Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz
STEVE GUNN TOUR DATES:
- SYDNEY: Thursday July 6 @ The Basement. Tickets on sale now.
- MELBOURNE: Friday July 7 @ NGV Friday Nights, The Great Hall, NGV International. Doors open 6pm, Steve Gunn from 8.30pm. Tickets include after-hours entry to the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Van Gogh and the Seasons, local DJs, art talks, and access to food and bars. Tickets on sale now.
- MELBOURNE: Saturday July 8 @ Northcote Social Club. Tickets on sale now.
- BRISBANE: Sunday July 9 @ The Junk Bar. Tickets on sale now.
Mistletone is joyous to announce that consummate American singer-songwriter & guitarist Steve Gunn is coming to Australia for the first time on a soul expanding solo tour.
- “Brooklyn’s Steve Gunn is the Ty Segall of Americana, a prolific musician who has released 13 albums since 2007, some with like-minded strummers such as Kurt Vile and Hiss Golden Messenger, others solo records such as 2013’s acclaimed Way Out Weather. In other words, he’s the hipster-friendly guitar slinger of the moment, in the spirit of John Fahey or Robbie Basho, with a lovely sun-glazed lilt to his fluid fingersmithery. On Eyes On the Lines, he pairs his pastoral leanings with tales of uncertainty; Night Wander meanders through nocturnal roots with the repetitiveness of a raga; Conditions Wild’s boppy pace and falsetto channels the 1960s; Park Bench Smile coasts along on rolling drums and a shamanic, moonlit arrangement. Gunn’s voice is so mellow that the songs’ words fade into the background at times – but then the guitar is the frontman here” – THE GUARDIAN ★★★★
- “So intimate and so mysteriously distant all at once” – WASHINGTON POST
- ★★★★ – MOJO
Steve Gunn’s music has always embraced expanse and movement. It springs from the simple and profound relationship between humans and their environment. Gunn’s most recent album and his debut for Matador, Eyes On The Lines (out now via Remote Control), is his most explicit ode to the blissful uncertainty of adventure yet. His brilliant previous album Way Out Weather (Mistletone, 2014) is still available on Mistletone mail order.
Gunn’s roots in the underground run deep, from his days in GHQ to his collaborations with Black Twig Pickers and Mike Cooper. He’s toured and recorded with Michael Chapman, and released two remarkable duo albums with drummer John Truscinski. His solo ventures, emerging over the past decade and culminating most recently the highly-acclaimed Way Out Weather, have been pastoral, evocative affairs. Here he embraces his urban surroundings through a series of songs that fully showcase his extraordinary ability to match hooks to deftly constructed melodies. Gunn is a consummate guitarist, that rare fingerpicker who can harness the enigma of the American Primitive vernacular without lazily regurgitating it. His playing is inventive and full of personality. His instrumental virtuosity calls upon a vast library of technical skills at will, but he’s never showy — his riffs and runs are always in the service of the song at hand.
And what a pleasure to have this music presented to the wider public.
The Eyes On The Lines song cycle melds thoughtful inquisitiveness with poetic reflection, fully embracing rhythmic uplift, allowing personal stories and impressions to live their own lives on their own terms. Gunn is more narrator than diarist; he pours real-life moments and real-life people into vibrant and evocative tales. Dreams and encounters spiral out – they form their own dramas and illuminate their own truths. Indeed, Eyes On The Lines works like a book of the finest short stories, its songs interlocking with an urgent necessity, forming an ever-questioning whole. In Gunn’s own words: “The music isn’t about me. It’s about characters, either real or fictional. It’s about images.”
And what are lines if not one of the foundational aspects of images? Lines on the road draw one’s attention to the lines comprising the landscape. Gunn’s music runs ahead and twists – like time, like the road itself. Guitar lines are highway lines are lines carved by the view out the window are the lines one waits in to get a quick meal on the way from one destination to another are lines one draws in the van to stay amused. It’s good to be out on the road and it’s good to be home, and each feeds into the other. This record sees lines run together and leap across one another.
He’s honest about the necessity of being comfortable in being lost. His music values the unknown, so it is always born of the present. We lose ourselves to find ourselves. With all of this comes humility. And gratitude. Listen to “Nature Driver,” a statement of thankfulness for the generosity of the plethora of kind souls who welcome travelers into their homes.
“Ancient Jules,” which opens the record, is a travel fantasy of a different sort. Built around a head-nodding motif, the song bobs and weaves its way through a tale which foregrounds the surprising joy that can come with a break – a deep sigh in the midst of an onrush, punctuated by the finest example of Gunn’s electric soloing to emerge yet. A song like “Conditions Wild” also rambles through strange clouds of roving. Interlocking strings, percussion, and vocals join in an irrepressible rush. This record is like that – the songs get lodged in one’s head because they’re catchy, but their atmosphere sends the mind reeling into memory and mystery.
These are songs you can take in quickly, but spend all the time in the world devouring. The very large and the very small are present in equal measure. The inability to categorize them within the avalanche of impotent diatribes that pass for categorization is a testament to their power.
Stories give us ways to discover meaning. They provide us with signposts – when we recognize our own lives within them, we clarify our existence. “Far from the world is the mystic fool,” Gunn sings on the opening track. The fool may be far from the world, but that doesn’t matter. The so-called fool is jacked in to the cosmos.
Since 2006, Mistletone has promoted over hundreds of outstanding Australian tours for artists such as Beach House, Kurt Vile, Toro Y Moi, Parquet Courts, Sharon Van Etten, The Julie Ruin, The Clean, Perfume Genius, Wooden Shjips, Cass McCombs, Dan Deacon, Holy Fuck and many more.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Australian tour 2015. Artwork by Ben Montero.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Australian tour 2012. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.
From the Herald Sun newspaper:
The story goes that Ariel Pink was conceived on the set of Fraggle Rock after Kira from The Dark Crystal dropped by looking for “work.” He bobs onto the stage and says “Thanks Shags Chamberlain for choosing my set-list” then lets his brohemian underlings begin a superb set of songs that even feature new stream-of-consciousness numbers like I Sunk Your Battleship. Bright Lit Blue Skies and Round and Round are cathartic triumphs, rare times when Pink and his Haunted Graffiti completely give into their populist pop music desires. Shags comes on stage with his top off, a teal t-shirt sitting on his head like a smurf,a gourd containing an unknown potion (he doesn’t drink so, hmmmm) and plays tambourine for the whole show. At one point, he freezes and bends over in front of Ariel Pink then the Fraggle Man pretends to turn a key in his back and says “Shags. My Teddy Ruxpin.”
Hil. Aire. Their set is perverse but never perverted, sexual but never creepy, creamy but never bloated. If you look closely enough you can see a HOLLYWOOD mirage off in the distance, giant white blocks on the hill. As soon as Ariel Pink finish, the mirage disappears too.
From The Vine:
As good as the preceding bands have been so far (and programming is almost uniformly brilliant throughout the weekend), the consistently unpredictable, eminently watchable and surprisingly effeminate Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti provide the early highlight with a set that epitomises everything that is good about using the sounds of pop music in a very non-pop setting. Boasting the charisma machine that is Lost Animal’s Shags Chamberlain on tambourine and ‘vibes’ (at one point described by Pink as “Shags. My Teddy Ruxpin.”), the tight and textured sounds are bent through a number of songs, many of which seem new or obscure (and see Pink singing from a lyric book), but it’s the high points from Before Today that get the biggest response.
From Beat magazine:
The Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti live show is a notoriously temperamental one. I thought they were great when they were last in town for Laneway, and I grimaced when watching the livestream of Ariel’s Coachella ‘meltdown’. Scheduling them in a primetime slot seemed like a risky move, but by god did it pay off. Not sure exactly what elements conspired to make it such an auspicious set, but the ostensibly superfluous efforts of champion Melburnian Shags Chamberlain on tambourine really took things to the next level. Fright Night (Nevermore) and Beverly Kills were fucking great – and Ariel’s heavily made-up face emanated sheer joy under his sweet man-bangs. Oh and it turns out that Round And Round was pretty much made for night-time at the Supernatural Amphitheatre. Magic.
From Inpress magazine:
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti are the first act to lead the charge into the depths of Saturday night. The first time they played Melbourne they assaulted our eardrums with a noisy blend of lo-fi pop experimentation. Since then Ariel Pink has recorded a studio album and this evening the latest incarnation of his band Haunted Graffiti operate with the tight precision of a well-oiled machine to produce an altogether slicker and more lustrous sound that blends pop and psychedelia from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The flamboyant Ariel Pink, looking as though he has joined Genesis P Orridge’s Lady Jaye Project, sounds removed from what we know of him on record as he caterwauls and shrieks (in a feminine falsetto) his way through the set in a way that sets him apart from the rest of the band. Amusingly, their tambourine player seems to revive the Happy Mondays’ tradition of having a dancer in the band. The groovy, surf vibes of Bright Lit Blue Skies and synth pop of Round & Round provide the obvious feelgood moments.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Australian tour 2011. Artwork by Greedy Hen.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Australian tour 2007. Artwork by Nathan Gray.
Artwork by Celeste Potter
CIRCUIT DES YEUX TOUR DATES:
- SYDNEY: Sunday January 15 @ St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney Festival. Tickets & info here.
- MELBOURNE: Thursday January 19 @ The Toff with Two Steps on the Water. Tickets on sale now.
- HOBART: Saturday January 21 @ MONA FOMA Festival. Tickets on sale now.
Mistletone very proudly presents Circuit des Yeux, aka Chicago artist Haley Fohr, touring as an ultra dynamic duo for her first ever Australian tour.
- “Since she was a teenager, Haley Fohr, now 27, has been a kind of one-woman post-cabaret movement, using finger-picked folk-guitar mesmerisation, synthesizer ripples, aggressive drone chords and a severe, semi-operatic low voice. She’s hard to contain” – NEW YORK TIMES
Haley Fohr’s music strikes a unique balance between the personal and universal. As Circuit des Yeux she creates music that embodies the complexity of human emotions, juxtaposing tenderness and grief, ecstasy and horror, using sounds as representations of the emotional spectrum that we all experience.
Haley’s striking voice, an impassioned baritone, is the music’s centerpiece and guiding force. For her most recent Circuit des Yeux album In Plain Speech, Haley was joined by some of the most progressive musicians in the Chicago music community; Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas), Whitney Johnson (Verma), Rob Frye (Bitchin Bajas), Adam Luksetich (Little Scream), and Kathleen Baird (Spires That In The Sunset Rise). Haley cements her reputation as a fearless songwriter and inventive arranger with this stirring collection of songs that are both gorgeous and emotionally potent.
In Plain Speech represented the start of a new, more collaborative chapter for Circuit des Yeux. While previous works were solo affairs, not only in performance, but emotionally tied to a sense of confinement and place, these new songs were composed after a move to a collective living space, giving Haley an opportunity to break free of the isolation that informed her previous albums. Haley brought her community, literally, to the recording. In Plain Speech was her first recording with a full band, who are all leaders in Chicago’s new wave of creative musicians. Her songs, while always potent when delivered solo, shine in this new band context. Companionship and solidarity are themes woven throughout the album. “Do The Dishes” is a meditation on sisterhood, and a message to other women to take risks, follow their passions deeply and to love themselves. “Fantasize the Scene” explores the idea of eternal friendship.
Extensive touring influenced the making of the album in several ways. Having toured solo for months throughout Europe and the US, no band, no tour manager, no driver, Haley in that solitude learned to commune with the audience in a way that she hadn’t ever before. That connection sparked in her mind a conversation with the audience, and many of the lyrics on In Plain Speech are directed at “you,” the listener. She also became acutely aware of disquiet, a pervasive anxiety, which permeated society in almost every city she visited. “I felt an uneasiness that superseded phonetic communication,” she writes. “Something dim is in the air, and it is looming large.” This anxiety creeped into songs like “A Story Of This World,” which is a call for change of priorities and values among the world’s leadership.
Haley’s latest release on Thrill Jockey is credited to her alter ego, Jackie Lynn…
Jackie Lynn was born in Franklin, TN on June 1st, 1990: “I’ve always been the source of action. My mom didn’t even make it to the hospital before I decided to come into this world. She had to lie right down on the sidewalk in front of Rolling Hills Hospital as doctors hovered around to help. It was storming that morning, and right as I was coming into the world a bolt of lighting fell from the sky, striking my mother right in the belly. They say I shot out of her like a bullet from a gun, right into oncoming traffic.”
Jackie, now a 25-year-old Gemini residing somewhere unknown, has mysteriously disappeared after leaving a chronological musical artifact that the city of Chicago is now using to try to trace her whereabouts.
This is what we know: Born and raised in Franklin, TN, in May of 2010, Jackie took a Greyhound bus from Franklin, TN to Chicago, IL. Upon her arrival in the city of Chicago, Jackie found a cheap sublet on the south side. She soon became acquainted with Tom Strong (real name unknown) on a short CTA bus trip to the Chicago Loop. We believe that Tom & Jackie together ran a multimillion dollar business distributing the illegal substance of cocaine around Chicago & the Chicago tristate area for over four years. Authorities believe that a local automobile shop was used as the main distributions headquarter.
Over the years, Tom & Jackie have become well known for their large and lavish parties thrown at an apartment located on Sacramento & 26th street. Police have been hot on their trail, but have found no probable cause to make an arrest. A domestic dispute was reported on February 18th of 2015. When police arrived, the apartment was found deserted. Traces of cocaine were found on a red and gold LP jacket with the following recording enclosed.
Listen to Jackie Lynn’s “Alien Love” below:
The Bats Australian tour 2017. Artwork by Robert Scott; design by Alex Fregon.
The Bats headlining Melbourne Music Week Opening Night curated by Mistletone, 2013. Artwork by Ben Montero.
The Bats Australian tour 2011. Artwork by Alex Fregon.
The Bats Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Alex Fregon.
The Bats Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Alex Fregon.
BEACH HOUSE AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2012-13.
Beach House played Falls + Southbound Festivals, followed by theatre shows at The Enmore (Sydney), The Forum (Melbourne) and The Tivoli (Brisbane), as well as headlining the Spunk Tones party at A&I Hall, Bangalow. Artwork by Victoria Legrand, design by Rick Milovanovic.
BEACH HOUSE AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2011
Beach House performed at Laneway Festival (Australia, New Zealand & Singapore) and Sydney Festival (Recital Hall & Beck’s Bar), plus Melbourne headline show below. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic.
BEACH HOUSE AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2008. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic.
Artwork by Jason Galea
DUNGEN TOUR DATES:
- BRISBANE: Monday, December 5 @ The Zoo with Golden Age Of Ballooning. Tickets on sale now from Oztix. Presented by 4zzz.
- SYDNEY: Wednesday December 7 @ Oxford Art Factory with The Laurels. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix. Presented by 2ser.
- MELBOURNE: Thursday December 8 @ The Corner with ORB + Krakatau + Psychedelic Coven DJs. Tickets on sale now from Ticketscout. Presented by Triple R.
- MEREDITH: Friday December 9 @ Meredith Music Festival. The Meredith ticket ballot is open now.
- PERTH: Sunday December 11 @ Rosemount Hotel with Dream Rimmy + DJ Defs Worthit (Kevin Parker). Tickets on sale now from Oztix.
Mistletone proudly presents Swedish psych rock legends Dungen, touring Australia for the first time since 2006 to perform at the 26th annual Meredith Music Festival plus headline shows in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
Dungen have announced a new album called Häxan on Smalltown Supersound. The album is out November 25 as an official Record Store Day/Black Friday release, and the first single from the record is called “Jakten genom Skogen.”
IN BETWEEN the release of Dungen’s most recent two albums (2010’s Skit I Allt and 2015’s Allas Sak), the beloved Stockholm quartet was asked to create an original score to Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 touchstone The Adventures of Prince Achmed, understood to be the oldest surviving full-length animated feature film. Inspired by the nature of the work and the characters portrayed within, the members of Dungen collaborated on themes to represent their take on the film’s narrative, and immersed themselves in the groundbreaking visual language of this landmark film.
