Author Archives: Lachlan Wyllie

Track of the Week: Petiguana – Wayside

The other day I decided to throw myself in the deep end and view the most recently added tracks from Sydney on Triple J Unearthed for work. I just needed one track. Petiguana’s debut single ‘Wayside’ was the first song to come up, and it took 20 seconds to convince me it was the only one I needed to hear. Long story short, it’s been on repeat all week.

(Photo Credit: Aaron from N47 Films)

There’s so much to appreciate here; that wonderful neo-soul meets jazz sound, the warm production, the many twists and turns this track takes you on… but chiefly (heh), it’s that voice. Frontwoman Madeline Powers delivers an oustanding vocal performance here, straddling a fine line between soulful and expressive, and confident, commanding.

To put it succinctly: Wayside is of a quality that belies the relative youth of this project. I mean, the band’s only been around for a little over 6 months. Who knew a blues guitarist, a jazz bassist and drummer and a classically-trained singer and keyboardist would come together for such a cohesive and thrilling project?

I always knew Sydney had a strong soul scene, but with a growing list of artists including (but not limited to) The Baldwins, New Venusians, Levingstone, Inês the Iny, and even more genre-bending acts like Floating Pyramids, Godriguez and Wallace, I think this city is proving itself as the soul capital of Australia. To me, Petiguana has solidified this view.

Petiguana on Facebook, Soundcloud and Triple J Unearthed

(P.S If you’re after more from Petiguana, they posted a cover of Anderson .Paak’s tune Celebrate a few weeks before releasing ‘Wayside’. Dunno about you, but this one gave me goosebumps.)

PREMIERE: Monday Tones – Feelin’ Good

unnamedSo, you might not have heard of Sydney’s Brendon Moon just yet, but it’s simply a matter of time before his name starts cropping up all over. The Inner West singer-songwriter has been grinding away for a few years now, developing his craft to a point of personal refinement. His latest single, ‘Girl‘, was an underrated favourite of mine last year, to be sure.

When he’s not breaking hearts with his picturesque indie folk, Brendon’s exploring his college-rock leanings from the comfort of his bedroom with his new project, Monday Tones. Moon’s first offering under this moniker, ‘I Can Tell’, came out back in late 2015 – a delightful companion piece to the worst parts of your twenties, whilst sounding like the best parts. With that grungy guitar tone and nostalgic backing vocals, the song’s something of an insta-classic. Sure, it came out over a year ago by this point, but it definitely couldn’t hurt to chuck it in your #Summer2k17 playlist.

But in spite of this blog’s problems with regularity, we’re not here to catch up on music from 2015. Brendon dropped me a line last week with a link to his newie, ‘Feelin’ Good’, which I’m pretty chuffed to be premiering below.

With almost 14 months of time between the two songs, ‘Feelin’ Good’ picks up where ‘I Can Tell’ left off. It’s a class-skipping, breezy slice of bedroom rock that’s as feel good as the title suggests. Brendon brings a carefree vocal performance to the track, which folds nicely into a heavier chorus that wears a love of alt-rock on its sleeve with its driving bassline.

Monday Tones are writing their Debut EP right now, so keep an ear out for more music from Brendon Moon this year. It’ll be well worth looking out for.

Monday Tones on Facebook /// Soundcloud

PREMIERE: Bleeding Gums – Bleeding Gums TV

In between playing shows with local garage rock upstarts Split Visions and smashing curries at premiere Indian restaurant Mr India, South Sydney’s Ben Nelson has been honing in his DIY rock leanings with his solo project, Bleeding Gums.

Already a few demos deep, Nelson’s latest offering Bleeding Gums TV is a short, sharp affair, with rattling guitars reminiscent of The Pinheads or early Straight Arrows, and punky vocals that sound like they was recorded through a beer can attached to a piece of string. Chuck in a surfy guitar solo in the third act for good measure of course, and you’ve got yourself a two-minute pearla of a track, baby!

Bleeding Gums on Soundcloud and Facebook

Seekae – Turbine Blue (Music Video)

Hitting on the emotional peaks of Seekae’s newest single, the music video for Turbine Blue is the latest in a series of uncomplicated, beautiful works to accompany the Sydney group’s music. Shot in the canals of 6th street, made famous for appearances in Grease, Terminator 2 and Grand Theft Auto V, the camera follows 7 disparate characters, linked solely by Alex Cameron’s wry lyrics and burrowing vocals. It’s a filmic piece that, thanks to the spectacular performances within, manages to be naturally sorrowful, funny, sensual and stern in under four minutes. A bit like Seekae, really.

Bilby – Stingray

Sydney solo act Bilby (aka Blinky Trill aka Harry Moxham) has likely already popped up in your field of view a few times. You might have seen his clever Courtney Barnett-parodying tour poster, ‘Sometimes I smoke and drink, and sometimes I just smoke’, his previous EPs comprising bright and characteristic bedroom pop, or you could have caught him performing around Sydney, often in the company of heavier rock bands.

The first time I saw Bilby, it was supporting grunge stalwarts Little Horn at The Marly. Not only was the contrast between the two acts completely disarming, but the connection made perfect sense. Just like Little Horn, and many, many hitters in the local punk scene, Moxham writes from the heart. And yes, sometimes that heart’s set on Champion Ruby tobacco, rap money, fame and bitches.

Stingray is one of the more downtempo efforts from Bilby, and one of the most cleanly produced too. Over a swirling guitar instrumental, Harry wrestles with the frustration and monotony of modern life, as well as those people out there that make that ‘feeling shit feeling just much harder. His anger shines through in the chorus (‘always getting stepped on like a stingray / bottom feeder either way’). Combined with the resigned beat, it’s a different sort of single from Bilbs, but one that further shows his developing writing skills apart from the jauntiness of previous efforts.

