Archive for the ‘News’ Category

November 9, 2022

Yann Tiersen

Celebrated Breton composer and multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen returns to Australia for the first time in more than five years, bringing an immersive electronic performance which reimagines his back catalogue into a wholly new body of work. Tiersen resamples, reprograms and resynthesises his recent works to create a dazzling audio-visual live experience, accompanied by the stunning visuals of UK artist Sam Wiehl. Tickets on sale now!

YANN TIERSEN AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:

  • TUE MAR 14: ADELAIDE FESTIVAL. Tickets on sale here.
  • THU MAR 16: QPAC, BRISBANE with special guest QUINQUIS. Tickets on sale here.
  • SAT MAR 18: CITY RECITAL HALL, SYDNEY with special guest QUINQUIS. Tickets on sale here.
  • TUE MAR 21: MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE with special guest QUINQUIS. Presale opens Thursday November 10, 11am (promocode: TIERSEN23PRE). presale link here. Tickets on sale Friday November 11, 11am, here.

Mistletone proudly presents celebrated Breton composer and multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen, returning to Australia for the first time in more than five years. Yann Tiersen brings an immersive electronic performance to this tour in support of his acclaimed new album, 11 5 18 2 5 18 (Mute, 2022) — which reimagines his back catalogue into a wholly new body of work.

Tiersen resamples, reprograms and resynthesises his recent works to create a dazzling audio-visual live experience, accompanied by the stunning visuals of UK artist Sam Wiehl. Experience the sonic evolution of Tiersen’s sound – a progression from his beloved early albums, well-known acoustic compositions and expansive Dust Lane (Mute, 2010) era – into the ecstatic electronic wizardry of his latest work. This multi-dimensional live show brings listeners into new sonic spaces and transforms Tiersen’s compositional genius to dizzying dancefloor heights.

  • ‘As always, it’s exquisitely wrought, but this time with salient nods to the dancefloor. How unexpected – and decidedly glorious’ – ELECTRIC SOUND

Opening Yann Tiersen’s headline shows will be Breton artist Émilie Tiersen aka QUINQUIS whose debut album for Mute, SEIM, came out earlier this year. Initially inspired by the birth of her child and a period of intense touring with Tiersen, SEIM consists of five new compositions and one unlikely cover, Berlin’s Giorgio Moroder-penned classic track, ‘Take My Breath Away’, which Émilie says was initially recorded “almost as a joke. I was lying on a hospital bed, in the Covid section. I had been evacuated from my island as I couldn’t breathe properly.  I spent a week in that hospital room, seeing only doctors. At some point, as my worried friends were trying to get some news from me, I just sent them ‘Take my breath away’ and swore ‘If I can recover from this, I’ll do a cover of that song’.”

QUINQUIS (credit – Richard Dumas):

Watch/share the video for ‘Tres’ by QUINQUIS here:

  • “Blustery landscapes transformed by slowly developing horizons into something Underworld might admire” – UNCUT

Tiersen comes to Australia in a new chapter in his work which began with Kerber (2021), his most overtly electronic material to date. True to Tiersen’s nuanced and subtle approach, this wasn’t a U-turn-like thumping piece of dance music, but instead a beautifully textured, highly immersive and thoughtfully constructed electronic world to step inside. 

Both an evolution of what has come before, as well as a new space to explore, the piano was Kerber’s source, but electronics are the environment that they exist within. Tiersen explains, “You may get this intuitive thinking of, ‘oh it’s piano stuff’, but actually it’s not. I worked on piano tracks to begin with but that’s not the core of it, they are not important. The context is the most important thing – the piano was a precursor to create something for the electronics to work around.” 

2022 saw the release of 11 5 18 2 5 18. This new, unexpected release from Yann Tiersen was born from experimentation in the studio, ahead of a performance at Berlin’s modular and synthesiser festival, Superbooth. With more time than usual to prepare for his live set, Tiersen found himself in his Eskal Studio on Ushant, completing the story he started with 2021’s Kerber – which presented a beautifully textured and highly immersive electronic world.

Using samples as his source, Tiersen has resampled, reprogrammed and recomposed audio to create entirely new tracks unrecognisable and decontextualised from their original versions. 

  • “Provoked by Superbooth… Tiersen here inventively cannibalises 2021’s Kerber. This, in other words, is a synth set” – CLASSIC POP

Breton-born artist Yann Tiersen has been involved in music for most of his life.

He started learning piano at the age of four, took up violin at the age of six and received classical training at musical academies in Rennes, Nantes and Boulogne. Then, at the age of 13, he chose to alter his destiny, breaking his violin into pieces, buying a guitar and forming a rock band.

Growing up in Rennes gave Tiersen the perfect musical education in the form of the city’s annual Transmusicales festival, seeing acts like Nirvana,Einstürzende NeubatenNick Cave and The Bad SeedsThe CrampsTelevision and Suicide. When his band broke up a few years later, instead of hunting for some new musicians, he bought a cheap mixing desk, an eight-track reel to reel, and started recording music solo with a synth, sampler and drum machine, poring over the grooves of old records on the hunt for loops and orchestral strings to plunder.

One day I thought, instead of spending days on research and listening to tons of records to find the nearest sound of what I have in mind, why don’t I fix this fucking violin and use it?” Through the summer of 1993, Tiersen stayed in his apartment, recording music alone with guitar, violin and accordion, guided not by the classical canon, but by intuition and his vision of “a musical anarchy”. 

