Interview: Sloan Peterson finds release with her debut LP

Friday, April 19, 2019
Photo - supplied

Last week, Sloan Peterson (the moniker of Joe Jackson) unveiled her debut album Midnight Love, Vol. 2, which is a follow up to her EP Midnight Love. Before it was released, I chatted to her about the album, her teenage years and how journaling helps with her creative process.

So, Midnight Love, Vol. 2 is coming out soon. How are you currently feeling about its release?

I am excited. I wrote the songs quite a long time ago, so it's kind of a strange feeling having all this new stuff kind of in the works. It's almost just like a release to be able to package Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 up and send them out to the world.

I read that you wrote 'Here' when you were a teenager. How did that track change from its original form when you did it years ago?

I actually found one of the first recordings I wrote of 'Here' recently, which I made a little video clip to. It looked more like Beach House, just a little tiny guitar. I had a drum loop that I'd stole from this emo song, a four or five beat, and I just repeated that throughout the whole thing and just added several guitars and it's very washed out and dreamy. Now, it's just an entire production. We recorded it live at Guy Sebastian's studio. I went back and we added in lots of pieces in the studio. I wanted it to be similar to like a Gwen Stefani vibe, kind of when she left No Doubt and became a pop star. That was the vision I was heading towards. I changed it quite a lot, actually, it went from an indie track to a well-produced song.

Were there any other songs on the album that you wrote some time ago and then revisited?

On Vol. 2, only two of the songs are older, the rest of them were kind of a little bit fresher. The older ones were all written when I was probably 17, 18.

Does it make you nervous when you go back through older stuff?

No, I actually think I like it better now. I just think back, and there's an element of being quite naive, I guess. I had only just started playing music at the time. I didn't know many chords. Everything just seems really vulnerable, and I didn't care as much. I just slapped something together and be like, "Oh, this is amazing. I'm a genius." Now, it's like I do anything, and I hate it even though I've gotten so much better at guitar, and I can actually make a structure of a song. And I think I over-analyze it more now that I know more.

And, would you say your approach to songwriting has changed from your teenage years?

Yeah. Definitely. I think that now, I've got a style that I write and there's only a couple of chord palettes that I always end up using. I'll write a song and I'll try to make it something different and I always end up on minors, especially D minors. Always use D minor (laughs). Just a little bit of a melancholy beat to it that I just keep coming back to even though I want to really move away. Whereas when I was younger, I would just strum and scream. I didn't know what I was doing, or how I was putting it together, and I fully gave it my all (laughs). Now it's like I come back and revisit lyrics or think 'maybe this will work better', or 'does there have to be a bridge in this part?'. It's more thought out, definitely.

How did you keep track of your ideas?

It really depends. Sometimes, just a couple of words will kind of ignite something and I'll have to write it down or record it on my phone. I journal most mornings so usually if I can find the time and I'll find out what a common thought that has been on my mind over a period of time and then I'll end up making that into a song. Or if somebody is talking to me and the two words they said phonetically seem kind of pleasing, I'll write that down and incorporate that into a song. Stories, colours, there are many things that influence me. I get very influenced by anything and that will spark an idea. I can usually write pretty easily. I sit down and I'll come up with a little chord progression and hum it out. And then I will get my journals and be like, "Oh. That's cool. write that down." And keep just demoing as I keep going, writing the new lines, seeing if it works in my recordings.

How does journaling help with creating music?

I think it's therapeutic for me. Something might stay on my mind for a month at a time but when you write something down and you're busy, you don't really think about the pinpoint moment or the pivotal things that are making you make these decisions. So it's nice to go back and look at entries. Be like "Oh. That's the kind of a common thread throughout all this. That must be one of the things that is really shaping my decisions right now."

When you were working on the album, and I guess with the EP as well, did you find yourself drawn to other platforms outside of music?

Definitely. In fact, I shy away from listening to too much music when I try to write. I get a bit overwhelmed. I want to make sure that nothing is clogging my brain, so I tend to shy away from a lot of music and listen to more old school stuff or instrumental music. Sometimes I now isten to the radio now because I find that stimulates my brain a little bit more without foggying my mind. It kind of keeps me on track and makes me feel motivated. And then my ideas are probably the purest of what's in my brain opposed to being influenced or inspired by another artist.

For the listener, what do you want them to take away from their listening experience of the album?

A nostalgic energy is kind of what I aimed for. Something that makes them listen to it and they can remember exactly where they heard it, or it can remind them of a certain event or take them back to another time where they felt simular. Like when I listen to the The Strokes, I don't particularly take anything from it, I just really enjoy the energy that they give me.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to Midnight Love, Vol. 2 below:

Live dates:
May 9th - The Landsdowne, Sydney
May 24th - The Tote, Melbourne
Click here for more information

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Now Playing: Alfie Templeman – 'Stop Thinking (About Me)'

Photo by Blackksocks

Alfie Templeman may be a teenager, but he's certainly one to watch this year. His newest single 'Stop Thinking (About Me)' follows in the footsteps of his 2018 debut EP Like An Animal.

Along with being a very talented songwriter, Alfie plays every instrument that appears on 'Stop Thinking (About Me)'. Apparently, he has over 20 instruments laying around at home that he works with, which is pretty damn cool. The track was also self-produced in his bedroom studio in Bedfordshire.

On the track, he said, "It’s quite an angry track, both musically and lyrically. I was really interested in something a bit more fierce, more upbeat and R&B oriented. A lot of my previous song lyrics are about being disillusioned and anxious about things such as relationships going wrong so I decided to pair this very angsty song with disheartened lyrics, as if I were fed up of being messed around with by someone I thought I was in love with."

