Premiere: Shag Rock – 'Double Life'

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

After getting air-time on Triple J's Roots'n'All, we're super stoked to bring you a stream of Shag Rock's newest single 'Double Life'. Things are about to get busy for the Brisbane four-piece, with their tour dates kicking off in Byron Bay this Friday. It has been testing times for Shag Rock, with their van recently broken into and the loss of all their equipment.

'Double Life' is dynamic and anthemic — which means it's perfect to play loud and on-repeat. Singer and guitarist Alex Wilson says in a statement that it's about "the internal battle of writing songs that feel original or songs you think everyone will like…it's about fueling your ego or not."

With sold out shows in Melbourne and Brisbane, Shag Rock's tour might just be the hottest ticket in town. Scroll down to listen to 'Double Life', plus find out where you can catch them on the road.


Tour dates:
Friday 22nd June - Beach Hotel, Byron Bay (Free Entry) 
Saturday 23rd June - 38 Berwick, Brisbane (U/18) (Sold Out) 
Saturday 23rd June - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Thursday 28th June - Moonshine, Manly (Free Entry)
Friday 29th June - Selina's, Coogee Bay (Free Entry)
Saturday 30th June - Brighton Up Bar, Sydney 
Sunday 15th July - Gaso (Upstairs), Melbourne (Sold Out)
Find out more information about the tour here.

Gig Review: Cloves | Northcote Social Club | 13.6.18

Monday, June 18, 2018

If you haven't heard of Cloves, you would be most likely be forgiven. Since leaving Melbourne to pursue music internationally, the now London-based musician has rarely appeared on Australian stages until a recent string of opening spots aside New South rock band, The Rubens and a small run of shows across Melbourne and Sydney. 

Wednesday night marked the close of these shows and the return of Cloves’ to her hometown Melbourne. Joined on the road by Adelaide’s Mane, the social club was filled to the brim by lively new music for the crowd to absorb.

Mane’s opening set had power behind it — the Adelaide artist brought the Social Club to life. Showing brief shades of New South Wales’ artist Gordi, another artist who shares a love of vocal engineering, Mane used her effect board to great purpose, creating a vibrant sound profile through each song. 

Rolling with a somewhat modern grunge sound, the band accentuated Mane’s vocal effects, creating an eclectic mix of heavier instrumentals mixed around airy, passionate vocals. 

Mane’s set was highlighted by a raw solo song that she dubbed “her angry song”. Using shifting vocal tones between innocent and withdrawn to in-the-moment, emotionally sung outbursts, Mane’s song caused the developing crowd to drop away to silence — the crowd in awe of her vocal ability coupled with her resonating stage presence. 

Closing with her recent single, 'Chasing Butterflies', Mane projected the air of an artist who loved being up on the stage. Jumping about through her guitarist's solo, smiling and thanking the crowd through the bridge. The song was a fulfilling end to a set connected by emotion and heart. 

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Performing with natural flair and grace, the London-based artist had it all working for her up on the Northcote Social Club stage. Cloves, complemented on stage by her accompanying band had a set that was full of moving parts. Flowing guitar riffs, pop-led hooks and subtle vocal work highlighted a exciting set, creating a fun and excitable atmosphere through Northcote’s famous bandroom.

Cloves opened her set with her recent 2018 single, 'Wasted Time' after an exciting, guitar-driven intro to the stage from her backing band. 'Wasted Time' quickly built the energy in the room and sent an intoxicating atmosphere flowing through the room quickly, from the beginning of Cloves’ set. The song was a memorable one built on the backbone of whimsical guitar work and Cloves’ high, airy tones spreading through the room. 

Cloves has a natural talent for subtlety in her music, often using genres to quietly emphasise or paint a picture throughout her tracks. Her third song 'Bringing The House Down', displayed this trait with chord work driven by a blues soul, thick thumping bass, and vocals reminiscent of Alex Turner’s floaty, expansive voice. 

Yet, each of these changing sound profiles kept Cloves’ songs fresh, each rendition bringing the possibility of a different sound, yet still working equally as well with her sound. 

Moving through 'Better Now', 'Hit Me Hard', 'Everybody’s Son' and 'California Numb', the set was full of new works and upcoming songs, but these fit nicely amongst her older recordings. The set flowed well, with the cultivated list presenting both exciting energy packed numbers alongside Cloves’ heavier hitting songs. 

The fifth song of Cloves’ set 'Hit Me Hard' was dedicated to her Nana, who was also present, able to see how far Cloves has come in her years away. The track, an unreleased number, was a beautiful rendition filled with love and compassion. Partnered only with her guitarist and using her calm, smokey vocals to great effect the sound carefully resonated through the bandroom. Cloves built a warm atmosphere around the song epitomising the affectivity of her growing music collection.

'Up & Down' held a somewhat sadder tone, the building track being played towards the end of the set. This, however, worked well in the set layout; the building nature of the song raising the energy levels again before a bit finish through 'Frail Love' a recording off of Cloves’ EP XIII and a pumping yet stirring number of 'One Big Nothing'. 

Cloves’ yet to be released 'One Big Nothing' closed her set, the final track had Cloves showcasing her vocal ability through tender vocal sustains and thrilling pop-indie energy. With this tour leading up to Cloves’ soon to be released debut album, there was an air of confidence in the room for a successful release later this year.

Written by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)

Feature: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The team has come together to share all our favourite tunes of the year. Scroll through and have a glimpse into all the goods 2018 has delivered, so far.

Amy Smolcic – Content Manager
‘After Midnight’ by Superheart
As soon as I hit play on ‘After Midnight’ the first time, I felt chills. I proceeded to listen to it straight for almost a week, and it continuously gave me the same feeling. The track is romantic-pop perfection injected with tropical undertones. Even months later, the sentimentality of ‘After Midnight’ reigns supreme. Superheart is one to watch.


‘Annie Blue’ by Launder
I randomly stumbled across this track whilst sifting through Hype Machine, and I’m so glad it made its way into my ears. ‘Annie Blue’ mixes elements of nostalgia with alt-rock, and the final product is utterly beautiful and enchanting. If you catch me at a beach on a downcast grey day, I guarantee that I will be listening to this track on repeat.


'Tieduprightnow’ by Parcels
'Tieduprightnow’ is an infectious gem that's hard not to love. Parcels send me into a good mood everytime I jam this one and I'm ever so thankful for that.



Kristy Smolcic – Creative Director/Production Manager 
‘This Is America’ by Childish Gambino
Do I even have to say why? Easily song of the year, thus far. Pure genius and absolutely iconic.


‘Make Me Feel’ by Janelle Monae
I’m a sucker for a groovy track and a solid bass. It might have something to do with my obsession with soul and disco music, but I love how she's combined this with a modern and electronic edge — it oozes confidence.


