everyone, c) are possibly the best songwriters in the country and d) because fuck, have you heard Blank Realm before? They’re amazing! Of course they rule live, how could they not? When you’re a band that owns a cache of tunes like “River of Longing”, “Falling Down the Stairs”, “Reach You on the Phone” and “Go Easy”, it’s hard to be anything less than “BEST FARKIN BAND IN AUSTRALIA”.

Previous duties withheld experiencing My Disco, Broadway Sounds, and most of Andras’ set, but hey, we all know these acts are national treasures, so build a Spotify playlist, and get over it, y’know? Let’s move onto Oscar Key Sung: draped in cloth, the man is pure beauty constructed around eyes of steel and a voice of cotton. His beats switch from lush and textured to the occasional pummel, however, it did feel like he could have benefitted from someone else onstage to help him. It’s hard to fully enjoy a crooner like Key Sung, who is so concentrated on flipping between production, singing and entertaining. He worked best when he was joined by Amrita, who danced their way into all of our adoring hearts, and freed Key Sung up into a party mode.

Moving onward to Total Giovanni – now they’re a band that could give Blank Realm a run for their money. The tagline for this band is “Fun. Incarnate”. With enough energy to power the LargeHadron Collider,  Total Giovanni are Italo-disco superstars, bestowers of the silky sensual. This is a group with only a handful of singles to their name, but every single beating heart in the cavern of Carriageworks was thumping along meticulously to the party that Total Giovanni were delivering. What was the greatest moment? “When We Break” churning a few hundred people into  a sea of flailing bodies? The over-the-top, pelvis-shattering thrusts that took place during “Human Animal? Or the batshit crazy cover of Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s “Precious Rose”? Trying to decide the answer to that question is aneurysm-inducing.

By some miracle, the best moment of At First Sight didn’t belong to any one of the bands mentioned above, but rather, a combination of them via Uncle Donny’s Rotating Sideshow of Stellar Performance aka the Donny Benet Showband’s Tribute to Nile Rodgers. Bringing out all the day’s superstars, including Becky Sui Zhen and Daphne Camf of NO ZU, Oscar Key Sung and Vachel Spirason of Total Giovanni, Donny and co. re-introduced some of the past century’s biggest hits, resulting in an all-out dance bloodbath. The sea was angry that day, my friends. Oh, it was an angry mosh of people screaming, “OH FUCK, I LOVE THIS SONG!” as DB and his merry band played the best version of “Original Sin” since Hutcho called it quits. Special mention goes to Nicholas Allbrook for a very special performance of Mick Jagger’s “Just Another Night”, and in turn, transforming a so-bad-it’s-good song into something so-good-it’s-brilliant.

It’s worth reminding everyone that, whilst all of this amazing music was happening, people were record shopping. Two of the greatest habits, combined into one day! How can someone like me be lucky enough to get The Saint’s I’m (Stranded) and get the opportunity to witness a one-of-a-kind musical experience courtesy of Donny? It cannot be overstated how much of a miracle it is that all of this could happen under one roof: the bands of tomorrow shredding minds and expectations to tatters mere metres away from where some of the most important records are being sold. That’s the dream, ladies and gentlemen. That’s the fucking dream. See you at Carriageworks next year.

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Album Review: Andras & Oscar – Café Romantica

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‘Café Romantica’ was the perfect name for Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung’s debut collaborative album. Neither are strangers to working in teams, with Oscar Key Sung’s fantastic work as Oscar + Martin, and Andras Fox’s butt-wiggling ride of Fox + Sui. Both artists have had extensive and profitable solo careers, with Andras Fox laying down multiple records that have garnered him instant fame and jealousy, and Oscar Key Sung dropping an EP earlier this year that sent the Internet alight. But when the two combine, and lose the classic collaboration ‘+’ symbol for the more sophisticated ‘&’, Andras & Oscar turn into a project with serious groove potential. Listening to this album makes you want to dance the night away with your best mates, and maybe even find that love interest that your fortune cookie assured you was going to happen.