'Stop Thinking (About Me)' stars an unshakeable rhythm and psychedelic hued insturmetals, making it a tune that will give you everything that you need.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to 'Stop Thinking (About Me)' below:

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Interview: A Q&A with Jade Bird

To say that Jade Bird is having a huge year would be an understatement. Today she shares her highly anticipated self-titled debut album, and to celebrate its release, she did a little q&a for us. The album takes listeners on a delicate journey throughout various stages of her life. Quiet and meditative tracks like 'What Am I Here For', '17' and 'If I Die' will cover you in chills, whilst 'Side Effects' and 'Going Gone' will have you moving. With an album as good as her debut offering, it's no surprise that she's taking over the world.

You’ve been doing a lot of travelling lately, what have been some of your most memorable stops on the tour?

New Orleans! It’s an incredible incredible place like time hasn’t gotten to it in a great way. We saw some real dive spots and met some fascinating characters.

What do you enjoy about touring and travelling with your music?

That’s you see/meet something/someone new every single place you go , and you get to share a piece of yourself with them too.

How long did it take to work on your debut album? What was the process like?

Probably 2 years all in all. It was staggered between about 5 1-2 week sessions, I’d write go up with the songs and we’d build the worlds around them.

Where did you work on the album?

Upstate NY, in a place called Rhinebeck a few miles out of Woodstock.

How did you keep track of your ideas when working on the project?

Notebooks! I write all the time so a notebook is always good to have, when I have time to just pick up my guitar or sit at the piano.

We read that ‘My Motto’ was written whilst in the shower, apart from that, where’s the most interesting place you’ve written a song?

Hmm... we went to Mexico City in February, stayed in a hotel and watched the city and made a voice memo, it was quite sweet.

What have you got coming up next?

Tours!! Lots of tours!! Festivals and sessions, just spreading the music really in whatever way I can.

Listen to her debut album below:

Watch her recent performance on Jimmy Fallon below:

Watch her video for 'My Motto':

Now Playing: Lauran Hibberd – 'Hoochie'

Isle Of Wight's Lauran Hibberd continues to add to her growing collection of impressive singles with her freshly released tune 'Hoochie'. The release of the single comes after news that she's set to make an appearance on the BBC Introducing stage during Glastonbury.

One of the many things we've come to love about Lauran's songs is her witty lyrics, which also make an appearance on 'Hoochie'. Her new single has an anthemic quality that makes you want to blast it aloud. The track is about toxic relationships and why it's important to ditch any unneeded negativity.

On the track, she said "Hoochie’ is a 90’s slang term for a bit of a ‘loose’ woman. It’s also the name of my new hamster. For me, this track is kind of that three-month period, after you’ve stopped hanging out with someone and you realise that actually, they were kind of a tool, and that maybe you are alright. I think there’s a confidence in this track lyrically that I’m yet to filter through to my actual life. I’m looking forward to that happening".

You can jam Lauran Hibberd's brand new track 'Hoochie' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Feature: Step Inside Hanne Mjøen's Creative Place

Photo by Mads Suhr Pettersen

Norway's Hanne Mjøen is an artist on the rise. Her latest offering 'On Thing Left To Do' is a dreamy house tune with Dutch DJ duo Deepend. She gives us an insight into her unique creative process and the love she has for mood boards to help with songwriting.


I feel like the process of what inspires me is ongoing. I pick up on situations and emotions all the time, and sometimes I even dream and wake up feeling the urge to write down some lines or lyrical concepts. I’m constantly writing in sessions with other people, and most of the time the song lyrics develop by the melody or the vibe in the instrumental.

In writing sessions, I like to read poems and look at mood boards I’ve put together. This one contains a lot of glossy shiny surfaces, but also distance and repressed emotions. There are so many songs in these pictures for me.

It made me think of how we always look back at memories with people who aren't in your life anymore, only remembering the good parts, and kind of trying to preserve them (with the plastic pictures) and keeping them alive in dreams and pictures. Or how you’re moving on and changing, living your best life in pictures and hiding behind makeup, but still feeling lost and having an emptiness inside.

It also made me think of the process of being less and less important to someone because you’re changing and drifting apart. How you see each other move on, how the talks that used to be deep and meaningful turns into an awkward “hi” at a random party.

A mood board by Hanne

Listen to 'One Thing Left To Do' below:

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Now Watching: Goodbye Honolulu – 'U Got It'

Photo by Kristy Smolcic

Canadian band Goodbye Honolulu has released the music video for their latest track ‘U Got It’ and it's an absolute treat.

The video for ‘U Got It’ sees the band hit the streets late at night. The DIY clip features a series of fast-paced handheld camera shots panning to them unleashing havoc and it looks like lots of fun. The roaring energy of the track is captured perfectly in the video, especially in the scenes of them tearing up the streets wearing neon skull masks while dropping a series of smoke bombs, because why not? ‘U Got It’ sees the band embrace a punk-like sound (and attitude) that’s ferocious and non-stop intensity.

Goodbye Honolulu takes listeners on a chaotic drive with their new single ‘U Got It’ and each moment is truly exhilarating.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Watch 'U Got It' by Goodbye Honolulu below:

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Gig Review: Holiday Sidewinder | Melbourne | 17.4.19

Thursday, April 18, 2019

One of our best exports, Holiday Sidewinder, has been dazzling across stages around the world for a few years now. She's worn many hats across her musical journey — she was the frontwoman of Bridezilla, plays keyboards for Alex Cameron in his touring band, and most importantly, is the retro pop queen we all need.

Before Holiday, Tanzer danced up a storm on-stage at The Gasometer (Upstairs). The avant-garde pop artist absolutely smashed it, with incredible vocals and the moves to match. Inspired by Euro-disco and grand movie soundtracks, Tanzer would take home the chocolates at Eurovision — let's make that happen in 2020. Australia needs it, and the world needs more Tanzer in their lives.

