Now Playing: Lupine – 'Bottomless'

Friday, December 6, 2019
Photo by Tai Denzel Truong 

North-East Melbourne-based band Lupine recently shared their latest slice of garage-rock heaven with 'Bottomless', which follows on from their previous track '1800-MUM-DAD'. The band are also currently gearing up for an EP next year and we can't wait to hear it.

The track features a warm and vibrant mix of jangly soundscapes and rich vocals that glide over the track ever-so-effortlessly. On the single, the band said, "'Bottomless' is essentially a love letter to reckless love, defying convention and of course, coffee. It is a love letter to the simple pleasure of sitting with somebody you love and talking about everything and nothing at all." Lupine never puts a bad foot forward and 'Bottomless' is further evidence of this.

Listen to 'Bottomless' by Lupine below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic

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Now Playing: Hinds – 'Riding Solo'

Photo by Andrea Savall

Madrid four-piece Hinds are back at it again, this time returning with their brand new single 'Riding Solo'. Produced by Jenn Decilveo, the track is a sneak preview of their highly anticipated third studio album. If 'Riding Solo' is anything to go off, the album is set to be a treat.

Their vibrant new single is one of their catchiest songs yet. They're still the Hinds that we've all come to love, but as refreshed and revitalised as ever. The track is their take on the relatable and all-consuming nature of loneliness. They said, "feeling lonely is one of the most common human feelings, right? well, being a musician doesn’t really help. your whole life is constantly moving and the only thing that remains is yourself.  and dealing with yourself, oh gosh, we all know how boring and angering that can be."

Along with sharing the single, they've also unveiled the music video (directed by Keane Shaw) featuring some incredible choreography in the desert.

Check out 'Riding Solo' by Hinds below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Conchúr White – 'Daisies'

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Northern Ireland artist Conchúr White unveiled his soaring debut single 'Daisies' mid-last month. The dreamlike and mesmerising single is also a sneak preview of what's coming up for Conchúr White, with an EP currently in the works for 2020. He will be closing out the year in a big way by playing some supporting shows with Villagers in Ireland this month.

His slowing-burning and emotional debut 'Daisies' explores the complicated relationship between a masochist and sadist, including the lengths the two characters go to please themselves as well as each other. Inspired by literary greats like Charles Bukowski, there's a story-like quality to 'Daisies' and we look forward to hearing what he has planned next.

Listen to 'Daisies' by Conchúr White below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Jackie O' with Ellie Bleach

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Photo by Poppy Marriott

We were first introduced to Ellie Bleach after she shared her tropical-pop gem 'Leave Me Alone' last year, and now she's back with yet another brilliant single, this time sharing her latest track 'Jackie O'. To celebrate the release of her third single, she dives into how 'Jackie O' was born and the story behind the track.

I wrote ‘Jackie O’… Remember that awfully long winter of 2018 named ’the beast from the east'? I wrote 'Jackie O' in the midst of that, March 2018, at the tail end of a fling that fizzled out. I wrote the majority of the song in under an hour, then fiddled with tiny bits over the coming weeks, I remember asking several people whether to use the word ‘flinch’ or ‘wince’ on one of the lines.

The story behind 'Jackie O' is… Pretty self-explanatory haha. In a nutshell, I attended a fancy dress party as one half of a couples costume (John and Jackie Kennedy) to discover the host of the party and the person supposed to be dressed as JFK not dressed as anything at all. I remember being embarrassed at the obvious visual indicators of who was more invested in that short-lived relationship. The first half of 'Jackie O' is pretty much rooted in exactly what happened that night in February 2018, but by the end of the song, I’ve definitely directed my anger towards a certain type of guy. Time and time again, I let myself get too involved with emotionally distant ’tortured artists', who spent their energy chasing delusions of undiscovered genius than actually forming meaningful relationships with real people. I’m actually in a very happy relationship now, but every time I perform ‘Jackie O’ I get a little riled up, remembering how lonely and resentful 2018 Ellie felt in that period.

My favourite lyric is… It’s a tie between, ’to find poignance in the mundane it’s kind of your thing, but my god don’t you know it, don’t even wince when you call yourself a poet.’ and the repeated, ‘I am the first lady of..’ in the outro.

It was made… I write by recording a full demo myself on my laptop, then the final mix was recorded with Harry and Ben Stanworth of the band Barbudo (kings of crisp tight production) in their home studio. All my live band feature on the track, you can hear Harry Stanworth on drums, Zachariah Young on bass, Hannah Hayden on backing vocals and percussion and myself on organ and synth.

My main inspiration was… Elevator music. Bossa nova. ’Song For A Future Generation’ by The B-52's, ‘Shades' by Alexandra Savior. The world of high society all-American debutantes that surrounded Jaqueline Bouvier before meeting John F Kennedy.

It sounds best when… Screamed alone in your bedroom, or played LIIIVE by Ellie Bleach and her magnificent travelling band, coming to a venue near you! ;)

Listen to 'Jackie O' by Ellie Bleach below:

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Interview: Hachiku on Iceland, Community and Staying Motivated

Amidst the craziness of Iceland Airwaves, I sat down with Melbourne-based up-and-comer Anika Ostendorf aka Hachiku in a cafe in the heart of Reykjavik, where we spoke about her love for Iceland, Melbourne’s music community, her Milk! Records family and how deadlines help her remain focussed.

