Gig Review: Niine | The Gasometer | Melbourne | 16.8.18

Sunday, August 19, 2018

As far as opening nights go, Niine’s Thursday night show at the Gasometer Hotel had just about everything. With a combination of incredible sounds and visuals, Niine’s night went off without a hitch — starring her own wonderfully talented band; as well as two complimenting openers in Bastard Amber and the energetic Electric Toothbrush.

Bastard Amber opened the evening having some real flair about them — with their bass wielding lead singer bringing a dash of indie jive to kick off the evening. Opening with their track 'Scuba Diver' — a song explaining the similarities of astronauts and deep-sea divers — their setlist rolled through many songs that had a glimmer of Ball Park Music. Their set delivered and left a strong impression leading to the following acts of both Electric Toothbrush and Niine. 

Electric Toothbrush opened directly before Niine and used their indie punk and grunge fusion to set the tone leading into Niine. With their high pace boppy energy and punchy indie rock sound, Electric Toothbrush made a real connection with the crowd who quickly got behind the band and their somewhat eccentric musical stylings.Electric Toothbrush had incredible stage presence, with the crowd moving with them, dancing, shouting and singing to their tunes. 

Niine’s set was a definite highlight of the evening. Despite the short set, Niine and her band held their own throughout their performance ensuring that every person in the crowd was going to go home with a good memory of the experience. 

The band was helped along by their alluring sound combination, with sprinklings of funk, soul and jazz building the backbone of the band’s mysterious elements. 

With their energetic, yet somewhat tempered ambient atmosphere, Niine and her band were somewhat akin to the laidback sounds of Ocean Alley combined with Australian Indie rockers Lime Cordiale. Yet, it was lead vocalist, Niine herself, that created this defining sound, impressing with a truly individual vocal tone. 

Starting right off the bat with one of her two singles of 2018, 'Only He Knows', Niine had the crowd moving along to her music almost immediately with the funk-driven bass and jazzy chords upping the energy in the room. Niine’s second track, 'Frick Tim' was a slower number, creating an emotional hold over the crowd. 

Niine then moved through a number of unreleased tracks, including 'Primitive Mind', 'Disappointed', and 'I’ll Wake Him Up''. Each track was capable of being a future single.

'Dreamer', another unreleased track, was infectious — especially with folding ambient synths and rolling drumming. 'Thunderer of Lies' was a powerful number — with rocking tones and simmered punchy vocals, which kept the music fresh.

Niine’s ambient synths helped fill out the band's total sound, while also emphasising pivotal moments. This flowing fusion of sounds was highlighted by the riveting vocals performed by Niine herself.

'Call Me Your Boo', Niine's single from earlier this year, has enough funk to dance to, and the live rendition gave it a more complete sound — with the synths, bass and chordal guitar patterns combining 

Niine’s unreleased track, 'Cut My Hair' was the closing track for the evening and one that Niine said was “Not a dance hit, but a danceable hit”. It was a fun closing track, full of mini instrumental breakdowns, solos and shifting musical patterns — moving between rock and the indie funk, jazz vibe of the night. The perfect ending song, the track was able to sum up an evening of fun, while still giving Niine the opportunity to display one more burst of instrumental and vocal talent.

Words and photos by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)

Listen: Local Gems of the Week – 17.8.18

Friday, August 17, 2018

We're kicking off everyone's favourite day of the week by sharing some of the tunes from across Australia that we adore – sit back and enjoy some of the best tunes around town.

Asha Jefferies – 'Everybody Talks'
Asha Jefferies is at her lyrical best on 'Everybody Talks' and it's absolutely stunning – this track is pure gold.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – 'Social Candy'
'Social Candy' sounds like the best kind of dream. The type of dream we wish we could have every night.

ALTA – 'Figured Out'
This tune is utterly enchanting. ALTA always deliver the goods.

Edward R. – 'Paradise'
The breeziness of 'Paradise' will leave you craving summer and sunshine.