‘Stingray’ taken from Bilby’s mixtape ‘Botanicals’ out October 7 thru Yes Rave, a great new label run by artist/producer/genius oddball Simo Soo.

Bilby on Facebook

Yes Rave on Facebook

Alex Lahey – Wes Anderson

It took less than three tracks for Alex Lahey to win myself, and most of you, over. Previous singles ‘Air Mail’, ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ and ‘Let’s Go Out’ are ascending examples of feelings-based guitar pop, each song leaner and more studied than the previous.

B-Grade University, Lahey’s first EP, is a winning debut. Take the latter two singles from the last paragraph, throw in the Courtney Barnett-esque cease-and-desist of ‘L-L-L-Leave Me Alone’, opening track ‘Ivy League’s longing guitar pop lamentations, and the emotional crux, ‘Wes Anderson’ in the centre, and this five-tracker winds up being a cogent listen from the Melbourne guitarist.

The real standout here of this triad, however, is the release’s mid-point ’Wes Anderson’. In an EP full of tight, honed-in indie rock, Wes is a confident step back from the hooks, pulling the camera out for a wider shot of Alex Lahey’s articulated twentysomething perspective. This break from the earworms directs your attention to Lahey’s pointed, emotive lines.

But the real kick of ‘Wes Anderson’ is how, like a room gradually filling up with water, the song relentlessly builds – in emotion, in sincerity, in dynamics – to a beautiful climax in the last minute. You’re swept up in a brief moment where Lahey pours out her heart for a lover, singing ‘You’re on my mind and you’re all mine / You’re the best sleep that I’ve ever had’. It’s a moment of genuine tenderheartedness that’s hard not to get lost in. And like that, this no-hook, not-made-for-jjj-rotation EP track makes whole lotta of sense.

Like Alex Lahey here >>> https://www.facebook.com/alexlaheymusic/

Listen to B-Grade University on Spotify here >>> http://bit.do/bgradeuni

Side note: I haven’t watched any Wes Anderson films and decided against making a trite reference above, but if his movies are half as good as this song, I’ll be adding The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou to my Netflix queue when I get home tonight.

RACKETT – BATS

Kick-starting with a burst of barrelling guitars, BATS – the debut single by new kids on the block RACKETT – swaggers confidently into your ears, ready to make win you over in the first few seconds. At just two minutes thirty, it’s a puncturing debut from the group, and a fuzz-fueled inversion of modern femininity to boot!

Just imagine these hairy guitars and frontwoman Bec Callander’s bags-of-character vocals soundtracking a 80’s slasher flick. Y’know, the type best watched on VHS, where a gaggle of sexy co-eds on spring break meet a doom even worse than starring in Pirahna 3D.

The members of RACKETT (who only formed this year) have collectively been involved with a number of superb underground Sydney acts, including She Rex, Baby Lips & The Silhouettes, Bec and Ben, Fait Accompli and others bands, all of which are well worth your time. The breadth of four piece’s shared experience making great music does a lot to explain why BATS sounds like a pop-punk gem, feels like a three-course meal, and looks like a very promising start for this four piece.

Christopher Port – Bump

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It doesn’t hit on the first listen that amongst the frenetic percussion and sidestepping vocal samples, it’s nearly two-and-a-half-minutes before the first note – the start of a relatively brief synth swell – comes to play on ‘Bump’, but it doesn’t matter either.

Straddling a fine line between UK Garage, footwork, and a drum circle where there’s one goddamn kid who’s so gung-ho about cowbells that he’ll smash the thing until his right arm oscillates, Christopher Port’s debut is a breathless first offering that will find favour in fans of Asdasfr Bawd and Friendships.

PREMIERE: Kristafor Farrenkothen – High Above Me

11046645_855324321228558_7529293479412131500_nIf you google ‘songs for the summer’, you’ll find a host of articles full of perplexing pop compilations, all intent on becoming your go-to playlist for #max #summertime #vibes. Generally speaking, it’s a bit muddled; the apparent ethos of ‘good times all the time’ of Summer being broad enough to apply to the majority of the Billboard Hot 100.

Kristafor Farrenkothen isn’t writing songs for the summer. His measured guitar recordings are tailor-made for that inevitable winter to come, both meteorologically and emotionally speaking. ‘High Above Me’ sees Kris bring a wider palette of instrumentation to his centrally acoustic songwriting, tactfully gilding his songs with glacial synths, hovering string pads and a Justin Vernon-approved vocoder. Shades of Dustin Tebbutt come through in Farrenkothen’s vocal performance, and Kris demonstrates discernment in his reflections on love, capturing moments of surprising intimacy throughout the track.

Winter playlists might not be a thing, at least not yet, but I’m bookmarking ‘High Above Me’ for when they do. In the meantime, have a listen below:

High Above Me is out on Friday, 18th December

Facebook / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

SHRT RVWZ: Skegss – 50 Push Ups For A Dollar

Byron Bay outfit Skegss are an obvious choice for Dune Rat’s first record label signing – the two acts both share a love of simplistic surf rock laced with primal lyrics and hooky guitar lines. Though their songwriting approach is a little rougher around the edges than that of their QLD contemporaries, Skeggs’ debut EP successfully introduces the trio as a crew of loud, charming roustabouts that seek only to fulfill their fundamental desires (to eat, to have fun, to find love). Though it’s not likely to inspire essay-length thinkpieces anytime soon, 50 Push Ups For A Dollar is a persuasive first offering, that, even when light on the instrumental intricacy, is heavy on the charisma, and Skegss execute that charisma exceptionally well.