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.

New: SPOD – Party of One

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Forget that bloke from Old Spice – SPOD is the man that you wish your man could be. Tall, handsome, makes great beef jerky and music videos. He’s also Australia’s superior answer to Andrew W.K; a one man party extravaganza who’s single-minded mission is to get your hips shaking.

But what happens when the party is over? When last drinks have been called, and not even the sweet, sweet sounds of Madonna can keep feet shuffling on the dance floor. Well, then it’s time for “Party of One”, the latest from SPOD’s camp since his 2014 record Taste the Sadness.

Stacked with a funk that would knock over George Clinton, only occasionally interrupted by SPOD’s classic deadpan “Um, yes please, a party of one, thank you”, this new jam serves as a tactile response to that snooty maitre’d who keeps asking if you’ll be joined by anyone this evening. Jeez, can’t a fella just enjoy an espresso martini by himself anywhere these days?

In case you haven’t heard, SPOD will be 1/3rd of the best lineup in town on the 20th of August, joining The Gooch Palms and Bachelor Pad at the former’s album launch at Oxford Art Factory.

 

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!

Volumes 2016 Mixtape

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Last year, Sydney got a huge leg up in the form of Volumes Festival, a multi-venue event that put a spotlight on all the fan-fucking-tastic music we get to call our own in this city, as well as a 11/10 show from Blank Realm. Even the piece of shit writing this sentence had a pretty good time!

Which is why I’m really happy that Volumes will be returning for another year! Not only have the team expanded to include an extra day and the Burdekin Hotel amongst last year’s venue collective of The Oxford Art Factory, Brighton Up Bar and Cliff Dive, but they’ve delivered a lineup that forces even a chode like myself to concede a gasp of “Wow…”.

The full lineup and tickets can be scored here, but if ya want a pick of the best of the bunch, read on below:

BV

Formerly known as Black Vanilla, the Friday night headliners will be bringing their ferociously dark party to Volumes for a night of hedonism. In their own words: “No once cares how well you move, so just move”.

FISHING

The last time I saw FISHING, they rapped in French, and then brought up the Al Wright from Cloud Control for a song that sounded like the spiritual successor to Underworld’s “Born Slippy”. I don’t know how the hell they’ll be able to top that, but after months away, honing new material, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that FISHING’s return to the stage will see a truly crazy performance.

Rainbow Chan

Rainbow Chan is definitely the best thing in electronic music right now. Every time I see, hear or even think about her music, the words “jilted pop perfection” brand themselves into my brain. Her debut album will be out by the time she hits the stage for the first night of Volumes, so make sure you get a good spot early, because you’ll be one of the thousands clamouring to catch the biggest sensation of 2016.

Donny Benet

It’s been far too long since the ripple of Donny’s smooth and sensual touch has been felt. The sophisticated lover will be sparing no expense on the Saturday night, enrapturing all those who dare to feel the heat. Fuck, I’m licking my lips just thinking about this.

Unity Floors

I’ll take any excuse to belt out “Nice Fit” and all the other classic hits these guys have made over the years. UF’s second album Life Admin should be out by the time Volumes hits, so there’s plenty of time to learn the lyrics to all the new classics as well.

Rolling Blackouts CF

Someone once called Rolling Blackouts CF “…the best band ever…”, and that someone is me.

Scott and Charlene’s Wedding

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, the third best Neighbours-themed band from Melbourne, hardly make the trek to Sydney anymore, so any opportunity to see them should not be missed. Besides all the classics like “Rejected”, “Lesbian Wife” and “Jackie Boy”, they also do a killer cover of the Go-Betweens’ “Karen”, so make sure you’re front and centre when they tear Brighton Up Bar a new one.

The Harpoons

I’ve sorely missed The Harpoons’ R&B-tinged synth pop – it’s lip-biting, misty eyed stuff, and I’m filled with anticipation at the mere thought of swaying along with hundreds of others to “Unforgettable”.

Summer Flake

Summer Flake’s Hello Friends has been my ‘Album of the Week’ for the past three months – I’m a lazy shit who keeps forgetting to update that section of the website, but there’s also a hint of truth to my mistake. Summer Flake’s disarming honesty, golden guitar and harrowing voice makes her the perfect recipient of such a prestigious award. Can’t wait to catch Steph Crase and co. when they swing through Sydney again!

