8 new Aussie songs you need to hear
DOUG WALLEN uncovers eight of this week’s best new Aussie tracks.
Tim Rogers & The Bamboos – ‘Easy’
You Am I firebrand Tim Rogers struck gold singing lead on The Bamboos’ 2012 single ‘I Got Burned’, and now we have a proper team-up album called The Rules of Attraction. The first taste is ‘Easy’, a distorted party tune that mingles pop, funk, and old-school R’n’B. It’s got all the horns, backup singers, and snappy-as-hell drumming we expect from The Bamboos, while Rogers walks on air with his falsetto turn at the chorus. Between its cover art and distinctly unpolished production, this could easily pass for a sweat-soaked, lo-fi live take.
Szymon – ‘Golden’
Such a sad story here: Newcastle singer/producer Szymon Borzestowski lost his battle with depression in 2008. But thankfully his sole album, Tigersapp, is coming out posthumously later this year. Even better, the single ‘Golden’ has become an online sensation, topping 95,000 plays on Soundcloud so far. It’s a bewitching take on Notwist-style electro-folk that’s full of shivering melodies and real tenderness. It also feels optimistic, despite the tragic backstory. In another bit of silver lining, a video has just been released which imagines a world where the sun only rises every 23 years (Borzestowski’s age when he died). Shot all around Scotland, it should bring even more people to this magical song.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard ‘The River’
King Gizz continue to shape-shift their way into the collective consciousness, offering a 10-minute taste of next month’s four-song album Quarters. Borrowing the hook from Dave Brubeck’s jazz crossover classic ‘Take Five’, ‘The River’ is a fascinating departure for the typically maximalist band. Stripped down to prowling essentials and lackadaisical vocals, it plays like your parents’ favourite jam band (cue bongos). Paired with pleasantly mind-melting animation in the video, this epic single doesn’t so much bother with a climax as keep on cruising through an endless sea of endorphins. It’s the least intense King Gizz have ever sounded, yet it still fits smugly into their psych-addled wheelhouse.
The Stiffys – ‘Kissy Kissy’
Squeezed into flesh-baring sailor suits, The Stiffys are a likeable novelty duo who have penned songs about boogie boarding, sex, and kickflips. (What else is there, really?) Their latest entry isn’t as effective as those, but its Black Keys-style alt-rock should win plenty of new fans – as should their current national tour supporting The Beards. And any song with the come-on “I’ll lick your teeth” and a video featuring an interplanetary make-out (literally) is doing something right.
Crepes – ‘Cold Summers’
Ballarat-spawned five-piece Crepes specialise in indie pop earworms that radiate timeless innocence. Case in point: ‘Cold Summers’ feels like a late-1950s slow-dance number updated only slightly for the post-Shins world. It’s the opener and title track of the band’s debut EP. Sung with breathy blissfulness by Hollow Everdaze’s Tim Karmouche, these songs have a commanding magnetism that belies Crepes’ twangy, keyboard-frosted nonchalance. Check out ‘Ain’t Horrible’, if you haven’t already.
Darts – ‘Aeroplane’
Darts are volatile in the best sense, combining Sonic Youth-y guitars and a degenerate snideness with a powerhouse drummer and Angus Ayres’ Modest Mouse-esque growl. Their new album, Below Empty & Westward Bound, roams hungrily all over the place, as does their bruising live show. The new single ‘Aeroplane’ shows off yet another side of the Bendigo/Melbourne five-piece, thanks to the softer lead vocals of guitarist Ally Campbell-Smith. It’s still dark and grungy, but it’s the Darts equivalent of a ballad and provides a respite from the forcefulness elsewhere. The band are doing a few dates supporting Super Best Friends before launching the album in June – catch them if you can.
The Jungle Giants – ‘Every Kind of Way’
Sam Hales’ distorted talk-singing on ‘Every Kind of Way’ can’t help recalling Cake, and the song’s kitschy piecemeal aesthetic follows suit. The Jungle Giants hang their new single on the bland chorus “I’m gonna love you/every kind of way” but it’s surprisingly infectious, due in no small part to just how many times it’s repeated. And then there’s Michaela Holmes’ terrific video, which locates the perfect cross-section of sexy and funny and totally begs for repeated viewing.
Flyying Colours – ‘Running Late’
People often dismiss shoegaze-y bands as nothing but pedal effects, yet Flyying Colours lodge fantastic pop songs within all those ethereal layers. Their latest, ‘Running Late’, rings out with vibrant tunefulness while downplaying the pore-clogging denseness of their live show. It’s the first taste of the Melbourne band’s ROYGBIV EP, due out next month in time for a UK/European tour. No wonder these guys are taking off in England while remaining relatively overlooked at home: their sound nods to sparkling British pop bands like The Psychedelic Furs and Modern English as well as the dreamier likes of Slowdive and Ride.