Inspired by the spirit of Iceland’s unique and diverse music scene, she would love to add Reykjavik to her list of places that she’s lived in — which includes Michigan when she was born, Germany where she grew up, London where she studied, and now Melbourne where she works and makes music. “Around five years ago, I was really obsessed with Iceland. Even though it’s small and a bit isolated from everywhere else, so many people here are involved with something artistically.”

Back when Ostendorf lived in London, where she studied biology, she attended a showcase of Icelandic music, which included a performance by one of her favourite bands, Mammút. She has always felt drawn to the way Icelandic musicians can portray the natural beauty of their country in their music — and even though she hadn’t visited Iceland before Iceland Airwaves, she could imagine what it would look like through the sounds of Icelandic musicians. “I always thought it was intriguing to hear the music and then imagine what the country would look like, it’s vastness and beauty.”

Though she can’t see it happening for some time, she admits that she has considered moving to Iceland one day. “I still have the dream of one day moving here," she says, “even if it’s for a few months or half-a-year, just to experience what it would be like.”

But until then, she’s found solace in Melbourne, where she is surrounded by her Milk! Records family. Out of all the places she has lived in, it’s Melbourne where she has felt the most at home creatively. The city has had a big impact on her music and the way she approaches her craft. She particularly feels drawn and connected to the small and tight-knit music community within the city. “I think of all the places, it’s Melbourne where I’ve felt the most welcomed, the city is exactly what I imagined it would be and everyone’s really supportive of each other.” She also notes that the supportive nature of the music community that surrounds her in Melbourne also allows her to enjoy the process of making and releasing music.

As well as being signed to Milk! Records, she’s also very involved in the label. When she first came to Melbourne, she interned there and now she’s an employee. “I interned at Milk! when I was an exchange student, I then went back to Europe and then came back to work there.”

For Ostendorf, it’s bewildering to think of herself as ‘signed’ to the label, as it sounds “too proper,'' as she says. “It feels more like being taken in by a community of really amazing people and not just signed to a label.” In the beginning, there were no contracts — Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett loved what Ostendorf did and wanted to help her get her music out to the world by sharing it on the label’s Bandcamp and promoting it on social media.

Milk! Records might have moved from Cloher and Barnett’s home and the label has signed more artists since, community and working closely and supporting their artists will always remain at the forefront. “Even though it’s much more serious now, it still feels like working with friends rather than what I imagine it would be like at another label, where the relationships might feel too business-like.”

Despite enjoying Melbourne and feeling inspired by the city, it’s also important for her to travel and surround herself amongst different settings when she can. “I definitely thrive on having a change of scenery once in a while as well. Sometimes I need that variation too. I need external stimulation to be creative and seeing different places definitely excites me and makes me want to write more songs.”

Whether it’s in Melbourne, visiting her family in Germany, or wherever her travels take her, she makes sure she is consistently working on music. She enjoys deadlines and how they help her remain focussed, “I’m easily distracted,” she says, “If I don’t have the pressure of, ‘I need to or should be writing a song’ I won’t do it. So I need to be like, ‘by this day, I need to finish a song,’ and then I’ll do it.” As long as she has her laptop with her, she can work anywhere and everywhere. At the moment, her goal is to finish at least another two songs before Christmas.

She’s prepping up for the release of her album, which she anticipates will be out in 2020. She’s spent approximately three years creating it, but working on the album during spurts of a few weeks or a month at a time has delayed finishing it. Feeling as motivated as ever, she’s determined to set deadlines for herself to ensure that it will be ready next year. “Putting pressure on myself and now settling deadlines to finish the album helps me maintain my motivation. It can be very demotivating when you keep on delaying work, a block of pressure can build the longer you put it off.”

Next year, she has plans to tour with Barnett in the US, play at SXSW in Austin and spend more time in Europe. Until she hits the road next year, her focus is on finishing songs and playing Milk!’s annual Christmas Party.

Along with being incredibly talented and an exquisite songwriter, Ostendorf is a hard worker with a humble attitude and good-hearted nature, and there’s no denying that 2020 will be her biggest year yet.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (folio)

Listen to her latest single 'Shark Attack':

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Now Playing: Oracle Sisters – 'From Kay's To The Cloisters'

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Photo by Maja Mihelič

Paris-based Oracle Sisters unveiled their tender new single 'From Kay's To The Cloisters' and it's absolutely magical. The track follows in the footsteps of their single 'Spotlight', which was released back in August.

'From Kay's To The Cloisters' is their most intimate and introspective single yet. On their motivation behind the track, lead guitarist Lewis Lazaar said, "in the tradition of the gothic balladeer style of Scottish Folk Singers, Chris stays faithful to that smoked whisky revery found in the dimly lit taverns that scatter Edinburgh." Drawing upon Scottish folk influences, the charming single features delicate vocals partnered with a beautiful winding guitar and the mix of the two will give you chills.

Take some time out and listen to 'From Kay's To The Cloisters' by Oracle Sisters below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Feature: Ingredients of Panic with Johnny Kills

Up-and-coming London/Brighton trio Johnny Kills recently unveiled their debut EP Panic via Killing Moon Records. The EP sees them reflect on growing up, identity and navigating life once you hit your 20s. To celebrate the release of their EP, Tim and Lewis from the trio take us through what inspired them creating Panic.

Sports Team 
They re-convinced us that being brash and approaching almost everything you do with a sense of humour is fun – our EP explores slightly more serious, introspective themes than most of our previous songs, but these guys showed us it’s still fine, and relatable, and that we pretty much can’t ourselves seriously.

