New Electronic Music: Leaks + Pearls + Nick Hill

Once you press play, prepare to re-enact that scene from Scanners…

Leaks – Could I Be

When the words ‘Melbourne producer’ drop out of one’s mouth, there’s a fair chance that the result is going to be a little bit of alright. Roland Tings, Andras Fox and Japanese Wallpaper are all names of the thump that rise to the edge of the brain. But Leaks is particularly catching, providing an enrapturing cocoon of sounds. It feels like Bugs Life is taking place in the midst of song, with electric mantis rubbing their hind legs, warbling fireflies dazzling with flashes of clicks and purrs, and butterflies of synth zooming at breakneck speeds of lushness. Best of all, that damn Hopper has fucked off, and left Leaks in a calm, habitable realm of hospitable electronica.

Pearls – Big Shot

I’m a bit of a big shot around these parts. I don’t want to brag, but people know me. They smell my unique aroma of burning car tyres and burst frog pus, see the ball-of–sunburnt-fat waddle its way around Sydney, and become blinded by the brilliant orange hair, more fiery than the glare of a thousand wronged Uma Thurman’s.

But the swaggering pop of Pearls put’s all my shame to shame. If Gary Glitter turned his “Rock and Roll Part 2” into something sexy and luscious, and wrapped a pair of speed-dealers around his forehead, then he’d be onto the magic that Pearls have got here.

Nick Hill – Know This

Finally, there’s this gorgeous little R&B J.A.M from Sydney-sider Nick Hill. If Oliver Tank teamed up with I’lls, then something like this would develop. As his debut single progresses, the more and more you become infatuated with his character, and his stunning ability to make something that sounds like a ninja blowing a poisonous darts through a pipe, first-scene-from-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-style sound good. Layer that down with some temptress synths and vocals bestowed by the gods, and you’ve got yourself a bloke with *thumbs up* written all over him.


New: Collarbones – Only Water (feat. Oscar Key Sung)

Y’all motherfuckers like R&B? Collarbones are at the pinnacle of this game right now, without any doubt. Try to throw shade on these guys, and that same shade will return with a quizzical look , disappointedly expressing, “Really? These guys? They’re awesome, you twisted, lonely fuck!”. The duo of Marcus Whale and Travis Cook is basically a recipe of the juiciest R Kelly vocals mixing it up with some of the best production this country has ever seen. No, you can actually see the sounds emitting from a Collarbones track, razor sharp synths and electronic flourishes scratching your earholes, and forcing your eyes into a fixed stare.

Collarbones have a new record on the horizon, and they’ve released a killer new track to accompany that news, a sultry jam featuring Oscar “King of Sex” Key Sung latching on with some vocal help. “Only Water” goes back to Collarbones more lush roots, with the rapid-fire percussion taking a backseat in the mi towards twinkling, waterfall synths. Whale and Key Sung’s harmonies are in fine form here, gently unfurling into a blossoming shape that Mother Nature herself would burn with envy over. With this, and the previously released “Turning”, Collarbones new record is looking to be the electronic release of the year.

New: Nakagin – Pines

Beautiful Sydney beats – now that’s a phrase that you don’t hear nearly often enough. Most of the electronic stuff that comes outta Sydney is either bland as fuck, or distortedly thrilling, like Black Vanilla. Instead, Nakagin has taken a cues from the old mates of Brainfeeder and naturalistic sounds, creating these sonic palettes that would makes Monet’s most lushly quaint water-lillies look like sketches from an aggressive 3 year old. “Pines” is so gorgeously sensitive, that it’s a surprise that he isn’t being championed by Joaquin”Mr Beautiful Eyes’ Phoenix.

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.

New Electronic Music: Jon Hopkins + LUCIANBLOMKAMP x Milwaukee Banks + Tincture + Sails + Mark Barrage

Some bumpers and grinders that you can munch through the night to. See you in the recovery ward:

Jon Hopkins -Form By Firelight (With Raphaelle Standell)

Recently announced on that killer Laneway lineup, also featuring Eagulls, Flying Lotus, Future Islands and Caribou, Jon Hopkins has dropped a new one to get all introspective to. Like previous albums, “Form By Firelight” is about as slow-burning as they come, like watching a star slowly shine and then die out from the sanctuary of a spaceship window. It’s both horrifyingly beautiful, and gut-wrenchingly sad.

Milwaukee Banks – Hazy (LUCIANBLOMKAMP Remix)

Man, two soon-to-be juggernauts have combined to create something that makes you feel like you’ve broken through the Matrix. Slightly unpredictable, and yet completely soothing. Seriously, forget bangerz, this is your mash right here. The perfect pub diet of laidback raps, soft and glitchy synth work, and a finale that makes it feel like you’re in a cryogenic freeze chamber.

