EP of the Week: Pelicandy – Underlove

Monday, September 16, 2019

It's felt like a long time coming, but London-based duo Pelicandy last week unveiled their debut EP Underlove and it's as impressive as we anticipated it would be. Spanning four very different tracks, the EP provides listeners with approximately fourteen minutes of uninterrupted goodness. According to the duo, "Underlove aims to pry into the world's unhinged psyche with a collection of songs for the armchair psychiatrist."

Underlove kicks off with 'White Sky', as well as a sea of otherworldly synths. The track is about finding clarity within your mind and this is only amplified by the freeing and uplifting sounds of the instrumentals. When you're feeling overwhelmed by life and its many weird turns, sometimes the only cure is to dance it all away. The EP then moves into the enticing sounds of 'You and Me Baby'. The track is fierce and oozes confidence, and we guarantee you'll be strutting down the sidewalk as soon as you hear it.

After a bold and energetic opening to the EP, they take a dreamy turn with 'Silent Treatment', which will literally make you feel like you're floating on a cloud. The track may be dreamy, but it also captures feelings of disconnection and what it feels like to lose grip of the world around you and lost amongst your own contemplative thoughts. The EP closes with 'Our Life Now', which is a moving and emotional ballad about life's more tragic moments. When you listen to 'Our Life Now', you can't help but stop and listen carefully to each word that you hear and think deeply about each one.

Underlove sees Pelicandy reflect on what it's like to be a human overwhelmed by your own mind and internal thoughts. They're able to channel different emotions and present them in a way that feels very real and relatable to anyone who has ever felt bewildered by the ways of the world.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to Underlove by Pelicandy below:

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Mirror' with Georgia Mulligan

With the release of her sophomore EP Mirror fast-approaching on September 19th, it's busy times ahead for Sydney-based artist Georgia Mulligan. The EP's title track is a melancholic and tender number about betrayal and the fragile nature of trust. To celebrate the release of the EP, she explores the story of 'Mirror' for us below.

I wrote 'Mirror’…  When I was home alone one night. I started playing this chord progression over and over and had my amp turned up all crunchy and then all of these words just started coming out.

The story behind ‘Mirror' is… It was a way to process a few things  that had come up at the time that had made me really question my reality. Even though I wrote it over 2 years ago, it still feels like a powerful cathartic release every time we play it live.

My favourite lyric is… ‘Would you / Hold it to a Mirror / if I told you I saw through it?’  Basically, it’s calling out behaviour that is toxic, it’s a plea for self-awareness in the interest of compassion for others.

It was made… In Sydney at One Flight Up Studios, St Peters.

My main inspiration was… Trying to be OK with feeling angry, and realising that after all the nervous energy is released then forgiveness comes much more naturally.

It sounds best when… it’s being shouted at you by yours truly ;)

You can catch Georgia Mulligan live in Sydney on Saturday, September 28th at Golden Age with Motion Sickness. Entry is free.

Listen to 'Mirror' by Georgia Mulligan below:

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Now Playing: Liily – 'Wash'

Is that an earthquake, or just another fiery tune from up-and-comers Liily? Their brand new single 'Wash' is a commanding track that's pure ferocity from the very moment that you press play until you reach its concluding seconds. The single follows in the footsteps of their EP I Can Fool Anybody in This Town in March, and 'Wash' is an intoxicating preview of what the LA-based band have been working on since.

Featuring a tasty selection of intricate soundscapes, 'Wash' takes listeners on a journey that they won't forget — whether it's through their dizzying riffs, relentless percussion or rhythm that will make you exceedingly sweaty, 'Wash' is high-powered and charged-up to the max. The weighty words, "I have no hope for the world today," are screamed with a piercing tone and encapsulates the energy of the entire track.

Listen to Liily's latest offering 'Wash' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Rebounder – 'Slow Angel'

New York-based artist Rebounder impressed us with his captivating single 'Meet Me At The Bar' back in April, and he's back with yet another incredible song with his latest offering 'Slow Angel'. Rebounder writes music that hits deeply, and 'Slow Angel' may be much more buoyant and upbeat than his previous single, yet it's equally as stirring.

His anthemic new single is about stumbling across someone who has captured your attention from the very second you meet them. His words capture the thrill of infatuation and the feelings that come along with it, including, "I don't wanna read your mind, I just wanna make you mine." Along with being home to words that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, it's also bursting at the seams with exhilarating instrumentals, including vibrant guitars and punchy drums. 'Slow Angel' is unbelievably catchy and you'll have it etched in your mind after one listen.

Give Rebounder's new single 'Slow Angel' a whirl below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Album Review: Alex Cameron – Miami Memory

Friday, September 13, 2019

Alex Cameron’s notability as an extraordinary storyteller is undeniable. Through his previous offerings, he’s told stories about some of the world’s most unnerving characters and the inner workings of their psyches — with listeners pulled deep inside the minds of Cameron’s protagonists and the questionable lives that they live. Though Forced Witness was a great album and a solid release by Cameron, Miami Memory presents a more personal and intimate reflection of not only his own life but also the powerful women that inspire him — particularly his partner Jemima Kirke.

Though the album is out in the world for public consumption, it’s ultimately a record for Kirke and the ways she and their relationship inspires Cameron as both an artist and more importantly a human navigating life.

Songs like the album’s title-track are incredibly intimate — and though as a listener, the track’s amorous lyrical content makes you feel like you’re peeking through the windows from outside a motel, it’s what makes Cameron’s songwriting so special — his concern isn’t if a certain lyric makes you blush or feel uneasy, he’s on a mission to capture emotions in their purest and unfiltered form.