By the end of the summer of 1993, Tiersen had recorded over 40 tracks, which would form the bulk of his first two albums. 1995’s La Valse Des Monstres, inspired by Tod Browning’s Freaks and Yukio Mishima’s The Damask Drum, was followed six months later by Rue Des Cascades, a collection of short pieces recorded with toy piano, harpsichord, violin, accordion and mandolin. Six years later, the record would find a much larger audience when several tracks, along with music from Le Phare, would be used on the soundtrack to Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film Amelie (2001).

Tiersen’s commercial breakthrough would come earlier, though, and off his own back. 1998’s Le Phare (The Light House) was recorded in self-imposed seclusion on the isle of Ushant (located 30 kilometres off the west coast of Brittany in the Celtic Sea), where Tiersen spent two months living in a rented house. At night, he watched the Creach’h, the most powerful lighthouse in Europe, as it illuminated the surrounding scenery.

Le Phare went on to sell over 160,000 copies, confirming Tiersen’s status as one of the most pioneering and original artists of his generation and commencing a run of successful albums like 2001’s L’Absente (featuring orchestral group SynaxisLisa Germano and the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon) and 2005’s Les Retrouvailles (with guests Stuart Staples of Tindersticks, Jane Birkinand Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins). In this period, Tiersen also took his music out around the world, playing shows with a full orchestra and an amplified string quartet – a set-up captured on 2002’s electrifying live album C’etait ici. Tiersen then went on to create scores for the likes of Wolfgang Becker’s tragicomedy Good Bye Lenin! (2003) and Tabarly (2008), a documentary about the French sailor Éric Tabarly, who ate his final meal on Ushant before meeting a watery end in the Irish sea.

In 2010 he signed to Mute and released the first of a series of album with more of a band presentation. Dust Lane introduced synthesisers to his recordings, “I have always tried to incorporate vintage electronic sounds that I liked in my music but for the exception of the [early electronic keyboard] Ondes Martenot, it never happened until Dust Lane.” The Ken Thomas produced album Skyline (2011) followed, continuing his collaborative work with appearances from Ólavur JákupssonPeter Broderick and Efterklang, to name but a few and in 2014 he released Infinity (2014), an album that built upon toy piano recordings, electronically manipulated to provide a base for the rest of the instrumentation, “a constant back and forth from acoustic to electronic to electric to digital, back to analogue. Then all back the other way.” 

2016 saw Tiersen’s first solo piano release, EUSA, a move into more minimalist contemporary sounds showing the continuation of Tiersen’s diversity. The album gave a musical map of Ushant, the island he has called home for the past several years, with electronically manipulated original field recordings of the natural sounds on the island creating subtle drone that runs throughout. This was followed in 2019 by ALL, recorded at his newly built studio on Ushant, an album that further explores our connection with nature, place and his love of language.

In 2019, he revisited some of his catalogue with a collection of 25 newly recorded tracks from throughout his career. Portrait featured collaborations with John Grant, Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals, Stephen O’Malley from Sunn O))), and Blonde Redhead.

Portrait gave Tiersen a chance to open a new chapter in his work with Kerber (2021), his most overtly electronic material to date. True to Tiersen’s nuanced and subtle approach, this isn’t a U-turn-like thumping piece of dance music but instead a beautifully textured, highly immersive and thoughtfully constructed electronic world to step inside of. 

It is both an evolution of what has come before, as well as a new space to explore. On Kerber, the piano is the source, but electronics are the environment that they exist within. Tiersen explains, “You may get this intuitive thinking of, ‘oh it’s piano stuff’, but actually it’s not. I worked on piano tracks to begin with but that’s not the core of it, they are not important. The context is the most important thing – the piano was a precursor to create something for the electronics to work around.” 

2022 saw the release of 11 5 18 2 5 18. This new, unexpected release from Yann Tiersen was born from experimentation in the studio ahead of a performance at Berlin’s modular and synthesiser festival, Superbooth. With more time than usual to prepare for his live set, Tiersen found himself in his Eskal Studio on Ushant, completing the story he started with 2021’s Kerber – which presented a beautifully textured and highly immersive electronic world.

Using samples as his source, Tiersen has resampled, reprogrammed and recomposed audio to create entirely new tracks unrecognisable and decontextualised from their original versions. This multi-dimensional live show brings listeners into new sonic spaces and transforms Tiersen’s compositional genius to dizzying dancefloor heights. 
 
Please note this performance will feature strobe lighting and dynamic lighting and may not be safe for all viewers. 

  • “Attending to his synths and buttons like a fishing boat skipper, Yann negotiates the Roundhouse through a brewing storm” – BACKSEAT MAFIA

 



artwork by George Gillies

November 9, 2022

The Chills

Legendary New Zealand band and innovators of the Dunedin sound, The Chills tour Australia for the first time in six years with a setlist packed with timeless gems like ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’, ‘Pink Frost’, ‘Doledrums’ and ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’. Tickets on sale now!

THE CHILLS AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:

WED FEB 15: BRISBANE POWERHOUSE. Tickets on sale here.
THU FEB 16: CITY RECITAL HALL, SYDNEY. Tickets on sale here.
FRI FEB 17: MONA FOMA, LAUNCESTON. Tickets on sale here.
SAT FEB 18: MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE with special guests Parsnip. Presale opens Thursday November 10, 11am (promocode: CHILLS23). presale link here. Tickets on sale Friday November 11, 11am, here.

