New Oz Music: Miami Horror, Cut Copy, Geoffrey O'Connor, more
From a penal colony to the next musical capital of the world, here's some new Australian music.
Eliza Hull - 'Christopher'
Spektor-y vocals over a pensive, ticking rhythm. Christopher's either dead or gone. Does it make a difference? The void someone leaves behind in their sudden absence isn't easier to get over either way. Hull's clearly in the Pain & Guilt stage of grief: "I'm a fool in your web / Lovin' a ghost of a man." Oof.
If the aim of a breakup ballad is to properly convey the heartbreak of its inspiration then Hull knocked it outta the fucking park but I'm all the more blue for it.
Miami Horror - 'Real Slow'
Wikipedia pegs Miami Horror as "indietronica" (come on) but they really deserve a place along with Cut Copy, Midnight Juggernauts, The Presets and the rest of the Aussie folks who built blog house into a genre at the end of the last decade. Quick primer: 'blog house' was a wave of indie dance acts, like the electo versions of Vampire Weekend in that their buzz came up through mp3 blogs. It's not really a point of distinction anymore - who isn't an mp3 blogger these days? - but nevertheless there was a vague kinda sound to it all, a sound which Miami Horror are apparently sticking too.
On 'Real Slow', guest vocalist Sarah Chernoff's voice has that familiar, house-y wash over bleeps and bloops and stabbing synths. Sounds like the summer of '09, and I venture that's the point.
Cut Copy - 'Free Your Mind'
Are those animal noises? Or just the noise of primitive
humans, so regressed by THE BEAT and THE RHYTHM and all those other
civilisation-ending cliches? "Freeeee ya mind!" and let your body
take over. Telling that the youtube video is green and gold, surely. Wonder how
Cut Copy feel about that graffiti at Richmond station, the one that says
"AUSSIE PRIDE IS GENOCIDE!"
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - 'I Am Not A Man Unless I Have A Woman'
Slightly less woozy than '30 Past 7' and certainly less epic than 'Head On/Pill', from the cover art down 'I Am Not A Man Unless I Have A Woman' is boozy, psychedelic cock-rock. Tame Impala is like soooooooooooo last year. Float Along - Fill Your Lungs is out September 27 via Flightless/Dot Dash.
San Mei - 'Brighter'
I wonder if there's anything more encouraging in the musical realm as new, independent artists making pop music. Much as I love bumping Ke$ha's 'Die Young' and Gaga's 'Telephone' and Rihanna's 'Only Girl In The World', if the future of the pop landscape is as bleak and manufactured as Paul Verhoeven and Luke Ryan suppose, then artists like San Mei are bulwarks against that plastic dystopia. Great pop music doesn't only come from boardrooms and conference calls - I know I don't have to tell you that but it's worth keeping in mind.
The Gold Coast's San Mei chiselled a pop gem with 'Brighter'. The snap of the synth claps, the bass rumble, the subtle squeals of chiptune-y noise, it all adds up into something surprisingly accomplished.
Animaux - 'Alaska'
'Alaska' has the Passion Pit-covering brass band longing for Sarah Palin's meth capital of the world. Actually it sounds like "brass band" might not even be an accurate descriptor any more. 'Alaska' is played way down. Not a skronk blast to be found. More soft-rock than blues/jazz, 'Alaska' poses Animaux as the successors to Little Red's abdicated throne.
Little Scout - 'March Over To Me'
Although indie rock is deader'n disco (thanks, D. Punk),
Brisbane trendies Little Scout find a pulse in 'March Over To Me's by
commanding it to life. YOU WILL MARCH OVER TO ME! It's not a demand so much as
an inevitability, and rarely has destiny felt so palatable. Clap clap clap.
Geoffrey O'Connor - 'Jacqueline'
My Dad's Mum's name is Jacqueline so I rang her up to find out what she thought of Geoffrey O'Connor's new track.
"Hi Granny, it's Jake."
"Oh, Jake. How are ya?"
"I'm well thanks Granny. Hey, I'm just writing my column, could you listen to this song and tell me what you think?"
"Oh well okay, haha, sure. Let me just sit down. Okay."
['Jacqueline' plays through its three minutes.]
"Oh, that's nice."
"It's called 'Jacqueline' like you. It's by a Melbourne lad called Geoffrey O'Connor."
"Oh, haha. Yes that was quite nice."
"What I most appreciated was the burbling synths preceding the second chorus and the key change in the third quarter. The way the lust in his voice off-sets the sorrow of a memory not easily forgotten gives the song a somber quality against the dusky cinematic feel of the arrangements."
"And in the context of the New Wave resurgence in Australian music, O'Connor finds himself in league with children of the late '80s whose experience of the decade comes via crackling VHS tapes and late nights spent watching rage, but while that might suggest these impressions are really imitations of imitations, simulacrum of simulacrum, so to speak, memories are eternal - or atemporal, I should say - taking place out of time; even if they're packaged with the sounds of an unremembered decade, as long as it serves the thematic core of the song you can't fault O'Connor for having any less claim over this era or that, in fact that might be the primary benefit of the delineated understanding of music today's youth are coming to realise. It's nice to categorise but really music made today has no conflict in existing alongside music made 20 or 30 or a hundred years ago. Time is as intangible as the cloud in which this mp3 is stored, after all."
"Right, sure. Thanks Granny. Pass on my love to the family, I'll see you for Christmas."
Jake Cleland (@sawngswjakec)