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Video of the Moment #2467: Osaka Punch

 
By on Monday, 6th November 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

One of my favourite acts from BIGSOUND 2017, the big Australian emerging music festival in September, was Brisbane’s own Osaka Punch. Bridging the very disparate (or seemingly disparate?) genres of metal, funk and prog, they put on extremely high energy sets like the one I saw at 256 Wickham Wednesday night at BIGSOUND. This clearly bleeds over into the Aussies’ promo videos, such as their most recent one for single ‘How We Operate’, out now. If frontman Jack is to believed, the song’s lyrics were written during a stopover in Manila, during which he heard some, um, interesting noises in a hotel that was not as it seemed. Part performance, part silly story, it’s 100% enjoyable. Watch it below. For more of our coverage on Osaka Punch – they were on my list of best bets at BIGSOUND, ‘natch – go here.

 

BIGSOUND 2017: Day 2 Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Monday, 25th September 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

Following the first day of official conference sessions at BIGSOUND 2017 plus a visit to the Cattleyard Promotions’ sausage and beer party with music at Ric’s Backyard Bar, I was excited for the second evening of showcases. My first band of the night was a Brisbane group who had actually spent some time living and writing music in Manchester. As mentioned in my best bets preview back in August, Osaka Punch (it’s a pun, say it slowly with me) winningly meld funk, metal and prog and do so in a way unlike any other act you’ve ever heard. To be honest, how they sounded on the internet seemed to be too good to be true for real life. After seeing them live, I’m happy to report that they are exactly as advertised.

Osaka Punch Wednesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

The shape of 256 Wickham, the venue Osaka Punch opened Wednesday evening, seemed to be perfect for them. The stage itself had enough real estate to let frontman Jack pogo and roam around the stage like the crazy cat he is, the band tearing through energetic number after number. Local fans (or those from further afield who love their 2016 album ‘Death Monster Super Squad’?) filled the cavernous club, all more than willing to headbang along to the group’s brash tunes. They are unique with a capital U, and you should check them out.

From Wickham Street in the north, I headed south on the Valley’s main drag Brunswick Street to Heya Bar for a bit of a change of pace. From nearly 3,000 kilometers away from Brisbane in isolated Alice Springs smack dab in the middle of Australia, you could almost believe that Resin Moon (electronic producer Dave Crowe) travelled to BIGSOUND in his own spaceship. Indeed, his baggy white jumpsuit outfit for the evening seemed to suggest this and wasn’t lost on this child of a NASA scientist.

Resin Moon Wednesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

The futuristic feel of his brand of electronic fits into the image, too, and if you think about it, the Northern Territory’s desert must be as lonesome to make music in as the moon. Moving between boppy pop to tap your feet to and more chill, dreamy soundscapes effortlessly proved Crowe’s chops as a talented producer.

ELKI Wednesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

ELKI was my biggest surprise of BIGSOUND. As someone who has never felt any sort of affinity to Kate Bush (I know, I know, it’s like hating Radiohead, complete heresy!), I was expecting to react to a set by a woman who makes “subversive, melodic pop” by running away and screaming. Instead, I found ELKI playing the downstairs Alehouse stage at The Woolly Mammoth to be magically mesmerising, her performance theatrical and wholly engaging, with songs oddball, yet also smartly written and most of all, fun. I ran into the lovely lady the next day while waiting at the crosswalk on Ann Street and gushed over this performance of hers. She just grinned back in appreciation.

Seavera Wednesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

Then it was a quick stop up the stairs to the Mane Stage to catch a brief bit of Seavera. The male/female duo from Melbourne excel at sweeping vocal harmonies placed on top of electronica. But don’t worry, they’ve got both electric and acoustic guitars in the mix, so it’s not just synths, okay, guys? Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long, as I headed over for my first visit to The Empire Hotel, where Mama Kin Spender had already begun their set.

Mama Kin Spender Wednesday night at BIGSOUND 2017

I’m not sure when or why soul singer Mama Kin (from Fremantle near Perth) and producer Spender (Melbourne) decided to put their individual careers aside to join forces. But you’ll find the point is moot when you experience them live. The combination of gospel/roots with pop in an excellent one, and joined by a chorus who, according to Mama Kin, only had a few short weeks to learn and practise before coming along with the two of them to BIGSOUND, it was an ambitious, soulful, foot stomper of a performance that worked. Mama Kin worked hard to win the audience’s approval, and she got it through their repeating back lyrics to her. To get an idea of what this sounds like live, watch the music video for ‘Air Between Us’ below.