‘Happy Sad’ by Ocean Alley 
There's something new to discover on this track with every listen. This song's beauty still gets me emotional and I’m pretty sure I've played it 100+ times in my car and I still get shivers. It has a 'Bohemian Rhapsody' vibe to it, with the lyrics matching the massive build-ups and blissful keys.



Iryna Byelyayeva – Contributing Writer
‘Through the Storm’ by Stonefield
I absolutely love Stonefield – women are so underrepresented in rock, and it’s so good to see four sisters from rural Victoria rewriting the rules of who gets to perform these kinds of tracks. ‘Through the Storm’ is some good, old-fashioned, Black Sabbath-esque rock, but with an undoubtedly contemporary feel. The ethereal calm before the storm towards the end of the track makes it uniquely Stonefield.


‘Be Careful’ by Cardi B
When I first heard this track I was very confused, it felt like a mish-mash. But there is something to charismatic about Cardi B, and about this song. Her quips, the weirdly pleasant tone in her voice, and the boppy beat just infect you. This song will get stuck in your head, and make you want to get married in a desert.


‘She Looks Like Fun’ by Arctic Monkeys 
This song is great, if not for the sheer theatricality of Alex Turner’s vocals, then for lyrics like ‘finally, I can share with you … every whimsical thought that enters my mind / there’s no length of the dickheads we can be’. Honestly, it took me a while to decide exactly which lyric to write up as an example. While the song is hard to understand over the threatening grunginess of the sound, looking up the lyrics is a joy – this song is poetry to my little, male-ego-disapproving ears.



Daniel Hanssen – Contributing Writer
‘Velcro’ by Approachable Members of Your Local Community 
I’ve had a great time floating around Melbourne over the months seeing live performances and building up a collection of artists I really admire and enjoy. One band, in particular, is the up and comers Approachable Members of Your Local Community. Their single 'Velcro' leading up to their EP, ‘If there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to contact us’, is a catchy melodic hook driven jive capturing the fun-loving nature of the band’s members. With funky bass lines and Josh’s bobbing vocals, the track is definitely something that can be danced too, something to be added to every party playlist.


‘Alchemy’ by Slowly Slowly
Slowly Slowly have come out of the woodwork with this single, announcing their brilliance as a rock band. 'Alchemy' is a brilliant track with a catchy hook I can’t help but sing along with. Through 'Alchemy', Slowly Slowly have created a real mover of a track, with some potent lyrical imagery, a fiery guitar line and some rocking drum fills. The song seems a little melancholic in tone, but every time I hear the “We’re making gold” hook, I can’t help a little smile as I sing.


‘Still So Young’ by Woodes
This song is a special one for me, Woodes’ works were introduced to me through a friend and ever since I have been hooked to her sound. I’ve always connected with this song, 'Still So Young', the closing track from her latest EP, Golden Hour — including its nostalgic look at life and aspirations of the future, pushing yourself and looking forward. The track is playful and the lazy acoustic guitar helps bring together this whole image of just sitting and thinking about the world. When I feel a little down, this is the track that helps me pick myself back up.



Sally Hui – Contributing Writer
‘Praise The Lord (Da Shine)’ by A$AP Rocky ft. Skepta 
RRRakim Mayers *rolls tongue*, has duo-ed with skeptical Skepta to art easel the most #trending track from his fresh salad album, ‘Testing’ 1-2-3. A faint-worthy 32-mill Spotify streams of consciousness, is water clear evidence of a big fat tick of approval by ‘The People’. Only a matter of diagnosed seconds does it take for the MSG addicting panpipes/Squidward’s clarinet, to reel you, a pec popping mercury-free salmon out of the nip freezing sea. This London plus New York flava flav tune ‘Da Shine(s)’ brighter than a bald keynote speaker’s head *A$AP gold tooth ‘ting’*.


‘Iceberg’ by BØRNS
Blue lips. Somewhere in the terrains of Antarctica, an Eskimo’s igloo lo and beholds an unopenable bejeweled treasure chest. Full of ripe passion(fruit) like its siblings in ‘Blue Madonna’, this herbal tea infusion is an ‘A Milli’-thread count *Lil Wayne cough syrup snigger* silk sheet of undying cemetery allure. 1:52’s “iceberg”, melts you into cioccolato gelato, and the Viva La Vida violin shell-closure is a picturesque view from Everest. With this glacial “surface tension” tune, Borns hypothermingly has, “turn(ed) the ripples that surround us into waves” #Frostbite #Santa.


'Ghost Town' by Kanye West 
“Woah, once again I am a child". Yes, publicity overload but GT ‘tis irresist...A gymnast prodigy. Flexible for extrovert-life of the party-anthem mode, and equally times of real tear-jerking mirror reflection about self and life. Your chameleon alter egos are satisfied 360. Kanye’s verse is perfection. Plaguing only 45 secks of its 4:31 duration, claps to his a$$ in giving plenty of room on the bus seat for others to generously shine their ‘Flashing Lights’. ‘Casper’ Town sets the bar back-bendingly high for an Olympian pole-vaulter, thus we must thank 2018 for this early Xmas gift.



Jaspar Robinson – Contributing Writer
‘Four Out Of Five’ by Arctic Monkeys
The grandeur of Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino reaches it’s peak on 'Four Out Of Five' and leaves a large, luxury space hotel shaped hole in my chest as I long for the day I become relevant enough to live at this hotel.


‘Charmless Wonder’ by MYTHS
The psychedelic stylings of MYTHS shine through on 'Charmless Wonder' like the sun through a thin veil. I feel nothing but childish glee when I listen to this song and am reminded of a simpler time where there were only two Toy Storys, and the weekend wasn't over in 2 minutes.


‘Heartbreak Club’ by Jade Alice
A very very very recent release but a killer no doubt. 'Heartbreak Club' is the epitome of lush pop with its layer upon layer of vocal lines, super long reverb tails, and ginormous drum sound. Feelings of innocence and nostalgia bleed through, coating my glasses with a rose tint, making my high school years resemble a cheesy teen soap opera.



Roy Gordon – Contributing Writer 
‘Hunger’ By Florence+Machine 
The classic Florence+Machine sound does not falter with this one. Though it isn’t a massive departure, the familiarity feels like we are listening to a single soul navigate and grow through time. Florence singing the themes of honesty and human insecurity instantly captivated me from the first play.


‘Call Out My Name’ by The Weeknd    
I’m a huge The Weeknd Fan, he just has such a precise ability conjure mood his voice. The track is so reminiscent of his Trilogy album but dynamically it’s definitely related to Beauty Behind The Madness. Opening with the mellow lo-fi piano it gives the chorus so much space and oh man does the chorus hit hard on this one.


‘My My My’ by Troye Sivan
Troye Sivan’s "My My My" gives me feels for days. The dance between the minimalist production and Troye’s smooth tone give birth to some stellar pop. It’s just so lush, spacious and layered all at the same time.



