Archive for the ‘News’ Category

October 9, 2019

Touring: Ryley Walker

artwork: George Gillies

RYLEY WALKER AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:

MELBOURNE: Wednesday December 18 @ The Curtin with special guests Leah Senior + Andrew Tuttle. Tickets on sale here.
BRISBANE: Thursday December 19 @ Junk Bar. Tickets on sale here.
SYDNEY: Friday December 20 @ Petersham Bowlo with special guests Darren Cross + Andrew Tuttle. Tickets on sale here.
ILLAWARRA: Saturday December 21. details soon!

Mistletone proudly presents Ryley Walker, journeying back to Australia for a spell of intimate solo shows. Tickets on sale now!

The wildly talented Ryley Walker is one of modern Americana’s hardest working artists, known for his creativity, curious spirit and righteous guitar skills. With several fine, impressionistic solo albums to his name – most recently, the much-acclaimed Deafman Glance, co-produced with Wilco’s LeRoy Bach – Ryley has collaborated with fellow Chicago musicians such as Bill MacKay, Cooper Crain (Bitchin’ Bajas/Cave) and free-jazz drummer Charles Rumback.

Last seen opening for Joanna Newsom at Sydney Opera House and sharing the stage with Kurt Vile at Mistletone’s Summer Tones party in 2016, Ryley Walker draws deeply on distinctly American traditions with a masterly guitar playing that is as arresting as his freewheeling performance style.

Ryley’s Australian tour will come hot on the heels of a new collaborative album with Charles Rumback, their second release together as a duo after 2016’s Cannots. Little Common Twist compiles eight instrumental pieces and will be released November 8 on Thrill Jockey. Together, Ryley and Rumback – a pillar of the second wave of improvisers in a scene first shaped by the legendary players like Sun Ra and the AACM – find common ground in their kinetic, intuitive playing and yearning creative outlook.  Listen to “Half Joking” below.

As Ryley elaborates below, Deafman Glance is the second Ryley Walker album produced by LeRoy Bach and Walker himself. It was largely recorded at the Minbal (now JAMDEK) Studios in Chicago. Some later sessions also took place at USA Studios and in LeRoy’s kitchen. Cooper Crain (Bitchin’ Bajas, Cave) recorded and mixed the album, as well as adding his shimmering synths all over it. Ryley plays electric & acoustic guitars and was joined by long-time 6-string sparring partners, Brian J Sulpizio and Bill Mackay, who both play electric. LeRoy Bach also plays some electric guitar, whilst adding all piano and other keys. Andrew Scott Young and Matt Lux play bass – Andrew supplying some double-bass, both of them played electric. Drums / percussion are handled by Mikel Avery and Quin Kirchner. Topping off this list of notorious Chi-Town players is Nate Lepine, who added a lot of flute and a little saxophone too.

It’s a good record. But I can’t really listen to it anymore. It kind of broke my brain. It took a year, and there were a lot of times I thought it was going nowhere, a lot of botched sessions. It was all my fault, no one else’s. I was just totally unprepared. I went in with over-confidence, I went in there like ‘Yeah, I’m ready to go!’ but I was just kind of bullshitting. I went in expecting to make a fucking masterpiece, but I kept hitting a brick wall. 

I was under a lot of stress because I was trying to make an anti-folk record and I was having trouble doing it. I wanted to make something deep-fried and more me-sounding. I didn’t want to be jammy acoustic guy anymore. I just wanted to make something weird and far-out that came from the heart finally. I was always trying to make something like this I guess, trying to catch up with my imagination. And I think I succeeded in that way — it’s got some weird instrumentation on there, and some surreal far-out words.

And it’s more Chicago-y sounding. Chicago sounds like a train constantly coming towards you but never arriving. That’s the sound I hear, all the time, ringing in my ears. Everybody here’s always hustling. Everybody who talks to you on the street’s always got something they’re coming at you with. It’s the sound of strangers dodging one another. And landlords knocking on doors to get rent that people don’t have. But it’s eerily quiet at night. This record is the sound of walking home late at night through Chicago in the middle of winter and being half-creeped out, scared someone’s going to punch you in the back of the head, and half in the most tranquil state you’ve been in all day, enjoying the quiet and this faint wind, and buses going by on all-night routes. That’s the sound to tune in to. That’s the sound of Chicago to me.

Chicago. More than ever I’m just finding little details about it that I love. There’s so many weird twists about it: the way that street lights look here is really peculiar, and a really bleak sense when you walk around. It looks gray, there’s not a lot of color, and I find a lot of radiance in that. And oh man it smells like diesel. And garbage cans. And in the summer when it really heats up it’s extra garbage-canny. And everything here looks like it’s about to break. It looks like it’s derelict. But that’s what I’m used to, that’s what I like. The amount of imperfection in this city is really perfect. 

So I’ve fallen in love with Chicago pretty hard over the past year, despite crippling depression. I’ve realized I can’t not be in a city. I appreciate nature, I appreciate driving through nature, but you put me in a campsite for more than two days and I’ll flip the fuck out. I need to hear people outside of my window trying to buy crack. I need to be able to buy a taco at two in the morning. I need to hear the neighbors yelling really fucking loud at each other in the middle of the night. I need people. I need people really fucking bad. 

You have to find calm in the city. You actively search for it. It’s not a la carte like it is in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. Which are beautiful, they’re one of God’s finest creations — I’m not talking shit about the Rocky Mountains. But in the city it’s like scoring drugs, you’ve got to score your tranquil situations. And that’s the sound of Chicago to me.