Häxan (translation: “The Witch”) is the result of those works, Dungen’s first all-instrumental album, and a continuation of all the things we love about their music. Moody, evocative, stormy, and brimming with life, Häxan provides both a tacit summation of the Dungen journey up to today, and gives the beloved group a chance to stretch out like never before. Here, the psychedelic rock is more bombastic, the softer passages more exquisite, the tension in their musical interplay more dramatic, their intentions remarkably robust. Häxan allows Dungen to move deftly between styles in a more circuitous fashion than their previous works, allowing them to build a story of their own around the action and characters in the film – Prince Achmed, Peri Banu, Aladdin, the Sorcerer, and most of all, the Witch – that reaches beyond the source material, returning to the hooks and melodies that come earlier in the album.
More pronounced collaboration with Häxan’s producer, Mattias Glavå, set the tenor of the sessions, fostered the interstitial moments between tracks, providing a more seamless listening experience. Recorded, mixed, and edited by hand to tape entirely in the analog domain, Häxan was sequenced away from the linear narrative of the film. This process helped to create a path of its own, fully capturing the rawness and spontaneity present in the sessions, as well as a loose, abstract, and fragmented collage feel, evident in the dense and dissonant free-form rock-outs, haunting ambient passages, and gorgeously cinematic soundscapes present in the work. As a result, Häxan works as new, original music by Dungen, both with and without the presence of the film itself.
With Häxan, the indulgences taken by Dungen find new corners in their creative space. “Trollkarlen och fågeldräkten” approaches the excitement of early ‘60s post-bop in a way that the band has yet to reveal until now, with Gustav Ejstes’ attentive piano melody connecting to Mattias Gustavsson’s bass, as Reine Fiske stretches out atmospheric strains of feedback-laced guitar overtop, while drummer Johan Holmegard establishes a busy, polyrhythmic background with a light touch, almost exclusively focused on cowbell and cymbals.
The breezy, groovy theme to Aladdin’s appearances is cut across a handful of Häxan’s runtime, extended to both compact, flute-led bursts of melody, and a more luxuriant synth-based variant. Ejstes applies church organ sternness and harmonic majesty to “Kalifen,” which melts from a stately, Procol Harum-esque introduction into ‘70s soul stabs across a coolly understated rhythmic backing. Elsewhere, “Andarnas Krig,” “Wak-Wak’s portar,” and the title track represent some of the heaviest music Dungen has made to date, recalling the similarly burnt-edged Middle Eastern themes that Agitation Free cut for Vertigo decades ago. “Achmed flyger” ties it all together, with Ejstes and Fiske performing dual piano and synth leads, as the drums and bass surge underneath, creating a driving and focused backing, just as the film’s action begins to take flight.
Most recently, Dungen performed Häxan alongside the film at Mexican Summer’s 2016 Marfa Myths festival, marking its American debut performance. Asked about the experience overall, Gustav says, “In this setting, the movie becomes a solo instrument of its own, and we are simply backing up what we see on the screen. In many ways, it was a liberation to share the focal point with an audience when you’re performing with this kind of accompaniment. It’s a refreshing change to be playing live, and not be the center of attention; it’s the movie instead.”
Dungen‘s mastermind and main songwriter. Gustav Ejstes, has been making music—at first for himself, then eventually and inevitably for all of us—for nearly twenty years. Growing up in rural Sweden, he became obsessed with hip-hop and sampling. Digging through crates and searching for obscure source material provided him with an informal education in ‘60s pop and psychedelia, and soon he learned to play the bits and pieces he was sampling. He took up guitar and bass, drums and keyboard and even flute, then took to his grandmother’s basement to put it all on tape.
When Ejstes recorded his first album, he released it in 2001 under the name Dungen, which means “The Grove”— a nod to his village upbringing or perhaps a deeper reference to American folk songs like “Shady Grove.” While his music has routinely garnered comparisons to acts like Love, Pink Floyd, the Electric Prunes, and Os Mutantes, he has always emphasized a strong sense of songcraft. The music has deep roots in history, but it blooms in the present.
With 2004’s breakout Ta Det Lugnt, Dungen garnered an avid fanbase outside of Scandinavia. Pitchfork lauded the album with a 9.3 and asserted that Ejstes’s “songs are painstakingly arranged with a sense of depth, gradations, and tonal three-dimensionality redolent of something as off the charts as Pet Sounds.” Only on the road did Dungen blossom into a full band, with a rotation of musicians joining Ejstes onstage and eventually coalescing into a fully democratic band that includes Reine Fiske on guitar, Mattias Gustavsson on bass, and Johan Holmegard on drums. Starting with 2007’s Tio Bitar and 2009’s 4, the band members helped Ejstes realize his own vision while adding flourishes of their own. As a result, Dungen grew into something bigger and more formidable: one of the best and most consistently inventive psych rock bands in the world.
At the height of their powers, however, the band took a step back. The five years between 2010’s Skit I Allt and 2015’s Alles Sak was by far the longest interval between releases for a band that proved especially prolific and inspired during the 2000s. During the interim, several members of the band released albums as the Amazing, including 2012’s Gentle Stream and 2015’s Picture You. Ejstes himself co-founded the Swedish supergroup Amason, which includes members of Idiot Wind, Little Majorette, and Miike Snow. They released their debut, Sky City, earlier this year.
Allas Sak picked up where Dungen’s previous album left off, but somehow it sounds bolder and livelier, feistier yet more focused. The four of them jam with greater purpose and principle on songs like the otherworldly instrumental “Franks Kaktus” and the stately “En Gång Om Året,” while the prismatic “Flickor Och Pojkar” and closer “Sova” reveal subtle nuances in the band’s arrangements. Listening becomes an especially galvanizing experience, heady and enlightening. If psychedelic music has often been associated with drug use, for Dungen music itself is the drug: the most effective vehicle for transcendence.
Again, it comes back to the listener. Even as the band continues to grow, the listener remains a constant collaborator, not only inspiring new songs but rejuvenating old ones. “I can definitely feel a new significance in some of our older songs, mainly because of the people we’ve met and the stories about their own experiences with the music.”
- “I love Dungen” – Kevin Parker, Tame Impala, who has acknowledged Dungen as his major influence.
Fun Tame Impala fact: In 2007, a young Kevin Parker got in touch with Dungen and sent them through his latest recording, asking them to mix it. The band’s response? “No, we don’t have to mix it! Just put it out! It’s amazing as it is!” Prescient.
KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH TOUR DATES:
- SYDNEY: Thursday January 12 @ St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney Festival. Tickets & info here.
- MELBOURNE: Friday January 20 @ NGV Friday Nights. Tickets & info available from NGV.
- MELBOURNE: Saturday January 21 @ Sugar Mountain Festival. Tickets on sale now.
- HOBART: Sunday January 22 @ MONA FOMA Festival. Tickets on sale now.
Mistletone is proud to present the debut Australian tour by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. American composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is cresting a new wave of electronic music, with dazzlingly beautiful compositions to open up our consciousness of the natural world, inner and outer space. Her pioneering work with the rare Buchla 100 synthesiser is rebirthing a forgotten technology to create an auditory world that is at once deeply human, spiritual, futuristic and present.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s formative years were spent communing with nature on Orcas Island in the northwest region of Washington state, a place she describes as “one of the most magical and peaceful places I have ever been.” Though she wouldn’t begin experimenting with modular synthesis until many years later, her creative work continues to be infused with and inspired by the vitality and serenity of Orcas.
Kaitlyn left the island to attend Berklee College of Music, where she studied composition and sound engineering, initially focusing on her voice as her primary instrument, before switching to classical guitar and piano. She employed many of the skills she refined in college in her indie-folk band Ever Isles, but a fateful encounter with a neighbor who lent her a Buchla 100 synthesizer, had a profound effect on her. Mesmerized by the Buchla’s potential, she explains “I got so distracted and enamored with the process of making sounds with it that I abandoned the next Ever Isles album.” Starting with rhythmic patterns and melodic pulses, she soon began sculpting lush and exciting worlds of sound.
- “Sheer poetry: charming, playful, evocative, and showing mastery of her medium” – SUZANNE CIANI
- “It’s a difficult balance, pulling in pieces from the fringes of electronic culture and framing them in something so delightfully breezy. Smith triggers sounds that bounce around like hyperactive jellybeans, making it feel like her electronic bleeps and bloops are lost in joyous conversation with one another” – PITCHFORK
- “Adventurous, mesmerizing sonic compositions which cause me to remember my love of music in the early days of electronic sound making machines” – REGGIE WATTS
- “Gorgeous, droning ambience” – BROOKLYN VEGAN
- “Mind-expanding suites of melody and unhurried curiosity” – DECODER MAGAZINE
Watch Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith demonstrate her signature Buchla Music Easel and arsenal of modular synths at her LA studio for FACT:
Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz
MOSES SUMNEY TOUR DATES:
- SYDNEY: Saturday January 14 @ St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney Festival. SOLD OUT
- SYDNEY: Sunday January 15 @ Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Sydney Festival. SOLD OUT
- MELBOURNE: Wednesday January 18 @ The Toff with Leah Senior. Tickets on sale now. SOLD OUT
- HOBART: Friday January 20 @ MONA FOMA Festival. Tickets on sale now.
- MELBOURNE: Saturday January 21 @ Sugar Mountain Festival. Tickets on sale now.
Mistletone very proudly presents the debut Australian tour by rising folk/soul auteur Moses Sumney.
- “Moses Sumney knows lonely. For the past couple of years, he’s been serenading our alien impulses one track at a time, giving voice to the part of our psyche that would rather burrow inside a tree stump in a forgotten forest than face the outside world. He takes the elastic phrasing of Nina Simone and the purple-black undertones of Nick Drake and invites us to a place of eerie calm… His songs sound like lullabies for the self, hymns of fragile persistence” – PITCHFORK BEST NEW MUSIC
Born in San Bernadino, California, Moses Sumney moved to Ghana with his Ghanian-born parents at the age of ten. While studying creative writing at UCLA, he taught himself how to play guitar and began performing at age 20. At 26 years old, Moses currently lives in Los Angeles and, since 2013, has been gaining attention for his soulful folk music, though he has not yet signed with a record label or released a debut album.
With famous fans such as Solange, Sufjan and Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear, Moses Sumney has shared stages with forebears such as James Blake, St. Vincent, Erykah Badu, Karen O and Beck. His new EP, Lamentations, was released in October 2016 and has won unanimous praise, including “Best New Track” from Pitchfork.
Moses Sumney first emerged as an independent artist to watch with the self-release of his debut EP, “Mid-City Island,” and followed by 2015’s Terrible Records 7″, “Seeds/Pleas”. Since then he has been riding a wave of word-of-mouth praise, hushed recordings, and dynamic live performances.
2016 has seen Moses widening the sonic spectrum of his intimate music, releasing songs that feature fleshed-out production and focused song-writing. In-between stops at festivals around the globe — Primavera Sound, Pitchfork Music Festival, Eaux Claires — he has been locked down putting the finishing touches on his debut full length.
Moses recently contributed vocals to Solange‘s new album A Seat at The Table, listen out for his layers on “Mad” (with Lil’ Wayne), and “Dad Was Mad”; his lead vocals also graced The Cinematic Orchestra‘s brand new single, “To Believe”.
The Chills Australian tour 2016 (+ Sydney Festival). Poster artwork by Bruce Mahalski
The Chills Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Craig Easton.
Artwork by Triforce (Ben Montero x Farmer Dave Scher x Eric Ernest Johnson)
Mistletone, Triple R and Tone Deaf proudly present the much anticipated Laneway side shows by the magnificent Connan Mockasin. Connan Mockasin and his band will play his first ever Sydney & Melbourne headline shows as well as touring Australia & New Zealand as part of the epic lineup for Laneway Festival 2015, having previously only graced our shores once as the opening act for Radiohead.
CONNAN MOCKASIN TOUR DATES:
SYDNEY – Wednesday 4th February @ Goodgod Small Club with Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.
MELBOURNE – Thursday 5th February @ Howler with The Frowning Clouds. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix. * selling fast!
Also playing LANEWAY FESTIVAL:
Auckland – Monday 26th January @ Laneway Festival – Silo Park.
Brisbane – Saturday 31st January @ Laneway Festival – Brisbane Showgrounds (16+).
Sydney – Sunday 1st February @ Laneway Festival – Sydney College of the Arts.
Adelaide – Friday 6th February @ Laneway Festival – Harts Mill, Port Adelaide (16+).
Melbourne – Saturday 7th February @ Laneway Festival – Footscray Community Arts Centre.
Fremantle – Sunday 8th February @ Laneway Festival – Esplanade Reserve.
- “Caramel sounds like an LSD binge in a sleazy motel, or an elf covering a Barry White album, or maybe even a rom-com set on Mars; a collection of trippy, mutated soul songs wedged between dreamlike interludes. He mimics the hip-hop mainstream to brilliant effect, and fuse(s) such a surreal mix of pixie enchantment and pimped-out creepiness that it’s impossible not to be seduced” – THE GUARDIAN ★★★★ 4 stars
photo by Cara Robbins
SOME MUSICIANS know where they’re from and where they’re going, and why. Others, such as Connan Mockasin, can only work from instinct, not only disinterested in the bigger picture as unable to see it. Take Mockasin’s first album, Forever Dolphin Love, which he only wrote and recorded because his mother suggested it. Or his new album Caramel, triggered because he liked the onomatopoeic quality of the word, and the music and words just followed.
“To me, the word ‘caramel’ sounded so nice,” Mockasin muses. “And as far as I know,” Mockasin muses, “nobody had ever used the word for an album title.”
This helps explain the evolution from the labyrinthine, oddball-psych of Forever Dolphin Love to Caramel’s equally inventive and unique brand of mutated, lustrous soul, almost wholly self-recorded over a month in a Tokyo hotel room. Connan Mockasin remains what Clash Music called “a true cosmonaut of inner space” but Caramel explores different regions of his galaxy, not just soul but a liquefied brew of blues, funk, ambient and folk with pronounced Oriental and Gallic timbres, all laced with an uncanny air of bliss. Caramel has hints of Scritti Politti’s exquisitely stitched soul, or of Prince – if the Minneapolis legend had spent time in Canterbury, the learned epicentre of South East England’s progressive psychedelia during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, where the likes of Syd Barrett and Kevin Ayers began their own musical journeys.
“Prince goes to Canterbury, that’s a good one!” Mockasin retorts. “Maybe Caramel is a little bit soul. Maybe it comes a smidge more from hip hop, which to me sounds much fresher than what’s called ‘indie’. Sometimes I’m ashamed to be in a band, or a musician, at this point in time.”
Being a musician has always been a vexed issue for the man born Connan Tant Hosford in Te Awanga on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island. Hearing his dad’s Jimi Hendrix album set him on a course to play guitar, “to be the best in school,” he recalls. “I was obsessed. But I went off music during high school, and I wanted nothing to do with guitar. I didn’t even want to be noticed. Maybe that was puberty.”
Instead, the teenage Connan got a welder and built his own version of carnival rides and beach vehicles, and surfed, until high school was over, “and music came back.” One of his formative bands was Grampa Moff (also a track title on Forever Dolphin Love) but it was Connan And The Mockasins (named by a friend after Connan’s hobby of making moccasins out of sheepskin and motorbike tyre) that first made a mark, when the quartet decided to try their luck in London in 2006. Without friends or contacts, they initially slept on park benches (luckily it was a great summer), but once settled, and with bar jobs, they found interests from record labels, but Connan backed out of an album deal. “All labels we met with began by saying we could record any way we liked, but then started saying, ‘use this studio, with this producer’…I could see where that was heading.”
Disillusioned with the record industry, and the limitations of a band set-up, Mockasin returned, alone, to New Zealand. “I decided to do nothing, or nothing to do with music. But my mum said I should just make a record. I didn’t know how to record but we had a few tape machines lying around the house, so I did. I didn’t expect to release it, just wanted to make a record I liked, for my ears and my mum’s.”
