Archives for posts with tag: Australian music

Minimum Chips

Minimum Chips is one of the great band names of the modern era. Fortunately that evocative name is matched to exquisite music. Their label Chapter Music describe their sound as ‘lo-fi jazz pop’ but have a listen to “Jolly Jumper” and make up your own mind.

“Jolly Jumper” is a new recording by the band, and it is included on “20 Big Ones – 1992 – 2012” which celebrated 20 years of Chapter Music, the Melbourne label which brought us the likes of Dick Diver, Bushwalking, Twerps, The Stevens, The Cannanes, The Goon Sax, and… well, the list is quite long. The album was released in 2012 to coincide with the label’s 20th anniversary show and has re-appeared on the Chapter Music Bandcamp page today, which presumably means it has been repressed.

“Jolly Jumper” seems to me to transcend ‘indie-pop’ whatever that is, although it is clearly independent and clearly pop. It is the kind of thing you might imagine in a fever dream involving members of Stereolab and Broadcast forming a secret group and releasing a single on Sarah Records or some other equally unlikely kind of musical fantasy in an alternative universe.

The guitar and organ meander; interlocking, overlocking, unravelling, reforming patterns again in hypnotic and exultant ways. The drums are crisp and adventurous and there is no jazz in earshot, save for some experimental organ chords towards the ending (and what a dramatic ending). The vocals sound distant yet close, the words being sung almost sound French, yet it’s an Australian singing in English. Mystery upon enigma. Of course, I’ll be carefully, patiently discovering the rest of this band’s back catalogue for years now.

There are 19 other songs on the album. They all have their magic and help tell a story of a label giving a voice for over 20 years now to people the more commercially-focused mainstream part of the ‘music industry’ ignores. It’s a good entry point to explore the label catalogue. Chapter Music is a very good musical rabbit hole to fall down.

Chapter Music is a long-standing label established by a then 17-year-old Guy Blackman in Perth in 1992, before relocating to Melbourne. Read more about Chapter Music in interview with Guy here.

Chapter 20

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Possible HumansThis fine twisting, moody creature of a song called “Toroid” comes from a recent 7″ single on Sydney label Strange Pursuits, by Melbourne band Possible Humans:

“Toroid” sometimes hints at an eclectic array of electric psych-pop favourites. Those first snaking guitar lines hint at The Clean, the melodic rise and fall of the vocal melody may trigger a warm rush of Guided by Voices memories and it inhabits the kind of imaginary 1960’s psychedelic power pop world Television Personalities constructed during their first few albums. However, it turns out to be not much like any of these things in the end, instead carving out its own odd space in the world by not conforming to any particular influence and sounding both timeless and mysterious at the same time.

Possible humans have 5 members. Three are brothers. Two wrote a song each on this single. Neither of the two songs on this single appear on their forthcoming (sometime) album, which features songs written by all 5 members. So, when they say of the album – “it’s a big fun mess of Free Rock, in the jailhouse sense, and the wheelhouse sense, as in silly as wheels, when your mind is gone” it’s an invitation to keep an eye out for that album.

In the meantime we should all snap up this 7″ in preparation. And watch this video they made for the single “A” side “Cuz” too:

 

 

ewahtvopbeachpanarama“Walk the Night” by EWAH & The Vision of Paradise effectively combines dark psychedelia with ominous post-punk rumbling. It’s another stellar song from “Community 4 – a Compilation of Hobart Music”

Viewed from a New Zealand perspective the song seems to possess a very Australian style of cinematic rock-noir. I can even imagine echoes back through time to the sounds of early Hunters and Collectors, The Triffids, and even Roland S. Howard.

There’s plenty more music to be found at EWAH’s Bandcamp page and much more information to discover at the EWAH & The Vision of Paradise website.

bettong_eastern-quoll

Couldn’t find a picture of The Pits so here is a couple of Bettong (L) and an Eastern Quoll (R) via http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/

“SHOUTING IN CAPS” by The Pits is another track from the excellent “Community 4” compilation album of Hobart Underground music. The song has the kind of Bored-Young-Dylan appeal of early releases by The Clean – and their Great Unwashed alter ego.

The song is about the minutiae and anxiety-inducing hyper-connected  (anti-)social-media world:

“Refresh the page again, refresh the page again, what’s happening?”

The  deadpan observational lyrics are simultaneously funny and heartbreaking:

 “SHOUTING IN CAPS again, SHOUTING IN CAPS again, to my 29 friends” 

To use the vernacular of the song, in my humble opinion The Pits are hashtag “Dunedin Sound” except they are trending from Hobart, Tasmania, in Australia so it’s probably called something else there.

They fit in the everyday story-telling-with-rambunctious-guitar-strum style of fellow Australians like The Twerps and Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, but hopefully Tasmania has it’s own descriptive labels for what The Pits do, rather than relying on those mainland Australian put-down genre names of ‘slacker indie’ slash ‘dole wave’.

Check out the rest of the “Community 4 – a compilation of Hobart music” album, and find out more about Bettongs and Eastern Quolls at the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife website.

Terrible Truths Uptight video stillAfter a month of NZ music it’s time to venture across the Tasman Sea to Australia where Terrible Truths are “Uptight”.

Terrible Truths are a favourite from the well-stocked cupboard of brilliant leftfield Australian music known as Bedroom Suck Records.

Their self-titled debut album is an absolute blinder of fidgety and melodic post-punk built entirely around the interplay between lead guitar, bass and drums, plus call-and-response vocals.

There’s something gloriously wild and ebullient about it all. These qualities are illustrated perfectly on “Uptight” which now has a video for added excellence.

Terrible Truths’ debut has just been repressed in a special 2nd pressing limited edition on gold vinyl with a limited edition bonus 7″ EP. Go on… you know you want to.

Aussie

Here in NZ we are meant to hate Australia(ns). It’s some kind of dumb pathological insecurity-fuelled nationalistic competitive thing, mostly based on sports. And, to be fair, Australian sports-people do their country no favours by being arrogant winners and bad losers (if I may generalise somewhat).

Well, music isn’t sport, music is far more important than silly ball games and some of my favourite music over the years has come from Australia.

Plus, you have to feel sorry for them right now. They have a doofus Prime Minister and a climate-change-denying, flat-earth-embracing Government that makes NZ’s PM and sackful of clowns in Government look almost classy (no, not really). And now their dollar has plunged to be pretty much on a par with the NZ dollar.

The good news out of their declining dollar is that we can show how big we are by helping their ailing economy by buying their fabulous LPs for under $30 NZD, including postage.

If you are a regular reader of PopLib you will know there’s a lot of great new Australian underground pop music been released so far this decade. Here’s a quick guide to three of the best labels recommended for your urgent/leisurely investigation:

Rice Is Nice Records
Sydney label with releases from Sarah Mary Chadwick, Summer Flake & many more. Read more about Rice is Nice in an interview with founder Julia Wilson here.

Chapter Music
This long-standing label was established by a then 17-year-old Guy Blackman in perth in 1992, before relocating to Melbourne. Read more about Chapter Music in interview with Guy here. Chapter Music has released several great PopLib-endorsed albums recently from The Stevens, The Twerps, Dick Diver and Bushwalking amongst others.

Bedroom Suck Records
Fabulous Brisbane, Queensland label with an eclectic roster of artists, many of whom have been PopLib favourites, including albums by Ela Stiles, Peter Escott, Fair Maiden, Blank Realm and Totally Mild. Although Bedroom Suck records has only been going for a little over 5 years many of their releases have been licensed to big-indie Fire Records for release in the US and UK, which gives you an indication of the quality of their catalogue.

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