But back to why ‘Café Romantica’ is the perfect name for Andras & Oscar’s introduction to the world. The name encapsulates the laid-back and easy-going nature of the record. It’s not trying to  break any world records, or start any arguments. It’s small-time feel good stuff for the culture guide. Oscar Key Sung’s vocals causing flames of infidelity to lick the insides of your partner is about as controversial as this album gets. Still, there’s something about the mixture of these musicians that pricks the ears, something to do with their subtly different styles. Andras Fox is eye-catchingly cultured and European, whilst Key Sung makes for more of a doe-eyed dreamboat, a young Johnny Depp to Fox’s Marion Cotillard.

But they work together exceptionally well, a chemistry blossoming the likes the musical world haven’t seen since Metallica and Lou Reed thrust themselves upon each other. For a less jokey reference, think of collaborations like Divine Fits, or Black Vanilla, where the sum of parts creates something that increases the talents of both parties. Something new is formed, something gloriously simple, and it becomes insane to think that this album wasn’t released earlier.

On “French Twist”, a beckoning finger extends through the funkiest bass lines this side of Parliament Funkadelic, but they waft along with these sappy synth works, and Key Sung’s alluring vocals. And the lightly twirling refrain of “We can talk it over” is battered down with some expert lounge sounds that wouldn’t be out of place in an opium den. The standout of “Everytime I Go” are thrusting in their bravado, but they’re bolted down with gently swaying ticks and tocks, clicks snaking along to tapping neon synths. Heartbreak sidles along with comfort in an intimate environment.

It really should be noted that whilst Oscar Key Sung provides the brilliant vocals, Andras Fox’s production cannot be understated. On standout “Looking Back”, when OKS looks on in a forlorn croon, the twinkling electronica and bass, that Fox most likely provided, turns a sobering R&B jam into something that is easily danceable, an added dimension that makes a dancefloor of a difference. The instrumentals, especially “Tutorials” also have that Fox charm surrounding them, and help introduce a little bit of plain gorgeousness.

Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung have to be some of the most talented future exports Australia has. On their own, they’re perfectly fine specimens of Australian music. But together, they’ve created a sharp and leisurely effort that will be able to satisfy most. They help each other, build off their own sounds, and slap each other with influence and progression.At ‘Café Romantica’, Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung are a special combination of lust, heartbreak, style and cool. It’s sophisticated pop at its best.

‘Café Romantica’ is out now on Chapter Music and Dopeness Galore. Andras & Oscar play together at Cut Copy’s curated Melbourne Music Week show, on Saturday 15th November, along with Roland Tings and NO ZU.

New Midnight Videos: Andras & Oscar + Gold Class + Allegories

Midnight is a special time. It’s when you can begin making out to sultry beats, slinky shades of violet and green light nuzzling your romance. Or, you can be watching these awesome videos, at home, alone, like me. Whatever, these are all sensual as fuck, and gloriously sexy. Watch them all:

Andras & Oscar – Looking Back

“Feel like I’d OD, if I look for too long” is just one of the many sappy lines in this track from Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung’s new collaborative project. However, in the hands, or rather, vocal chords, of OKS, these quotes ripped from a soap opera turn into supremely romantic beings. Andras Fox’s work behind the desk also needs to be commended, combining Italian lounge with synth flourishes. One word description? Fuckingdelightful.

Gold Class – Michael

Welp, someone’s been listening to Joy Division! These Melbourne blokes that make up Gold Class are bummed, and they’re also really good at making music / videos. One of their debut tracks “Michael” is for that midnight moment when you didn’t get what you wanted, and everything is resembling a steaming pile of shit. But there’s more than that – this one moment signifies how fucking shit your life has been up until this point, and tonight is just another in a long list of failures. But instead of penning some terrible poetry that you insist is in the vein of Edgar Allen Poe meeting Hemmingway in a street brawl, you need to chuck on this dark and wistful video, of slow-burning colours being suffocated by thriving guitars. Amazing.

