Now Playing: Edie Bens – 'The First One'

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

It's not every day that you stumble across a debut single as special as Edie Bens' first release 'The First One'. The singer-songwriter and guitarist takes listeners on a journey through longing and unrequited love and it's extremely beautiful.

Despite the track's soothing opening, the ferocity increases once the song hits the chorus — especially through the commanding nature of the drums and soaring vocals. 'The First One' is an emotional number that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The track is accompanied by reflective and passionate words that explore first love and all the feelings that come along with falling in love.

It might be Edie Bens' first single but 'The First One' is a sign of huge things to come for the up-and-comer.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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EP Review: HONEYMOAN – Body

South African band HONEYMOAN have been attracting a lot of buzz recently, and rightfully so — they possess the ability to channel the fears and feelings that are caused by living in a world that's image and technological driven. This Friday (June 28), they'll be unleashing their highly anticipated debut EP Body. Spanning four equally captivating tracks, the EP is an exploration of real and relatable feelings connected to our growing addiction to technology, coping with rejection and vanity.

Body opens up with the freeing sounds of 'Follow Me'. Despite the track's shining vocals and upbeat piano, 'Follow Me' sees the band reflect on alienation and self-inflicted isolation caused by our addiction to technology. It's intriguing that though the song may sound like something you blast on-repeat during a long summer's night, the words express a contrasting feeling. Towards the end of the track, the vocals become computerised and appear on repeat. The words, "All that I need is connectivity / Got a date with my screen / Simply living the dream" are heard on loop.

'Sweating Gold' is home to glorious guitar work and mesmerising arrangements. Listening to 'Sweating Gold' feels like stepping through rays of sunshine. Like the opener, there's an intriguing contrast between the vibrant nature of the instrumentals and the stirring feeling inside that you feel when you listen closely to the lyrics.

The seductive and sultry sounds of 'Low Blow' appears next. Home to a hypnotic and luring rhythm, the track impresses with its bassline and guitar riffs. 'Low Blow''s absorbing energy compliments the lyrics, which are about coping with rejection when desperately wanting to hook-up with someone.

The EP closes with 'Gym Song', which is an honest track about vanity and an unhealthy obsession with one's own body. The subject of 'Gym Song' is attempting to be overly healthy, but in the process, they're shaming those who are around them and distancing themselves from the people who care about them.

HONEYMOAN's debut EP Body is an exciting release from a band who's on the rise — get ready for their takeover.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Body is available to pre-order before its release on June 28th via Bandcamp here

'Low Blow':

'Sweating Gold':


Feature: The Anatomy of 'really' with mimi bay

Gothenburg-based bedroom-pop artist mimi bay recently unveiled her tender new single 'really'. The dreamy track, which is an exploration of unrequited love, showcases the 18-year-old's storylike lyricism. To celebrate the release of 'really', she takes us through the single below.

I wrote ‘really'… in late-August 2018. I was just playing around with some chords and melodies. I think a lot about who I was that summer; how I stayed up all night playing around on my computer making songs just for myself. I’ve always thought of 'really' as a bit of a silly song; it doesn’t say much and it’s cliché – she really likes him but he doesn’t see that she really likes him – but there’s something about the song that I resonated with, which kept me coming back to it.

The story behind ‘really' is… not that long… I just wanted to comment on how we sometimes tend to like and think about people we’ve only seen online and how they probably, most likely, aren’t even aware of our existence. I also wanted to say something about how easy it is to idolise these people because you don’t know them; sometimes only knowing that ‘He’s kind of tall and he plays guitar’ is enough…

My favourite lyric is… “She wishes she felt differently, her mind is kind of messy” It’s a waste of time thinking about this person that’s not in your life when you’re so occupied with everything else going on; a feeling of wanting to be present and focus on reality.

It was made… through experimentation, to create chilled, smooth soundscapes.

My main inspiration was… I’m not sure I was consciously inspired by anyone, the song just kind of happened. Musically, I took inspiration from the feeling of the chords and harmonies I’d been experimenting with, then just went with that. I listen to and get inspiration from a lot different artists but I find it hard to make things sound anything like what I listen to. This might be a good thing but it’s almost frustrating since I like the music I listen to.

It sounds best when… you decide to slow down for a little while.

Listen to 'really' by mimi bay below:

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Premiere: Doko – 'Borrowed Time'

Photo by Sam James

It's our pleasure to today bring you 'Borrowed Time', which is the brand new single by Sydney-based band Doko. Fast becoming known for their exhilarating blend of 80s new wave and psych-rock, 'Borrowed Time' is yet another impressive single from the band. Last year saw Doko release the sun-kissed 'Walking on the Ocean', as well as the buoyant 'Break Open'.

'Borrowed Time' is an upbeat tune that will get you moving. The track features the band's signature vibrant sound, but with a twist and something fresh. The chorus on 'Borrowed Time' is instantly catchy, with the words, "I don't wanna be alone" appearing like a desperate plea into the wild. Accompanied by elevating guitars, driving drums,  and smooth vocals, 'Borrowed Time' is exquisite.