Mistletone proudly presents the return of The Chills, one of the most storied and accomplished bands of our times. Fronted by Martin Phillipps, The Chills have garnered a large and loyal cult following on the strength of their diverse sound — melding jangle-pop with punk rock ethics. 

The songwriting skills, vision and conviction of Phillipps have carried The Chills across the decades, and since last visiting Australia six years ago, The Chills have released their highly acclaimed seventh studio album Scatterbrain, another peerless collection of pure pop. The Chills bring a three-decade, career-spanning setlist to swoon for, packed with timeless gems like ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’, ‘Pink Frost’, ‘Doledrums’ and ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’.

“The fact that the New Zealand legends at the peak of their powers, radiating health and good cheer while weaving their way through a set from their 40+ year career, is enough to reaffirm your faith in the goodness of the universe” – Spectrum Culture USA

The Chills circa 1990

“I can see now where we were in the history of things,” Martin Phillipps told a recent US interviewer. “With the success of R.E.M., the major studios were looking for other indie bands that might have crossover potential. And we were obviously seen as a kind of New Zealand possibility for that.”

History has indeed been kind to The Chills, and has made them one of the most loved New Zealand groups of all time. Torchbearers of the legendary Flying Nun sound, The Chills reign triumphant after 40 tumultuous years. Helmed by the enigmatic Martin Phillipps, creator of endless jangle-pop wonders, The Chills are in a buoyant new phase of creative vigour and consistently brilliant showmanship that has wowed fans the world over.

Martin’s determination has carried The Chills across the decades, through a series of lineup changes and tragedies, building a large and loyal cult following on the strength of their albums and live shows in over 40 countries worldwide. Inspired by the punk scene, Martin formed The Chills with Peter Gutteridge in 1980. Peter soon departed, precipitating a series of lineups, with Martin the only constant. A significant loss for the band was Martyn Bull, whose death in 1983 inspired ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’, the jacket being a bequest Martyn Bull had left to Martin. In the past decade The Chills have solidified, with the same lineup of impressive and devoted musicians, who enable Martin to build on the legacy of his ever-growing collection of timeless songs.

The Chills were riding high in the 1980s: touring the world extensively, recording three John Peel BBC sessions, releasing two major label albums (Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb), and returning to a hero’s welcome, with Submarine Bells going to #1 in New Zealand. College radio favourites in the US, The Chills were predicted to follow in the footsteps of major successes like The Pixies and R.E.M. An upheaval in the musical landscape and Martin’s poor health during the late 1990s slowed him down, yet the band released a three-CD boxed set, EPs, an album of home recordings and a tribute to NZ music legend, Chris Knox.

Through a fortuitous meeting in 2011, the band was offered a new path forward, signing with London’s Fire Records. A very productive period ensued with a live double album, three new singles, and the John Peel BBC Sessions released in short order. The band travelled to Thailand to begin recording their first full length album in 20 years, 2015’s highly acclaimed Silver Bullets. Steady touring throughout NZ, UK, Europe and US followed, along with a short film, The Curse of The Chills. In 2018, the band went back into the studio to record Snow Bound, which they performed at a sold-out Sydney Festival, along with a 22-date US tour, culminating in eight performances at SXSW, where the band was awarded The Grulke Prize for International Career Act.

The Chills’ history, and Martin’s life story, were poignantly documented by filmmaker Julia Parnell for 2019’s acclaimed The Chills: The triumph and tragedy of Martin Phillipps. Martin gives a candid account of his rollercoaster musical career and his demons, a testament to the power of the creative urge in overcoming adversity. Martin’s health having improved markedly, the band again went into the studio to record Scatterbrain (2021), a mature and honest reflection on life, destiny and the fate of our times. Like all Martin’s offerings, Scatterbrain is pure pop for the new normal, from one of the living greats. Martin’s determination stems from the punk rock ethics of his musical awakening, and proximity to people like Chris Knox who drove home how crucial it was to deliver music always with intensity and conviction. It’s the live energy and the consistent quality of their songs which have established The Chills as one of indie music’s all-timers.

The Chills are:

Martin Phillipps (Guitar and Vocals)
Callum Hampton (Bass and Backing Vocals)
Todd Knudson (Drums and Backing Vocals)
Erica Scally (Guitar, Keyboards, Violin and Backing Vocals) Oli Wilson (Keyboards and Backing Vocals)


 

artwork by George Gillies

November 9, 2022

Nakhane

London based, South African-born powerhouse Nakhane — musician, novelist, actor and queer activist — has announced their return to Australia next March. Fresh from collaborations with Nile Rodgers, Perfume Genius and Moonchild Sanelly, Nakhane is a star in the making, who makes the dancefloor a place of tenderness. Tickets on sale now!

NAKHANE AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:

  • FRI MAR 3: SYDNEY WORLDPRIDE @ CITY RECITAL HALL. Tickets on sale here.
  • SAT MAR 4: BRISBANE POWERHOUSE. Tickets on sale here.
  • SUN MAR 5: PERTH FESTIVAL. Tickets on sale here.
  • MAR 10-13: WOMADelaide. Tickets on sale here.
  • WED MAR 15: MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE. Presale opens Thursday November 10, 11am (promocode:  NAKHANE). presale link here. Tickets on sale Friday November 11, 11am, here.

Mistletone proudly presents the return of Nakhane, the rapidly-rising South African polymath whose fans include Elton John and Madonna (who name-dropped Nakhane as one of the influences behind her 2019 album Madame X). Multi award winning singer, songwriter, actor, and novelist Nakhane has been hailed as “a real star in the making” (The Observer) who “makes the dancefloor a place of tenderness” (VICE).