There’s also ‘Other Ladies’, which is a tender track about having eyes for no-one else but Kirke. The lively number features expressive words like, “If it’s plain to see / What you have done to me / Then baby / I don’t understand what we’re waiting for.” The album’s opener ‘Stepdad’ is about being in the lives of Kirke’s children. Along with featuring words about spending time with her children, the track is an intricate exploration of the changing dynamic of families — including when the new addition to the family has an unconventional job like Cameron's.

Relationships come with insecurities, and Cameron expresses this candidly on the album’s closer ‘Too Far’, which features a moving spoken word passage for Kirke — with his words overflowing with admiration for Kirke and the ways she inspires him. His words and candidness of the passage encapsulates the openness of the record. He’s more than the outlandish performer mainstream media often portray him as — he’s a person before he’s an artist and his words reaffirm this.

On Miami Memory, Cameron wanted to focus his attention on powerful women instead of using his words to dive into the stories of men. Through an interrogative lens, ‘Bad For The Boys’ discusses men who have done bad things and the ways they attempt to disregard the harm they have caused women through acts of redemption and seeking sympathy. ‘Far From Born Again’ is an ode to sex workers and sex-positivity — though men try to act as if their money places them in a position of power, it’s the women who are in control. He sings, “You have to call her stupid just to comprehend what she does,” and, “She buys her own damn meals / You sit at home and masturbate while she plays grown-ups for real.”

Cameron doesn’t care if his songs or intimate words aren’t for you, ultimately they’re not for us. Miami Memory has been tenderly crafted from a place of respect, admiration and love for someone who fuels his fire to create — and as bystanders, all we can do is remain in awe of Cameron’s words and feel grateful that he has invited us inside.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can purchase Miami Memory by Alex Cameron via Bandcamp here.

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Feature: Ingredients of Heaven Surrounds You with Surf Curse

Photo by Julien Sage

Spanning twelve exquisite tracks, Heaven Surrounds You (released via Danger Collective), the new album by LA-based duo Surf Curse, is an absorbing and cinematic release that channels the stories and energy of their most loved cult films. Not only inspired by the themes within the films they love, but also the intricacies of them and the various elements that can be found within the artform. To celebrate the release of the album Nick Rattigan of Surf Curse explores the inspiration behind their new album for us below.

Wim Wender’s The American Friend
When Jacob and I were talking about album art, we both had a similar idea that we wanted to base it off of Wim Wender’s The American Friend. This album feels so cinematic and big and we wanted to create an atmosphere with the album art that could help expand the mythos of the album. I guess the original idea was that I would be the Bruno Ganz character and Jacob was Dennis Hopper. We used harsh noir green lighting similar to a lot of the scenes from that film. After getting the final picture I think we captured something that goes beyond being referential and created something that really reflected the world we want the album to exist in. Jacob ended up writing a short story to go along with the photo too.

Last Days of Disco (Dance Scene) 
This scene was a huge influence on the 'Disco' music video. I pretty much ripped the whole setup of a couple coming home drunk and dancing to a song from this scene. But I think the scene and the mood that it portrays was also a big influence on the tone of the song as well. When there is just this attraction that is just so impossible it goes beyond all space and time. Where two people are just completely smitten and the right song is playing in the background.

There is another scene from a different Whit Stillman movie called Barcelona which echos that sentiment pretty nicely as well.

Company Studio 
Heaven Surrounds You was the first time we've ever recorded in a proper studio. We ended up doing it at this little studio up in Burbank, called Company. For two weeks we would get up early and drive to this studio where we would be bunkered down for several hours without any natural light. We brought in Jacob's VHS TV and would just constantly have VHS's playing in the background while we were recording or mixing. The atmosphere was so warm. Just lying on the floor of that studio, eating every meal in this yellow kitchen with a bunch of framed clown and ship pictures, driving back and forth between our homes and this studio, never seeing the light of day. It was one of the greatest experiences of our lives and I’d have to say a piece of that magic from the studio gave us definitely made its way onto the record.

Our Friend Group
The people that we surround ourselves with here in Los Angeles, really have an effect on us. We’d always show them what we’ve been working on if its demos or whatever means of showing them and we would get positive reactions. Even had a few homies come by the studio to hang out. After we’d record, we’d meet up to go dance or watch a movie. It’s the balance we absolutely need when we’re working hard. We love the people in our lives a lot.

Dennis Hopper 
I was reading this Dennis Hopper interviews book where it’s different conversations he’s had over the years. He really cared about his vision and what he wanted to accomplish. It really made me think about how to always push ourselves to get what we wanted or find out what we exactly needed. Thanks Hop. <3

Listen to Heaven Surrounds You by Surf Curse below:

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Now Playing: Sports Team – 'Fishing'

Thursday, September 12, 2019

UK band Sports Team has knocked it out of the park once again with their energetic new single 'Fishing'. Though we hope that they make their way to Australia sometime in the near future, they've announced big news for their fans back at home with their biggest UK tour yet — which includes their largest solo show to date at London’s Kentish Town Forum on December 5th.

'Fishing' is pure madness in the best way possible. Designed to blast out loud on repeat (or at their live shows), the track is home to piercing vocals by Alex Rice, as well as animated and lively instrumentals. The words capture the pressures of real-life and life's mundane moments, where you're feeling stuck but desperately more.

The band are working their way towards their debut album and 'Fishing' is yet another exhilarating taste of what they have coming up.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Find out where you can catch them live here

Interview: Driven and Inspired, There's No Stopping Boy Azooga

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Click image for hi-res version

There’s no doubt that Cardiff’s Boy Azooga is fast becoming one of the most talked-about acts of the year. Led by multi-instrumentalist Davey Newington, and featuring his friends and fellow musicians Daf Davies, Dylan Morgan and Sam Barnes, the quartet are set for huge things. Since releasing his genre-bending debut album 1, 2, Kung Fu! mid last year, the attention on Boy Azooga has risen rapidly. The added attention on Newington and his bandmates has resulted in them spending more time travelling and on the road. During their visit to Australia, we sat down to chat with Newington about Boy Azooga’s rise, Cardiff’s vibrant music scene and new music.

