Posts Tagged ‘Aussie Indie’

Alex McFarlane – “Event Y”

Always top quality out of Hobbies Galore and this time the latest down the chute is from label boss / ex-Twerp Alex McFarlane. With another limited release that blends his pop and experimental selves, McFarlane taps into cosmic pop and synth float over the course of ten new tracks. Standout “Event Y” pits his gnarled guitar against a fizzin’ set of keys. It’s a perfectly bent piece of pop that finds the niche between catchiness and cultured cool. The song swaggers then stumbles into melancholy. It’s a beautifully sighed and singed gem that proves McFarlane doesn’t just have an ear for some of the best Aussie artists, he happens to be one himself. The tape is out now and limited to 100.




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House Deposit – “Reptiles”

The shamble-down pop of House Deposit recalls the simple, yet bittersweet nook that The Feelies, The Chills, The Bats, or The Verlaines occupied. The band came together out of tragedies and friendship to create songs that are spare, but stacked with heartfelt melancholy. “Reptiles” has a darker streak than some of the other early singles I’ve heard from the band and it’s lonesome, lean sound walks the line between airy indie pop and a tense, bound post-punk sound that’s struggling to break through the jangles. Vocalists Meaghan and Sam bounce their vocals between them with an ease that cuts the tension, but the song is fraught and full of feeling. This one seems to be a low-key release, even by Aussie indie standards, though the initial tape is already hitting a second pressing. Gonna want to keep an eye out for this in the coming weeks.






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Lachlan Denton & Emma Russack – “Catch”

Coming right off of a solo album and a new Cool Sounds LP, Lachlan Denton shows no signs of flagging in his output. He resumes work with his duo with fellow Osborne Again alum Emma Russack and the two update the pining swoon of young love for with a loping and rosy number that’s clipped to heartflutter beat and practically lounging in the dewy warmth of summer. The song is airy and verdant, just the kind of thing to brighten your day, but not completely lift your heart. There’s a kernel of sadness, but the outcome is sweet enough to brush off that pang. The pair embark on their third outing together, Take The Reigns next week.





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Program – “Memory”

Melbourne’s Program hit back quickly with a second single from their upcoming Anti-Fade debut Show Me. Slashing their strums with staccato stabs of guitar, the band’s still running down the edges of post-punk and punk and dousing their driving rhythms in a kind of detached delivery that suits them well. “Memory” coils slightly before unfurling into a cozy chorus, but the band’s quick not to linger in the sun too long, diving right back into those driving chords and gnarled twang. The way this one’s shaping up, if you don’t already have Program on your radar, this ought to seal it. The video is a simple setup, feeling very ‘public access TV’ but they don’t need any flash to make this one stick. The album’s out October 18th.

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Thigh Master

Aussies Thigh Master tackle their sophomore LP, jumping to US garage enclave Goner for a wider release this time around. Pushing the palette far beyond their debut, the band digs into the jangled jewels in the catalogs of The Bats and The Clean for inspiration, without making it sound like they’re too stuck on the past. Shot through with the requisite amount of shaggy confidence, affable hangdog humor and self-deprecation that makes up a good portion of their homeland contempos, Now For Example tumbles and squelches its way into your heart. The songs ramble, loose and lean, like a good conversation rather than a pitched and prim vision of pop.

The band picks apart the barbs that stuck from the early Flying Nun days, letting their guitars snag and tangle through hooks that just barely hold together, but always manage to hit their mark, nonetheless. They’ve got charms, as the inclination to name yer band after a Suzanne Sommers TV-marketed weight loss squeezer might imply, and those charms go far to endear Now For Example in a field crowded with Aussies hitting similar marks. The band’s harmonies warble, but sound sincere, with an urgency that turns to smiles every time. It’s a damn fine record that should do the Brisbane set proud. Gonna want to get this one on the table and get the windows thrown wide. The neighbors need to hear this.



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Program – “Motorbike”

A tightly-wound indie throwback from The Stroppies adjacent Melbourne crew Program is a real charmer with a classic sound and a damnable hook that keeps coming back for more. Twang-curdled guitars light up the the speakers while the band sings about the frustration of social stagnation. It’’s got whiffs of Yo La Tengo,The Go-Betweens, Flying Nun and something more ineffable — a classic rock root that’s leathered and lean giving it a tougher exterior than it lets on. The LP is out October 18th from the constantly consistent Anti-Fade Records.



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The Babe Rainbow

There’s something about Aussie band The Babe Rainbow that exudes a particular ease. From their countenance on down the band look and sound like they’ve never really had a bad day, or at least a day that they couldn’t turn around with a little surfing and barbecue. Those vibes permeate every inch of Today the band’s third, and most solid album. In the past they’ve embodied much of the same spirit, but the results have been hit or miss. They’ve wandered over the psych-pop map looking to pick at ‘60s sparkle, forest folk and lounge but the mixture was always just a touch wobbly. They came pretty close on last year’s Supermoon, an album that captured their wave of gauzy love but also took a few detours into spacey instrumentals that could meander the course of the record off track. The Babes hit on the head trip they were looking to spark but we sometimes got lost in the clouds along the way.