Sam Gillespie – Contributing Writer 
‘In My View’ by Young Fathers
It’s near impossible to pick a singular highlight from Young Fathers’ early Album of the Year contender, Cocoa Sugar. The first single released, ‘Lord’, has come to be a personal favourite. However, on the technicality that it was released in 2017, I’ve had to scour the record, searching for anything that stood out from extremely unique, infectious collection of songs. I landed on the album’s lead single, ‘In My View’. It was the first song I’d heard off Cocoa Sugar, and I now realise that it’s the perfect introduction to Young Fathers. It exemplifies their fusion of sounds and genres so much so that they make it difficult to categorise – they may be a rap group, but this is not a rap album. 'In My View'’s uneasy synths, Africana-type beats and a perfectly subtle vocal sample leave it looping in my head for hours, even days, after listening.


‘Pain Killer’ by Iceage (ft. Sky Ferreira)
I’ve been listening to this song for a while, but it wasn’t until I put it on one morning while making breakfast that its brilliance struck me. It’s a brazen song exploding with in-your-face brass, ferocious guitars and runs at a pace that makes it impossible to ignore. I’ve never felt so bloody motivated while cooking eggs.


‘Spare Gold’ by Paul White (ft. Shungudzo)
Paul White’s latest solo effort is quite a departure from his previous sample-heavy hip-hop production. He has written and performed every note on this LP himself (apart from features, obviously) and has made a record that sounds like the best parts of Lorde, SZA, Air and Junk-era M83. ‘Spare Gold’ is a playful mix of jazz, soul and psychedelic pop with Shungudzo’s luscious vocals flowing gracefully over the top.



Rita Kidd – Contributing Writer 
‘Second Hand Car (Acoustic)’ by Kim Churchill
Churchill is known for his raw acoustic style. His 2017 album Weight Falls took a step away from his usual style and moved into a more heavy pop sound, still laden with beats and rhythm, still Churchill but a new Churchill. This year he released an acoustic version of the song which reminded me of the musician I first saw playing at a uni bar in 2013. Rhythmic, intelligent and moving, this song represents wanting to stick around but not being able to and feeling disappointed because of that. The 2017 version hooks you in with its power, the 2018 acoustic style brings you back to earth to reflect and feel the lyrics in a stripped back version.


‘Flames’ by David Guetta & Sia
I started a new job this year. It has been a steep learning curve and extremely difficult to find my feet. Thankfully, I have managed to get this far with encouragement from my loved ones and Sia. The song is uplifting, encouraging and fun to listen to. It has a heartful and sincere message but does not take itself too seriously. Of course, the chorus is the heart of the song, “Oh my love, don’t stop running, gotta keep those tears at bay” but I love the opening lyrics for their simplicity and honesty. This song is not full of metaphor or allegory, it sends its message clearly, that all you have to do, is put one foot in front of the other and just keeping moving through it.


‘The Fire’ by Bishop Briggs
This song is powerful from the opening; Broad chords, heavy beats and a melodic voice laid on top. Briggs classifies her music as dark poetry and treats it as an escape. This song is not messing around, it doesn’t apologise and its intensity is impressive. The lyrics on 'The Fire' portray self-reflection and of course, sadness about the relationship that ended just before this song was written. I fell in love with it because of its power, beauty and rawness that Briggs carries through all her tracks. It also reminds me that it is important to self-reflect your own flaws and misgivings to perhaps prevent the same mistakes in the future.



Feature: The Ingredients of Tesse's 'How It All Unfolds'

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Fresh from the release of How It All Unfolds, Tesse aka Tom Stephens gives us an insight into the inspiration behind his debut LP. Scroll down to also find out where you can catch Tesse on the road!

Touring
I wrote a lot of these songs while on the road playing the drums with another band. I’d spent the better part of 2016 away from home while in an unstable relationship and going through some health issues. Touring definitely has its joys, it’s a big privilege getting to see the world as well as play music every day, but a lot of it consists of large amounts of time on aeroplanes, in vans driving down highways and sitting in cafes and empty green rooms. I was pretty self-absorbed and exhausted, all in all, a bad combination. A lot of these songs were written while in that place as a way of working through those emotions.

Neil Young - ‘On the Beach’ from On the Beach LP 
Neil’s masterpiece. The recording has so much raw energy and life, I remember being shown this song and being instantly struck down like I’d been hit by a truck but in a good way. Really fueled the desire to record straight to tape for our album. The instrumentation is so sparse and beautiful, every note permeates a feeling. Lyrically it’s so direct and potent. Each line says something universal but he’s not trying to be grandiose or setting out to heal the world with his words, he’s just telling it like it is; “though my problems are meaningless… that don’t make them go away.”

Relationship Breakdowns  
Any relationship coming to an end is a real reminder of the impermanence of everything. I was really confronted with this around the time of writing and recording these songs. After coming home from that period of heavy touring, two relationships that I held up high dramatically ended and it really rocked me. Creating these songs with 4 close friends was a form of therapy. I think all art making is about appreciating the broad spectrum of human experience and emotion, embracing everything that comes with an experience, be it negative or positive and turning into something.

Smog – ‘Red Apples’ from Red Apple Falls LP 
There is an incredible weight to this recording. Each line sang and each note played is delivered with purpose and intent. There’s an effortlessness to it; you get the feeling like it could have never been played again after this particular take. That was the intention with our record, to go in for each take and try to be completely present and together for that length of time and whatever happens, happens; embracing the imperfections and rolling with it. 

Long Blacks and Tea  
Gotta keep the motor running while making an album. Turns out engineer Alex Bennett of Sound Recordings, Castlemaine is not only a wizard on the faders but is also a wizard on the coffee machine and carries a serious selection of loose leaves. Much appreciated in between takes.

You can listen to How It All Unfolds below:



You can catch Tesse live at these dates:
July 12th - The Lansdowne, Sydney 
July 13th - The Catfish, Melbourne 
Click here for more info

Review: Kllo | Melbourne Recital Centre | 8.6.18


Since the inception of Kllo, the power-duo of Chloe and Simon haven't ventured outside the comfort of their twosome. This broken on Saturday night at Melbourne’s beautiful Recital Centre, where the tag team was joined by a full live band. Accompanied on the evening by their opener Jack Grace, Kllo put on a stirring one show performance in Melbourne, before taking their band on the road to Sydney.

Jack Grace’s electrifying production was paired on-stage by the majesty of a Steinway grand piano. The prolific instrument had him reaching an emotive resonance through his music with the tempered tones of the piano complimenting his high vocals perfectly.

While Jack Grace's set was short, it also presented a wonderful surprise to those present at the Recital Centre, with Melbourne singer/songwriter Eliott joining Jack on-stage for a stunning duet combination of two of their songs; Eliott’s 'Figure It Out' and his 'Row Me Home'. Their vocal synchronisation was profound, coupling with the tender sounds of the grand piano and sweeping synths from his production work, coming together to create a live piece that was both touching, yet still lived in the moment.