His debut album 1, 2, Kung Fu!, released over a year ago via Heavenly Recordings, channelled his vast and expansive musical upbringing, and also saw him play each of the instruments on the record’s eleven tracks. Newington’s parents played in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and his grandfather played the drums for the Royal Marines  — mixing his upbringing with other musical influences and his own experimentation was inevitably going to result in a record as diverse and dynamic as his debut release.

Also influencing Newington is the rich and collaborative nature of Cardiff’s music community. It’s a scene that has been attracting a lot of attention lately, especially with the rise of bands such as Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard — who he used to play with and still collaborates regularly with Tom Rees from the band. “There’s always been good stuff coming out of Wales,” he said, “There is an amazing scene in Cardiff, and I think it’s always been there. There’s more attention on the bands coming out of there at the moment, which is incredible.”

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Newington cites that Cardiff’s venue closures and the Save Womanby Street campaign spurred a lot of the musicians in the area to band together and fight back. “There’s constantly venues getting closed down, which seems like quite a universal thing, but the Save Womanby Street campaign just gave everyone that kick up the arse to do something about it.”

The result of the venue closures and the damage it was causing to Cardiff’s vibrant music scene led to bands and musicians hosting their own grassroot shows in protest of the closures as an effort to keep the scene in the city alive. “Tom from Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard was in a band called Tibet and they would put on gigs in the basement of Jacobs Market, which is an antique market. Seeing stuff like that inspired us to put on our own gigs. Everyone would think on their feet a bit and just take matters into their own hands and make stuff happen.”

Even within Boy Azooga, Newington’s bandmates also work on their own projects in Cardiff, including Sam who plays in Shoebox Orchestra, Dylan works on DD Darillo and Dav plays in Men On The Chessboard. “We all play and work with each other’s bands, and it’s something that even stretches way beyond our band. Even in Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, Tom plays in his guitarist’s band.”

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Though he talks about the closeness of Cardiff’s emerging scene, he notes that it wouldn’t be possible without the artists who paved the way before them, including bands like The Keys. “In Cardiff, everyone pitches in and it’s the coolest thing to be able to work on lots of things. It keeps things fresh and inspires other projects you’re working on as well.”

In-between his busy touring schedule, Newington has been working on their sophomore album, which is set to be just as experimental as his debut. He’s currently aiming to share his first preview of new music in October.

He continually works on new music, even amidst recording material. “The way I like to do it is to write a song and then jam in the studio. For me, the demos often become the final thing anyway. I’ll take a song home and just chip away at it, rather than being like, ‘Okay, I’ve written a song and now we’ll go to the studio and then it’s done’.”

Whereas the first record featured only himself, Eddie Al-Shakarchi and his dad on strings, the second record will be more collaborative and will include the rest of the band. “I want the next record to be more collaborative and take that direction instead — I want different voices on the project so there’s a progression from the first.” He’s also currently looking at including a kid’s choir on one of the tracks, as well as experimenting with sampling — something which might be up in the air as he’s waiting for a sample to clear.

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He’s eager for the world to hear what he’s been working on, but he doesn’t want to rush it if he feels like the music is undercooked and not yet ready for public consumption. “I don’t want to wait too long to release another record, but then I also don’t want to rush it. If it’s not ready next year than it’s just not ready. I’d rather look back and be proud of all the stuff we do than just force it and put music out that isn’t ready just to keep up the momentum. It wouldn’t feel right to do that.”

Album cycles might be becoming shorter, but for Newington, he thinks it’s a good thing. “Bands like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are so inspiring as they just consistently have good output. They release a lot of records, but they’re all so incredible. It’s good because it gives you that push to keep making music.” Initially, he wanted to work on records quickly, but that was before he realised that it can be immensely challenging putting out records regularly whilst maintaining quality and not putting too much pressure on yourself. “Before I started the first album, I was kind of like, ‘We are going to keep making records and get them out,’ but then you actually realise how hard it is to make a record.”

His travel plans are only going to become busier, with an appearance at Iceland Airwaves in Reykjavík coming up, as well as plans to travel to Asia, including Malaysia and possibly Hong Kong (if it’s safe to do so). “I’m definitely happier when I’m busy. I mean, it’s good to have a break too. But I think playing music, touring and meeting people is amazing and I feel so lucky to do what I do.”

He’s also feeling as inspired as ever and excited about the direction Boy Azooga is heading in. “I’m just feeling really inspired right now, whether it’s my own stuff or other projects I’m working on, I’m just excited to keep making music and play as often as I can.”

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

Listen to 1, 2, Kung Fu! below:

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Now Playing: Pelicandy – 'Our Life Now'

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Photo by Puria Safari

London-based duo Pelicandy today unleashed their captivating debut EP Underlove, which is home to four enticing slices of alt-pop heaven. Also featuring on the EP is their most recent single 'Our Life Now', which closes out Underlove.

'Our Life Now' is a slow-burner that elevates as the song progresses. The track features peaking and vibrant 80s-inspired synths, as well as smooth vocals throughout its entirety. Despite the warmth of the track's instrumentals, it's an introspective song about life's darker moments. The ballad is filled to the brim with stirring lyrics that will leave you covered in goosebumps by the time you reach the end.

If you love 'Our Life Now' as much as we do, be sure to check out the rest of Underlove here.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Meija – 'Laugh It Off'

Photo via Meija's FB

Songwriter/producer Meija has spent the last few years sharing his talents with the likes of Your Smith, Bay Ledges, and Quinn XCII, but he's also been hiding some incredible music up his sleeves, including his brand new single 'Laugh It Off'. He's also working on an EP, which is yet to be named and is due for release in the coming months.