This time they tighten up the seams, still locked into the pocket of faded folk and grooved lounge psych, but playing up the pop half of their dynamic and fleshing it out with a West Coast downtempo spirit that belies their Aussie roots. The album seems like it might have taken a page out of the music direction for recent sleeper series Lodge 49 capturing it’s “melancholy on the bright side” ideals of aimless surf culture that the show distilled into something a bit more meaningful. Today embodies some of the same feelings — unscarred skies that stretch for miles, wonder and weirdness — given life through a constant roil of ‘60s strums and thickly plumed flutes. The band has been working to nail their niche and it seems that with this one they’ve finally begun to harden their grip on the board and ride right into the heart of the curl. The summer might be winding down for those of us up here, but this one still has a bit of solar bake to lay on the listener.






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Cool Sounds

Melbourne’s Cool Sounds have endured more than most groups have between albums. Following the tragic loss of their friend and bandmate Zac Denton, a fixture in the close knit Aussie indie scene who was also in notable bands Ciggie Witch, Pregnancy, and The Ocean Party, the band like many of those others had to find a way to move on from the loss. They’ve always had a way of intertwining bittersweet swoons inside imperturbable hooks that seem to saunter through the sun breathing a rarer air, but that veneer of melancholy is a bit more palpable on More To Enjoy. Amid the slow simmering pop boilers like “Around and Around” and the standout title track, there’s the cool smoke curl of “Hume and Gloom” which seems to tackle loss head on. The balance of catharsis, comfort, and a sense of finding joy in small spaces seems to glue the album together with a detached cool that’s instantly alluring.

Denton and his brother Lachlan both had a knack for songwriting that found the pang of life and melted it into pop that felt both transformative enough to hit home and ephemeral enough to just soundtrack the whistle of breeze past the car windows. They bring together an edge of pristine pop slink with country slides and sparkling jangles for songs that fuse into something with a bit more impact than the sum of those parts might suggest. Its hard to say that loss could ever be anything other than tragic, but the band turns the moment that life pulls the rug out from under you into an album that’s honest, infectious, and despite its scars, deeper than anything in their catalog. It’s quite honestly the band at their best and it should grace your shelf of necessities for 2019.



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EXEK – “Unetiquetted”

Aussie noisemakers EXEK are back with a new LP and a move from Superior Viaduct subsidiery W.25th Records to French post-punk outpost SDZ in Europe, Digital Regress in the US and Anti-Fade at home in Australia. The slinking “Unetiquetted” finds the band haunting the halls of a greasier vision of post-punk — dark, damaged, but still riding a groove that’s hard to ignore. The track is shrouded in a detached debauchery, exhaling cold confidence and oozing bile. The accompanying video in turn looks like staging a freaky dance party in the post-credits of ’90 first person players like DOOM. It’s a hypnotic pairing with the band’s strange magic. The new LP lands September 6th.

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Parsnip

With their move from short-form EPs to a debut full-length, Melbourne’s Parsnip flesh out their indie-pop pedigree while still keeping an off-kilter sense of freewheeling fun. The foursome throwback to an era of pop that was built on the no-frills post-punk model, but leaned heavily towards the whimsical end of the spectrum rather than bristle with the self-serious slingers. With digs into Athens’ long-loved Oh Ok along with touches of indie notables like Confetti and Tiger Trap and just a dash of Mo-dettes, the band revels in strums and sunshine harmonies that bounce around the room in giddy glee. They’re just as apt to twist fuzz bass and nauseous organ into a fit as they are to bounce plaintive picnic guitars off the treetops. Their voices fit together with worn edges — puzzle pieces punched out on a budget, forming gorgeously uneven pictures that win listeners over with their charms despite themselves.

Even though there’s a touch of melancholy that seeps into When The Tree Bears Fruit, its hard not to leave with a smile as this one clicks to a close. Its a quiet saunter of an album, never in a hurry to get to its conclusions, never rushing its ramble. The band seem to be enjoying each and every wobbly note as much a child spinning around in until the dizziness overcomes their ability to stand. Not that these aren’t’ accomplished tunes, the band has a proclivity for hooks and they know how to pack each song with as much crystalized creativity as possible, but theirs no denying that worries drain away while this one’s playing. The record remains on their longtime home at Anti-Fade in their home country — a label worth keeping tabs on if there ever was one, but they split ownership Stateside with Trouble in Mind, who’ve been having a particularly banner year picking up Aussie exports.

While the summer skies are clear and cloudless, it’s recommended that you pop this one on the headphones and take a stroll around. There’s hardly another soundtrack as fitting to keep your spirits up and and take the edge of the week than this album right here.



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