Gay Rodeo – Debut EP

There’s nothing more Aussie than writing a heartfelt ode to our nation’s spread, Vegemite. Those marching band kids seemed quite passionate about the yeast extract back in the 1950s, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released a wonky tribute to the spread last year, and Amanda Palmer has already recorded two songs about Vegemite to date, and lord knows she’s been trying harder than anyone to become an Australian. As true blue as wearing budgie smugglers and drinking VB, Sydney’s own BJ Smith and Davo Voglis (pictured above wearing budgie smugglers and drinking VB) are the latest to pitch in to this sporadically patriotic trend, under the name Gay Rodeo.

The opening track on Gay Rodeo’s debut EP, Vegemite is a lo-fi journey through one man’s unquestioning love for the salty spread. Front-and-centre in this track, BJ’s slack vocals are definitely a cut from the same cloth as Peter Bibby, but with a charming mix of jangly guitar chords, resonant glockenspiel hits and thin drumming, Gay Rodeo manage to define themselves independent of the Melbourne artist’s music. Mrs Williams is one minute of concentrated teenage resentment, with the band’s former teacher Mrs Williams (who, in fairness, does sound like a bit of a dickhead) being berated to the sounds of abrasive punk guitar and curt vocal delivery.

Taking a distinctly slacker rock turn, I Ain’t No Green Machine’s tongue-in-cheek criticism of weed culture has an Ocker Aussie flavour to it’s lyrics, with clever lines like ‘I’d rather drink some wine, I’d rather *sniff* do an ounce of speed’. Final track Pocket Full of Cotton follows in the longstanding tradition of Country music dedicated to the working man. With pleasingly melodious harmonica solos, a galloping drumline courtesy of Davo Voglis and BJ’s laidback voice, this closing track flaunts Gay Rodeo’s strongest songwriting so far, and a keen eye for no-bullshit storytelling that has a Courtney Barnett-esque simplicity.

While Gay Rodeo might have a little way to go yet in terms of songwriting and instrumental finesse, their debut EP is a charming slice of dolewave with overtones of country and lo-fi rock, making this two piece’s music sound about as Aussie as vegemite on toast.

Space Monk – Analysis Paralysis

An institution at their home of Northern Beaches where they reign supreme and rule with an iron fist, and a perplexing yet delightful surprise for audiences in the heart of city, surf rockers Space Monk are one of the best kept secrets of Sydney’s music scene. With humble origins as a bedroom recording project, their early demos displayed budding songwriting talents with a flair for indie rock instrumentals accompanied by frontman Lachlan Body’s sun-bleached vocals. Add to this their gratifyingly energetic live shows peppered with eccentric and oftentimes hilarious stage banter, and there’s every reason to follow Space Monk as they continue their journey from the bedroom to the (incrementally larger) stages.
Analysis Paralysis is the debut single from Space Monk ahead of their debut EP due for release later this year, and as we’ve come to expect, it’s a laid-back, mid-tempo slice of road trip paradise set to the tune of the band’s own inimitable brand of surf-y indie rock. A hearty concoction of driving drum work, understated vocals and shrewd guitar lines, Analysis Paralysis is a summery first taste from this four piece, and enough to make me sufficiently excited for a larger release from Space Monk in 2015.

Chiefly Sounds x Brighton Up Bar

The first of a series.
Put on your dancing shoes.
Don’t take no for an answer.
Paint the town red.


KNDL – Twitch

It’s a digital bank robbery in the heart of London; the year is 2148. The criminals are sophisticated, intelligent, and adorned with high-tech gadgets to aid their communication, and security violations. $40,000,000 is at stake here, and as the band of crooks each individually make their way into the heavily monitored building, an electronic producer in Melbourne sits and watches the unedited footage from this feature film, attentively composing a piece to soundtrack this futuristic heist.

If you told me that was how Twitch, a track by Melbourne producer KNDL, was created, I wouldn’t have questioned you for a second. There’s something really special going on in the music created by Jesse Kendal that offers a carefully crafted alternative to the increasingly oversaturated world of electronic music. As with all producers, there are distinct hallmarks of KNDL’s tunes that give him a signature sound: these include shimmering, in-and-out of focus pads, ethereal vocal samples, deep percussive bass, and of course, those glitchy percussion lines.

Of the tunes that he’s put up on his soundcloud (which he seems to be adding to every other week!), Twitch is the best example of Jesse’s work so far. It’s a moody cut that shimmies and stutters, and each change in texture leads to a wonderfully contrasting atmosphere that conjures up dense and specific images in the mind of the listener. I’ve already mentioned the percussion lines in Jesse’s work, but it bears repeating; the attention to detail given to every single clatter, clash and rattle in this track is simply astounding, and further demonstrates that his music is not one of carelessness, but one of pronounced craftsmanship.