Tincture – Swim Good (Frank Ocean Cover) Earlier this year, Brissy’s Tincture released one hell of an EP. If you haven’t heard it, and you’re any sort of fan of Oscar Key Sung, Collarbones or The Harpoons, then prepare for your heart to jump in your throat and choke you for not having got around to it earlier. Although Frank Ocean is the definition of  ¯\ _(ツ)_/¯, Tincture has the vocals to make something MEH work. Add his signature glossy glitches, and there’s a completely re-worked and fantastically better song.

Sails- Fireworks and Rain If you’re a fan of old mate Four Tet (fuck, I wish he was my friend), then you’re going to lose your absolute shit over Sails. Slow, glitchy-ridden beats that swell and pop, like bubbles made from all colours of the rainbow. “Fireworks and Rain” is completely enchanting, and goes fro quite a lite sort of hypnotism, so there’s no juicy carbs in there. Nup, nothing artificial, just wholesome, stringy beats. My pilates teacher would be so on this.

Mark Barrage – Sez Better Finally, there is the hypnotising lead single from Mark Barrage, from his forthcoming record ‘Surplus Behaviour’. Although I got no clue what that ‘Surplus’ part is about. Barrage is about as minimal as they come, channeling old mate up Jon Hopkins up the top there. “Sez Better” is pretty much compiled of an organ line that somehow manages to be melancholy rather than creepy, and pairs it with some crumbling analogue and snares. Whilst that might not sound like a whole lot, Barrage compiles it into a soundscape that brings the emotions, and he brings them hard. It’s the kind of song that makes you be able to go up to your girlfriend from Year 6, and tearfully cry, “I forgive you…bitch”. “Sez Better” also makes for great consoling music when you’re locked in the back of the paddywagon, post-verbal assault of the girl who has completely forgotten who you are.

New Weird Electronic: Bistro feat. Simo Soo + AFXJIM + Liam Kenny

There’s been a whole bunch of awesome weird electronic/production stuff released as of late, that’s like, heaps fucking good hey. So check it out harder than I check out my groceries for a long night of my favourite dish of Spaghetti-4-1 aka loneliness.

Bistro feat. Simo Soo

It’s hard not to become strangely enraptured in this single from Sydney beatsmith Bistro. It’s like Flying Lotus is having a panic attack after ingesting too many Vicodin, and completely flipped his lid. The production on here is fucking solid, a brick wall of static and piercing drum beats. Also, that chorus is going to get stuck in your head faster than a Madonna song.

Pair this damn flawless hip-hop track with a video that is part vibrantly haunted television ad, part Grim Reaper hanging out on your porch, and you’ve got something indescribably good. With mushy beats as infectious as this and a uniquely freaky video to go with it, these guys might have just risen straight to the top of Australian hip-hop’s wealthiest, such as  Milwaukee Banks and Silly Joel & the Candymen.

AFXJIM – Distant

Oh. AFXJIM. Like Aphex Twin, right? Actually, that’s kinda clever and/or cool. But if Aphex Twin dialled down the alerted schizophrenia, and actually took his pills and laid down on the calmdown couch, he might morph into a little something like his Sydney counterpart AFXJIM. The songs on here are sharp and expertly produced, sliced together to form a slinky smorgasbord of songs. The offerings differ wildly, from the worldly indie-rock of the title track, to the prickly “Requiem For A Broken Discoverer”, and the hazy “Autumn Diary”. AFXJIM’s ability to combine samples and music into something strange but bright is really quite excellent.

Liam Kenny – Avalanche

Like the song, Liam Kenny’s clip for “Avalanche” is a health hazard. It’ll suck you up and spit you out like you’re a jellybean flavour that it took a while to decide that it didn’t like. It’s cruel and cutthroat, set in a world where lines and knives adorn a table where a game of who-knows-the-fuck-what is taking place. And all the meanwhile, a bespectacled Liam Kenny stares on, shades on and ready to re-interpret classics like Leonard Cohen’s “Avalanche”.

Video: Collarbones – Turning

Nup. Fuck off. How can something this fucking brilliant exist in the vacuum of time and space. Collarbones are simply too genius to grace us with their prescence. Honestly, it’s not really fair on them that they have to exist on the same city, nay the same world, as Soundly Sounds. If you looked up juxtaposition in the dictionary you would see a infographic saying: Collarbones > Earth.