 

TGTF X BIGSOUND 2017 Playlist: Editor Mary’s best bets (O-Y)

 
By on Thursday, 31st August 2017 at 11:00 am
 

In this final installment of the TGTF X BIGSOUND 2017 playlist, I introduce you to the remaining 12 of 24 acts I’ve chosen as best bets for this year’s BIGSOUND. Australia’s premier emerging music extravaganza will take place in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley 5-8 September next month. Last Thursday, I presented the first 12 acts from Ariela Jacobs to Mammals, and you can read my thoughts on each of them through this link. And the week prior on 17 August, I set my focus on Brisbane’s local talent being given a shout to BIGSOUND 2017. Some of the acts you will read about today were part of the previously posted Brisbane artist playlist. You can read about those artists in the associated feature and listen to them back here.

I’m looking at my coming over for my first BIGSOUND as TGTF’s opportunity to truly get stuck into the Australian music scene, and I’m very excited. If there are any Aussies out there who have further recommendations on who I should see, Tweet me @theprintedword, and I’ll see what I can do about adding the band to my schedule. A playlist with all 24 acts I recommend as best bets at BIGSOUND 2017 is at the bottom of this post.

OKBADLANDS (Brisbane; pop / rock)
Kate Gurren and Sally Latter are Queensland duo OKBADLANDS. Upon hearing them, you will be surprised of their backgrounds: Gurren’s university study of jazz and Latter’s more conventional bass work in indie bands. These gal pals create an interesting blend of not quite rock, not quite pop, and yet a still engaging mélange of the two that draws you in.

Osaka Punch (Brisbane; funk / metal)
What’s great about a music festival that puts homegrown talent on show like BIGSOUND is that you’re going to get some wild card acts that put traditional genres on their proverbial heads. Osaka Punch aren’t your ordinary rock band. Sure, they can wail on guitars and hit the skins like the best of them, but they also can be as funky as hell. Can metal and funk fuse successfully? Yes. You can also tell that they’re having a whale of a time with music, which is what we need in these cartoony times.

Pandamic (Rockhampton; pop / rock)
With the introduction of synths everywhere, even infiltrating what seems to be most of the Aussie music scene, a band like Pandamic is a breath of fresh air. They’re showing how it can be done with a more traditional rock band setup, wearing plaid and making it sound easy. What they’ve managed to do has already caught the eyes and ears of fellow Queenslanders and well known established group Dune Rats, who signed Pandamic to their Ratbag Records label.

Polographia (? ; dance / electronic)
Time to take things back to the dance floor. I’m not sure where Polographia are from, but I do know it’s the brainchild of two people, Daniel and Moktar, who are “Tryin’ to keep it real in a digital world.” This is the kind of music current era Phoenix wish they could make.

Resin Moon (Alice Springs; dream pop / electronic)
So you’re telling me you need something much more chill, and the award-winning Dave Crowe’s electronic project Resin Moon is, then, perfect for you. Having dream pop qualities that keep the electronic elements of the music from getting too intellectual (you know what I mean) makes Crowe’s music beautifully accessible to all.

Scalphunter (Perth; hard rock)
But some of you prefer your rock edgy and hard. Fast-paced, in your face rock from a Best Live Act nominee in the debut National Live Music Awards last year, Scalphunter are a no-brainer if you’re looking for your brain to get pummeled a bit at BIGSOUND this year.

Slow Dancer (Fremantle; pop / rock)
I have included Simon Okley’s solo project here because he’s unlike anyone else showcasing in Brisbane next month. Instead of trying to run with what’s hip and hot at the moment like everyone else, Okley hasn’t forgotten where we came from. He embraces what made rock music in its earliest days: great songwriting driven by melodic guitar, exemplified by Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young, two acts his sound has been compared to.

Thandi Phoenix (Sydney; pop / r&b)
Smoky, soulful pop: that’s Sydney’s Thandi Phoenix. What keeps her head and shoulders with the rest of her contemporaries is her integration of wholly modern beats with her r&b vocals and her willingness to collaborate with others, which has become more important these days in a truly global music industry. Watch out, Alicia Keys. Thandi’s about to shove you over and off your piano bench.

The Beautiful Monument (Melbourne; punk rock)
Sure, there’s plenty of single girls with guitars singing about heartbreak, and others singing other people’s pop songs in high pitches. But when was the last time you heard an arse-kicking, all-girl group? Probably PINS, right? Fearless and ready to rock just as hard as the guys, if not harder, I couldn’t be prouder as a female music editor that a group like theirs exists.

WAAX (Brisbane; rock / punk / indie)
With a sneer and ‘tude, the angst game of WAAX is strong. They’re fronted by female vocalist Marie DeVita, so the comparisons to Siouxsie and the Banshees and Yeah Yeah Yeahs seem too obvious. Compelling vocals with equally compelling rock: brilliant.

Willaris K. (NSW; electronic / experimental)
With Will Doyle ditching his East India Youth moniker, I’ve been wondering who will pick up the experimental, yet emotional electronic mantle. Jack McAllister is going to take a good shot at this. There’ s a lot one can do with synthesisers, and McAllister does a good job of weaving ambient soundscapes full of texture and points of interest. And like any electronic producer worth his salt, he’s an excellent DJ too, so I expect he’ll be entertaining the masses in Brisbane.