The songs don’t really deal with any political or personal or social issues at all. Mostly it just comes from being bummed out. And there’s not a lot of musical influences on the record. I wasn’t even listening to music when I made it. Last year was probably the least I’ve listened to music in my adult life. I mean I was listening to stuff in the van — I listened to a lot of Genesis records. I got really into Genesis. But there’s nothing else I could point to. Maybe I’d say it’s a record for coming up or coming down. It’s not an album for the middle of the day. It’s for the beginning or end of it.

I quit drugs and booze recently. I got sick of being a party animal — I don’t want to be 19-gin-and-tonics-Ryley anymore. My brain is working a little better now, but man I was just going at it pretty wildly, and then trying to make a record while I was drinking, it was kind of like torture. 

We all had no idea what was going on, every song we’d be like ‘What is this record?’ Because every song sounded different. In a way this record was working with everybody that I’ve worked with for years, and it wasn’t like a Fleetwood Mac thing where everybody fell in love and divorced or anything, but a lot of times we were butting heads in the studio. 

I hadn’t played any of the songs live ever, whereas with my earlier records I’d play the shit out of them live and then go into the studio when they were totally cooked up and ready to go. But these songs were all half ideas and riffs I had on my mind, so that held things up for a while.

Being meticulous and being deets-oriented is not my thing at all. I’ve never been like that. I’m kind of like go go go! Making a quick record is not hard, it’s the easiest thing the world, so working in this time frame, over a year, made me go kind of nuts and… oh, tortured artist bullshit, blah blah blah. But then last summer we started playing songs back to back and finally we started to hear a common thread running through the record. 

I’m lucky enough to have some people who are playing on it who had a big part in shaping the songs and writing with me. Cooper Crain, the guy who engineered it, and played all the synthesizers. And when the flute guy, Nate Lepine came in, that was really something that made it special. The producer was this guy LeRoy Bach. I love LeRoy, he’s a really talented guy. He did the last record too. 

The last record was cool but I was still figuring out what I was good at. But I’m fucking 28 years old, I’ve got to figure out a sound, figure out something that I enjoy doing. So this record is a little bit more grown up. Ol’Ryley’s just workin’ on bein’ a better Ryley.

I think more than anything the thing to take away from this record is that I appreciate what improv and jamming and that outlook on music has done for me, but I wanted rigid structure for these songs. I don’t want to expand upon them live. There’s a looseness to some of the songs I guess, but I didn’t want to rely on just hanging out on one note. It’s so straight-forward that I can see a lot of people really not liking it to be honest. But I’m so happy, I’m happy that it’s completely different and unexpected.

But I know it’s divisive. It’s hard to talk about. It’s a weird record.

Ryley Walker was in conversation with Laura Barton.


September 26, 2019

Touring: Steve Gunn

STEVE GUNN – AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES

Saturday 16 November + Sunday 17 November – Mullum Festival, Mullumbimby
Tickets

Monday 18 November – Junk Bar, Brisbane
Tickets

Wednesday 20 November – AltarHobart
w/ Andrew Tuttle
Tickets

Thursday 21 November – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine
w/ Tiny Ruins + Andrew Tuttle
Tickets

Friday 22 November – Melbourne Music Week / State Library, Melbourne
w/ Tiny Ruins + Grand Salvo
Tickets

Saturday 23 November – Coalchella @ Wombarra Bowlo, Wombarra
Tickets

Sunday 24 November – Red Rattler, Sydney
w/ Tiny Ruins + Andrew Tuttle
Tickets


Mistletone proudly presents Steve Gunn, returning to Australia this November for a run of headline shows in SydneyBrisbaneHobart and Castlemaine, as well as appearances at Mullum FestivalMelbourne Music Week and Coalchella. Full tour dates and ticket links above.

For over a decade, Steve Gunn has been one of American music’s most pivotal figures — conjuring immersive and psychedelic sonic landscapes both live and on record, releasing revered solo albums ranking high on in-the-know end of year lists, alongside exploratory collaborations with artists as diverse as Mike Cooper, Kurt Vile, and Michael Chapman (whose most recent studio album he produced).  Supremely gifted at the guitar, Gunn’s career has been steadily blossoming over the past decade, his virtuosic fingerstyle playing and ruminative sound making recent room for unfeigned, glowing vocals.

Gunn is known for telling other people’s stories, but on his breakthrough fourth album, The Unseen In Between, he explored his own emotional landscapes with his most complex, fully realized songs to date. The lyrics evoke voyages, tempests (actual and emotional), and a rich cast of characters met along the way — the work of an artist finding a place of calm in the midst of a storm.

Steve Gunn will be joined by New Zealand’s Tiny Ruins for three co-headline shows. For almost 10 years, Tiny Ruins has been the vehicle Hollie Fullbrook’s intimate songwriting. In the wake of the release of Olympic Girls Solo, an acoustic recording of her widely acclaimed third album on Milk! Records, Hollie joins Steve Gunn for co-headline shows in MelbourneCastlemaine and Sydney, in rare solo performances reflecting the sparse beauty and intricate guitar playing of her earliest work.

Grand Salvo (esteemed Melbourne artist Paddy Mann, who was recently shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize for his masterpiece Sea Glass) will open the State Library event in the Redmond Barry Reading Room; an invitation to drop into a place of stillness and attentive listening. Acclaimed Brisbane maestro of banjo and resonator guitar Andrew Tuttle will open in Castlemaine, Sydney and Hobart.

artwork by George Gillies.