This all comes to a head in the video for their latest masterpiece “Turning”. Not only does it feature the glorious talents of Matt Banham (of Matt Banham’s Jokes Internet f@me) Marcus Thaine (ultra cool dude at Siberia Records) Doug and Russell from FISHING and a host of others, doing their best Gordon Gecko x a Reddit Forum x Swag impressions, but SPOD (Yes, THE SPOD) took care of doing art installations/dance choreography. Prepare your mind to go on a psychedelic trip with Marcus Whale and Travis Cook as your sonic guides, refreshing your eyeball’s taste buds with a gory, seizure-inducing plethora of images. It’s like Beyonce took acid at a Marrickville warehouse party and her mind’s eye was turned into a music video.

Flurries of the Matrix, rotating chairs of vaguely disappointed looking heroes of Sydney, and a weird adoration with a Chinese vase are all teh status quo of what is the greatest video of the decade. Throw all of that next to a constantly revolving orgasm of outfits from cyclist chic to twerking-man-wrapped-in-silver, and you’ve got something of jilting beauty that will probably never be matched.

New: Flash Forest – Head Distortion

I haven’t been listening to a shitload of electronic stuff lately, but this new one from Melby production maestro has got my ulcers jumping out of the roof of my mouth (Ladies…). That’s right, one of the most disgusting things known to man, revolting and creepy by nature, is being moved and is dancing to the beat of this insane new track.

Electric yet tribal, “Head Distortion” is like being thrown around in the washing machine of the guys from Flight of the Conchords from the future. Wacky, zany, and flitting between all sorts of amazing production styles, “Head Distortion” is the kind of song that will have your body contorting like you’re trying to join a freak circus with incredibly high standards for applicants.

Gig Review: FISHING

Friday, 5th September @ Newtown Social Club

FISHING are a Sydney duo with a fucking impossible name to Google. Read it with me: Fucking. Impossible. However, they are one of the few, few bands that it is worth trekking through result page after result page, looking for their Soundcloud, which is basically the Ark of the Covenant (it will melt your Nazi face off).

They’ve been playing around Sydney for a long time, and a few months back, they dropped their debut record. If that seems like some sort of not that much of a big deal, especially for bands who manage to knock out a record in a weekend, it’s actually kinda flooring especially when you view their work as a single cohesive piece. FISHING are a group that create their music by grabbing influence from every single genre, and then cobble these together with a flair and intoxication that will make you an immediate fan.

It seems reasonable to believe that FISHING sold out their homecoming show at Newtown Social Club on their album tour. People were excited! There was a thrill, and a certain electricity in the air, a community of people all moving with the momentum of FISHING’s success. No one there was a trivial fan, who had nothing better to do on a Friday night. No, these fans were deeply embedded and moved by FISHING, and were keen as fuck to see some Doug v. Russell action.

Doug and Russell took to the stage amid swirling lights that would be enough to bring on an acid flashback, as well as so much smoke that a first-time director of a “gritty” version of Macbeth would say, “Woah, guys, slow down. I’m suffocating here”. They were also one hand down, with Russell’s arm broken, and so they were joined by Alister Wright of Cloud Control, a guest on the album, who joined the duo in prodding buttons and dancing. Ironically, Alister also had a broken arm. If you’re in need of practicality, you really can’t go past FISHING.

But practicality isn’t really the point of FISHING, especially when they’re in their total creative element. The mixture of audio and visual, moulded into something that was some of the most engaging electronic experience (YAY, ALLITERATION) I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending to. The three on stage remained dynamic and happy as anything, their enjoyment laying completely unmasked. They could fuck-up, have to count in intro’s, whatever, but the crowd, instead of judging them, bolstered them, and the flow of good vibes was more obvious than if Godzilla tried to take a shit in the room.

They blared through a set that didn’t seem to last long enough, though it went for nearly an hour. Dancing and swaying to tracks off the record like “Choy Lin”, “Your Mouth”, and “Chi Glow”, with their deep, soul penetrating technical goodness, made time pass like we were on Mercury (it’s science, look it up). And in the live setting, where skulls and 3D models of naked bodies flipped across a glittering projector, tracks that could feel a bit flat on record like “Nineteen/Boy Wunder” and “Nova Current”, took on a new, re-invegorating energy. Things moved into a case of anything being possible, and a good time become an automatic by-product of being in FISHING’s presence.

When you left the gig, there was nothing but positive energy buzzing in the atmosphere. Not to get too SPIRITUAL NUT on everyone here, but it was a moment of karma going full circle. These two guys have worked hard, putting out mixtape after mixtape, single after single, of damn enjoyable brilliance, and it paid off with a show of most excellent proportions.

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.