'Laugh It Off' is an honest and unapologetic exploration of the current political climate within the US, where Meija and many others have found themselves frustrated, disappointed and dishearted by how hateful messages are spread rapidly through memes and horrid attempts at making light of serious issues. On the track, he said, "I first wrote the chorus to 'Laugh It Off' during the 2016 presidential debates. It was really upsetting to see how humor and memes were successfully used to spread hateful speech and ideas. 'Laugh It Off' is a song about how some things are too serious and hurtful just to laugh and shrug off even if that helps you avoid an uncomfortable conversation."

Listen to 'Laugh It Off' by Meija below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Interview: What Rock 'n' Roll Means to The Amazons

Monday, September 9, 2019
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Across their journey as a band, The Amazons have always prioritised authenticity above anything else, including keeping the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll alive. At the end of their whirlwind trip to Australia and their first visit to our shores, we sat down with the band to talk about their sophomore album Future Dust and why rock ‘n’ roll is (and always will be) part of their fabric.

Many bands have been haunted by the curse of the ‘sophomore blues’, but you can’t count The Amazons as part of that group. Their latest record Future Dust showcases a more polished and evolved sound than anything they’ve ever shared before — it’s gritty and abrasive, yet lyrically reflective and contemplative. It’s a record the band have always been capable of creating, but growth was necessary first.

The band admits that despite feeling confident about the place that they were taking their new music, they did feel an undeniable sense of pressure. “There was a huge amount of pressure that we put on ourselves,” said frontman Matt Thomson, “We’re not in the studio all of the time, so when we are in there, we want to make a record that we want to make.” Drummer Joe Emmett also added that both time and budgeting can increase the amount of pressure you can feel when creating a record.

Thomson, who is also the band’s lyricist, channels darker times on Future Dust, whether it’s the pressures of social media and being online or other internal battles. But for Thomson, he felt like he was able to capture what was happening in his mind in a way that he didn’t on their debut album. “We were able to channel the themes of the record sonically and lyrically in a way we didn’t on the first record,” he said.

Three Cliffs Bay, which is outside of Swansea in Wales, became their home for approximately a month when they were working on the album. “Because we had been touring a lot over the last couple of years, we needed to get back into the groove of writing and creating together,” said Thomson. The past few years have seen the band travel to places as far as Japan and South Korea, to the US, as well as touring regularly and consistently around the UK and Europe. The unsettling nature of life on the road and touring isn’t always the best environment to work on music, so Three Cliffs Bay provided them with a space to explore what they wanted to achieve on the album without any distractions.

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An important step for them was to sit down as a band and listen to music together. “We got really interested in blues and early rock ‘n’ roll,” said Thomson, “There’s a spirit in that music that we weren’t hearing in modern music or our contemporaries.” The band aren’t ever afraid of making the music that they want to make. Their decision to remain authentic to themselves is one of the many reasons why their fans love them.

Despite being inspired by the sounds that came before them, the record is very much their own and their own identity remains at the forefront — and for The Amazons, it’s something that comes naturally to them. “Even if we try our hardest to be something else, we’d still sound like ourselves because that’s just the way we make music. You listen to music and become inspired by it and let that bleed, soak it up, and regurgitate it. Though it’s been a couple of years since the first record, we haven’t completely changed. I think we’ve grown as people and as artists,” Thomson said. If the band infused any influences that they were listening to during the process of working on the record, it didn’t happen consciously according to Thomson.

Spending time away from Reading was important for the band, with Thomson admitting that he prefers writing outside of their hometown. “I don’t like writing in Reading. I don’t like writing there as there’s nothing to capture — there’s no fuel to the fire there,” he said. Emmett, also added that before spending time away, they barely had any songs, so being away fuelled them to begin the record together. The seclusion of Three Cliffs Bay pushed them to get back into the swing of things as there wasn’t much else for them to do there except create music.

In today’s musical landscape, many bands are afraid of creating authentic rock ‘n’ roll, but for The Amazons, the genre represents everything that they stand for as a band. Emmett said, “For us, rock ‘n’ roll is more about attitude as opposed to just sonics. Our latest album has heavier tendencies than the first one because that’s what we enjoy playing. When all four of us are together in a practice room, we enjoy rocking out together.”

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Thomson also added that for the band, rock ‘n’ roll provides a form of release. “It represents a release from stress, frustration and the weight of reality. That’s how we express it through the music. It’s definitely an outlet for escape. When your head’s in a record and you’re playing it really loud in your car, in the kitchen, in your bedroom, at a party, or a gig, it gives you a moment where you’re outside of your head, it can make you feel present. There are very few things that can do that.”

Though the band have a busy end of 2019 coming up with Austin City Limits, a headline show in New York, and a tour around the UK and Europe, they’re planning on working on new music in the US.

Working on new music may be on their horizons soon, but another album isn’t something that they want to rush, especially when there’s still things and concepts that they want to explore visually with Future Dust. More so than ever before, they’ve wanted to expand on the visual element of their music, and the darker and contemplative themes of Future Dust allows them to do this. Thomson notes, “Especially with the themes of this record and the stronger story of it, visuals are something we've wanted to explore. I wouldn't want to move on to another album until we'd completely done everything that we had visualised, and done everything we planned to do creatively with this record. It's always kind of unfinished business.”

The Amazons play an important role in keeping the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll alive, and as long as they keep releasing music and playing shows, we can rest assured that rock ‘n’ roll is in very good hands.

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

Listen to Future Dust by The Amazons:

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EP of the Week: Squid – Town Centre

Squid continues to invite listeners into their intricately constructed narratives with their EP Town Centre (released via Speedy Wunderground). The band are able to capture some of life's most mundane moments and conversations and turn them into stimulating and riveting songs that find themselves at the intersection of an array of distinct styles and sounds.