With renewed passion, Mockasin retained the band name as his new surname because he liked the sound of “Connan Mockasin” and self-released his own mum-triggered album in 2010 as Please Turn Me Into the Snat.
Mockasin returned to the UK before discovering that DJ/producer Erol Alkan had discovered the album and wanted to make the first release on his new Phantasy Sound label. The album was re-released, under the new title Forever Dolphin Love after its magnificently meandering ten-minute centrepiece.
Ecstatic reviews followed, alongside live shows, where Mockasin would eschew set lists, “so that it felt new every time we play. The band has a couple of rehearsals to begin with, but we don’t practise after that. I’d rather follow the mood of the audience… playing the same songs in the same way, every night, would be so boring.”
Mockasin was about to record what became Caramel with his band when he rushed home when his father was suddenly taken ill. In the aftermath, he decided to retreat to Tokyo – whose aura can be heard in tracks such as ‘It’s Your Body (Part Five)’ and the chatter of young Japanese voices dotting the album, adding more levels of intrigue and imagination. “Too much of the music that I do get to hear, I find too aware, or processed,” he says. “I just want to capture the first idea I have, which is always the most mysterious and attractive part.”
If Caramel wasn’t enough, Mockasin has also been writing more material for Charlotte Gainsbourg after penning the exquisite ‘Out Of Touch’ for the actress/singer’s 2012 mini-album Stage Whisper. Connan was already popular in France – “it felt like they immediately understood what I was doing” – and their ongoing collaboration will only endear him more to the French. It’s another sign that Mockasin is going places, but at his own pace, just as Caramel suggests the process of melting and taking on a new shape, a new taste. That is the true sound of Connan Mockasin.
DAEDELUS TOUR DATES:
MELBOURNE: Thursday, November 24: Racket @ Kubik Melbourne (Lower Terrace, Birrarung Marr) with Qua. Presented by Melbourne Music Week, Marksthespot, Racket Sound, Art, Experiments. Starts. 7pm. Tickets & more info here.
PERTH: Saturday, November 26 @ The Bakery with special guests Collarbones, Diger Rokwell, Ben M and Clunk. Tickets on sale now from heatseeker / now baking, Planet Video, 78 Records, Mills Records and Star Surf. Presented by Life Is Noise.
Mistletone proudly presents Los Angeles beatmaker, producer, instrumentalist and Ninja Tune artist Daedelus, bringing his latest creations to Australia this November.
The genre-defying sounds of Daedelus reflect Alfred Darlington’s fascination with the philosophies of dandyism and art for art’s sake. His image and his music are coloured by this philosophy, which translates into a captivating and dazzling live show that will fly audiences enticingly close to the sun.
Alfred Darlington isn’t a paint-by-numbers musician. From how he looks to how he makes music, how he expresses himself and views the world, his is a very individual ‘bespoke’ outlook.
Alfred was born in Santa Monica in 1977 to an artist mother and professor father. Musical from very early on, as a child he was classically and jazz-trained in a number of instruments, but his interests were broad and varied – less a prodigy than a renaissance boy whose obsessions ranged from Greek legend to the mountains of Wales. As a 15 year old he finally persuaded his parents to take him to the Principality. Whilst in a YWCA in London he flipped the radio dial, found a pirate radio station and taped some UK rave and hardcore. “It was my first ‘Eureka!’ moment in music,” he says.
Alfred had wanted to be an inventor from an early age, a sentiment that led to him choosing this artistic moniker (in Greek mythology Daedalus was known as an inventor, although Alfred also cites the character Stephan Dedalus in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the ship in the Japanese cartoon Robotech as equally valid reasons for his selection) when he decided to begin releasing his own work. Despite the fact that he was formally trained on double bass and bass clarinet (and also played the guitar and accordion, among other things) and studied jazz at USC, Daedelus chose to go the electronica route, often incorporating samples from the ’30s and ’40s into his IDM and left-field hip-hop.
Back in the US he joined local rock bands, jazz bands and ska bands, which he enjoyed but felt limited by, too. At home he was listening to Warp, Ninja and your harder electronic stuff. He started DJing out the more leftfield side of drum & bass and making his own rudimentary productions. They were meant to fit the d&b template but they kept turning out different and from his outsider’s experiments his own style was born. He chose the name Daedelus as he had a childhood obsession with invention, and what was he doing, after all, if not tinkering and fiddling and experimenting like the “gentleman inventors” of old?
In 1999 he started DJing on Dublab.com for his Entropy Sessions and began dropping in his own early demo productions. Carlos Nino (of Ammoncontact) had the show after him and usually pushed Alfred out the studio as quickly as possible as he was not so enamoured with Alfred’s leftfield-electronic DJ style, but when he heard a tranquil Daedelus production he took Daedelus and introduced him to the LA scene. Nino placed Daedelus tracks on two influential compilations and then Plug Research released his debut album Invention in 2002. Remixers included Madlib, who later took Daedelus’ accordion parts and used them on 2004’s Madvillain record.
In 2003, he was booked to play a show in San Diego by Brian Crabtree and Peter Siegerstrong and the pair asked him to test out an early prototype of the Monome. “It’s a Non-traditional electronic instrument,” Daedelus explains. “Basically it allows for massive improvisation.” Since then Daedelus has continued to use this revolutionary controller, bringing much genuine liveness to the sometimes static world of performed electronic/dance music.
In 2003 he did The Weather album with Busdriver and Radioinactive and the remix album Rethinking the Weather on Mush records. 2004 saw the release of Of Snowdonia on Plug Research, the album with which Daedelus says he first “felt true artistic confidence, finding a true voice. I was finally in the right zone.”
There was certainly no let up in his creativity. Also in 2004 he released the concept album A Gent Agent on micro-label Laboratory Instinct. The 2005 album Exquisite Corpse on Mush featured the likes of TTC, Mike Ladd and MF DOOM. Ninja signed Daedelus for UK/Europe (a relationship which reached its full expression on 2008’s Love To Make Music To, his first album for the label worldwide and put together with the help of their team).
In 2006 Denies the Day’s Demise came out, a record showcasing his love of Brazilian music. Last year he released his first live album, Live At Low End Theory, and Fairweather Friends EP. Later that year came the release of his collaboration with his wife, Laura Darling, as the pastoral The Long Lost.
There has been no let up in Daedelus’ productivity. He has remixed or been remixed by and produced with all of his LA scene peers including Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, The Gaslamp Killer, Baths, and countless others from further afield. In addition, singles and EPs under his own name have come out with Brainfeeder, All City, Magical Properties (the Daedelus home-imprint), Alpha Pup, Warp and Stones Throw. And all the while his reputation has grown internationally, his place in the LA scene has also solidified as a musician that many of the hottest names in the city turn to for everything from bass clarinet licks to advice on obscure electronics; all the while with a continuous string of tour dates across North America, Asia, Europe, the UK, and beyond.
2011 started not only with his new album but the meticulous planning of a huge tour featuring guest vocalists from his Bespoke LP and with a spectacular visual show curated in part by Emmanuel Baird (of Manchester’s Warehouse Project and Hoya Hoya nights) featuring a top secret new invention codenamed ARCHIMEDES which promises to yet again re-invent live electronic performance.
The most recent Daedelus release is Overwhelmed, a digital only EP out now on Ninja Tune and locally via Inertia.
DAN DEACON AUSTRALIAN TOUR, 2015:
Sunday 18 January – MONA FOMA, Hobart.
Thursday January 22 – Sydney Festival.
Saturday January 24 – Sugar Mountain 2015, Melbourne.
Sunday January 25 – The Brightside, Brisbane w/- Ariel Pink, The Clean, How To Dress Well + more.
Dan Deacon Ensemble tour 2011/2012. Artwork by Dan Deacon, layout by Alex Fregon.
Dan Deacon Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Celeste Potter.
Dan Deacon Australian tour 2008.
DIIV TOUR DATES:
Saturday 30 January: Laneway Singapore @ The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay, Singapore
Monday, 1st February: Laneway Auckland @ Silo Park, Auckland
Friday, 5th February: Laneway Adelaide @ Harts Mill, Adelaide
Saturday, 6th February: Laneway Brisbane @ Brisbane Showgrounds, Bowen Hills
Sunday, 7th February: Laneway Sydney @ Sydney College Of The Arts, Rozelle
Tuesday, 9th February: SYDNEY: Factory Theatre with special guests Step-Panther. Tickets on sale now from the venue.
Thursday, 11th February: MELBOURNE: The Corner with special guests Totally Mild + Crepes. Tickets on sale now from the venue.
Saturday, 13th February: Laneway Melbourne @ Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne
Sunday, 14th February: Laneway Fremantle @ Esplanade Reserve and West End, Fremantle
Mistletone, Triple R and FBi proudly present the first ever Australian tour by hazy Brooklyn guitar band DIIV. come to our shores for Laneway Festival plus side shows in Sydney & Melbourne (dates above, plus Laneway Festival on sale now from here), armed with a hotly anticipated new album and a dreamlike alchemy of sound, built from swirling guitars, transportive textures and transcendental pop songs.
DIIV recently shared their heady new single “Dopamine” from Is The Is Are, their highly anticipated sophomore album for esteemed NYC label Captured Tracks. “Dopamine” is an ecstatic expansion on DIIV’s dream pop / shoegaze stylings, and a mouth-watering taster for fans hooked on the headrush that DIIV’s trademark smoky, spiralling pop delivers straight to the adrenal glands.
DIIV is the nom-de-plume of Z. Cole Smith, musical provocateur and front-man of an atmospheric and autumnally-charged Brooklyn four-piece. Signed to the uber-reliable Captured Tracks imprint, DIIV created instant vibrations in the blog-world with their impressionistic debut Sometime; finding its way onto the esteemed pages of Pitchfork and Altered Zones a mere matter of weeks after the group’s formation.
Enlisting the aid of NYC indie-scene-luminary, Devin Ruben Perez, former Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, and Mr. Smith’s childhood friend Andrew Bailey, DIIV craft a sound that is at once familial and frost-bitten. Indebted to classic kraut, dreamy Creation-records psychedelia, and the primitive-crunch of late-80’s Seattle, the band walk a divisive yet perfectly fused patch of classic-underground influence.
One part THC and two parts MDMA; the first offering from DIIV chemically fuses the reminiscent with the half-remembered building a musical world out of old-air and new breeze. These are songs that remind us of love in all its earthly perfections and perversions.
A lot of DIIV’s magnetism was birthed in the process Mr. Smith went through to discover these initial compositions. After returning from a US tour with Beach Fossils, Cole made a bold creative choice, settling into the window-facing corner of a painter’s studio in Bushwick, sans running water, holing up to craft his music.
In this AC-less wooden room, throughout the thick of the summer, Cole surrounded himself with cassettes and LPs, the likes of Lucinda Williams, Arthur Russell, Faust, Nirvana, and Jandek; writings of N. Scott Momaday, James Welsh, Hart Crane, Marianne Moore, and James Baldwin; and dreams of aliens, affection, spirits, and the distant natural world (as he imagined it from his window facing the Morgan L train).
The resulting music is as cavernous as it is enveloping, asking you to get lost in its tangles in an era that demands your attention be focused into 140 characters.
EL GUINCHO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2017. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.
EL GUINCHO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2010. Artwork by Alex Fregon
From the stage: El Guincho’s massive dance-crazed crowd at Meredith
EL GUINCHO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2009. Artwork by Alex Fregon.
Mistletone, Triple R and FBi Radio very proudly present Factory Floor on their first Australian tour. Tickets on sale for all shows now.
FACTORY FLOOR TOUR DATES:
FRIDAY DECEMBER 5: BRISBANE – GOMA Future Beauty Up Late. Tickets on sale now from GOMA.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 6: BARRINGTON TOPS, NSW – Subsonic Music Festival. Tickets on sale now.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 9: SYDNEY – Oxford Art Factory with special guests Alba, Lucy Cliché + DJ TABLE (aka Nic Warnock of R.I.P. Society). Tickets on sale now from Moshtix. Presented by FBi Radio.
THURSDAY DECEMBER 11: MELBOURNE – Howler with special guests Roland Tings, Kangaroo Skull + DJ Jonnine Standish. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix. Presented by Triple R.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 12: MEREDITH MUSIC FESTIVAL. Ticket ballot now closed. More info here.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 13: PERTH – The Bakery with special guests Kučka (live, solo), Sacred Flower Union (live), Allstate, Rex Monsoon b2b The Monarchy, Craig Hollywood and Lightsteed. Tickets on sale now from Life Is Noise.
- “It’s a perfect amalgam of programmed acid lines that seem about to ooze blood and live drums that mimic a man-machine” – PITCHFORK
- “Post industrial, but it moves beyond that; this is post-apocalyptic, the soundtrack of an underworld disco” – NME
- “Tech-savvy, pared-down no wave electronic rock” – FACT
North London based Factory Floor have garnered a powerful reputation off the strength of their definitive, self-titled LP which came out back in September 2013 on DFA (and locally on Liberator Music). The immersive framework of Factory Floor has shifted from an all-out noise assault into a much more spacious and confident exploration of techno, minimal, acid and post-industrial qualities. The combustive power of their live show, driven by the impact of their drums and depth of their droning, creates a wall of sound that physically encloses itself around your head.
Perhaps the most unlikely aspect of Factory Floor’s rise to notoriety is their versatility. Even their most ardent of fans describe their sound as punishing, yet they are equally at home playing raves, alternative festivals, art galleries, cinemas, nightclubs and rock shows; on top of that they’re as likely to collaborate with such esteemed artists as Chris & Cosey, the Pop Group’s Mark Stewart, New York disco maven Peter Gordon, Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire, Simon Fisher Turner and contemporary artists such as Haroon Mirza and Hannah Sawtell; aligning themselves on an axis that embraces industrial, post-punk, disco, acid, avant-garde minimalism, electro, dub and — most crucially — the dancefloor. Upon signing to the legendary DFA label, label boss Jonathan Galkinwhose boss declared, “It had a presence to it that was the same feeling I had when I saw, say, My Bloody Valentine in 1991 or Black Dice in 2001. It was just… exhilaratingly full and loud and relentlessly rhythmic… sonically it came at you and attacked you.”
Factory Floor’s earliest releases for Optimo Music and London label Blast First Petite included a 10” plus DVD box set and a 12” featuring remixes from Christ Carter (Throbbing Gristle) and Stephen Morris (Joy Division/New Order). Their debut LP Factory Floor was a vivid snapshot of a progressive band, still in the ascendant, smashing through yet another ceiling. Produced and recorded by the group in their North London warehouse space on a vintage mixing desk originally used by Dave Stewart three decades ago to record all the Eurythmics’ early hits, Factory Floor is a visceral trip through the band’s repertoire.
The record opens with “Turn It Up,” their most minimal track to date, mixed in astonishing detail by Timothy “Q” Wiles (VCMG, Afrika Bambaataa). “Here Again” is almost (but not quite) their pop song, replete with cascading arpeggios counterbalanced by bubbly synth melody lines and plaintive vocals. Factory Floor also contains the definitive version of “Two Different Ways,” followed by the muscular and sleek “Fall Back.” “How You Say” finds the band channelling New York’s dance underground—think ESG and Delta Five. “Work Out” is anything but; despite the desultory title, it is in fact sinister street-sound electro. The album closes out with “Breathe In,” a funkified acid disco classic.
Within months of their formation back in 2005, Factory Floor’s astonishing gigs had earned them a rabidly devoted audience. Some of them were as much spiritual guides who heralded a new and singular talent arriving as they were fans. The trio figured that putting a demo in the post marked simply, “Stephen Morris: Macclesfield”, would be a good way to contact the Joy Division/New Order drummer. That it arrived at his house was surprising; his enthusiastic response to what he heard, less so. “I listened to the tracks ‘Lying’ and ‘Wooden Box’ and thought they were brilliant… In the tracks I could hear something which reminded me of the spirit of New Order in the early days… They were raw, chaotic, fantastic and different – everything I’ve ever liked in a band,” avowed Morris.