Sex Education 
Binge watched this when I’d just graduated from uni and was pretty clueless about what I was planning on doing, so even though I was at a different time of my life, the exploration of teenage anxiousness and figuring out where you fitted in still resonated with me. Asa Butterfield has the best jacket in it too. It’s soundtracked by Ezra Furman who we’re really big fans of and captures this sense of confusion as well as anyone with his wry wit, and shows that the sense of humour that bands like Sports Team bring can be used to tackle more serious or bleaker things.

I was a pretentious muppet growing up who shunned chart music for no real reason and that changed as I grew up. I love pop music now and listen to it as much as anything else, and was really keen to pursue this in our songs. But then at the same time, I started an internship in music, with a company that introduced me to loads of cool post-punk and garage-rock acts, so that bled its way in too, and we ended with a weird amalgamation of pop hooks written by people with garage rock hats on. I think this is most noticeable in our attempt at a groove-based song ‘I Feel Like’, which you probably couldn’t tell is most inspired by Janelle Monae/Prince vibes and, has a pop spanking chorus with lots of la la la-ing backing vocals but descends into a thrashing garage rock freak out by the end.

Charly Bliss - 'Guppy'
A record I keep returning too over the last couple of years – finally saw a headline show a couple of weeks ago and it did not disappoint. It reminds me both of excitedly, repeatedly listening to Sum 41's 'All Killer, No Filler' when I was like 8-years-old and the pop-punk revolution of bands like Wavves, FIDLAR. The energy is astounding, and the hooks stay in my head for days. I really enjoyed the follow-up that came out this year, 'Young Enough', but I fell harder for this one. I feel like we approach our music in a similar power-pop through a scuzzed-out-filter way.

Pavement - 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain'
Pavement have slowly worked their way over the years to becoming probably my favourite band, and channel an ethos we closely identify with – largely that you don't need to be an amazing player to be able to write decent tunes. It's very slack, not too serious, but the snatched imagery you get from Stephen Malkmus' seemingly non-sensical lines can stir strong, weird emotions. 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain' I feel is where they best combine a penchant for bratty non-conformity with pop-hooks, with bangers like 'Gold Soundz', 'Cut Your Hair' and the emotive off-kilter waltz of 'Stop Breathin''.

Listen to Panic by Johnny Kills below: 

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Feature: Our Favourite Tracks of 2019... Part One

Monday, December 2, 2019

This month, we'll be celebrating all the music that we've loved this year and to kick off festivities, we're taking you through some of our favourite tracks of 2019 — part two of the feature will be coming next week, so stay tuned to meet fifteen more songs then.

If you've yet to meet our favourite tunes, it's never too late to weave them into your playlists. Scroll through to learn more about the songs that we were addicted to in 2019 below.

'Here It Comes Again' by Sports Team
The untamed six-piece from the UK have had their biggest year yet and there's no stopping them now. Though we can't fault any of the singles that they've shared in 2019, 'Here It Comes Again' was one of our absolute favourites. The track is non-stop madness from beginning to end, with each second perfectly capturing everything that we love about the band.

'Good Girls Do Bad Things' by Lucia & The Best Boys 
Glasgow's Lucia & The Best Boys fuse 80s-inspired sounds with their own signature flavour to create their firey single 'Good Girls Do Bad Things'. Lucia from the band wrote the empowering track for women who have been messed around by bad dudes or have experienced a toxic relationship. 'Good Girls Do Bad Things' is an absolute power anthem and will make you feel like you're a badass heroine in an action movie.

'Outside' by MorMor
Each time we listen to 'Outside', we're transported to another place — the artist from Canada combines bright and airy instrumentals with poignant words about alienation and fear. When you hear 'Outside' for the first time, you'll feel frozen in time. MorMor's delicate and tender mix of light and dark — a chiaroscuro effect if you will — makes for a masterpiece.

'Disco Lights' by Pynch 
Pynch are going to have a big year in 2020 and we're sure of it. Their catchy new single 'Disco Lights' is one of those songs that sticks with you, even hours after you've heard it — it's pure magic.

'First Encounters' by The Ninth Wave
Glasgow-based act The Ninth Wave have had a breakthrough year in 2019 and we predict that there's more coming their way next year. Every track from their impressive debut album Infancy is incredible in their own way, but 'First Encounters' has a special place in our heart. The song expresses the feeling when you're on the verge of dismantling in the most beautiful and human way possible.

'Hey!' by Adwaith 
South Wales band Adwaith, who recently won the Welsh Music Prize, shared their full-throttle track 'Hey!' back in September alongside 'Wine Time'. 'Hey!' is a powerful and scathing critique of world leaders and their lack of action in regards to climate change.

'Dreamboat' by Joviale
The first time listening to 'Dreamboat' will give you an experience that you won't forget. The lush and intricately layered instrumentals are bewitching and when you partner these with her mesmerising vocals the end result is truly a dream.

'The Cleaner' by Squid 
Their enthralling track is home to a fusion of disco-punk, post-punk and Squid's intriguing lyrics that reflect on the mundanity of everyday life. Spanning seven-and-a-half minutes, the track takes listeners on quite the journey, with each twist and turn just as memorable as the next.

'Strange to Know Nothing' by Walt Disco
Glasgow has had a moment in 2019, and part of the pack of incredible artists to burst out of the area was Walt Disco. The explosive track is the moody goth anthem we wish we had at our school dance. If anyone needs a movie soundtrack made that's reminiscent of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, be sure to hit up Walt Disco.