Holiday Sidewinder made her way through the crowd to get onto the stage.  Opening up with 'Leo', she took everyone in the room to Vegas and away from the dullness of Melbourne on a Wednesday night. Not only did she bring her flawless vocals, she also brought her best dance moves too. She claimed the room and owned it, making use of its entire space — frequently leaving the stage to jump in the middle of the crowd to dance with everyone, ensuring that every human in the room was having a good time.

Along with her stellar live show, she was just as fun in-between songs whilst sharing hilarious (and not always connected) anecdotes. Before launching into her upcoming sultry single 'Baby Oil', she made a note that baby oil is horrible for the world (which is very true! Listen to Holiday and don't use it). Before 'Tra$h Can Love', she went on a funny mini-rant against all things 'beige' and rich people. She also played a song called 'Forever or Whenever', which she said she would be releasing soon because she's feeling 'bored'. Her words for utterly infectious, and you couldn't help and smile whenever she shared funny words about a song.

At the end of the night, she split the intimate room in half soul-train style and danced her way through the middle, before a conga line formed. After her set, she did got the crowd involved in some good ol' karaoke using her mic, and it was the perfect way to wrap up the night.

Holiday Sidewinder's show was an unforgettable experience — she's incredibly talented and presents an immersive live show that's engaging and fun for everyone in attendance.

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

Video Premiere: Janey – 'L.A.'

We're very excited to bring you the video for Janey's brand new single 'L.A.'. The Sydney-based duo embraces the glitz of LA glam-pop both musically and throughout the video.

In the video for 'L.A.' they are dressed head-to-toe in glitter and sparkles, and it's very vintage Los Angeles. Through a retro television screen, they encourage a guy who is lounging around not doing much to embrace his best glam-rock self. The track features old-school pop hooks, soaring synths and an enticing rhythm. Listening to 'L.A.' unleashes a feeling of freedom and release and it's home to so much goodness.

Janey currently has an EP in the works, but until then, you can enjoy 'L.A.' over and over again below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Watch the video for 'L.A.' by Janey below:

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Now Playing: Augustine – 'A Scent of Lily'

Photo by Oskar Omne

22-year-old Augustine has followed up the release of his mega debut single 'Luzon' with his latest offering 'A Scent of Lily'. His newest single may only be his second release, but that doesn't stop the  Swedish singer-songwriter from serving up something as special as 'A Scent of Lily'.

'A Scent of Lily' is a cinematic track that features grand soundscapes, powerful lyrics and atmospheric synths. The words are also beautifully poetic, especially lines such as "Oh and how she spreads all through my entangled mind. A Scent of Lily in my bed. Still left there from Sunday night."

On the track, he said, "'A Scent of Lily’ is about the powerlessness that can creep into such relationships, when you buy into everything that person does to the level where you stop thinking your own reasonable thoughts. This song came to life on a late night almost three years ago and is the first one I wrote for my own artist project."

With an EP currently in the works, Augustine is a name you're going to be seeing a lot of in 2019.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to 'A Scent of Lily' by Augustine below:

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Growing Pains' with Abbie Ozard

Photo by Dawncast

Manchester-based singer-songwriter Abbie Ozard last week shared her infectious new single 'Growing Pains'. The coming of age track explores teenage love and the feelings that come along with it. She dives into the single for us below.

I wrote 'Growing Pains'... when I was still hungover and embarrassed from the weekend before.

The story behind 'Growing Pains' is... when I visited Rich’s studio for the first time in Liverpool we got talking about all the stupid things I used to do to impress boys when I was growing up and in sixth form. Boys probably have no clue how much thought girls put into every move they make with them and it is quite funny.

My favourite lyric is... “You’re 94 and I’m 97”

It was made... so girls or boys who are growing up could relate to it and listen to it when they are struggling with how to act on things.

My main inspiration was... the artist Petra Collins and her series ‘Coming of Age’.

It sounds best when... drinking wine and dancing with friends.

Listen to 'Growing Pains' by Abbie Ozard below:

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Video Premiere: Some Bodies – 'Tired All the Time'

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Today, we're super stoked to share the brand new music video for 'Tired All the Time', which is the latest single by Bristol-based band Some Bodies.

The clip for the spacey track sees lead singer Tom Nosek takes on the role of Hector M S Nelsons, who is a mythical creature desperately looking for his place on land. Filmed across two days, Tom and guitarist Freddie Hickey travelled to Loch Ness to film scenes for the video.

On the video, they said "We were drinking with our friend Emily, talking about video and she showed us this picture of a dinosaur suit. It looked hysterically sad with its long mopey neck and to be honest we were sold on making the video there and then. We bought the suit first and filled in the absurd narrative along the way. Sometimes you have to do stupid shit; a long trip to take a dip in a Loch dressed as a mythical creature is definitely that. Phil Smithies did a great job making it look like anything other than total nonsense. It's tempting to take yourself too seriously and doing stuff like this is a great antidote."

Check out the clip for 'Tired All the Time' below.

Follow Some Bodies:

Tour dates:
May 3rd - The Thelka, Bristol
May 5th - Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool
May 8th - The Old Blue Last, London

Now Playing: Claud – 'If I Were You'

It's always a good day when you stumbled across new sounds by Claud (FKA Toast). This time, it's a brand new single called 'If I Were You', which follows on from previous singles 'Easy' and 'Never Meant To Call'.

'If I Were You' may come across us a breezy pop song from the surface, but it's so much more. Claud's words are heavy, especially lyrics such as, "Quit lying to yourself and everybody else / Thinking I'm a better version of myself / Holding it together, don't know how you do / If I were you, I'd hate me." 'If I Were You' is a reflective track about a relationship that has run its course and the fact that some people simply don't belong together.

The video clip for 'If I Were You' features a montage of clips from The L Word and was created by Claud.

Blast 'If I Were You' on repeat below, you won't regret it.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to 'If I Were You' by Claud here:

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Now Playing: Pink Matter – 'Wonder'

Brisbane-based four-piece Pink Matter have released their first single for 2019 and we're pretty excited about it. Their latest offering 'Wonder' follows in the footsteps of their impressive EP Human Error, which was released last year.