August 27, 2019

Touring: Cate Le Bon

Mistletone is excited to present the great Cate Le Bon, touring Australia with her brilliant band. Tickets on sale now!

CATE LE BON TOUR DATES:

PERTH: Monday December 9 @ Rosemount Hotel. Presented by Cool Perth Nights. tickets on sale here.
SYDNEY: Wednesday December 11 @ Factory Theatre. tickets on sale here.
BRISBANE: Thursday December 12 @ The Foundry. tickets on sale here.
CASTLEMAINE: Friday December 13 @ Theatre Royal. tickets on sale here.
MEREDITH: Saturday December 14 @ Meredith Music Festival.
MELBOURNE: Sunday December 15 @ Croxton Bandroom. tickets on sale here.

“Surrealist, tactile, against the grain… Welsh polymath Cate Le Bon keeps a steady, curious hand. “A ringleader who’s prepared to stake out uncertain territory”, she walks the tightrope between krautrock aloofness and heartbreaking tenderness; deadpan served with a twinkle in the eye” – AUNTY MEREDITH

It was on a mountainside in Cumbria that the first whispers of Cate Le Bon’s fifth studio album poked their buds above the earth. “There’s a strange romanticism to going a little bit crazy and playing the piano to yourself and singing into the night,” she says, recounting the year living solitarily in the Lake District which gave way to Reward. By day, ever the polymath, Le Bon painstakingly learnt to make solid wood tables, stools and chairs from scratch; by night she looked to a second-hand Meers — the first piano she had ever owned — for company, “windows closed to absolutely everyone”, and accidentally poured her heart out. The result is an album every bit as stylistically varied, surrealistically-inclined and tactile as those in the enduring outsider’s back catalogue, but one that is also intensely introspective and profound; her most personal to date.

Grandfather-clock-like chimes occupy the first few bars of opener ‘Miami’, heralding the commencement of an album largely concerned with a period of significant personal change. Not only is the city of the song’s title the location of a seismic shift in Le Bon’s life, but it is also, she suggests, faintly ridiculous for someone from a small town in Wales to be singing about cosmopolitan Miami; a perfect parallel to the feeling of absurdity which can accompany a big life change. Such changes demand adjustment, she muses, punctuated by the continuing chime of the synth and a smattering of sax; Never be the same again / No way / Falling skies and people are bored…Oh, it takes some time / It hangs in doors.

From there, into the early morning mist sprouts gently-wrought first single ‘Daylight Matters’. Its persistent I love yous, voiced over a subtly disorderly arrangement, are not, as they may at first seem, an outpouring of affection, but rather a luxuriation in the deliciousness of self-pity; the product of time spent alone “enforcing an absence in order to mourn it” as opposed to an out and out love song — although, Le Bon adds, “love is always lurking, I suppose.” Hot on the heels of the first is melancholic second single ‘Home to You’, at once a new sound for Le Bon and yet still identifiably hers; exemplary of Reward‘s shift away from the more classical-sounding keys 2016’s Crab Day, and a lilt towards the electronic in its predominant use of synthesiser. But despite this stylistic departure, the ghost of the Meers lingers; that Reward‘s ten songs were conceived alone at a piano remains evident not by their literal sound, but rather by the feeling of closeness that they convey.

This sense of privacy maintained throughout is helped by the various landscapes within which Reward took shape: Stinson Beach, LA, and Brooklyn via Cardiff and The Lakes. Recording at Panoramic House [Stinson Beach, CA], a residential studio on a mountain overlooking the ocean, afforded Le Bon the ability to preserve the remoteness she had captured during the writing of Reward in Staveley, Lake District. Though a stint in Los Angeles to try and finish some of the songs didn’t last long (“it just didn’t work…it was just too hectic, everything seemed a bit more fragmented and people were coming and going, as opposed to it being this closed off to the world-ness that I think I really seek when I’m recording”), Le Bon and co-producer and engineer Samur Khouja took to the Joshua Tree desert. “We barely saw other people and it was conducive to finding our feet with the record again.”

Over this extended period a cast of trusted and loved musicians joined Le Bon, Khouja and fellow co-producer Josiah Steinbrick — Stella Mozgawa (of Warpaint) on drums and percussion; Stephen Black (aka Sweet Baboo) on bass and saxophone and longtime collaborators Huw Evans (aka H.Hawkline) and Josh Klinghoffer on guitars — and were added to the album, “one by one, one on one”. The fact that these collaborators have appeared variously on Le Bon’s previous outputs no doubt goes some way to aid the preservation of a signature sound despite a relatively drastic change in approach.

Be it on her more minimalist, acoustic-leaning 2009 debut album Me Oh Myor critically acclaimed, liquid-riffed 2013 LP Mug Museum, Cate Le Bon’s solo work — and indeed also her production work, such as that carried out on recent Deerhunter album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?(4AD, January 2019) — has always resisted pigeonholing, walking the tightrope between krautrock aloofness and heartbreaking tenderness; deadpan served with a twinkle in the eye, a flick of the fringe and a lick of the Telecaster. This skilful traversing of apparent contradictions continues to make itself known on Reward, where, from the lamenting bones of ‘Home to You’ springs ‘Mother’s Mother’s Magazines’, a song derived from “being around a lot of really fed up women” which in its loose twanginess of composition and playful lyrics, calls to mind DRINKS — the side-project which Le Bon co-parents with Tim Presley (of White Fence). Glimmers of the biting, tongue-in-cheek and often surrealist imagery found scattered throughout Le Bon’s previous works rear their heads once more on ‘Sad Nudes’ (Pick up the phone / Take the call from your mother / She really wants you to answer) and the pulsating, cascading ‘Magnificent Gestures’ (I was born with no lips / Drip drip drips). Though things take a turn for the pessimistic on third single ‘The Light’, (Mother I feel the crowd on the turn / Took out the windows / Moved the stairs / And I don’t see the comedy / Holding the door to my own tragedy / Take blame for the hurt but the hurt belongs to me), it is not without an underlying sense of humour, as Le Bon cynically ponders Where would he go for fun in this town? And after all, the light that eventually seeks her out offers the lonely artist salvation.

