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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

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.

SHRT RVWZ: Beirut – No No No

Entire bands have formed, broken up, reformed and changed their sound in the four years since Beirut’s last album, but Santa Fe native and band frontman Zach Condon seems completely unfazed by the frantic urgency of the industry around him, and it shows in his music. No No No is at once Beirut at their most mature and their most luminous; Condon has developed into a commanding songwriter, an upbeat confidence pervading each note he sings and plays. Written and recorded during a winter, both meteorologically and emotionally speaking, No No No is a summery release that finds comfort in uncertainty, and strength in weakness. Peering through the same indie folk lense that coloured earlier Beirut albums, the sextet’s familiar piano-based songwriting is in full flight on No No No, accompanied by harmonious vocal choruses, mid-tempo percussion and the occasional brass earworm.

PREMIERE: Fern – It Comes Slow

Two premieres in a row?! Chiefly Sounds. is either blessed or cursed. In order to determine the nature of this blog’s spiritual endowment, I spent a few hours praying at the shrine of Pitchfork Senior Editor Ryan Dombal and I’m pleased to inform you, reader, that he who gaveth Yeezus a 9.5 also gaveth me a definitive answer, in the form of Fern.

It Comes Slow is Fern’s first release, out on Friday, September 4. It’s a palliative haze of longing dream pop that’s practically tailor-made to soundtrack an indie coming-of-age film’s emotional apex. Appropriately enough, it’s a slow burner of a debut, continually ascending to a manageable climax, whilst demonstrating some of Fern’s leading instrumental and songwriting abilities throughout.

Tender lead vocals usher you through the misty composition without detracting from the pensive arrangement established by surging synth lines and emotive guitar arcs. Rather, there’s a delicate instrumental balance captured on It Comes Slow that sets a favourable precedent for the future of this act.

It Comes Slow is out Friday, September 4.

PREMIERE: Samuel Dobson – Who You Run With?

921_162794077199882_2031145388_nI’m not sure that this blog has been around (or active) for long enough to justify a callback, but I came across Samuel Dobson’s music a few months back, stating that Aussie Hip Hop ‘has got another reason to expand its Wikipedia page’. I stand by that line, not only because I refuse to learn how to edit previous articles, but also because Sam Dobson has solidified my argument with his 2nd single Who You Run With? If Coda was the necessary introduction to Sam’s orchestral hip hop, then Who You Run With? is the project really testing its limbs, as it tells stories without the pretence of having to sell itself. Dobson weaves effortlessly through the reflective instrumental, relaying the innermost thoughts of our protagonist and fleshing out moments of instability with the precision of a slam poet. With careening string movements sighing beneath him, Samuel commandeers the contrast between the orchestral backing and his tale of urban grit. One of the scenes in what will be a full concept album centred around a meth dealer’s final 24 hours, Who You Run With is the second taste of Samuel’s forthcoming debut album, coming out late this year. Check out Samuel Dobson on Facebook