'Late Night City' by Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard 
It's been a busy year for Welsh band Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, and in-between playing shows on the regular they shared the ever-so-exhilarating 'Late Night City'. Featuring a dose of vintage rock 'n' roll, give this mighty number a whirl during your next late-night drive.

'Right Round The Clock' by Sorry 
North London band Sorry will lure you in with their swirling number 'Right Round The Clock'. Trust us, one listen of their addictive track will never be enough.

'Theatrical State of Mind' by Papooz
The French duo ooze cool and confidence on 'Theatrical State of Mind' and it's infectious. We wish we could bottle up this sleek track and devour it over-and-over again.

'Fear My Society' by The Wants
The brooding single sees The Wants channel one's innermost fears and you'll feel goosebumps throughout. Its words are relatable to any anyone who has found themselves overwhelmed by the ways of the world and our current political and social state.

'Rocking Chair' by Mysie 
Mysie's stirring track 'Rocking Chair' brings together her flawless vocals, melancholic piano arrangements and escalating synths, with each of the elements working to create something that's utterly enchanting and heartstopping.

'Out of Sequence' by Drab Majesty 
LA-based duo Drab Majesty released one of the best albums of the year, and featuring on the release was their moving number 'Out of Sequence'. The track is an invigorating and honest exploration of identity.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Next week, we'll be sharing another fifteen tracks that we loved in 2019. Until then, listen to all our favourites from above in our new playlist:

Now Playing: Charlotte Spiral – 'Wide Eyed'

Friday, November 29, 2019
Photo by Barbora Mrazkova

Released earlier this month, 'Wide Eyed' is the captivating debut single by up-and-coming London-based duo Charlotte Spiral. The single sees them join forces with Dan Carey of Speedy Wunderground, and it's a match made in heaven. It's only the start for Charlotte Spiral, who will be releasing their debut EP Ideal Life on 7th February via Chapped Lips.

On the tender and beautifully melancholic single, Charlotte Spiral said, "’Wide Eyed’ is about wishing it was easier to enjoy the simple things in life, instead of comparing yourself to the people around you. It’s about wanting to be able to achieve something easily but being frustrated by the difficulties you face to get to it." Along with sharing the single, they've also unveiled the video, which was shot on analogue film.

Listen to 'Wide Eyed' by Charlotte Spiral below.

Written by Amy Smolcic

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Now Playing: The Growlers – 'Social Man'

Photo by Taylor Bonin

There's no doubting that The Growlers are one of the busiest bands around — last month they unveiled their sixth studio album Natural Affair, they play shows regularly and run their own label, Beach Goth Records. If you've haven't devoured their new album yet (which you should do ASAP), perhaps you'll be lured in by 'Social Man'.

The enticing track was inspired by Brooks Nielsen's indifference with social media and the online world. He said on the track, "I’ve avoided social media all my life. It doesn’t look attractive, it doesn’t make people happy, but they’re in some weird purgatory where they’re just stuck in their phones all the time."

Along with being undeniably infectious and upbeat to the point where you'll be strutting down the street as soon as you hear it, the track is home to honest lyrics by Nielsen, including words such as, "Playing tag and acting cool / Lonely fools keep changing the rules / Heartless heart / It’s hard to choose / Underneath the glassy waters / Lies a churning whirlpool."

Listen to 'Social Man' by The Growlers below.

Written by Amy Smolcic

The Growlers will be touring Australia in 2020. Find out below where you can catch them live. Tickets are available here.

Saturday 4 January - Kingscliff Beach Hotel, Kingscliff NSW
Sunday 5 January - CBD Live Southport, Gold Coast QLD
Monday 6 January - The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD
Wednesday 8 January - Sawtell RSL, Sawtell NSW
Thursday 9 January - 48 Watt St, Newcastle NSW
Friday 10 January - Wollongong Uni, Wollongong NSW
Saturday 11 January - Park House, Mona Vale NSW
Sunday 12 January - Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW
Tuesday 14 January - Westernport Hotel, San Remo VIC
Wednesday 15 January - Pier Bandroom, Frankston VIC
Thursday 16 January - The Croxton, Melbourne VIC
Friday 17 January - Torquay Hotel, Torquay VIC

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Now Playing: Lupa J – 'Out to Wreck'

Photo by FAINT (@faintagency)

Newly Melbourne-based artist Lupa J is closing out 2019 in a huge way by sharing two new tracks, including 'Out to Wreck' and 'Half Alive'. Though we love both tracks, Lupa J's take on industrial techno on 'Out to Wreck' is exactly what we need to close out the week.

Abrasive and raw, you can feel every piercing sound deeply when listening to 'Out to Wreck'. According to Lupa J, the track was birthed whilst she was in the process of finishing her album Swallow Me Whole, where she began experimenting with industrial techno. On the track, she said, "I’ve never made such an aggressive sounding song, I normally don’t focus on anger or frustration as an emotion to channel into my music — but now that I have, it’s the best feeling in the world to play it live. It’s like I’m reclaiming this really messed up experience that I wrote it about in which I essentially was gaslit by some people I loved."

Lupa J always leaves us in awe, and 'Out to Wreck' is certainly no exception.

Written by Amy Smolcic

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Read our interview with Lupa J earlier this year here

Interview: Mysie on Experimenting with the Unknown

Thursday, November 28, 2019
Photo by Ayman Chaudry

South London artist Mysie is fearless when it comes to creating music — she isn't afraid of diving into the unknown and creating music outside of her comfort zone. Through her music, Mysie aims to breakdown the stereotypes and rules usually associated with genre and instead make music based on whatever she's feeling inside. 2019 has been a busy year for her, having shared her stunning EP Chapter 11, as well as singles such as 'Sweet Relief' and her most recent track 'Heartbeat'. We spoke with Mysie about visuals, experimentation and her approach to making music.