Allegories – Funny Way of Loving You

Finally, there is Allegories, or Al. A Gore-Reese, depending on how obsessed you are with deconstructing words to form names of people that don’t exist (Bart Simpson, this one’s for you). Anyway, there’s not a shit tonne known about these guys, other than that they have an absolute stunner of a track that’s just become available. If you’re a fan of Shining Bird, or #1 Dads, there’s no way you can go past this. Wafting haze of guitars? Woodblock? Haunted, intimate vocals, about lost love? Check? It’s like Alt-j aren’t shit anymore!

 

New: Andras & Oscar – Everytime I Go

Holy shit, this song is better than a Tinder date where the girl looks the same as her photos. Hearing this kind of melding of styles into one gorgeous song is rarer than winning a bout of Mario Kart when you’re in last place, there’s only 30 seconds left, and you haven’t got a blue shell in sight.

Shit, this song is the pinnacle of everything that we’ve been working towards as a species. Andras Fox AND Oscar Key Sung!? Together!? Working in collaboration to create one of the greatest songs to hit our ears this year!? I mean, what’s there more to say? ‘Everytime I Go’ is a collaboration in every sense of the word, splicing Andras Fox’s glitchy techno lounge with Oscar Key Sung’s heart-melting vocals, producing a sincerely beautiful cocoon of sound. Seriously, where is the human race meant to progress to after this? The song is a glass case of majestic perfection.

New Electronica Music: Oscar Key Sung + SBTRKT + Cashmere Cat

If you listen to all three of these songs in a row, you’ll actually slip into a chillwave coma. So make sure you put on some Slayer between tracks. Safety first.

Oscar Key Sung-Holograms

Oscar Key Sung has been inching towards the release of a new EP, and with each individual snippet of the EP, I salivate just that much more. ‘All I Could Do’ made me jizz buckets, but ‘Holograms’ has made me upgrade to the carcass of a blue whale, as it’s the only thing that could detain my seed.

On ‘Holograms’, OKS proves himself to be like some sort of sensitive R. Kelly. Those floaty vocals charging in front of the wispy synths, and bobbing bass licks? It makes me want to cry, laugh, vomit, and cry with all the emotions of the rainbow. One word description: fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

 

SBTRKT-Hold the Line

BOOOOM! SHAKALAKA! BADOOOSH! MICHAEL BAY! So! many! explosion! sounds! It’s a new one from SBTRKT, you know that electronic dude behind the mask? No, that’s Deadmau5. No, you’re thinking of Daft Punk. The guy who did a bunch of collaborations, with people like Jessie Ware and Little Dragon? He’s really good? Yeah, ‘Wildfire’ guy!

Anyway, there’s a new song, an instrumental that got world premiered on BBC radio, which means there’s about 40 seconds of bullshit before there’s A NEW SBTRKT SONG! As expected, it’s a glittery, subteranean track that jettisons into all sorts of emotional pathlines. Glory! Happiness! Doubt! Depression! It’s all there, in the song, in the music, man!

 

Cashmere Cat-Wedding Bells

And now, for a triumphant finale! A new one from Cashmere Cat. On a sour side, listening to this makes me swell with regret and melancholy that I didn’t see him at Laneway or his sideshows. Man, imagine listening to this song live! Those thundering drops that elevate into some sort of Amazonian pan-flute magic, with aerodynamic drums collapsing on all sides. It’s like living in an Indiana Jones temple that’s run by the disciples of TLC!

New Electronic Music: BANKS + Youth Lagoon + Tycho + Scenic + Rainbow Chan x Cassius Select + ALTA + Oscar Key Sung x Black Vanilla

Bro, can you feel it? I’m peakin’ braj, I’m peakin’! Broseidon, I can’t feel my arms!

Such is the life of a gum-muncher. I’m here to fund that lifestyle! These tunes will be with you throughout the thick, thin and the paranoid moments when someone is watching you, and it doesn’t matter that no-one else can see them, they’re totally there.

