Posts Tagged ‘Cool Sounds’

Mixtape: This Is Aus

Ok please allow one more year-end indulgence here in the form of a recap mixtape. It should no longer be a surprise that I have a sweet spot for Aussie indie, and as the genre has made up so much of the site’s direction in the last year, I’ve decided to round up some of my favorites into a massive mixtape that should keep you busy for a few hours and serve as a primer to those looking to break the seal on their Aussie pop habit. Plenty of usual suspects arise in the label department here with representation from RSTB favorites Bedroom Suck, Anti-Fade, Lost and Lonesome, Poison City, Hobbies Galore, Milk! Records, Flightless, and Tenth Court alongside internationally friendly harbors like Trouble in Mind, Upset The Rhythm, Share It, Kanine, and Emotional Response. There were plenty of offerings to love this year from the South Hemi, so get cracking on that listen. Click below for tracklist and stream.

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Cool Sounds

Melbourne’s Cool Sounds shift their spotlight from the “Real Estate dreaming of John Hughes subplots” sound they held on previous album Dance Moves and embrace a more languid, jazz-soaked vision of Aussie indie. While a stop-gap EP last year leaned towards a more austere acoustic vision, on Cactus Country the band again fleshes out the sound with rain stained sax lines, sunset twang that makes good on the promise of that title and a narcotic cool attached to the vocals that’s never in a hurry to push out of the permanent vacation saunter. The band once coined the term jazz-gaze to approximate their sound, but up until now it didn’t really feel like they were making good on it. While that’s still a bit of a smirking swing at how their sound shakes out, the comparison lands. Cool Sounds have baked this record on the boardwalks and beachfronts and tied the whole thing up in strains of “Baker Street” sax crushed out just a touch by the din of the waves.

At times the effect can push Cactus Country into the background music category, like quite a few of the lite jazz and drive time ‘80s references it’s evoking. Yet, the band has worked tirelessly on the aesthetic and even when they’re sometimes poking at the saccharine or cheesy (see: “Nylon”) they still feel genuine in their affection for the delivery and that gives the record its own gravity. There are some positively gorgeous moments on the record that melt away the frantic pace of 2018 and help hold the clock’s hands at bay for at least the thirty-odd minutes that Cactus Country spends on the speakers. For that respite, I remain grateful.

Ultimately the record feels like a faded and folded brochure for a long-gone vision of recreational living. The band succeeds in making it never feel like a modern take piped through a wood-grain filter, but rather a vintage find that’s just been packed in a dusted crate all these years. The nostalgia gives the record a slight tinge of bittersweet bliss and an aura of comfort that’s hard to resist. Cactus Country isn’t going to shake your foundations, but it might just soothe your soul, which is a welcome promise these days.



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Cool Sounds – “Cactus Country”

Melbourne’s Cool Sounds swing back with another LP that follows up a solid stop-gap short player form last year. Still chasing the cool waters populated by Real Estate and other similarly minded US purveyors of languid dreams, the title track from their upcoming Cactus Country, is doused in a humid haze and underpinned with sparkling guitars. Loping along with no hurry in sight, the track practically squints in the sunshine, chugging some stutter-funk riffs that shake off a bit of the country twang that seeped into the Grudge EP. Making a move from Deaf Ambitions for a joint release between Melbourne labels Osborne Again and Hotel Motel (who released that aforementioned EP) the band is moving among some decent players in the Aussie underground. Looking forward to what the rest of Cactus Country has to offer.



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Cool Sounds

Its been a ripe couple of years for bands looking back fondly on the less fetishized corners of 80’s pop. While any given band will always be around to amp up the Ian Curtis angst, there’s a strange seduction to Wyatt Blair aiming to make Kenny Logins’ bravado cool again or Mac Demarco seeking to make the silky slide of Yacht Rock relevant. Admittedly the later has never held much sway for me, but Melbourne’s Cool Sounds seem to be taking a tack on that bent that lands more Real Estate in boat shoes than Demarco’s Hall & Oats with an Alfred E. Neuman smile. Cool Sounds’ ranks swell to a hefty six members, but they augment their sound amply with a healthy dose of sax and atmospheric keys which seems to warrant the packed van load. And while their influences, which they file under “jazz gaze” (probably not a term that should stick around) skew decidedly closer to John Hughes soundtrack territory than actual lite FM strains or anything that might actually have a connection to jazz, the end result is pleasant in a way that winds up calm, but not dull or wallpapery.

In fact, along those John Hughes lines, this whole record could serve as the soundtrack to a nice coming of age drama. They have the pining down, the emotional punch of those sax and synth lines is shined to perfection, and somewhere, someone is running through the rain waiting for a Cool Sounds track to underscore their teenage world crumbling to the floor. They filter in just enough of The Wake-style jangle to keep things this side of cheesy, but on songs like “Heartbreak” one does find themselves looking around for Andrew McCarthy or Anthony Michael Hall to pop around the corner and wrap up the whole record with a trite one-liner that shrugs and mugs for the camera. However, since we all have to live life without montages to clean up our messes or perfectly crafted dialog to win over our crushes, I suppose we’ll just have to imagine that Cool Sounds can rub off enough cinematic ennui to get us through the day.




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