You've had quite a crazy year — you shared an EP earlier this year, a few singles, you've played shows, how important is it for you to make sure you’re always keeping busy?

I love it. You only live this life once and I like to make use of all twenty-four hours in the day when I'm not sleeping. I just love creating, and then I love sharing that creation. I just love being busy. I love creating and developing new things.

Out of all the things you do, do you have a favourite? 

That's really hard, I absolutely love it all (laughs). So, I love to create and the creation process when it comes to writing a song, is probably my favourite, to be honest. Because that's my time to really hone in on the things that I've been going through and to talk about that. Even when I'm composing, because I always compose on the piano, that's always the foundation of how I write. I love experimenting. It's my favourite thing about writing and collaborating with people and producers. I also really love the video process and creating visual ideas and coming up with choreography, movement direction and stuff like that. I absolutely love all of it.

The visual element is so important to your music and art, and with ‘Heartbeat’ and your previous singles, you’ve shared the accompanying visuals side-by-side. Why do you decide to release them together? 

I’ve always said from the beginning when I started making music as Mysie that I wanted to have a visual element to share with all of my music.  I trained in acting, and I used to be a krumper, a mover, so everything I've ever done has always been visual. When I listen or work on my own music, I always see something visual. I think visuals can be so powerful. When you watch music videos and when I've watched my music videos as well, it's like you really do hear the song in a very different light. It's very special to me to be able to release my videos alongside my music.

For you personally, does spending time on the visual element of your music give you another outlet for self-expression?

Absolutely. It's so fun to do as well. It’s also interesting to see what the brain can come up with and what other brains can contribute to what they’re hearing. I love it.

How involved do you like to get behind-the-scenes? 

I'm very, very, very involved. I’ve pretty much been extremely involved in all of them so far. I've worked very closely with the directors, and very closely with the movement directors as well. I think it's really important to come up with something that really represents me and that wholly represents my music and my background as well. So yeah, I think it’s important to work very closely with everyone involved in the videos. Especially with referencing too and bringing that forward, saying no to things as well. Overall, I'm a mad one (laughs).

When you're working on your music, do you ever picture the visual and what that could potentially look like?

I do. So for ‘Sweet Relief’, I knew for a fact that the video was going to have three ladies dancing, including myself. I just saw it all. I knew it was going to be colourful. I knew it was going to include a dance style called Shway-Style, which my movement director [Duran Abdullah] is trained in. I knew it was going to be that. I really do visually see a lot of what I make. Some bits can be a bit crazy. Some ideas I come up with can be really crazy when I am speaking about them with my directors and stuff like that. But other than that, it's so good to just collaborate with people and see what they have to say as well and combining those ideas, and combining those visuals. Because I think people listen to things and see things differently. so everybody's contribution is really important to the visuals we create.

Outside of listening to music, do you enjoy soaking in other artforms?

I absolutely love theatre. I love watching TV too and through training in acting, I appreciate acting so much. I've learnt so much from doing training in acting. Theatre is very thought-provoking, I think. I really do take a lot away from that artform. I learn a lot from watching and observing, so I'm super inspired by that as well.

You mentioned earlier that you love to experiment, and what I think is so special about your music is that it transcends the rules and restrictions of genre, and instead, you emphasise on the narrative or portraying a particular feeling. What does experimentation mean to you?

Experimentation for me is about not putting limits on yourself, it's about being limitless. When you’re experimenting, you can do whatever you like. Essentially you're seeing what works, what you think may not work. It doesn’t have to make sense. The unknown of what you can do is very powerful. Experimenting is just going wherever you want to go, going where you feel makes sense, and where you feel at home or you feel like it's something maybe that you wouldn't normally do. Doing something that's uncomfortable as well, going outside of that comfort zone. It’s a big part of my music process, to be honest. It’s important for me that each song I release is different from the last. Even on something like an EP, I want my songs to have something individual about them, they don’t have to all sound the same.

Does having an open and experimental approach put less pressure on you? 

Absolutely. I think some people within the industry have an opinion of what a hit is, but who knows what that is? It's one of those things where you just need to go with what you feel in that particular moment and stick with it and be confident with that choice, and if you go elsewhere, that's fine too.

Growing up, when you were beginning to experiment with making music and explore what you wanted to do, what did you find yourself inspired by?

I grew up around a lot of music, whether that was around the house or at school, I listened to Magic 105.4, which is a lot of old school tunes. So you have Duran Duran, you've got Keane. You've also got all these mad, amazing 70s, 80s, 90s bands. Honestly, I was so inspired by that. I was really inspired by Jamiroquai and that scene. Jamiroquai just really made me want to go wild and really experiment with my music. Then after that, I got into the dance scene, I got into krump, then I was inspired by a very different world. There was also J Dilla too, as well as Flying Lotus and Thundercat. That's going to a whole other different world of hip-hop experimentation. Also my background from going into dance then into acting, then music, all of these things that have come into my life and all of the people that have come into my life have inspired me deeply. Even the people I hung around growing up, my friends, my best friends, their situations as well as my situation, my family situations, all of it. Everything that holds weight and has encouraged a change or a diversion in either my life or their lives is what I like to write about. It's a healing process.