Before it's released later this week, listen to 'Borrowed Time' by Doko below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Ea Kaya – 'Cruel To Be Kind'

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Following on from the release of her exquisite debut EP Fragile But Strong As Hell, Danish up-and-comer Ea Kaya recently unveiled her latest single 'Cruel To Be Kind', which is her first offering of 2019.

The bursting pop single is a mighty release by Ea Kaya. The passionate and honest track was inspired by the experiences of a close friend who was overcome by self-doubt and internal thoughts. On writing the single, she said, "They were drowning in frustration, feeling like nothing was going right at the time and so desperately tried to find a way to forget his reality. It was awful to watch because he's a gifted person who didn't cultivate any of his abilities but also because his unhappiness lead to anger that affected his family."

Check out Ea Kaya's poignant single 'Cruel To Be Kind' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Bleached – 'Kiss You Goodbye'

With the release of their brand new album Don't You Think You've Had Enough? (via Dead Oceans) fast approaching on July 12th, sister-duo Bleached released their latest cut with the ever-so-catchy 'Kiss You Goodbye'.

'Kiss You Goodbye' will transport you to a place dazzling with summertime sunshine. Along with featuring badass and fierce words, the song is also home to warm instrumentals, such as an entrancing bassline, beaming chords and addictive drums. The track sees vocalist Jennifer Clavin say goodbye to a former lover in style, especially with words such as, "Kiss you goodbye for the last time / Return to sender my heart in a letter". 'Kiss You Goodbye' is truly the heartbreak anthem that we all need.

Listen to 'Kiss You Goodbye' by Bleached below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Claudia Bouvette – 'Back to Life'

Monday, June 24, 2019
Photo by William Arcand

Montréal-based artist Claudia Bouvette shared her superb debut EP Cool It recently and we adore the project (and Claudia) immensely. Though we love the entire EP, 'Back to Life' holds a special place in our heart.

'Back to Life' is a perfect slice of alt-pop heaven. The track's racing and glowing synths will make you feel like you're in the 80s. Her vocals appear like that last sprinkle of sugar on a cake. The track also features doses of the saxophone, which injects even more magic into the song. All it will take is one listen for you to have 'Back to Life' stuck in your head. On the track, she sings, "Time and time again / I was beside you / Oh, and I couldn't stand it / You say I'm a fool, but this has gone too far."

Listen to 'Back to Life' below ⁠— if you love this tune just as much as we do, be sure to listen to the rest of the EP here.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Feature: The Anatomy of 'After You' with Plastic Picnic

Photo by ​​​​​​​Bronson Snelling

Brooklyn-based quartet Plastic Picnic recently shared their brand new single 'After You', which is set to appear on their forthcoming EP Vistalite. The EP is due for release on July 19th​​​​​​​. Until then, they take us through the story behind their track 'After You'.

We wrote 'After You'... by emailing early demos back and forth and adding to it for half of the year before finally trying it out live in the rehearsal space. Once we played it together the tough spots began to make more sense. We took it back to our bedrooms and were able to iron the song out further through lots of home recording.

'After You' is about... change and that terrifying but beautiful precipice right before you make a big decision. We use a lonely drive as an image for finding yourself drawn along one trajectory while scanning the exits around you. It swings between hesitation and the urge to dive into the unknown.

My favorite lyric... 
Marsh: ...or moments come in the pre-chorus.  “Do you think it’s time, for us to go, find a different life, one that we could grow”.
Gordon: I like the line, “Every turn you’re leaning off the road, such a wild view below.” I feel like it really encapsulates the essence of the song. It’s dark, but a magic place to be right on the cusp of something unfamiliar. I guess you could call it vertigo.

The song was made... as a deeper dive into experimenting with synth sounds. We wanted to try our hand at a pop song that still felt authentic and not overthought.  There’s so much to learn when incorporating different electronics and sound textures, and we’re excited to keep exploring that world. The biggest challenge in music is to make a simple idea sound great. As Charles Mingus said, “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”

Our main inspiration... for this song instrumentally comes from bands like Tame Impala, Chvrches, the 1975. We really admire how they can blend in-your-face catchy melodies while continuously trying out new sounds with percussion and electronics. Those groups are all pretty groove-focused too, and we had a lot of fun adding random little background samples and percussion flavors.

It sounds best... during a melancholic late night drive with the windows down, cigarette in hand.

Listen to 'After You' by Plastic Picnic below:

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Album Review: Pinky Pinky – Turkey Dinner

LA-based band Pinky Pinky serves up a savoury and delectable offering with their stunning debut album Turkey Dinner. Though the album may contain elements of vintage garage-rock, blues and surf-rock, it's a project that transcends the barriers of genre, with the focus instead being on the unique and whimsical narratives that they construct across the album's eleven tracks — as well as how they use the instrumentals to amplify the emotions brimming in each track. Turkey Dinner is also an exploration of life in one's early 20s, including longing, heartbreak and the weird encounters along the way.