The multifaceted nature of Le Bon’s art — its ability to take on multiple meanings and hold motivations which are not immediately obvious — is evident right down to the album’s very name. “People hear the word ‘reward’ and they think that it’s a positive word” says Le Bon, “and to me it’s quite a sinister word in that it depends on the relationship between the giver and the receiver. I feel like it’s really indicative of the times we’re living in where words are used as slogans, and everything is slowly losing its meaning.” The record, then, signals a scrambling to hold onto meaning; it is a warning against lazy comparisons and face values. It is a sentiment nicely summed up by the furniture-making musician as she advises: “Always keep your hand behind the chisel.”

July 11, 2019

HTRK: Venus In Leo


HTRK photo by Kate Meakin

HTRK TOUR DATES:

  • SYDNEY: Friday August 16 at Red Rattler with Tralala Blip + DJ Nat James. Tickets on sale now from Eventbrite.
  • MELBOURNE: Saturday August 17 at Geddes Lane with James Rushford (also appearing at Supersense) + DJ Moopie. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.
  • BRISBANE: Friday August 23 at The Foundry with Andrew Tuttle DJ Danny Venzin. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music. Tickets on sale now from Oztix.

Venus In Leo by HTRK is out on August 30 on Mistletone Records (Australia + New Zealand) via Inertia, and Ghostly International (rest of world). Pre-order Venus In Leo on limited edition clear vinyl, here.

“You Know How to Make Me Happy”, directed by Antuong Nguyen:

It’s been ten years since HTRK released their breakthrough first album, Marry Me Tonight. The band has undergone profound changes, with the first two albums released amid the deaths of close friend and collaborator Rowland S. Howard and HTRK co-founder Sean Stewart. Psychic 9-5 Club set them on a path of self-discovery, and Venus in Leo marks a spirited new chapter by one of the most distinctive bands of the past decade.

Over the soft strums of acoustic guitar, the album’s introduction,“Into the Drama,” posits a theory that “what was once considered self-sabotage could be revisited as being under the influence of Venus in Leo,” Standish explains. Fingerpicked guitar loops rise slowly and fall over a cold, brittle beat.

Previously released lovesong “Mentions” finds Standish exploring the lack of physical intimacy in the social media age. Elsewhere, there are emotional highs, like on the kaleidoscopic single “You Know How to Make Me Happy,” which details a suspended state of ecstasy, Standish commending her partner’s conscious efforts to prop her up with compliments.

“NewYear’s Day” traces a flimsy resolution to get healthier, instantly busted by an evening of debauchery, recalling “the worst possible start to the year with bad friends and bad behavior.” The silver lining is the sunrise: “pink, red, orange, white, peach” Standish repeats as the track laps with a velvety, hypnotic refrain.

Archetypal themes emerge as the band explore the makings of personality. Standish revisits her childhood home in a recurring dream (“Dream Symbol”), a doomed first kiss (“New Year’s Eve”) and high drama (“Venus in Leo”). Recorded more or less live in HTRK’s home studio in the Dandenong Ranges outside of Melbourne, the album’s simple production reveals gorgeous, toned-back arrangements and an evolving, idiosyncratic songcraft.

Venus In Leo Tracklist:
01. Into The Drama
02. Mentions
03.Venus In Leo
04.You Know How To Make Me Happy
05. Dream Symbol
06. Hit ‘Em Wit Da Hee
07. Dying Of Jealousy
08. New Year’s Day
09. New Year’s Eve

HTRK‘s music is not a quick-fix for restless, impatient minds; it needs to absorbed, contemplated and revisited. Listen to one of their records and you’ll find yourself slipping deep into their sound world, where the cavernous reverberations of dub techno are mixed with frosted post-punk motifs and the gravelly imperfections of industrial, reimagined in the setting of a dingy basement.

Their music is layered with enough subtle cultural reference points to attract critical dissection, raw enough to appeal to beer-swilling live crowds, and visceral enough to make sense throbbing out of a club sound system. Throw together the core influences of HTRK and you’ll find David Lynch’s unsettling surrealism next to Bill Henson’s industrial landscapes, with Mika Vainio’s minimal compositions alongside the malfunctioning synth-pop of Suicide. 

Formed in 2003 as the duo of Nigel Yang and Sean Stewart in Melbourne’s north-western suburbs, the band soon welcomed vocalist Jonnine Standish into the fold, before self-releasing their debut EP, Nostalgia, in 2005 (to be re-released on white vinyl by Fire Records on September 27, 2019). From the off their sound was raw and visceral, with distorted guitar pedals caking Standish’s vocals in sonic grit.

The band followed up Nostalgia with 2009s Marry Me Tonight, an LP co-produced by Rowland S. Howard, founding member of The Birthday Party and a towering figure in the Australian music scene. Marry Me Tonight was in many respects a neo-pop opus, with the bands homespun sound now developed into something more spacious and immersive; tracks like “Disco”, which sounded like a club anthem anaesthetised and played at 33rpm, and the narcotic, shamanistic rhythms of “HA” cemented the band as a formidable outfit. In 2009 Howard died of liver cancer, but not before he had left a deep and lasting impression on the band, as both a mentor and a friend.