In what ways would you say that you've evolved as an artist as you’ve taken in these different influences and experimented with your own craft?

I've definitely evolved as an artist, one-hundred percent. When I was making music as Lizbet Sempa before Mysie, I made music that I liked, but I feel like I was being put into a box. I’ve changed a lot since then, especially in my mind and the way that I approach things. My mentality has evolved from going from being someone who was comfortable with not going further and who didn’t want to experiment with music, and stuck with the traditional way of making a song, to being much more fearless with my music. Now I like to go with the flow and really try and weave the influences that I love into the music, while also still making it current and my own. My foundation has always been the same, and that’s always been me playing classical piano.

To finish up, what have you got coming up next year that you’re allowed to share with us?

Next year I'm playing The Great Escape festival, which I'm very, very excited about. I've always wanted to play there, so I can’t wait for that. I've got a few other things, but can't reveal too much just yet. I should also have an EP out next year as well.

Written by Amy Smolcic 

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Now Playing: Pynch – 'Disco Lights'

Photo by Holly Whitaker

This month, Speedy Wunderground unveiled number 32 from their single series, this time sharing the ever-so-dreamy 'Disco Lights' by Pynch. Though Pynch calls London home, the band's members also come from Birmingham, France and Ireland. They met in London whilst studying music.

They caught the attention of Speedy Wunderground boss Dan Carey after the band emailed over three demos, including 'Disco Lights'. On working with Carey and the label to bring the magical single to life, the band said, "Hands down the best recording experience we've ever had. It was so much fun working with Dan. He was genuinely excited about the song and had so many creative ideas on how to bring it to life. Everything took shape really quickly and we were blown away by how everything was sounding."

Listen to 'Disco Lights' by Pynch below.

Written by Kristy Smolcic

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Now Watching: Sorry – 'Rock 'n' Roll Star'

Photo by Jasper Cable-Alexander

North London's Sorry recently shared 'Rock 'n' Roll Star', which is the b-side from their previous single 'Right Round The Clock'. They've been busy lately, having played a series of shows, and it's not going to calm down anytime soon with an album on the way and more dates in the UK, Europe and US in 2020. Their highly-anticipated debut album 925 will be released via Domino early next year.

The swirling track is home to hypnotic instrumentals that will lure you in from the very moment that you press play. Along with sharing the track, they've also unveiled the accompanying music video and it's a must-watch. Directed by Sorry's Asha Lorenz as well as Jasper Cable-Alexander, the video for 'Rock 'n' Roll Star' features an absorbing depiction of Elvis, including a deep dive into the inner-workings of the legend.

There's a lot to love about Sorry and their album is one you won't want to miss next year.

Written by Amy Smolcic

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Interview: Weird Milk on 'Time Machine', growth and their first US trip

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Photo by Timothy Casten

North London band Weird Milk have been consistently unveiling incredible singles this year, including ‘Anything You Want’ in April, ‘Honey, I’m Around’ in July, and more recently ‘Time Machine’. They’ve also played shows regularly, including supporting bands such as Trudy and the Romance. We spoke with Charlie Glover and Zach Campbell of Weird Milk to recap their busy year and talk about what’s ahead for them.

Next year will include their first-ever tour across the Atlantic ocean and will include a stop at Austin’s prestigious SXSW festival, as well as shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, with Charlie noting that they’re “shaking with excitement” about the upcoming tour. Though he said that there are a few logistical things that they need to figure out, their American tour is at the top of the list of things they're excited about next year. “We’ve only just found out about it all, so it hasn’t sunk in just yet, and we’ve still got to figure out where we’re staying and all that stuff, but we’re excited,” he said.

2020 is also the year that they’re set to release their highly anticipated debut EP — the EP is currently a work-in-progress, but they confirmed that it will be ready sometime next year. Charlie said that they’re “currently writing for it,” with Zach adding that they’re “trying to organise how the songs will fit together.” It’s a process that they’re not rushing either. The most important thing for the band is that they’re writing regularly. Zach also said that they’re not always thinking about EP when writing new music, “When making new songs, we haven’t been actively thinking about the EP,” he said. Instead, they’re letting it happen naturally and plan on writing as many songs as they can and then see which ones would flow the best on a body of work.

Though they joked that the reason that they haven’t done an EP yet was because of monetary reasons, they said that the real reason why they’ve held off releasing an EP is that they’ve wanted to explore their sound first before encapsulating Weird Milk into a body of work. Charlie said, “We’ve been releasing music for two years, and before this year, we were only releasing music when we could, but not very often. But this year, we made a plan to show people the different sounds that we could come up with.”

With the three singles that the band have released this year, we’ve been able to experience different sides of their sound. Charlie said that ‘Honey, I’m Around’ showcases the 60s-inspired sound that they love, ‘Anything You Want’ is “poppier”, and their latest ‘Time Machine’ is the more “conceptual” of the three.

Their new single ‘Time Machine’ was inspired by a deep dive into The Cosmos by Charlie after a patch of boredom. He joked that he, unfortunately, wasn’t hooked onto Carl Sagan’s more popular version of The Cosmos, “I was really obsessed with it [The Cosmos], and unfortunately it wasn’t the cool one, it was the Neil deGrasse Tyson one on Netflix,” he laughs, “I didn’t want to put that into the statement as then everyone would be like, 'ohhh that’s lame'.” After binge-watching his new favourite guilty pleasure, he went onto show Zach the song and they then finished working on it together.

