Tag Archives: gang of youths

High rotation: 2015 in 50 tracks

Taylor Swift 2015
Taylor Swift: completely irrelevant to this article

It has been another tip-top year for tuneage. These are some of the tracks I have enjoyed most.

Bad//Dreems
‘Bogan Pride’
(Ivy League Records)
Where: Adelaide
What: Disenchanted pub-rock from a bunch of Bastards of Young

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Baro
‘Resume’
(Teamtrick)
Where: Melbourne
What: Hip Hop/electronic with a raised middle finger

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Beach House
‘Sparks’
(Subpop)
Where: Baltimore
What: The dreamiest and depressing-est of depressing dream-pop

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Beach Slang
‘I Break Guitars’
(Tiny Engines)
Where: Philadelphia
What: Carefree indie/college-rock drained through the sock of ’90s punk-pop

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Big White
‘You Know I Love You’
(Caroline Australia)
Where: Sydney
What: Angst-y, urgent jangle-rock with a sugary glaze

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Blank Realm
‘River of Longing’
(Bedroom Suck)
Where: Brisbane
What: Layers of lovelorn indie-rock and messy melodies from Queensland’s finest

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Bully
‘Trying’
(StarTime International)
Where: Philadelphia
What: A punk-pop breath of formidable, fresh air with razor sharp lyrics

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Car Seat Headrest
‘Something Soon’
(Matador)
Where: Leesburg
What: Experimental rock from an outsider who has finally found a home

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Cian
‘Extend’
(Entertainment Systems)
Where: Unknown
What: The sound of a ZX Spectrum loading, underwater

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Communions
‘Forget It’s a Dream’
(Tough Love Records)
Where: Copenhagen
What: A band to fill a Stone Roses-shaped hole, if only the Roses hadn’t reformed

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Destroyer
‘Dream Lover’
(Merge)
Where: Vancouver
What: Big sounds and celebratory sax; that moment when you decide you like the party after all

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Dick Diver
‘Tearing the Posters Down’
(Chapter Music)
Where: Melbourne
What: Top-of-the-pile Australian indie-pop

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DIIV
‘Dopamine’
(Captured Tracks)
Where: New York
What: A triumphant return for troubled shoegaze/dream-rock genius, Zachary Cole Smith

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Dorsal Fins
‘Monday Tuesday’
(Gripless Records)
Where: Melbourne
What: ’80s-esque good-time pop from Melbourne’s funnest collective

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Ferla
‘Breakups are Hard for Everybody’
(Independent)
Where: Melbourne
What: Off-kilter oddball does battered and bruised break-up rock

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Flyying Colours
‘Running Late’
(Club AC30)
Where: Melbourne
What: Charge-leading roogaze/psych-rock with a conscience

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Gang of Youths
‘Knuckles White Dry’
(Mosy Recordings)
Where: Sydney
What: All the heart-wrenching misery of a loved one dying from cancer. Happy Christmas!

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GL
‘Number One’
(Plastic World & Midnight Feature)
Where: Melbourne
What: Electronic duo featuring members of the Bamboos; a vehicle for the supremely talented Ella Thompson

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Gold Class
‘Bite Down’
(Spunk Records)
Where: Melbourne
What: Major emerging post-punk talent that caused a big stir in industry circles in 2015

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Guantanamo Baywatch
‘Too Late’
(Suicide Squeeze)
Where: Portland
What: Ramshackle semi-serious soul that charms its way in

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The Internet
‘Just Sayin/I Tried’
(Odd Future)
Where: Los Angeles
What: Impossible-to-Google soul/Hip hop smoothness

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IV League
‘Lit Screen’
(Independent)
Where: Melbourne
What: Heartfelt indie-pop from promising Victorian upstarts

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Jaala
‘Salt Shaker’
(Wondercore Island)
Where: Melbourne
What: There’s magic in a unique voice singing lines like “I was pouring pints for fuckheads” in a rambling, art-pop mash

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Jacco Gardner
‘Find Yourself’
(Excelsior)
Where: Hoorn
What: Neo-baroque psych with shades of Kevin Ayers and the floors of a thousand Dutch coffee shops after dusk

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Kurt Vile
‘Pretty Pimpin’
(Matador)
Where: Philadelphia
What: The cool AF stoner/psych master is as good as ever on new album, b’lieve i’m goin down…

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Mangelwurzel
‘Fishy Fry’
(Independent)
Where: Melbourne
What: Fucking bizarre, unclassifiable brilliance from Jaala vocalist Cosima Jaala’s other band