Nakhane’s latest single, ‘Do You Well’, brings the funk in a sweaty, sensual collaboration with Perfume Genius, accompanied by a video with explores queer Black love and lust:

It followed hot on the heels of ‘Tell Me Your Politik’, featuring Nile Rodgers on guitar and a ferocious rap from fellow South African artist, Moonchild Sanelly. Mutually political and erotic, the song is a call to action, demanding that prospective lovers be ideogically aligned; a bold declaration that sex is a political act. With a polyrhythmic wall of sound echoing the sounds of South African Gqom and kwaito, these two striking singles are a stunning return to music for Nakhane after a four year break.

Nakhane’s previous album, You Will Not Die, garnered acclaim from Pitchfork, The New York Times, The Observer, MOJO and Noisey; Q magazine called it “remarkable; defiantly modern and unashamedly emotional” while Pitchfork wrote that the album was “an instant revelation on its own terms and strikingly intimate.” Madonna called Nakhane out as one of her two favourite artists, and Elton John interviewed Nakhane on his Beats 1 radio show.

In their many guises in music, film and literature, and as a non binary artist, Nakhane has been instrumental in challenging the status quo in conversations about gender and sexuality; steadily building a body of work of cultural importance that hits every dancefloor sweet spot.

media queries: Sophie Miles @ Mistletone – sophie@mistletone.net

artwork by George Gillies

October 25, 2022

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH TOUR DATES:

SATURDAY JANUARY 7 – SYDNEY FESTIVAL: CALL TO THE MORNING. Dawn ambient performance, Sydney Harbour foreshore. Tickets & info here.
SUNDAY JANUARY 8 – SYDNEY FEST: THE WEARY TRAVELLER. Club show. Tickets & info here.
MONDAY JANUARY 23 – MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE with special guest COOL MARITIME. Tickets & info here.

“Art is awe, art is mystery expressed,” writes Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. “Art is somatic, even if it is experienced cerebrally. It is felt.”

The central mysteries of Smith’s ninth studio album, Let’s Turn it Into Sound, have to do with perception, expression, and communication: How can we communicate when spoken language is inadequate? How do we understand what it is we’re feeling? How do we translate our experience of the world into something that someone else can understand?

For Smith, a self-described “feeler,” the answers are inspired by compound words in non-English languages, translation, sculptural fashion, dance, butoh, wushu shaolin, and other forms of sensory and somatic experience. Just like fashion uses lines, shapes, colors, textures, and silhouettes to communicate on a sensual level separate from the conscious mind, Let’s Turn it Into Sound strives to use sound to communicate what words alone cannot.

“The album is a puzzle,” Smith says, “a symbol of receiving a compound of a ton of feelings from going out into a situation, and the song titles are instructions to breaking apart the feelings and understanding them.” The energized “Is it Me or Is it You” comes from traversing the gaps between how you see yourself and how another might see you, through a filter of their own projections. The hushed sense of revelation that brackets “There is Something” refers to the feeling of walking into a room and being subconsciously aware of the dynamic present. All the while, Smith interprets these feelings through sound.

This auditory interpretation process, driven by earnest curiosity, led Smith to record some thoughts and questions that popped up along the journey in Somatic Hearing — a booklet which accompanies the album.

Over three frenzied months, recording alone in her home studio, Smith allowed herself to pursue new experiments to accompany her usual toolkit of modular, analogue, and rare synthesizers (including her signature Buchla), orchestral sounds, and the voice. She created a new vocal processing technique, and gave herself permission to pursue a pacing that felt intuitive, rather one that followed typical song structures. She walked around in the windiest season with a subwoofer backpack and an umbrella, listening to the low end of the album amidst 60mph gusts. She listened to herself, and, in doing so, to an inner community which suddenly opened to her.

Underlying the album is a dynamic relationship between what Smith describes as six distinct voices, each a multifaceted storyteller. By acknowledging these characters, she was acknowledging her whole being: the woven plurality of self, the complex process of noticing and resolving inner conflicts, and the joy of finding harmony in flux.

“I started to feel so embodied by all of these characters. This is all the felt, unsaid stuff [my inner community] wants to communicate but it doesn’t have the English language as its form of communication, and so this album was a form of giving space to let it talk and not judge it and just let it play.” By not adhering to expected song structures, each song feels even more like a conversation, with each character getting to express themselves in full. 

Smith has never fit neatly into the ambient genre conversation she’s most often associated with, and here she forges even further outside of it, traversing avant-garde pop, neoclassical, and the otherwise unclassifiable. The result is a playful, inquisitive, excitable work which appeals to us as social, sensitive animals, and invites listeners into a wholly idiosyncratic world that is both experimental, and, feels like the most human thing in the world. Proceeding through Let’s Turn it Into Sound is like peeking into a secret realm: one that delights both in the discovery of the magic hidden in the everyday, and the shimmer that lingers long after the portal itself shuts. 

October 18, 2022

Bikini Kill

Mistletone proudly presents BIKINI KILL, touring Australia for the first time since 1997.

BIKINI KILL TOUR DATES:

SUN FEB 26: MONA FOMA, HOBART
Tickets on sale now here

WED MAR 1: PERTH FESTIVAL @ THE RECHABITE
Tickets on sale here.

FRI MAR 3: BRISBANE @ THE TIVOLI * all ages
Tickets on sale now. Ticket link here.