It was around this time Sean met Mika Vainio: Stewart, along with Yang and Standish, greatly admired the revered Finnish producer, and the rugged electronics dabbled with on Marry Me Tonight seeped further into the bands sound as they continued to experiment with synthesizers and drum machines. Recording sessions at Netil House in London Fields led to the third HTRK album, Work (Work Work), released in 2011.

The band’s world was turned upside down when Stewart committed suicide halfway through the album’s recording. Standish and Yang finished the album as a duo, locking themselves away from the world and finding the ultimate catharsis in the studio. Intense and leaden with texture, Work (Work Work) is a sonic monument to Sean that explores the body’s reaction to personal loss, using humour and sex drive as lyrical themes, with pools of murky noise suffocating the guitar and bass, creating an overwhelming atmosphere that is at once malevolent yet seductive. 

Standish and Yang decamped to the Blazer Sound Studios in New Mexico to work on their next record Psychic 9-5 Club with Excepter’s Nathan Corbin called on to produce. Material dipped headlong into some of the things that make humans tick: love, loss, and desire. Released in April 2014, the collection presented a more tender and polished version of HTRK, the flesh stripped from their sound, the focus placed on naked arrangements and minimalist sound design.

HTRK re-emerged in 2018 with a set of singles exploring themes of power, mind games, and intimacy in the social media age. While not revealed at the time, these were the first suggestions of Venus in Leo, the fourth full-length and a spirited new chapter for the band. Recorded more or less live in their home studio in the Dandenong Ranges outside of Melbourne, the album features much-loved HTRK hallmarks — the combination of space and intimacy, the unmistakable interplay between Yang’s guitars and Standish’s vocals — while differing markedly in its energy, returning to the duo’s underground rock past with the stylistic playfulness and variety of a modern mixtape. It sees release on Mistletone / Inertia on August 30, 2019.





May 31, 2019

Touring: John Maus

Mistletone proudly presents John Maus, bringing his wide-screen alternate reality to Australia for an east coast tour.

JOHN MAUS TOUR DATES:

SYDNEY: Wednesday August 21 @ Factory Theatre w/- Purple Pilgrims. Tickets on sale here.
MELBOURNE: Friday August 23 @ Supersense, Arts Centre Melbourne. Tickets & info here.
BRISBANE: Saturday August 24 @ The Zoo w/- Purple Pilgrims. Tickets on sale here.

One of the most enigmatic figures in music today, John Maus is a man out of time. Cinematic in scope and underscored by a deadpan streak of absurdist humour, his five defining albums have quickly carved out a unique position at the intersection of power pop, punk rock and pure pathos. His driving synth pop conjures hazy anthems of the past while glimmering with hints of tomorrow. 

Maus’ propulsive bass-lines and cascading arpeggios create a constant sense of momentum but his careful mastery of production gives each of his original songs a frosted, nostalgic air – dreams of a hopeful future as found in a dusty thrift store. His signature style has seen him develop a cult following the world over, while leaving critics bewildered and grappling to comprehend where his sonic experiments might lead next. Perhaps that’s what you get when a former philosophy teacher at the University of Hawaii with a PhD in political science does a career U-turn and turns his hand to music. One thing is certain: there’s no one else like John Maus.

photo by Shawn Brackill

“John Maus is a maniac on a bloody crusade; a tortured evangelist on a mercenary quest to rid our world of villainous defilers of The Gospel of True Love. By turns shockingly infectious and disarmingly unpredictable, his music conflates a perplexing marriage of Moroder’s ‘Never Ending Story’ and classical 12-tone renegades of 20th century past, harking THE NEW path which resurrects romance from its post-modern shackles, and reignites the promise of a better world” – ARIEL PINK

“John Maus crafts brittle electro-pop with absurdly baroque keyboard flourishes, that sounds like the mid-point between a rave and a church organ recital. Althought it is musically very different from Ariel Pink’s songs, the “feel” of the two is very similar: like Ariel Pink, John Maus’ music comes across like a flickering, over-exposed home-video from the 1980s. It’s intensely personal and often beautiful music, the sound of memories and daydreams” – Simon Hampson

watch John Maus live at Sydney Festival, 2013 here.
May 6, 2019

Touring: Mary Lattimore + Julianna Barwick

artwork by Marita May Dyson

aJULIANNA BARWICK + MARY LATTIMORE TOUR DATES:

  • SUNDAY JUNE 23: Dark Mofo, Hobart * SOLD OUT
  • WEDNESDAY JUNE 26: Red Rattler Theatre, Sydney with special guests Ears Have Ears DJs. Tickets on sale now.
  • SATURDAY JUNE 29: Melbourne Recital Centre with Roger Eno. Tickets on sale now.

Mistletone proudly presents North American luminaries Mary Lattimore and Julianna Barwick, coming together for a never-before-seen collaboration during their forthcoming double headline Australian tour.

Over the past decade, each artist has created her own inimitable universe of light; Julianna Barwick building evocative choral symphonies, layering her own voice on top of itself to stunning effect; and Mary Lattimore conjuring expressive beauty on her forty-seven-string Lyon & Healy harp and synth effects. Both artists have released a series of fascinating records, with Mary Lattimore most recently collaborating with Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan and Heron Oblivion’s Meg Baird on two duet albums and topping year-end charts with her sublime solo album, Hundreds of Days, which New Yorker music critic, Amanda Petrusich described as “music to self-actualize by”. 