They are true storytellers who are able to use strong imagery in their lyrics to paint a scene that's intriguing and otherworldly. On 'Lady Dancer', they describe a dancer who works late nights and that "you better put that money down or she'll never let you in". The retro-rock track is told in the third person, but at the end, Pinky Pinky cleverly inject their presence into the story with the stark and scathing words, "And if I ever get my fingers 'round his neck / well you'll see". As a listener, they invite you to be an observer of the worlds that they construct. On the album's opener 'My Friend Sean', they tell the story of a protagonist longing for 'Sean' and becomes doubtful when Sean isn't quite showing his affections. As the surf-tinged song progresses and Sean finally shows that he's interested, the instrumentals escalate chaotically and the vocals appear in sharp bursts, suddenly describing that he's the one. 'If It Didn't Hurt' visually describes becoming dismembered after giving yourself to someone in pieces, "Now I'm dismembered / And you have everything / But it was worth it".

The LP channels the feeling of being caught in your own thoughts and being left overwhelmed by contemplation. On the fast-paced 'All The Birds', Pinky Pinky discuss regret and mistakes, as well as the volcanic explosion of thoughts that happen when your world is about to implode due to a mishap and all you can do is sit back and let it go down. On 'Applecheeks', which is one of the album's more tender songs, they describe longing and the all-consuming nature of infatuation and how it can dominate one's entire mind and thoughts. 'Mystery Sedan' is about wanting more beyond the mundanity of life in the same city and the ways one might risk their life in the pursuit of something more thrilling. Their stirring and moving track 'Sticking Around' has words that are direct and honest, appearing as an outpouring of feelings.

Along with the emotional depth of Turkey Dinner, there's also plenty of moments of fun as well. Particularly on the album's buoyant and vibrant closer, which features a charming story about redemption. The spirited number is a fitting conclusion to the album, showcasing everything that they are about.

Pinky Pinky's Turkey Dinner features unforgettable and evocative stories, relatable words and unique instrumentation, and is certainly an album that you'll devour over-and-over again. 

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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To catch Pinky Pinky live in the US, UK and Europe, click here for more information. 

Now Playing: AMA – 'Real'

Saturday, June 22, 2019
Photo by Helena Lachowicz, via AMA's IG

West London-based up-and-comer AMA has unleashed her new single 'Real'. The track follows her previous singles 'Monochrome' and 'Slip', with 'Real' further proof of why she's one-to-watch.

'Real' sees AMA combine her smooth vocal delivery with an array of intriguing soundscapes. The intricately layered beats are beautifully chaotic and are the perfect accompaniment to the emotions brimming in the track. According to AMA, 'Real' was written a few months in a new relationship and the lyrics explore wanting to be there for someone who hasn't fully opened up yet. On 'Real', she sings, "So tell me how you feel, no lie/ Give me a minute, yeah I'm on my way to you/ Tell me where and I'll be there in two."

The unveiling of 'Real' was also joined by the release of the music video, which was directed by Will Reid and visually captures the energy of the track.

'Real' is yet another stunning offering by AMA and we're looking forward to her next move.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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EP Review: Egyptian Blue – Collateral Damage

Brighton-via-Colchester four-piece Egyptian Blue have been turning heads in 2019 due to their abrasive style of post-punk. After drip-feeding singles across the space of approximately nine months, they've packaged four blazing songs and served them up on their debut EP Collateral Damage, released via Yala! Records.

The songs on the EP were inspired by a series of conversations overheard by the band during the late hours of the night when the streets are full of people who have had more than a couple of drinks, and one's inner thoughts are as dark as the night's sky. Through the use of vignettes, the band are able to channel an expansive range of emotions, from feeling fear or panic to pure exhilaration — all of which portray different sides of the human psyche.

Collateral Damage opens with the thrashing sounds of 'Collateral'. A fitting opening to an EP that's non-stop madness, the track is an exploration of anxiety and how it can control the way you live your life. 'Collateral' in particular was inspired by a friend's struggle with social anxiety, and how it prevented them from meeting someone they fell in love with online in real life. Listening to the track makes you feel like you've succumbed to an all-consuming fever, and the only way to possibly to free yourself from it is to endure it and sweat it out. The words that grasp onto you on 'Collateral' are, "Your message has not been received, you been deceived," towards the end. Next up, 'To Be Felt', sees them maintain their high-powered energy. The track is a reflection of connection and how easy it is to find yourself detached from the world around you. 'To Be Felt' depicts a deep state of insomnia, where you're exhausted but overcome with heightened senses.

As the EP progresses, there's no stopping Egyptian Blue. Sharp and direct, 'Contain It' features vocals that appear in bursts. As the song continues, the enraging instrumentals appear layered above the vocals, which evokes a sense of drowning or feeling rattled by an insurgence of unstoppable thought patterns. Collateral Damage closes as frantic as it started with the hallucinogenic-inspired track 'Adderall', which has been appropriately named. Throughout 'Adderall', they describe an array of physiological and psychological mind-altering sensations. As you listen to the song, it makes you feel jittery in the way it paints someone who desperately needs to crawl out of their skin.

Collateral Damage is unnerving madness in the best way possible. Egyptian Blue is able to capture the most haunting sides of the human mind across four chaotic and unnerving perfect slices of post-punk.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic

Watch the video for 'Collateral':

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GIG REVIEW: METHYL ETHEL | Melbourne | 20.6.19

Perth art-rock band and one of Australia's finest, Methyl Ethel, brought their enthralling live show to Melbourne's Forum Theatre. The tour comes after playing a series of shows overseas, including in the UK, Europe and the US.