Mistletone and Thump are proud to present for the first time in Australia, acclaimed electronic musician Forest Swords. Performing as a duo and integrating immersive HD projections, Forest Swords live show is a truly overwhelming experience.
FOREST SWORDS TOUR DATES:
FRI MAR 13 – Unsound Festival, Adelaide. Tickets and information from Adelaide Festival.
SAT MAR 14 – Howler, Melbourne with special guests Kangaroo Skull + Andrew Tuttle. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.
SUN MAR 15 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney with special guests Cassius Select + Noise In My Head DJ. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.
Forest Swords is Matthew Barnes, who hails from The Wirral in North West England on the Welsh border. With a dubwise predilection for gauzy textures and sensual fuzzy gasps, his production work betrays a love of R&B and hip-hop with a pop sensibility. His debut studio EP Dagger Paths (2010), a record so eerie and expansive that it touched on both Ennio Morricone and early Massive Attack while still sounding resolutely unique, received huge critical acclaim. Despite its EP length, it was named FACT Magazine’s #1 album of the year, appeared in the Top 50 Pitchfork albums of the year, was named “one of 2010′s finest underground records” by NME, and one of The Guardian’s Hidden Gems of 2010.
Subsequently battling hearing problems, Barnes was forced to take a break from his own music, returning to his work as a designer and artist. In the ensuing period, he completed sound commissions for art festivals (including a piece involving tracks cut on disintegrating x-ray film dubplates; new Forest Swords compositions heard in public just once); lent his skills to other artists, including co-writing and production for How To Dress Well (‘Cold Nites’) and NYC rap youngster Haleek Maul; and released tracks made with German fine artist Otto Baerst online, under the Dyymond of Durham moniker; and was commissioned to remix These New Puritans, Wild Beasts, Gold Panda and The Big Pink.
Slowly but surely, Barnes started work back on his Forest Swords project with a clear vision and renewed passion. Unwilling to spend long amounts of time in a studio, he looked around his own environment for inspiration. Engravings, the long-awaited debut album by Forest Swords, was released last year through Tri Angle records and was named Best New Music by Pitchfork on release. Engravings is the sound of his home peninsula of The Wirral, a stone’s throw from Liverpool, a place imbued with spirit and history (‘Thor’s Stone’ takes its title from a local slab of sandstone, said to be used for Norse god sacrifices by Viking settlers). Completed over the course of the year, Barnes mixed the entire record outdoors in the Wirral countryside on his laptop: as such, Engravings is a record that feels as exposed and organic as his immediate environment; beaches and bark, sand and soil.
Recently named by Björk as one of her “most loved”, Forest Swords won Merseyside music’s coveted GIT Award. Unavailable to attend the concert due to a sold out show in Brighton, Forest Swords sent a video acceptance speech made on his behalf by seminal dub artist, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry; who had already cast his hand over Thor’s Stone, remixing the lead track from Engravings.
Other Forest Swords endeavours include soundtracking Ubisoft’s new ‘Assassin’s Creed: Rogue’ game trailer and collaborating with Benjamin Millepied, director at the Paris Opera Ballet and choreographer of the film Black Swan, who directed the video for “The Weight of Gold“.
Forest Swords is a rarity in electronic music – his unflinchingly powerful body of songs is both euphoric and bleak, triumphant and heavy. To quote The Fader, it “exists in that sweet spot of musical influence between everything and nothing”. In a recent review of his Way Out West performance, Resident Advisor called it “one of the festival’s most thrilling moments… It was a magnificent set—orchestral and sonically rich but abrasive, the reverb- and dub-soaked sound crying out for a mammoth speaker stack”.
GENEVA JACUZZI TOUR DATES:
MELBOURNE: Friday March 9 @ Phoenix Public House (133 Sydney Rd, Brunswick) with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti + special guests Evelyn Morris (Pikelet), Mark Barrage + DJ Shags. Surprise show just announced! Tickets are $15 + booking fee from Moshtix or $20 at the door if still available. Doors open 8pm.
Geneva Jacuzzi (born Geneva Garvin) is an LA-based songwriter, musician and visual artist who is known for her unique style of synth driven bedroom pop recordings, theatrical stage personas and retro style video art. Her lyrics describe blood being thrown onto fire, clown-like machines in search of sadness and the raging monologues of future/past elemental beings. Her live shows are unlike anything you will ever experience.
Her incredible videos portray the story of a once abundant Self being shattered into a variety of other personas such as Dracula, Mime, Zygote and Rozbo — all being played by Jacuzzi, and all cannibalising/commodifying their rape revenge upon the idea of an original Self which is now lost if not mythical, somewhere in the Islands of the Jacuzzi.
While her live shows reference commedia dell’arte, Cocteau, Artaud, Schlemmer, dada, kabuki, French surrealism and Italian futurism, they remain song performance primarily, but they are also starkly expressionistic mini-dramas that seem to have plots allowing Jacuzzi to find her way dramatically into those places between art, music and theatre.
Initially, Jacuzzi formed a number of mysterious and fleeting bands (Hot Pajamas, Sex Carpet, etc) alongside collaborations with Haunted Graffiti, Vibe Central, Obelisk and Super Creep. Then from 2004-2007, she fronted the band The Bubonic Plague, an influential cult favorite in LA’s Echo Park district.
By 2010, she debuted her first album Lamaze on Vinyl International, a collection of songs taken from previous unofficial releases. All the Jacuzzi/Bubonic Plague recordings were written, played and produced by Geneva herself, using an 8-track cassette tape recorder. Her archive of music consists of over 400 songs, most of which have never been released.
In 2011, Jacuzzi began her latest project Dark Ages, which pulls together most of her past and present work into an epic art video odyssey. Functioning as a play, Part I was presented in the form of a music video montage and Vice Magazine editorial takeover. Her latest installation at the LOT gallery in Louisville, titled “Dracula’s Diorama, Through the Doorwall Part VI, Act I ” featuring an actual fishtank and video was sold through the gallery, as well as many other handmade collage pieces sold at either galleries or venues across the globe.
Jacuzzi is a long-time collaborator with Ariel Pink — the most talked about act at Laneway 2011, the author of Pitchfork’s #1 jam last year (Round and Round), and one of the most influential artists of our time.
Don’t miss LA’s reigning prince and princess of lo-fidelity disco, experimental pop and mythical drama when their formidable powers collide!
GWENNO TOUR DATES:
- PERTH: Saturday October 8 @ Mojo’s Bar w/- Original Past Life, Moon Puppy and DJ Sandy OTL. Tickets on sale now. Presented by Cool Perth Nights.
- MELBOURNE FESTIVAL: Tuesday October 11 @ Toff in Town w/- Totally Mild. Tickets on sale now.
- SYDNEY: Thursday October 13 @ Newtown Social Club w/- Shoeb Ahmad. Tickets on sale now.
- Also playing Camp Doogs 2016.
“Breathtaking, sci-fi-influenced electropop that urges you to dance and dream” – THE GUARDIAN
Mistletone is super happy to announce the first Australian tour by Welsh electro-pop goddess Gwenno. Touring Australia as a trio, Gwenno Saunders is a sound artist, DJ, radio presenter and singer from Cardiff, whose day jobs prior to her solo career included writer and performer for Brighton-based conceptual pop band The Pipettes, and touring synth player for Australia’s own Pnau and Elton John. Following a series of critically acclaimed singles as Gwenno, she released the dazzling album ‘Y DYDD OLAF’ (The Last Day), which won her the 2015 Welsh Music prize as well as Feature Albums on RTR-FM, 3RRR (Melbourne) and FBi (Sydney) and Double J Best New Music.
In a period of governmental and cultural revolution, Gwenno’s brilliantly spacey and synth-heavy ‘Y DYDD OLAF’ was a political concept album inspired by an obscure 1970s Welsh language sci-fi novel, subtly disguised as a blissful kraut-pop record. The album, which is sung entirely in Welsh (apart from one song in Cornish), is Gwenno’s response to the political upheaval she sees playing out all over Europe — from the borders of Scotland to the Basque country and beyond — as well as a war cry to all those who are dissatisfied with the way things are.
‘Y DYDD OLAF’ is a political, feminist, brilliantly executed record; and although this particular revolution might not be televised, it certainly will have a great soundtrack. As Gwenno told The Guardian, she made a comparison between globalisation and the “robotic control of the masses” predicted by the novel that inspired the album, in which a hero prevails against robotic overlords by speaking Welsh, a dying language that his enemies cannot decipher.
“A language dies every two weeks”, Gwenno explained, “and with that language dies a whole history of people. Those are things that connect you with the past. They are man and woman’s way of communicating and telling stories.”
PRAISE FOR GWENNO:
- “A visionary of synth-pop moods and textures…Saunders’ beguiling melodies and execution also make it one of the best British debuts of 2015” – Pitchfork (8.0)
- “Each track expertly evokes the eerie analogue pop and psychedelic grooves of BBC radiophonic pioneers such as Delia Derbyshire – and more recent innovators Broadcast and Stereolab – while maintaining their own, unique, identity” – 3RRR (Album of the Week)
- “Channels Broadcast and Boards Of Canada via fragrant kosmische grooves… Seldom is the personal married to the political in such an enchanting fashion” — Uncut (4 Stars ****)
- “At once spooky and playful, romantic and angry… Mixing an ancient, bucolic language with otherworldly dance music is a genius move” — MOJO (4 Stars ****)
High Places Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Amy Borrell.
HTRK TOUR DATES:
NEWCASTLE: Wednesday, November 23 @ Emma Soup Gallery (Emma Soup 1st birthday celebration) with In the Dollhouse + Stitched Vision. Tickets $15 + booking fee on sale now from Oztix. 7pm start. All ages.
MELBOURNE: Friday, November 25 @ St Michael’s Uniting Church, corner Collins & Russell Sts: Labels Live showcase curated by Mistletone to celebrate the label’s 5th birthday & presented by Melbourne Music Week. Featuring HTRK, Beaches, The Orbweavers, Montero & Wintercoats. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix. 7pm start. All ages.
BRISBANE: Saturday, November 26 @ The Bridge Club with Lakes, Secret Birds, Nite Fields. Doors open 7pm. Tickets $18 + booking fee on sale now from Oztix. Presented by Mistletone, The Thousands and 4ZZZ.
Mistletone proudly presents the return of Melbourne-born, London-based HTRK in their first Australian tour for over five years.
HTRK is Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang, a two-piece live electronic/noise/avant pop/rock act known for their subtlety of gesture and stubbornly languorous performances and capable of seducing audiences through disciplined waves of sonics, crisp 808 beats and soft, calm threats.
From the mid-2000s, HTRK (pronounced “haterock”) toured Europe extensively at the personal request of Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Shellac, The Horrors, The Locust and Fuck Buttons. Their defiantly underground pedigree derives from strong associations with the late, great Rowland S. Howard and UK industrial legend Paul Smith, whose label Blast First Petite (Pan Sonic, Martin Rev) has just released their acclaimed new album Work (work, work), in the UK/Europe. The album has been released locally through Mistletone Records / Inertia, and in the US on Ghostly International.
- “Fans of raw drone will zone out in their glory” – ALL MUSIC GUIDE
- “Awe-inspiring” – ROCK A ROLLA
- “Extraordinarily sexy” – TIME OUT UK“Amazing, heartbreaking sound” – 20 JAZZ FUNK GREATS
- “Obsessed.” 8/10 – NME
- “A musical suicide pact between Swans and Mazzy Star”– PLAYLOUDER
HTRK sound like a comedown, a bad trip, a hip romance, “a motel room, a tyre print in the rain, an alibi” (Plan B). 808 beats, evocative basslines, texture on texture. Jonnine’s wry, androgynous slur melts on top – sliding the masculine into the feminine. People say it sounds like Suicide and Swans, but more beautiful.
HTRK’s vision is mainly about emotion – having just the right amount of expression versus restraint. They could unleash a sonic nightmare – how they temper their power is what makes them unique.
Introductions: bassist Sean Stewart met guitarist Nigel Yang through music school in Melbourne. Inspired by David Lynch, protopunk and noise, they dropped out and decided to start Hate Rock Trio. Art director Jonnine Standish noticed Stewart’s good looks at a bar one night and charmed her way into band rehearsal. This was 2003.
Their first release in 2004, the Nostalgia EP (self-released, reissued by Fire Records), has since been used as a soundtrack for live suspension hangings by performance artist Kareem Gnoheim, and described by Allmusic (in a four-star review) as “an agitated haze of addictive ambivalence instead of the swagger and violence of their influences, the overall feeling is of beautiful disharmony”.
Their strangely detached live shows caught the attention of post punk legend Rowland S. Howard (ex-The Birthday Party), who invited them to record their debut at Birdland Studios. The result, Marry Me Tonight, was their ‘pop’ album, designed explicitly for teenagers and described by brainwashed as “an almost purely emotional experience… a wet dream”.
They moved to Berlin in 2006 and cut their teeth touring Europe with Liars. They’ve played Glasgow’s famed Optimo club, the unfamed but equally as potent London anarchist squat party Behind Bars, and toured Ireland briefly with Shellac. They half-moved to London, signed to Blast First Petite and played with personal heroes Alan Vega, Lydia Lunch and Martin Rev. Their slick DJ sets at Dalston club ‘Faction’ further revealed their talent at creating (and sustaining) a mood; their mixing of Vangelis and Coil with choice cuts from Basic Channel, Sahko and Muzique gave hint of their new synthetik direction.
Marry Me Tonight finally got released in 2009, sans hype, but got listed in Wire magazine and NME (8/10) and somehow found its way into the hearts and bedrooms of the disaffected youths (and young at heart) they were aiming for. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs took them on tour, as did The Horrors. In January 2010, wanting to start something new, HTRK organised a “tech-noir” party at Cargo London with Factory Floor and unsung electro genius Andrea Parker.
After years of living on a slippery slope, Stewart committed suicide in March 2010. Standish and Yang’s resolve strengthened. They completed their album in the months following and played a comeback show at the ICA described by the NME as being of “purging redolent beauty”. Stewart’s death will not help HTRK shake the common description of them as dark, despite their intentions. But the new album Work (work, work) is a record of heartbreak, finding another world, with soft allusions to the future. Darkness has been overplayed; it’s too representational now. HTRK do not aim for pitch black or lights off… it’s a murkier, more mysterious, heavy space.
Work (work, work) is out now on Mistletone in Australia/New Zealand, Ghostly International in the Americas and Blast First Petite elsewhere. Deluxe vinyl with download code available now on mail order.
Mistletone is beyond delighted to present the incomparable Jenny Hval, bringing her hypnotising performance to Sydney Festival and MONA FOMA 2016 plus a performance at NGV’s Friday Nights program during the Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei exhibition; and throwing into question everything we know about gender and sexuality, health and capitalism, physicality, the body and the soul.
JENNY HVAL TOUR DATES:
- HOBART: Friday January 15 @ MONA: main stage, 3pm. Tickets & more info here.
- SYDNEY FESTIVAL: Tuesday January 19 + Wednesday January 20 @ The Famous Spiegeltent, 8pm; tickets on sale now here.
- MELBOURNE: Friday January 22 @ NGV: Friday Nights, Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition. Tickets and info NGV.
Jenny Hval is a Norwegian singer, writer, artist, songwriter and provocateur. With a background in writing and performance, her music is poetic, sensual, challenging, dark and beautiful; as well as melodic and spacious. A one-time Australian resident, Jenny Hval studied Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne, as well as Literature at the University of Oslo. In addition to her dazzling musical career, she has published two books – the novel Perlebryggeriet (The Pearl Brewery) in 2009 and the collage text Inn i ansiktet (Sings with her eyes) in 2012. Alongside this, she has produced collaborative performances and sound installations, as well as contributing to magazines, anthologies and newspapers.
