Reviewing new music often degenerates into simply working out which bands to compare to which bands; this band will move you like that band, or if you like that tune you’ll love this one, and so on. Then along come Newtown trio DMA’s and make the job so easy that you’re not sure if it’s an unashamed rip-off, genuine homage, or a mixture of both. This five-track debut EP is so steeped in ’90s indie-rock and garage-pop flavours that you expect it to let out an extended Liam Gallagher-esque vocal sneer at any second, but thankfully it never comes. Instead, this is a collection of tunes moulded by a combination of Britpop melodies, rough edges and plenty of heart, carried off by a bunch of scallywags you wouldn’t trust to borrow your car and bring it back in one piece, if at all. Opener ‘Feels Like 37’ veers close to ‘Morning Glory-era Oasis territory, while there’s more than a hint of shoegaze guitars under a Charlatans vocal line about ‘Play It Out’. The high point is closer ‘Delete’; the most delicate and almost ballad-like track, which will appeal much more to fans of Noel Gallagher than it will to those of his more abrasive younger sibling. This is a promising start to a young band’s career, but it’s how DMA’s take a sound cemented in such obvious reference points and make it their own that is most important from now on.
This debut EP from Castlemaine, Victoria producer and all-round talented guy Oliver Hugh Perry – a.k.a. D.D. Dumbo – is completely captivating from the off. Genre-bouncing between bluesy psychedelic jams, ambient electronica, experimental indie-folk and earthy African rhythms, yet somehow retaining a composed coherence throughout, this five-track, nineteen-minute EP showcases an intriguing and original new Australian talent worth getting excited about.
While Perry makes his music in his house 120 kilometres north of Melbourne in the gold fields of rural Victoria, opening song and lead single ‘Tropical Oceans’ is a classy summer-y beach song if there ever was one, evoking images of crashing waves and a blinding glare; you can almost smell the warm salty breeze as the smooth harmonies and crisp guitar lines break from the speakers. “My eyes blew out, I can finally see, warm magical tropical oceans,” he sings in an almost slacker drawl, followed by the ridiculous “I opened my skull and you were looking at me, oh you and your cousins chihuahua,” before the EP highlight: a chiming and cascading guitar riff that is both simple and engaging in its execution.
‘I Woke Up Covered In Sand’ continues the beach-themed titles, yet its lyrics read like they came from a book of Jim Morrison’s poetry. “I run as fast as I can, couldn’t scream, coughed out milk and a man,” being one cryptic example. The inclusion of a sparsely-done cover of Roy Orbison classic ‘Crying’ only serves to highlight the quality of Perry’s voice and the strength of the vocal harmonies he puts together, while the punchier ‘Dinghy’ is much more lo-fi, and closer ‘Alihukwe’ thumps and stomps to tribal drums and spiky melodies.
For less than twenty minutes of music, there’s a generous wealth of ideas here and this EP sounds like nothing else being made in Australia right now, making D.D. Dumbo one of the most promising ones-to-watch of recent months.
D.D. DUMBO’S SELF-TITLED EP IS OUT NOW.
There’s something pretty irresistible about Go Violets, even before you’ve heard a single note of their music. The Brisbane all-girl indie-pop quartet take the kind of infectiously rosy approach to making music and performing that makes you feel like you’re stuck in some perennially perfect version of your teenage self, with nothing but carefree good times and unadulterated high hopes for the future.
Then you hear their tunes, and before you can work out whether the sweet, summer-y harmonies and tales of innocent adolescent longing are cleverly and carefully reconstructed versions of pop masterpieces from times gone by or whether the reference points are entirely coincidental, you find yourself being absorbed into the simple upbeat beauty of it all and thinking that if there’s any justice in the world, this band will be bigger than Robin Thicke’s ego. That’s pretty damn big.
Heart Slice is their debut EP, and in a nutshell, is a six-track, eighteen-minute blast of power-pop and catchy choruses that will charm you into falling under its spell, even if it’s not exactly ground-breaking or particularly technical stuff. “We’ll stick and never will divide,” sings lead vocalist Phoebe Imhoff on opener and best track ‘Teenager’, starting a lyrical run of subjects that include being “mad about you” and “meeting in the park” – get the idea? Various members switch instruments and take turns at lead vocals, as they do when playing live, with drummer Ruby McGregor and guitarist Alice Rezende swapping spots with ease, while bassist Harriette Pilbeam underpins it all with a punchy pop groove.
There are some pretty goofy lyrics here and there, “Hey Josie, this is not the end, or as the Spanish would say ‘fin’,” on slacker-pop second track, ‘Josie’ for example, but they all add to the overriding senses of charm and fun throughout. Buy this EP, and you’ll listen to ‘Teenager’ about fourteen times in a row – I guarantee it.
HEART SLICE BY GO VIOLETS IS OUT OCTOBER 4
Hailing from the northern beaches of Sydney, indie-pop quintet Lime Cordiale make the kind of pop music that will make you think of summer sun, beach parties, beer, barbecues, and good times. The core of the band consists of brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach and one thing that makes this EP different from most similar indie releases is the frequent addition of brass to the songs, including trumpet and trombone at various points. There’s also a bit of clarinet in there, because why the hell not? It’s indie-pop, but with a touch of ska and world music influences in places.
As the band’s name name suggests, Falling Up The Stairs takes a fresh and sprightly approach to indie-pop, and there’s a definite Australian laid-back and upbeat vibe; this music couldn’t come from anywhere else, and much of the style isn’t too far off that of fellow Sydneysiders Sticky Fingers.
Opener and single ‘Bullshit Aside’ is the best song, and sounds fun and upbeat despite having some fairly heavy lyrics. The playful synths in ‘Famous’ are layered over what is a tight and groovy rhythm section, and the jaunty ‘Sleeping At Your Door’ sounds like it would be pretty amazing played live.
The only criticism that could be levelled at this EP is that there isn’t an obvious stand-out killer track, but with the band having just played a by-all-accounts killer set at BIGSOUND and with the might of Chugg Entertainment behind them, expect to hear a lot more from Lime Cordiale in the coming months.
FALLING UP THE STAIRS BY LIME CORDIALE IS OUT NOW
Sydney-via-Wollongong trio The Walking Who don’t seem like the type of band to stick to traditional methods. Take making a record, for example – the house for which the EP is named (and in which it was recorded) is a now-demolished old dwelling previously occupied by an eccentric theatre owner who died in the master bedroom, and in recent years became somewhat infamous locally for the strange and supposedly spooky goings-on there. Clearly the band weren’t put off, as this second release – after their 2011 debut Candy Flu – is a cool mix of psychedelic space jams, summer-y rock wig-outs, and indie-fuelled guitar fuzz along similar lines to parts of Pink Floyd’s career and compatriots Tame Impala’s last record. You can almost smell the incense and rollies in the air as the tracks go by, starting with opener ‘Rita’; a cool, calm, but not altogether collected track that ambles along at a casual pace. The heavy use of swirling organ and twangy guitars coupled with Rohin Brown’s deep vocals make single ‘Have You Seen The Colours?’ the most psych-rock track here, while ‘Pollen Of The Hour’ has a mystical vibe to begin with before breaking into shoegaze territory. Angus Stone makes a cameo on jointly-penned final track ‘Dead Man’s Alter’, and brings a dose of his folk sound to proceedings, complete with ominous undertones and brooding lyrics. They haven’t reinvented the wheel and it’s hard to pin-point exactly what it is they’re trying to do here, but The Walking Who have definitely got something good going on. (Independent)