Jack Grace's stripped-back set created an emotional, but laid-back tone for the evening.

Kllo’s performance was mesmerising, their usual intensified dance tracks coupled with Chloe's whimsical vocals followed the same path as Jack Grace’s works; having layers cut back for a closer appreciation of the duo's pure sounds. With beautiful lighting to accompany the fusion of their stripped back electronic synths and the live band elements, the set was full of Kllo's fan favorites and bangers from their album transformed into new held-back renditions of the original recordings.

Kllo started their set with 'Downfall', the opening track off of the duo’s 2017 debut album, Backwater. It was the perfect opener for the performance, with the sparkling, ambient synths floating through the Recital Centre’s hall as the band slowly made their way on stage.

'Making Distractions', the pair's first release of 2018; 'Potential' and a heart-rending rendition of 'Last Yearn' were early highlights of Kllo’s set, with Simon swapping between his synths and keys for the Steinway between songs. In this way, the Steinway piano was used to great effect through Kllo’s set. This not only acted as a buffer between the more electronic tracks, but also playing a role in softening some of the heavier electro tracks.

Simon’s breathtaking playing of the piano brought out the raw potential of the instrument, as the band gave it the space and presence to combine perfectly with the accompanying synths.

Dissolve was a fantastic example of this feature, taking away the standard moody synths during the track and replacing them with the grand chords of the piano giving the track a varied mood, taking Chloe’s already softened vocals and exemplifying them.

The live band component was a fantastic success for Kllo, with the addition of extra synths, a drum-kit and backing vocals fleshing out the the pair's sound. This had a immediate effect, giving Kllo’s already deep sounds an extra dimension and making the duo’s tracks feel livelier, with a more tangible element attached to the sound.

Leading into a section that Chloe joyfully dubbed their “semi-bangers”, the duo and their band ran through their popular single 'Virtue' as well as a an old fan favourite off of Kllo’s Well Worn EP, 'Bolide'. The track's lifted the energy in the hall, with the crowd bobbing their heads and moving in their seats to the rhythmic beats, if the Recital Centre had allowed it, people would have been dancing in the aisles.

'Nylon', a layered acoustic track off of Backwater was the closing number for a set full of fun, growing sounds and a new appreciation of Kllo's music. With only Chloe singing, Simon on the grand piano and their backing singers on stage, the track was a display of their sheer talent as artists, even away from all of their equipment.

Funnily enough it seemed the Recital Centre was playing tricks on the artists with Simon’s synths accidentally playing through their closing number, it broke the tension and unfortunately brought both Chloe and Simon out of the moment; causing them to restart the song. Restarting the track with a laugh and a “poor backing singers” remark, Chloe and Simon completed their set with finesse.

Written by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)

Premiere: THIA. – 'Underwriter'

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

We're super thrilled to bring you 'Underwriter', the debut single by THIA., which is the new project by Melbourne singer-songwriter Thea Fitzgerald. The electro-pop track also sees her collaborate with producer Hamish Patrick.

In a statement, she says "'Underwriter' is a reflection on the rules and regulations we often place on ourselves. The track allowed me to explore the difficulty we often have with coming to terms with and acting on our gut, rather than what we think we need or should want". 

Using intricate and layered vocals, THIA. is able delicately sing over the stunning electronic soundscapes, and it's utterly beautiful. 

You can listen to 'Underwriter' by THIA. below:

Album Review: Kanye West – ye

Friday, June 8, 2018

Hot coals. Piles and piles of steamin’ hot coals. The social media stratosphere has shot-glassed an extra dousing of steroids since the new-found return of unofficial monk, Kan-hip-hop-hooryay (Wicked Rapper of the Mid) West.

Controversies aside, it is safe to say that musicheads worldwide stomachs, livers and hearts imploded inside out from the announcement of the Chi-town artist’s brand spanking new car smell album.

‘Lift Yourself’ is the first escaping ant of West’s 2018 inventory of releases, where this 2-minute ‘avant-garde-Whoopi Goldberg-scat’ appears to exist as its own living entity. Sounds as though West had a nightcap epiphany at 4am and a creative itch needed to be scratched immediately.

The beauty of music is that there is no correct or incorrect way to interpret this glorious art form. And with not ‘Ye’, nor ‘YE’, but ‘ye’, especially, the not so media-ocre Internet universe continues to be a spiralling goldmine of infinite opinion.

Shot on the Wild Wild West’s very own, ’you used to call me on my cell phone’, the album cover is a complete juxtaposition from the Helvetica bold, statement confidence of ‘The Life of Pablo’, or loud loss of identity ‘Yeezus’. If anything its serenity is almost reminiscent to the aura of ‘808s’ – like that distant cousin you think about but haven’t seen for years.

7 songs long, and the shortest of West’s albums, it garners high expectations for each candle to be a lickable Venus de Milo masterpiece. When it’s all said and done, ‘ye’ is a beautiful body of work. It’s nonchalant, vulnerably naked, and unlocks the hidden key to Kanye’s true feels.

A cloud of cannabis fills the air. The first couple of tracks are a pack of streetwear youths head nodding till their necks snap off, while West simultaneously ingrains in their brains, “the most beautiful thoughts are always besides the darkest” through a megaphone. More or less, a potential depiction of the album listening partay rendezvous that unfolded upon mountains in oxygenating Wyoming.

“Will car hydraulics be the entire vibe of ‘ye’?”

Thankfully, there is well and truly delish dreamboat diversity, transitioned by the seeping slow sway of ‘Wouldn’t Leave’, piggybacked by Charlie Wilson-infused ‘No Mistakes’. This classic Kanye flavoured hook hits you with a crumb of nostalgia, but before you can fully soak in the bliss, ‘Ghost Town’ goosebump-ingly creeps up like a charming alleyway cat.

“Who is this divine fetus-MJ slash mystery prepubescent lad?” She, actually, is 070 Shake – by far the shining gold star on ‘Ghost Town’. Her outro…feels, feels and more séance feels *cue the complementary Space Invaders effects*.

It must be said that listeners are now officially crying in the club. Meanwhile, West is somewhere in a hidden studio cave cutting up buckets of onions and laughing hysterically in the midst of planning his next scheme.

But the emo-shuns don’t stop here. Last but definitely not least, West’s voice box makes an ‘on his knees’ genie return at 1:08 in coming-of-age ‘Violent Crimes’. Exiting quicker than a city slicker corporate on their morning commute, listeners are left on their toes with a Nicki Minaj voicemail and a sandpaper tongue thirst for more ‘ye’/Ye.

Overall, the initial thirst has been seemingly quenched *turns off hose*.

ye accumulated a down pour of global anticipation sweats, and now birthed, you could say it under delivered from what was expected. But, that is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing.

