Archives for posts with tag: Ela Stiles

jmcfarlanes_reality_guest_photo“Where Are You My Love?” is the captivating flute+synth+voice track which closes an album by one-time/ some-time Twerps member Julia McFarlane, and friends, operating under the banner J. McFarlane’s Reality Guest.

The Bandcamp page for the release says “TA DA! It’s the debut full length from Julia McFarlane, previously known as Hot Topic, henceforth known as J. McFarlane’s Reality Guest!” 

“Where Are You My Love?” stands out for its unusual simplicity, the song taking the form of an almost traditional folk lament sung over minimal instrumentation of synth, and flute from multi-instrumentalist Ela Stiles (Bushwalking)

The album is notionally ‘synth-pop’ but in a minimalist way. The songs zoom around between bold synth-led pop statements (eg: “I Am a Toy”), minimal strange folk pop (eg: “What has He Bought?”) and stripped down post-punk pop of  the likes of “Do You Like What I’m Sayin?”.

In some ways the music on “TA DA!” may be long way from The Twerps strum and jangle (if you are here because of Twerps related withdrawal curiosity) but it takes a similar low-key DIY approach and focus on everyday themes.

The album was released on 9 January but the LP version on Melbourne label Hobbies Galore has sold out already, which should tell you everything you need to know about how good this is.



Day 9 of this unofficial Australian Music Month following NZ Music Music Month goes Bushwalking with “No Men” from Bushwalking’s September 2013 album ‘No Enter’ released on Melbourne’s excellent Chapter Music label.

Bushwalking is another new band to me and ‘No Enter’ is straight onto my ‘must buy’ list.

The unconventional and at times abrasive, piercing and angular post-punk guitar from Karl Scullin, together with the sparse construction and bold, lurching but hypnotic rhythms, all carry a glimmer of the industrial churn of the legendary UK art-noise pioneers This Heat.

Yet woven amongst this is almost medieval voices, harmonies and melodies from drummer Nisa Venerosa and bassist Ela Stiles (who has just released a solo album featured here on PopLib earlier this month). It all adds up to all kinds of wonderful.

Here they are live, performing the title track to their album ‘No Enter’:

Ela Stiles

Ela Stiles

Day 3 of PopLib’s unofficial Australian Music Month is something hauntingly bare and strange from Sydney musician Ela Stiles. Those paying attention to Australian underground pop over the last 5 years will know Ela from hard-to-Google Sydney band Songs (who did a split 7” single with The Bats a few years ago).

I haven’t heard the whole self-titled album yet but this song and the description is enough to catch my interest and add it to my must-get list. “It is her voice alone that fills the listener’s ear, and then her voice again, rising and falling in different vocal patterns both rhythmic and melodic, turning in on itself and creating layers of startling sound… A single vocal becomes far more powerful than amplified sound…”

It is a brave and intriguing minimalist recording for both Ela and for Queensland underground DIY & psychedelic rock label Bedroom Suck Records to release.

This song seems both familiar and contemporary (particularly the final wonderful 15 seconds) and yet also completely foreign, ancient and other-wordly. I have no idea about the origins of this song. Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith. However the feeling I get here is reminiscent to me more of a Celtic lament.

One of the days I was in Sydney in late April the heavens opened and it poured with rain. I sheltered in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. One of the exhibits in the Sydney Biennale exhibition on at the time was a video installation by Angelica Mesiti depicting a vocal performance of mourning songs by Enza Pagliara filmed on location at the Ear of Dionysius, an ancient limestone cave carved out of the Temenites Hill in the Sicilian city of Syracuse. The haunting starkness of the voices on ‘Kumbh Mela’ By Ela Stiles reminds me of that.