- “Like Björk or Joanna Newsom, Jenny Hval’s music packs an emotionally dense and textured punch, but Hval is also unafraid to be funny or to hold the listener at a distance. Like Laurie Anderson’s Big Science, Apocalypse, Girl functions as a snapshot of a distinct moment within late capitalism” – VICE
Think big, girl, like a king, think kingsize. Jenny Hval’s new record Apocalypse, girl (out now on Sacred Bones Records) opens with a quote from the Danish poet Mette Moestrup, and continues towards the abyss. Apocalypse, girl is a hallucinatory narrative that exists somewhere between fiction and reality, a post-op fever dream, a colourful timelapse of death and rebirth, close-ups of impossible bodies — all told through the language of transgressive pop music.
When Norwegian noise legend Lasse Marhaug interviewed Jenny Hval for his fanzine in early 2014, they started talking about movies, and the conversation was so interesting that she asked him to produce her next record. It turned out that talking about film was a great jumping off point for album production. Hval’s songs slowly expanded from solo computer loops and vocal edits to contributions from bandmates Håvard Volden and Kyrre Laastad, before finally exploding into collaborations with Øystein Moen (Jaga Jazzist/Puma), Thor Harris (Swans), improv cellist Okkyung Lee and harpist Rhodri Davis. All of these musicians have two things in common: they are fierce players with a great ear for intimacy, and they hear music in the closing of a suitcase as much as in a beautiful melody.
And so Apocalypse, girl is a very intimate, very visual beast. It dreams of an old science fiction movie where gospel choir girls are punks and run the world with auto-erotic impulses. It’s a gentle hum from a doomsday cult, a soft desire for collective devotion, an ode to the close-up and magnified, unruly desires.
Jenny Hval has developed her own take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. Her work, which includes 2013’s critically celebrated Innocence Is Kinky (Rune Grammofon), has gradually incorporated books, sound installations and collaborations with poets and visual artists. For Hval, language is central, always torn between the vulnerable, the explosive and total humiliation.
Viscera, Jenny’s first album released under her own name in 2011, was set in the body. The songs are stories of flesh and travelling, both sensual and provocative. She wanted to make free music, without a conceptual framework, but realised after recording the album that all the songs deal with travelling in one way or another. Some songs have a modernist protagonist – an unknown and yet present I – whereas other songs take place in the body, visceral travelling. Inside becomes outside, the body is turned inside out. The music for Viscera was composed and arranged by improvising. It follows the lyrics wherever they go: spoken word, surrealist folk tales, or just plain provocative imagery. Modernist fantasy? Fantastic anatomy? WIRE magazine described the record as “a stunning achievement both conceptually and musically.”
Back in 2006, Jenny Hval released her debut proper, To Sing You Apple Trees, under the moniker Rockettothesky. The album received rave reviews and became a surprise hit with its mix of pop, poetry and rampant sexuality. She was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy in the Best New Act category and she played most of the big Norwegian festivals in 2007, as well as shows and small festivals in UK and Europe.
With her second album Medea (2008, also as Rockettothesky), a different and more experimental tone was set. Hval invoked the greek tragic heroine Medea – the monstrous mother, powerful sorceress, and foreign woman – through spoken word and improvised sound textures. She also started playing live with free improv musicians Håvard Volden (guitar) and Kyrre Laastad (drums & percussion).
Since the release of Medea, Jenny Hval has completed several other projects: composing and performing the commissioned piece “Meshes of Voice” with singer and composer Susanna Wallumrød (Susanna and the Magical Orchestra) for Ladyfest 2009, composing and performing at the Ultima Festival for Contemporary Music, published the slightly controversial novel “Perlebryggeriet” (“The Pearl Brewery”, 2009) and started a free folk/improv duo with Håvard Volden (Nude on Sand).
In 2013, Jenny made a breakthrough on Innocence Is Kinky (Rune Grammofon), recorded with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey). As Pitchfork described the album: “Opening with Hval watching internet porn and closing with her discovering a new way to inhabit her body, Innocence Is Kinky examines thorny issues of gender identity and commodified sexuality. She gives her songs titles like “Death of the Author” and “Amphibious, Androgynous”. Mythological figures wander in and out of these songs: Mephisto does his best Ophelia, Oedipus blindly wanders the streets of Oslo, and Pinnochio takes communion. By far the most significant figure among these songs is also the most human: Renée Falconetti, the silent-film star whose close-up in 1928’s The Passion of Joan of Arc is one of the most indelible images in the history of cinema. “The camera is a mirror, but mine, not yours,” Hval sings as an organ thrums in the background and a low bass note pulses on the downbeat.”
Multidisciplinary and transgressive are words often employed to describe her art, but Jenny Hval’s polyphonic artistry is in fact seamlessly interwoven between musical, literary, visual and performative modes of expression. She has infused, carved and modulated an artistic voice that is altogether present, accessible and obscurely complex at the same time.
Jessica Pratt Australian tour, December 2015. Artwork by Aaron Billings
JOHN MAUS TOUR DATES:
MELBOURNE: Friday January 13: Mistletone Fright Night @ The Corner w/- Dan Deacon Ensemble, Rat vs Possum, Jonti, Montero and Parking Lot Experiments. Door prizes galore for the most frightful costumes. Tickets $35 + booking fee on sale now from The Corner Box Office.
MELBOURNE: Saturday January 14 @ Sugar Mountain Festival w/- Deerhoof, Tune-Yards, Shabazz Palaces, Thee Oh Sees, Julianna Barwick, Sun Araw, Prince Rama + more. Tickets on sale via Ticketmaster or phone 136 100.
Hypnagogic, hypnotic, mind and life altering; John Maus makes music that taps into melancholic fantasy, and affirms that we are all truly alive. His groundbreaking new album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves (released on one of our fave labels ever, Upset The Rhythm, distro’d locally through Inertia) has been one of the iconic records of 2011.
The confrontation of punk, the fleeting poignancy of 80s movie soundtracks, the insistent pulse of Moroder and the spirituality of Medieval and Baroque music all find salvation in John Maus. It’s a world where the Germs jam with Jerry Goldsmith, Cabaret Voltaire relocate to Eternia and Josquin des Prez writes a new score for RoboCop. Questing synthesisers, tensely strung bass lines and chasing drum machines provide the perfect backdrop for John’s deeply resonant reverb-drenched vocal. John comes to Australia for the first time from his birthplace of Austin, Minnesota, where is working towards his PhD in Political Science.
THE JULIE RUIN AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
MELBOURNE: Wednesday, January 15 @ The Corner with New War + Grouse DJs. Tickets on sale now from The Corner box office.
SYDNEY: Friday, January 17 @ The Factory Theatre with Early Woman + DJ Sveta. Tickets on sale now from The Factory box office.
HOBART: Saturday, January 18 @ MONA FOMA. Tickets & info here.
“In The Julie Ruin, Hanna is still the woman so many have admired, even idolised; but she’s also fully herself, quirky and vulnerable, less a role model than a three-dimensional best friend” – NPR
“Hanna is one of America’s greatest living rock performers” – THE NEW YORKER
Mistletone presents the first ever Australian tour by The Julie Ruin. Led by Riot Grrrl pioneer Katheen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre) and backed by her hand-picked, dream-come-true band (including former Bikini Kill bandmate Kathi Wilcox and Kenny Mellman of Kiki and Herb fame), The Julie Ruin is an energetic dance-punk whirlwind, the live band providing a tight musical backbone to Hanna’s iconic vocal style. A fresh and fierce expression of Hanna’s whip-smart wit and danceable, raw punk licks, The Julie Ruin will thrill long time fans and newcomers in the wake of the legacy-building documentary film, The Punk Singer. A celebrated, outspoken figure at the forefront of feminist punk, Kathleen Hanna is as vital and relevant as ever, and set to deliver a powerful punch of dance punk to Australian audiences. The Julie Ruin’s debut album Run Fast is out now via Fuse Music Group.
“That girl she holds her head up so high, I think I wanna be her best friend, yeah.” So go the lyrics to Bikini Kill’s punk rock “Rebel Girl.” In 1990s Olympia, Washington, feminist activist Kathleen Hanna was the very girl she sang about-headstrong, seemingly self-confident, and a natural leader. A spoken word poet turned musician, she spearheaded the so-called “Riot grrrl” movement, igniting a revolution with feminist politics and DIY ‘zines that confronted sexism in the media representation of women. But Hanna, the famously outspoken icon that many looked to as a voice of third wave feminism stopped performing in 2005. Six years later she was diagnosed with an advanced case of Lyme disease.
In the feature-length documentary The Punk Singer, director Sini Anderson documents Kathleen Hanna’s legacy using 20 years of archival footage. Interviews with Hanna, Le Tigre’s Johanna Fateman and JD Samson, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Hanna’s husband (and Beastie Boy) Adam Horowitz, among others, bring an intimacy to the film and to this vital, influential artist. As Hanna tells the camera, “I lied when I said I was done. I knew I wasn’t done. Singing’s my life, and I have to do it or I’m gonna go totally bananas“. Thus proving she’s still the rebel girl who’s the queen of our hearts.
THE JULIE RUIN BIO:
In 1997, while on break from the iconic punk band, Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna wrote and produced a solo record under the pseudonym of Julie Ruin. The album is considered a classic of subversive pop and has been praised by artists ranging from Kim Gordon to Mykki Blanco. Kathleen had always planned to perform the songs live, so in 1998 she and her friend Johanna Fateman went down in a dingy East Village basement and tried to learn how to play the Julie Ruin record, but instead began writing the first Le Tigre record, a hugely influential album from a band who went on to release three full-length albums and tour extensively until 2006.
In 2010, with Le Tigre on hiatus, Kathleen tried again. She had heard that her Bikini Kill bandmate, Kathi Wilcox, was moving from Washington, D.C. to NYC and asked her if she would consider playing bass in the new project. To Kathleen’s delight, Kathi agreed.
Kathleen had seen the legendary punk cabaret act Kiki and Herb (Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman, respectively) shortly after she moved to NYC in 1998. In that act, she found solace and a sense that she wasn’t alone in her art-making. Like her take on feminism, Kiki and Herb took queer activism, mixed it with the traditions of cabaret, added in a punk sensibility, and created an enduring act that lasted the better part of 16 years, toured the world and was nominated for a Tony Award. Kenny once sent Kathleen a gushing fan letter only to be surprised when she wrote him one back. After Kiki and Herb ended, Kenny continued working in the downtown scene and was a co-creator of the cult show Our Hit Parade. As a solo artist he has opened for The Magnetic Fields and recorded with the Stephin Merritt side project, The 6ths. Kathleen emailed Kenny in 2010 and asked if he might want to try writing country songs together. They got together once, worked on a song, and even though the song never materialized Kathleen knew they would work well together. The next email Kathleen sent him was to ask if he would play keyboard in The Julie Ruin. He, of course, said yes!
Kathleen met Carmine Covelli when he joined the Le Tigre world tour in 2004 as the video and lighting tech guru. During that tour he filmed a chunk of live performance and behind-the-scenes footage that ended up in Who Took The Bomp?, the documentary about Le Tigre’s final tour. Carmine comes from a musical background of metal, hardcore and punk. He is also an actor, performer and sound artist in the experimental downtown theater scene, performing at such places at PS122, St. Marks Church, DTW, and The Kitchen. In 2007, Kathleen saw a solo show of his called “Are You There Galapagos? It’s Me, Carmine.” She found the show so smart and funny that she couldn’t stop thinking about it. She had also seen him play drums in a few acts around town, so one night during her birthday party she asked him to join the band.
Kathleen met Sara Landeau in 2006, when they taught and coached bands at The Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in Brooklyn. Sara studied at the New School and Juilliard, and graduated from Columbia University. She now runs her own music school and teaches guitar and drums to young women all over NYC. She spends her days advocating for girls of all ages to learn to play rock music, form bands, and develop self-empowerment through music. Sara had been in a host of punk bands that played shows around NYC, and had a unique killer surfy guitar style that Kathleen loved and thought would enhance The Julie Ruin sound.
The group began practicing even before Kathi moved to NYC and was able to join them. They loved the challenge of taking the solo recordings from the Julie Ruin record and recrafting them for a full band. At the end of most rehearsals they would just jam. Those jams turned into the songs that now form Run Fast, the band’s debut album. From the raw opener, “Oh Come On,” to the soulful “Just My Kind” (produced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy), to the synth-heavy title track, “Run Fast,” the album captures the band’s many sides. Through it all, Kathleen’s vocals connect all the dots.
Besides the James Murphy track and a couple of songs that Kathleen mixed on her own, the album was mixed by Eli Crews, who tracked and mixed tUnE-yArDs album, whokill.
As to why Kathleen took so long to return to music, the answer is to be found in the documentary film The Punk Singer, that Sini Anderson and Tamra Davis made about her. A hit on the festival circuit, The Punk Singer follows Kathleen for a year, during which she discovers that she has Lyme Disease which had gone undiagnosed for years. After extensive treatment, Kathleen’s illness is now in remission, and she has become an advocate for Lyme Disease education.
The Julie Ruin is very excited to be touring Australia for the first time to support the release of Run Fast, out now via Fuse Music Group.
KURT VILE AUSTRALIAN SOLO TOUR 2017. Artwork by Ben Montero, layout by Carl Breitkreuz
KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2011.
Artwork by Bjenny Montero.
Artwork by Ben Montero
LIAM FINN TOUR DATES:
- MELBOURNE: Friday November 20, 7:00-8:00pm: SUCCESS by Liam Finn + Anthony and Alex (NYC), at ACMI (Federation Square, Melbourne). Tickets on sale now.
- MELBOURNE: Thursday, November 26: Liam Finn + Dan Kelly at The Shadow Electric, Abbotsford Convent with special guest Palm Springs. Tickets on sale now.
- SYDNEY: Sunday, November 29, 6:00pm: Liam Finn + Dan Kelly at Newtown Social Club. Tickets on sale now.
Liam Finn returns to his one-time hometown to present SUCCESS at ACMI during Melbourne Music Week, featuring original compositions and improvised pieces performed by alongside a filmic collaboration with New York directors Anthony and Alex. This engrossing show will consist of a series of vignettes and performance pieces in which Liam Finn tackles the concept of success; its subjectivity and the battle of insecurity and arrogance that ensues in its pursuit. Alex and Anthony describe SUCCESS as “An experimental meditation on the human and technological ideology of success.” Liam Finn will be performing new songs, maniacally jumping between instruments, and triggering cassette tape loops to keep up with the unpredictable visuals. A show which will range from serene minimalism to heights of wild chaos.
Liam Finn also teams up with Dan Kelly; two great songwriterly forces, reckoning with each other in the double bill of our dreams for two intimate shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Tickets for Liam & Dan’s Melbourne show at The Shadow Electric are on sale here and their Sydney show at Newtown Social Club is also on sale now.
This solo tour is a rare chance to see New York-based Liam Finn in intimate solo mode. It is Liam’s first show back in Australia since 2011, and a return to his one-man band show last seen around the time of I’ll Be Lightning, his solo debut released shortly after disbanding Betchadupa in 2007. Since then he’s released two brilliant solo albums, FOMO (2011) and most recently, last year’s The Nihilist which featured the infectious single “Helena Bonham Carter”, and was a top ten chart hit in New Zealand.
Below, watch the official music video for “Snug As Fuck” from Liam Finn’s album The Nihilist, written & directed by Anthony Caronna & Alexander Smith, Liam’s film collaborators for SUCCESS:
Artwork by Alex Fregon
SYDNEY FESTIVAL: Wednesday January 15 – Matmos @ City Recital Hall, Angel Place. Doors 8pm. Tickets on sale October 28 from Ticketmaster. More info here.
SYDNEY FESTIVAL: Thursday, January 16 – The Soft Pink Truth DJ set @ Paradiso Lates, Paradiso Terrace Bar. The Soft Pink Truth is Drew Daniel (one half of Matmos)’s experimental house music side-project. Visit the festival website for up-to-date information. Free entry, starts 11.30pm.