There is a homemade, local-muso craftsmanship veil, sheathed atop lightning bolts that radiate from Kanye Omari Calamari West’s skull. It’s genuine to his inner workings , drawing you close enough to clasp the warmth of his 'father stretched' hands.

The magic is certainly still there. Like a black hole in space that has finally been filled, ye is also a reminder of how much we’ve missed West’s music, and the way it has always made us feel for the past two decades and counting.

Written by Sally Hui (@sally__hui)


Now Playing: Thomston – 'Acid Rain'


New Zealand's Thomston has returned with new single 'Acid Rain', which is his first solo single in two years. Thomston's latest release was written and produced solely by himself, and further reaffirms his evolution as a singer-songwriter.

It's interesting to note the contrast between the minimal nature of the track to the evocative words of the lyrics and descriptions of acid rain — which are far from soothing. Through this, Thomston is able to bring beauty into his heart-wrenching words. The words are particularly powerful, including the lyrics, "I thought you were holy water but you were just acid rain". In a statement, Thomston says, “It’s about being a bad judge of character, being wrong about someone you cared for, and the liberation of learning what you need and deserve from those around you".

'Acid Rain' is a welcome return for Thomston, who is set to take 2018 by storm.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Premiere: YOMAEZ – 'Dreaming'

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Today, we're excited to share YOMAEZ's fresh new single 'Dreaming', which is a re-work by the Adelaide artist's other project Water Park.

If you're amidst a busy and stressful week, then let all your worries wash away with YOMAEZ's 'Dreaming'. The track opens up with serene vocals, which are enwrapped in feelings of tranquility. Even when the electronic production gracefully weaves its way into the track, 'Dreaming' maintains its soothing state.

Following in the footsteps of previous singles 'Anxious' and 'One More Night' (ft. Blooming), 'Dreaming' is another exquisite addition to YOMAEZ's catalogue of gems.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can listen to 'Dreaming' by YOMAEZ below:

A Tale Of Two Cities: Vera Blue – Lady Powers Tour – Sydney/Melbourne

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Two of our contributors headed along to Vera Blue's Lady Powers tour recently — M.Francis headed to her opening show in Sydney, while Daniel Hanssen made his way to her closing show of the tour in Melbourne. Check out their take on the shows below:


SYDNEY (25-05-18):
Vera Blue could be the human love child of Greek goddess Aphrodite with her angelic voice and glorious mane – it is an easy assumption. But human or goddess, the Sydney-based songstress gave a spellbinding performance at her sold out hometown show on Friday night. 

Support acts Kira Puru and Alice Ivy both cemented themselves as artists to watch and set the stage of the iconic Enmore Theatre for the inimitable headliner.

There was collective cries when Vera Blue, christened Celia Pavey, entered the stage with an electric rendition of 'Magazine' before effortlessly sliding into the empowering 'Give In'. Thrashing and throwing herself around the stage, she captivated the audience with favourites such as 'Fools', 'Hold' 'First Week' and 'Settle'.

Vera Blue’s debut album Perennial is raw and honest with tales of love, loss and empowerment and makes for a devastatingly beautiful live set. Track-after-track transported us to an ethereal plain where power ballad and soft lullabies blended with effortless confidence.

Midway through her set, she swapped the electronics for an acoustic guitar and serenaded the crowd with lyrics such as now the only thing that I can do is wait, wait 'til I don't feel. The raw and emotive 'Said Goodbye to Your Mother' seemingly shares a intimate glimpse into the artist’s own personal experience.

There are no doubts the now 24-year-old has come a long way from The Voice where she debuted and placed third in the 2013 season. Vera Blue has moved from strength to strength and cemented herself as one of Australia’s most diverse artists.

The crescendo saw a surge of energy throughout the venue with crowd goers exploding for popular track 'Regular Touch'. But we all knew it wasn’t over just yet.


The crowd cried out when the petite singer reentered the stage for an blisteringly powerful encore of 'Lady Powers' which left us simultaneously doused in confetti and hungry for more.

Written by M.Francis

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MELBOURNE (03-06-18):
The Forum Melbourne was alight with the sounds of magic as Vera Blue closed out her sold out Lady Powers tour in style, completed by a stirring Sunday performance. Joined by friends, Kira Puru and Alice Ivy, the show was a heralded celebration of the work, heart and feelings that were put behind Vera Blue's debut album Perennial and the more recent Lady Powers remixes. 

Coming out of a massive sold out opening show the night before, Vera Blue was more than capable of keeping up the momentum, with her fun dance moves, passionate music and joyful humour highlighting a night of music and celebrations.

Starting the set at full strength, Vera strutted herself onto centre stage alongside the opening notes of 'Private'. Having an immediate impact, the crowd went into a frenzy, singing back the lyrics and dancing along. She then worked her way through 'Give In', the powerful and emotional pumped pop hit thundering through the beautiful hall of the Forum Theatre.

Thankfully Vera's 2016 EP Fingertips wasn't forgotten as the title track from the EP was a early highlight of the set, with much of the five song EP being performed live throughout the show including 'Settle' and 'Patterns'.

While the music was more than enough to provide for the show, Vera Blue and the band were also accompanied by an incredible production set, with the visuals and lighting helping to set the mood through her shifting vocal tones.

Moving between the exciting moods of energetic, dance natured tracks and her emotive folk pop songs helped kept her set fresh. Yet, it was the renditions of 'First Week', 'Pedestal/Cover Me' and a poignant performance of the recording that started the entire Vera Blue project, 'Hold', that captured the hearts of the crowd.  The songs were stripped of much of the production work from the original Perennial recordings allowing her captivating acoustic guitar work to shine through.

'Said Goodbye to Your Mother' was a vocal highlight of Vera Blue’s set, as she bared her soul through the song’s compelling lyrics and her commanding control of her sublime vocals. Her lofty high sustains and her silvery lower range helped epitomise a song that was full of heavy emotions, leading to a big finish alongside her band.

Mended bridged the gap between the emotions of 'Said Goodbye To Your Mother' and the poppy 'Regular Touch', with the song the perfect balance between the two. It sent the crowd into an excited rush, with the popular single off of the Perennial album a clear crowd favourite.

Vera’s emotions flowed before the 'Regular Touch' dance party begun, tearing up while thanking her amazing band for sticking by her through the project. This brought the crowd to a round of applause for her tenderness and support for band members Dave, Sam and Ross. It’s her honest character that draws crowds to hrt’s music, with it permeating through her voice and lyrics, creating another avenue for her to connect to her fans.


The song that started the tour closed it out; 'Lady Powers'. An energetic and punchy ode to the strength of women, Vera was joined on stage by Kira Puru for a verse, before both were joined by her friends for a flower throwing dance party. The show solidified Vera Blue as a continued presence in the Australian music scene, with her honesty, modesty and conviction as an musician a rarely held trait by bigger artists.