Bloods – 'Feelings'
Looking for something to jam loud and on-repeat in the car? Bloods have you covered.

Jaguar Jonze – 'You Got Left Behind'
We featured this one yesterday but we think it's so damn good it deserves some more love!

Sophisticated Dingo – 'Dreaming'
Everything Sophisticated Dingo do is addictive, and 'Dreaming' is certainly no exception.

Dear Willow – 'I Was Young'
The ever-so-beautiful 'I Was Young' sees Dear Willow soar to new heights.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

NEWS: GIGS, GIGS, GIGS – 17.8.18

Gigs time! We've rounded up all the gigs that you need to know about and won't want to miss. 

OCT 10TH - Metropolis Fremantle, Perth (+18)
OCT 12TH - The Forum, Melbourne (+18)
OCT 13TH - Eatons Hill Ballroom, Brisbane
OCT 16TH - Enmore Theatre, Sydney 

NOV 3RD - The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
NOV 4TH - Til The Wheels Fall Off, Launceston
NOV 8TH - Sooki Lounge, Belgrave
NOV 9TH - The Tote, Melbourne
NOV 10TH - Karova Lounge, Ballarat
NOV 11TH - Whalers Hotel, Warrnambool
NOV 17TH - Loch Hart Music Festival, Pricetown
NOV 22ND - Transit Bar, Canberra
NOV 23RD - The Lair @ The Metro, Sydney
NOV 24TH - The Cambridge, Newcastle
NOV 25TH - North Gong Hotel, Wollongong
NOV 29TH - Crowbar, Brisbane
NOV 30TH - Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast 

AUG 31ST - The Foundry, Brisbane
SEP 1ST - Solbar, Maroochydore
SEP 6TH - Mojo's, Fremantle
SEP 7TH, The River, Margaret River
SEP 8TH - Amplifier, Perth 
SEP 14TH - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
SEP 15TH - Howler, Melbourne 

SEP 25TH - The Workers Club, Melbourne
SEP 26TH - The Lansdowne, Sydney

Feature: The ingredients of Deep in The Big with Rabbit Island

Today, Amber Fresh (aka Rabbit Island) shared her album Deep in The Big. She takes us on a journey through the components of the release that make it ever-so-special.

A crappy and sacred sharehouse by the river:
While I was making the music, I lived in a very special house that was falling down slowly but in which lots of magical things happened. There were healing things that happened, friends and I saw visions about the universe and each other in the lounge room, bedroom, and backyard. It was close to a river called the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) but with your eyes closed, it felt close to everywhere. The river and things that happened in that house are in all the songs.

Goode Beach in Torndirrup National Park:
That's the actual name of the beach I grew up by, and this place always affects me. I slept each night with the sounds of tiny waves from the beach and frogs from the freshwater lake doing their thing, and all that plus the granite, the islands, are always in the music I make, but even more so for this album. In some of the songs, I feel they hover over the water... Doesn't mean they won't make sense in a desert or city too - apparently, there are songlines that go from that area all the way to Uluru.

Buddies/ Camp Doogs:
There are many friends who are wound into these songs, through all the strong connections we've made in Perth and Fremantle as we've created and played music to and for each other over years. One Camp Doogs, I was playing with Jake from Methyl Ethel, Sam Maher from heaps of bands and who's a handpan legend, Laura who is Kučka, Stephen Bellair from Doctopus, and we made something very special in that Camp Doog's space created by friends. Doogs was/is a camping festival down south... My friends are super important to me and make it into the music often. It's not influence, like how to play or what to play, but an influence on your inner being which comes out in songs. I could list a million* (almost) friends who are important to this music but it would be an expanding list as more appear in the future and write themselves retrospectively in.

Heartbreak. of course:
My own heartbreaks, other people's heartbreaks. But this time the sadness is transformed into something bigger. I guess the heartbreak is about something bigger too. Not just some person but all the heartbreak of our earth. All of our love and connection mixed in at times when that goes wrong. Somehow when I was making these songs I could be crying and in the depths of heartbreak but also secretly know or be told in my spirit that something good was going to happen, even if it's after we're all gone.