BANKS-BRAIN

I really have to thank my spirit guide Luen for this one. This track is absolutely killer, in that it will cut your throat, empty your carcass of blood, and leave your lifeless, deflated corpse by the side of the road, but there are no regrets because this song was just way too good. Produced by the almighty Shlohmo, ‘Brain’ is a popping R&B infused track. It starts with sliding water-droplet subtlety, and then, funded by BANKS’ illustrious voice, moves into a pure orgasm territory. I won’t ruin it, but the short of it is that you need to listen to this track, because it will make you want to accomplish all your dreams.

Youth Lagoon-Worms

I went and saw Youth Lagoon on Thursday night. I’m not going to write a review for the show, because frankly, he kinad sucked. I love his music, especially his first album, but in live shape, it was a bit of a self-indulgent, cinematic mess. However, this new track from him is amazing. ‘Worms’ is precisely that, a slinky, earthly thing that slowly worms its way around. There’s a constant twinkling, but the whole thing feels underground, trying to make its way to nowhere in particular, searching for purpose, but at the same time, pretty content knowing that’ll just be your average worm. Stay humble Youth Lagoon, its what I love you for.

Tycho-Montana

Segue alert: Youth Lagoon has a mad, mad, insane, mad song called ‘Montana’. This next paragraph is dedicated to a song entitled ‘Montana’, that also happens to rule. What the Franco, James?

This is a lot more spaced out than the previous entries, an instrumental track that heavily lies on the ‘instrument’ part of that phrase. Not only does Tycho incorporate synths and ticks, but there’s a lot of classical instrumentation appearing-live drums, piano, guitar, various percussion…It makes for a layered, super intriguing track that has more texture than a cup of fro-yo with all the toppings.

Scenic-Ride the Thrill

Scenic are from Perth, which means there’s a de facto Tame Impala influence on there. I’m genuinely surprised they got snapped up by Future Classic and not Modular. Regardless, Scenic actually share more in common with label-mates Jagwar Ma, channelling that Madchester rave scene in all its Happy Mondays glory.

Swishy, hazed vocals washing over you, a pulsating, electric pulse and a thumping synth line that crawls all over the place like a drunk Spiderman on a skyscraper. Dayum Scenic, you got yourself a fucking great song!

Scenic are going to be opening up the Laneway festivities tomorrow in Sydney, so be sure to catch them. Unless you’re at The Growl, with me, in which case, its cool, all is forgiven.

Rainbow Chan-Milk (Cassius Select Remix)

I absolutely adore Rainbow Chan. Her cool, teenage melodies that are chirpier than Twitter’s mascot are to actually die for. I would stab Zeus for a chance to cop an exclusive listen to new Rainbow Chan material. I also adore GUERRE (remix alias=Cassius Select). GUERRE/CS is also very awesome. Glad we’ve established that. Moving on.

So when two adorable elements such as the aforementioned collide on a re-re-remix track, amazing is sure to follow in stead. Prepare yourself for a sultry remix that is not afraid to do its own thing whilst flashing the sex-eyes at you every couple seconds and make sure you’re watching. What a minx!

ALTA-Wandering

Melbourne group ALTA are prepared to rip open your expectations via the earballs, and ensure that you’re paying more attention than the poo-eating scene from Human Centipede. Think of Willow Beats and Super Magic Hats, super silky smooth stuff that gets you jittery behind your belly button.

On ‘Wandering’, ALTA still retain their tribal roots, going full on Amazon, but also adding stylistic elements, pulling back just when you want to hear more, and then pouncing forward right when you’re least expecting it. Basically, ALTA have got the listener hooked, and a lack of this stuff will lead to withdrawal.

ALTA are playing tonight (!) at Good God. Get on that shit.

Oscar Key Sung-All I Could Do (Black Vanilla Remix)

Final entry, though no less organ-failingly good. It’s another remix of Oscar Key Sung’s badooshhhh single ‘All I Could Do’, this time from Sydney tune-shiners Black Vanilla. Usually more R&B focused, this one takes a small sample of Key Sung’s vocal ‘…could…’, and then adds some trap claps and shimmering, trickling synth work to make this remix the ice-queen of all OKS remixes. YEWWWW!