First up for the night was Montreal-based artist Ada Lea, who ensured that things were off to a magical start. It's hard to be the opening act on a rainy evening where people are reluctant to kick off their night early, but those who braved the cold were treated to a spellbinding performance by an artist on the rise. She played material off of her forthcoming debut album what we say in private, including the magnetic and beautifully chaotic single 'mercury'. Ada Lea is certainly one to watch and her set provided a memorable moment in an evening full of highlights.

Following Ada Lea was the high-powered sounds of Oklahoma band BRONCHO. Leaving no room for any unneeded chatter between songs, they played non-stop with very quick transitions between songs. This meant that they truly devoured each minute they had on-stage. They opened with the shadowy 'Weekend' from their 2018 album Bad Behavior, pulling the audience in from the very moment they stepped onto the stage. Without blinking they moved into the all-consuming 'Boys Got to Go', which is also from the album. As their set progressed, they treated fans to a thrilling performance. Without murmuring a word, BRONCHO wrapped things up, departing in the most rock 'n' roll way possible.

Methyl Ethel appeared on-stage backed by ethereal synths, which set the mood for their highly anticipated entrance. The initial part of their performance included new material such as 'Trip The Mains', 'Hip Horror' and 'All The Elements'. Webb put on a show, moving across the stage and jumping on the amp to perform a series of moves. Along with being the creative visionary that he is, he's also a master of pulling the audience in without murmuring any unnecessary banter, communicating solely through the art of performance.

Webb's vocals transcend to another level in a live setting, sounding even better than they do on recordings — which isn't an easy task. He's able to take his notes high, whilst also keeping a dreamlike tone with ease. Even in between moving across the stage, switching instrumentals or conducting some serious music wizardry on-stage, his vocals remain perfect.

Towards the middle of their set, they performed the ever-so-buoyant 'Real Tight', which provided yet another fine vocal performance by Webb, as well as an opportunity for fans to unleash a sea of grooves. After thanking supporting acts Ada Lea and BRONCHO, and an extended intro of the track, they moved into the eerie yet captivating sounds of 'Post-Blue', with the power of their performance leaving the crowd in chills.

Much to the band's credit, there was no designated encore, which they can be commended for. However, in a way, the transition from 'Ruiner' to 'Scream Whole' to then 'Ubu' felt like an encore — with the crowd clapping throughout all three tracks. It's hard to go past 'Scream Whole', which becomes something otherworldly live — which is a credit to Webb and the band, given the theatrical nature of the track. They ended the show with 'Drink Wine', and though everyone was desperate for more, Methyl Ethel gave the crowd everything they had and so much more.

Not only does Methyl Ethel put on exception live show, but they also provide fans with an emotional experience that's truly unforgettable.

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

Interview: Kirin J Callinan on Balancing Being an Artist and Human

Friday, June 21, 2019

Without a doubt, Kirin J Callinan is one of Australia's most prominent artists — though the past has seen him subject to controversy, it's his daring and unapologetic approach to creating music that makes him stand out. His new album Return To Center is his most ambitious release to date — serving up a series of moving covers featuring songs that you probably won't see on any 'best of' lists anytime soon. Despite performing a series of covers, Callinan makes them his own, delivering passionate renditions of songs by the likes of Opus/Laibach, Momus, Spectral Display, and John Lyndon & Bill Laswell. We spoke to Callinan about the album, making it in two weeks, selecting the songs, and why he chose to address his controversies.

What was the catalyst that made you want to do a covers album?

Honestly, the limitations was probably the big thing. My last record before this one, I worked on it for what felt like forever. It was about three years and it could've been another three years. It could've gone on forever, so I wanted to just set myself some limitations, which didn't necessarily mean covers. But by setting myself fourteen days to make it and doing already pre-existing songs, would limit the amount I could chop and change things.

And is it true that you tracked a song every day?

Yeah, we had fourteen days to make the record because of the return policies at the Guitar Center. So in order to do ten songs, we'd have to do nine songs and an instrumental. I still required time between buying the gear on the first day and setting it up and then having the remaining thirteen days, including a tap down day and a day to do overdubs. It meant just diving in and committing, which was terrifying.

So you actually returned all the gear that you used for the album?


And did you get the money back for it?

Yeah. Got the money back. Making music these days is not what it used to be, even having a record label who are emotionally supportive and financially supportive to an extent is certainly not what it used to be in the heyday of the music industry. So that was as much a cool idea as anything, finding ingenious ways to make a record on a shoestring. Yeah, so we got the money back.

And sometimes with cover albums, they can be considered by some people as disingenuous, such as we always see them around Christmas, but with your album, it's clear listening to it that's it's passion-driven. What do the songs mean to you and how did you select them?

Well, the selection was spontaneous to an extent. I had a long list of songs I wanted to do. That said, there's a number of songs on the record that weren't on that list and there are also songs at the top of that list that I was sure I was going to do, that I didn't do for whatever reason. It was very much what I was feeling that morning and then when the other musicians came in, we sort of collectively dived into a song, sort of let it happen.