Hot milky coffee:
Well, probably most music is influenced by some sort of beverage. In this case, it was coffee as we did recording in Melbourne and then by the ocean in Perth. It's kind of shit to put milk into coffee, as all my French friends tell me, but hey, you have to follow your own heart and mine says milk.

You can listen to Deep in The Big and purchase here:

Image - supplied 

Feature: Mix It Up with Proper Micro NV

Producer Proper Micro NV shared his fresh new single 'Dot Dot Dot' recently and he's on track to drop an EP later this year. The 23-year-old up-and-comer has created an exclusive mix for us that showcases his experimental electronic sound.

Proper Micro NV - 'Slowly'
Kelis - 'Friday Fish Fry' (Pedestrian & Maribou State Remix)
Roisin Murphy - 'Innocence'
Radiohead - 'Kid A'
Proper Micro NV - 'Got Me'
Proper Micro NV - 'Do What You Do'
Proper Micro NV - 'Dot Dot Dot'

You can listen to 'Dot Dot Dot' below:

Now Playing: Jaguar Jonze – ‘You Got Left Behind’

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Brisbane up-and-comer Jaguar Jonze has unleashed her candid debut single ‘You Got Left Behind’. It's exciting times for Jaguar Jonze, along with the release of the single, she's also set to appear at Music Matters in Singapore and Indonesia's International Indie Music Festival this September.

Enriched with deep and sensitive words, ‘You Got Left Behind’ explores growing up with pure ferocity. Her reflective words "We have all grown up, you got left behind' have a story-like quality that's utterly captivating. With a slight country influence, the track features driving guitars that truly capture Jaguar Jonze's heart-wrenching words.

Along with her shows in Asia, you can also catch Jaguar Jonze at Brisbane's The Foundry on 14th September.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can purchase ‘You Got Left Behind’ here or stream it via Apple Music

Now Playing: Eliza Shaddad – ‘This Is My Cue’

Eliza Shaddad has shared a slice from her highly anticipated debut album Future with her single ‘This Is My Cue’. Future is set to be released on 28th October via Beatnik Creative.

‘This Is My Cue’ is an introspective song that explores the deep inner workings of the mind during a relationship. The track is also about finding the strength to finally leave. Her vocals are soothing and bring a degree of calmness to a song that's embraced by a bundle of compelling and passionate emotions. ‘This Is My Cue’ is an enchanting slow-burner that will have you covered in goosebumps by the time you reach the final second.

We look forward to seeing what Eliza Shaddad has in-store for 2018.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can purchase ‘This Is My Cue’ here or stream it via Apple Music

Now Playing: daste – ‘Thinkin' Of’

Gold Coast-based three-piece daste have unveiled their debut single 'Thinkin' Of' via Mammal Sounds Records  — playing this one on-repeat will send you into instant relaxation mode. The group features Callum MacDonald, Braxton Tahi & Tyler Harden, who all met in 2017 whilst working as sessions musicians.

Described as 'lo-fi funk', ‘Thinkin' Of’ has a soothing quality, but there's an undercover groove that weaves itself around the mellow production. The airiness of 'Thinkin' Of' is dreamy — bringing to life all the finer elements of chillwave. The lyrics are also passionate in the way they describe feelings of infatuation.

With one single now officially out in the wild, we can't wait to see what daste create in the future.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can purchase 'Thinkin' Of' here or stream it via Apple Music

Now Playing: Rina Sawayama – ‘Cherry’

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Japan-born and London-based pop magician Rina Sawayama dominates with her new single 'Cherry'. 'Cherry' is futuristic-pop perfection and so much more.