SUN MAR 5: ADELAIDE @ LION ARTS FACTORY * all ages
* presented by PAK Music 
Tickets on sale now. Ticket link here.

TUE MAR 7:  MELBOURNE @ THE FORUM  * all ages
* presented by Triple R * extra show added by popular demand
Tickets on sale 9am Thursday November 3. Ticket link here.

WED MAR 8:  MELBOURNE @ THE FORUM  * all ages
* presented by Triple R
This show has sold out. Extra show added, see above.

SAT MAR 11: GOLDEN PLAINS
Ticket ballot now closed. https://goldenplains.com.au

MON MAR 13: SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, CONCERT HALL * all ages
Tickets on sale Friday November 4, 9am local time.
Ticket link: https://soh.online/bikinikill
We’re Bikini Kill and we want revolution
Girl-style now! 

Bikini Kill is the infamously fierce, riot grrrl band feminist punk band that was based in Olympia, Washington and Washington DC, forming in 1990 and breaking up in 1997. Kathleen Hanna sang, Tobi Vail played drums, Billy Karren (a.k.a. Billy Boredom) played guitar and Kathi Wilcox played bass. Sometimes they switched instruments. Bikini Kill is credited with instigating the Riot Grrrl movement in the early ’90s via their political lyrics, zines and confrontational live show.

The band started touring in June 1991. In addition to touring the US, Europe and Japan, they toured Australia in 1996 as part of the Summersault touring festival, followed by a headline tour in 1997. Bikini Kill recorded and released a demo tape, two EPs, two LPs and three singles. Their demo tape was self-released, while their first two records came out as a full-length CD/tape, and their singles were posthumously collected on CD. The band recently pressed the Bikini Kill EP as a limited edition vinyl issue to celebrate its 30th anniversary, and 10 years of Bikini Kill Records. Their iconic song “Rebel Girl” was recently named “10th best song of the 90s” by Pitchfork. 

Bikini Kill believed that if all girls started bands, the world would change. They actively encouraged women and girls to start bands as a means of cultural resistance. Bikini Kill was inspired by seeing Babes in Toyland play live and attempted to incite female participation and build feminist community via the punk scene. They used touring as a way to create an underground network between girls who played music, put on shows and made fanzines. This independent media making and informal network created a forum for multiple female voices to be heard.

Bikini Kill reunited in the spring of 2019 playing sold out shows in NYC, LA, London and headlining Riot Fest in Chicago; their international touring continues in 2023, with original members and feminist punk pioneers Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail, and Kathi Wilcox touring Australia for the first time in 25 years next Feb/March for a slew of festivals and all ages shows.

October 18, 2022

Mdou Moctar

Mistletone proudly presents MDOU MOCTAR, touring for Golden Plains plus more to be announced.

MDOU MOCTAR TOUR DATES:

SAT MAR 11: GOLDEN PLAINS XV. Enter the ticket ballot here.
SUN MAR 12 + MON MAR 13: WOMADelaide. Tickets & info here.
more to be announced!

Prodigious Tuareg guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar boldly reforges contemporary Saharan music and “rock music“ by melding Eddie Van Halen pyrotechnics, full-blast noise and guitar shredding, field recordings, drums rhythms, poetic meditations on love, religion, women’s rights, inequality and Western Africa’s exploitation at the hands of colonial powers to rip a new hole in the sky with the Afrique Victime album.

Mdou Moctar’s home is Agadez, a desert village in rural Niger. Inspired by YouTube videos of Eddie Van Halen’s six string techniques and traditional Tuareg melodies, he mastered the guitar which he himself built and created his own burning style.  A born charismatic, Mdou went on to tell his story as an aspiring artist by writing, producing & starring in the first Tuareg language film: a remake of Purple Rain called Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai –  which translates to “Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It”, winning the approval of his family and his community. The word and the sound travelled across West Africa via mobile phone data cards, a popular form of local music distribution. Gruelling DIY world tours and albums on the independent US label Sahel Sounds followed, including 2019’s landmark Ilana: The Creator album that earned Mdou Moctar an ecstatic international audience.

Afrique Victime is result of the combined efforts of Mdou and the members of the band that shares his name. Mdou’s crucial collaborator is Ahmoudou Madassane, who’s been his rhythm guitarist since 2008- their two guitars are an alchemical combination. As a songwriter, producer and recording artist Ahmoudou is the premier musical ambassador to Tuaregs in Niger, empowering young musicians with instruments, recording opportunities, and visas. Masassane helped form the revolutionary first woman-fronted Tuareg guitar band Les Filles De Illighadad, whose debut album and tours caused an international sensation in 2019.

The band‘s youngest member is prodigal drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, also a member of both the well-known Niger band Sultanat Star De L’air and the longest running wedding band in Agadez, Etran De L’air. Souleymane’s playing on this album ferociously sets a new standard for the “rock” drumset.

Producer & bassist Mikey Coltun flies 20 hours from Brooklyn, NYC, then takes a 28 hour bus ride to reach Agadez so the band can practice and record. With no support from a major label or a manager, they made this journey out of Niger every time they toured. In the past three years, Mikey’s played over 500 shows on three continents as Mdou Moctar’s bassist, road manager, producer/recording engineer, and friend. Coltun recorded and produced Afrique Victime around the band’s travels in 2019- in studios, apartments, hotel rooms, venue backstages, and in field recordings in Niger. 