I don’t know about you, but I’m keeping a close eye on KNDL this year. The burgeoning talent demonstrated through Jesse Kendal’s music so far puts him on a trajectory that may well make him one of the key trendsetters in 2015.

Quickies – A.D.K.O.B, New Oxford & The Rider

There’s everything to love about a good Quickie. No guilt, no walk of shame, no emotional attachments: just a short review of some freshly minted audio. Here are some words on recent tracks by Sydney bands A.D.K.O.B, New Oxford and The Rider.

A.D.K.O.B – Crumble

Mark Piccles is one of the dudes in indie folk trio Tin Sparrow, and has his own inexplicably named solo project, A Different Kind of Busy. His 2nd single, Crumble is a kind of hybrid of disco and roots, that while grounded in grooves, has a markedly organic sound that gives distinction from it’s contemporaries. Harmonious falsetto, a myriad of delicate guitar offerings and some seriously proficient drum work make Crumble a tangy first offering from A.D.K.O.B’s Debut EP, due for release early in 2015.

New Oxford – Lockup Garage

Every time god opens a door, he closes a window, or something like that. Following the disbandment of short-lived-but-much-loved Sydney band Revier, New Oxford rose from the ashes. With a darker indie rock sound and a change of vocalist, this incarnation is the beginning of a new chapter for these five guys. Their debut single Lockup Garage is a veritable Witches Brew of homages to contemporary alternative rock artists, most prominent of them being a definite nod to The National. Emerson Noble’s dulcet tones and lyrical proficiency are the driving force of the song, offering a dynamic lead performance and image for the band. Keeping in mind that Lockup Garage is just a debut single, if this standard of work can be maintained and, in time, exceeded, then the future looks pretty damn bright for New Oxford.

The Rider – The Eye of the Beholder

So, here I’m going to review the B-side of a release called ‘Songs From Side A’. Got it? Okay cool really great. Three dudes in Sydney make some pretty gosh-darn special music together, under the near-ungoogleable name The Rider. Complimenting the gently psychedelic folksy track A Place To Go on this release is The Eye of the Beholder. Together, these two tracks speak volumes about the level of songwriting finesse and instrumental dexterity that The Rider is capable of. The Eye of The Beholder opens with a deceptively midtempo, background music-like arrangement, but fear not, for frontman Tom Hume is here to take your hand and guide you through the incrementally intensifying instrumental. Like gusts of wind from malevolent spirits that guide your vessel into the centre of a hurricane, the pre-chorus barely gives you a chance to fully take in the outstanding, climactic chorus that The Rider pull off here. Everything comes to a head in this chorus; the once laid back vocals now howl, the drums pound, the guitar strings are strummed to the point of breaking, and it is, simply put, tremendous. Throw in an instrumental breakdown and the all-necessary ‘quiet bit’, and you’ve got one hell of a track. If you only listen to song from Sydney this month, make The Eye of the Beholder that song.

Adrian Asher – All Good

Being a man who resides on an island off the Northern Beaches of Sydney, it’s not a mental leap to imagine that the music of rapper Adrian Asher isn’t exactly straight up-and-down, genre-abiding fodder. Quite the contrary – Asher’s hip hop is a watery, hallucinatory trip down the rabbit hole, marked by his Kendrick Lamar-esque flow, surreal lyricism and tailored, off-center beats.

Taken from Ghost in the Intro, his forthcoming debut mixtape, All Good is a journey of the mind, body and spirit. Set into motion with a lounge-style Double Bassline, from the moment Asher starts rhyming, there’s a present contrast within the track that urges you as the listener to listen more closely. Waltzing around the beat, Asher never quite stays within a regimental 4/4 structure, and as electronic elements slowly come into focus, there’s a noticeable shift from the playful, jazzy arrangement to a more cavernous, synthetic sound.

Though Asher is lyrically fire twirling throughout the song, there’s room to improve in terms of decipherability as a good chunk of his raps are buried somewhere between the phased vocal effects and that silky, rapid flow of his. We all heard the line ‘Here Comes Christmas’, though, there’s absolutely no question about that.

Production-wise, this song achieves a lot with what it’s got, only using a handful of noticeable sounds and instruments throughout the track. Ending up in a completely different place to where it begins, All Good rewards multiple listens as the aforementioned rabbit hole tosses around and digests the listener in a fashion reminiscent of Flying Lotus.

I’m really excited to hear future releases from Adrian Asher, because on All Good, and many other songs you can stream and download on his soundcloud, he triumphantly waves his freak flag and crafts music that’s as unique and curious as the island he resides on.

This is Chiefly Sounds.

Hi, my name is Lachlan Wyllie.