Zach said that ‘Time Machine’ is their take on the current political state of the UK right now, “For me, though Charlie wrote the original idea and chords and stuff, the song is a fun and fictional response to what’s happening over here — it’s like a ridiculous response to a very ridiculous situation. For us in the song, the answer is to build a time machine, going back in time away from it all.”

Hypothetically, if they were to build a time machine, Zach said he would like to go to Ancient Egypt — “I don’t know enough about it, but it all looks very cool and they were way ahead of their time. It would be an interesting place to walk around.” For Charlie, he would make his way back to the 60s and visit California and sit in on one of Brian Wilson’s (of the Beach Boys) studio sessions.

The 60s is a sound that’s often aligned with Weird Milk, with the band sharing a mutual love for Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. When starting Weird Milk, Charlie said that they were listening to the Beach Boys all of the time, “We were just obsessed and addicted. It was in the summer as well, so we played Pet Sounds and it really had a profound effect on us.” He also added, “It was when we were trying to start writing songs. After hearing that, everything just clicked and we learnt the songs and I would say it taught me how to write.”

They’ve come a long way since their 2017 singles ‘This Close’ and ‘You’, with ‘This Close’ released before Charlie played the piano or wrote songs in the band — ‘You’ was the first he and Zach wrote together for Weird Milk. Since then, both Charlie and Zach agree that they’ve improved as musicians and as a band. The band also have a much clearer direction of where they want to take their sound and what they want to do, including experimenting more sonically or attempt to create a ballad. Playing shows frequently around the country and in London has also helped them refine their live shows immensely.

2019 has been a breakthrough year for the band, and things are only about to get crazier for them — with more music in the works and an opportunity to tour the US, Weird Milk are certainly ones you want to keep an eye on next year.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Watching: Walt Disco – 'Dancing Shoes'

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Photo by Dylan Moore

It's a fact, Glasgow's Walt Disco hasn't put one bad foot forward this year, and their video for 'Dancing Shoes' is another very special offering from the band. The single was released via Sports Team's own label Holm Front Records a few months ago. 2020 is already on track to be another big year for them having booked a spot on SXSW's line-up.

The surreal and mesmerising video for 'Dancing Shoes' features Walt Disco's own James Potter. He finds himself in an endless loop where he moves into a state of madness, haunted by feelings of temptation and pure disarray.

The eye-catching visuals for 'Dancing Shoes' captures the stirring emotions that inspired Potter to write the song. On the track's origins, he said that is was written "during a time in my life where I was really struggling to deal with noticing pain and depression within my immediate family and found it difficult to talk about, so I used the writing of this song as therapy. It is very sad but I feel better now it’s written and hope others can take comfort from the song too.”

Watch 'Dancing Shoes' by Walt Disco below.

Written by Amy Smolcic

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Now Playing: Mealtime – 'Sublime'

Photo by Sara Carpentieri

Manchester six-piece Mealtime continues their run of impressive singles, this time sharing their latest track 'Sublime' via LAB Records. We were first introduced to the magical sounds of Mealtime after their addictive single 'Denim', which we played on loop for weeks. Next up was the equally amazing 'Teef', which showcased a different side to the band.

Their new single 'Sublime' is further evidence of the band's expansive and diverse sound. Drawing upon the glitchy and enthralling sounds of PC music and electronica, their futuristic track makes you feel like you're in a trance-like state. On the track, they said that 'Sublime' is "Our 2007 one-hit-wonder dance banger about temptation, excess and the joys of not keeping your conscience clean."

Step inside Mealtime's world with 'Sublime' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic 

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EP of the Week: Vaughan – I AM

Monday, November 25, 2019

This week's feature EP is I AM, which is the debut release of English artist Vaughan. Spanning four tracks, the self-exploratory EP is an open and reflective offering that channels Vaughan's life experiences thus far, including growing up in a traditional family in the countryside, sexuality, identity and becoming comfortable in his own skin.

In a statement, Vaughan explains what the EP means to him and why he created it, "I wanted this EP to be the first piece of my story. A lot of my music is an honest translation of my experience and how that’s shaped me. This first chapter is to discuss who I AM and the parts that make up my identity. The title I AM came naturally because it feels so universal; we’re all just trying to express who we are. One of the main reasons I’ve always done music is with the hopes that if I tell my story, others will want to tell theirs too."

The EP kicks off with the rising sounds of the title-track 'I AM' — ready to break loose, the words, 'I am who I am' will leave a mark. Along with being the EP's grand opening, it's brimming with feelings of freedom and liberation. Next up is 'Out of the Sky', which features incredible vocals by Vaughan. The EP then moves into the meditative and reflective sounds of his previous single 'Isabella' — which is a moving and spine-tingling exploration of self-acceptance. I AM closes on a stirring note with the ever-so-tender 'Living People'.

Listen to Vaughan's debut EP I AM below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Alfie Templeman – 'Who I Am'

Friday, November 22, 2019
Photo by Blackksocks

It's a fact, there are not many 16-year-olds as busy as Alfie Templeman is right now. Arguably one of the year's biggest breakout artists, Templeman is on track for world domination next year and we're sure of it. The teenager can do it all too — not only is he an amazing singer, but he can play an array of instruments, writes, composes and produces.

Recently he shared his newest EP Don't Go Wasting Time (via Chess Club), and though it's an excellent release and you should definitely listen to it over-and-over again, the EP features the ever-so-impressive 'Who I Am'.