To simply label 'Cherry' addictive wouldn't do it justice — 'Cherry' is utterly exhilarating and one taste of it won't be enough. On a production level, the track soars beyond this galaxy. Hoost and Clarence Clarity, who shared their talents for the production on 'Cherry', have mixed energetic electronic percussion and atmospheric synths and the combination is delicious. Rina's vocals glisten over the lushness of 'Cherry' with ease. The lyrics are powerful, especially in the way they discuss identity and self-exploration; "When they tell you that you've got to stay the same / Even though you're not yourself".

'Cherry' is a must-listen for anyone searching for a meaningful and bewitching pop song to play on-repeat.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can purchase 'Cherry' here or stream it via Apple Music

Interview: Gretta Ray on the power of songwriting

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Things are busy for Gretta Ray at the moment — just after the release of her sophomore EP Here and Now and supporting James Bay during his Australian dates, she's about to embark on a tour to celebrate the release of her EP. We caught up with her at Melbourne's Royal Botanical Gardens to discuss the importance of friends in music, songwriting and being inspired by the world around her. 

Congrats on the release of your EP Here and Now. I saw you had a party to celebrate, which is fun! How was it playing the EP for the first time in a room full of people?

I was actually a little bit nervous. It was a small little intimate listening party. It was less of an extravagant celebration, and more of a quiet thing with a handful of people — a lot of them have been part of this journey to get to where we are, including people who have supported me along the way musically — including some musicians I’ve met and befriended. I really wanted to create an opportunity for those people to hear it for the first time before it came out. 

I had my friend Emilee South, who is a musician, interviewing me in-between songs, so I had the chance to talk about the writing process and how I produced the songs in the studio with my producers as well. I could give them an insight into how those songs came together before we listen to them in silence together — which was a little bit strange for me, but at the same time, it was pretty cool as it was a comfortable environment — everyone was very relaxed and having a good time, so it was good.

With writing, as well as creating music, it’s a process that’s done a lot in solitude and alone, so is it always exciting when you get to take your music and finally show it to people?

Yeah, it is. I’m so excited as I’m about to head on tour and I’m getting the chance to perform these songs in front of people and will look into the crowd and recognise the fact that amazingly, some of these songs have connected with those people, and they’ve taken them and interpreted the stories to resonate with their own life experiences and their own relationships and friendships and that for me is the most magical part of the process. It reminds me that we’re all here on Earth doing the same thing, having similar experiences and going through emotions together. When I get to perform and people get in a room together, we’re all friends and we’re all on the same page and singing about the same things.

That’s a good segway into my next question... in Australia, and especially in Melbourne, there’s a real sense of community in music. How have you found having great friends in music as a support for you in your own craft?

It’s very special. Someone I can think of that I became very close friends with when I was quite young and very new to the industry was my friend Gab, whose stage name is Japanese Wallpaper. We met at a show of mine, and we ended up becoming friends and then eventually he asked if I could come on tour with him as part of his band — so that was pretty amazing, and with that relationship, I can always turn to Gab in a time of need or when I have a question on music I am working on. Every musician doubts themselves from time-to-time and second-guesses their work. Gab has been a supporter of mine and I absolutely champion him and I think he’s a legend. So we get to exchange ideas and talk about things going on behind-the-scenes. Having relationships like that is very sacred and it makes you feel less overwhelmed and less alone.  


That’s so awesome.

As I was listening to the EP, I got this feeling of time as being an important factor. Is that something that you considered when creating the EP?

I did. There are two songs in particular that discuss the concept of time in a very big way — one of them is called ‘Time’ and the other one is called ‘Radio Silence’. I think I wanted to write about time in a way that personified it as this nurturing maternal figure that guides people through scenarios and leaves when she is no longer needed — as everyone looks at time as a positive thing and get frustrated when they run out of time, or that they need more time and are very dependent on it. I think a lot about time in the process of songwriting as well. Because if the experiences that I am writing about are things that I’ve experienced, I really want to do justice to those narratives and I look to spend as much time as I possibly can reflecting on them when I write about them and doing them justice through the lyrics that I write. So I don’t always write songs super consistently, because if I start something and the narrative that I am writing about is really important to me, then I want to be able to describe it in the best way that I can so people can get a sense of what I was going through and can talk about that feeling in a way people can connect to. 