Recording and honing songs as a touring outfit forged a livewire new sound, and If Ilana was a late ’60s early ’70s ZZ Top and Black Sabbath record – Afrique Victime is mid ’70s to early ’80s Van Halen meets Black Flag meets Black Uhuru. The ferocity of Moctar’s electric guitar and the band’s hypnotic rhythm section are on awe-inspiring display on songs like “Chismiten” and the mournful yet incandescent title track. Elsewhere, Moctar finds inspiration in highlighting lesser known facets of the group: “While people have gotten to know Mdou Moctar as a rock band, there is a whole different set of music with this band done on acoustic guitars which we wanted to incorporate into this album in order to go through a sonic journey,” he says. Mdou pays homage to one of his heroes Abdallah Ag Oumbadagou, the legendary Niger musician and political revolutionary, on songs “Habibti” and “Layla”. “Abdallah was a contemporary of Tinariwen and helped to pioneer the sound of Tuareg guitar music blended with drum machines and electronic sounds”. 

“From prison to Nobel prize. They ceded to Mandela / Africa is a victim of so many crimes / If we stay silent it will be the end of us / Why is this happening?” Moctar asks on the heartfelt and rallying title track. “I want the world to know that we are making music to promote world peace and be with everyone on the same level, fighting against racism”, he says. “All colors and genders are equal. Women, Men and children all suffer in the desert due to the colonization by France and therefore there is a lack of the basics – hospitals, drinking water, schools.”  

The needs of Agadez are a major part of what drives Moctar as an artist, and promoting the region’s youth through music is an especially personal cause. “I know what it’s like to have been in that position,” he says, “to not have the support of your family, or the money for guitars or strings, it’s really hard. I have a lot of support from the younger generation, because I help them out a lot. When I get back from tour, I give them gear that I bought while I was away so they can go out and form their own bands.

Says Coltun:  “In Agadez the music and feeling at Tuareg weddings is exactly like the best of Western DIY/Punk shows. It’s loud, energetic and powerful. There is a sense of everyone helping out. Tuaregs are a tight community. If you’re Tuareg you’re considered family.

The music listeners are the beneficiaries of the staggeringly powerful do-it-yourself musical ethic of Mdou Moctar – the man and the band – who’ve worked so hard to bring the spirits of families and communities in Niger to the West. Afrique Victime sounds and feels like a Tuareg hand reaching down from the sky, and we are very lucky for this chance to get lifted.

August 24, 2022

Sharon Van Etten

A force of nature at the height of her powers, Sharon Van Etten brings her full band down under in the wake of her brilliant new album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

SHARON VAN ETTEN TOUR DATES:

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE CONCERT HALL: THURSDAY DECEMBER 1
Tickets on sale now;
ticket link

BRISBANE:  THE TIVOLI: SATURDAY DECEMBER 3
special guest: BATTS
Tickets on sale now;
ticket link

FREMANTLE ARTS CENTRE: MONDAY DECEMBER 5  (sold out), TUESDAY DECEMBER 6
special guest: Banjo Lucia
Tickets on sale now;
ticket link

MELBOURNE / NORTHCOTE THEATRE: THURSDAY DECEMBER 8
FRIDAY DECEMBER 9 * extra show by popular demand * sold out
special guest: BATTS
both shows have now sold out.
These events are part of ALWAYS LIVE, a new state-wide celebration of contemporary live music supported by the Victorian Government through Visit Victoria.
Presented by ALWAYS LIVE, Triple R and Mistletone.

MEREDITH MUSIC FESTIVAL: SAT DEC 10
mmf.com.au

Mistletone presents Sharon Van Etten (Shazza to her mates), returning to Australia with her stunning touring band: Jorge Balbi on drums, Devon Hoff on bass, Teeny Lieberson on vocals and synths, and live musical director Charley Damski on synths and guitars.

Special guest for the Brisbane and Melbourne shows will be BATTS (Melbourne producer/singer-songwriter Tanya Batts), with whom Sharon recently collaborated on “Blue”, the first single from the new BATTS album The Nightline (out October 14 on Mistletone Records).

Sharon Van Etten has always been a wholehearted artist — the kind of songwriter who helps people make sense of the world around them. Her newest work concerns itself with how we feel, mourn, and reclaim our agency when we think the world – or at least, our world – might be falling apart. How do we protect the things most precious to us from destructive forces beyond our control? and how do we salvage something worthwhile when it seems all is lost? In considering these questions and her own vulnerability in the face of them, Van Etten creates a stunning meditation on how life’s changes can be both terrifying and transformative; articulating the beauty and power that can be rescued from the wreckage.

Alongside her impeccable back catalogue, with such undeniable classics as Remind Me Tomorrow (“an album of hope, intimacy and perseverance” – NEW YORK TIMES) and Are We There (“one of the great albums of the century”– ROLLING STONE),  Van Etten has collaborated with COURTNEY BARNETT, ANGEL OLSEN and NORAH JONES, as well as Melbourne’s own BATTS; and last year released epic ten, a tribute to her 2019  album epic, with covers by everyone from Lucinda Williams and Fiona Apple to Idles; celebrating Sharon’s legendary status as one of the great songwriters from the very beginning. 

As always, we are at the mercy of Van Etten’s voice: the way it loops and arcs, the startling and emotive warmth of it. What started as a certain magic in Sharon’s early recordings has grown into confidence, clarity and wisdom, even as she sings with the vulnerable beauty that has become her trademark. Sharing her songs remains an optimistic and generous act which tells a larger story of hope, loss, longing and resilience; all held together by Sharon’s uncanny ability to both pierce the hearts of her listeners and make them whole again.