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Methyl Ethel
‘Twilight Driving’
(Dot Dash/Remote Control)
Where: Perth
What: Scruffy psych-pop with a heavy helping of Australian sunshine

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Mexican Knives
‘Beach Song’
(Independent)
Where: Detroit
What: Loose and laconic garage/indie rock

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Mikael Seifu
‘The Lost Drum Beat’
(RVNG Intl.)
Where: Addis Ababa
What: Ethiopiyawi electronic musician ready to conquer the world in 2016

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Mild High Club
‘Undeniable’
(Stones Throw)
Where: Chicago/Los Angeles
What: Delightfully weird; equal parts Dr. Dog and the Beatles’ circa Magical Mystery Tour

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MUNA
‘Promise’
(Independent)
Where: Los Angeles
What: All the ’80s big-pop influences, but most prominently Cyndi Lauper, with swearing

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The Ocean Party
‘Guesswork’
(Spunk)
Where: Wagga Wagga
What: Sweet-as indie-rock/pop from NSW youngsters

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Palm
‘Ankles’
(Independent)
Where: New York
What: the fuck did I just listen to

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PINS
‘Young Girls’
(Bella Union)
Where: Manchester
What: Young Girls doing it (primo indie-pop) for themselves

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Potty Mouth
‘Cherry Picking’
(Independent)
Where: Northampton, Massachusetts
What: Cool pop-rock

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The Pretty’s
‘Angry Horizon’
(Split-Tape Records)
Where: Vancouver
What: Garage/garbage rock that may need a change of underpants

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PWR BTTM
‘Ugly Cherries’
(Father/Daughter Records)
Where: New York
What: Camped-up cross between The Troggs and Thin Lizzy

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Ratatat
‘Abrasive’
(XL Recordings)
Where: New York
What: Rockatronica à la Daft Punk circa 2001, with better guitars

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
‘Tender is the Neck’
(Ivy League)
Where: Melbourne
What: Laidback Australian rock for dusty roads and frosty beers

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Ronnie Stone and the Lonely Riders
‘<3 Race. Cold Sweat. Nu Dance. Do It.’
(Independent)
Where: New York
What: Ridiculous retro-futuristic ’80s synth nonsense that’s a heap of fun

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Savages
‘The Answer’
(Matador)
Where: London
What: Brutal post-punk first taste of new album, out January 2016

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Sheer Mag
‘Button Up’
(Katorga Works)
Where: Philadelphia
What: Healthy mix of ’70s classic rock (Thin Lizzy) and punk (X-Ray Spex)

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Shlohmo
‘Buried’
(WEDIDIT)
Where: Los Angeles
What: Ominous-as-fuck electronica will have you checking under the bed

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Sleater-Kinney
‘No Cities to Love’
(Sub Pop)
Where: Portland
What: Gimme a break

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Slonk Donkerson
‘Build Something/Break Even’
(Black Bells)
Where: New York
What: Shit name, great track. Nothing is perfect

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra
‘Multi-Love’
(Jagjaguwar)
Where: Auckland/Portland
What: Psychedelic depression-funk dadwave

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Viet Cong
‘March of Progress’
(Jagjaguwar)
Where: Calgary
What: Cutting industrial noise in the controversially-named Canadians’ trademark style

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Wax Idols
‘Lonely You’
(Suicide Squeeze)
Where: Oakland
What: Triumphant break-up ode performed in late ’80s pop/rock fashion

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Westkust
‘Swirl’
(Run For Cover)
Where: Gothenburg
What: Shoegaze/rock delights for for the indie kid in all of us

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Yung
‘Blanket’
(Mastermind Records)
Where: Aarhus
What: If The Replacements came from Denmark

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Live review: The Jezabels + Gang of Youths – The Tivoli, Brisbane – 6/5/14

the Jezabels Brisbane

SYDNEY’S The Jezabels have been making headlines in the music press recently for two reasons: getting involved in a somewhat exaggerated spat with music critics on the subject of their work credentials and putting on great live shows. So, given that singer Hayley Mary was recently quoted as saying music writers need to “fucking get a real job”, it’s with mixed expectations that I pass through the doors of The Tivoli to catch their show.

Let’s get this straight from the off: this critic remains a big fan of the band and its music, despite the fact this would make me diabolically uncool in certain circles. The Jezabels continue to shrug off their detractors and make simple and great pop music, and they seem to be comfortable with the fact they’re pretty uncool at the same time. Which kind of makes them cool.