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.

Hand Games Mixtape #17: BEST OF 2013 (free download)

Oh shit, another best of 2013 thing from this pile of excrement. You see, you’re wrong there, because this is a best of 2013 thing from Hand Games, a service that actually knows how shit went down on 2013, and has a bit more of a broader reach than, say, Soundly Sounds.

There is not a single track on the best of mix that shouldn’t be there. From the internationally conquering Jagwar Ma, Courtney Barnett and Fascinator, to local heros like You Beauty and The Preatures. There’s a strong contingent of electronic wonder courtesy of D.D Dumbo, Oisima, Oscar Key Sung and Major Napier, whilst the tribal element is taken care of through Willow Beats and Savoir.

On the wild and loose front, there’s The Growl, Bad//Dreems and Peter Bibby, all bands with that desert spirit running through their veins. But for number 1, in agreement with this own shitty writer’s opinion, TV Colours gets the spot for best song of the year through the monstrous tune of ‘Beverly’.

Man, what a fucking great list right? Pity you can’t download all of that…oh wait, you can, holy shit, send me a link. ^….it’s up the top there, thank me later.

Hand Games November Mixtape (free download)

 

Ohhh, yeahhhh! Do you feel that? A warm burn between your thighs? A dizzying spell penetrating your mind? An engulfing of your body in giddying excitement? That’s the bubbly need to party! But what the fuck are you going to soundtrack your days on the dance floor with? Well, luckily for you, there’s a new Hand Games mix, and it’s better than watching whatever shenanigans Kim and Kanye are up to now.

The new playlist is fucking killer, chock-full of tracks that will make your eyeballs pop out of your skull. Firstly, one of the best tracks of one of the best Australian releases of the year, TV Colours’ ‘Bad Dreams’. Try not to dance/headbang to this one. You’ll go Clockwork Orange, post-lobotmy levels insane. After that, there’s ‘Paranoid Video’ from Total Control. Yep, you read that write…the Total Control. Y’know, one of the best Aussie bands to surface in recent history. Disturbing and mind-fucking, it’s impossible not to enjoy this one.

Now after the assault of the brain, one needs to slow down and make way for the next couple tracks. Some shuffling electronica from the likes of Alba, seductive minimalism from Circular Keys and R&B sex soundtracking from Tincture/Hazel Brown are all eye-opening. Then, you need to prepare yourself for the greatness of Oscar Key Sung, and the track ‘All I Could Do’, as well as Nakagin’s ‘Bloom’, a sultry, natural beauty.

Halfway through the playlist, and no signs of slowing down, as Primitive Motion announce they’re post-punk ways with ‘Home of the Lone Coast’, a really fucking tortured track that has a subdued Sisters of Mercy/Rowland S Howard vibe. Slightly more upbeat, but no less twisted is You Beauty’s new track ‘Menal Mondays’, a song that twists with a heart-attack drum beat, gnarled guitar splashes and foreshadowing bass.

After those gloomy pearls, we head into the slacker rock territory, with two bands that regularly get mentioned here: Bitch Prefect and Food Court. BP’s ‘Shipped It’ actually has a bit of a Dischord vibe, like Fugazi got re-worked in Adelaide. Meanwhile, ‘By Your Side’, which I’ve posted about quite a bit before, rocks like a hurricane, fuzzy feel-good punk that is the cure for any melancholic work day.

Finally, we end this gem of a playlist with two tracks that take their queues from the recent downtempo electronica scenes that have been popping up all over the globe. Slum Sociable pout with a snaky, hissing track called ‘Watch Me Turn Colourful’, whilst Phondupe gets slinky and irresistible with the dripping-with-lust ‘Proxy’.

That’s all from this session of Hand Games Mixtapes. I’ve been your host, Ryan the Wanker. Enjoy this awesome Australian music with a complimentary side of Free Download. That’s right! This playlist can be all yours for nothing! FUCK YEAH!