Both the songs, 'Rise' originally by Public Image Ltd, and 'Vienna' by Ultravox, they weren't priorities for me to do at all. In fact, 'Vienna' wasn't even on the list. I just woke up with it in my head one morning and was singing it as I strolled down the street, picking up myself a morning juice. And it just seemed natural to give it a go, and then once we'd started, we sort of had to finish it. But for all of them, it was important that the record had an arc to it and there were multiple songs that fit a same idea, whether it was an emotional place where that song came from — you know, a love song or song of heartache or a devotional song like 'The Whole Of The Moon'.

There was a number of songs that fit that spirit or whether it was a sort of tempo feel or aesthetic idea that I had in my head as well. There were a number of songs that fit that palette so I was trying to pick one from each and give the album a bit of an arc while also being spontaneous and let it sort of happen itself, which I think it did. You know, you can't really control it too much. You sort of have to go with the flow and I'm happy with how it turned out.

A personal favourite is the Opus cover that opens up the album. It's such a grand opening for the record. What is your attachment to that particular song?

Thank you. Well, I've always loved the Laibach version, which is a cover of the Opus version. I've always hated the Opus version and I actually listened to the Opus version the other day and I thought, 'well this is pretty good'. But for some reason, I've always loved the Laibach version. Couldn't stand the Opus original and I found that quite interesting, how a song can be loved or hated based on the aesthetic, which is really just the clothing for a song.

I kind of wanted to find a sweet spot between those two songs and the version I loved and the version I loathed, which, when you're making music always happens, one day you'll hate something and the other you'll love it. So yeah, that was the approach I took to make it my own, if I can make myself love and loathe it. Does that make sense?

Absolutely makes sense. And in the middle of the album, you have the distorted instrumental with laughing as the only vocal. Why did you decide to put something of your own in between the covers?

I guess that was a way to get away from it being exclusively a covers record. I wanted to see the concept, the idea of 'return to center', for there to be a personal journey and an arc across the album. The idea of having an instrumental core — you know, as a centrepiece — to the album, I wanted to represent a newer journey to the listener.

You have all these songs, cover all these things and these sort of heady ideas, but if we can have that less cerebral, just nerve piece in the middle, a place of the eye of the storm or the canonical center. That was the initial idea of an instrumental in the middle, the centrepiece. There was a bunch of ideas about how to conceptually tie in the theme of 'return to center' into the record, whether it be sort of bookended by the same theme that connected and went round again. Or whether the album started stereo and closed into mono and then that the stereo by the end was never ideal. But the idea of the instrumental core was the most direct and strongest idea, I thought. Of course, just having a narrative instrumental didn't feel like quite enough so this idea of hysteria, you know, mad laughing but ecstatic and also torturous, sort of not sure what it is, it's a bit of both.

On the album, you address the ARIA's controversy. Why did you choose to include the snippets and embrace it instead of avoiding it?

I felt like I had to. At the time, advised on all fronts just to let the discourse happen around it and not make some big statement or light the flames. But it's hard to be mute on it. For the most part, I didn't give any interviews and my opinions on it fluctuated but I had lots of thoughts, some of them conflicting. And there's a time of reflection and looking at my own ethics and morals and worldview and interpretation of what happened throughout it, but in the end, as an artist, I had to address it artistically in some way. Certainly far more interesting than some earnest statement or whatever else. I'm not sure how it came up, but it was Franc and I, who I worked on the record with, concocted that. I just felt that if I used the snippets from the news reporting to comment on it and I sing a song then it's certainly open to interpretation and there's ambiguity, and that's what's important to me, that things are open to interpretation and can start conversation and what I think doesn't really matter at all.

Are you unbothered by any of the negative chatter? Do you ever feel misunderstood?

You know, I'm human. I'm definitely bothered by negativity, and I try to be unbothered, but I can be saddened or angered by whenever people talk about me. And of course I'm misunderstood, but that's nothing special. Again, as an artist, it's my role to not to articulate clearly my viewpoint or my politics or anything like this, but to put work out and for it to be interpreted anyway it might be. I'm trying to work it out myself. If I'm misunderstood, I wonder if it means I'm doing my job poorly or if I'm actually doing it well?  We're all misunderstood, it's nothing special. I'm keeping on. I'll be fine.

What do you hope listeners get out of their listening experience of Return To Center?

I just hope they have a good time with it, whether it's fun or it's moving. I get so excited when I listen to music and enjoy it, and that hasn't changed since I was a kid. I hope people get excited or as moved as I do by my favourite records and songs.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me, Kirin. I really appreciate it.

My pleasure, Amy.  No, thank you. I really appreciate it too.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to Return To Center:

Tour dates:
August 8th – Lion Arts Factory Adelaide
August 9th – Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne
August 10th – Freo Social, Fremantle
August 16th – The Zoo, Brisbane
August 17th – Metro Theatre, Sydney

Thanks to EMI Australia, we'll be giving two LP vinyl record copies of Kirin J Callinan's new album Return To Center. Entries close Friday, June 28th and Australian entrants only.

Feature: The Ingredients of Start Clanging Cymbals with Wovoka Gentle

Photo by Ozge Cone

London-based experimental trio Wovoka Gentle earlier this month unveiled their highly anticipated debut album Start Clanging Cymbals via Nude Records. Featuring William J Stokes and twins Imogen and Ellie Mason, Wovoka Gentle continue to redefine genre rules and expectations through their music. To celebrate the release of their incredible debut album, they took some time out to share the influences behind it.