Pink Matter experiment with an array of intricate sounds on 'Wonder'. The track may initially make you feel like you're walking amongst a sea of rainbows, but they mix things up towards the end — concluding 'Wonder' on an entrancing and feverish note, with dizzying synths, spacey vocals and a commanding bassline all taking hold.

On their creative process, they said, "We have a very collaborative process, and have been writing our songs together since the band formed. We all draw inspiration from our individual music tastes when we write. We mesh together aspects of neo-soul, disco and jazz and sit it on top of funk/hip-hop inspired grooves."

Pink Matter continues to craft up magic and we're already craving more.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to 'Wonder' by Pink Matter below:

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Pink Gelato' with Otiuh

Dynamic duo Otiuh, featuring Cesare Papa and Jahmeil Baker, have been busy prepping up for the release of their debut EP Cold Recreation, which is set to drop on April 26. Their latest single 'Pink Gelato' is a beast of a track. Cesare from the duo takes us through how the single came together.

We wrote ‘Pink Gelato'… in November of last year. We set ourselves the goal of writing (and finishing) a bunch of songs that would eventually form our EP. The song itself was actually based around Jahmeil's verse that was recycled from an old joint and sped up over a new bpm.

The story behind ‘Pink Gelato' is… new horizons, I guess. Lyrically Jahmeil's verse goes over the motions of a recent breakup and has some raw moments expressed in the intro of the track. I go into the realms of newfound desire and confidence after a split. Production and songwriting-wise Otiuh is still forming and figuring out what it is. For a good few years, we've been trying to find our sound. I think we're pretty close here.

My favourite lyric is… "This life ain't a disco won't be staying alive." I can't believe I referenced the Bee Gees on this track. For all of Jahmeil's intricate wordplay and cadence, I go and write that. Atrocious.

It was made… in the booth. The booth in the car park I work at. It was a quiet Sunday, and I decided to let myself breath and download some sample packs for some inspiration. Once I found that percussion loop and paired them with some really wonky synth sounds, I knew we had something big. The chorus actually came to me while I was driving, I had to record it onto my phone while stopped at the lights a couple days later. I sent the track to our guitarist, and he laid down some acoustic and electric riffs. A G-funk lead came last and was super fun to record over the chorus.

Our main inspiration was… definitely the forward-thinking production of some Australian artists, like (the now retired) Swindail. I wanted to create something with a modern bounce while avoiding using the 808 snare and hi-hat roll. A lot of people have mentioned Run the Jewels after hearing the track. We're huge fans.

Check out 'Pink Gelato' by Otiuh below:

Tour dates:
May 8 - The Bearded Lady, Brisbane
May 10 - Botany View Hotel, Sydney
May 12 - The B-East, Melbourne
May 18 - Jack Rabbit Slim's, Perth
Click here for more infomation 

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Now Playing: daste. – 'Myself'

Gold Coast trio daste. continue to bewitch the world with their dreamlike tunes, and their latest single 'Myself' is another incredible addition to their growing collection of hits. Released via Mammal Sounds Records, they're also set to unleash their debut EP Palette next month.

Featuring an underlying groove, 'Myself' will make you move. The warm synths on the track beam with light and are there to make you feel good. On the track, they said "We started working on Myself late last year, experimenting on old drum machines and soft synths, as we continue to find new ways to approach our songwriting. Once the foundation of the track was built, we started to learn upon our recent influences, combining wah pedals and vocoders to create a zesty soundscape."

'Myself' also spreads a positive message, encouraging listeners to overcome anything holding them back, as well as the importance of supporting one another.

daste. continue to serve up a series of heavenly sounds and 'Myself' is another hit for the trio.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to 'Myself' by daste. below:

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Gazing' with Winona Forever

Photo by Cyrus Jordan

Montreal band Winona Forever celebrate the art of dancing alone in your room with their dreamy new single 'Gazing'. The band formed in 2014 and keep things DIY, striving to create and produce themselves. To celebrate the release of 'Gazing', they disect the single for us.

We wrote ‘Gazing'… at home in Bens bedroom after work one night.

The story behind ‘Gazing' is… very spontaneous! With a very comfortable bedroom recording setup and a crush on a french coworker, this song was born.

My favourite lyric is… "That's my favourite couch" - bit of a ridiculous-but-relatable sentiment that came up spontaneously while writing the song.

It was made… in less than 3 hours! Followed by many months of polishing the recording and adding detail.

Our main inspiration was… a rented hollow body guitar that was a lot of fun to play. A couple tunes seemed to just pop right out of it and Gazing was one of them.

It sounds best when… stargazing!

Listen to 'Gazing' by Winona Forever below:

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Now Playing: Tallsaint – 'Hard Love'

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Photo by Portia Hunt

Tallsaint is back with a brand new single, and we're certain you're going to love this one just as much as we do. 'Hard Love' is a soaring number that channels feelings of frustration, as well as finding release. Her upcoming EP is due for release this June via Dance to The Radio.

According to Tallsaint in a chat she had with Noisey, the track is about "those wavering moments you go through when you’re over thinking about how to behave around this person that’s keeping you at arm’s length." The confident track features peaking synths, powering drums and captivating vocals from Tallsaint. Her vocals are powerful throughout its duration and are one of the track's many shining lights.  “I feel like ‘Hard Love’ is a self-assured track, which feels great because I feel like as an artist that’s where I’m also at.”

'Hard Love' is a slice of electronic pop heaven and you'll find yourself jamming this stunning tune on repeat for hours.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to 'Hard Love' by Tallsaint below:

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Now Watching: Girl Crush – 'Blame Girls'

Swedish/British 'promcore' duo Girl Crush, featuring Ottilia Kjulsten and David Sugar, has just shared the visuals to their empowering single 'Blame Girls', which was released on International Women's Day last month.