MONA FOMA: Saturday, January 18 @ MAC Precinct – Macquarie Wharf Shed 2, Hunter Street, Hobart. Tickets & info here.
MELBOURNE: Sunday, January 19 @ Howler w/- Always, Andrew Tuttle + DJ Simon Winkler. Tickets on sale now.
Mistletone presents avant-garde electronic duo Matmos, bringing their live sonic experimentation and boundary-pushing sonic invention to Australia for the first time in their 15-year career.
Performing with joy and humour, Matmos experiment with noise to push the boundaries of pop music. Mining non-conventional sound sources and exploring bold ideas, Baltimore-based Drew Daniel and MC Schmidt have been producing music together since the mid-90s, delivering nine albums to date. Their latest release The Marriage of True Minds, based on experiments in telepathy, is an art object, a scientific report, a practical joke and a daring pop record.
Since forming in 1997, Matmos have released a dozen influential albums and have collaborated with Björk, Antony and the Johnsons, Liars, David Pajo, Oneohtrix Point Never, Terry Riley, & many others. Their live show features stunning visuals and uses the live stage as a looking glass for an audience into their current sonic palette.
Currently based in Baltimore, the duo formed in San Francisco in the mid 1990s, and self-released their debut album in 1997. Marrying the conceptual tactics and noisy textures of object-based musique concrete to a rhythmic matrix rooted in electronic pop music, the two quickly became known for their highly unusual sound sources: amplified crayfish nerve tissue, the pages of bibles turning, water hitting copper plates, liposuction surgery, cameras and VCRs, chin implant surgery, contact microphones on human hair, rat cages, tanks of helium, a cow uterus, human skulls, snails, cigarettes, cards shuffling, laser eye surgery, whoopee cushions, balloons, latex fetish clothing, rhinestones, Polish trains, insects, life support systems, inflatable blankets, rock salt, solid gold coins, the sound of a frozen stream thawing in the sun, a five gallon bucket of oatmeal. These raw materials are manipulated into surprisingly accessible forms, and often supplemented by traditional musical instruments played by the group’s large circle of friends and collaborators. The result is a model of electronic composition as a relational network that connects sources and outcomes together; information about the process of creation activates the listening experience, providing the listener with entry points into sometimes densely allusive, baroque recordings.
Since their debut, Matmos have released over eight albums, including: Quasi-Objects (1998) , The West (1998), A Chance to Cut Is A Chance to Cure (2001), The Civil War (2003) and The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of A Beast (2006) and Supreme Balloon (2008). In 2001 they were asked to collaborate with the Icelandic singer Bjork on her Vespertine album, and subsequently embarked on two world tours as part of her band. In addition to musical collaborations with Antony, So Percussion, David Tibet, the Rachel’s, Lesser, Wobbly, Zeena Parkins, and the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, Matmos have also collaborated with a wide range of artists across disciplines, from the visual artist Daria Martin (on the soundtrack to her film “Minotaur”) to the playwright Young Jean Lee (for her play “The Appeal”) to Berlin-based choreographer Ayman Harper. Most recently, they have been part of the ensemble for the Robert Wilson production “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic”, featuring Marina Abramovic, Antony and Willem Dafoe.
The most recent Matmos album, The Marriage of True Minds, was released in 2013 by Thrill Jockey Records and is available locally via Rocket Music.
MEG BAIRD TOUR DATES:
- MELBOURNE: Friday January 22 @ Northcote Social Club + special guests Lower Plenty. Tickets on sale now from the venue.
- SYDNEY FESTIVAL: Sunday January 24 @ St Stephen’s Church with Michael Hurley, doors open 6pm. Tickets on sale Monday October 26 at 9am from Sydney Festival.
Mistletone is proud to present the first Australian tour by Meg Baird; an artist we’ve admired from afar for more than a decade. Meg Baird brings her deep psych-folk vibrations to Australia for a Melbourne headline show at Northcote Social Club (tickets on sale now) as well as an unmissable double bill at Sydney Festival with the legendary Michael Hurley as part of their “Quiet Music for Curious Ears” program, in Sydney’s beautiful St Stephen’s Church.
- “As well as forming and being a mainstay in Espers, Meg Baird is a member of the decidedly freakier Heron Oblivion, who recently had their first show opening for The War on Drugs. As well as this, she has collaborated with Will Oldham, Kurt Vile, Sharon Van Etten, and toured with Bert Jansch. You get the picture. She’s well connected, and on the strength of this album she certainly has the chops to join such illustrious names on the upper echelons of her genre. It’s hard to properly describe an album which needs to be experienced from start to finish rather than intimately analysed. Give yourself the opportunity to become part of Meg Baird’s brave new world. You won’t be disappointed” – DROWNED IN SOUND
Released mid 2015 on Drag City, Don’t Weigh Down the Light is Meg Baird’s first solo album since 2011’s Seasons On Earth, and it arrived alive with mystery and colour — buoyed by a voice that’s a warm, mesmerising call across time.
Like Meg’s previous LPs (and much of Espers output,) the foundation of Don’t Weigh Down the Light is her lyrical, precise, and propulsive fingerstyle guitar work and a voice that moves from soaring and tender to soothing and spellbinding. A voice that more than a few have likened to folk’s greatest female voices: Sandy Denny, Jacqui McShee, and Shirley Collins.
But where Dear Companion and Seasons on Earth were relatively minimalist affairs, Don’t Weigh Down The Light is multi-hued and swimming in texture. Electric guitars and organs float and dart around Meg’s intricate picking and voice like ghosts. Distant drums thump as heartbeats. Piano and electric 12-string guitars shimmer like sunlight on rippling, crystalline seas.
Recorded at Eric Bauer’s Bauer Mansion studio: more famous for producing fuzzed-out and unhinged work from Six Organs of Admittance, Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, and White Fence, Don’t Weigh Down The Light was forged from Meg’s deep, natural Anglo-Appalachian instincts and wed to the deepest, most longing sounds of Skip Spence and Ben Chasny, Virginia Astley’s pastoral abstractions, Opal’s dusty, paisley West, Gene Clark’s Byrds-era torch ballads, and Popol Vuh’s dreamscapes. Inevitably, some songs reflect the solitude of leaving and arriving anew. But there’s also a sense of strength in friendship and home, with lyrics full of affection, care and guidance. And in spite of that wry, wary, sideward glance at power and promises, they are a plea to live, to thrive, and to stick around. A reminder that we need the dreamers — even if it’s wake-up time.
MERCURY REV TOUR DATES:
- BERRY, NSW: Saturday December 5 @ Fairgrounds Festival. More info and tickets here.
- SYDNEY: Monday December 7 @ Oxford Art Factory with special guest DJ James Dela Cruz of The Avalanches. Presented by 2ser. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.
- MELBOURNE: Tuesday December 8 @ Max Watts with special guests The Avalanches DJs. Presented by Triple R. Tickets on sale now from Max Watts.
- BRISBANE: Friday December 11 @ The Zoo with special guests Primitive Motion and Faint Spells (NZ). Presented by 4zzz. Tickets on sale now from The Zoo & Oztix.
- DISCONNECT FESTIVAL, WA: December 11-13 @ Fairbridge Village. More info and tickets here.
Mistletone is blissed to announce the return of the legendary Mercury Rev, playing their first headline shows in Australia since 2002. Mercury Rev’s new album The Light In You is out now on Bella Union via PIAS.
As Mercury Rev began recording their eighth studio album in autumn 2013, when asked what people could expect, co-pilot Grasshopper responded, “Steel Resonator Mandolin. Timpani. Sleigh Bells. All sorts of electric guitars…..” He subsequently added, “It is the best stuff we have done in a long, long time. Gonna be big sounding!”
Two years on, The Light In You more than lives up to its billing. The record is filled with wondrous and voluminous kaleidoscopic detail, but also intimate moments of calm, and altogether stands up to the very best that this notable band of maverick explorers has ever created. Its ecstatic highs and shivery comedowns also reflect a particularly turbulent era in the lives of Grasshopper and fellow co-founder Jonathan Donahue, of calamities both personal and physical, but also rebirths and real births (Grasshopper became a father for the first time in 2014). There’s a reason for the seven-year gap since the band’s last album, Snowflake Midnight.
“It was one of those otherworldly life sequences, when everything you think is solid turns molten,” explains Jonathan. “But also, when something is worth saying, it can take a long time to say it, rather than just blurt it out.”
As well as The Light In You being the first Mercury Rev album with Bella Union, it’s also the first with only Jonathan and Grasshopper at the controls, as scheduling conflicts and travel between the Catskills and Dave Fridmann’s Tarbox studio became too great to overcome. On The Light In You, Jonathan and Grasshopper decided they were best served being based at home in the Catskills for once. Surrounded by longtime friends such as engineer Scott Petito and bassist Anthony Molina, Jonathan and Grasshopper quickly found their stride recording themselves in their own basement studio as well as venturing out into the daylight to record tracks at some of their old haunts like NRS and White Light Studios. The two even found time to arrange backing vocal harmonies and record with Ken Stringfellow at his studio Son du Blé studios in Paris.
Yet from its title down, the album clearly reflects the core relationship between Jonathan and Grasshopper, best friends since they were teenagers, who accompanied each other through the musical changes, band fractures and exulted breakthroughs that has marked Mercury Rev’s career since they emerged with the extraordinary Yerself Is Steam in 1991.
“You can go as deep as you want with the title, on a metaphorical, spiritual level, or just poetic license,” Jonathan suggests. “It’s the beacon that shines and allows us to see ourselves – and then there’s the music between Grasshopper and I, which is how we reflect each other. The arc of the album, lyrically, is someone who’s gone through an incredible period of turbulence, sadness and uncertainty, and as the album progresses, a light appears on the water.”
The album’s track-listing follows a similar trajectory, from the opening slow-build cascade of ‘The Queen Of Swans’, through the epic lonely beauty of ‘Central Park East’ and the album’s half-way peak between ‘Emotional Freefall’ and ‘Are You Ready’ before the closing sequence, with the exhilarating pop beacons of ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Rainy Day Record’ sandwiching the more tranquil ‘Moth Light’. The light is reflected both by the album’s brilliantine colours and imagery drawn largely from the elements and the seasons, creating a world as only Mercury Rev know how. “It’s like taking a drug, but not actually taking a drug,” Grasshopper reckons. “Just sit back and enter and immerse yourself.”
Since Snowflake Midnight, Jonathan and Grasshopper have stayed productive, for example with their improvised collective, Mercury Rev’s Cinematic Sound Tettix BrainWave Concerto Experiment at John Zorn’s club in NYC, creating live soundtracks to favourite films at various junctures across Europe (most recently in London as part of Swans’ Mouth To Mouth festival in 2014). There were also occasional festival shows such as headlining 2014’s Green Man festival to celebrate the deluxe version of 1998 opus Deserter’s Songs.
“Playing tracks again from Deserter’s Songs helped us look at where we’ve been, and where we were going,” says Grasshopper. “Though by no means did we want to make Deserter’s Songs Two, we did feel we had some loose ends to tie up.”
As Grasshopper once commented about Deserter’s Songs, “It’s special because that was the one that brought us back from the brink.” The Light In You is special for that very same reason.
MICHAEL HURLEY TOUR DATES:
- BRISBANE: THU JAN 21 – Junk Bar. SOLD OUT
- MELBOURNE: SAT JAN 23 – Northcote Social Club with special guest Joel Silbersher plus DJ Downpat (A G Picks, O’Tomorrow). Presented by Triple R. SOLD OUT
- SYDNEY FESTIVAL: SUN JAN 24 – St Stephen’s Church with Meg Baird, doors open 6pm. Tickets on sale now from Sydney Festival.
- MELBOURNE: TUE JAN 26 – Summer Tones @ The Shadow Electric, Abbotsford Convent with Kurt Vile, Meg Baird + more. Tickets on sale now from The Shadow Electric.
Mistletone could not be more overjoyed to present the first ever Australian tour by one of the last of America’s true outsider folk troubadours, Michael Hurley. We at Mistletone (Ash & Sophie) have been long-time loving fans of Michael Hurley; he is an artist whose music means a great deal to us, and our hearts are overflowing with gratitude that he is finally coming to our shores!
Michael Hurley’s music sounds old, like it has always existed, and simultaneously singular, like something you’ve never heard anyone else play quite like that before. This timeless quality ensures that Hurley’s audience constantly renews itself. From the the beatniks in the NYC Village where he started in the early 60s, to the hippies in Vermont, to the Americana fans, indie rockers and freak folkers from the last two decades, and those who have covered and championed his songs — from Cat Power to Devendra Banhart to Calexico — Michael’s music never fails to find fresh new ears. Pressed for a description, Hurley has called it “jazz-hyped blues and country and western music”.
Michael Hurley grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. As a teenager in the 1950s he fell in love hearing the music of Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers and Bo Diddley blast from the radio, and was enthralled by the records of Blind Willie McTell, Hank Williams and Uncle Dave Macon that he sought for his own. This love for music, true and unvarnished, supplied him with a finely tuned musical compass he has not wavered from for 50 years and counting.
Hurley’s debut album, First Songs, was recorded for Folkways Records in 1965 on the same reel-to-reel machine that taped Lead Belly’s Last Sessions. He was discovered by blues and jazz historian Frederick Ramsey III, and subsequently championed by boyhood friend Jesse Colin Young, who released his 2nd & 3rd albums on The Youngbloods’ Warner Bros. imprint, Raccoon. In the late 1970s, Hurley made three albums for Rounder, all of which have since been reissued on CD. His 1976 LP Have Moicy!, a collaboration with the Holy Modal Rounders and Jeffrey Frederick & The Clamtones, was named “the greatest folk album of the rock era” by The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau.
In more recent years stalwart independent labels like Gnomonsong, Mississippi and Tompkins Square have been carrying the torch. A new album on the Mississippi label is due this spring and Michael Hurley has released dozens of albums — all glorious listens. Besides being a truly unique musician, Hurley is also a cartoonist and watercolor artist of note — the instantly recognisable results of which grace his album covers.
Michael Hurley likes to call himself Elwood Snock, Doc Snock, Snockman, The Snock, or Snock. He has self-published magazines such as The Underground Monthly, The Outcry, and The Morning Tea, and created several comic books featuring Jocko and Boone, Greenbriar Kornbread, and Mama Molasses, among other characters. Two oft-featured cartoon werewolves, Jocko and Boone, have been something of a theme across Hurley’s musical career, even appearing in their own comics. Both are based on dogs that Hurley owned.
Michael Hurley now resides on the northwest coast of the USA, and appearances outside that region have been scarce the last decade; so we are doubly grateful that he is making the Long Journey to Australia’s shores at long last.
WHAT SOME FOLKS HAVE SAID ABOUT MICHAEL HURLEY:
“Undoubtedly one of American’s greatest folk singers, Hurley has little in common with the majority of today’s folk performers. While they seem bent on demonstrating that all people are alike, such a suffocating presumption has no place in this man’s work. Michael Hurley is nothing like his potential audience. What better reason to hear what he has to say?”
– Chuck Cuminale
“…I don’t know what else to say about what he writes and sings, other than that it is gosh-darned great. What kind of music is it? Hell, what kind of weeds does God grow? Let’s just shut up and listen and go to where Michael Hurley is. After all, we can always turn around and come back. He can’t.”
– Nick Tosches
“Michael Hurley is the last unreconstructed folkie-shaman in America. His songs are primordial tales of the hunt for good cheer and satisfying sex, etched like cave paintings on city walls and farmland silos. Like many characters in his songs, his voice seems to have been run over by the dump truck of life, but it marries human mystery to forthright music like no other.”
– Milo Miles
“Whether weaving a yarn about a mysterious hog or comparing the human heart to a mechanic’s toolbox, Mr. Hurley create(s) elaborate vistas in a musical version of outsider art”
– Ann Powers / New York Times
“Hurley remains one of the elusive masters of American folk”
– Chris Morris / Billboard
“Trusting in his own peculiarities, Hurley makes the world spin just a little bit slower, and a little bit bumpier. Somehow it feels much more natural that way.”