The Pembrokeshire coastline, Wales
We recorded most of the album in a house right on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path national park, on the south-west coast of Wales; which is an area of spectacular beauty. On the days we weren’t in the studio we went exploring around that area and took lots of field recordings of rivers, rocks breaking, waves, crickets and things like that. Those sounds are all across the record.

Instant Light by Andrei Tarkovsky
We found it helpful to have a few poetry books and things with us in the studio. Often we’d use them as a starting point for lyrical improvisations when we were writing together. There’s this beautiful little book we had of polaroids taken by the director Andrei Tarkovsky, with each image accompanied by an extract from his diary. It was in the room with us (with several pages marked) pretty much the entire time we were there.

Outside the studio, there were these three trees in a line, and in the later winter around sunset they would be completely filled with starlings chattering, and sometimes it was so loud we’d have to stop recording! Birds were a big part of our day-to-day life during the recording of this album, and also we could track the progression of the seasons by which birds were around. Rooks, Red Kites, House Martens in the eaves of the house we were in, Seagulls, Oystercatchers, Herons; we recorded a lot of them (sometimes on purpose).

Sonic The Hedgehog
We realised as we got further into the album process that we were referring a lot to nostalgic computer game soundtracks and children’s TV themes. We had a version of the original Sonic The Hedgehog on our phones which we were playing, and on 'Peculiar Form Of Sleep (Tiresias Theban)' we decided to try and mimic the sounds of Sonic jumping and catching rings and things. It sounded interesting and felt fitting as that song races through a lot of different sections, a little bit like different levels on a computer game.

Moog Little Phatty Stage II
The Moog Little Phatty has been at the backbone of the band since we started. It was the first synth we bought and has featured on every recording we’ve ever made. It’s the main arpeggio on 'Small Victory'; '1,000 Opera Singers Working In Starbucks' is centred around this squelchy bottom end we created on it; it makes the pulsing bass in Oystercatcher, and so on. It was the last synth to be designed by Bob Moog himself so it has a lot of heritage as an instrument, and it feels like it was the original gateway for us into the type of sound we make as a band.

Listen to Start Clanging Cymbals by Wovoka Gentle below:

Watch the video for 'Sin Is Crouching At Your Door':

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Now Playing: Tanners – 'Fumes'

Photo by Sam Livm

New York-based Tanners is back and on a mission to leave you spellbound with her heavenly new single 'Fumes'. The single follows in the footsteps of previous tracks 'Empress In Reverse' and 'Venus', with both tracks providing us with some of our favourite pop sounds of 2018.

'Fumes' is a slow jam that sees Tanners fuse elements of 80s pop with R&B. Uplifting and atmospheric, the single will fill you with warmth. Drawn to 80s ballads, she notes that the single is her 'prom song'. On the track, she said, "My goal was to pay homage to these sparkly, nostalgic, almost melancholy productions." The prom theme is also captured in the track's visuals, showcasing six different high school tropes.

With more music to come this year, there's a lot to love about your new favourite pop queen Tanners.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Sports Team – 'Here It Comes Again'

Photo by Mikael Åstrand

UK band Sports Team has followed up their EP Keep Walking! with their buzzing new single 'Here It Comes Again'. The release of the track comes before their forthcoming appearance at Glastonbury. After catching Sports Team live at SXSW back in March, we were left in absolute awe of their energetic live shows.

In true Sports Team style, 'Here It Comes Again' is exhilarating non-stop from beginning to end. Home to sharp vocals, thrashing drums and vigorous guitars, the track is designed to play live and loud. The release of the single was also accompanied by a music video that sees frontman Alex Rice get stung by a bee whilst beekeeping. After that, he enters a fever dream where he and the band have some good ol' fun in a field.

Now that Sports Team has tackled America, let's hope that they bring their infectious energy to Australia sometime soon.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: The Paranoyds – 'Girlfriend Degree'

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Photo by Gina Canavan

LA band The Paranoyds continue to capture the world's attention and this time it's with their thrilling new track 'Girlfriend Degree'. The release of the single also comes alongside news that the band is set to unleash their highly anticipated debut album Carnage Bargain on September 13th via Suicide Squeeze.

Their thrashing new single is a lifting and energetic track designed to fight against the unrealistic and unattainable standards society enforces on women. The band said that the song "is a call to arms, a reminder to be a supremely self-loving woman, to just do you. There’s all this pressure about being “the ideal woman,” and it’s easy to get caught up in that — to spend your time trying to be all these things that others think you should be."

They also noted, "Getting a “girlfriend degree” is about settling, selling oneself short and not believing in yourself—valuing your partner’s beliefs or opinions over your own. It’s cool to be a girlfriend or wife or whatever, but there’s so much more to being a woman than that."

The Paranoyds keep on impressing us and we're certain that their album is going to be just as good.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Now Playing: Green Buzzard – 'I Don't Want To Be Alone'

Photo by Alexa Viscius

It's been around two years since Sydney-based artist Green Buzzard has shared new music, but it's been without a doubt worth the wait since 'I Don't Want To Be Alone' (released via I OH YOU) will satisfy all your cravings.