The captivating and lifting track celebrates females and our right to belong. The track is a celebration of female empowerment and a middle finger to the haters and trolls who think otherwise. On their new video, Kjulsten said "We wanted to capture the positive and cheeky vibe of the track, so I asked some of my close friends to pose in our 'Blame Girls' t-shirts (the profits of these goes to the Luminary Bakery) and we had the chance to dance all over Tottenham. Ironically, we got a few comments yelled from car seats."

Breathe in what Girl Crush serve up on 'Blame Girls' and let all the goodness sink in.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Check out the video for 'Blame Girls' below:

Listen to the track here:

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'Behind The Screen' with MAGUIRE

London-based artist MAGUIRE recently shared her dazzling single 'Behind The Screen'. The emotionally charged single will blow you away. To celebrate its release, MAGUIRE took some time out to dive into the story behind the single.

I wrote 'Behind The Screen'… this time two years ago actually. It came together very quickly one evening but some of the lyrics had been germinating in my head for years before that.

The story behind 'Behind The Screen' is… It was born out of a mounting frustration with the fractured nature in which we communicate with people (especially people we have feelings for) through our phones; not ever really knowing how the other person is interpreting or reading us. No one ever picks up the phone anymore, or jumps on a plane, or does anything impulsive! This cautious form of self-curation can breed false infatuation because it's not an organic way of getting to know someone. Our impressions of one another are becoming less and less based in reality and more on how we want to appear, and that troubles me.

My favourite lyric is… ‘My lips they’ll part for you, but only to speak the truth’

It was made… with some of my favourite musicians, some of whom I’ve toured in bands with and known for over 10 years – Jens Kuross (drums), Jon Jackson (guitar), and Rick Leigh (flugelhorn), and my fantastic producer; Steph Marziano. It was a really organic process recorded over multiple days, which refreshingly juxtaposes the theme of the song; being that of the disconnection and isolation we are all suffering from today. Instead this track is a testament to friendships built over time which are something I treasure.

My main inspiration was… one of my favourite classical composers – Debussy. I was learning one of his Deux Arabesques at the time, and his cascading arpeggios resonated with an enlightening psychedelic experience I had on DMT. Suddenly my eyes were opened to the ridiculousness of the importance we place on living life in this empty online world; and worrying about such insignificant things as how we come across on social media. The evolution in ‘Behind The Screen' from the rigidity of the chords in the first half to the fluid freedom of the second mirrors this spiritual awakening; calling for a more truthful and genuine existence. Ok that sounds very new age hippie...make of it what you will.

It sounds best when… looking up from your phone screen and power walking down the road on a sunny day, taking in the natural world around you

Listen to 'Behind The Screen' by MAGUIRE below:

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Now Watching: Just Mustard – 'Frank'

Photo by Karl Walsh

Just Mustard this week shared their brand new single 'Frank', which follows on from a huge 2018 that saw them release their acclaimed debut album Wednesday and earning a nomination in the 'Irish Album of the Year' category for the Choice Music Prize. Along with the unveiling of the single, they've also shared the accompanying music video.

The shoegaze track features an array of hauntingly beautiful moments — particularly the hard-hitting chorus that will cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up. The surreal visuals take the track to another level. The artistic video features eye-catching slow-motion photography, and it's hard to look away. Vocalist Katie Ball told The FADER, "We thought it would be interesting to use stop motion animation to emphasise the broken rhythms of the song. Every character and prop in the video and their interactions represents a different musical or thematic element of the song to us. We wrote and directed it together as a band and collaborated with filmmaker Tim Shearwood who shot and edited it.”

It's busy times for the five-piece from Dundalk, Ireland, who is currently on tour with Fontaines D.C in the UK and France, have upcoming support slots with The Twilight Sad and The Cure, and appearances at Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape and Green Man.

Just Mustard have done it again with 'Frank' and we're eagerly awaiting to hear what they do next.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Watch the video for 'Frank' by Just Mustard below:

Follow Just Mustard:

Find out where you can see Just Mustard live here.

Now Playing: 0171 – 'SMTHN RL'

Photo by Daniel Alexander Harris

Hackney duo 0171, featuring Joe Bedell-Brill and Georgie Hoare, have shared their brand new single 'SMTHN RL', which is the second track to be unleashed from their upcoming debut EP.

'SMTHN RL' sees the duo reflect on feelings of longing and intimacy, especially in a world that's losing touch with real-life human interaction. This is not only explored in the track's words but also in the production — with the smooth beats battling with the beeping of a phone, as if the beeping is disrupting a moment.

On the track, they said, "We like to sing about nostalgia, looking back at your life, memory, and how that shifts and changes. We’re building memories upon memories, storing them, and then forgetting about them. Like the pile of old phones, you have in your parents' house. Or all the stuff you’ve made, which you record on hard drives but leave in a room. There are all these forgotten fragments that were once part of who you were. We try to put those things at the centre of our music.”

The third and final track from the EP is set for release on May 17th — until then, hit replay and find yourself lost in 0171's latest gem.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Follow 0171:

Feature: The Ingredients of Low Grade Buzz with Huntly

Photo by Phebe Schmidt

Melbourne trio Huntly, featuring Elspeth Scrine, Andrew McEwan and Charlie Teitelbaum, give it their all on their highly anticipated debut album Low Grade Buzz, released last month. The album is an exploration through reflections of identity and the world as Huntly sees it. The tracks on Low Grade Buzz have been designed to make you both dance and cry (sometimes simultaneously). Elspeth from the trio takes us through the ingredients of the album.