The EP has this story like aura to it — it’s like listening to a series of observations. Do you draw inspiration from observing the world around you?

I do! Yes, I do. I’ve always been a bit of a weird person in the sense that I love people-watching. I have such a fascination with watching people’s reactions in the street. I remember being in LA for the first time and driving to Malibu and looking at all these glamorous and beautiful tanned people, and I’m thinking, gosh this lifestyle is so fascinating to me — and it’s this thing I don’t know much at all, and you get very invested in these characters you don’t know. It could just be me, it sounds like a weird and nosey thing to say (laughs). 

But I guess having that kind of perspective on people around me encourages me to write and focus on little details of how people interact or how someone’s face lights up when they see someone they care about from across the room — observing moments like that and writing it down and finding a way to put it in a song. I definitely do get a lot of my inspiration from those moments and experiencing those things myself, or when I’m talking about them with friends. Every now-and-then, I’ll be talking about something and someone will say something about a person or situation that they’re going through, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s such a cool way to think about that’ and might end up using it later. So yeah, songwriting is pretty amazing as it’s new every time and you always incorporate new ideas that you have.

It sounds like from what you’ve said that your approach is quite literary-focused. Do you source any inspiration from other artforms outside music?

Oh yeah! I have two songs on this EP that came a long time before the others — ‘Drive’ and ‘Towers’ — and they were the first two songs you’ve heard from the EP. I could of probably left them separate from this body of work, but then I thought, actually, they’re coming from the same place in my heart, even though they were written a year apart. The thing about ‘Drive’ and ‘Towers’, is that what separates them apart from the rest of the songs is that they’re directly inspired by poetry that I was studying at the time. I was studying Christina Rossetti’s poetry and all the poetry I read in the collection was about being completely consumed by the idea of a person, or the idea of love and what that does to you. It was written in a time where that was something that wasn’t very celebrated — it was this kind of secretive, passionate, seductive, beautiful collection of poems that I loved so much. So it was something that found its way inside of my music. That’s probably the most direct alternative artform that I can think of right now that has inspired me.

For my last question, you mentioned earlier you’ve got the tour starting this week. You’ve played so many shows from your own shows to supporting shows, to festivals. How do you ensure that you feel cool and collected between rehearsals and all the preparation? What are some of the things you do to feel grounded?

I don’t really have a lot of strategies as of yet, I feel like I’m going to learn them over time as at the moment, it’s kind of all-systems-go and I’m just trying to get as much work done as I can. Before I was playing the James Bay shows I played recently, I was so nervous, and it was the first time I was playing solo shows for a long time and the way that I relaxed before going on stage was that I just danced to Odette’s ‘Take It To the Heart’ like a million times alone in my green room before I went on-stage and I was actually a lot more relaxed once I got there. A lot of it is being comfortable in your body when you perform, even standing still playing the guitar the whole time — not being tense and being relaxed in your own self is really important. 

So yeah, I’m probably going to try that more on this tour actually. No-one come into my green room, or else I’ll be embarrassed (laughs).

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photography by Kristy Smolcic (@wickeddkristysnaps)

Gretta Ray's sophomore EP Here and Now is available now. You can purchase it here.

You can also catch her on tour starting this week at the below dates:
Thursday 16th August - The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (w/ Al Parkinson & Nancie Schipper) (SOLD OUT)
Friday 17th August - Jive Bar, Adelaide (w/ Ollie English & Connor Black-Harry)
Saturday 18th August - Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth (w/ Jacob Diamond & Al Parkinson)
Thursday 23rd August - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (w/ Feelds & Connor Black-Harry) (SOLD OUT)
Friday 24th August - Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane (w/ Al Parkinson & Asha Jefferies) 
More information is available here 

Now Playing: CXLOE – ‘Show You’

If ‘Show You’ by Sydney alt-pop singer-songwriter CXLOE hasn’t been blaring through your headphones all week, get ready for that to change. Fusing all that we love from pop, alternative and electronica, CXLOE’s infectious new single will have you on your feet from start to finish.