In his most vibrant video yet, Templeman does it all amongst being surrounded by the bold colours of orange and blue — including singing, playing guitar and drums, and even has a bit of a groove as well. It's a fun video that captures the carefree and freeing nature of the song and the feeling it gives you each time that you hear it.

The track also features an infectious combination of summer-inspired pop and indie-rock. There's also an interesting contrast between the shimmering and warm soundscapes with Templeman's introspective and reflective words, including, "All this time I was wrong / Kept you hurting for so long / Wish that I could’ve changed / Everything stayed the same."

Check out 'Who I Am' by Alfie Templeman below.

Written by Amy Smolcic

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Now Watching: Jonathan Bree – 'Cover Your Eyes'

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Photo by Adam Custins via Jonathan Bree's FB 

Enigmatic New Zealand artist Jonathan Bree has shared another taste of his upcoming yet-to-be-named album with his latest single 'Cover Your Eyes'. The track comes after 'Waiting On The Moment', with both singles following in the footsteps of his remarkable previous album Sleepwalking, which was released in 2018. Both singles are on-track to appear on his forthcoming album.

In true Jonathan Bree style, the unveiling of 'Cover Your Eyes' was released with an accompanying poignant video featuring the artist himself alongside other faceless figures. The video for the single was directed by Jonathan Bree and features fascinating and captivating edits by Kermath. A master of channelling the darkest of emotions, 'Cover Your Eyes' is home to sharp and stirring lyricism, including words such as, "No side-walking cruise / It's fun to terrorize / None shackled to keep in mind? / Exercise your demons / And perpetuate the crime / Sink lower into your own design."

Check out 'Cover Your Eyes' by Jonathan Bree below. 

Written by Kristy Smolcic 

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Now Playing: Noshvia Wu – 'Question Mark'

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Chinese avant-pop artist Noshvia Wu has started things off in a huge way with her mesmerising debut single 'Question Mark'. Produced by acclaimed producer Dutch E Germ, 'Question Mark' is a tender yet thunderous offering by the up-and-comer.

'Question Mark' features an intriguing and beautiful blend of pop and electronica, with doses of natural and raw soundscapes in-between. Amidst the escalating instrumentals, which elevate in intensity as the song progresses, is her soft and tranquil vocals — with her voice appearing as a moment of calm before a storm.

Noshvia Wu is in the process of working on new music and we can't wait to hear what she does next. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Watching: Soccer Mommy – 'yellow is the color of her eyes'

Soccer Mommy, aka Sophie Allison, is back with a stirring new single, this time sharing 'yellow is the color of her eyes'. The track also features Mary Lattimore on harp. Soccer Mommy continues to grow as an artist, and 'yellow is the color of her eyes', and 'lucy', which was released back in September, are both impressive additions to her growing catalogue of exquisite tunes. 

In a statement, Allison notes that her new song is immensely important to her, "The song was inspired by a time when I was on the road constantly and I felt like I was losing time - specifically with my mother. It’s also a song that I feel really showcases my writing when it comes to instrumentation, so it’s one that makes me really proud."

The seven-minute masterpiece has also been released alongside a video that's as heart-wrenching as the song. Directed by the very talented Alex Ross Perry, the video is presented like a short-film and has been carefully constructed to represent the emotions brimming in 'yellow is the color of her eyes'. 

He said, "The challenge of creating a 7-minute piece was daunting and irresistible in equal measure. Having just completed a film for which the color-coded design of it's various acts was of the utmost importance, Sophie's idea of collaborating on a short-form film to compliment her similarly-conceived new music was irresistible."

Scroll down to watch 'yellow is the color of her eyes' by Soccer Mommy below. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Sports Team – 'The Races'

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Photo by Lauren Maccabee

There's nothing more we want to see than witness Sports Team cause havoc on-stage in Australia, but until that happens, we'll keep on being in awe of every exhilarating tune they release, this time sharing their latest single 'The Races'. The release of 'The Races' comes amidst their UK tour, with their victory lap ending with their biggest headline show yet at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London on December 5th.

'The Races' is yet another blazing effort from the energetic six-piece — you've got Alex Rice's signature vocals on full display, frantic riffs and observant lyrics about an average type of dude, including words like, "he'll never buy a drink but he'll let you know he can," and "wants to talk about his house, the way he's going you'd think he built it all himself." We can see 'The Races' being yet another action-packed addition to Sports Team's crazy live shows.

Check out 'The Races' by Sports Team below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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EP of the Week: Saint DX – SDX

Monday, November 18, 2019
Photo by Charlotte Krieger

After a mini-break, EP of the Week is back and better than ever, and this time our top pick for the week is SDX, which is the debut EP by French crooner Saint DX (Aurélien Hamm). The singer, writer and producer reflects on love, obsession and everything in-between across the EP's nine tracks.

On SDX, Saint DX draws upon various influences, including the soundtrack to The Big Blue, to the likes of Sade, Mylène Farmer and Better Person.

Throughout each of the tracks, he captures the intricacies of modern love and the various ways it can eat you up and consume you.

There's the groovy and enticing opener 'Prime of Your Life', which has an insatiable bassline. SDX also has sultry moments like his previous track 'Xphanie' — his first single singing in his mother tongue of French. As the EP progresses, we're met by Saint DX's tender and sensitive side with songs such as 'La même', his cover 'Take My Breath Away', 'First Fantasy' and 'Prince Is Dead', all tugging at your heartstrings. SDX ends as beautifully as it started with his fulfilling and satisfying closer 'Regrets'.

Head on a journey with Saint DX and his majestic debut EP SDX below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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