Around the time we started writing for this album, we began to move our live shows away from a focus on down-tempo electronica to dance-oriented beats. At the beginning of 2018 we played at Cool Room supporting Laurel Halo, which gave us a chance to experiment with a number of techno and drum & bass influenced tracks we had been working on. Having the audience move to the music we were playing on stage definitely influenced our approach to production on LGB, and has always been central to our manifesto; “doof you can cry to”. 

Photo: Cool Room

El’s Eurotrip
I packed my bags and swapped a hellish Melbourne winter for a couple of months in the European summer. I presented at a couple of academic conferences, went on long walks, lay around my second mum and dad’s home in London, and stayed out late. I connected with special people, I was reminded that I would love again and that Melbourne isn’t the centre of the universe. I spent a couple of weeks in Berlin with my best friends and set about forgetting that I was doing a PhD. We wrote ridiculous and emotional songs on the Airbnb’s piano, rode around the city, and lay in the park. I wrote Low Grade Buzz sitting on the floor of the balcony, the morning I returned from a long night out (pictured above). One day I bought a cheap little Yamaha keyboard in an op shop in Brighton and carried it under my arm for the whole day, which ended in a singalong of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ on the beach (pictured above). I carried the Yamaha with me everywhere and at some point came up with the chords for Low Grade Buzz - I knew then that it would be my favourite song on the album :’)

Esther’s commanding, dulcet tone
In 2017 I (Elspeth) discovered this podcast and was obsessed; I can’t get enough of good podcasts, they are truly my rock and I have got through some hard times with them by my side. Esther Perel is a psychotherapist and author who is fluent in nine languages, and in this podcast you listen to her couples’ therapy sessions. I would listen to multiple episodes a day as I cycled to and from uni or work, thinking about life, love, autonomy, trauma, healing and more. 

Ballantyne St Studio
Most of this album was produced in the bungalow studio at Andy’s house. The floor is unevenly laid bricks, the roof is tin, but its windows look out to a beautiful big backyard and it acted as a space where we could lose ourselves in the creation of this music. The very end of the album fades to a field recording taken from inside the studio; the sound of someone mowing their lawn next door (a “low grade buzz” of sorts), wind chimes, a train horn as it passes nearby.

Each Other 

Catch Huntly on tour at these dates:
May 4th - Golden Age Cinema, Sydney 
May 9th - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
More information is available here

Listen to Low Grade Buzz by Huntly below:

Now Playing: Arlo Day – 'Bad Timing'

Monday, April 15, 2019
Photo by Lara Laeverenz

South-East London's Arlo Day (aka Alice Barlow) is an up-and-comer on the rise. Along with sharing her debut single 'Bad Timing', she's also shared exciting news that she's signed with Domino.

'Bad Timing' is a stirring track that will give you goosebumps, especially with her flawless vocals and arresting lyricism. On the track, she said "I recorded ‘Bad Timing’ at home last summer, it was a song I wrote after a break up when many things in my life seemed out of sync. I was aiming to capture the feeling of loss and how hindsight can really do a number on you sometimes."

The release of the single also includes the unveiling of her music video for the single, which was filmed last year in friends' houses around South London. "Like the song, the video is based around the disparity of time and hindsight, and how moments of the past can replay in your mind. We were inspired by photographs by Duane Michals and Katrien de Blauwer, and Lynne Ramsay’s short film Gasman."

With an EP due for release on May 31st, there's a very good chance you're going to be seeing Arlo Day a lot more.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Now Watching: Beabadoobee – 'If You Want To'

London-via-Manila artist Beabadoobee is ready to take on the world from her bedroom studio and there's no stopping her — recently she shared the video for her single 'If You Want To', which featured on her EP Patched Up late last year.

The captivating video sees Beabadoobee struggle with sleep, with a doctor attempting to prescribe remedies to cure her insomnia — which only makes things get a little weirder. Also featuring in the video are cuts to her and her band performing the track in the cramped bedroom. The use of colour (especially the colour red) also adds to the emotional pull of the video. The track's message is moving, implying that it's okay to not feel okay — anyone who has gone through bouts of insomnia will find themselves drawn to 'If You Want To'.

Beabadoobee hinted online that she has new music on the way soon, and that's something we're incredibly excited about.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Check out the video for 'If You Want To' by Beabadoobee:

Interview: Dive into the world of LUCIA

Glasgow-based band LUCIA continue to generate buzz and it’s no surprise why. With every new single that they unveil, they present something different — leaving audiences eagerly anticipating their next move. Lucia Fairfull of LUCIA talks to us about becoming more comfortable on-stage, writing, and where her ideas come from.

In the space of one year, LUCIA has gone from playing a smaller amount of shows to playing approximately one hundred shows in twelve months alone. You won’t find Lucia ever getting tired of playing the same songs on the road. Playing lots of shows has helped her with many aspects of the band’s live show. “For me, it does get easier, one-hundred per cent. People may think that it’s boring to play the same songs over-and-over again, but I actually don’t mind it because it means I can focus on other things like the actual performance, not what I’m doing guitar-wise or anything like that. I like to have fun on-stage and I can focus on performing.”

Lucia and the band recently returned from America, where they had the chance to play and work on new material. They also got to spend time with good friends, including The Ninth Wave and whenyoung. On having a support network of friends whilst overseas, she said, “I think it’s just an exciting thing in general because we’re all in the same boat and we’re all at the same level and we’re going on a journey together, which is a very lovely thing to have.”

The band have had the chance to appear in America for two consecutive years now. Playing in Austin the year before helped with their expectations and preparation for SXSW this year. “The year before, we played a lot of smaller venues, and this year we played the Fender show and more established ones. There were also more people there comparing to the year before.”

Their recent trip to America also saw them play in New York for the first time and in Los Angeles, where they filmed music videos and wrote new songs.

Without revealing too much about what to expect from new material, she hinted that their new material will be different from what they did on their EPs Cheap Talk and Best Boy. Lucia also shared that the band are planning on releasing another EP this year and are in the process of sorting through their ideas and writing.