Yoste (Brisbane; dance / electronic)
It seems rather appropriate to end my best bets list with an artist I think should serve as the most effective musical ambassador for his country, like Daithi is for Ireland. Kurt Sines has named Bon Iver, James Blake and Jonsi as big influences on his art, and it’s not hard to imagine his music soundtracking tourism adverts showcasing the beauty of Australia and its people. Fresh and light on its feet, Yoste’s music is equally chill and gorgeous.

 

TGTF X BIGSOUND 2017 Playlist: Focus on Showcasing Brisbane Bands

 
By on Thursday, 17th August 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Ahead of my first time at BIGSOUND, I thought it would be a nice gesture to celebrate the city that hosts this fabulous event every year. And what better way is there to pay it forward, then, to shine a light on the artists who call the Queensland capital home?

You might be asking yourself what kind of great music is coming out of down under. Queensland, in the northwestern part of Australia, has been the birthplace of quite a few bands you’ve heard of but perhaps might not have known have come from there. The Go-Betweens and Violent Soho (rock) and Savage Garden and The Veronicas (pop), ring any bells? Going off just those four names, it’s no surprise that there will be strong representatives in both these genres from the Sunshine State.

Sloan Peterson has already caught the eyes and ears of bloggers this side of the Pacific with her in-your-face single ‘Rats’. If you’re interested in shoegazey, slacker rock, Good Boy are your band. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got signed to Heavenly Records at some point soon. SXSW alums The Creases offer up more straightforward rock, but in a bombastic style. In the mood for something for something harder that will make your heartbeat race and make you lift your fists? Check out Driven Fear, The Comfort (male-fronted) and WAAX (female-fronted). Or maybe you want something that’s a little bit different. If so, the funk of Osaka Punch or the WTF-ery of WHALEHOUSE might be more your bag.

As we all know (and some of us lament at times), pop and r&b these days are pretty much intertwined. Depending on who you talk to, this is owing to the rise is popularity of hip-hop. Close your eyes, and the minimalist r&b vibe of Isabel sounds awfully like Lorde. Girl duo OKBADLANDS have perfected a nice blend of pop and soul, demonstrated nicely in new single ‘Mineral’. Aurelia and Miss Blanks are up-and-coming solo artists, the former embracing a more pop backing with an ephemeral vocal, while the latter serves up a more straightforward, beat-driven hip-hop sound. Originally from Fiji, Jesswar is another rapper calling Brisbane home, having already toured with the likes of Lady Leshurr and Akala.Golden Vessel is young producer Max Byrne: essentially, his music is electronic dance but with the addition of singers you’ve heard of like Woodes and now OKBADLANDS, his tracks bridge the gap between more cerebral electronic and pop.

Speaking of electronic music, Australia’s music industry has been absolutely booming in this genre. This proliferation of electronic acts out of Oz required The Aussie BBQ at SXSW 2017 this year to expand to another full afternoon of electronic-specific programming to accommodate all their artists. The soulful, synth-driven pop of Cub Sport will be delectable at BIGSOUND 2017, while the dreaminess of Yoste’s tunes will provide much needed chill. As genres continue to blur year after year, it’s not surprising to see a performer like Machine Age come to the surface. A guitarist not shy to use a “sampler and other gadgets”, he’s able to churn out electronic (‘Don’t Look’) and ‘Chivalry’ (rock) masterpieces.

Are you into more conventional guy or girl with a guitar setups? Brisbane has those too. The stripped-back, autobiographical style of Emerson Snowe puts him well in the running to becoming the happier and Aussie version of Conor Oberst. Hearing the voice of Clea, it’s unsurprising she counts Laura Marling as one of her influences. His name makes it sound like he would be feel more at home at HWCH, but Sydney transplant Paddy McHugh is an Aussie through and through. Like Frank Turner, his musical roots began in punk, but he’s now a no-holds-barred kind of singer/songwriter. Keen for a richer sound via an act with more band members? The country rock Suicide Swans will fit the bill.

Influential government-funded radio station triple j have also pledged to bring attention to up-and-coming Brisbane acts, selecting three from a pool of local talent. Carmouflage Rose (hip-hop), Holiday Party (pop) and Nice Biscuit (rock) will perform at the triple j Unearthed stage at the venue Oh Hello! The full lineups for triple j’s three nights of music are listed here on Oh Hello!’s Facebook.

Check out the playlist I put together of all these artists below. The artists mentioned in this post and included in the playlist are those who are either from or currently are based in Brisbane and appear on the first or second lists of artists scheduled to perform at BIGSOUND 2017. To read my previous preview post on BIGSOUND 2017, go here.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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