Welcome to Chiefly Sounds. This is my attempt at creating a bonafide blog, filled with some of the very best independent, eclectic and/or experimental music that this fine country, Australia, is home to. Back in mid-2014 I created a blog called Lachlan is Stoked, which was basically my attempt at building a writing portfolio, but ended up just being a link to external articles accompanied by rambling introductions. I’ll be keeping Lachlan is Stoked up for my comedy-and-other writing material, and likewise will focus exclusively on music here at Chiefly Sounds. So that’s the backstory, now why on earth would you want to read this blog once, let alone regularly?

Well, if it helps, this isn’t the first time I’ve written intentionally.
I’m a serial contributor over at Aus-and-abroad music site Happy, and have previously written such superfluous lines as:

Jessica Simpson [is] a terrible name to say if you have a lisp.
Introducing: Silver Statues

As I ambled down Oxford St, passing the various music venues turned bars and bars turned music venues…
Millions – Max Relax

One of these days Elysium will become a real thing, but instead of being inhabited by the wealthy and unrealistically attractive, I choose to believe that it will be comprised of those who create…
Introducing: The Away Days

and somehow actually related it to these poor, subjected artists’ music. I’ve also written a number of music articles for Lachlan is Stoked, such as my infamous one sentence gig reviews:

The fragility of Spookyland’s music is established by frontman Marcus Gordon’s splintered voice, recalling stories of heartbreak, weakness and indecision, driven by a sturdy backing of contemporary Americana folk rock.
One Sentence Gig Reviews pt. 2 – D.D Dumbo, Spookyland, The Ruminaters

Or that time I reviewed Tim Fitz’ EP and it somehow turned into a mystery caper:

[My eye was] drawn towards an email from Bandcamp informing me that Mr Fitz had indeed just popped up some new tunes. ‘The game’s afoot!’, I exclaimed, raising a solitary index finger in the air. I may have been in the bath at the time – it doesn’t matter.
Tim Fitz – Goodhearts EP

I enjoyed writing these little independent articles, but found it to be slightly misplaced in a sea of, *shudder*… external links. Thus, Chiefly Sounds.

So this is a blog, and you should enjoy it.

Before I wrap up this Hello World post, I think it appropriate to mention the blogs and bloggers that I love, that cover similar musical ground to me, or that I just think are so dog-gamn hard working they deserve to be mentioned in some as-yet obscure wordpress site.

Sound Doctrine
If music blogging is a no-carbs diet, then Sound Doctrine is my kale… or something. Run by super dude and record labeller Tommy Faith, his music selections are always on point. Coupled with bizarre, esoteric introductions, descriptions and odd narrative interplay, Tommy’s blog has always been one of the most interesting to me, as it is such a well-crafted example of this man’s desire to have as much familiarity and personality funneled into a bit of text on a website as possible.

This one goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. Happy is the first of hopefully many music websites that I have contributed for, and with it’s indeterminately sized team of volunteer writers, it’s like a cabbage patch for budding wordsmiths and wordsmithesses alike. Covering eclectic, but always excellent, music territory from around Australia and abroad, Happy can publish an article about Seekae one day and a small funk group from Marrickville the next. It’s wonderfully diverse, and a site that I intend to write for for a good time yet.

Soundly Sounds
The amount of local music reviews that Ryan Saar produces makes me wonder if this guy has carpal tunnel syndrome. At just 18, he’s got a better idea of what he wants to make for himself than most 18 year olds do (myself included), and as well as landing himself a well-earned presenter gig for FBi Radio’s Sydney program The Bridge, he writes prolifically into eternity with a humour and charm that’s as grounded in Aussie culture as goon bags and asking ‘what are the cheapest cigarretes you have’ at Coles.

Indie Shuffle
Can you feel that? We just took a quantum leap from small, independent blogs to a much, MUCH larger one, and definitely not one that would need a boost from ol’ Wyllie. Nonetheless, despite it’s significant standing in the music blogging world, Indie Shuffle never forgets the little guys, constantly introducing you to new music from both bands that are well established and groups that have only a debut single to their name. The sway that a site like Indie Shuffle has on careers of both Australian and International musicians and the delicacy with which this sway is employed makes Indie Shuffle a site that is consistently doing a service to music makers and fans alike.

To change gears and conclude what hasn’t been – at least in the last 400 words or so – a particularly self-serving introduction, I implore you to like Chiefly Sounds on facebook, and keep up with my various digital scribbles on twitter. (Note: the facebook link directs you to my local music show, The Flip Side, which is ending in early February. I’m changing the name and content of said page to Chiefly Sounds after this occurs. The confusion is palpable, I’m fully aware).

Good on you for reading through all this tripe. I hope we can get down to some independent, experimental, eclectic, and wonderful music together.