The EP's opener 'Savage' is a slow-burning and smokey track that sounds like something that you would hear in a black-and-white noir film. The jazz-inspired undertones and interweaving trumpet erupts all your senses and transports you to the idiosyncratic world of Town Centre. Next up is 'Match Bet', which is the band's most recent single. The track was inspired by someone Ollie Judge met at a store he used to work at. Judge was inspired by the Sonic Youth super-fan and the conversations that they used to have.

'The Cleaner' is an epic seven-minute-long number that features an enthralling fusion of disco-punk and post-punk. The buoyant song was inspired by the band's move from Brighton to London and portrays the mundane life of a cleaner through the use of feverish guitar lines, frantic drums and sharp vocals. The EP concludes with the crawling and eerie sounds of 'Rodeo', which is home to looser vocals that are read instead of sung.

Throughout Town Centre's entirety, Squid presents an exquisite collection of four tracks that pulls listeners into their unique world. The five-piece continues to prove why they are one of the best and most exciting breakthrough bands of 2019.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to Town Centre by Squid:

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Video Premiere: Danika Smith – 'Suit of Armour'

We're thrilled to today bring you the video for Danika Smith's captivating debut single 'Suit of Armour'. The track's accompanying visuals were directed by Eric Sayaman. The release of the video comes before her upcoming co-headlining show with Harmony Byrne this Saturday (September 14th) and her appearance at Strawberry Fields festival at the end of November.

Finding itself somewhere between folk and soul, 'Suit of Armour' is a track about reservations, internal walls, as well as an underlying sense of hope that things will become easier. For the video, they decided to use a real suit of armour, which was inspired by a late-night brainstorming session with her friend and fellow musician Hannah Macklin.

On the video, Eric Sayaman said, "Filming outside in Melbourne with time restrictions is always a roll of the dice. Fortunately, when the weather provided, the performances came out easily. The strength and relevance of the concept was as much to thank as the individual input from each of the skeleton crew and performers. The suit looked a shit tonne better on the screen then it looked on the website, which alleviated stress when film day arrived."

Check out the video for 'Suit of Armour' by Danika Smith below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Jonathan Bree – 'Waiting On The Moment'

Saturday, September 7, 2019
Photo by Adam Custins via Jonathan Bree's FB 

Following on from his dazzling album Sleepwalking last year, New Zealand songwriter, producer, and composer Jonathan Bree has returned with yet another impressive single with 'Waiting On The Moment'.

On his new single, he showcases his mesmerising ability to make bleak and desolate feelings into a magical place. The track discusses the conclusion of a relationship and the torturing lead-up to it. Despite the track's reflective lyrics about an ending, there's a glimmer of a hope that a new beginning is impending, even if it means retreating online and swiping through dating apps. On the track, he sings,  "Now I’m just waiting on the moment / When it’s depressingly clear that we’re finally through / No chance of reconciliation / Then I’ll swipe right until the hurt has left me too / Onto new beginnings / And fading history."

Though he hasn't officially released details of a new album yet, we're eagerly anticipating his next move.

Written by Kristy Smolcic 

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Feature: Breaking the Ice with Hannah Blackburn

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Photo by Freia Lily

Melbourne-based artist Hannah Blackburn recently shared her superb brand new track 'Tiny Car'. Along with releasing her new single, she's currently up in Brisbane playing at BIGSOUND 2019 (you can catch Hannah playing Empire Hotel tonight between 10:00PM - 10:30PM). Before she left for Brisbane, she answered some quick-fire q's for us.

What have you been up to today?
Today has been my Bigsound prep day, emails and practise.

Last song you listened to?
'You’re Not Always On My Mind' by Quivers

Best gift you've ever received?
I love getting gifted surprise snacks. That always goes down very well.

Best book you've read?
Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Dream holiday spot?
Anywhere with the sun at the moment!

What kind of secret society would you start?
Well, this would make it not a secret anymore...

Favourite dinosaur?
I thought Cera in The Land Before Time was really sweet, and I’d like to be her friend, so a Triceratops.

When you survive the apocalypse, what will be your first job?
I’ve never really given this much thought, to be honest. I guess I would go looking for sad dogs.

Last Youtube video you watched?
Julia Jacklin’s Comfort video clip (made by Nick McKinlay) SO good.

Have you ever texted the wrong person?
Yes. awkward.

Favourite director?
Richard Curtis

Three pet peeves?
Loud chewing, when people change the song instead of queuing their song up next, car alarms.

Last dream that you can remember?
I had a dream the other night that I ate maple syrup on sourdough bread. I just sat there and ate it. Not incredibly imaginative, however, very relaxing.

Favourite hiding spot?
Under the bed is always a classic.

Favourite music video?
Merpire’s Lately clip. Also made by Nick McKinlay. So so so good

What ice cream flavour would you invent?
Egg flavour

What planet would you move to?
I’d love to stay on earth if we could all be a bit better at taking care of it

Favourite soundtrack?
School Of Rock

Title of your future memoir?
Hey, Shit Happens

Dream place to play a show?
I’ve been busting at the seams to get to Frank’s Wild Years in Thirroul. I hear it’s a little tiny music lovers haven that has a very unique special feel about it and goes off.

Listen to 'Tiny Car' by Hannah Blackburn:

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Now Playing: Adwaith – 'Wine Time / Hey!'

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Photo by The Shoot (@theshoot2k17)
South Wales trio Adwaith are back once again with new music, which comes after the release of their debut album Melyn approximately 10 months ago. This time they've shared a double A-side single featuring two equally incredible tracks, 'Wine Time' and 'Hey!'. Since releasing their debut album, they've spent time working on new material in-between playing shows.

