While Melbourne, Australia has birthed the continuous pop genre of late, it’s mostly been focused on the lo-fi blend of the genre. While the lads in Crepes definitely make a nod towards that direction, they wrap up their songs in a different blend, bringing the focus towards the listener’s connection with the vocals, definitely elevating this tune beyond the modern slacker-pop of the Australian city. You’ll be able to find this tune and a few others on the band’s new EP, Cold Summers, which hits later this year.
It seems like stepping away from Pop Singles isn’t going to slow things down for Melbourne’s Tam Vantage. He’s been cranking out great track after track for about a year now, and he’s finally got the full Setting Sun EP for you to listen to, if you’ve got the time to love great music. There’s a bit more power on these tunes than perhaps what I was expecting, though there’s still an underbelly of Australian pop that supersedes that edge. My favorite track on the listen is “Marry Me,” but I’m sure everyone will have their own pick. Get involved in the Tam Vantage movement, as he’s been on a roll and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.
Some point last year, I got word of this rad little act growing in popularity in Australia: Crepes. I wrote about them then, and I’ve just gotten word of a new single that’s going to delight all our listeners. “Stages of Fear” offers a bit of that traditional Aussie sound, but I think they definitely added a punch; the drums are harder and the energy has a bit more energy in the way the track glides along cooly. This tune will be found on the band’s soon to be released debut EP; I’ll provide more details as those come my way.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DSCciZA14uWJ.128.mp3]
I just heard about Australian based indie band Heart Beach today and I’m already stricken with their music. This song, “Away”, is what started it all for me and I’m hoping you feel the same way when you hit play. It’s a song that is seemingly always waiting for the beat to drop, it never really does, and I find myself loving every second of that. Loving the guitar sounds created here too. Check out more of their tuneage over on bandcamp.
Heart Beach have their debut LP coming out on March 20th this year.
Twerps self-titled debut was something of a marvel. It hit the US with little fanfare, but won over the hearts of many listeners and scored them a tour opening for Real Estate. Me, personally, I fawned over the LP for the entirety of 2011. There was something in the relaxed attitude the band employed, and yet often offset with their jangling Aussie guitar prowess. Range Anxiety picks up where that album left off, though there’s touches with the vocals that elevate this effort above its predecessor.
While there’s a statement instrumental opener, Range Anxiety officially begins with “I Don’t Mind.” I hesitate to call it a true piece of slacker pop, though the pacing would suggest such. My issue with that revolves around the song’s time, spanning over 5 minutes. That’s not a slacker band running out of ideas, but rather a comfortable approach to well-crafted pop music. They follow it up with the bouncy “Back to You,” which sounds like a spritely version of the Go-Betweens. I love how the backing vocals don’t join instantaneously during the chorus, but rather build into it…that’s a nice touch.
Speaking of nice touches, I like how Jules has a more prominent role on this LP, particularly in the standout track, “Shoulders.” It’s a tune that features that shimmering guitar work, but her voice offers a different tonal quality than that of her counterpart, Marty. It actually harkens back to a time of more pristine female voices, void of auto-tune and all that other technological hoopla. Her presence on “Adrenaline” adds a continued softness that really smooths out the edges for Twerps; it’s still the same act, just a slight bit more leaning towards classic sounds of pop beauty.
In the end, I’m going to still fawn over this album for it’s guitar playing. Sure, everyone has praised the Oceanic influence on guitar over the last decade, but I don’t think there are many that do it quite as authentically as these guys. Listening to “Cheap Education,” I was pushed way back into my own record collection, at least mentally. There’s a spirit to it that’s hardly been matched, and it always make listening to the group a joy. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t invest a sentence or two in “Love at First Sight.” This song is unlike much of those that precede it, though I’ve found myself gravitating towards it again and again. There’s something ramshackle that’s set amidst a really subdued performance.
Those that first fell in love with Twerps will surely find every song on Range Anxiety to have a redeeming quality. But, I think they’ve put in enough finishing touches to really surpass their debut in many ways. It’s a different listen, but one that exemplifies growth whilst staying grounded to what got them their in the first place. Going to keep playing this album again and again.
Wednesday’s are always good for some crunchy rock n’ roll, which is perfect since we’ve got this rad track from ScotDrakula to offer you today. The Australian three-piece have some similarities to everyone’s favorite modern garage-rockers, but this, like Natural Child, seems to be more inspired by the history of Nashville songwriting. There’s still some grit coming forth in the howl of frontman Matt, so you’ll definitely get your rock n’ roll dosage for the day. The group are releasing a double-cassette on December 16th via Fleeting Youth Records, which will include their album Burner and their Break Me Up EP, which is where this tune finds a home.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Stupid-Everything.mp3]
Download: ScotDrakula – Stupid Everything [MP3]
Earlier in the fall, news of a new album from The Ocean Party trickled in, getting me excited, as I love the band and their work. But, for some reason or another, I completely forgot about it, and didn’t even remember it was coming out until last week. Since then I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to their latest LP, Soft Focus, which got a US release from the hardworking Jigsaw Records. So, since I completely forgot the album, I figured you needed to listen to it…also because it’s kind of a slow music week. So, no need to hear myself talk, I’d rather hear your thoughts on this LP.
Just last week I was talking about Bitch Prefect, who were in the latest Aussie musical explosion (not that that ever stopped), but in that post I talked about Bored Nothing, who were one of my favorite acts of that grouping. Somehow, I missed that the band had a new album, Some Songs, ready for release, along with this single that’s below. While the production is a touch different, it’s still clear that the project holds onto the stylistic touches that gave listeners an intimate experience with the songwriting. Now that I’m on this tune, I just picked up the LP from Spunk Records, so I can indulge just a bit more.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/04-We-Lied.mp3]
Download: Bored Nothing – We Lied [MP3]
I’m going out on a limb to say I was the first person to write about the Twerps in the US…thanks to a heads up from their great label Chapter Music. But, it seems like the rest of the world is catching on, deservedly so. The band have just announced that they’ll be working with Merge Records in the US (as well as Chapter in Australia) to release their brand new album, Range Anxiety. You’ll be able to hear the record in early 2015, but I want to take note of how upbeat the group sounds on this debut single. It’s not like they were ever bummed out, but this new glimpse offers an uplifting tone to fans. You can also check out THIS VIDEO to see how they tie it all together. So happy they’re going to have new tunes for us!
There’s been a lot of buzz overseas about Lisa Mitchell, but I hadn’t really given her work too much attention until I came across this playful bit of pop songwriting. The opening moments of the track recall the early days of Kings of Convenience, with a slight hint of buzz coming from the recorded guitar before Mitchell’s marvelous voice makes its entrance. There’s a quality to her voice that would put her on par with many American contemporaries, though her straight-forward approach makes for music that’s far more enchanting. Give the young lady a listen.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Lisa-Mitchell_Wah-Ha.mp3]
Download: Lisa Mitchell – Wah Ha [MP3]