Written by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)

Now Playing: Suburban Living – 'Passing Days'


Last month, Philadelphia's Suburban Living unleashed their new single 'Passing Days', which is their first release since their 2016 album Almost Paradise

Dreamy with a pinch of darkness is the best way to describe 'Passing Days'. The delicate vocals are airy and float above the track delightfully, yet, the song also features an edgy side. The heavy guitars and percussion add emotional weight and depth, as well as lift the track from its dreamlike state. It's an impassioned track, which features a degree of urgency and blazing sentimentality. 

'Passing Days' is an exhilarating preview of what they have in store next and we're so damn excited to hear it.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Now Playing: Wild Nothing – 'Letting Go'


Jack Tatum's project Wild Nothing is back again with a new single entitled 'Letting Go', as well as news of a fourth album, which is due for release in a few months.

'Letting Go' is enwrapped in feelings of nostalgia, with its shoegaze guitars, as well as the 80s-esque synths. The song is an invigorating and evocative number with powerful lyrics about finding release. Tatum uses imagery of a music box, and how once opened, the music is free. The chorus is particularly powerful; "I want to be happier now / I want to be more than closed / Surreal, the way you made me out / The way you crashed me down".

Wild Nothing's forthcoming album, Indigo, will be released on 31st August via Captured Tracks. You can pass the time by jamming 'Letting Go' on repeat, we know we will be.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Album Review: Beach House – 7


Baltimore dream pop duo, Beach House, have returned with their seventh full-length album, that again brings us into a blissful daze of lo-fi drum machines and synths and endless reverb. The duo consisting of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally never fail to impress, proving themselves to be the masters of the dream pop genre. Even after seven albums, Beach House haven't lost their magic.

7 is a collection of beautiful dream pop that feels so special upon first listen. The album is more lively and dark as compared to their 2015 release Depression Cherry, which sounded more like adult lullabies — the two albums still have mere similarities and bring about the same sentimental feeling. This perfectly encapsulates Beach House; they never change too much but their music is never repetitive. 

During the writing and recording process of 7, Beach House changed their creative process; instead of writing songs that they could recreate live, they let themselves write whatever naturally came out without limits. The duo built a home studio, so when they recorded the songs they had written for the album, they could record more quickly rather than waiting months on end to record a song that was burnt out. You can hear this on 7, as each song is full of life and emotion, with new sounds and layers that we haven’t yet heard from Beach House. 

The album begins with ‘Dark Spring’, which has elements of darker and progressive rock. Transitioning smoothly into ‘Pay No Mind’ the listener is instantly eased into a slower, quieter moment. ‘Lemon Glow’ has a more intense, darker feeling once again, whilst keeping their pop sound in tact. The song sounds like it’s longing for something, in anticipation and impatient.  

‘Drunk in LA’ is vivid — the song begins with a muffled synth that sound akin to being in someone’s bedroom at a house party, away from the noise and music. Legrand sings of loneliness, “isolation tender, something fragile coming soon” and “I am loving losing life”. ‘Dive’ is beautifully tranquil, filled with lo-fi organs and dreamy soundscapes. ‘Lose Your Smile’ has an innocent nature to it and sounds most similar to older albums Teen Dream and Bloom. ‘Woo’ is fun and childlike, with playful synths and catchy melodies, still with an absolute beauty surrounding its every note. ‘Girl Of The Year’ sticks to the genre of dream pop, truly sounding like floating in a dream; intense synth paired with Legrand’s vocals, repeating at the songs closure, “baby’s gone, all night long”. The song seems to speak of the challenges of women in the limelight. 

The album closes on ‘Last Ride’, which opens with grand piano, building up to an emotional climax to conclude the album

Beach House’s 7 keeps its stagnant beauty throughout, perfectly in balance with its heavier, darker moments  it’s one to come back to for years to come.


Written by Anita Agathangelou

You can purchase 7 here or stream it via Apple Music.

Gig News: Miguel Announces Splendour In The Grass Sideshows

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Superstar Miguel has announced his first Australian dates since his last appearance on our shores in 2014. Along with his upcoming appearance at Splendour In The Grass, Miguel is set to a play a series of sideshows in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Miguel will be performing tracks across all four of his releases, including tracks from his most recent critically acclaimed album 2014, War & Leisure, which featured hits such as 'Sky Walker', 'Told You So', and 'Come Through and Chill'.

Tickets are set to go on sale next Monday 4th June at 3pm.

Tour dates:
Monday, 16th July - Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday, 18th July - Forum Theatre, Melbourne

More information is available here

Gig Review: Middle Kids | Corner Hotel, Melbourne | 26.5.18

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

After fighting to have their sound heard in other projects and now as a group, the trio of Middle Kids (featuring Hannah, Tim and Harry) signalled their unshaking talent as musicians through their debut album release Lost Friends. Embarking on a national tour to celebrate their album, Middle Kids landed for multiple Melbourne shows, finishing the city’s leg of the tour on Saturday night at the Corner Hotel.

Lottie Liams, the Melbourne soloist with a tender heart, opened the evening serenading the crowd with her rich vocals, wholesome acoustic guitar and some friendly ukulele. Using her folky charms, Lottie Liams placed her soul on the edge of the stage through her honest songwriting. The eighteen-year-old played a small set of originals, including both of her singles; 'Sunflower' and 'Running Home'. Lottie Liam’s sound was somewhat opposite from what the night would later hold, but her flowing, poignant vocals helped set a softened excitement heading into Ruby Field’s set.

***

Ruby Fields, the young Sydney artist known for putting her heart in her lyrics and recently coming off of her own EP tour was the main opener for Middle Kids. Using her time up on stage effectively, Ruby managed to play a couple of new tunes, a cover and to get through her entire EP of songs in what could easily have been a headline show in itself.

Ruby quickly busted out 'Ritalin' after arriving on stage, the popular single to precede her 2018, EP, Your Dad’s Opinion For Dinner, with her distorted guitar and her band thrashing away underneath, Ruby rocked through her set comprised of 'Libby’s Pink Car', 'Fairly Lame', 'Fairly Tame' and two new tracks not on the EP, 'Trouble' and 'Rock Ripper'.

Ruby fit in well with the big emotional hitters of Middle Kids, with her own recordings bringing life and hardships into the frame. 'Redneck Lullaby' was a particularly hard-hitting piece with many members of the crowd tearing up to the memorable track.

Yet, Ruby’s performance involved large chunks of fun, making cracks at her band members, her own situation in life and what it meant for her to be growing up. Ruby’s lighthearted fun helped with the mood in her set and helped raise the energy further before Middle Kids started.

The big finish came through the likely choices of 'P Plates' and 'I Want', with both tracks having a huge reception from the crowd. It seemed everyone in the front row and beyond were belting out her lyrics, displaying clearly that Ruby has been able to create quite a connection with her fans through music.