 

Volumes 2016 takes place on Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th of August, all up and down Oxford St. Once again, tix and full lineup here.

PREMIERE: Plum – Dead Leg

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Caleb Jacobs probably couldn’t have picked a better name for his solo project than Plum. It’s sweet, juicy and colourful – it’s a punch of refreshment, delivered with a bang to the taste buds. It’s not boring like an apple, and doesn’t feel the need to flamboyantly overextend in the fruit dick measuring contest like a fucking dragonfruit. It’s just a beautiful, gorgeous Plum.

Confused? Probably. But take a garner at Plum’s latest single “Dead Leg”, and it’ll all make sense. Following on from last year’s Black Doris EP, Plum dives further into the washed synth territory that was only hinted at. Lush walls of sparkly sound shoot up on Dead Leg”, reminding of Chromatics, Youth Lagoon and Washed Out. It’s simple, but there’s an elegance and satisfaction in that – by the end of this, there’s a solid chance that you’ll be just as satisfied as you would after having thrown down one of Jacobs’ titular purple fruit.

Plum will be launching “Dead Leg” on July 2nd at OAF Gallery Bar, on a bill that includes Melbourne’s Glaciers and the always fantastic Black Springs

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: Hot Spoke – Outlines

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Right now, I imagine most folks are going to their places of employment with the caution of entering Chernobyl. Hazmat suit on, extra oxygen tank at the ready, heartbeats racing every time a colleague leans their head back to sneeze. Office life is a fucking war zone, I tell ya.

Well, here’s a few hot tips on how to handle all that sickness panic. Heat up a cup of tea, rack up a couple of Codral, and ward off the  various winter plagues with Hot Spoke’s “Outlines”

When the voice of Vanessa Jade kicks in, you’re more than welcome to see just how far your jaw can drop. What a bloody serene voice! I could listen to Jade hover on that “In the Outlands…” chorus for just about a million years, I reckon. Couple that with some beautiful alt-country instrumentation that wouldn’t be out of place on the latest release from Jagjaguwar or Woodsist, and you’ve got a band that could give Angel Olsen a run for her money.

New Post Punk: Wives + Masses + Infinite Void + TOL + Mere Women

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Gather round and sulk at the latest, greatest and darkest from around Aus:

Wives – Whipping Boy EP

Canberra’s Wives put out an excellent record on NO PATIENCE last year that felt really unfortunately ignored. It’s phenomenally dark and direct stuff, and if you’ve got a chance, I recommend you give it a go.

However, being the prolific punks they are, Wives have already followed up on last year’s record with another EP of material. It’s twitchy stuff – synths that emerge from nowhere, teeth bared; guitars that scratch and bleed. It’s a simple reminder that Wives are a band that you need in your life.

Plus if that isn’t enough, there are remixes on the EP from ASPS and the forever-intriguing Enderie Nuatal.

Make sure ya catch Wives playing Blackwire Records on the 11th, with support from Diecut, Marcus Whale and Cat Heaven.

Masses – Masses

For those that dug Gold Class but wished they had a bit more crunch need to get familiar with Masses. It’s goth-ridden post-punk that lashes with intensity, a huge scaly beast that singes your hair with every song.

There are delicate moments, sure, but when Masses lean in, they put your attention in a strangehold. Take “Crosses”, “Moloch” or “Paranoid” – these are all songs that drive with the same bloody wrath as Bauhaus – unrelenting and a perfect soundtrack to this week’s excorcism.

Infinite Void – Face in the Window

As soon as the bass riff kicks in for this, it becomes immediately obvious that this is gonna be a gud ‘un. Infinite Void are essentially the White Walkers of Melbourne – terrifying, beautiful and absolutely freezing. “Face in the Window” is liquid nitrogen that builds into a torrential downpour of icy sheets of guitar, hurtling with the singular vision of outdoing the Ice Age. If you feel like sinking into the equivalent of a sink hole in the Arctic, do yourself a favour and chuck this on.

TOL – Survive

TOL fall towards the latter half of the post-punk equation, armed with the kind of seething, sharp riffs that Steen Spielberg wishes he could’ve used to line the cavernous face hole of Jaws. Buried under a caked layer of feedback, TOL plunge and dive with abandon, as ferocious as they are loud. Put this into your ears and feel your head go through a similar transformation as the bald guy with glasses in Scanners.