– Jim Macnie
“Somehow, thinking of Hurley, I find myself thinking also of Samuel Beckett. Now I don’t see Hurley having much truck with the modernist strain of 20th Century art, and, as a high school dropout, he would probably be nauseated by the gasbag spewings of the ivory tower intellectual. A true and deliberate neo-primitive, his inspiration springs from nature, the rural blues and the lure of remote hills and woodlands, landscapes that loom in the backgrounds of his comics like vast parabolic gumdrops.”
– Vernon Tonges
Watch Michael Hurley perform “The Slurf Song” on Live Wire Radio Oregon, filmed at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Northeast Portland:
Mirah Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Gloz.
Sydney review from Your Gigs:
Mirah – The Red Rattler, October 21, 2010
Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn — better known as simply Mirah — has all the makings of a Pacific North West indie muso. She was schooled at the infamous Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington (whose alumni include Bikini Kill/Le Tigre’s Kathleen Hannah, Sub Pop’s Bruce Pavitt and Sleater Kinney’s Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein) and is signed to Calvin Johnson’s rather excellent K Records who have released five of her albums.
Being the first show of her first Australia tour, Mirah was intent on covering material from many of her albums. Opening with an ode to the Buenos Aires (‘The Dogs of BA’) followed by ‘Bones and Skin’, it was immediately clear that Mirah’s vocals are more pleasurable in person than listening to her records. Her vibe is girl-next-door, clean living, cheeky and fun times. And when a plane swooped low over Marrickville warehouse venue Red Rattler, she just smiled, unfazed through the kerfuffle.
‘Gone are the Days’ is a sweet four-chord number with complementing brush drumming to a shuffled beat. It stayed pleasant without venturing into the fey or the awkward. A tribute song to the Hurricane Katrina victims, ‘NOLA’, was backed up by C’mon Miracle‘s ‘Jerusalem’ and a scream-y chorus version of ‘We’re Both So Sorry’, which had everyone sitting up on their milk crates and old couches.
Stylistically, Mirah swayed between confessional folk and coffee-house chic. She forgot lyrics (citing jetlag) and often stopped the song completely. But the punters were so shyly enamoured by her that all was swiftly forgiven. During a brief break in the set, she jovially asked the audience for requests but humorously responded to each of them with excuses (“Needs a string section!”; “Needs a uke!”) until she finally delivered on ‘Person Person’ and ‘Apples in the Trees’. A stripped-down version of the Advisory Committee‘s opener ‘Cold Cold Water’ is graciously received by the overly polite, tittering crowd and when Mirah puts down her guitar and takes charge of the microphone we were rewarded with a powerhouse, sassy version of ‘The Garden’ and tidy cover of David Bowie’s ‘Changes’. Mirah managed to blend the best of the saccharine with DIY and grit and duly rewarded fans who have waited forever to see her in action.
25 Oct 2010
Sydney photos from The AU Review:
Mirah + The Smallgoods + Shiver Like Timber – The Red Rattler (21.10.10)
October 24, 2010 – 8:41pm — Amanda Picman
Artwork by Ben Montero
WITH A VISION to celebrate the depth of Melbourne’s indie scene, Mistletone curated and sold out the Opening Night for Melbourne Music Week 2013 in pop-up venue on the banks of the Yarra River. Our dream-team lineup featured The Bats, Boomgates, Montero, Sonny & the Sunsets, Vishnu Keys + DJs Higher Power + LA Pocock.
The Residence, a sizable pop-up venue planted like an alien structure on a particularly dusty plot of real estate down in Birrarung Marr, had the hefty task of living up to the standard set by last year’s Melbourne Music Week hub located inside the Argus Building. For what it lacked in architectural splendour, The Residence managed to facilitate a profound notion of ceremony, feeling a world away from the immediate bustle of the CBD. It was almost like a Meredithian microcosm, punters relishing the dirt-tinged open air surroundings of the geodesic musical bio-dome during interstitial band changeovers. Local smooth-pop assailants Montero looked at home in the otherworldly base, hitting their cues with emphatic purpose. They’re a tight unit, performing selections from latest LP The Loving Gaze, at times breaching a sense of warmth into harsher acoustic territory in the acoustic bubble. Frontman Bjenny mugged like a geezer Hamlet, toying with a human skull as he bandied about stage. The Loving Gaze is a corker, and tonight its tracks were paid due reverence with on-point musical acumen and formidable showmanship.
The sole non-antipodean act of the night, and one of the few internationals on the festival roster, Sonny And The Sunsets didn’t falter in the after-dark setting. Their summery disposition still shone through, the affable and breezy brand of rock‘n’roll acting as a security blanket against the brisk winds creeping through the dome. The one-two of Tomorrow Is Alright highlights Too Young To Burn and Planet Of Woman were a delight, Sonny drifting down offstage and into the crowd for the latter.
I’m writing this review at the tail end of Melbourne Music Week, having caught more than a few dozen acts at The Residence since opening night. Still, the highlight stands as Boomgates’ powerhouse set on Friday. A far cry from their shaky live beginnings, the Steph Hughes and Brendan Huntley-fronted outfit were incredible as they reeled off cuts from their full-length debut Double Natural, plus Widow Maker – their side of the recent double-A split with tonight’s headliners The Bats. Whispering Or Singing was a rollicking freight train of delight, as it always is. That winding-down, fading out false ending that parlays into a final chorus always produces magic. Layman’s Terms saw Brendan leap to the top of the PA stack to his left, commanding the audience’s gaze from his makeshift dais.
Whispers of hiatus followed Boomgates’ performance, and if true, here’s hoping it’s a brief one. Failing that, let’s fantasise that it’s paving the way for an Eddy Current reunion, ay.
The influence of venerable Flying Nun alumni The Bats could be heard throughout most of Melbourne Music Week, but their performance on opening night proved that they’re far from a faded musical touchstone. The New Zealand outfit sounded as vital as ever, rolling through a no-nonsense curation of their choice back catalogue.
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
Artwork by Aaron Billings
OLIVIA CHANEY TOUR DATES:
WED DEC 31 – WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL; performance 3pm, The Grande. More info & tickets at the Woodford website.
THU JAN 1 – WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL; performance 6:30pm, Concert. More info & tickets at the Woodford website.
SAT JAN 3 – THE JUNK BAR, BRISBANE with John Smith (UK). Tickets on sale now from Try Booking.
TUE JAN 6 – THE TOFF, MELBOURNE with Jessica Pratt (USA) + Emily Ulman. Presented by Triple R. Tickets on sale now from The Toff.
THU JAN 8 – SYDNEY FESTIVAL; City Recital Hall, Angel Place, 8pm with Alela Diane (USA) + Jessica Pratt (USA). Tickets on sale now.
SUN JAN 11 – SYDNEY FESTIVAL; The Famous Spiegeltent, 5:45pm. Tickets on sale now.
TUE JAN 13 – ELLINGTON JAZZ CLUB, PERTH. Tickets on sale now from The Ellington.
Mistletone is very proud to present the otherworldly folk tunes of English singer/songwriter Olivia Chaney, touring Australia for the first time ahead of her much anticipated debut release on the esteemed Nonesuch Records.
A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Olivia Chaney performs her own sophisticated, poetry-tinged compositions alongside traditional British folk songs, showcasing her substantial musical chops on guitar, piano and harmonium. Her rich, pure-toned voice has drawn comparisons to Joni Mitchell and gained the admiration of critics worldwide, with LA Weekly calling her “Multi-talented … completely dizzying, a sound that didn’t seem to be of this earth.” The Independent simply called her “A star in the making.”
Based in London, Olivia was twice nominated in the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, for the Horizon Award for best emerging artist, and Best Original Song for “Swimming in the Longest River.” Chaney will release her debut album in early 2014; further details about the album and its release will be announced shortly.
Olivia Chaney graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and learnt the guitar from her father’s renditions of Bob Dylan, Fairport Convention, and Bert Jansch, among others. Since then she has built a loyal and growing following, both in the UK and internationally, through her acclaimed live performances, as a solo artist and also in collaboration with a diverse range of artists, including Alasdair Roberts, Zero 7, and The Labèque Sisters.
In February 2013 she self-released her eponymous debut EP, which has found her further fans with media and public alike. Co-produced with Leo Abrahams, it included “Swimming in the Longest River,” as well as “The King’s Horses,” a track that “confirms Chaney’s arrival as a major talent,” according to BBC Music.
RYLEY WALKER TOUR DATES:
- SYDNEY FESTIVAL: Friday January 22 @ The Famous Spiegeltent, 8pm. Tickets on sale now from Sydney Festival.
- SYDNEY FESTIVAL: Saturday January 23 @ The Famous Spiegeltent, 5:45pm. Tickets on sale now from Sydney Festival.
- BRISBANE: Sunday January 24 @ The Junk Bar. Tickets on sale now from Oztix.
- MELBOURNE: Monday January 25 @ The Toff with special guest Palm Springs. Presented by Triple R. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.
Mistletone is proud as punch to present the first Australian tour by rising Chicago guitar virtuoso and neo-psychedelic singer-songwriter par excellence, Ryley Walker. Making the journey to Australia by invitation of Sydney Festival and riding the velvet coat-tails of his brilliant and hugely acclaimed album Primrose Green (released earlier this year on Dead Oceans via Inertia), Ryley Walker plays flawless, crisp jazz-folk songs in the vein of the end-of-the 1960s zeitgeist — but imbued with a fire, spirit and youth that transforms his every show into a mesmeric, jaw-dropping wig-out.
- “Ryley Walker’s Primrose Green may take notes from shaggy-haired ’70s dudes — hell, just look at the cover art — and root itself firmly in Walker’s dexterous acoustic guitar skills. But its spirit is beyond and is unruly. This is rock ‘n’ roll” – NPR
- “Crests warm currents of jazz, folk and rock as, say, Van Morrison and Tim Buckley did… (but) while Walker has absorbed these admirably free-roaming influences, this is clearly someone reaching for their essence” – UNCUT (9 out of 10)
- “Stoned, summery 70s-style jazz-folk” – The Guardian (4 stars)
Ryley Walker is a true American guitar player. That’s as much a testament to his roving, rambling ways, or the fact that his Guild D-35 guitar has endured a few stints in the pawnshop. Swap out rural juke joints for rotted DIY spaces and the archetype is solidly intact. His personal life might be tumultuous and his residential status in question, but his bedrock is disciplined daily rehearsal and an inexhaustible wellspring of song craft.
Raised on the banks of the ol’ Rock River in northern Illinois, Ryley’s early life doesn’t give us much more than Midwestern mundanity to speak of. Things start to pick up for young Walker when he moves to Chicago in 2007 and briefly attempts a collegiate lifestyle as he storms the always fecund local noise scene with his Jasmine-brand electric guitar; just a cheap knock-off from which he could coax unearthly sound hallucinations. A few years of wasted finger-bleeding basement shows variably under the names Heatdeath and Wyoming (with requisite cassette-only releases) firmly established his name locally, if not always positively.
Ryley transitioned slowly into the finger-style artist we know today in 2008 and 2009, still opening for synth nerds in basement venues, but growing by leaps and bounds in virtuosity. He perfunctorily maintained day jobs with frequently amusing results, famously getting fired from Jimmy John’s for practicing in the walk-in freezer. By 2011, at age 21, he finally began issuing recordings from his already impressive catalog of compositions. Evidence of Things Unseen and Of Deathly Premonitions (with Daniel Bachman) appeared briefly as limited cassette releases. Both efforts were impressive displays of fingerpicking prowess though not fully elaborated documents.
It was a 2012 bike accident that set Ryley on his current path. He quit his day job to recuperate but instead of returning to the grind he duked it out on the rock club circuit. Practice became more diligent; he began lacquering his fingertips at cheap salons, permanently giving his playing aggression and tone difficult to achieve with naked fingertips or finger picks.
Though seen as part of the fraternity of young guitar masters like William Tyler and Daniel Bachman, his voice defied that stereotype. He was finding a new path refracting the British traditional spectrum, from Bert Jansch to Nick Drake, and defying all the limitations of the genre. His 2013 recordings, that resulted in The West Wind EP and All Kinds of You LP, fully express these Anglophilic tendencies to the point of nearly exhausting their possibilities.
This brings us to the present. The board was barely reset from the All Kinds of You sessions before Ryley was corralling his by-then-rejiggered band back into Minbal studios in Chicago to solidify a totally new direction in his creative vision. Primrose Green couldn’t be restrained. It begins near where All Kinds of You leaves off but quickly pushes far afield. The title sounds pastoral and quaint, but the titular green has dark hallucinogenic qualities, as does much of the LP.
Ryley didn’t have much time to write this LP, so some of it he didn’t… bits of lyrics were improvised into full-blown songs in the studio on the fly more often than not. However, the ratty bits of handwritten words that make up the balance of the record were largely pieced together while on an ill-fated 2013 tour with Irish guitar whiz Cian Nugent. The title track “Primrose Green” was nearly discarded after its incarnation on a bleak St. Patrick’s Day spent in Oxford, Mississippi. “Primrose Green” is a colloquial term for a cocktail of whiskey and morning glory seeds that has a murky, dreamy, absinthian quality when imbibed, and a spirit-crushing aftereffect the morning after. It is the moment before departure from Ryley’s All Kinds Of You mindstate. “Summer Dress” is liftoff… seizing the mantle from Tim Buckley’s Starsailor and perfecting its frantic jazz-induced fits. It was written in a dressing room in upstate New York, but perfected in rehearsal, veering between a six and ten minute epic. Contained here is the flawless conclusion, but reference the live set to experience thefull possibilities of this anarchic work.
A forgotten roadside hotel in Tennessee yielded one song, “Same Minds”, with just a hint of self-loathing. It was kicked around in rehearsal until taking its shape as a drifting bit of dreamy jazz. A 5-day stretch in Austin, mostly staying on Lechuguillas’ Jason Camacho’s tile floor with no blanket in a room barely large enough for one yielded most of the rest of the lyrics. “Griffiths Bucks Blues” was almost jettisoned but a thumbs-up from Jason kept it in the repertoire. Griffith Buck was a local artist and eccentric botanist in Ryley’s hometown of Rockford, Illinois who has likely had few other songs named for him. “Love Can Be Cruel” spends almost two minutes “out” before becoming the song it was originally intended to be. Drummer Frank Rosaly pushes the song further and further until it borders on a cathartic meltdown to close out Side A.
Side B sets off with a shot of Americana, “On The Banks Of The Old Kishwaukee”. It’s an ode to the immersion baptisms Ryley’s witnessed while walking along the banks. Unlike the idyllic memories of christenings under the weeping willows while a crowd looks on happily in their Sunday’s best at the healthy young catechumens; the river was brown and polluted and the participants dirty and tired and disinterested. “Sweet Satisfaction” presents some of Ryley’s most intricate and ecstatic fingerpicking. It’s hard not to recall John Martyn’s early 1970s work, though Ben Boye’s piano work is particularly revelatory here. “The High Road” was written while the trio of Ben, Ryley, and Brian Sulpizio (guitar) were on tour, opening for Cloud Nothings. Stuck crashing in a busted, unheated old house in New Orleans Ben sunk into a depression, Brian drank and Ryley drank, but also managed to turn out this ode to the rambling life. “All Kinds Of You” is the oldest song included here. The title should seem familiar… it was written after his first LP, All Kinds of You, was finished, but the name seemed to fit that collection of songs better than anything else. By now, the song has seen many transformations and now sits more comfortably amongst Primrose Green’s cosmic transmissions. Lyrically, it copes with Ryley’s roadworn identity crises, the need to be so many people in so many cities, trying to fit in however possible in different hemispheres or different languages. Side B closes with a bit of tossback: “Hide In The Roses”, the only solo jam included herein. Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin’ Bajas), de-facto producer of the record, encouraged Ryley to use the extra studio time to bang something out, and this brilliant piece of Anglophilia emerged as the album’s closer.