Julianna Barwick’s immersive debut The Magic Place (Mistletone, 2011) was named as one of the 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time by Pitchfork, who noted: “The Magic Place conjures the reverie of childhood wonder, but rather than just merely recall it nostalgically, Barwick’s voice has the power to render such awe wholly in the present moment.” One of the most powerfully emotive voices in contemporary music, Julianna Barwick has collaborated with Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers in Iceland, Radiohead, Yoko Ono, Philip Glass, Steve Hauschildt and the Flaming Lips. 

A collaboration borne out of mutual admiration of each other’s music, and a fateful merging of two visionary musical worlds.


March 19, 2019

Touring: Lonnie Holley

LONNIE HOLLEY TOUR DATES:

  • SYDNEY: Friday May 31 at Vivid Live, Sydney Opera House. Tickets on sale Friday March 22, more info here.
  • MELBOURNE: Saturday June 1 at Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre. Tickets & info here.
  • HOBART: June 5-12 at Dark Mofo. Two performances, details here.

Mistletone is exhilarated to announce the first ever Australian tour by the great Lonnie Holley and his trio.

Lonnie Holley in his apartment in Atlanta. Pic by Gillian Laub for The New York Times

Lonnie Holley is an Alabama-born visual artist, musician, and filmmaker. His visual art is in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, and many other museums. He has released three critically acclaimed studio albums, including MITH in 2018. His first film, I Snuck Off the Slave Ship, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Like the song that inspired it, the film is a metaphor for African American transcendence.

The expansive American experience Lonnie Holley quilts together is both infinite and finely detailed. Lonnie Holley’s landmark new album MITH (out now on Jagjaguwar via Inertia) is an epic and often arduous journey, one full of struggle, pain and disillusion.

Holley’s self-taught piano improvisations and stream-of-consciousness lyrical approach have only gained purpose and power since he introduced the musical side of his art in 2012 with Just Before Music, followed by 2013’s Keeping a Record of It. But whereas his previous material seemed to dwell in the Eternal-Internal, MITH lives very much in our world — the one of concrete and tears; of dirt and blood; of injustice and hope.

Across these songs, in an impressionistic poetry all his own, Holley touches on Black Lives Matter in “I’m a Suspect”, Standing Rock in “Copying the Rock” and contemporary American politics in “I Woke Up in a Fucked-Up America.” A storyteller of the highest order, he commands a personal and universal mythology in his songs of which few songwriters are capable — names like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joanna Newsom and Gil Scott-Heron come to mind.

MITH was recorded over five years in locations such as Porto, Portugal; Cottage Grove, Oregon; New York City and Holley’s adopted hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. These 10 songs feature contributions from fellow cosmic musician Laraaji, jazz duo Nelson Patton, the late visionary producer Richard Swift, saxophonist Sam Gendel and producer/musician Shahzad Ismaily

MITH‘s grand finale is a moment of levity and hope. It’s a celebration of that purest expression of human joy — dancing. “Sometimes I Wanna Dance” features a jaunty piano riff courtesy of Lonnie’s fellow cosmic traveler Laraaji as Lonnie himself exalts bodily movement in all its forms: from a child’s instinct to move to a groove, to how simply dancing can help us get over our very worst days. In an age of bombastic dance-pop, this minimal groove with nary a drum (!!) is refreshing, buoyant and beaming.

For the accompanying video, Lonnie and a film crew created their own juke joint, Tonky’s Rocket Ship, in the middle of Atlanta and called up some of the city’s blues legends to play the band. The video nods to both the immersive documentaries of Les Blank and the in-the-mix feel of 70s Altman. But more than anything, the message is clear:  Free your ass and the mind will follow. 

Lonnie Holley’s life story as told by The New York Times:

One night in October, just a couple blocks from Harvard Square, a young crowd gathered at a music space called the Sinclair to catch a performance by Bill Callahan, the meticulous indie-rock lyricist who has been playing to bookish collegiate types since the early ‘90s. Callahan’s opening act, Lonnie Holley, had been playing to similar audiences for two years. A number of details about Holley made this fact surprising: He was decades older than just about everyone in the club and one of the few African-Americans. He says he grew up the seventh of 27 children in Jim Crow-era Alabama, where his schooling stopped around seventh grade. In his own, possibly unreliable telling, he says the woman who informally adopted him as an infant eventually traded him to another family for a pint of whiskey when he was 4. Holley also says he dug graves, picked trash at a drive-in, drank too much gin, was run over by a car and pronounced brain-dead, picked cotton, became a father at 15 (Holley now has 15 children), worked as a short-order cook at Disney World and did time at a notoriously brutal juvenile facility, the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children in Mount Meigs.

Then he celebrated his 29th birthday. And shortly after that, for the first time in his life, Holley began making art: sandstone carvings, initially — Birmingham remained something of a steel town back then, and its foundries regularly discarded the stone linings used for industrial molds. Later, he began work on a wild, metastasizing yard-art environment sprawling over two acres of family property, with sculptures constructed nearly entirely from salvaged junkyard detritus like orphaned shoes, plastic flowers, tattered quilts, tires, animal bones, VCR remotes, wooden ladders, an old tailor’s dummy, a busted Minolta EP 510 copy machine, a pink scooter, oil drums rusted to a leafy autumnal delicateness, metal pipes, broken headstone fragments, a half-melted television set destroyed in a house fire that also took the life of one of Holley’s nieces, a syringe, a white cross.