Plus, this came out on NOPATIENCE and the band features members of LAKES, Spite House and ZOND – surely that’s enough of an indication that TOL are an essential band.

Mere Women – Numb

This song came out fucking ages ago and I never got around to having a yarn about it. Better late than never, right?

Anyway, “Numb” is another gem from one of Sydney’s finest and most underrated. Mere Women are one of the most interesting bands going around this shitty town at the moment, and if ever the opportunity arises for you to go and see them, DO NOT FUCKING HESITATE!

 

 

Album Review: HANNAHBAND – Quitting Will Improve Your Health

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If you’re going to come out of Retirement, it better be for a damn good reason. But hey, I reckon giving your album a title like Quitting Will Improve Your Health will suffice. After reading that title, I rolled around for a decent twenty seconds before my smoker’s cough came through and sent me into a fit of weezing. Is that ironic? Ah, who gives a shit, let’s get onto this album!

There’s a significant step up in the recording quality of Quitting… as compared to HANNAHBAND’s previous albums. Each song sounds a bit more rounded, and the tape hiss that swarmed around their previous releases is less apparent, maybe even completely absent. At first, it’s kind of weird – that radioactive glow gelled so well with their songs! But then, you get warmed up to the high-fi step up, as the songs on Quitting… push through with extra force and spit than ever before.

Opener “Burn It Down” is a perfect example; the vocal push and shove between Nathan Martin’s guttural diatribe against Marnie Vaughn’s soaring chants of “Burn It Down” makes for anthemic listening. Second that motion with the likes of “Bath Arms”, “Grave Semantics” and “29er”- short, sharp and direct tracks that draw equally from Shellac as they do Break Even. The songs wrestle on a bed of throat-burning screams, arse-clenching guitar, and stomping drums that threaten to split open your skull. Each snare is one step closer to a permanent migraine, which is really the only way a drum kit should be played.

Although HANNAHBAND have evolved from their smaller mom + pop operations of before, and transformed into something even more brutal and thrilling, it doesn’t mean they’ve completely left their emotionally raw roots behind. Simply put, they’ve brought those intimate moments to the forefront and then shredded them to pieces through the most exhilarating and howling music that they’ve prepared yet. It makes Quitting… a tight and succinct record, with plenty of punch and drive to see you through multiple listens within the same sitting.

Quitting Will Improve Your Health is out now via Blackwire Records and their own Bandcamp (name your price download) Also, if you haven’t seen ’em live yet, do it. Actually, it’s kinda hard to believe that anyone in Sydney still hasn’t seem HANNAHBAND play before, because they’re essentially the Blackwire Records house band. Anyway, if you’re on of these miracle people that hasn’t had their mind blown yet, HANNAHBAND will be launching Quitting… on the 4th of June. Support comes from Nervous Habit, Canine and Snape, AND the whole evening doubles as a sixth birthday party for the world’s greatest venue!

New: Unity Floors – Moving to Melbourne

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Gus Hunt and Henry Gosling were two of the first people I met in Sydney who were in a band. Actually, not even just a band – they were in Unity Floors, one of the coolest and funnest bands that exists in this city. This was the same band that wrote deadset hits like “Nice Fit” and “Holy Hell”. And they were really cool in person as well! Fuck, my 18 year old head was spinning faster than when I downed my first tequila shot a week prior.

Fast forward two years and many Unity Floors shows later, and my heart is in my mouth when I see that the new single from the band’s upcoming Life Admin record is called “Moving to Melbourne”. Piss off! No way! What? Why? Is Sydney seriously about to lose two of its’ biggest legends/best songwriters? Just because the rent is astronomically high and Circle Pit broke up? C’mon, think about all the money you could win at the casino!

Actually, “Moving to Melbourne” has more to do with the cliche of moving to AUSTRALIA’S ROCK CAPITAL™ than the actual decision to move there. It’s that rash move that accompanies recent pain and/or heartbreak, and deciding to fuck it all off and start afresh.

Luckily, Unity Floors aren’t actually pissing off to embroil themselves at nights at the Tote and debates on flat whites vs. espressos, and will be sticking around with their GBV-inspired songs for a few more weeks. Catch ’em playing for free at The Union on May 28th, with Us the Band and Abigail and Daisy, or June 1st at Rad in Wollongong with Solid Effort and Abigail and Daisy.