Tonight’s gig begins with the excellent Gang of Youths, who are much-improved performance-wise and song-wise since the last time they played this venue supporting Cloud Control in August. ‘Evangelists’ is a stand-out, and the only thing lacking for the band is more time to jam; these guys deserve to be big, and probably will be.

Nick Kaloper, Sam Lockwood and Heather Shannon take to the dimly lit stage of a now-packed house and receive a monumental cheer, before Mary herself strides on dressed in glittery black top and black pants and ups the volume several fold. The band begin in measured fashion with the title track and opening number of new album The Brink. Mary’s voice is what makes The Jezabels better than most similar pop bands; it soars, chills and soothes at different points and at the drop of a hat, while the rest of the band are clinically precise.

‘Endless Summer’ is next, and the audience is in Mary’s hands at this point, followed shortly after by ‘Time To Dance’, which a Jezabels audience doesn’t really do; it’s more of a stand-gawping kind of deal. Mary spins, shuffles and raises her left hand to the roof during the more majestic moments, and while the rest of the band stay fairly static, there’s enough to keep things interesting throughout ‘Look of Love’ and early track ‘Hurt Me’.

‘Beat to Beat’ is a mid-set highlight as Mary stretches her vocal range and gets out into the audience to high-five some fans at front-and-centre, with further big responses for ‘The End’ and ‘Disco Biscuit Love’.

So, what’s the somewhat confused lesson this critic learned from tonight’s gig? It’s this: fuck the critics. Nice work, Jezabels.

Live review: Cloud Control + Palms + Gang of Youths – The Tivoli, Brisbane – 23/8/13

Cloud Control
Cloud Control

The Tivoli has started to feel like a second home recently, such has been the frequency and quality of gigs happening in the fine old Fortitude Valley venue. Spending so much time there has resulted in the first whiffs of the beer stench of the old carpet feeling like a comforting pair of arms drawing me to some familiar, homely bosom, willing me to forget the trials of whatever day-to-day crap I may have encountered and lose myself in the religion of music… or something along those vaguely ideological lines. Recent reports of it possibly being sold and bulldozed hopefully won’t become crushing reality, otherwise where would nights like tonight happen? It’s enough to make a live music lover want to chain himself to the balcony railings, plaster his self-righteous physical form in bicycle grease and start ranting about how our culture is going down the tubes. Or maybe just buy a pizza slice and skulk off home with the rest of the apathetic masses – given that I’m all out of bicycle grease.

Generalisations aside, there’s a gig to be reviewed, and first support for tonight’s show is Sydneysiders Gang of Youths, who are already making an outstandingly melancholy noise as I enter a semi-filled Tivoli; their lead singer possessing one the most wonderfully rich voices I have heard in recent months. There is very little information about these guys online, but go to Soundcloud and check out their song ‘Knuckles White Dry (Car Ride Home)’ – I defy you to tell me it’s not beautiful.

Palms
Palms

Next up is Palms; the Sydney shredders introducing an immediate element of scuzzy raucousness to proceedings, with frontman Al Grigg putting in a brilliantly manic and sweaty performance from start to finish, as they plough through a set of “aspirational rock ‘n’ roll songs about living your dreams,” including ‘Don’t Be Ashamed’. As his baseball cap flies off his head mid-head-bang during the first song, the audience know this is going to be a good set.

It’s with the stage lights almost totally dimmed to nothing that Cloud Control enter the fray, and like any band with a new record to plug, they begin with the first two songs off the new release, ‘Scream Rave’ and ‘Dojo Rising’. The woozy psychedelia of that album sounds great booming from the Tivoli stage, with hooded frontman Alister Wright exclaiming “This is the first show of the tour – I think we’re off to a good start!” and the audience responding in the affirmative. There’s plenty of time for the best of 2010’s Bliss Release to make appearances with the pop melodies of ‘This Is What I Said’ and ‘Meditation Song #2 (Why Oh Why)’ and it’s vaguely Celtic chorus chant as the faithful down the front bounce in unison, before the band jump back to the new material with ‘Scar’ and ‘Moonrabbit’. The new songs show the diversity that Cloud Control have injected into their sound, and it’s during ‘Promises’ that we get a feeling of how much of a charismatic frontman Wright really is, despite his diminutive stature. A finishing rendition of ‘There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight’ sends the audience daft before the band come back on for an encore that includes the title track from their new album, inevitably sending a Friday night Tivoli crowd into spasms.

With the final chords still ringing in our ears, all that’s left is for us to leave our beloved venue and head off homeward-bound, stopping only for a pizza slice and to check the prices of bicycle grease.