His work was soon acquired by curators at the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. Bill Arnett, the foremost collector (and promoter) of self-taught African-American artists from the Deep South — the man who brought worldwide attention to Thornton Dial and the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Ala. — cites his first visit to Holley’s home in 1986 as a moment of epiphany. “He was actually the catalyst that started me on a much deeper search,” Arnett says, adding bluntly that “if Lonnie had been living in the East Village 30 years ago and been white, he’d be famous by now.”

Had Holley’s story climaxed right there, with his discovery and celebration — however unfairly limited it has been, if you accept Arnett’s view — you would still be left with an immensely satisfying dramatic arc. But in 2012, at age 62, Holley made his debut as a recording artist. He had been hoarding crude home recordings of himself since the mid-’80s, but never gave much thought to anything approaching a proper release. Then he met Lance Ledbetter, the 37-year-old founder of Dust-to-Digital, a boutique record label based in Atlanta. Ledbetter, who started Dust-to-Digital as a way of bringing rare gospel records — pressed between 1902 and 1960, most them never available before on compact disc — to a broader audience, had never attempted to record a living artist before he heard Holley. “I was hearing Krautrock, R.& B., all of these genres hitting each other and pouring out of this 60-year-old person who had never made a record before,” Ledbetter recalls. “I couldn’t digest it, it was so intense.”

In terms of genre, Holley’s music is largely unclassifiable: haunting vocals accompanied by rudimentary keyboard effects, progressing without any traditional song structure — no choruses, chord changes or consistent melody whatsoever. In many ways, Holley is the perfect embodiment of Dust-to-Digital’s overriding aesthetic: a raw voice plucked from a lost world, evoking the visceral authenticity of a crackling acetate disc. The title of his Dust-to-Digital debut, released in 2012, could double as its own category description: “Just Before Music.” That album and its follow-up, “Keeping a Record of It,” released in September and, for my money, one of the best records of 2013, introduced Holley to a new audience, including members of hip indie-rock bands like Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective, who have all played with him.

January 23, 2019

Touring: Lucy Dacus



Mistletone is thrilled to present the debut Australian tour for Lucy Dacus and her band.

SYDNEY: WED MAR 27 at OXFORD ART FACTORY with Grace Turner. Tickets on sale now.

BRISBANE: THU MAR 28 at BLACK BEAR LODGE with Asha Jefferies + Moreton. Tickets on sale now.

MELBOURNE: FRI MAR 29 at NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB with Jess Ribeiro + Poppongene * SOLD OUT!

VICTORIA: SAT MAR 30 at BY THE MEADOW. Tickets on sale now.

MELBOURNE: SUN MAR 30 at NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB with Jade Imagine. Tickets on sale now.

“You said don’t go changing

I’ll rearrange to let you in

And I’ll be your historian

And you’ll be mine

And I’ll fill pages of scribbled ink

Hoping the words carry meaning”

~ Lucy Dacus, “Historian”

Lucy Dacus is done thinking small. Two years after her 2016 debut, No Burden, won her unanimous acclaim as one of rock’s most promising new voices, Dacus returned with Historian, a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent, out now on Remote Control.

Historian finds Dacus unafraid to take on the big questions —the life-or-death reckonings, and the ones that just feel that way. It’s a record full of bracing realisations, tearful declarations and moments of hard-won peace, expressed in lyrics that feel destined for countless yearbook quotes and first tattoos.

“This is the album I needed to make,” says Dacus, who views Historian as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. “Everything after this is a bonus.”

She emphasises that she does not take her newfound platform as a touring musician for granted. “I have this job where I get to talk to people I don’t know every night,” she remembers thinking on the long van rides across America to support No Burden.

Realising that she would have a dramatically expanded audience for her second album, she felt an urgent call to make something worthwhile: “The next record should be the thing that’s most important to say.”

The past year, with its electoral disasters and other assorted heartbreaks, has been a rough one for many of us, Dacus included. She found solace in crafting a thoughtful narrative arc for Historian, writing a concept album about cautious optimism in the face of adversity, with thematic links between songs that reveal themselves on repeat listens.

“It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she explains. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”

Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with No Burden producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with A-list studio wizard John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut—an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll.

Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving Historian the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers.

The album opens with a striking three-track run. First comes “Night Shift,” the only breakup song Dacus has ever written: “In five years I hope the songs feel like covers, dedicated to new lovers,” she memorably declares.

Next is the catchy, upbeat first single “Addictions,” inspired in part by the dislocated feeling of life on the road and the lure of familiarity (“I’m just calling cause I’m used to it/And you’ll pick up cause you’re not a quitter…”), followed by “The Shell,” a reflection on (and embrace of) creative burnout.

There’s nothing tentative about this opening sequence. Right away, it’s clear that Dacus is on a new level of truth-telling and melodic grace.

Another key highlight is track five, “Yours & Mine” —”the centerpiece where the whole album hinges in on itself,” Dacus says. Using a call-and-response format, she wrestles with the question of how best to participate in a community broken by injustice and fear while staying true to what one believes is right.

“It’s about realising your power as a person, and deciding to do the less safe but ultimately more powerful move, which is to move physically forward —show up and march —and move forward politically,” says Dacus, who began writing the song during the 2015 Baltimore Uprising against systemic racism.

Historian closes with two stunning songs: “Pillar of Truth,” a heartfelt tribute to Dacus’ late grandmother, and “Historians,” which sums up the album’s complex lessons about loss. “From the first song to ‘Pillar of Truth,’ the message is: You can’t avoid these things, so accept them. There’s ways to go about it with grace and gratefulness,” she says. “Then ‘Historians’ says that even if you can say that, there’s still fear, and loss is terrifying. You still love things, so it’s going to hurt. But dark isn’t bad. It’s good to know that.”

