Archives for posts with tag: Melbourne
Beaches by Darren Sylvester

BEACHES (photo by Darren Sylvester)

Continuing the heavy psych theme, here’s a blissful Sunday Psych-out fuzzfest called “Arrow” from Melbourne five-piece band BEACHES:

BEACHES have just released (September 2017) a double album of ultra-melodic psychedelic rock called “Second of Spring”. Actually, it’s a bit more than *just* psych rock, as the double LP format allows the band to mix their usual 60s/ 70s psych-rock via German 70s experimental motorik and 80s New Wave goodness with even more shoegaze melodic pop stylings to great effect, as “Arrow” here shows.

Some songs may even remind anyone who has established a long-running relationship with Australian alternative guitar music (guilty here) of the fuzzy melodic power-pop goodness of the likes of 80s/ 90s bands The Hummingbirds or Someloves. To my ears BEACHES more natural propulsive and joyful psychedelic stylings are way more preferable than the over-worked self-indulgent noodling of some of their much more vaunted Australian psych-rock contemporaries. Enough said!

BEACHES are Antonia Sellbach on guitar and vocals, Alison Bolger on guitar and vocals, Ali McCann on guitar and vocals, Gill Tucker on bass and vocals and Karla Way on drums and vocals.

They’ve been playing and releasing singles, EPs and albums as BEACHES since 2008. You really ought to dig back into their catalogue for stunning gems like the 2013 release “She Beats” which features even more motorik psych+melodic fuzzrock wonders.

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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

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:

 

 

Bitumen by Steve FuzzFarm

Bitumen – photo by Steve FuzzFarm

“Honey Hunter” is a thundering-great slab of hot-cold post-punk from Melbourne band Bitumen.

It’s one of 4 excellent tracks on a recent 4 song split cassette EP from Melbourne underground label Vacant Valley.

Thundering drums set the pace and volume, then a skirl of squealing guitar riffs and rumbling bass comes in and all hell is let loose. This is beautifully crafted post-punk – a hint of the ice-cold pummeling sound of Clan of Xymox and some Gothic touches reminiscent of Skeletal Family but Melbourne has been the home of this kind of industrial futuristic pop music for even longer than Germany or the UK. Top shelf sounds.

Listen to the rest of the EP here too – related entity No Sister are also worth your time. There’s a bit more information on both bands in this interview in This Is Not A Drill.

ewahtvopbeachpanarama“As The Sun Goes Down” is the opening track from the debut album “Everything Fades to Blue” by Tasmania based EWAH and the Vision of Paradise. It’s a belter of an album – epic, cinematic and just a bit dark. Well worth a moment of your time to get lost in the desert at night “As The Sun Goes Down”.

But don’t stop there. Linger a while and take the whole trip here. The album is classic Australian alternative post-punk rock in the tradition of The Triffids, Roland S. Howard, or Spencer P. Jones. From the lush production, menacing tremolo guitar, shimmering New Wave synths and keyboards and thundering drums, to the storytelling in the lyrics, it’s all here.

Presenting this stylish ‘cinema-noir’ album is guitarist, vocalist and songwriter EWAH and her band The Vision of Paradise, a recent discovery from the fine Hobart underground music compilation album “Community 4” where their “Walk the Night” was a standout track.

For another perfect example,  listen to the song the band takes its name from – “Vision of Paradise”. Over a majestic 7 and a half minutes the song builds from atmospheric mantra to a swelling tidal wave of keyboard, drums and guitar feedback before easing back again to fade to silence.

“All Summer Long” is another song which immediately conveys a sense of landscape, distance, and shimmering heat through its atmospheric wide-screen arrangement and lethargic pace.

These are just a couple of highlights. The album really deserves to be listened to as a whole piece, working together as a collection of thematically-linked stories mixing light and dark, affection and menace, beauty and beasts, triumph and disaster.

“Everything Fades to Blue” was released a few weeks ago on LP. I reckon it’s worth adding to your collection.

Free Time US

Free Time (NYC line-up)

More magic from favourite Australian label Bedroom Suck Records, now relocated from Brisbane to Brunswick, Melbourne, surely the hot-bed of Aussie independent music right now.

This time it’s a band called Free Time, operating between Melbourne and New York with a different line-up for each country. Anyway, here’s the bouncing guitar pop of “Among the Reeds” to set you on the path of discovery.

Free Time is/are the band/s of Dion Nania. The self-titled first album by Free Time was recorded in New York in 2013 with Free Time’s US line-up. Now the second album “In Search of Free Time” has been recorded by the Australian line-up in Melbourne. Fair enough.

Joining Nania as Free Time in Australia, and on this album, is Martin Frawley (Twerps), Zachary Schneider (Totally Mild) and Joe Alexander (Terrible Truths).

As you can tell from this first song from the album, it contains a familiar Australian gallop, evoking memories of classic Aussie guitar pop through the ages while also offering a giddy combination of some element of the sound of all the bands above, even down to Joe Alexander’s restless rhythmic tumbling drumming.

The album is varied and repays repeated listening. There’s a bit of everything, from rambunctious loose-limbed eager strums to the reflective and delicate weaving of lead guitar and rhythm guitar. Worthwhile seeking out the LP version.

Free Time Australia

Free Time (Melbourne version)

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.