'I Don't Want To Be Alone' is a catchy song home to passionate strumming, tasty riffs and words that will be ringing in your head for hours. The track explores breaking up and whether it's the right decision to leave someone. On the single, he said, "Essentially the track is about breaking up with someone and weighing up whether or not it's worth trying to fix things – knowing deep down it's ultimately better to move on but selfishly not wanting to be alone."

This might be our first taste of new music from Green Buzzard in a little while, but we're already excited for what he serves up next.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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News: Iceland Airwaves Drops Their Third Artist Announcement

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Pictured Orville Peck (photo by Gordon Nicholas)

Iceland Airwaves have shared their latest artist announcement, featuring over 20 new additions to their huge line-up. Joining the line-up is rising Brooklyn-based star Cautious Clay, experimental punk band Snapped Ankles,  Irish up-and-comers Just Mustard, country artist Orville Peck, and many more. Icelandic artists who will appear include Blóðmör, Ásta, and Axel Flóvent.

The growing lineup will also join powerhouse band Of Monsters And Men, Netherlands four-piece Pip Blom, the one-and-only Mac DeMarco, the always impressive Whitney, shimmering indie-rock band Penelope Isles, soaring pop queen Hildur,  the ever-so-talented girl in red, and the thought-provoking Hatari.

Iceland Airwaves is also leading the way, having committed in recent years to booking a gender equal lineup.

The festival is set to take place between 6th and 9th November in Reykjavik. They've sold out of early bird tickets and first release tickets, but you can still purchase second release tickets. For more information, click here.

New additions:
John Grant (US), Orville Peck (CA), Cautious Clay (US), Snapped Ankles (UK), Just Mustard (IE), W.H. Lung (UK), Tiny Ruins (NZ), Æ Mak (IE), Pillow Queens (IE), Akkan (ES), Helge (NL), Agent Fresco, Biggi Veira (Gus Gus DJ Set), Axel Flóvent, Sykur, aYia, Bagdad Brothers, Blóðmör, Ásta, Bríet, Konfekt, Krassasig, Morpholith

Full lineup:
Æ Mak, Agent Fresco, Akkan, Alexandra Stréliski, Alyona Alyona, Amanda Tenfjord, Anna of the North, Aron Can, Ásta, Auðn, Auður, Axel Flovent, aYia, Bagdad Brothers, Berndsen, Bessie Turner, Between Mountains, Biggi Veira (GusGus DJ Set), Blanco White, Blóðmör, Boy Azooga, Bríet, Cautious Clay, Ceasetone, Elín Sif,  Free Love, Gabríel Ólafs, GDRN, Georgia, girl in red, Glass Museum, Grísalappalísa, Hatari, Helge, Hildur, Hrím, Hugar, IamHelgi, Ivan Dorn, JFDR, John Grant, Just Mustard, Kælan Mikla, Konfek, Krassasig, Mac DeMarco, Mammút, Matthildur, Morpholith, Moses Hightower, Murkage Dave, Niklas Paschburg, Of Monsters And Men, Ólöf Arnalds, Orville Peck, PAVVLA, Penelope Isles, Pillow Queens, Pip Blom, Pottery, Seabear, Shame, Siv Jakobsen, Snapped Ankles, SONS, Svavar Knútur, Sykur, The Garrys, The Howl & The Hum, Tiny Ruins, Une Misère, Vök, W. H. Lung, Warmduscher, Warmland, Whitney

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Written by Amy Smolcic 

Now Watching: deep tan – 'Air'

Photo by Waterbaby

Hackney trio deep tan have unveiled the music video for their debut single 'Air'. Their single is also now available on all streaming platforms via Practise Music. The release of the video comes before their support shows with post-punk band Madonnatron this week.

Directed by Waterbaby, the mesmeric video clip for 'Air' captures the shadowy nature of the track. Featuring an array of vibrant colours and eye-catching effects, it's hard to look away once you press play. On the video, the band said, "The film captures the essence and free spirited nature of the band and shows their strength, individuality and beauty prevailing in a world that often feels like a hoax. In a void like vacuum, the desire for truth is illustrated through movement, colour and feeling."

'Air' is a sign of massive things to come for a trio who is on the rise.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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Live dates:
June 20th - Crofters Rights, Bristol w/ Madonnatron
June 21st - Moth Club, London w/ Madonnatron
July 20th - The Ivy House / Hate Zine Issue 6 Launch Party

Now Playing: Operator Music Band – 'Squaresoft'

Photo by Adam Lempel
Late in May, Brooklyn-based experimental band Operator Music Band unleashed two memorable tracks into the wild with their two-track offering 'Squaresoft / Cowboys' — and though we're obsessed with both tracks, we're absolutely addicted to the ever-so-exhilarating 'Squaresoft'.

Leading the charge on 'Squaresoft' are the band's piercing and sharp synths. Their dominant synths are the backbone of the track, with the other elements of the song working in tandem with them. 'Squaresoft' sounds like it's part of the soundtrack for another world, with its trance-like energy possessing the power to transport you to a different planet — providing you with a journey that you wish would last for eternity.