'Wine Time' is an enthralling song about finding yourself in a toxic relationship with someone. On the track, vocalist Holly Singer said, "'Wine Time’ is about falling for an extremely self-destructive person and the realisation that no matter how hard you try you cannot save a person if they don't want to save themselves." 'Hey!' however is a powerful and honest critique of world leaders who have failed to do much about our planet's climate crisis.

Check out both 'Wine Time' and 'Hey!' by Adwaith below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

'Wine Time':


Live dates (UK):
September 4th - The Poetry Club, Glasgow
September 5th - Yes, Manchester
September 6th - The Victoria, London

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Now Playing: beabadoobee – 'She Plays Bass'

Photo by blackksocks

London-based up-and-comer beabadoobee late last month unveiled her brand new single 'She Plays Bass', which is set to appear on her forthcoming EP Space Cadet. The EP, which is expected to be released in October, is a follow-up to her stunning previous EP Loveworm.

Bea might be only 18-years-old, but she enchantingly crafts music that carries on the spirit of the 90s. 'She Plays Bass' is a touching dedication to her friend Eliana, who plays bass in her live band. Along with featuring jangly and vibrant instrumentals, the track is also home to moving lyrics, including "Yes, we're both stuck in the same boat / The world doesn't seem to get us though / You're just stuck in space / Just playing your bass."

beabadoobee continues to expand her sound and we're excited to hear what else she planned for the rest of the year.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Metronomy – 'Wedding Bells'

Next week will mark the release of Metronomy's highly anticipated new album Metronomy Forever, but until we can all enjoy the album in its entirety, they've shared one last final sneak preview with 'Wedding Bells'. The release of their new single follows in the footsteps of their previous slices from the album including 'Walking In The Dark', 'Salted Caramel Ice Cream', and 'Lately'.

'Wedding Bells' opens up with pulsating instrumentals and 80s-inspired synths. The track channels Joe Mount’s take on marriage and love, including his observations on why his friends attend more weddings than he does. Through a series of sharp lyrics, he sings, "Yeah I hear wedding bells. But they're not for you. They're for your best friend. And my best friend."

Listen to Metronomy's latest offering 'Wedding Bells' below before their album is released next Friday, September 13th.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Interview: The Paranoyds on Carnage Bargain and Mixing Things Up

Monday, September 2, 2019
Photo by Tony Accosta

It's been a big year for LA up-and-comers The Paranoyds, and it's about to get even busier with the release of their highly anticipated debut album Carnage Bargain, which is due for release next Friday, September 13th via Suicide Squeeze. So far, they've shared the album's title track, 'Girlfriend Degree', 'Hungry Sam', and more recently 'Face First'. In the lead-up to next week's release, we got to ask Lexi from the band a few questions about working on the album, mixing things up and their live shows.

Congrats on your upcoming debut album, how long did you spend working on it? 

Thanks! We've been playing most of the songs from Carnage Bargain live for a few years now. We recorded it in a few song spurts, here and there for a couple of months at the end of 2018. For some of the newer ones, like 'Girlfriend Degree' or 'Carnage Bargain' either Staz or I came to rehearsal with a melody or lick or even just an idea. And then the rest of the band hashed it out. It was pretty organic and everyone was super involved in all of the parts.

The lyrics on the album are honest, direct and observant — what are some of the things that inspired the album? 

There’s a wide range of topics that inspired us — there’s a lot going on in the world right now. The self-titled track is about how much waste companies produce; 'Laundry' is about... well doing laundry on a hot LA day; 'Ratboy' is a good ole fashioned love song. We don’t want to just write about one topic, there’s not much fun in that.

What track was the most challenging to work on? 

I think 'Bear' was probably the most challenging in the sense that there's a lot of different layers going on in that song. We set out to make that track as "big" as possible, so I think there's like, 4 or 5 different guitar takes going on simultaneously throughout the track, as well as a ton of pedal effects.

How do you think the album captures what The Paranoyds are about? 

The Paranoyds like to mix it up! Carnage Bargain shows that. It’s a great, beefy sampler plate, an introduction to who we are as a band and what we’re about.

You have lots of live dates coming up, what do you enjoy most about the live aspect of what you do?

The energy! It's like exercise for us, especially on tour. After sitting in the car for the entire day, we're just itching to get on stage and jump around. It's a big release. We also love meeting people at shows as well.

 What's been your favourite show to-date and why?      

Ah we’ve played some crazy shows in some very interesting locations! We played Shaun White’s festival a year and some ago where snowboarders did jumps during our set. Playing a DIY stage at Coachella a couple years ago was definitely surreal. But my FAVORITE to date was one we played this past August where we got to open for one of my top 5 all-time favorite bands, X. I’ve been to about 8 X shows since I was 14, always pushing to the front screaming and dancing. The fact that we opened for them and they actually interacted with us before and after... plus I got them to sign my records. I went home and had to just cry about it.

You've been a band for a couple of years now, what are some lessons that you've learnt along the way? 

The obvious one is we gotta just work super hard for ourselves and not be dependent on anybody else. It really makes you appreciate how supportive and loyal people are and what people are willing to do to help us out. We also realized very early on that the men in this industry (which there is a gnarly abundance of) will ALWAYS take any opportunity to mansplain shit to you. Don’t get me started on sound guys. Another big rule, NO DRINKS ON THE MERCH TABLE. Umm and altitude sickness is a real thing.

As listeners dive through Carnage Bargain, what do you hope they get out of their listening experience.  

I hope it inspires young ladies to get with their friends and make some fun music. I hope it leads to more self-expression. I hope it inspires people to pick up an instrument and figure out some of the parts because they are suuuper fun to play. I hope it stands as an example that there is no set mold or format for ‘female-fronted’ bands. You can be as weird or loud or complicated as you want.

You can pre-order Carnage Bargain (available September 13th) via Bandcamp here.