The hard-hitting pop track opens with a kickless rhythm. It leads into CXLOE’s effortless vocals, hooking you instantly. She sings: “If you want it baby, I can show you. Let me explain as I’m taking it off. If you want it, I can get to know you.” Lyrically, she explores the feeling of wanting someone but not knowing how to express it. This is the song for when words aren’t quite enough and you need to show someone how you feel instead. This track is honest, exciting and seductive: pop euphoria at its best.

Being only her third single, and amidst signing with Niche Talent Agency alongside our favourites talents, Thundamentals and SAFIA, there is no doubt that CXLOE is cementing herself as one of Australia’s most exciting newcomers. We cannot wait for what’s next.

Written by Hannah Woodfield

EP Review: Pink Matter – Human Error

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sometimes the purpose of listening to music is to escape to another universe — Brisbane-based four-piece Pink Matter offer this on their debut EP Human Error. Human Error takes you on a journey  to another galaxy where soulful vocals, story-like lyricism, experimentation of textures and splendidly-layered instrumentals reign supreme.

The EP opens with ‘Dope’, which is a euphoric number that feels like diving into a bewildering dream. The lyric “my head's going out the door” sets the mood for the subsequent tracks that follow ‘Dope’. The perplexing emotion involved in losing track of reality is captured in the song’s frenzied instrumentals, which beautifully recreate this disorienting feeling evident in the lyrics. At approximately the three-minute-mark, the energy turns sultry with the instrumental deepening — whereas the first portion of the track describes the frantic emotion of being lost in another reality and the confusion it entails, the second section of ‘Dope’ portrays the sedative and satisfying feeling of escaping to another place.

This essence of being caught in another universe continues on ‘Giant’. The track feels like you’re floating upon a cloud — despite the dreaminess of the track, the lyrics are compelling in the way they describe a craving for something that’s going to cure the tedious nature of routine. The words “what can I do to shake this feeling / push me out of this atmospheric” appear as a desperate plea.

Listening to ‘Cleo’ feels like lurking in the shadows of a smokey alleyway. The track’s driving percussion stimulates this energy. The title of the track is intriguing — I could be reading too much into it, but the feeling I get from ‘Cleo’ is that they're referring to an entity that’s in a sense mythical. On a literal level, the lyrics appear as if they’re directly referring to a person, but I think ‘Cleo’ is much more complex than that.

‘Judgement’ has the potential of inspiring an array of dance moves that are out-of-this-world. Even though the track has an upbeat energy, the reflective lyrics discuss a mental state that’s been ridden by feelings of paranoia and panic. The words delicately tell a story of losing grip of reality.

The EP ends on a calming note with the ever-so-poetic ‘How Do I’. Listening to 'How Do I' feels like you’re finding your way home to Earth. The track is utterly charming and beaming with light. Ending their EP with ‘How Do I’ is a faultless choice by Pink Matter, beautifully bringing their project full circle.

Pink Matter’s debut EP is a sublime introduction to the storytelling superpowers that they possess. Human Error is a well-executed observation of the fragility of feeling trapped by an arresting and consuming state of mind.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can listen to Human Error by Pink Matter below:

Pink Matter will be appearing at BIGSOUND 2018, as well as the below shows:
24th August - The Foundry, Brisbane (with First Beige and L.Flora)
15th September - The Tivoli, Brisbane (Supporting Unknown Mortal Orchestra)
21st September - Toowoomba Flower Festival
29th September - The Valley Drive In
More information is available here 

Now Playing: Say Sue Me – 'Just Joking Around'

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Indie rock/pop quartet Say Sue Me, who are from Busan, South Korea, have shared their soaring new single 'Just Joking Around'. Their latest release is another addition to their growing collection of impressive alternative-rock releases, including their previous single 'Coming To An End'.