When the time came to return to her solo work, Van Etten reclaimed the reins, writing and producing the album in her new recording studio, custom built in her family’s Californian home. The more she faced – whether in new dangers emerging or old traumas resurfacing – the more tightly she held onto these songs and recordings, determined to work through grief by reasserting her power and staying squarely at the wheel of her next album. In fact, that interplay of loss and growth became a blueprint for what would become We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong. The album artwork reflects that, too, inspired as much by Sharon’s old life as her new one. “I wanted to convey that in an image with me walking away from it all. Not necessarily brave, not necessarily sad, not necessarily happy..” 

Sharon’s new work is intensely personal, exploring themes like motherhood, love, fear, what we can and can’t control, and what it means to be human in a world that is wracked by so much trauma. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is as much a reflection on how we manage the ending of metaphorical worlds as we do the ending of actual ones: the twin flames of terror and unrelenting love that light up with motherhood; navigating the demands of partnership when your responsibilities have changed; the loss of centre and safety that can come with leaving home; how the ghosts of our past can appear without warning in our present; feeling helpless with the violence and racism in the world; and yes, what it means when a global viral outbreak forces us to relinquish control of the things that have always made us feel so human, and seek new forms of connection to replace them.

Sharon Van Etten’s Melbourne show is part of ALWAYS LIVE, a new state-wide celebration of contemporary live music supported by the Victorian Government through Visit Victoria.

artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

August 11, 2022

Toro y Moi

ALWAYS LIVE and Mistletone proudly present Toro y Moi‘s first headline Australian shows in over five years.

TORO Y MOI HEADLINE DATES:

BRISBANE: TUE NOV 15 PRINCESS THEATRE
with Touch Sensitive. tickets here

SYDNEY: MON NOV 21 @ THE METRO
with Touch Sensitive. tickets here

MELBOURNE: WED NOV 23 NORTHCOTE THEATRE * SOLD OUT
with Touch Sensitive.
This event is part of ALWAYS LIVE, a new state-wide celebration of contemporary live music supported by the Victorian Government through Visit Victoria.

Toro y Moi; aka South Carolina-reared, Bay Area-based Chaz Bear, emerged as a figurehead of the ‘chill wave’ sub-genre, the sparkling fumes of which still heavily influence musicians all over today. Over the subsequent decade, Chaz’s music and graphic design has far surpassed that particular designation.

Across nine albums with Mistletone (and US label Carpark), Chaz explored psych-rock, deep house, UK-style hip-hop, R&B and well beyond, without losing that rather iconic, bright and shimmering Toro y Moi fingerprint. As a graphic designer, Bear has collaborated with brands like Nike, Dublab and Vans. As a songwriter and producer, he’s collaborated with Tyler, The Creator,FlumeHAIMTegan and Sara, and Caroline Polachek; and stretched out with side projects such as house moniker Les Sins and ambient project Plum.

Mahal, Toro’s first album with Dead Oceans, dropped in 2022 — and it absolutely slaps. An instant classic, Mahal takes its name from the Tagalog word for ‘love’ and honours Chaz’s maternal heritage (his mother is Filipina, his father Black), with album artwork and videos celebrating the jeepney; the brightly-coloured public transport minibus of the Philippines.

Mahal follows Toro’s highly celebrated 2019 album Outer Peace, which Pitchfork described as “one of his best albums in years” along with his Grammy-nominated 2020 collaboration with Flume, “The Difference,” which featured in a global campaign for Apple’s Airpods and landed at #3 in triple j’s Hottest 100. 

artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

July 20, 2022

Touring: Steve Gunn

artwork by George Gillies

Mistletone proudly presents an intimate solo tour by brilliant New York-based guitarist and songwriter, Steve Gunn

STEVE GUNN TOUR DATES:

Wednesday 12 October – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD with Andrew TuttleTickets
Thursday 13 October – Eltham Hotel, Eltham NSW with Mylee Grace * Tickets
Friday 14 October – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne VIC with Andrew Tuttle Tickets
Saturday 15 October – The Great Club Marrickville, Sydney NSW with Andrew Tuttle + John Sharkey III Tickets
Wednesday 19 October – Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney (Sol LeWitt: Affinities and Resonances) Tickets

* Presented by Jet Black Cat Music
Tickets on sale Friday 22 July at 1PM AEST.

With a career spanning nearly fifteen years, Steve Gunn has produced volumes of critically acclaimed solo, duo, and ensemble recordings, steadily processing his inspirations into a singular, virtuosic stream. Close listening reveals the influence of blues, folk, ecstatic free jazz, and psych in his continually unfolding output.

Steve Gunn returns to Australia in the wake of Other You, his sixth studio album released last year by Matador / Remote Control; a shined-up, mid-sixties pop apotheosis in a state of high songwriting accomplishment. Other You is a journey that can’t help but summon up Gunn’s debut Way Out Weather in its transformative ambition and refreshing set of ideas about what was interesting about psychedelia, a love for the guitar as an instrument, melody, timbral originality, a keen ear for production. 

Gunn’s voice and lyrics take a new front seat on Other You, right where we can hear them. There’s a person inhabiting these songs, a subjectivity, not just one of the best guitarists in contemporary music, not just a reporter with a winsome observational genius, here, a singer-songwriter, with a first-person voice, even if the songs seem rarely or only glancingly confessional. Now we have beautiful shimmering melodies, great melodies, and also that aching voice, at the tenor edge, and harmonies, singing up front. 