Check out their latest single 'Face First' below:

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Now Playing: Squid – 'Match Bet'

Photo by Holly Whitaker

It's a big week for Squid, who are prepping up for the huge release of their EP Town Centre this Friday, September 6th (via Speedy Wunderground). But until it's time to devour their EP over-and-over again, they've shared another slice of what's to come in the coming days with 'Match Bet'.

According to Ollie Judge from the band, the protagonist of 'Match Bet' features from the same world of previous single 'The Cleaner'. On the track, he said, "The song is told from the perspective of a Sonic Youth super fan living with mental illness, whom was a regular at a shop I used to work in. His harmless demeanour and manic, long conversations about gambling, his relationship with Her Majesty The Queen and love for Sonic Youth was extremely helpful for me in that period of my life. I found it interesting how his manic-ness opened me up a bit in a time where I could have quite easily just blended into the paintwork and kept quiet."

Squid continually present different facets of their sound and are constantly proving why they're one of the most exciting up-and-coming bands of the year.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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EP of the Week: Sleep Eaters – Holy Days

We're excited to revive our EP of the Week feature and there's no better way to get things started again than with Holy Days, which is the debut EP of London based country-infused rock band Sleep Eaters (released via PNKSLM Recordings). Spanning four enthralling and memorable tracks, the release is a solid introduction to the band and one we've been spinning on-repeat non-stop.

The EP opens up with energetic sounds of 'Don't Sell Your Soul', which features a warm rhythm and poetic lyrics. There's something about the lyrics, "I’ve been crucified my whole life, I’m dancing with the dead again, just to feel alive," that will make you stop and think about the words you just heard. After the EP's introduction comes 'Valley of Dogs', which is a new track from the band. The track is home to sharp vocals and enticing instrumentals.

Holy Days moves into 'Life of Sin', which will make you feel like you're on a horse racing through the desert desperate for revenge. Along with being a picturesque track, 'Live of Sin' is brilliant and can transport you to another time and place. The EP closes with the haunting sounds of 'Bad Love', which is the perfect ending to the EP. Featuring shadowy instrumentals, such as gritty riffs, an ominous piano and rolling drums, 'Bad Love' is an all-consuming and unforgettable closer.

Not only would Holy Days be the perfect soundtrack to an action-packed badass western film, but it's also a complete release that exhibits a seamless transition between tracks and a narrative that pulls you in wholeheartedly.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: The Ninth Wave – 'Imitation'

Saturday, August 31, 2019
Photo by Stuart Simpson

The Ninth Wave are back once again with brand new music, this time sharing their impressive single 'Imitation'. The track is a sneak preview of their upcoming release Infancy Part 2 (due for release November 15th), which is a follow-up to the album's first part released back in May. The duo from Glasgow can never put a foot wrong, and 'Imitation' is yet another incredible single by one of 2019's best emerging acts.

Featuring thunderous instrumentals and enthralling vocal harmonies, 'Imitation' is a moving track about being caught up in someone else's life. On the track, Haydn Park-Patterson said, "Imitation is what happens when I forget about my lonely disposition and get too caught up in everyone else’s lives. It’s about how easy it is to become something you hate and we hate simple songs, so we made this song really simple and straightforward."

Listen to 'Imitation' by The Ninth Wave below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Dark Spell' with Ainsley Farrell

Friday, August 30, 2019

Before her upcoming appearance at BIGSOUND, Sydney-based and American-born artist Ainsley Farrell has released a slice of magic with her latest single 'Dark Spell'. Along with sharing the single, she's also released the track's new music video, which was filmed by her partner Michael Burley. Learn more about 'Dark Spell' below.

I wrote ‘Dark Spell'… in my old bedroom at my parent’s house in California.

The story behind ‘Dark Spell' is… a heartbreak and loss of self-worth.

My favourite lyric is… “Midnight you burnt out my tail light, fading slow, loving goes.”  “Held my breath while you covered up this stench, I’m your call collect.” “You know I’d never leave you with a heartache so break me and tell me what hurts”

It was made… It was written while I was back in the states last year and recorded this year in Copacabana, NSW with Alex O’Gorman, Tom Stephens, and Arne Utiger.

My main inspiration was… an emergence of an old source of heartbreak.

It sounds best when… played underwater to a pod of narwhals.

Check out Dark Spell by Ainsley Farrell below:

September 4th - Black Bear Lodge - 9:10PM - 9:40PM
September 5th - Empire Hotel - 8:20PM - 8:50PM

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Feature: Ingredients of I'll Never Give Up On Love Until I Can Put A Name On It with Las Aves

Photo by Victoria Hespel, Lucien Krampf

French trio Las Aves have today unveiled their brand new album I'll Never Give Up On Love Until I Can Put A Name On It. Their second album captures all sorts of feelings through an array of lush and intriguing soundscapes. To celebrate their new release, they take us through the inspiration that inspired them whilst working on the album.

Love 2.0
A year being single means a year of sad/meaningless/fun / very short love stories. Some of them ended up shaping our songs. There was that time I got ghosted, that time I got cheated on, that time I got pregnant... But each one of them involved an iPhone, lots of messages or bad news discovered on social media. And you end up experimenting with very deep feelings, alone, facing a screen. We got fascinated by this.

JD 800
We bought this magical synth quite early in the album process. It was for us an endless source of inspiration. It features those very evolutive pads, sounding like smooth waves morphing into acid tears...Sometimes we would just gently place a hand on the keyboard, and beautiful things happened. We used this synth a lot. Sometimes, even alone like on 'Tomorrow' or 'Thank You'... It was our favorite and still is. We're taking this one on tour and will cherish it like our own baby.

Lucien Krampf
He produced our album with us and is also our friend now. He comes from the hardcore techno scene but working together was surprisingly very natural, soft and sweet. We speak the same language even if we come from very different backgrounds. We focused on enhancing emotions through sounds, and that's where we kind of agreed on everything.