'Just Joking Around' evokes an essence of 90s alternative rock, especially with their use of atmospheric guitar riffs. Through the use of heavy steering guitars, they create an aura of haziness that makes you want to get lost in it. The track moves between varied stages, including a slow-burning section, which is where most of the track remains, but then turns into 90s-esque Brit-pop at the five-minute mark towards the end of the track. Say Sue Me have a true ability of capturing the rawest and most sentimental emotions and turning them into something incredibly beautiful.

'Just Joking Around' is a standalone single by Say Sue Me. They'll be releasing the single along with 'B-Lover' together on 24th August.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can listen to 'Just Joking Around' below:

EP Review: Demon Days – Magic Eye

Peppy neo-soul five-piece Demon Days has arrived with their debut EP Magic Eye — and like solo-eating a family size kit-kat, it satisfies and satisfies. Filled with buoyant grooves and musical prowess, the band from Perth have packaged their mixed bag of musical candy in a neat and tasty six-track project.

‘Daria’s Smile’ begins the EP and as I sit back for a chill boogie. The discussions beneath the glossy synths draw me in. Underneath is a conversation about the unhealthy societal pressures that are put on women to look, act and be a certain way. It implores the listener to forgo what everyone thinks women should be and I cannot find a fault in its message.

The magically funky ‘Disco Baby’, my introduction to this band, does not stop the momentum. A song with a multitude of hooks. All the elements keep you coming back — from the vocals, synths and instrumental — it grips you every time.

As we glide into the next song, 'Highway', I picture a beautiful stretch of road beside a beach. Demon Days is leading a convoy full of musicians and they are playing this smooth track. It's without a doubt a road trip song if I’ve heard one. Isabella’s voice perfectly glides over the smooth groove instrumental.

Would this be a neo-soul EP without a pleasingly crafted instrumental? Here we are treated to ‘I Can’t See Magic Eyes’, which is a title that definitely speaks to me. Those books were so difficult and are honestly the likely reason I have to wear glasses on a daily basis. The track, however, is not difficult to listen too. A crisp intermission that feels like an ode to groove. Demon Days’ musical chops present themselves so precisely here.

On 'Moths', I went into it expecting a song about those cheeky clothes eating bugs but got so much more. I interpret 'Moths' as a beautifully abstract journey of letting go and removing the thought that earthly possessions have to define you. The track opens with silky arpeggios. From the intro to end, I’m enraptured by the band’s seamless skill at weaving through top-notch musical movements.

With some slightly Rap-esque vocality ‘6056’ perfectly concludes this EP. A song about the past, the masterfully visual lyrics sit atop an alluring jazz/neo-soul instrumental. There are hooks galore on this track and it’s been added to my daily playlist as we speak.

Demon Days are breathing a young and fresh take on this genre and I couldn’t be happier. The extended chords, the ever-present groove, and silky smooth vocals amalgamate to make something so charming and full of life. Magic Eye a delicious piece of ear-candy and it was a pleasure to experience.

Written by Roy Gordon

You can purchase Magic Eye here or stream it via Apple Music

You can catch Demon Days at the below dates, including BIGSOUND 2018:
31st August - Badlands Bar, Perth WA
1st September - Rocket Bar, Adelaide SA
4th to 7th September - BIGSOUND Festival, Brisbane QLD
7th September - The Gasometer Upstairs, Collingwood VIC
8th September - Brighton Up Bar, Darlinghurst NSW
More information is avaliable here

Interview: Tanners on 'Empress In Reverse', the 70s and Anxiety

Friday, August 10, 2018

NY-based singer-songwriter Tanners wowed us with her captivating single 'Empress In Reverse'. Just before the release of her self-titled EP, we were absolutely thrilled to have the chance to ask her all about the single, her thoughts on the 70s and songwriting.