***

Completing the Melbourne leg of their Lost Friends album tour before heading off to Sydney, Middle Kids pulled out everything they had for their show at the Corner Hotel on Saturday. Shying away from the mellower sounds coming out of the album. Middle Kids’ performance showed their rock edge,  however, the band were still able to slow down for some more nuanced performances, highlighted by Hannah and her keyboard late in the set.

Middle Kids played a long list of their popular tracks, drawing from both their 2017 self-titled EP and a majority of their Lost Friends album. Getting underway with the opener from the album 'Bought It', it was clear the band was shaking the soft rock feel and displayed a formidable sense of exciting live music, rocking the Corner Hotel at its hinges and giving Richmond a good night of music. 'Old River', 'Your Love' and 'On My Knees' followed before the crowd was sent into overdrive with the exciting and incredibly popular 2016 single, 'Edge Of Town'. The singing was synchronised and loud, with the crowd almost as loud as a team song at the AFL.

'Don't Be Hiding', followed by 'Maryland' gave some of the more emotional pieces of the evening some room to move, with Hannah’s soft vocals taking to the forefront of the performance. Every member of the crowd was left holding their breath as Hannah’s rendition of her own song, 'Doing It Right' reverberated through the band room as her passionate and driven piano solo left hairs on end and crowd members speechless.

Yet, Hannah also showed vocal fire during 'On My Knees' and 'Mistake', giving her the opportunity to really flex the voice hitting powerful high sustains and impassioned tones

Comfortable on stage, Middle Kids worked their personable magic, bantering with each other and having a few wise-cracks at the crowd, while wholly appreciating the opportunity to play to a sold-out crowd at the Corner Hotel.

Both 'Lost Friends' and 'Never Start' appeared off of the band’s set. With Middle Kids seeming to close the performance with 'So Long Farewell, I’m Gone', before Ruby appeared side-stage to goad the crowd into the classic “one more song” chant. Thankfully, fans of the two popular songs weren’t disappointed as Hannah, Tim and Harry arrived back on stage one last time to wheel through both tracks, much to the crowd's delight.

Written by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)

Premiere: Ruby Gilbert – 'Dearly Beloved'


Today, we're delighted to share the title track from Ruby Gilbert's forthcoming EP Dearly Beloved, which is due for release this Friday, 1st June.

Ruby Gilbert was a finalist for the Queensland Music Awards, and it's obvious why — Gilbert possesses an impressive ability to wow, not only with her vocals but also her bewitching lyrcisim — both are on full display on 'Dearly Beloved'. Raw and honest, her introspective words shine throughout the track's duration.

Be sure to check out her debut EP this Friday, and if you find yourself in Brisbane this Saturday, you can catch Ruby Gilbert at her launch show at Bloodhound Bar, more information is available here.

You can stream 'Dearly Beloved' by Ruby Gilbert below:



You can find Ruby Gilbert online below:
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Album Review: Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes

Friday, May 25, 2018

It can’t be easy being Shawn Mendes. He has a legion of dedicated fans, hit singles and wealth, but the media’s constant label of ‘teenage heartthrob’ makes some music fans think twice about listening to his music. Sure, he sings pop songs about love, but one listen of his self-titled debut will dissipate any doubts you have about the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Unlike his previous releases, his self-titled third album sees Mendes experiment with a wide range of influences. Recently, he mentioned in an interview with British GQ that no-one listens to solely one genre and that young people tend to listen to many different types of music. This album embraces sounds from not only mainstream pop but alternative rock, contemporary R&B, funk and synth-pop. He does not abandon the Shawn Mendes that fans have come to love, instead, he presents a sound that’s more mature and developed from anything he has released previously.

The album opens up with his biggest statement, ‘In My Blood’, which was inspired after seeing Kings Of Leon live. The anthemic rock track sees him embrace his vulnerability without cliché one-liners. The motif of “help me” is memorable and powerful. The track is an anthem that many young people can relate to, and a track that they can blast aloud and identify with. When imagining ‘In My Blood’ in a live capacity, I can picture a sea of phone lights and fans passionately screaming along to every word.

Mendes fuses elements such as funk, synth pop and R&B on a few instances on his album, and the mixture is utterly hypnotic. ‘Lost In Japan’ opens with a delicate piano before bursting with funk influences. The enticing love song is catchy and memorable, and with one sole listen, the chorus will be ringing in your head for hours. His more recent single ‘Nervous’ is also evidence of Mendes fusing contrasting elements without it becoming dishevelled. Mendes’ vocals on the verses appear as a subtle conversation, adding to the intimacy of the track. ‘Queen’ is sure to be popular with his female fans. The groove on ‘Queen’ is not as glaring as it is on ‘Lost In Japan’ or ‘Nervous’, but it’s still noticeable.

Mendes also makes use of elements from contemporary R&B on tracks like ‘Fallin’ All in You’, which features the pop sound fans have come to love, but with the lifting and vigorous melodies of R&B blended in. The tender and sentimental love song will wow your ears with its passionate lyricism and uplifting vocals. ‘Where Were You in the Morning?’, a song about a one-night-stand also exhibits a charming combination of pop and R&B undertones, particularly evident in the bluesy use of the guitars. The track features clear influences from John Mayer, but with a Mendes twist. With its well-crafted and alluring melody, it's difficult to not be drawn into the allure of ‘Where Were You In The Morning?’

Fans of Mendes older music, have no fear, he doesn’t completely distance himself from it, instead, he appears more sophisticated and refined. Tracks like ‘Like to Be You’, which features production by lifelong idol John Mayer and vocals by Julia Michaels, is evidence of this. Their dreamy vocal harmonies are backed by the sounds of a gentle guitar. ‘Because I Had You’ features aspects of his previous music, but with a dose of maturity in his lyricism. ‘Mutual’ is an exquisite blend of seductive basslines, impassioned vocals and a dynamic chorus. ‘Mutual’ is a display of Mendes’ confidence, not only as an artist and performer but as a young man navigating the world of dating.

Mendes' growth on his self-titled album shows his impressive progression as an artist. The album will not only dazzle his devoted fans, but also those looking for contemporary pop in its finest form.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Gig Review: Iron & Wine | Melbourne Recital Centre | 23.5.18


With a career spanning six studio albums (plus two collaborative albums with Ben Bridwell and Jesca Hoop), Iron & Wine is one of the world's best and unique singer-songwriters. Playing the Melbourne Recital Centre is the perfect setting for the atmospheric nature of his music. Revellers weren't only wowed by his stunning music, but also by his infectious charm.

Along with his band, Sam Beam was backed by an intriguing set up of pink clouds that adorned above him. The show was his second of the night, the first show being at 6:30pm and the second being after 9:30pm. With his declaration of "I saved the best shit for the second show", I sat inside the venue with an aura of optimism that we were all about to see something special — and that feeling was right.