Hit repeat and dive into the world of Operator Music Band and their track 'Squaresoft' below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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EP Review: Far Caspian – The Heights

Photo by Harry Robinson

Leeds-based trio Far Caspian step into the light with their sophomore EP The Heights (released via Dance To The Radio). Spanning five all-consuming tracks, their EP is a reflective offering that blends stirring lyricism with dreamy synth-led pop. The Heights marks the trio’s most mature and refined release yet.

‘Conversations’ is a vibrant opening to the EP — bringing together washed out guitars, delicate vocal harmonies and an enticing rhythm. The dreamy vocals blend beautifully with the instrumentals, with the guitars escalating in intensity as the song progresses. Despite the summertime energy of the track, the words are introspective and thought-provoking. The EP then moves into ‘Astoria’, which was inspired by the town in Oregon where The Goonies was shot. Just like the EP’s opener, the track radiates warmth. ‘Astoria’ evokes a feeling of being caught in a moment and savouring it up.

Opening with glowing synths that appear like that first glimpse of light in the morning, ‘A Dream of You’ features 80s-like instrumentals and floating vocals. The track is an exploration of abandonment — the words ‘I’m so terrified’ are also present in the construction of the synths. ‘A Dream of You’ takes an emotion like fear and sees the band turn it into something utterly dazzling. Next up is ‘These Times’, which is a heartfelt song home to poignant words like “Crawling back to you / like I always do / falling back in to”. The release closes with the EP’s title track ‘The Heights’. The lo-fi track brings the release full circle, with the hazy vocal harmonies and mellow instrumentals appearing minimal yet immensely impacting.

Far Caspian’s sophomore EP The Heights is a mesmerising release that delicately mixes warm instrumentals and exquisite vocals with reflective and honest lyricism. Even after you reach the EP’s end, you’ll be left with goosebumps for hours afterwards.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Listen to The Heights by Far Caspian below:

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Live dates:
June 20th – Sebright Arms, London (Good Karma Club)
October 7th– The Latest Music Bar, Brighton
October 9th – Moth Club, London
October 10th – Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
October 12th – Twisterella Festival
October 12th – Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester
October 16th – The Hug & Pint, Glasgow
October 17th – Think Tank? Underground, Newcastle
October 18th – Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham

Now Playing: HUNJIYA – 'give it / what i get'

Photo by Claire Fagin

Seoul-born and New York-raised up-and-comer HUNJIYA has delivered yet another enchanting release with her latest single 'give it / what i get'. The track follows in the footsteps of her exquisite self-produced debut EP Lineage, which she created as a gift to her grandparents who had hadn't heard her music yet.

The alt-R&B track features glowing synths, lilting vocals and layered beats — the combination of all these is absolutely magical. 'give it / what i get' is a raw and moving track about losing sense of yourself and giving too much to others —on the single, she said it's "one of the more uplifting songs I wrote during a time where I felt like I was losing a sense of who I was. It was written to anyone who might be the type to give too much of themselves to others and don't get enough in return."

Listen to 'give it / what i get' by HUNJIYA below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)


Now Playing: Marsicans – 'Little Things'

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Photo by Jake Haseldine

UK band Marsicans have been extremely busy lately — recently they played in front of over 20,000 people at Elland Road whilst supporting Kaiser Chiefs, alongside The Vaccines, as well as joining Foals on tour in Hamburg this month. Now, they've unleashed their brand new single 'Little Things', which follows in the footsteps of their previous single from this year 'Your Eyes'.

'Little Things' is a catchy song inspired by the minor things in life that tend to have the biggest impact. On the single, bassist/vocalist Rob Brander said, "Little Things is a song about the little things in life that keep you going. It began in rehearsal when James played us a frenetic guitar riff, accompanied by a lyric about being 'lost in the bread aisle'. We didn't worry too much about structure, letting the energy in the room dictate where we should take the song next."

After sharing two impressive singles this year, we can't wait to hear whatever else they have planned for the year.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Live dates:
July 6th - Barn On The Farm, Gloucester
July 21st  - Tramlines, Sheffield
July 26th - Truck Festival, Oxon.
August 2nd - 110 Above, Leicester
August 3rd - Humber Street Sesh, Hull
August 10th - Beyond the Woods, Lincoln
August 31st  - Bingley Weekender

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Now Playing: Bodywash – 'Reverie'

After falling in love with Montreal-based band Bodywash and their dreamy sound last year, they've come through with yet another impressive single with their latest track 'Reverie'. The release of the single comes alongside news that they'll be releasing their debut album Comforter on August 30 via Luminelle Recordings.

Densely packed with layered synths, spacey vocals, and ambient percussion, the song is both haunting and intoxicating.  'Reverie' also finds itself somewhere between the soothing nature of dream pop and the edginess of psych-rock. On the track, they said, "''Reverie' is a fever dream – literally. Chris first started writing the song while delirious and weak from a high fever, couped up in a small, dark-walled rehearsal space. That sense of confinement made its way into the song, a mounting tension that gives way to a manic need for release."

The band also notes, "The track gestures towards a hope for something new, even if that something is just a fantasy. Its frantic escapist bent erodes distinctions between real and surreal, subject and object. All that prevails is a desire to float to the surface – whatever that surface may be."

Listen to 'Reverie' by Bodywash below.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

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