“We’ve been writing lots of new material and experimenting more because none of our songs sound exactly the same, they all have bits of different genres in them. Everything progresses all the time but we’re trying to experiment more. We’re not purposely trying to change ourselves, we’re just kind of doing what we want to do and not thinking too much about it. Nobody really knows what to expect from us which is cool.”

Their latest single 'Blueheart' for instance, which is one of their darkest songs yet, is a soaring and cinematic number that features gritty guitar lines, powerful chords and a singalong chorus. Released last year, 'Cheap Talk' was sharp and to the point — the track's rolling bassline, infectious chorus and vintage rock 'n' roll feel made it another winner. In total contrast to both these tracks, 'Melted Ice Cream' is a slice of garage-pop. These tracks may all share a story-like quality and strong narratives, but they all present different sides of the band.

Songwriting duties are shared between Lucia and guitarist Hamish Fingland, with Hamish working on their demos. “Hamish demos the songs”, said Lucia, “But if I can create a concept and some chords, we can write the lyrics together. We understand each other quite well.”

Her approach to creating music has changed over the past few years — and having a collaborative approach has helped her with her ideas. On working with Hamish, she said, “We grasp things easier, it helps bring things to life and makes me understand what I want as well.” Though she acknowledges the working in solitude may have some benefits, working with Hamish, the rest of the band and others is something she enjoys. “I’ve had a lot of experience throughout the last couple of years and it’s definitely made me progress.”

She has a natural approach to creating music and isn’t one to force herself to write if she isn’t feeling inspired. “I’m not one of those people that goes, ‘I’m going to sit down and write a song today’. When I have ideas or something that jumps out at me, I’ll sit down and write it. Sometimes I will write four songs in a month and other times it’s less than that. It all depends on how I am feeling.”

Lucia’s phone voice memos are home to ideas as they arise in her mind — “I like coming up with weird or interesting concepts," she said. “When I think of anything interesting in my head and they have a ring to them, I’ll write or record them down." Before she thinks about lyrics, she thinks about concepts. “I think of concepts before I think of what I am going to write about. Then I make sure that they work together.”

Outside of music, she finds herself drawn to film as a source of inspiration. “I like watching films to help create stories. I like to watch chick flicks a lot, they inspire me. I feel like I can watch them at any point in time whether I’m feeling down or happy, they’re interesting, there are really good characters in them, especially the older ones from the 80s and 90s.” She enjoys the challenges involved in writing about what she sees in films. “I love film in general, really. If I can get an idea from that, it’s because it’s different for me. It’s a bit more of a challenge.”

She is also drawn to the experiences of those close to her when writing. “I actually like that I am starting to write more songs about situations that other people go through as well, not just me,” she said. The band’s latest single ‘Blueheart’ was inspired by a close friend's experience. “I see a lot of breakups with friendships and relationships going on around me. ‘Blueheart’ was written for one of my best friends who was having a really hard time in a toxic relationship. She actually said to me that once it was all over, that it helped her a bit, which was a very satisfying thing.”

“Like most people that write songs, they want their audience to be able to connect with their music — for me, it's the key part of why I do this," said Lucia. There's a lot to love about LUCIA — with their ability to connect with audiences and present live shows that take you to another world, this Glasgow-based four-piece are on the fast track to big things.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Follow LUCIA online below:

Click here to find out where you can catch LUCIA live on their current run of live dates.

Album Review: Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

Post-punk has been making a resurgence in 2019 — and leading the charge is Irish band Fontaines D.C.. Their debut album Dogrel — which is named after a form of Irish poetry popular amongst the working class — paints a picture of Dublin through the lens of frontman Grian Chatten, who grew up in the city.

The album opens up with the words, "Dublin in the rain is mine, a pregnant city with a Catholic mind." These words instantly set the scene for the rest of the album — with your mind continually returning to these opening words. Because a huge portion of the album was unveiled prior to its release, many would be familiar with the themes and ideas the album is intended to present — for anyone joining in for the first time, the band give listeners a sense of what it's like to have creative dreams in a place battling with recession and no distinct music scene.

Dogrel's opener 'Big' crawls into your mind from the very beginning. Accompanied by bursting guitars and a weighty vocal delivery from Chatten, the song explores what it's like to have creative ambition in a place where such dreams are alien and unheard of. The track makes a huge statement, with the lyrics, "My childhood was small, but I'm going to be big," ringing with intent and ambition. 'Too Real' is an open and honest depiction of Dublin. The repetition of the phrase, "Is this too real for ya?" forces you to think deeply about their words and reimagine the environment that they were written in. Chatten's thick Irish timbre is just as essential to the album's narrative — it appears natural and effortless amongst the poetic depictions they aim to highlight across the album.

The feverish 'Hurricane Laughter' races through your veins, and it takes full control of you. The words "there is no connection," evoking a sense of panic and anxiety.

They're able to reveal different facets of their sound, especially with the much more tender 'Roy's Song' — which in many ways appears as an ode to their home. Whilst it features the same degree of frustration for the circumstances that surround them — particularly Ireland's tendency to look after major cooperations instead of their own people — it's done in a way that's introspective. They might be becoming prominent for their ferocious brand of intensive post-punk, but they are beyond any simple assumptions and continue to exceed expectations. 'The Lotts', which is a haunting track, is also especially impactful.

The utterly buzzing 'Chequeless Reckless' features a series of critical observations by Chatten. The tracks see him take on a sing-speak style of vocal delivery, only adding to the firmness of his words. 'Liberty Belle' is a retro rock 'n' roll slice off of the album. The next track, 'Boys in The Better Land' looks at escapism through a series of sharp words. The album's closer 'Dublin City Sky' leaves a prominent punctuation mark on the album. The track presents itself as a sing-a-along Irish drinking song.