January 21, 2019

Touring: Sharon Van Etten

SHARON VAN ETTEN REMIND ME TOMORROW AUSTRALIAN TOUR:

  • SYDNEY: Saturday June 1 | Vivid LIVE, Sydney Opera House. Tickets on sale Friday March 22, more info here.
  • BRISBANE: Friday June 7 | Concert Hall, QPAC with BATTS. Tickets
  • HOBART: Sunday June 9 | Dark Mofo. Dark Mofo program and tickets released in April. Subscribe for updates
  • MELBOURNE: Tuesday June 11 | Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne with BATTS. Tickets on sale here.

Mistletone are thrilled to present Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow Australian Tour 2019.

“It’s been so long since I’ve been on the road and I am so excited to say that I will be returning to Australia and New Zealand this year.  Always have such an amazing time and can’t wait to share these new songs with you all.  See you soon!  X” – Sharon Van Etten 

The Remind Me Tomorrow tour is Van Etten’s first Australian visit since 2015, in support of her brand new album of the same name — released last Friday January 18 on Jagjaguwar via Inertia Music to rapturous acclaim worldwide. The album is currently Feature Album at Double JTriple R and2SER, and has received glowing reviews in The Music, The Big IssueSTACK Magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald locally, as well as Stereogum (Album Of The Week)The Guardian, NME (“her most intoxicating and impressive work to date”)and Pitchfork (Best New Music) who said “[Remind Me Tomorrow] is the peak of Van Etten’s songwriting, her most atmospheric and emotionally piercing album to date”. 

Remind Me Tomorrow follows Are We There, her top 10 critically praised album of 2014, and reckons with the life that gets lived when you put off the small and inevitable maintenance in favour of something more present. Throughout, Van Etten veers towards the driving, dark glimmer moods that have illuminated the edges of her music and pursues them full force.

Written while pregnant, going to school for psychology, after taking The OA audition, Remind Me Tomorrow was written in stolen time: in scraps of hours wedged between a myriad of endeavours. Van Etten guest-starred in The OA, and brought her music onstage in David Lynch’s revival of Twin Peaks. Off-screen, she wrote her first score for Katherine Dieckmann’smovie Strange Weather and the closing title song for Tig Notaro’s show, Tig

December 10, 2018

Touring: Connan Mockasin

CONNAN MOCKASIN TOUR DATES:

  • BRISBANE – Wednesday March 20 @ The Tivoli. Tickets on sale here. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music.
  • MELBOURNE – Thursday March 21 @ Melbourne Recital Centre. Tickets on sale here.
  • SYDNEY – Friday March 22 @ The Enmore. Tickets on sale here.

Mistletone proudly presents Connan Mockasin bringing the premiere screening of Bostyn ‘n Dobsyn plus Jassbusters live in concert.

Witness the world’s first absurdist drama as Connan Mockasin premieres his film Bostyn ‘n Dobsyn, featuring material from his new concept album Jassbusters, the follow up to 2013’s critically acclaimed album Caramel.

Three fully seated shows on Australia’s east coast will see Connan unveil Jassbusters to the world, an idiosyncratic band of high school music teachers fronted by Mr. Bostyn – the ageing guitarist who plays the starring role in the accompanying film. Connan and his band will round off the night with a live performance.

Connan Mockasin released his first album Forever Dolphin Love in 2010, and has gone on to build a devoted worldwide fan base. He has toured with Radiohead, and has collaborated with the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg, James Blake and MGMT.

PRAISE FOR JASSBUSTERS:

  • “Career-best” – Uncut (album of the month) 8/10 stars
  •  “Sublime” – Mojo (4/5 stars)
  • It reaffirms Mockasin’s status as the maddest biscuit in the box” – Q Magazine (4/5 stars)
  • “If 2013’s Caramel was a B-, then Jassbusters deserves a big fat red marker pen A”  The Quietus

Jassbusters out now on Mexican Summer via Rocket — http://mexsum.com/Jassbusters

More about Bostyn ‘n Dobsyn and Jassbusters below:

Bostyn ’n Dobsyn

– Bostyn ’n Dobsyn is a five-part melodrama film created by Connan Mockasin.

– Bostyn ’n Dobsyn is about a fictional music teacher, Bostyn, and his student, Dobsyn.

– Mockasin plays Bostyn, while Dobsyn is played by Mockasin’s childhood next door neighbour Blake Pryor.

– Bostyn ’n Dobsyn was filmed inside a disused hair salon in Los Angeles, July 2016.

– Bostyn ’n Dobsyn took 20 years to develop, and 10 days to film.

– Bostyn ’n Dobsyn features Gabriel Diggs from Celebrity Family Feud.

– Bostyn ’n Dobsyn is Connan Mockasin’s first publicly released film.

Jassbusters

– Jassbusters is the third record by Connan Mockasin.

– Jassbusters is the concept of a record made by a band of music teachers, fronted by Bostyn.

– Jassbusters was recorded live in Paris at Studios Ferber, August 2016.

– Jassbusters was recorded less than one month after the filming of Bostyn ’n Dobsyn.

– It was then recorded live again and filmed for the end scenes of Bostyn ’n Dobsyn.

– Jassbusters took one week to record.

– Jassbusters is the first record by Connan Mockasin that was recorded with a band.

– Jassbusters is designed to be listened to after watching Bostyn ’n Dobsyn.