Your latest single ‘Empress In Reverse’ is so incredible! It has a 70s-vibe to it too, which is really cool. What stands out about the time period for you?
So glad you dig it! I'm so happy to finally have her out in the world. I think the electric bass riff really informed the overall 70s-vibe and tone of the track. It was one of those moments when you hear something and immediately know that it's going to fit the song perfectly. It definitely influenced the rest of the production.

I've always been quite charmed with 1970s music and pop culture. The coolest thing about pop music of the 70s is that it wasn't a singular, narrow genre. Instead, it was made up of so many different sub-genres like funk, disco, glam rock, heavy metal, country, prog rock, soul, etc. There are so many different artists from that decade who set themselves apart but were still considered "pop" in some capacity. Like David Bowie, Donna Summer, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Sister Sledge, Blondie, Elton John, etc...

The song talks about feeling overwhelmed and anxious, what aspects of this feeling did you want to capture in the track?
Anxiety has always been a big part of my life. I remember going into this particular session feeling like I had so many ideas floating around in my head but the second I tried to grab ahold of one, it just melted away. Hence the line "I wanna make things, things that shine. But all I see are galaxies in my mind." Similarly to others who deal with anxiety disorders, I also struggle with pretty severe ADHD which can make songwriting frustrating at times. There's no worse feeling than when you think you have an amazing idea, and then it vanishes. It can be heartbreaking!! But I've really started to enjoy writing with other people more because they're able to reel me back in when I get lost in my head. And my wandering mind can sometimes take me to some wild places so there are always fresh ideas to share when things get stale.

How long did it take for the single to come to life?
A lot longer than I thought it would! I started writing this song with two of my collaborators, Mike MacAllister and Julie Hardy, in early spring of 2016 and it was fully produced by the end of that summer. I expected to have it out later that year, but a lot of things were in flux at the time. It was a special song to me so I didn't want just throw it online without a solid plan. I ended up taking a quarter-life-crisis trip to Asia by myself in the beginning of 2017 and by the time I got back, I was itching to get everything finalized. So from March to June of that year, I was working on getting "Empress" and the other three tracks from the EP mixed and mastered. Again, I thought I would have the whole EP out by the end of 2017 at the latest, but here we are! To answer the question, it's somehow taken almost two and a half years but I'm really glad I took my time with it.

How does songwriting provide a moment of release and reflection?
Similarly to writing in a journal or talking through something, your brain makes different connections and realizations when you're trying to put your thoughts together in a song. For me, if I leave a session where I'm exploring intimate details of my life I usually leave feeling like I untangled a really messy knot. I find that especially with songwriting, I have to articulate my thoughts so that they make sense to other people which can be really difficult when you're unpacking abstract ideas that seem pretty simple in your head... At this point in my songwriting career, my main goal isn't necessarily writing songs for myself. For now, I just want to make songs that other people enjoy and resonate with.

Will your EP also discuss similar themes of ‘Empress In Reverse’?
Yeah, 100%. The four songs definitely all live in the same general emotional neighborhood. They were all written as I was finishing my last semester of college which I think is a pretty stressful and transformative time. You're trying to figure out what you're going to do with your life as if there's a due date and you have to have it all planned out before you turn 23. So these songs were a culmination of everything I was worrying about and processing at the time. They all explore anxiety, loneliness, longing but through very different lenses which I think is apparent in the tone and mood of each song.

What else do you have in-store for the rest of the year?
I think the rest of this year is going to be really exciting. My debut EP comes out on August 10th and I also have about 4-5 singles in the pipeline that I'm hoping to release throughout this year and early 2019. I'm also working on my live show and constantly rearranging my set for different environments so I can make the show as versatile and cohesive as possible. The biggest goal of mine is probably figuring out how to make this into a sustainable career in which I can eventually devote 100% of my time and energy. 2018 is just the beginning.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can stream Tanners' self-titled EP below:


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