Fontaines D.C.'s debut offering is a raw depiction of Dublin through a series of observations — with their distinct poetic brand of songwriting, they mix realness and honest critiques of the world exactly how they see it.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to Dogrel by Fontaines D.C. below:

Now Playing: Blue Velvet – 'Soggy Cereal'

Blue Velvet are kicking off their 2019 with their brand new single 'Soggy Cereal'.  The release of their single follows in the footsteps of their sophomore EP A Lesson In Regression, which scored a lot of love around the country.

Samuel Beauermeister, who is the vocalist of the group, said on the track, "Writing this song ended up being this weird self-exorcism and helped me realise that I sort of need to get my shit together in life. This track is all about dramatically jumping through your comfort zone and actually celebrating and encouraging new aspects in your life."

If you're in Newtown this Saturday (April 20th), you can catch Blue Velvet at The Botany View Hotel, where they're playing a free show.

Listen to 'Soggy Cereal' by Blue Velvet below:

Interview: Exploring The Grand Tour with BATTS

Friday, April 12, 2019

During the process of working on her debut album The Grand Tour, Tanya Batt aka BATTS explored the compelling history of Voyager and channelled her observations, research and feelings it gave her through the music she crafted. We recently sat down with her to learn more about the history and creative process that led to the creation of the project.

BATTS’ passion for space exploration stems back to her childhood, “I guess I kind of grew up on Star Trek and Stargate,” she says, “I always just really loved space, and as I got older, I really got into Cosmos, the TV series by Carl Sagan and then the remake.” During various stages of her life, she's rediscovered her passion for the area — especially when the music industry has left her discouraged. “I think I got through making the album because of my interest in the area. I was hating the music industry so much and I wanted to quit and I didn't want to make my album at all and when I got this idea to make it conceptual, it drove me to finish it.” Planning the album conceptually came naturally to her, “I really like working like that. It’s just how my brain works and how I operate as a human. I think it makes it more enjoyable for me.”

Carl Sagan’s work on the Voyager Golden Record influenced her the most when working on the concept album. Made over forty years ago, the recordings are an audio-visual capsule of humanity — In 1977 when N.A.S.A. launched Voyager 1 and 2, a golden record was attached to each spacecraft. Sagan was asked by NASA to create a message from humanity to extraterrestrial civilizations who might encounter it. Through listening to podcasts, she came across details of the Voyager Golden Record and decided to dive deeper into its story. On the record, BATTS said, “It was just this incredible, beautiful, romantic story. The fact that the Golden Record is a time capsule of humanity, and that it's gonna go for billions of years and we won't exist anymore but this tiny little thing of us is just gonna keep going forever. I just find it so romantic.”

Sagan and his team’s passion and enthusiasm for collating the material for the record is particularly inspiring, considering the odds of the records making their way to extraterrestrial life were slim — but that didn’t deter him or his team from pouring their hearts into the record. “It was such a huge thing to have done back in the 70s. They didn't have the technology to do it back then and it was a huge achievement to have pulled it off. It took space exploration to a whole new level,” said BATTS, “When you read about it and about everyone that was involved, it just seems like the most beautiful thing to be part of. I just really love studying it. Thinking about it makes me feel very insignificant and calm.”

Accompanied by moving instrumentals, the ‘Interlude’ on the album features a recording detailing the components of the Golden Record — including readings from people of Earth in 60 languages, samples of music from across the world, animal sounds and weather recordings. The record also includes brainwaves from Ann Druyan during the creation process as she was falling in love with Sagan, who she then married. 

Whilst researching Voyager, BATTS reached out to NASA — who she notes are easier to contact then some people in music, “The science community is awesome because it's quite easy to contact them. It's easier to get a response from them than all of the music industry (laughs), I found it really nice working with that side of things. I think I got through making the album because I had the research to focus on.” 

Journalling and recording notes played a pivotal role when exploring her thoughts, observations and research. “There was so much research. I've got books of random notes, facts and dot points, as well as notes on every name I saw of someone that worked on Voyager”. A book that especially caught her attention was The Interstellar Age by Jim Bell, which details the Voyager Mission — “I went through so many sticky notes when reading it, tagging every single name and cool fact that was in that book. I would pop them down and then transfer it into a notebook.” BATTS wanted to make sure she was across all aspects of the mission, leaving no stone unturned. “I really wanted to know enough about it,” she said, “Not just throw together this album using these samples just because they sounded cool. I wanted to use them with intention.”

Sifting through the samples from the mission wasn’t always an enjoyable process as it involved a lot of white noise and hours of complicated commentary. BATTS notes, “I spent so much time listening to words I don't understand. Like on the launch day, there was so much scientific language. There was so much white noise and you might find one perfect moment that then you've got to treat really well. I had to cut out all these frequencies to make it sound nice.” She also had to keep track of the ordering since they’re in chronological order, “I had to think about what songs should go there to represent how that felt at that time, to make it feel like the journey”. 

Because it’s a concept album, BATTS suggested that it’s best to listen to it from start to finish. “If people have time, I hope they can listen to it from beginning to end then can go on the little journey I tried to recreate.” When I asked her what she hoped listeners would get out of the album, she said, “Whatever they need. Whatever humans want to get from it.” — with an album as intricate, artful and carefully curated as The Grand Tour, listeners will be moved wholeheartedly by BATTS' debut offering.

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

Stream The Grand Tour by BATTS below:

You can purchase the special edition gold vinyl version of The Grand Tour here.

You can catch BATTS live at the following dates:
April 13th - Record Store Day - Rocksteady Records 
April 25th - Gum Ball Festival - Dashville 
June 7th - QPAC Concert Hall - Brisbane (Supporting Sharon Van Etten)
June 11th - Hamer Hall - Melbourne (Supporting Sharon Van Etten)
June 13th - The Grace Emily - Adelaide 
June 22nd - The Vanguard - Sydney 
June 28th - Howler - Melbourne 
More information is available here