He played songs across his six studio albums, focussing particularly on his most recent album Beast Epic, which he released last August. He opened up with the beautiful l sounds of  'The Trapeze Swinger', captivating everyone from the get-go. His vocals are some the world-best and his artistry was on full display over the course of the night. He also treated the crowd to renditions of 'Someday the Waves', 'Call It Dreaming', 'Glad Man Singing' and a few others. His set also included a rework of his tune 'Jezabel', which evolved it to a whole other level.

A highlight of the night was his solo acoustic performance of 'Naked as We Came', which lifted the room with soothing vocals and hauntingly beautiful sounds, leaving everyone stunned.

Despite the beautiful mellow feeling of the evening, which caused instant calmness for everyone, he delighted everyone with his personality, showcasing funny on-stage banter with his band and the audience, even declaring his love for Australian crowds (noting that we're fun) and our wine.

After departing the stage for a brief moment, Beam returned to the stage to perform one last song — 'About a Bruise'. Though the ending felt bittersweet, I felt content leaving Melbourne Recital Centre knowing that I had just witnessed something ever-so-special.

Written by Kristy Smolcic





Premiere: Loose Leaf – 'Crowd Pleaser'

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Today, we're thrilled to bring you 'Crowd Pleaser', which is the latest single by Gold Coast four-piece Loose Leaf. Their latest release is set to appear on their upcoming EP Frames,  which is due for release this July.

'Crowd Pleaser' is indie-rock perfection. The dreamy tune combines dazzling melodies, dreamy production and sun-gazed vibes that is perfect to blast out loud if you live in Australia's more sunnier cities — or alternatively if you want to transport yourself away from the dreariness of the cold.

If you live up North (or happen to be visiting), be sure to catch Loose Leaf at their below dates:





Loose Leaf tour dates:
Friday 25th May - Elsewhere, Gold Coast
Saturday 26th May - Netherworld, Brisbane
Saturday 9th June - Stone & Wood Brewery, Byron Bay
Saturday 7th July - Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast
Click here to find out more information

Gig Review: Confidence Man | 170 Russell, Melbourne | 20.5.18

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Remember those moments at a social gathering, when someone pulls out the most awkward dance moves, but they move with such conviction you can’t help but name them as the life of the gathering? Throw that sentiment behind a party with the dial turned up to eleven and that is what you’ll be getting at a Confidence Man show.

The night was full of eccentric costumes, blazing dance moves and stoic faces; full of self-assurance as the foursome in Confidence Man, joined by their opening DJ Lex Deluxe, who helped put on the ‘party of the year’ at 170 Russell.

Lex Deluxe, a resident Sydney based DJ, started the pumping party off quickly displaying her smooth and cultivated DJing skills to everyone in the venue. Spending an hour and a half up on stage, Lex Deluxe built her performance around heavy beat-based tracks building into a fulfilling finish with ‘banger’ after ‘banger’ barraging the growing, energetic crowd.

It was a perfectly ironic choice for Confidence Man to select 170 Russell as their venue for the performance, as the venue also doubled as a club throughout the week; a perfect setting for a dance party and for a band that is caught between dance and rock themselves.

Arriving on stage to a loud applause were Confidence Man’s Clarence McGuffie and Reggie Goodchild. The two figures shrouded in mystery high fived before showboating their skills as a producer and drummer respectively throughout an elongated introduction for the opening track, 'Bubblegum'. Yet, the crowd rushed towards the front and were completely behind the antics of the two mystery men.

The entrance of Janet Planet and the soon to be bare-chested Sugar Bones was extravagant, strutting out through the beat-laden intro in their first outfits of the night, both seemingly looking like they were ready to go to a rave. The cool crew led through 'Fascination', 'Better Sit Down Boy', 'Let Me Catch My Breath' before a favourite off of their debut album Confident Music For Confident People, 'C.O.O.L Party', which heated the crowd to a fever pitch. 'C.O.O.L Party' highlighted the mood in the venue, with the mostly spoken track melding with the beats of Clarence and Reggie to describe the fun had behind the ‘party of the year’, drawing similarities with the fun had by the revellers at 170 Russell on Sunday night.

Confidence Man’s real talent lies in the ability to flow between so many different eras of dance music, and if it wasn’t clear through the musical tone shifts on Confident Music For Confident People, then it definitely was evident throughout their live performance. Using the intervals between the costume changes of Janet Planet and Sugar Bones, Clarence and Reggie experimented with dance tracks. The two back-men used these moments as an opportunity to show-off their musical talents, as visuals of the two shrouded individuals flashed chromatically and danced along with their beats. The duo moved through the sounds of classic nineties raves, with heavy beats and swelling synth effects, later opting for a slightly more vivid rendition of the 2000s dance inspired, instrumental track 'Sailboat Vacation'.

The costume changes themselves were entirely reminiscent of Confidence Man’s seeming mantra, ‘showy, confident and fun’, with the main costume change involving a coned, light up bra and flashing shoulder pads for Janet Planet and Sugar Bones respectively. Through two more songs, 'All The Way' and 'Try Your Luck' the costumes remained, selling the image behind the band before Sugar Bones and Janet Planet again left the stage for wardrobe, leaving Clarence McGuffie and Reggie Goodchild to again have a bit of their own fun; rocking the drum kit and keys.

It was all of the elements throughout Confidence Man’s set put together that made the show something so memorable. Between the fashion shifts of Janet Planet and Sugar Bones, the fun of the groups dancing and the endless energy of the two back men, Clarence and Reggie, Confidence Man were able to turn a fun dance album into an exciting and slightly bizarre live performance. It also helped to highlight what Confidence Man’s album Confident Music For Confident People may have lacked as a recorded album, but this in turn further articulated how successfully the recording can translate into a live show, which it was seemingly made for.

The album displayed the band’s prowess towards fun and not taking the process too seriously, but each of their songs came to life, clearly made to be put on loud and proud. This, alongside their exaggerated performances, over-the-top outfits and dorky, but delightful dance moves, evolves their recorded sound.

After diving into the thumping, spoken track, 'Don’t You Know I’m In A Band' and getting the crowd involved for a big dance through their boppy, debut single release 'Boyfriend (Repeat)', the band left for what seemed mere minutes. Yet, Confidence Man finished on a high, closing out the fun on a song for everyone to sing and get behind, 'Out The Window'. It’s hard-hitting beats and melodic, bouncing “I only want a good time/sunshine” hook help describe the emotion behind the crowd while putting a brilliant full stop on their performance.

Finally as if to get one last jab in at the crowd after the lights rose on 170 Russell, both Sugar Bones and Janet Planet returned to the stage to send off the crowd with a shower of ‘Confidence Man’ branded condoms; a final confident and defiant act for the show.

Written by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)

You can check out Daniel Hanssen's album review of Confident Music for Confident People here.

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