Charli CXC gig at La Maroquinerie Paris
It was for her Pop 2 tour. We saw Charli XCX in this small and very special venue in Paris, La Maroquinerie. It is one of our favorite venues in Paris, we played there like 5 times or more. It was incredible to see her there. It was punk, glossy, violent, emotional, and also very freeing. You could tell that people in the audience felt so good in there, the mood was perfect. This was the first time we saw pop music performed in that way, and we loved every second of it.

Creative Make Up 
I developed a new passion for makeup lately by completely changing my approach to it. It is such a liberating thing when you stop trying to hide your flaws and start just expressing yourself and use your own face as a canvas. You can imagine being anybody and I think I needed that at some point. We also used 3D make up on some of our pictures, we like how it blurs the line even more between the digital world and what we call reality.

Listen to I'll Never Give Up On Love Until I Can Put A Name On It by Las Aves below:

Watch 'Worth It':

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Interview: Julien Ehrlich from Whitney Reflects on Relationships and Collaboration

It’s been over three years since Chicago-based band Whitney graced listeners with their extraordinary debut album Light Upon the Lake — the years have passed and life has changed for the band, but their ability to craft music that captures human experiences and relationships in their rawest form hasn’t. Their highly anticipated sophomore album Forever Turned Around has been well worth the wait. In the lead-up to the album’s release, I spoke with singer/drummer Julien Ehrlich about having a break, handling pressure and his creative partnership and friendship with bandmate Max Kakacek.

Working on Forever Turned Around didn’t come without putting pressure on themselves — which is only a natural response when your debut album receives as much praise and attention as Light Upon the Lake did. “I feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves,” said Ehrlich, “It’s hard to ignore the outside pressure, whether it’s positive pressure from fans of our music or those who think you’re going to have a sophomore slump.”

Though having an impressive debut album can add a degree of pressure to the process of working on a sophomore album, Ehrlich admits that it also gave them something to measure up to. “It definitely helped that we’ve been through the process of making an album before. We went into it knowing what we wanted to sound like. We didn’t want it to sound exactly the same as the first record, but we had the tools that we discovered from the first time and that helped. We knew that we could write better songs that felt more true to us right now, but using those similar tools.”

They aimed to push the boundaries of what they’ve written before and experiment with their songwriting on the new record. “We wanted to write more playful melodies,” said Ehrlich, “We wanted to push ourselves to think outside of the box.”

For Ehrlich and his bandmate and collaborator Max Kakacek, it was important for them to take their time with the record. The material on Forever Turned Around was created from scratch — Ehrlich does note that they began writing a verse from ‘Friend of Mine’ (which appears towards the end of the album) in 2016. “For the album, there was no old demos that we completely carried over from our first album as that would have bored us a bit. It’s why it took three years to put out another record.”

The band’s heavy touring schedule and the large amount of time that they spent on the road also held the process up. “I think we are maybe too fragile on the road, touring isn’t always great on your emotional and mental state. You can kind of mess around and come up with a decent musical idea, but writing an entire song on the road is something we wouldn’t be able to do.” Touring leaves Ehrlich and Kakacek with little downtime, especially in between doing press and preparing for shows. Though touring leaves little time for them to work on new music, Ehrlich enjoys maintaining a healthy balance and having a break, “On a couple of tours we went on between writing the record, it was good to take a break and listen to any demos we had."

In between working on their new album and touring, Ehrlich said that he kept himself busy with other things outside of music to help maintain a healthy balance of being a musician and a human — whether it was settling down with his significant other, immersing himself in his love for basketball and the NBA, or refining his cooking skills. He noted that he and Kakacek also both ran in half-marathons.

According to Ehrlich, his creative partnership with Kakacek hasn’t changed too much, though he notes that it’s become more collaborative. Between albums, Ehrlich said that he has worked on getting better at the guitar and helped with chord progressions this time around. “On the first record, it was Max who was coming up with most of the musical ideas," he said.

Their partnership also works as they’re open to giving each other criticism. “We’re pretty open to each other's criticism. We both, especially on this record, would bring ideas to the table. Say I came up with an idea and I was really excited about it, and he would just be like, "I don't know if I like this part of it". It would make you maybe angry or whatever at first, but then the next day whoever came up with the idea would wake up and be like, "Oh, he's probably right", and then tweak a specific thing about it.”

Most importantly, working together makes them want to be the best songwriters they can be. “I think we are just good at compromising, we truly drive each other to be better at songwriting.”

Forever Turned Around, which channels the various relationships we have in our lives, not only captures their views on romantic relationships but commitment as a whole — including the commitment he and Kakacek have as collaborators and friends. "We wanted to dive into the commitment side of things," said Ehrlich, "Including the perspective of what it means to commit to someone, and that could be about a romantic relationship that feels like it's going to end but doesn't, or even Max and I committing together and the band. Like with 'Giving Up', we never considered that song a break-up song. When it came out, people who were writing about it talked about it as if we were referring to a relationship ending, but it's definitely not about that."

His views of relationships and commitment might have inspired the album, but they also affect his views of home and what keeps him (and Whitney) based in Chicago. Over the past few years, Ehrlich has said in previous interviews that he could never see the band moving to a big city like Los Angeles or New York. The relationships he has made in Chicago keep him inspired. “The people in Chicago are amazing, I feel like I can pretty much pinpoint that to be the only reason why I really love it here. I've made some of my most important friendships and relationships here in Chicago, so for me, that's why I love it.”

It's clear talking to Ehrlich that his connection to the people he surrounds himself with, and his various relationships, is what keeps him continually inspired. His supportive and collaborative relationship with Kakacek is pivotal to Whitney and the band's success and ensures that they're always striving to be the best musicians that they can be.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Forever Turned Around is out Friday, August 30 via Secretly Canadian.

Watch 'Used To Be Lonely':

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