No one knows what the future holds for young Ryley Walker. Hardship and setbacks and dilapidated housing only seem to spur him on creatively. Here, with this record, we risk limiting his access to personal disaster by flirting with success. A short lifetime of interminable practice and discipline have resulted in a masterpiece of an album, an album of a sort we haven’t seen since the 1970s. If the world catches on, the Ryley that follows up this album may be a different sort of person, one who knows the taste of better liquor and comfortable bedding and isn’t nearly as driven. I think he will be just as visionary, thoughless hungry, but either way… this is the time to get on the Ryley Walker bandwagon.
Sharon Van Etten Australian tour 2015. Artwork by Steph Hughes.
Sharon Van Etten Australian tour 2013 + Sydney Festival 2015. Artwork by Greedy Hen.
Toro y Moi Australian tour 2017: Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz
Toro y Moi Australian tour 2013: artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.
Toro y Moi Australian tour 2012: artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.
Poster artwork by Stephanie Hughes
Mistletone very proudly presents “A Night With Uncle Jack”; a celebratory event with Uncle Jack Charles and a host of surprise / special guests from throughout his brilliant career.
A NIGHT WITH UNCLE JACK TOUR DATES:
- MELBOURNE: Tuesday September 6 at Trades Hall Council. Tickets on sale now from Oztix.
- CASTLEMAINE: Friday September 9 at Old Castlemaine Gaol. Tickets on sale now from Try Booking.
National treasure, award-winning actor, Aboriginal elder and activist Uncle Jack Charles will celebrate his longevity (73 years and counting) in the warm-hearted and freewheeling style he’s known and loved for, at “A Night With Uncle Jack” on Tuesday, September 6 at Melbourne’s historic Trades Hall Council. “A Night With Uncle Jack” will also come to Castlemaine’s Old Gaol on Friday, September 9. Uncle Jack will be joined by a host of special guests (many of whom will be surprise guests, to add to the party atmosphere) with musical performances and intimate story telling by the luminaries he’s worked with in film, theatre and television throughout his long and storied career.
Uncle Jack Charles is an actor, musician, potter and gifted performer, but in his 73 years he has also been homeless, a heroin addict, a thief and a regular in Victoria’s prisons. A member of the Stolen Generation, Jack has spent his life in between acting gigs, caught in the addiction/crime/doing time cycle. Today — no longer caught in the cycle — he lives to tell the extraordinary tale.
Acknowledged as the grandfather of Aboriginal theatre in Australia, Uncle Jack co-founded the first Aboriginal theatre company Nindethana in 1972. His acting career spans over six decades and includes roles in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Bedevil, Ben Hall and The Marriage of Figaro, Jack Charles v The Crown and more recently, Wolf Creek 3, Rake, Black Comedy, PAN and Cleverman. Uncle Jack was the subject of Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s award-winning documentary Bastardy, and was awarded the prestigious Tudawali Award at the Message Sticks Festival in 2009, honouring his lifetime contribution to Indigenous media. He was also recipient of a Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
Uncle Jack made headlines in October last year when he was refused a taxi unless he paid the fare upfront, just moments after he was named Victorian Senior Australian of the Year for 2016.
Having sold out 5 x warmup shows at Melbourne’s Curtin Bandroom, “A Night With Uncle Jack” will feature Uncle Jack talking and sharing stories in his inimitably entertaining style (and picking up his guitar for a song or two). The evening will be hosted by respected broadcaster Namila Benson and will feature many special guests and surprises on the night.
More info: Uncle Jack Charles on Facebook
Click below to watch the promotional video for “A Night With Uncle Jack”:
photographer: Bindi Cole
Vivian Girls Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic.
THE WEATHER STATION TOUR DATES:
- WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL, QLD: December 29 – January 1. Tickets and more information here.
- BRISBANE: Saturday January 2 @ The Junk Bar. Tickets on sale now from Oztix.
- MELBOURNE: Monday January 4 @ Northcote Social Club with The Orbweavers. Tickets on sale now from the venue. Presented by Triple R.
- SYDNEY: Wednesday January 6 @ The Famous Spiegeltent, 5.45pm. Tickets on sale now from Sydney Festival.
- SYDNEY: Thursday January 7 @ The Famous Spiegeltent, 8pm. Tickets on sale now from Sydney Festival.
Mistletone proudly presents the first Australian tour by The Weather Station, performing as a trio at Woodford Folk Festival and Sydney Festival plus headline shows in Brisbane and Melbourne.
- “Plain but elegant, simple but intricate… Her songs feel very much like attempts to understand and appreciate the world in spite of its bitter ills; like the most basic forms of folk music, a term Lindeman readily embraces, they come with intent and aim.” – PITCHFORK
The Weather Station is the project of Canadian songwriter Tamara Lindeman; folk music based in classic elements of songcraft – melody, tension, meaning. The Weather Station’s third and finest album yet, Loyalty (released locally via Spunk Records) was recorded at La Frette Studios in France in the winter of 2014 with Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) and Robbie Lackritz (Feist).
Loyalty retains the humble immediacy of Tamara Lindeman’s previous records while adding a high fidelity sheen, a clarity, a new confidence. The record crystallises Tamara’s lapidary songcraft into eleven emotionally charged vignettes and intimate portraits, redolent of fellow Canadians Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and David Wiffen, but utterly her own.
On her previous acclaimed albums All Of It Was Mine, and follow-up What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know, (both for You’ve Changed Records) Tamara Lindeman established herself as a songwriter’s songwriter, earning accolades for her delicate, carefully worded verse, filled with double meanings, complex metaphors, and rich details of the everyday.
Praise for Loyalty in Australia includes Double J Best New Music (“Really intriguing folk music”), 4ZZZ (“Drifting and beautiful folk-rock”), Radio National’s The Inside Sleeve’s Best of 2015 So Far, 2SER Album of the Week, and 4 star reviews in Rolling Stone and The Music: “One of those old-fashioned, pure-at-heart folk records… Loyalty will be one of 2015’s well-loved releases”.
International praise has been just as lavish, with 4 star reviews in MOJO and Uncut: “There are many wise, deceptively simple insights on this wonderful album”; Popmatters 90 out of 100: “(Like) fellow Canadians Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, the fragility of tragic folk heroine Judee Sill, and even Bob Dylan, Loyalty offers a lived-in warmth of intimacy that refuses to be date stamped and exists outside the standard release cycle, claiming no specific year or period of origin”; and the Boston Globe: “The Weather Station compels the listener to lean in. That’s the only way to fully savor her intimate, acoustic tales that recall fellow Canadian artist Joni Mitchell, circa the late ’60s”.
Artwork by Alex Fregon
WEYES BLOOD TOUR DATES:
- SYDNEY: Thursday January 19 @ Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Sydney Festival. Tickets & info here.
- MELBOURNE: Friday January 20 @ Northcote Social Club with Lost Animal + Poppongene. Tickets on sale now. * SELLING FAST!
- MELBOURNE: Saturday January 21 @ Sugar Mountain Festival. Tickets on sale now.
- BRISBANE: Sunday January 22 @ Junk Bar (solo show). Tickets on sale from Oztix. * SELLING FAST!
Mistletone is delighted to present the great Weyes Blood, touring Australia for the first time in January in full band formation.
Though Natalie Mering, who performs and records as Weyes Blood, chose to distort her project’s name (giving “Wise” an appropriately outré, olde feel) with a nod to the ocular (w’eyes), her entire output thus far has been an exercise in exploring the atemporal. She is a musician, a singer, after all, but the particular process of Weyes Blood’s development, and her experimentation with everything from early 2000s local-noise-scene strangeness to her present mastery of timeless balladry, highlight her as an meticulous sonic alchemist.
Active in underground music since 2006, Natalie Mering has collaborated with a slew of strange birds including Jackie-O Motherfucker and Ariel Pink. She’s released four records as Weyes Blood. The Innocents, Weyes Blood’s Mexican Summer debut, deepened and broadened the shimmering murkiness of her earlier album, The Outside Room (attributed to Weyes Blood and The Dark Juices), shaving away the fuzziness of that album’s lo-fi production and revealing a songwriting ability at once classic and singular. Cardamom Times, the EP that followed, went further down the folky, lyrically evocative river that The Innocents travelled so deftly. The influence of classical and Early music can be felt throughout these two works, rivaling the ostensible folk music lineage within which one may like to situate Weyes Blood’s songs.
Weyes Blood’s new album, Front Row Seat To Earth, captivates immediately with its frank clarity in both sound and word. Though still retaining a deep influence of the classical often felt in her songs as a sense of ancient resonance, Natalie Mering is at her most intimate and vulnerable here, due in large part to her stunning vocals and simple, essential lyrical phrasing.
Produced by Natalie with Chris Cohen (who also contributes his deft, subtle drums to many tracks), the album is warm and close with a pop sensibility that sends it soaring into the atmosphere. The closeness of this record – how personal, alone, and frank it feels – conceals its aspirations to the outside, to the “Earth” of its title.
Natalie Mering wants to lead us through the microcosm of the personal to the macrocosm of the transpersonal. Her witness harbors devastating weight (“… and now you can’t stay, please baby don’t go away”) while also universalizing the strange ways of identity and relationships. These are not typical love songs or protest songs — they are painful, poignant riddles that celebrate the ambiguity of love.
Weyes Blood affirms the conflict of harmonious life within a disharmonic world — she illuminates and mythologizes it, projecting it back over the whole of Earth. The inner ecology leads outward, bridging “us” with our obscure inheritance of nature.
- “She crafts emotional epics that masquerade as psych-folk ballads, subtly symphonic songs that are informed by yesterday but live and breathe right now” – PITCHFORK BEST NEW MUSIC
- “The exceptional voice of Natalie Mering never ceases to sweep us off our feet” – THE FADER
WHY? Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Alex Fregon.
Video footage of Sydney show via Moshcam
Review of Sydney show from Joe Blog:
Photo credit: Wayne from Oceans Never Listen
I’ve been mulling over this show for a week now, attempting to ensure that the gobsmacked proclamations of “best show this year” weren’t just hyperbole caused by fresh memories. But there we have it – a week has passed and I’m still pretty sure that this night was one of the best gigs I attended this year.
I’ve been a huge fan of Why? since their tune “The Hollows” off the then-forthcoming Alopecia dropped on the web in early 2008. The combination of hip-hop with dramatic, nuanced indie rock sucked me in and I quickly explored their back catalogue and began thrashing Alopecia out upon its release onwards. The album’s never got old since, and it’s use of space and fascinating arrangements, instrumentation and tone has made it something that’s continuously yielded rich rewards. The recently-released Eskimo Snow is a slightly more conventional direction in that’s it’s more song-driven, but still relies on frontman Yoni Wolf’s twisted lyricisms and bizarre compositional approaches.
Back to the show. Expectations couldn’t have been higher: aside from all of the fanatacism built from the countless repeats of the aforementioned albums, both of the supports (Kyu and Seekae) have a strong building reputation in Sydney.
Kyu opened the evening. The duo first appeared Sydney’s radar for a lot of people when their excellent tune “Sunny In Splodges” was included on the highly recommended New Weird Australia compilation. Their sound is an abstract combination of understated minimalistic songwriting, loops, vocal effects, keyboards and the odd floor tom. I’d seen the band once before and was eager to catch them again.
The set began with them beginning more strongly than the previous time I caught them, but a few technical glitches and a crowd with a wavering attention span had the set wobbling its way through the second half. At their best, they’re entrancing. At their worst, they’re can find themselves in danger of being a little too twee and a little too gimicky. The performance confirmed for me that the group’s talent is unquestionably brilliant, but the actual execution still needs some fine-tuning. This being said – a pub is probably not the best place to see them and I look forward to catching them in a different location, which I suspect will yield better impressions.
The crowd’s anticipation for Seekae was apparent, made only more evident by delays in the soundcheck for the set. This was my first time catching the trio live, and I was blown away: this is definitely one of Sydney’s most exciting emerging groups at present and I absolutely can’t wait to see where they go. Their sound is a combination of atmospheric electronica, post-rock and hip-hop with the sound being fresh and absolutely immersive. It was great to see Ivan from the also-brilliant Ghoul make a number of appearances on guitar and vocals.
Not much more needs to be said – see this band if you get a chance. I predict great things for them if they continue on their current trajectory, and having them completely win the crowd over like they did is no simple feat and confirms that everyone was pulled in by their work. Jonny wondered if the band had won the night and I feared that the evening might have already peaked. It was a damn close race, but Why? took the cake.
When you listen to a Why? album from a musical point of view, you’re enveloped in arrangements that are detailed, unique, engrossing and frequently gorgeous. Much of the beauty is contained within the interlocking parts, the exceptional mixing and the impact of the rhythms. How much is a five piece going to be able to actually get that across live?
As it turns out – near flawlessly. The band executes the songs like a finely tuned machine, yet delivered just the right amount of unhingedness and vigour that’s needed to actually make a show out of the performance. Yoni doesn’t drop a beat as he works his way through lyrical acrobatics and stalks the stage. His brother, Josiah, bounces on his kit like a possessed bobblehead effortlessly dropping rock solid grooves, while the remaining members on bass, guitar and keys make all of that intricacy on the album look like a piece of cake. Incredible – and then some. The explosions of fuzz bass on “These Few Presidents”? Devastating. The plaintive emotion of “Blackest Purse”? Tear jerking. The badassery of “Sky For Shoeing Horses”? I couldn’t stop grinning.
“Sydney! Oh yeah, this is a good one. This is a good show” mumbles Yoni with barely-suppressed glee a couple of songs in. I don’t know if he announces a bad show when they’re having one, but it seems the band are really feeding off the crowd. I can’t quite pick where the crowd is coming from. Certainly there’s been some hip-hop crossover judging from the hands in the air floating to the beat, perhaps with some people migrating from the old cLOUDDEAD days (Yoni’s old group). For many I’m sure there’s been the discovery via Internet (like myself). There’s a weird yobbo dynamic present as any time a verse is sung containing some of Yoni’s more twisted lyrical imagery (see: “The Hollows”, “The Vowels, Pt. 2″) the crowd launches into it by positively yelling it back. I wonder if that was a lasting impression of Australia for the group.
The extensive work of the band’s front-of-house sound engineer has to be noted. The guy put the icing on the cake by ensuring that many of the details present in the album were represented by adding delays, reverbs and compression to the mix live. As a result, he spent the entire set riding the effect busses and adding immense amount of detail through – it’s the kind of detail that’s not often seen for a show with an audience size of the Annandale’s capacity. It gave the set exactly the polish it needed and I thought it lent additional distinction to the band’s performance.
Was it the best gig I saw of ‘09? It’s a tough call – there were many great, great gigs this year, and it’s hard to pin it on one show – but it definitely came close. I’m hugely glad I went and if you get an opportunity to see this band, don’t pass it up. It’s one hell of a show.
Why? Live at Annandale, Sydney 16/12/2009 Setlist
- These Hands
- The Vowels, Part 2
- Rubber Traits
- Against Me
- Good Friday
- These Few Presidents
- January Twentysomething
- Sky For Shoeing Horses / Twenty-Eight
- Blackest Purse
- The Fall of Mr Fifths
- Yo Yo Bye Bye
- By Torpedo Or Chrohn’s
- Simeon’s Dilemma
- The Hollows
Wooden Shjips Australian tour 2012. Artwork by Bjenny Montero, layout by Jonathon Bailey.
Melbourne show review from Inpress:
Wooden Shjips Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic.
Listen to the Wooden Shjips Easey Street Session as heard on PBS-FM here
– You just have to register as a new user to PBS then go to the LISTEN LIVE page, then click on RADIO ON DEMAND and go to the show CITY SLANG and enter MARCH 10th 2010.
“The wide psychedelic sounds of Wooden Shjips impressed, with many a shoe raised in respect (it’s a Meredith thing) at set’s end”
– The Age review of Wooden Shjips winning the ultimate accolade at Golden Plains, ie “The Shoe”