You could imagine listening to Other You on a trans-continental rail journey, or while summiting a mountain range, or while going through an enormous stack of your grandparents’ snapshots, or while baking a cake that has no particular occasion, or while sitting out a pandemic, or while realising, looking out that window, that it’s okay to set aside your regrets, in this beautiful, hovering now, and listen. 

Other You features contributions from friends and fellow artists including Julianna BarwickMary LattimoreBridget StJohnJeff Parker and Bill MacKay. This collaborative spirit carried into 2022 with Nakama, an EP of reworkings and reimaginings featuring Mdou MoctarNatural Information SocietyCircuit des Yeux and Bing & Ruth.

June 27, 2022

Touring: Ty Segall & Freedom Band

Mistletone proudly presents Ty Segall, touring Australia for the first time since 2014 with his colossal Freedom Band (Emmett KellyMikal CroninBen Boye and Charles Moothart), a happy return many years in the making! tickets now on sale via links below.

TY SEGALL & FREEDOM BAND TOUR DATES:
WED JAN 18 – PERTH: THE RECHABITE with GHOULIES. Tickets on sale here.
FRI JAN 20 – ANGLESEA, VIC: MEMORIAL HALL with PARSNIP. SOLD OUT!
SAT JAN 21 – MELBOURNE: THE FORUM with CLAMM. Tickets on sale here. SELLING FAST!
SUN JAN 22 – ADELAIDE @ UNIBAR with THE CONDOS. Tickets on sale here. Presented by PAK.
TUE JAN 24 – WOLLONGONG – UNIBAR with R.M.F.C. Tickets on sale here.
WED JAN 25 – SYDNEY – THE METRO with STRAIGHT ARROWS. Tickets on sale here.
FRI JAN 27 – BRISBANE – PRINCESS THEATRE with PARSNIP + SLOWRIP. Tickets on sale here. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music.
SAT JAN 28 – GOLD COAST – MIAMI MARKETTA with PARSNIP. Tickets on sale here. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music.
SUN JAN 29 – BYRON BAY – THE NORTHERN with PARSNIP. Tickets on sale here. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music.

Hot on the heels of his new album “Hello, Hi” – a cosmic assortment of love songs flowering in righteous unconsciousness – Ty Segall & Freedom Band return to melt our brains and hearts with Ty’s signature blend of psyched-out jangle and space-rock fuzz. Don’t miss Ty Segall & Freedom Band diving down to Australia from a clear, open sky, down through the marine layer and the shimmering waves of all the years.

Tossing down straight acoustic shots with electric guitar back, “Hello, Hi” rides through the valley of yer ol’ Canyon legends, finding an isolated place to unspool Ty’s copious reserves of nervous energy beneath an open sky. Swarms of harmony vocals caper among the clouds, but there’s a rider on the horizon behind, with crossbow trained on his very own heart — the engine driving all the relationships of life, whether down Broadway or over the cliffs at night! Whatever doesn’t get killed is getting stronger all the time. A lean, mean deal, baked in saltwater and sunlight, compassion pouring out its beautiful blue eyes. 

Ty has shared “Don’t Lie”, just one of the many highlights of his forthcoming album, “Hello, Hi”, out July 22 on Drag City. An acoustic take on beloved Oakland garage-pop band The Mantles, it’s an earworm passed through Ty’s brain, straight to yours:

Some songs are so good, you just can’t get them out of your head. And you never want to! Storing them deep inside allows you to dig ’em up again, like (re)discovered treasure, so they can reinvigorate your worldview all over again. And so the love grows.

For Ty, The Mantles’ 2009 slice of garage-pop perfection, “Don’t Lie” is one of those songs. Having played and toured with The Mantles in the Bay Area back in the day, Ty descends compassionately into the layers of morality within their affirmation anthem, uncovering a haunted sense of time passed while remolding the surging rock around the original melody into solo acoustic performance. Intimate and disarming, Ty talks to himself with guitars and voices, an exquisite filigree for the romance cleft ruthlessly open in the lyrics; heartbreak vibes for a new age.

“Hello, Hi” is expansively rendered by Ty, mostly by himself, at home. The isolation suits the songs: you’re only ever as ‘at home’ as you are with yourself in the mirror. Ty’s acoustic and electric guitars and vocal harmonies layer self upon self, forming a spiny backbone for the album. Textures at once gentle and dissonant root the songs as they make their move: melodic arcs convulsing in doubt and bliss and rage. Released from the endless gridlock into open space, these spirits pass on through.

Tossing down straight acoustic shots with electric guitar back, “Hello, Hi” rides through the valley of yer ol’ Canyon legends, finding an isolated place to unspool Ty’s copious reserves of nervous energy beneath an open sky. Swarms of harmony vocals caper among the clouds, but there’s a rider on the horizon behind, with crossbow trained on his very own heart — the engine driving all the relationships of life, whether down Broadway or over the cliffs at night! Whatever doesn’t get killed is getting stronger all the time. A lean, mean deal, baked in saltwater and sunlight, compassion pouring out its beautiful blue eyes. 

“Hello, Hi” follows two releases by the ever-prolific Ty; last year’s surprise release of killer album Harmonizer, along with his first ever feature film score, the soundtrack for Matt Yoka’s documentary Whirlybird, both released via Drag City.

photo by Denée Segall
poster artwork by Callum Rooney.